If you have to work on the stairs, you really need a reliable and safe ladder. If you use the wrong type of ladder, chances are good that you’ll end up on the floor.
Therefore, if you want to avoid falls and accidents, it’s extremely important to make sure you use a ladder that’s intended to be used on the stairs. I tried many models over the last few years and have many friends who use ladders every single day for their job.
In this article, I share my ultimate list of the best ladders for stairs based on my own experiences and I also give you some helpful tips to improve safety.
Let’s dive in!
If you are in a hurry, here are the best ladders for stairs:
- Little Giant Revolution M22 with Ratcheting Levelers
- Werner MT-22 Multi-Position Adjustable Ladder
- Little Giant Velocity Ladder
- Toprung Adjustable Ladder
- Ladder-Aide (if you don’t want to buy a new stair ladder)
Features to Look For When Searching for a Safe Ladder for Stairs
You may need to use a ladder on the stairs in many different situations, such as painting, decorating, cleaning, maintenance, or any other DIY stuff. Whatever the reason, the requirements of a safe ladder are the same.
So, before moving on to the best brands and models, let’s take a look at the most important features a staircase ladder should have:
- Adjustable sides
- Non-slip foot pads
- Stable and durable frame
- Nice to have: individually adjustable legs
Best Ladders for Stairs: One by One
1. Revolution M22 Ladder with Ratcheting Levelers from Little Giant Ladder Systems – All In One Solution
If you are one of my regular readers, you are probably not surprised that I put this model at the top of the list. To be honest, I’m a big fan of Little Giant ladders (I keep three different models in my garage) because most of them are well-designed, versatile, and durable. And because they have never let me down.
I know that the Revolution M22 is not for everybody. If you need a staircase ladder just a few times a year and leveling adjustment is not important, you might be better off financially if you choose another model on this list.
The Revolution M22 ladder is extremely versatile. While it’s true that it works great on the stairs (it’s really stable!), you can use it for many other purposes. The dual ratchet levelers allow you to adjust the legs individually (it offers approx. 8.5 inches of level adjustment), therefore the Revolution M22 can be used safely on most uneven surfaces too (such as ramps or curbs).
This multi-purpose safety ladder is a top-notch product. It has a weight capacity of 300 lbs (type 1A) and it’s very sturdy. Little Giant Revolution is made of aircraft-grade aluminum and meets the standard of OSHA and ANSI. This is a reliable indicator of quality.
Here is why the Little Giant Revolution is one of the best ladders for stairs:
Not only does it meet the requirements of a safe stair ladder but it exceeds them. That is to say, it not only allows you to adjust the height of the sides but also features built-in ratchet levelers.
The ratchet levelers allow you to adjust the legs of the ladder and face the wall while using the ladder on the stairs. This can often make things much easier as you don’t have to turn your body sideways in many situations.
This way you can paint high ceilings above your stairway and work safely even at higher altitudes.
As for safety, this Little Giant ladder is really stable and safe to use on stairs as long as you follow the basic ladder safety rules (always do so!).
Here you can check current pricing on Amazon.
FYI – Safety is paramount. Unfortunately, seniors are more exposed to the risk of falls and accidents, therefore special care is required in their case. Find the most important ladder safety rules for seniors in this article.
2. Werner MT-22 Multi-Position Adjustable Ladder
Werner is another trusted manufacturer that has many quality products. While this ladder is significantly cheaper than the previous model, it has the same ANSI 1A rating. That being said, it has a load capacity of 300 lbs on each side which is more than enough for residential jobs (and often for commercial jobs too).
Of course, it also works great on stairs and that is why I included it in this list. However, it does not allow you to adjust the height of the legs individually, so you can’t lean the ladder against the wall while using it on the stairs.
That being said, you can adjust the height of each side of the ladder, so one side should rest on one step and the other side on the ground (or on another step) if you want to use it on stairs (as you can see in the photo below).
The Werner MT-22 is made of aluminum and you can use it as an extension ladder, step ladder, stairway ladder, A-frame ladder, and wall ladder. It weighs 42 pounds, so it might not be the best choice for seniors or those who can’t lift heavy objects.
The built quality is good, and the ladder performs well on indoor and outdoor stairs too. The total length of the MT-22 model is 22 feet, however, it’s useful to keep in mind that if you use it as an A-frame ladder on the stairs, the highest standing level will be below 9 feet.
Overall, this adjustable Werner ladder is a reliable and good-quality product that does a great job when you need to work on stairs, and you can use it for many other purposes as well.
Click this link to check the current price on Amazon.
3. Little Giant Velocity Ladder – Best Affordable Ladder for Stairs
Another model from Little Giant (yeah, I really like their ladders). This is one of my favorites and I think it’s probably the best affordable ladder for stairs. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. I know many professionals who use this model regularly and have the same opinion.
First, Little Giant is a trusted manufacturer that does not compromise on quality. The Velocity multiuse ladder exceeds ANSI, OSHA, and CSA standards and has a load capacity of 300 lbs (type 1A). It’s made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum that makes the frame sturdy.
Adjusting the height of the ladder is easy and can be done in just a few seconds. It has rubber feet that grip much better than plastic ones, thus it provides improved safety. This feature is especially important when you use the ladder on the stairs or in an extended position.
Besides being a real multi-purpose ladder, what I like most about the Little Giant Velocity is easy handling. You can quickly switch configuration and set height without much hassle.
One minute you’re using it as a staircase ladder, the next minute you’re climbing on an extension ladder. So the setup is really fast.
It’s easy to store but the ladder itself is pretty heavy (the 22 ft model is 39.5 lbs). However, it comes with built-in wheels that make transportation much easier.
By now, you can see why I think this model is one of the best ladders for use on stairs.
It comes in four different sizes (13, 17, 22, and 26 feet model), so you can choose according to your needs. Just keep in mind that these numbers do not apply to the maximum A-frame height.
Here you can find the current price of this combination ladder on Amazon.
4. Toprung Adjustable Ladder – Staircase Ladder on the Cheap
If you’re on a budget but need a reliable and safe stairway ladder, this Toprung model can be a reasonable choice.
It comes in different sizes, so you can choose the one that suits your needs best. Overall, if you keep the safety rules, it’s pretty stable on stairs. Like the previous models, it’s suitable for decorating, painting projects, swapping out light bulbs, and many other purposes.
The built quality is fine, it’s made of aluminum and has a load capacity of 300 lbs (type 1A). It’s pretty versatile but features fewer setting options than the Little Giant Velocity.
I like that it does not take up much storage space and that it’s easy to set up. On the other hand, it’s not very light (especially the 21 ft. and 25 ft. models), that is to say, it’s not recommended for people that mustn’t lift heavy objects. Another drawback is that it does not come with wheels, so you can’t transport it as easily as the Little Giant models.
Overall, it’s pretty stable on stairs and comes with slip-resistant feet.
Click this link to check out current pricing on Amazon.
5. Ladder-Aide: A Safe Way to Use Your Existing Ladder on Stairs
If you already have a ladder, you don’t necessarily have to buy a new one if you want to work on stairs. Instead, you can use a compact and portable device called Ladder-Aide from Ideal Security that serves as a stable and firm base for the ladder.
Ladder-Aide comes in two versions:
- The standard version works with Type 2 and 3 extension, telescoping, single, and straight ladders. You can use it with aluminum ladders with a maximum base width of 19 inches and a maximum foot size of 4.5 inches.
- The pro version can handle heavier loads, therefore it’s suitable for Type 1, 1A, and 1AA ladders too. It works with aluminum and fiberglass ladders with a maximum base width of 22 inches and a maximum foot size of 7.5 inches.
Briefly, what this device does is provide a secure base for your ladder so that you can use it safely on stairs. It’s very easy to assemble and disassemble, the whole process can be done within a minute or so.
If you are a visual type of person, check out the video below that shows how the Ladder-Aide works:
The Ladder-Aide can be a perfect choice if you already have a ladder.
It’s portable, fits in a much smaller space than a ladder, moreover, it’s affordable (compared to a new ladder). Overall, it’s a safe and clever solution for using your ladder on the stairs and I highly recommend it.
As an alternative, you can use a ladder leveler, such as this one. This is more of a permanent solution: after attaching the leveler to your existing ladder (it’s just a few minutes of work) you will be able to use it on uneven surfaces. The device allows you to adjust the legs of your ladder individually so that you can safely use it on stairs. It’s approved for installation on many types of ladders, including extension, combination, and step ladders.
As it turns out, you don’t always have to get a brand new ladder if you want to safely hang a picture above your staircase.
Which Ladder Should You Choose for Stairs?
As you can see, when it comes to working on the stairs you have several buying options.
So, which solution should you choose?
Well, if you need a new ladder and have the budget you may want to consider the Little Giant Revolution. One of its major advantages is that it comes with ratchet levelers, so you can adjust the legs individually according to your needs. Also, being a multiuse ladder (with 33 unique configurations) you can use it not only for stairs but for many other purposes too.
If you are on a budget but need a new ladder, you can’t go wrong with Toprung. It’s adjustable, safe, and sturdy and works great on stairs. It’s a great value for the price.
If you need a multiuse ladder from a trusted manufacturer but the ratchet leveler feature is not important, go for the Little Giant Velocity. It’s great for stairs, very convenient to use, and easy to handle. It’s stable and durable and allows you to choose from 33 unique configurations (22-foot model). Moreover, it comes with a very generous warranty. Highly recommended.
What if you already have a ladder and want to use it on the stairs? In this case, I recommend that you either go for the Ladder-Aide or attach a ladder leveler to your ladder. These are safe solutions that have stood the test of time and, last but not least, they are much cheaper than a new ladder.
Finally, whichever solution you choose, make sure you always obey safety rules to avoid accidents. Here you can find a useful OSHA guide about stairways and ladders.
Photos: Flickr (Mike McCune)