Telescoping Ladders – Your New Best Friend
Ladders have been in use almost as long as humans have roamed the earth and most common types have been around for centuries. The articulating ladder (aka Little Giant) was introduced in the 1980’s, however there have been no significant additions to the ladder family since then – until now. The most recent advances in ladder technology have given us the telescoping ladder. This type of ladder utilizes a series of pins to allow the ladder to “telescope” to variable lengths, yet collapse into a small footprint.
Size – The variety of telescoping ladder lengths vary from 8.5 feet to 15.5 feet. As home inspectors, we are in, on, under and around many sizes of homes and we have found the 12.5 foot ladder to be the most flexible choice. We use the Type II model 770P which weighs only 27 pounds and closes to 32 inches long x 20 inches wide.
Price – The Xtend+Climb model 770P that we use sells for around $150.00. As expected, ladder prices vary widely depending on the type and quality you choose.
Convenience – With telescoping rungs the benefit of adjustable heights from the same ladder is very convenient and cost effective. Set up and break down times are quick and easy (watch your fingers). Also, the compact design of a telescoping ladder makes them super easy to transport by hand or vehicle. This small footprint also makes it easy to navigate into tight spaces before setting up the ladder.
Pinched fingers – When collapsing a telescoping ladder, it is easy to pinch your fingers if you’re not careful. It happens quickly and it hurts. Retract each rung carefully until you get the hang of it.
Unsecured pins – Poor quality ladders use inexpensive spring pins. These pins are responsible for holding the rungs in place when extended. These can release unexpectedly while you’re on the ladder and can cause catastrophic results. Poor quality ladders of all types are a risk. I’ve used several different brands of telescoping ladders and now only use the Xtend + Climb brand.
Slipping out – Similar to extension type ladders, the telescoping ladders need to be placed on dry secure surfaces. There is a potential for the bottom feet to slide out if the surface is not stable, or if the feet are placed too far away from the wall.
Choosing A Ladder
Using the right ladder for the right application can be a personal choice however it can also be critical to your personal safety. The most common types of ladders used today include the step ladder, extension ladder, articulating ladder and telescoping ladder. Different working environments and conditions often dictate which ladder types are the most effective, and personal preference can help determine the best choice for each individual.
Regardless of your ladder preference, the need for ladder safety is priority one. The quality and load capacity of a ladder is very important, so be sure to choose wisely – cheap ladders are not safe. Always follow manufacturers recommendations and NEVER overextend your reach while on a ladder. Statistics for the U.S. show that each year there are more than 164,000 emergency room treated injuries and 300 deaths that are caused by falls from ladders. The reality is that most ladder deaths are from falls of 10 feet or less. Be safe!