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Best Ladders for Painting of 2021

Updated
Got a painting job? Get the right ladder

The ladder rarely gets any attention, yet it is one of the most useful tools any decorator could own. It gives you access to parts of the room that you simply couldn’t reach. Take away the ladder, and you wouldn’t achieve the same results.

We put the 10 best ladders for painting in the spotlight, rating them on quality, price, and usability.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Little Giant Ladders, Flip-N-Lite, 6-Foot, Stepladder, Aluminum, Type 1A, 300 lbs Rated (15270-001)
Best Platform Ladder
Little Giant Platform Ladder Flip-N-Lite
  • Weighs just 15 lbs
  • Storage tray and platform
  • Type 1A rated up to 300 lbs
Product Image of the Little Giant Ladders, Velocity with Wheels, M22, 22 Ft, Multi-Position Ladder, Aluminum, Type 1A, 300 lbs Weight Rating, (15422-001)
Best Multi-Position
Little Giant Velocity Ladder with Wheels
  • Configures into multiple shapes
  • Extends to 22 ft
  • Innovative dual-pin hinges & rock locks
Product Image of the Cosco 11408PBL1E Three Big Folding Step Stool with Rubber Hand Grip, Platinum
Best Budget
Cosco Three Big Folding Step Stool
  • Very affordable price
  • Large standing platform & steps
  • Lightweight, at just 13 lbs
Product Image of the HBTower 3 Step Ladder, Folding Step Stool with Wide Anti-Slip Pedal, 500lbs Sturdy Steel Ladder, Convenient Handgrip, Lightweight, Portable Steel Step Stool, Black
Best Step Stool
HBTower 3-Step Step Stool
  • Affordable price
  • Weighs just 11.5 lbs
  • Maximum weight capacity of 500 lbs
Product Image of the 4 Step Ladder, HBTower Folding Step Stool with Tool Platform, Wide Anti-Slip Pedal, Sturdy Steel Ladder, Convenient Handgrip, Lightweight 330lbs Portable Steel Step Stool, Green and Black
Best Step Ladder
HBTower Folding 4-Step Ladder
  • Utility tray for paint cans & tools
  • Large rubber feet for stability
  • Folds to just 16 inches
Product Image of the Yvan Telescoping Ladder,12.5 FT One Button Retraction Aluminum Telescopic Extension Extendable Ladder,Slow Down Design Multi-Purpose Ladder for Household Daily or Hobbies,330 Lb Capacity
Best Telescoping
Yvan Telescoping One-Button Retracting Ladder
  • Extends to a maximum height of 12.5 ft
  • One button retraction for ease & convenience
  • Oxidized aluminum & reinforced plastic components
Product Image of the Luisladders Folding Ladder Multi-Purpose Aluminium Extension 7 in 1 Step Heavy Duty Combination EN 131 Standard (12.5 Feet)
Best for Painting Stairs
Luisladders Folding Multi-Purpose Ladder
  • Extends to a maximum height of 12.5 ft
  • Maximum weight capacity of 330 lbs
  • Multiple positions, including stairs
Product Image of the Louisville Ladder Fiberglass Extension Ladder, 28 feet, 300-pound duty rating, Type IA, FE3228,Orange
Best for Exterior Painting
Louisville Fiberglass Extension Ladder
  • Extends to 28 ft for maximum height reach
  • Swivel feet add stability and grip
  • Fiberglass, ideal for electrical work
Product Image of the Little Giant Classic 10103LGW 300-Pound Duty-Rating Ladder System with Work Platform, 22-Foot
Best for Interior Painting
Little Giant Classic Ladder System with Work Platform
  • 300-lbs weight capacity
  • The wheels make it easy to maneuver
  • 33 configurations to cover every task
Product Image of the Louisville Ladder AE2232 Aluminum Extension Ladder 300-Pound Capacity, 32-Feet
Best for Painting House
Louisville Aluminum Extension Ladder
  • Extends to 32 ft
  • Swivel feet with rubber grips
  • Quicklatch pulley system makes extending a breeze

Types of Ladders for Painting

Before we get into the detail of what makes a ladder great for painting, first, we need to look at the different ladders available and what they are suitable for.

Step Stools

Product Image of the HBTower 3 Step Ladder, Folding Step Stool with Wide Anti-Slip Pedal, 500lbs Sturdy Steel Ladder, Convenient Handgrip, Lightweight, Portable Steel Step Stool, Black

Step stools are lightweight and easy to use. They typically come in 2, 3, 4, or 6-step versions, and they are ideal for indoor and outdoor decorating. Step stools also have a high weight capacity because they are so low to the ground.

Tall Step Ladders

Product Image of the 4 Step Ladder, HBTower Folding Step Stool with Tool Platform, Wide Anti-Slip Pedal, Sturdy Steel Ladder, Convenient Handgrip, Lightweight 330lbs Portable Steel Step Stool, Green and Black

Tall step ladders have wide steps on one side and support beams on the other. They are safe and easy to use and are a great middle-ground option between a step stool and an extending ladder.

They often have a small flat shelf on the top, which is ideal for standing a can of paint. The downside with step ladders is they have a fixed height and cannot be adjusted.

Multi-Purpose Ladders

Product Image of the Luisladders Folding Ladder Multi-Purpose Aluminium Extension 7 in 1 Step Heavy Duty Combination EN 131 Standard (12.5 Feet)

Multi-purpose ladders are like the Transformer of the ladder world. They can change into several configurations, including a step ladder, extending ladder, and platform ladder. If you are looking for a ladder for all seasons, this is the variety to get.

However, while they are super useful, they can be a little complicated to master, easy to make a mistake, and very expensive.

Extension Ladders

Product Image of the Louisville Ladder Fiberglass Extension Ladder, 28 feet, 300-pound duty rating, Type IA, FE3228,Orange

Extension ladders have two sections that extend to reach elevated surfaces, making them ideal for exterior decorating. They typically come in 16, 24, 28, 32, and 40 feet versions and are usually made from aluminum or fiberglass.

Fiberglass ladders are heavy and better suited to electrical work, whereas aluminum ladders are lighter and easier to maneuver.

A 24 to 28-foot ladder is best suited to a 1.5 story house, while a 2.5 story home requires a 32 to 40-foot ladder. Just remember that the higher the ladder, the greater the risk of injury.

Each extending ladder has a weight capacity rating:

Rating Maximum Capacity
Type 3 200 pounds
Type 2 225 pounds
Type 1 250 pounds
Type 1A 300 pounds
Type 1AA 375 pounds

Platform Ladders

Product Image of the Little Giant Ladders, Flip-N-Lite, 6-Foot, Stepladder, Aluminum, Type 1A, 300 lbs Rated (15270-001)

A platform ladder is an A-frame step ladder with either two or three platforms at the top for storing paints and tools. They have a height reach of between 8 or 9 feet.

Telescoping Ladders

Product Image of the Yvan Telescoping Ladder,12.5 FT One Button Retraction Aluminum Telescopic Extension Extendable Ladder,Slow Down Design Multi-Purpose Ladder for Household Daily or Hobbies,330 Lb Capacity

Telescoping ladders are the best option if you have limited storage or you like to carry your ladder with you on the road to work sites. They work by collapsing down to about two or three feet, and some can extend to 16 or 18 feet.

These ladders are practical if a little bit complicated to use; plus, they are expensive compared to standard ladders.

How To Choose the Best Ladder for Painting

So, you’ve decided that you want a new ladder, but what are the critical factors that go into your decision? How do you decide which is the best ladder for painting?

Maximum Reach

Size your ladder for the task at hand. It’s no good buying a step ladder when you need an extender. Likewise, why waste money on an extender when a simple step stool would be sufficient.

Just remember that the height listed on the ladder is the actual length, so when you angle it against the wall, that distance reduces. Given that you should never stand higher than the third rung from the top, you will typically add between 1 to 3 feet to that height with your reach.

To give you an idea of heights, here’s a handy chart:

Number of Storys Maximum Height
1 10 feet
2 20 feet
2.5 25 feet
3 30 feet

Weight

Your new ladder should be maneuverable and easy to set up. If it breaks your back every time you drag it out of the garage, you are going to limit the number of times you use it.

Aluminum ladders are the lightest, although the size makes a huge difference. A 40-foot ladder is going to weigh far more than an 8-foot step ladder.

Functions

Do you want a simple A-frame step ladder, or are you after an all singing and dancing multi-purpose model that transforms into several configurations?

The more functions the ladder has, the more complicated it is to use and possibly more expensive to buy. Having additional capabilities might also add to the weight, making the ladder more cumbersome to maneuver.

Ease of Storage

Not everyone is blessed with a ton of storage space. Not everyone has a ladder rack on their vehicle. How you store the ladder and transport it makes a difference. Telescoping models are the easiest to load into the trunk and take with you on the road, while a 40-foot extending ladder will require ample storage space.

Ladders are large items and take up space no matter what, so before you make your choice, check that you have the capacity to stow it away.

Price

Everyone has a budget, and the amount you are prepared to spend determines what type of ladder you get. A simple step stool is probably the lowest priced in the range, with the multi-purpose models fetching the most money.

That said, telescoping ladders are pretty costly too, but they are easier to store and transport.


The Best Ladders for Painting of 2021

With so many ladders to choose from, we spent hours researching several different types of ladders, rating them for price, quality, and usability. Here are our favorite 10 examples.

Little Giant Platform Ladder Flip-N-Lite

Best Platform Ladder for Painting

This is the first of several Little Giant entries in the review. It is rated type 1A, so it has a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds. The best feature is the extensive top shelf that stores paint, brushes and tools, and doubles up as a standing platform. You also get a storage tray for other items on top of the handrail.

It has a 6-foot reach, it is lightweight, easy to set up and pack down, and has extra-wide steps for comfort, grip, and reduced foot fatigue. You get an easy-release handle, and because it only weighs 15 pounds, it is easy to transport without breaking your back.

The only disadvantage with this ladder is that it is not adjustable, so you have to buy a different ladder if you need to extend your reach above the stated maximum.

Pros

  • Weighs just 15 pounds.
  • Storage tray and platform.
  • Type 1A rated up to 300 pounds.
  • Extra-wide steps for increased grip.

Cons

  • Limited to 6-foot reach.

Additional Specs

Weight 15 pounds
Height 6 feet
Material Aluminum
Type Step ladder
Rating Type 1A
Weight capacity 300 pounds
Price $$$$
Warranty 1-year

Little Giant Velocity Ladder with Wheels

Best Multi-Position Ladder for Painting

Sometimes you need your ladder to step up and work for you that little bit harder. Say hello to this Little Giant multi-purpose ladder. It folds into several configurations, including stairs, step ladder, exterior, and 90-degree ladder.

It has unique dual-pin hinges, and easy-to-use rock locks, plus the wide flared legs and aerospace-grade aluminum makes this ladder feel very stable and safe. This ladder is rated type 1A, meaning it can safely handle weight capacities up to 300 pounds.

Also, it is pretty lightweight for a multi-position ladder, at just 39 pounds, and it extends to an impressive 22 feet. The main issue with this Little Giant ladder is the price. They are not a cheap option, so be prepared to dig deep.

Pros

  • Configures into multiple shapes.
  • Extends to 22 feet.
  • Innovative dual-pin hinges and rock locks.
  • Aerospace-grade aluminum and extra-wide feet.

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other models.

Additional Specs

Weight 39 pounds
Height 22 feet
Material Aluminum
Type Multi-position ladder
Rating Type 1A
Weight capacity 300 pounds
Price $$$$$
Warranty Limited lifetime

Cosco Three Big Folding Step Stool

Best Budget Ladder for Painting

When you are working to a tight budget, you have to watch the pennies, so this step stool by Cosco is a welcome sight. It costs a fraction of the price of the Little Giant ladder. And it’s no slouch either, thanks to the extra-wide platform and large platform steps.

It has a weight capacity of 200 pounds, so you don’t get the same as other models, but that’s part of the reason why this is so inexpensive. It has an opti-bond powder-coated finish to protect it against the elements, and you get a comfortable handle grip.

Obviously, you will not repaint the exterior of your home with this ladder, but indoors, it gives you access to hard-to-reach spots, although the reach somewhat limits you. On the plus side, it only weighs 13 pounds, so carrying this ladder around should be a breeze.

Pros

  • Very affordable price.
  • Large standing platform and steps.
  • Lightweight, at just 13 pounds.
  • Comfortable handgrip.

Cons

  • Lower reach limits painting scope.
  • Reduced weight capacity of 200 pounds

Additional Specs

Weight 13 pounds
Height 2.5 feet
Material Steel
Type Step stool
Rating Type 3
Weight capacity 200 pounds
Price $
Warranty 10-year parts and labor

HBTower 3-Step Step Stool

Best Step Stool for Painting

Now, when it comes to sales figures, this HBTower step stool is a big hitter. It has racked up over 16,000 sales on Amazon alone! So, what has it got that others lack?

First, the price is so attractive, it could have been our budget pick, but just because it is cheap doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Second, the load capacity is 500 pounds! That’s 300 pounds more than the Cosco.

It has large rubber-padded feet for extra grip, a comfortable handgrip, and extra-wide non-slip steps. It has a high-grade steel frame, weighs just 11.5 pounds, and folds to just 1.6 inches in depth, making it easy for storage.

A couple of negatives are the warranty, at just 2-years it seems a bit mean, and the height reach. Because it is a step stool, it limits your usage.

Pros

  • Affordable price.
  • Weighs just 11.5 pounds.
  • Maximum weight capacity of 500 pounds.
  • Large rubber padded feet.

Cons

  • Only has a 2-year warranty.
  • Limited height reach.

Additional Specs

Weight 11.5 pounds
Height 2.5 feet
Material Steel
Type Step stool
Rating Type 1AA
Weight capacity 500 pounds
Price $
Warranty 2-year

HBTower Folding 4-Step Ladder

Best Step Ladder for Painting

When you are decorating your inside spaces, you need somewhere to store your paint cans, rags, and brushes, so having this HBTower step ladder with a utility storage tray is ideal.

It has 4 anti-slip steps, a comfortable handgrip, and large rubber feet for stability and safety. When the ladder is opened, the safety buckle design automatically locks when you place your foot on the first step.

Just like the 3-step version, this one folds flat to a depth of 1.6 inches, so storing it away is easy, and it is rated type 1A with a maximum load capacity of 330 pounds. The only downside is the weight. While it isn’t the heaviest ladder to feature in the review, it weighs a third more than the 3-step version.

Pros

  • Utility tray for paint cans and tools.
  • Large rubber feet for stability.
  • Folds to just 1.6 inches.
  • Large non-slip steps.

Cons

  • Weighs a third more than the 3-step.

Additional Specs

Weight 18.5 pounds
Height 3.5 feet
Material Steel
Type Step ladder
Rating Type 1A
Weight capacity 330 pounds
Price $$
Warranty 2-year

Yvan Telescoping One-Button Retracting Ladder

Best Telescoping Ladder for Painting

Telescoping ladders are easy to store away and transport, especially if you lack a ladder rack on your vehicle, and this Yvan is one of the most popular. So, what has it got?

It has a maximum height reach of 12.5 feet, so you won’t struggle to reach the ceiling or first-floor window frames outside; it has a one-button retraction for a quicker pack-up time and an aluminum body that doesn’t rust and is lightweight.

The plastic elements are reinforced with nylon fiber to improve load resistance, aging, and service life, plus the aluminum is oxidized for greater weather resistance. You also get a rating of type 1A and a maximum load capacity of 330 pounds.

Because this ladder is retractable, the price jumps up, with this one costing substantially more than previously featured models. Also, telescoping ladders are more complicated to master than standard ladders, which might put some people off.

Also, a 1-year warranty is pretty mean for a ladder considering it is supposed to be robust and withstand everything you throw at it.

Pros

  • Extends to a maximum height of 12.5 feet.
  • One button retraction for ease and convenience.
  • Oxidized aluminum and reinforced plastic components.
  • Easy to store and transport.

Cons

  • Costs a lot more than standard ladders.
  • Short 1-year warranty.

Additional Specs

Weight 24.6 pounds
Height 12.5 feet
Material Aluminum
Type Telescoping
Rating Type 1A
Weight capacity 330 pounds
Price $$$
Warranty 1-year

Luisladders Folding Multi-Purpose Ladder

Best Ladder for Painting Stairs

This is another multi-position ladder. It transforms to make a straight ladder, a ladder with a 90-degree bend, a scaffold platform, and a step ladder. When folded down, it measures 40.5 x 11 x 23.5 inches, so storage is easy, and thanks to the multi-position safety lock hinges, it can change shape with ease.

This ladder has a maximum height of 12.5 inches and a weight capacity of 330 pounds, with a rating of type 1A. Plus, it has stabilizer bars and slip-resistant steps. It’s even a great price! The aluminum construction ensures it won’t rust, and the non-slip feet give extra stability.

Because this is a multi-position ladder, it takes some practice to master, which might put some people off.

Pros

  • Extends to a maximum height of 12.5 feet.
  • Maximum weight capacity of 330 pounds.
  • Multiple positions, including stairs.
  • Non-slip feet for stability.

Cons

  • Complicated to master different ladder configurations.

Additional Specs

Weight 23.5 pounds
Height 12.5 feet
Material Aluminum
Type Multi-position
Rating Type 1A
Weight capacity 330 pounds
Price $$$
Warranty Not stated

Louisville Fiberglass Extension Ladder

Best Ladder for Exterior Painting

When you need a sturdy ladder for all the exterior painting projects, this Louisville fiberglass model is a great choice. It has a maximum 28-foot reach, so the tallest tasks are entirely possible, and it has a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds.

You get mar-resistant end caps, swivel safety shoes for better grip and support, and smooth extending with durable slide guides. If you carry out electrical work, fiberglass ladders are ideal because they are non-conductive.

The rungs are D-shaped to make standing more comfortable, and you also have a safety Max-Lock with Quicklatch for fast deployment and retraction.

Now we come to the negatives. This ladder weighs 60 pounds, so you might need help lifting and positioning it; plus, it costs a lot of money. It is 3 times the price of the Yvan telescoping model.

And for such an expensive product, the company only warrants this ladder for 90 days after purchase.

Pros

  • Extends to 28 feet for maximum height reach.
  • Swivel feet add stability and grip.
  • Fiberglass is non-conductive, which is ideal for electrical work.
  • D-shaped rungs for added comfort.

Cons

  • Weighs 60 pounds. You may need assistance to deploy.
  • The most expensive ladder to feature so far.
  • Meager 90-day warranty.

Additional Specs

Weight 60 pounds
Height 28 feet
Material Fiberglass
Type Extension ladder
Rating Type 1A
Weight capacity 300 pounds
Price $$$$$
Warranty 90-day

Little Giant Classic Ladder System with Work Platform

Best Ladder for Interior Painting

This is the second Little Giant ladder to feature, and this one is a multi-position model, so it can extend to 22 feet for vaulted ceilings and double-up as a step ladder. It has a maximum of 33 configurations, including 90 degrees, A-frame, and scaffolding platform, to name a few.

The frame is aerospace-grade aluminum, and the maximum weight capacity is 300 pounds, so it is classified as a type 1A. Another great addition to this ladder is the wheels. It makes pulling and maneuvering the ladder a lot easier.

However, we always have negatives, no matter how good the product is, and this ladder has a huge price tag. So much so that many people will think again unless they specifically want this model. That said, Little Giant does make good quality ladders.

Pros

  • 300-pound weight capacity.
  • The wheels make it easy to maneuver.
  • 33 configurations to cover every task.
  • High-quality aluminum construction.

Cons

  • Eye-watering price tag compared to other ladders.

Additional Specs

Weight 42 pounds
Height 22 feet
Material Aluminum
Type Multi-position
Rating Type 1A
Weight capacity 300 pounds
Price $$$$$
Warranty 5-years

Louisville Aluminum Extension Ladder

Best Ladder for Painting House

When you need to reach the highest points of the exterior of your home, you need a ladder that can cope. This Louisville extends to 32 feet, but you can get models in the range that reach 40 feet.

It has swivel safety shoes for grip, balance, and stability, a QuickLatch rung lock, a sturdy aluminum frame, and a load capacity of 300 pounds.

The slide guides ensure smooth operation, and the I-beam side rails offer comfort when standing at height. You also get D-shaped rungs that give a better grip, which keeps you safe at great heights.

This ladder is the heaviest to feature so far, at 63 pounds, which might mean you need assistance when erecting and taking it down. It also costs a lot, so unless you need a ladder with such capabilities, you might want to opt for something cheaper.

Pros

  • Extends to 32 feet.
  • Swivel feet with rubber grips.
  • QuickLatch pulley system makes extending a breeze.
  • 300-pound load capacity.

Cons

  • The most expensive ladder to feature.
  • Weighs 63 pounds.

Additional Specs

Weight 63 pounds
Height 32 feet
Material Aluminum
Type Extension
Rating Type 1A
Weight capacity 300 pounds
Price $$$$$
Warranty Not stated

Ladders For Painting Comparison Chart

Product Best Weight Height Material Type Rating Weight capacity Price Warranty
Little Giant Platform Ladder Flip-N-Lite Best Platform Ladder 15 lbs 6 feet Aluminum Step ladder Type 1A 300 lbs $$$$ 1-year
Little Giant Velocity Ladder with Wheels Best Multi-Position 39 lbs 22 feet Aluminum Multi-position ladder Type 1A 300 lbs $$$$$ Limited lifetime
Cosco Three Big Folding Step Stool Best Budget 13 lbs 2.5 feet Steel Step stool Type 3 200 lbs $ 10-year parts & labor
HBTower 3-Step Step Stool Best Step Stool 11.5 lbs 2.5 feet Steel Step stool Type 1AA 500 lbs $ 2-year
HBTower Folding 4-Step Ladder Best Step Ladder 18.5 lbs 3.5 feet Steel Step ladder Type 1A 330 lbs $$ 2-year
Yvan Telescoping One-Button Retracting Ladder Best Telescoping 24.6 lbs 12.5 feet Aluminum Telescoping Type 1A 330 lbs $$$ 1-year
Luisladders Folding Multi-Purpose Ladder Best for Painting Stairs 23.5 lbs 12.5 feet Aluminum Multi-position Type 1A 330 lbs $$$ Not stated
Louisville Fiberglass Extension Ladder Best for Exterior Painting 60 lbs 28 feet Fiberglass Extension ladder Type 1A 300 lbs $$$$$ 90-day
Little Giant Classic Ladder System with Work Platform Best for Interior Painting 42 lbs 22 feet Aluminum Multi-position Type 1A 300 lbs $$$$$ 5-years
Louisville Aluminum Extension Ladder Best for Painting House 63 lbs 32 feet Aluminum Extension Type 1A 300 lbs $$$$$ Not stated

FAQs

How Should You Safely Use a Ladder When Painting?

There are safe ways to use a ladder, and here are a few pointers.

  • Never stand above the third rung from the top. It could leave you off balance and liable to fall.
  • Don’t over-extend your reach. Again, this causes the ladder to slip.
  • Make sure you place the ladder correctly. Never put it on uneven ground or slippery surfaces like wet concrete or pavers.
  • Never use the ladder near power lines, and never exceed the weight and height limits.
  • Always maintain a minimum of 3 points of contact with the ladder (2 feet and 1 hand).

What Is the 4 to 1 Rule for Ladders?

For every 4 feet you extend the ladder, you should place it 1-foot of distance from the wall. So, if you had an 8-foot ladder, it should be 2 feet from the wall. And a 16-foot ladder should be 4 feet from the wall.

What Is the Maximum Height You Can Work from a Ladder?

You shouldn’t work above the third rung from the top. If you do, you risk falling and serious injury. Try and remember that when a ladder states a height, it is simply the ladder height rather than a working height.

And when you angle the ladder, it reduces the maximum reach further. You will add about 1 to 3 feet with your torso and arms.


Headshot of Mark Weir

About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.