The reason why collapsible ladders are so popular is that they do their job better than normal ladders but take up much less space than them, which makes storage easier.
Whether you have a free-standing retractable ladder or an attached one, you can easily retract them and have them out of the way to free up space.
6 Best Collapsible Ladders
|Image||Name||Height||Weight Capacity||Check Price|
|Multi-Purpose Folding Scaffold Ladder||19.5 Feet||330 Pounds|
|Little Giant Velocity Multi-Position Ladder||22 Feet||300 Pounds|
|Xtend & Climb Telescoping Ladder||15.5 Feet||250 Pounds|
|Senrob Aluminum Telescopic Ladder||22 Feet||330 Pounds|
|charaHOME Telescoping A-Frame Extension Ladder||8 Feet||330 Pounds|
|Louisville Fiberglass Extension Ladder||28 Feet||300 Pounds|
Moving and storing them becomes easier because you can simply retract them for doing so. But most importantly, they provide a range of height options.
You can simply open them up to the height you need so that you do not have to deal with an excess of the ladder for lower heights or the problem of over-reaching for higher heights.
This makes retractable ladders convenient to use and safer too.
What Are Retractable Ladders
Retractable or collapsible ladders are those that have moving parts attached to each other and can be collapsed onto each other to occupy a smaller place in the resting position when not in use.
The mechanism of retraction can vary widely – it can be vertical or horizontal, can have one point of attachment or more, can move along one axis or more, and so on.
But the unifying principle should be that the movement should reduce the volume occupied by the ladder in the open position.
Types of Retractable Ladders by ANSI Definition
Among the types of ladders defined by the ANSI, the following can be categorized as retractable ladders:
An extension ladder is a non-self-supporting ladder made of two or more sections attached to each other via brackets, which can either be part of the side rails or separate.
The sections can be pulled out to the required height and fixed by some kind of lock mechanism. When not in use, they can be retracted for the sections to lie within or on top of each other.
A trestle ladder is one that is usually set up in pairs with a scaffolding plank supported in between.
A variation of this is the trestle extension ladder, where there is a second section attached to the base one which can be raised or lowered to give a variety of heights when working.
The telescopic ladder is the other fully non-self-supporting ladder in this list. Its side rails are made up of a large number of stiles, one pair for each section between any two consecutive steps.
The outer diameter of each stile nearly equals the inner diameter of the one below it.
Contracting the ladder causes each style to contract into the one below it, shortening the entire ladder as a result.
A combination ladder is a multi-purpose one that can be used as a single, extension, or step ladder and if permitted by the manufacturer, as a trestle or staircase ladder as well.
Since it has extension functionality, it is a retractable ladder.
It can be easy to confuse a combination ladder with an articulated one, but the main difference is that an articulated ladder has one or more pairs of special articulating joints that allow the ladder to have far more configurations.
Depending on the type of ladder, it can have an extension, telescoping, or accordion-style of retraction, or any combination of these.
5 Best Retractable Ladders
A true articulating ladder, this one comes with 4 sections with 5 steps each, connected together by smooth-operating hinges.
Each hinge is operated by safety locks to ensure that the ladder is securely in place no matter what the configuration. It has the highest duty rating, allowing you to take weights on it.
The aluminum body is not only light in weight but also resistant to rust and corrosion. Due to its folding design, the ladder can be carried and stored easily.
It also comes with two sturdy platforms in two sizes to be used in the scaffold or work table formation.
The ladder comes with stabilizing base rails attached to the ends of the legs on both sides. These rails widen the base of the ladder substantially to increase stability.
Their ends have heavily treaded soles for extra traction. You also have the option to take them out and replace them with individual treaded shoes for each leg of the ladder if there is a space constraint.
Articulated ladders are, by nature, versatile. This one can be used as a straight ladder, double-sided step ladder, 90-degree ladder, stairwell ladder, scaffolding system as well as a work table.
You also get two platforms with the ladder for setting up the scaffold or table.
You can even remove the stabilizing base rails to put in shoes if that is what you find convenient for the current work.
For the large size of the ladder, it is very lightweight and easy to carry around. The aluminum body and space-economical parts of the ladder ensure that in spite of having four sections, it is not too heavy to use for non-professionals.
Type: Articulating Ladder
Dimensions: 60.24 x 14.96 x 11.22 (24.4 at the 2 bases) inches
Height: 19.5 feet
Weight: 37.5 lbs
Rung Height: 11 inches
Number of Configurations: 5
Dimensions of Platforms: 55.9 x 11.8 inches, 44.5 x 11.8 inches
Thickness of Tube: 1.2 mm
Thickness of Step: 1.1 mm
Number of steps: 4 x 5 (sections x steps/section)
Duty Rating: 330 lbs
Click here to learn more about the ladder. (link to Amazon)
The Little Giant Velocity is an articulating or combination ladder that can be used as a double-sided platform ladder, extension ladder, stairwell ladder, or 90-degree ladder.
The inner and outer sections can also be separated and used with a plank to create a trestle-scaffolding system.
The Rock Locks allow the positioning of the height of the ladder securely without any slipping. Quad-Lock hinges are used in the ladder which comes with 4 pins instead of 2.
The hinges are operated using palm push buttons. In fact, the ladder meets all OSHA and ANSI standards so you know they are absolutely safe to use.
Easy to Transport
The Tip and Glide wheels at the base of the front legs allow you to just roll the ladder away when you have to move it from one place to another. It prevents the need to drag and does not cause scratches on the ground as a result.
Little Giant is known for making its ladders extremely tough and durable. The aerospace-grade aluminum body makes the ladder extremely hardy so that minor bumps and drags will not cause any dents or scratches on the ladder.
There are a number of accessories available that can be attached to the ladder to allow more convenient working.
You can attach a ballistic nylon and steel cargo holds on the ladder to keep all your tools in.
You can add a work platform to provide a standing surface or place to keep buckets and such.
There is also a WingSpan wall standoff you can add that has the double purpose of providing a separation from the wall and attaching to windows or other parts for support.
Type: Combination Ladder
Dimensions: 8 x 27 x 67 inches
Height: 22 feet
Stepladder Height: 13 feet 2 inches
Weight: 39.5 lbs
Rung Height: 11 inches
Number of Configurations: 5
Duty Rating: 300 lbs
Heights Available: 13, 17, 22, 26 feet
Made using True Telescoping technology, this ladder is one of the best telescoping ladders in the market currently.
It uses a no-pinch closure system with angles thumb release which ensures that you do not injure your fingers while operating the ladder. You can easily extend and lock it using your foot.
It has double over-molded feet which not only provides the necessary traction to prevent slipping but also makes the feet durable.
Besides, the ladder comes with an integrated carrying handle which, when combined with the compact contracted size, makes the ladder a highly portable one.
This Xtend and Climb Pro series ladder meets the latest 2019 OSHA and ANSI standards.
Its compliance with the newest standards ensures that the ladder is safe and delivers the performance it promises.
The Clean Touch Anodized Finish of this ladder is specially done to ensure that the body of
the ladder is resistant to any kind of corrosion, rust, oxidation, or similar kind of reaction or damage. This keeps the ladder in top shape for years to come.
This ladder is meant for heavy-duty usage due to aerospace engineering in its manufacturing process.
It is made using airplane-grade aluminum that can weather any stress, making it perfect for professional and serious DIY purposes.
Type: Telescoping Ladder
Dimensions: 19.75 x 4.5 x 36 inches
Height: 15.5 feet
Weight: 37.3 lbs
Contracted Height: 36.5 inches
Duty Rating: 250 lbs
Heights Available: 8.5, 10.5, 12.5, 16.5, 18.5 feet
Warranty: Limited 5 years
A good combination of a telescopic ladder is hard to come by, and this is a great one.
It has two extending sides attached by hinges that can be lifted or closed using an easy release rod.
A strap fitted with a grip handle keeps the ladder in the right contracted place when in transit or storage.
The ladder has a thick pedal on the base of each side for extra footing. Each step too is wide and treaded.
There are plastic pillars between each step to make it safe and easy to fold the ladder.
It is made from aluminum allow for extra durability.
The stabilizer bar of the ladder is fitted with non-slip feet that provide the necessary traction to keep the ladder firmly set on the ground.
The large width of the stabilizer also helps to keep the ladder grounded at all times.
For the height the ladder provides, it is quite compact and portable.
This is due to the fact that it is not only folded at the joint but also telescopic, which allows a high level of contractions.
Unlike many telescoping systems, this ladder has individual steel locking pins with non-slip rubber ends for each step, two on each side.
That means you can open up any steps that you like according to the circumstances and requirements of the work.
Type: Telescoping Combination Ladder
Height: 16.5 feet
Weight: 38.5 lbs
Contracted Height: 36 inches
Number of steps: 16
Duty Rating: 330 lbs
Warranty: Limited 1 year, 30 days moneyback guarantee
Find its latest price here. (link to Amazon)
An aluminum alloy body makes this charaHOME ladder especially strong and hardy in spite of being light enough to be easily carried around.
The ladder also comes with a strong strap to keep it closed in place, along with a carry handle for comfortable carrying.
it comes with a detachable tool tray that you can use to keep your equipment in while working. There are also metal safety bars to lock the ladder in place so that it does not move or close in on itself while working.
The ladder has two extra steps or rails above the work platform. These are placed there for safety.
Not only do they provide support to hold on to while working but they also prevent the person from overreaching.
The ladder is perfect for usage in both interior and exterior locations. The steps come with individual locking systems so that each can be expanded or contracted separately.
This allows you to adjust the size of both sides of the ladder. Hence, you can easily work on steps and areas with uneven surfaces.
The legs of the ladder are fitted with 3.14″ wide non-slip end caps that ensure that the ladder is set steadily on the ground.
Each step is also 3.2″ wide with herringbone pattern treads that provide extra steady foothold when climbing.
Type: Telescoping Step Ladder
Dimensions: 31 x 20.5 x 8 inches
Height: 5 feet 10 inches
Weight: 22.9 lbs
Contracted Height: 31 inches
Step Width: 3.2 inches
Rung Height: 11.6 inches
Number of steps: 5
Duty Rating: 330 lbs
This Louisville is the only fiberglass candidate in this list and it does not disappoint.
It meets or even exceeds ANSI 14.4 and CSA Grade 1 standards.
It is great for industrial, professional, as well as domestic use. The rung lock with QuickLatch and outer slide guides makes it easy to set up.
Slip-resistant D-rings make them safe and comfortable to stand on for long periods.
Its Pro Top is its USP. The V-shape allows the ladder to be set up easily and stably on corners and poles.
The soft rubber non-marring treaded bumper ensures the supporting surface is not damaged during use. The greater width of the Top allows full stability on flat surfaces too.
The Top doubles as a work tray to hold your tools while working.
Being a fiberglass ladder, it does not conduct electricity and put the user in danger of shocks. This is especially advantageous if you are doing electrical work or there is wetness or circuitry in the proximity.
The ladder comes with the proprietary, easy-to-use Max Lock fitted with the pulley system. This is the industry-best locking system and has been tested to be able to tolerate all kinds of weather conditions.
Steel-plated swivel shoes with treaded bases are fitted at the base of the legs of the ladder.
This allows the ladder to not only find full stability on soft and uneven ground but also be oriented easily in any angle or direction without dragging movement.
Type: Extension Ladder
Dimensions: 10.6 cubic feet
Height: 28 feet
Weight: 60 lbs
Rung Height: 11.6 inches
Number of steps: 16
Duty Rating: 300 lbs
Heights Available: 20, 24, 28, 32 feet
Safety Tips for Retractable Ladders
When buying or using any retractable ladder, there are certain points that must be kept in mind to ensure that the ladder you use is not only suitable for the purpose but also safe to use. These are:
As with any ladder, a retractable ladder can be made of wood, aluminum, steel, or fiberglass. Other materials do exist but are not used as much.
Now a retractable ladder will involve a lot of moving, folding, and sliding action. Wood may not always be suitable for the purpose unless due to scraping unless there is proven electricity safety concerns.
Aluminum is light and the easiest to operate but can get corroded easily. Steel does not rust as much but is heavier. Fiberglass is lightweight, non-conducting, and non-corrosive but costlier compared to the rest.
When buying a retractable ladder or about to use it, always check the moving parts thoroughly.
It is important that all the connections and joints move smoothly and in sync to ensure easy operation.
The locking system should also be secure enough to keep the sections from moving when the ladder is in use.
The weight capacity of a ladder is the most important indication of the load that a ladder can take.
It is important to ensure that you buy a ladder with a weight rating higher than the load you estimate will be carried by it in your line of work.
Always ensure that when you actually go to mount a ladder, the weight you are carrying is within the duty rating.
Test Requirements Fulfillment
Make sure that the ladder fulfills all OSHA, ANSI, EN, and any other safety guidelines it is supposed to stick to before buying the ladder.
A well-tested ladder is bound to give better and safer service throughout its lifetime and also be more long-lasting.
Always check the ladder before buying as well as each time you go to use it that there is no damage in any part of the ladder.
If you do not check beforehand and mount the ladder just like that, chances are you could get hurt in a completely avoidable accident.
When you are buying or about to use the ladder, make sure that the electrical safety requirements are met, like insulating step treads and ladder shoes.
It is best to use a naturally insulating ladder-like fiberglass, but a metal one will be fine if it has sufficient insulation done.
Exercise extra caution when working near lines and make sure the working area is absolutely dry.
Climbing Safe Practices –
There are several conditions that you must look to here.
For example, the ladder should be on dry, hard, level ground and preferably have some leveling support on the legs.
You should set it up following the 4:1 rule, ie, 4 feet from the support wall for every 1 foot of height gain. Never carry so much load that your hands are occupied.
Make sure there is no water or other substance on the steps that can cause you to fall.
Also do not forget to keep 3 points of contact with the ladder at all times when mounted on it.
Retractable ladders are highly useful and versatile because of their height adjustability, variety of configurations, ease of storage, and quick movement and transport.
But besides the usual precautions, one must remember that there is always an added risk because of the high number of moving parts.
If you are careful and mindful of that and choose really high-quality collapsible ladders like the ones on this list, you should get many days of safe usage out of your ladder.