how tall ladder do i need

How Tall Ladder Do I Need?: 7 Things To Consider

Do you want to buy a ladder but don’t know where to start?  Or the question ‘how tall ladder do I need?‘ bothering you because you are confused about selecting the best ladder for your work?

Well, don’t panic. You’re not alone. Every single ladder buyer goes through the dilemma of choosing a perfect ladder height.

And the truth is, the definition of the perfect ladder height can change with different needs.

Why? Because you won’t want a giant 27 feet long ladder inside of your kitchen just to reach the shelves. Besides, it won’t fit. That’s exactly why you need to select a ladder with perfect height in order to use it with peace in mind.

In this article, you’re going to learn about different ladders and how each of them is suited for a special kind of task.

Also, you’ll see how high you can possibly reach with each kind of ladder.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in…

A Brief Chart of Ladder Sizes And Their Respective Maximum Reach

Before deciding how tall the ladder you’re going to need, you’ve to understand how high you can reach with a ladder of a certain height.
In this ladder size and reach chart, we’re going to represent the data for the two most common ladders we mostly use.
So, here we go…

Step Ladder Reach Chart

For step ladders, you shouldn’t climb higher than the 2nd step from the top of the ladder. Otherwise, your safety can be compromised. The maximum reach is has been adjusted taking this safety precaution into account.

Height of Ladder(Feet) Maximum Reach(Feet)
4 8
6 10
7 11
8 12
10 14
12 16
14 18
16 20

*Considering average human height to be 5.5 feet.

Extension Ladder Reach Chart

For extension ladders, you shouldn’t climb higher than the 4th step from the top of the ladder. Otherwise, your safety can be compromised. The maximum reach is has been adjusted taking this safety precaution into account.

Height of Ladder(Feet) Maximum Reach(Feet)
16 15
20 19
24 23
28 27
32 31
36 34
40 38

*Considering average human height to be 5.5 feet.


How Tall Ladder Do I Need: Selecting The Perfect Ladder

Before you even start thinking about the perfect ladder, you need to step back and think about the tasks you want to perform with them. There are several kinds of ladders and each one is suited for a certain kind of task.

And it goes without saying that each kind of task would require you to climb to a different height. That’s why before you ask yourself, “How tall ladder do I need,” think about what you really want to accomplish with the ladder.

So, let’s look at 6 common types of ladders to decide how tall the ladder you really need…

Standard Ladder

This is one of the first ladders we and our ancestors have ever used. It’d been invented to reach high places over the ground. So, if you want to climb to someplace that has support attached to it, you can use this ladder.

For example, if you want to climb over a tree, reach high over the wall, or any other standard operation can be done using this ladder. But, you need to have some kind of support to hold the ladder against. Otherwise, there is no way you can use this ladder.

So, you can’t use this ladder where there is no support. For example, right in the middle of open ground. Plus, the support it’ll be held against has to be hard and strong or it can be dangerous to use a standard ladder.

So, How Tall is It Exactly?

Standard ladders are usually up to 16 feet tall. However, in heavy-duty work sites, you can see a standard ladder as tall as 30 feet tall.

Recommended Standard Ladder: Louisville Aluminum Standard Ladder

If you’re looking for a standard ladder to climb the trees, get something off the first floor’s rooftop, or any other climbing task, then Louisville Aluminum Shelf Ladder is your best choice.

Louisville Aluminum Standard Ladder
Louisville Standard Ladder

As long as the place you need to climb has some sort of support to hold the ladder against a rough surface, you’re good to go with this ladder. This ladder can hold up to 300 lbs of weight. So, if you need to climb up somewhere to rescue a cat or get over a high place, you’re all set.

Its steps are secured with a total of six large-headed steel rivets. So, you can step on it without any worries.

Click here to know more about it on Amazon.

Step Ladder

A step ladder is one of the most common types of ladders. Also, it’s self-supporting so you don’t need any kind of external support to use this ladder.

No matter whether you’re hanging a picture, fixing a nail on the wall, or cleaning the ceiling fan, a step ladder is a perfect tool to help you do all kinds of household works. Also, step ladders can perfectly hold two people so two people can easily work together with a step ladder.

How Tall Step Ladder Do I Need?

With a step ladder,
The maximum height you can reach = Height of the ladder + 4 feet.

So, if you don’t need to reach a height of more than 12 feet, then an 8 feet step ladder will suffice. However, if you need to reach 16 feet of height, then you should go for a step ladder that is no less than 12 feet tall.

Recommended Step Ladder: Little Giant Ladder Systems Safety Step Ladder

If you’re looking for a ladder that is self-supporting so you can fix anything like your ceiling fan standing in the middle of the room, then this one is the perfect fit for you.

Little Giant Ladder Systems Safety Step Ladder
Little Giant Ladder Systems Safety Step Ladder

No matter whether you’re looking to fix a nail on the wall or trying to change the LED light in the middle of your room, this ladder will help you do just that.

This durable step ladder has four large and slip-proof steps so you’ll never slip off it. Also, because of the extended sizes of the steps, you can stay stable while climbing up through the ladder. This way, you can do your everyday regular work with total safety.

Meanwhile, its sturdy and compact design will ensure you can keep it folding anywhere in your home after you finish your work.
No matter what your climbing need is, this ladder is your go-to partner.

You can check it out on Amazon by clicking here.

Extension Ladder

Extension ladders are just like the standard single ladders except for extension ladders have one or two extra ladder frames attached to them that you can slide open to reach extra height.

However, just like the standard ladder, it also needs firm support right next to it hold against in order to use it.

Unlike step ladders, these kinds of ladders are used mostly for outdoor activities. For example, if you need to clean your windows, paint your wall, reach an unusually high place, then extension ladders can help you finish the job smoothly.

And that’s why this ladder is also used by firefighters to rescue trapped people from the buildings.

How Tall Extension Ladder Do I Need?

With an extension ladder,
The maximum height you can reach = The full height of the extension ladder – 1 foot.

For example, if you need to reach a place that is 23 feet high, then you should use a 24-feet tall extension ladder.

Recommended Extension Ladder: Louisville FE3220 Ladder

Louisville FE3220 Ladder
Louisville FE3220 Ladder

If you love to do every outdoor work that requires climbing yourself, then you should get yourself this extension ladder.

You can clean the outside of your windows, set a treehouse, and even paint your home with this extension ladder from Louisville.

It has around 300 lbs weight holding capacity you can do all your outdoor climbing work without any worry.

It features steel-plated safety shoes and the caps are mar resistant.

So, you or your ladder will never slip.

You can even fix the pipes of your home by safely climbing on them.

No matter how high you need to climb, this extension ladder will take care of all your outdoor climbing needs.

Click here to know more about this ladder.

Multipurpose Ladder

Just like its name suggests, a multipurpose ladder can be used for different purposes. You can adjust this ladder in different shapes to get your desired work done. You can use this as a step ladder, an extension ladder, and even as scaffolding.

Plus, it’s self-supported so you don’t need any additional support to use it. So, whether you’re looking to hang a picture, or trying to save a cat from the trees, this ladder can help you do that.

How Tall Multipurpose Ladder Do I Need?

For multipurpose ladders,
The maximum height you can reach safely = Maximum ladder height + 1 foot.

Thus, you can easily reach a height of 25 feet with a 24-feet tall multipurpose ladder.

Recommended Multi-purpose Ladder: Little Giant Multi-use Ladder

If you need a ladder that has characteristics of all the different types of ladders, then look no further than Little Giant Multi-use Ladder. You can use this amazing ladder as a step ladder, scaffolding, or extension ladder. You can even change its standing angle for various purposes.

Little Giant Velocity Multi-Use Ladder
Little Giant Velocity Multi-Use Ladder

This way, it can satisfy almost any climbing need of yours all by itself. It’s so versatile that you can even use it on the stairs. And it’ll always be stable no matter what thanks to its high-quality construction and built material.

It’s so strong that each step can hold up to 300 lbs of weight and can easily hold two persons simultaneously.

You can learn more about this amazing multi-purpose ladder by clicking right here. (link to Amazon)

Platform Ladder

A platform ladder is basically a step ladder with a platform on top of it. This way, you can easily keep your tools on the platform so you don’t have to hold on to them every time while you’re working.

Also, it has a top rail guard on top of its platform to give extra support to the ladder.

That’s why you can reach up to 3 feet higher with this ladder compared to a step ladder of similar height with ease.

How Tall Platform Ladder Do I Need?

For platform ladders,
The maximum height you can reach safely = Maximum ladder height + 4 feet.

Recommended Platform Ladder: Flip-N-Lite Platform Ladder

If you’re tired of holding other things in your hand while staying up on the ladder, then you should definitely get this platform ladder from Flip-N-Lite.

Flip-N-Lite Platform Ladder
Flip-N-Lite Platform Ladder

Whether you’re looking to change the lights or fix the wall, you can easily use this ladder to get your job done. It has a weight holding capacity of 300 lbs so you can climb the ladder holding even the heaviest toolboxes with you. Also, it has a platform where you can keep your stuff and focus on the work at hand.

You can get this ANSI-certified platform ladder on Amazon by clicking here.

Telescopic Ladder

If you need an easily portable ladder that you can use both indoors and outdoors, then you’re looking for a telescopic ladder. You can extend or retract it whenever you want.
This allows you to easily take this ladder anywhere you want while it’s in its retracted mode. And when you need to use it, just expand it. You can use this ladder just like an extension ladder or a twin-step ladder.
You can easily get the highest parts of your home, both inside and outside. You can climb trees and reach the highest shelves of your home with this.
So, if you don’t want the hassles of having different ladders for different purposes, then you need a telescopic ladder.

How Tall Telescopic Ladder Do I Need?

Telescopic ladders come in a lot of different sizes. However, the taller the ladder is, the heavier it gets. So, if you buy a very tall telescopic ladder, it would be a lot heavy even in its retracted mode.
You can stretch the telescopic ladder to any height until it reaches its maximum height. And the maximum height for most telescopic ladders is 14.5 feet.

Recommended Telescopic Ladder: Xtend & Climb Blue Telescopic Ladder

If you’re looking for an extremely safe ladder that is highly portable, then this telescopic ladder from Xtend & Climb is a must-have. Made of airplane-grade aluminum, this ladder is so strong that each step can easily hold up to 250 lbs.

Xtend & Climb Blue Telescopic Ladder
Xtend & Climb Blue Telescopic Ladder

Meanwhile, thanks to its lightweight and smooth structure, you can easily take this ladder anywhere using only one hand. Once fully extended, this ladder can be as tall as 15.5 feet with an overall 19.5 feet reach for a normal person.

Once you’re done using it, you can easily retract it down to a size of 3 feet so you can keep it absolutely anywhere you want.

For more information about this ladder, click here.


Step Stool

Sometimes, you don’t need a big ladder. You just need something to reach the top of the cupboard or racks that are placed higher over the ground. In these cases, a step stool is a perfect ladder to use.

How Tall Step Stool Do I Need?

Step stools normally have between one to three steps. And if you’re just looking to reach high shelves, you don’t need a step stool taller than 3 steps.

Recommended Step Stool: Delxo 2-Step Step Stool

Let’s face it. You don’t always need a ladder taller than a Giraffe to accomplish certain household tasks. Sometimes, you just need something to step on in order to reach the top of the cupboard. If you’re that person, then this step stool from Delxo is the right fit for you.

Delxo 2-Step Step Stool
Delxo 2-Step Step Stool

Its entire body is made of aluminum. That’s why it’s so lightweight that you can take it anywhere you want to reach the top of something. However, thanks to its heel-to-toe foot support, this step stool is extremely stable so you can comfortably step on it without worrying about falling down.

You can check this stylish step stool on Amazon here.


Ladders are an integral part of our life. We all are going to need it at some point in our life in order to complete tasks we normally wouldn’t be able to do.

But knowing the required height of the ladder is necessary to accomplish tasks.

Evaluate what kind of work you need to get done, calculate the average height you’d need to reach for that, and where you’ll use the ladder. After carefully evaluating each of your needs and with this guide, you can easily select a perfect ladder for you.

PS: What do you need a ladder for? Let us know in the comment section.