Tips for Choosing Your First Platform Ladder

Not all ladders are alike, as anyone who has struggled to choose their first ladder will tell you. They have different features, weight and load limits, and even different uses. A platform ladder is one that offers a small space on which you can set equipment and tools while using the ladder, and it can be a good option for painting, drywall repair, and other such jobs where you need to keep all that equipment nearby. When you're ready to choose your first platform ladder, note a few tips to keep in mind so you know you get the right one for your home repair jobs.

1. Note the weight limits for the platform

A platform on a platform ladder isn't always meant to hold the weight of a person but is instead meant for tools and supplies. Even if you don't plan on standing on the platform, you still want to check its weight limit. Setting down a hammer and box of screws may be fine for any platform ladder, but if you are using commercial-size buckets of paint or joint compound, bricks, or anything that is particularly heavy, you need to check the weight limit. Going over this limit with your tools and equipment can mean damaging the ladder and even causing it to topple.

2. Indoors versus outdoors

Not all ladders are meant to be used indoors and outdoors. Soft ground can allow a ladder to slide and skid when it's meant to be used indoors, and especially so when you set your tools and equipment down on the platform. Because of this added weight to your ladder, you'll want to ensure you choose one for outdoor use if needed, or opt for one with non-marking caps over the bottoms of the legs if you want something for indoor use so you protect your home's floors.

3. Consider the placement of the platform

If you will only be putting tools on the platform, you want it to be located near the top of the ladder so you can reach it more easily without bending and stretching. However, if you'll be using oversized paint buckets or larger tools, a platform that is too high up can make it more difficult to reach into that bucket or lift the tools. Note where the platform is actually located on your ladder and choose a location that is best for how you'll be using the ladder, given the job at hand.