Telescopic ladders are made out of aluminum, which makes them significantly light. Because they are telescopic / collapsible, they take up very little space in your storage, or anywhere else if you don’t have a storage area. I’ve been personally using two different brands over the last 5 years and with mixed emotions.
My first telescopic ladder was a TELESTEPS® 1600 12-1/2-Foot 250-Pound Duty Rating Aluminum Telescoping Extension Ladder. Its length was 30 inches fully closed to 12.5 feet fully extended. It weighed 23 lbs and cost around $200.00 (5 years ago), but company currently offers several models.
This first telescopic ladder lasted a year and literally felt apart, like it was designed for self destruction. It was heavily used, pretty much every single day, opened and closed several times, so I figured that it already paid for itself well.
I’ve purchased another telescopic ladder (same brand, because it was convenient to get it at my local Menards® store), and the same thing happened … actually I barely survived the last moments of my ladders life. When I came down from a roof and pulled two rings at the bottom of this ladder to collapse all sections, I heard a strange noise coming from the ladder’s interior.
After removing two plastic end caps / cushions at the base of both telescopic ladder legs, the components of the entire telescopic ladder assembly came out in small, crushed pieces … A few seconds earlier, it could have been me falling down from about 12 feet … guess it was my lucky day.
So I did some research online and decided to purchase a different brand telescopic ladder – “Xtend & Climb®” (Type II model, Weight: 25 lbs., Closed height: 2.5 ft., Open height: 12.5 ft., Width: 19 in.) – as far as I know, there are only two manufacturers on the market at this moment … it’s been already over 2 years of heavy traffic on that last telescopic ladder, and still no problems.
The main difference between both types of telescopic ladders is the type of a closing mechanism. First brand “TELESTEPS®” has two metal rings under the first, bottom step, which when pulled, causes all extended sections to collapse (you can also close each section individually).
In “Xtend & Climb®” brand telescopic ladder, every single section can be only closed individually / you can not collapse the entire ladder at once. This particular telescopic ladder brand also futures so called “No pinch closure system™” which prevents crushing your fingers if you forget to pull them out from between the steps when closing the ladder.
So if you’re in a hurry, it is a slower process than in “TELESTEPS®“, but definitely safer and less painful. Because of my previous problems with “TELESTEPS®” telescopic ladder, I did some research just to find out a little more about the manufacturer, and it’s a Swedish company … so my expectations escalated dramatically and I decided to give them a third chance.
Not that many choices on the market, the only manufacturer that so far came up with such design is “TELESTEPS®“, and the Telescopic COMBI LADDER became my only option (mine is a 10S model, TELESTEPS® telescopic COMBI LADDER combination step, extension and adjustable ladder, 8.5 feet step ladder height 12 feet extension ladder climbing height, closed dimensions – 31.1″ x 8.7″ x 24″, weight 34lbs).
Important thing I would recommended if you get this telescopic step ladder (Combi Ladder), close the sections individually or be very careful when using release-rings under the bottom steps to collapse entire ladder at once. It is a light weight aluminum, but all sections coming down at once will do a lot of damage if part of your hand is trapped between the steps. You just have to follow simple safety guidelines from the manufacturer and it should serve you for years.
TELESTEPS® locator – only one address in Canada, but they are available in local and internet stores, telescopic step ladder “COMBI LADDER” may be only available from online stores …
This article was written by Dariusz Rudnicki
I'm a retired Illinois home inspector, founder and editor of checkthishouse.com, a blog which attracts around 2 thousand readers daily and is dedicated to answering the many questions of home owners and home buyers. Connect with me on Google+ Find me on Google+ Local