One of the first questions asked during my inspections is: “where did you get this telescopic ladder?”. So, to make my life easier and yours happier, I’ll give you my telescopic ladders review, a few words about that famous piece of equipment … actually two manufacturers and 3 telescopic ladders.
This makes them significantly lighter. 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 one of the telescopic ladders (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.
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.) – there were only two manufacturers on the market at that moment … after over 2 years of heavy traffic on that last telescopic ladder, there are 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 further 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.
I wanted a compact, lightweight (Little Giant
ladders are also great but much heavier) telescopic Step ladder, because it’s another handy device and it looks good in my trunk :-).
There weren’t that many choices on the market, the only manufacturer offering such design was “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).
I’ve been using this telescopic step ladder extensively for a few years already, and I love it! If your storage space is not limited, you can get regular step ladder for just a fraction of a cost of this one (slightly below $300.00 to over $400.00 depending on model and dealer), but if you like gadgets, or simply need one and have no storage space for a full size – this is your answer.
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.
Make sure that all safety buttons under the steps are fully open before you step on those telescopic ladders, if using only a partially extended ladder – extend bottom / thicker sections first.
Despite my initial mixed or even a little scary experience with my first telescopic ladders, I can honestly recommend purchasing one, but only if you really think that it will make your life easier. It absolutely serves its purpose and it’s worth every penny you’ll pay for it. Just make sure you get one with adequate weight rating and learn how to safely use it by reading manufacturers guidelines and recommendations.
Hover over the telescopic ladder images in vertical and horizontal sliders to see current prices on Amazon. Click any of them to see their full listing.
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