Telescopic Ladders Review – Watch Your Fingers!

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.


Telescopic Ladders Review – 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.

Telescopic ladders are made out of aluminum (although some foreign companies started manufacturing fiberglass versions as well)

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.

Telescopic ladder review - Xtend & Climb® fully open, 12.5 feet model


My first telescopic ladder was a TELESTEPS® 1600 12-1/2-Foot 250-Pound Duty Rating Aluminum Telescoping Extension LadderTelescopic Ladders. 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.

Xtend & Climb® Type II model

Telescopic ladders review - Xtend & Climb® fully closedI 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.Telescopic Ladders) – 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).

Review of Telescopic Ladders - Locking pins on Xtend & Climb® ladderIn “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.


Telescoping ladder review - Telesteps Telescopic Combiladder fully closedTelescoping ladders review - Telesteps Telescopic Combiladder fully openA review of telescopic ladder - Combiladder as an extension ladderI wanted a compact, lightweight (Little GiantTelescopic Ladders 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 34lbsTelescopic Ladders).

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.

Important thing about TELESTEPS® telescopic COMBI LADDER

Telescopic ladder safety review - Use caution when closing the ladderif 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.

My Final thoughts about telescopic ladders

Telescoping ladder comprehensive review - Looks good in my trunk

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.

  •  Aluminum conducts electricity, so be extremely careful or avoid performing any electrical work when standing on an aluminum telescopic ladder. Like I’ve mentioned at the beginning of this review, there are some companies manufacturing fiberglass versions of telescopic ladders. The fiberglass version could potentially attract some buyers but at this moment it might not be that easy to purchase them in the US.
  • Operating (expanding and closing) aluminum telescopic ladder at low temperatures becomes difficult and it happens fast because aluminum conducts temperature very well and changes slightly its dimensions.

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.

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  1. ty miller says

    I’m a home inspector in cincy and I love my telescoping ladder. You gotta be careful on your fingers, but I always get so many comments from customers and they’re happy I’m not in there dinging up their walls. Fits nice in my trunk. Bought it from extend a step with a free bag. Good guys over there and they ship out fast 2 so I owe them a plug for that.

  2. greg clarke says

    Telescoping ladders are unsafe. mine fell apart broke ankle and sheared of tibia bone out of work for 11-16 weks

  3. TAM says

    Here is a story of a home inspector who didn’t have much luck while using a telescopic ladder during his inspection. Those ladders are convenient and I probably keep using them, but there’s always a chance that something might fail. I’ve been lucky so far with my last telesteps, but every single time I go up or down, collapsing crosses my mind –

  4. Carol says

    Re: Telescopic Ladders Review

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful honest complete informative review!!! I have been searching for someone who had had a similar experience as myself. That was only you. As I searched the internet, everyone else was raving golden reviews. Although I will admit that I looked generally and not at the specific brands involved. Once I began reading the review here, I knew that I had met another honest person experiencing the same misfortunate as myself very recently in mild weather when I dealt with my ladder.

    Now my comments and review of my purchased telescopic ladder:

    There are lots of warnings on my ladder, as should be done. The most important warning mention that I found was that this ladder was only guaranteed for ONE year! I didn’t see that when I first bought this ladder for my family. I thinking that the compact portable telescoping extension ladder concept was perfect. In my mind, if it was made in Sweden then it could be trusted. (I was later shown this belief to be incorrect.) When I happily presented the new ladder, my family thought otherwise. Each one, almost in unison, stated that they were each afraid to use it. Thus the ladder sat and was never used. We had other old fashioned models and sizes already. Since it’s failed presentation, the extension ladder was never even was moved from it’s original spot in the garage. Recently I was alone and had the opportunity to need the ladder in a small space where a step ladder would not work.

    Keeping my family’s thoughts in mind about safety, I set out to give the ladder an honest try for I believed in the concept. I went onwards to test this ladder, knowing the possibility of danger existed. I followed all of the directions perfectly from both the book provided and the warning labels, although the ladder had another idea. Luckily I was wary of each trial that I gave it. I found to setting up the extension difficult, for the ladder wanted to skip some steps. Once I succeeded mastering the full extension, I carefully tested each step by jumping on it. They tested fine until I got a bit further up. Wow those steps collapse without any warning whatsoever! I was very much prepared for the collapsing, but never expected such speed. If I hadn’t been wary, I could easily have lost some toes! I had prepared for this ladder event by wearing steel toed shoes, always holding securely elsewhere, and expecting a collapsible fall at any moment so I was ready to evacuate at the slightest notice. The ladder did listen to my thoughts for there was never any notice at all. Those steps collapsed without any pattern that I could discover.

    I gave this ladder much more than a fair chance to work for me. I’m sure more so than most would in similar circumstances. Thankfully I still have all of my toes and I really don’t want to trash this great invention. Yet I truthfully feel that using this model and brand of ladder is exactly an example of a severe disaster waiting to happen. I dearly hope that no one tries to sell one second hand. These early versions are not at all safe! (I wonder if at least this thing is recyclable for the aluminum for I don’t want anyone to ever use it for it’s original intention, a safe telescoping extending ladder. That would be a inexcusable on my part. Now I’m off to find out how to recycle or at the very least, dismantle this object before the next trash day.

    I give you permission to do as you wish with my words. I understand that I do get wordy and do not at all expect anything in return. The words are yours. I just wanted to reply my experience in the same matter of the subject that I read and fully agree.

    Thank you for the generous comment space,

    1. admin says

      Thank you Carol for your detailed report and I’m glad that nothing bad happened to you during that telescopic ladder accident. I’m still using mine ladders, and so far there was no problems. I’ve never attempted to jump on the steps… I’m afraid that this puts too much stress on interior components, and by jumping you could exceed the weight limit on the telescopic ladder joints. But, the truth is – every time I climb those ladders, I keep my hands on the outside of the assembly – never on the steps… just in case :-).

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