I am a new homeowner, and I am looking to buy a ladder so that I can clean my gutters. There seems to be a wide price range and a lot of different features.

What should I look for in a ladder? (Or, do you have any specific recommendations?)

EDIT: If it helps, my roof is 13 feet from the ground, and the roof looks to be angled about 30 degrees.


With a roof line that low, I'd recommend a multi-position ladder because it can be used as either a step ladder or an extension ladder, making it useful for a lot of the projects that you'll probably be working on in the near future: getting on the roof, painting high up on the walls, getting up in the attic, etc. If your roof line was much higher than that, I would go with a dedicated extension ladder.

Look for one that allows stabilizer bars to be attached when it's being used as an extension ladder (if you're like me, there's a temptation to reach just a little bit further to the side than you should).

Ladders come in a range of weight ratings so make sure that you get one that will work for your weight, and allow a margin for the weight of any tools and/or supplies you might be carrying.

  • Ok. The "MT-22" on this page might fit the bill: wernerladder.com/newprods/mt.php -- But how do I tell if I can attach a stabilizer bar? – anon Oct 16 '11 at 20:03
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    Click on MT Accessories on the page you linked to -- it lists a stabilizer. – Niall C. Oct 16 '11 at 20:12
  • Ok. Thanks for the recommendation on the multi-ladder. If it weren't for your advice, I probably would have bought two separate ladders. – anon Oct 17 '11 at 2:17
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    I've got the MT-17, and it's amazing. I'm 5'3", and I can easily work on the 10' ceiling in my bedroom with it in the stepladder configuration. It's really stable and easy to adjust. The only downside is it weighs something like 45 lbs. – Doresoom Oct 18 '11 at 14:23
  • I purchased and have been using the MT-22 for a little while now. It's a solid ladder, but if anyone is getting this product, be sure to wipe off the metal shavings when you first open it. I got a splinter! – anon Oct 26 '11 at 22:32

When looking at weight ratings of ladders, keep in mind that this weight rating is to support your own weight and everything else you need to carry. If all you are doing is cleaning out the gutters, you won't have to add much to your own body weight. However, if you are doing anything a little more serious that will add even more weight (paint and tools add some weight but what really does it is something like a sheet of plywood).

  • Thank you, auujay! The ladder I am looking at has a 300lb rating, and I weigh 140. Hopefully, this should be plenty! – anon Oct 17 '11 at 2:16
  • Good tip. Plywood is non-trivial, but I've found that pushing the 8'x5.5"x7" solid wood header up to the 3rd story is what really stresses our load. A pack of shingles isn't all that light either. I have no idea how the roofer carried those up the ladder all day on his back. :) – BMitch Oct 17 '11 at 2:21
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    @BMitch: Until about 8 years ago, we used to do a lot of roofs. I'm 5'7" 145 lbs and had to mussel 90 pound bundles of Archi's up two stories on a ladder when the ladder lift broke, which was often! Now you know why I prefer to do inspections and write advice in this forum. LOL – shirlock homes Oct 17 '11 at 22:29

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