You probably don’t think about it often, but ladders are one of the most useful tools we have. Like horses and the wheel, they have helped us on our way to civilisation in ways we probably don’t realise. Like all the best ideas, the ladder is an ingeniously simple tool that allows it’s users to surmount any obstacle and so tackle any task.

For this reason they are a much sought after item for the home and the workplace, for outdoor DIY and the trades. In short, everyone needs a ladder, but ensuring that what you get is right for you is perhaps slightly more difficult. That is why it is worthwhile before any purchase to take stock of what is available on the market and assess your own needs in relation to this. The most important thing, obviously, is your own safety, which must be paramount to your needs.

The most basic variations of the ladder form are the rigid ladder and the rope ladder. The difference in these is set out in their names: the rigid ladder rises from the ground, with the weight pushed down on a solid frame which holds the mass of it’s user with it’s strength and solidity. These are very trustworthy and ubiquitous, but extremely cumbersome and not at all portable. The other variation, the rope ladder, is perhaps the opposite. Incredibly moveable and useable, the rope ladder can pack up into a very small space. This is because it is comprised of rungs set upon to pieces of rope, and for this reason is not as sturdy as it’s companion design. Unlike the solid ladder, the rope ladder is fixed to the top of an obstacle, and hold’s it’s weight from there.

The rigid ladder is the most popular and has many variations. These include the Bridge Ladder, which acts horizontally rather than vertically to create a makeshift bridge; the Extension Ladder, which to some extent removes the problems of storage and portability that the rigid ladder poses; the Folding Ladder, which can be used on a variety of locations with unstable topography; the Hook Ladder, a rigid ladder that takes some of the design of the rope ladder by attaching a hook to it’s end and thus making it even more safe; Platform Steps, which contain a small stage at their height; the Vertically Rising Ladder, which is able to scale extremely buildings in a safe and easy way..