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Don writes: “Of all the configurable ladders out there, this ladder is the perfect fit for my tiny Baltimore rowhome.  I have the 13′ fiberglass version, which allows me access to the high area below my stairs for electrical work — a very good reason to have the fiberglass version.  I’ve also used it as an extension ladder to do things to the outside of my house.  It works as a great stepladder, which I’ve used for demo, framing, drywall, etc.  The best feature I’ve found in the stepladder is that I can straddle the top and put a foot on each top “safe” rung.  Each set of legs extends through three different positions, which gives you the capability to use it as a stair ladder, too.  It also comes with a brace that locks it into place to use as a scaffold base — assuming that you have two of them.  When I’m done with it, the legs lock together and it collapses to take up very little space.  This is a must if you live in a tiny house like I do.”

Despite Sean’s pre-disposition against these type of ladders, many readers have mentioned them to us as great for use in smaller homes where storage space is at a minimum.  Gorilla Ladder offers models in 13′ to 21′ in both fiberglass and aluminum.

Though we couldn’t find these easily available from other sources online, the company does sell the 17′ aluminum version directly from their site for $180, which should give you an idea of pricing.

Gorilla Ladders [Corporate Site]


14 Responses to A Perfect Ladder For Small Houses?

  1. Ken says:

    This looks a lot like a small version of the Little Giant ladder system.

  2. Andrew C says:

    I’ve got a similar ladder. I don’t have too many problems, but I do notice that the rungs feel narrower than a typical stepladder, and are even a strange shape compared to regular (round) extension ladders. But it still beats my old stepladder: smaller, easier to store, and reaching higher.

  3. Jake says:

    I’ve got the 13′ aluminum gorilla ladder and you’re right, for small houses, it works great. Especially if you’re only going to need it occasionally. I haven’t pinched my fingers either. I just went downstairs to check, when the ladder locks in the narrow closed position there is a big enough gap so your finger isn’t crushed. To get pinched, I think you’d have to be holding onto the joint. That isn’t necessary with the big locking buttons. Just push them in and swing the ladder to the next position. It ran just a little over $100 when we got it from Home Depot last year.

  4. Michael says:

    Don’t know why anyone wouldn’t like the ladder. Unless they paid $300 for the Little Giant. I like the fact that the ladder closes to a very little form–easier to store or transport in a small car, or takes up less space in a bigger car. It does the work of several other ladders and by using the u shaped pieces included you can take the ladder apart to create 2 A frames which can be used as a scaffold platform. The ladder is also very easy to change its configuration, the locking mechanisms slide easily. Not just for small houses. Easy to transport, easy to carry, not too heavy, very versatile. Affordable. $99 at Home Depot. And for big houses. Use this ladder for most stuff and get one of those telescoping ladders for the really high stuff.

  5. Andrew says:

    Yep, I own the 13′ fiberglass to go with my 768 sq ft house 🙂

  6. Abe says:

    I don’t know about these specifically but I have a pair of ladders (two sizes) very much like this and the little Giant but mine are made by Werner.

    The Werners are very nice pieces that are very versatile, sturdy and stable. They are readily available at Lowes and are less than $200 each. The only 2 drawbacks to the Werners is that they are conductive and they are pretty weighty.


  7. Eric Corson says:

    I guess I am officially an old fart because I hate these new multiladders as well as multi-tools. I would rather have one of each of the old fashion single use ladders (or tools) and buy them when I need ’em rather than have these James bond Gizmos. I dont have the patience for playing with these better mousetraps since I would rather instead focus on the job at hand!

  8. Andrew C is right about the rungs, they’re not very comfortable unless you’re standing where the upper and lower sections overlap, giving you a double rung. I’ve spent a lot of time with a Little Giant and that’s my only complaint.

  9. JK says:

    Abe – I have the 21′ Werner, and while it’s fairly heavy (I keep a Wener 6′ stepladder for small work still), the thing is worth it’s weight in gold, especially for an acrophobe like myself. I’ve never felt safer on a ladder. Thing is just rock-solid, no matter how it’s configured. Painted the stairway in my in-laws house, re-hung siding near the roof of the garage, etc, etc. Love the thing.

  10. JK says:

    Can’t edit, but I just read the finger-pinch entry, and he’s talking about the multi-fold ladders, not the extendable “Little Giant” style ladders as shown above.

  11. KB says:

    I have a metal version of this ladder and think it is great for those times where you need another ladder besides a stepladder or if you have to toss it in the car to fix something at a friend or neighbors. Additionally it is great for apartments and small stairwells like on my 100 year old farmhouse. Fold it to the smallest size and carry it up into the 2nd floor, use and fold back down. However, if I have the option, a regular stepladder is used first.

  12. AZSmidee says:

    I have the aluminum version ….. I was surprised that it was built strong enough to hold my 250 LB plus body… I have used it almost everyday for over a year now…got my $99 plus alot more out of it….only problem I have had….friend sprayed WD-40 on the ladder locks area instead of a smoother locking the opposite happened and the locks gummed up…….after a good cleaning and back to as it always was…………

  13. Just to clarify a misconception from the original post quoting Don – many (perphaps most?) of these ladders come with sturdy u-shaped bits for making the ladder into a scaffold. You *don’t* need two ladders to do this – the telescoping sections come off the center folding piece, and you use the center section for one a-frame ladder, and the two extension legs joined with the u-brackets for the other. Of course, then you have to come up with a osha-approved scaffolding plank 😉

    Yup, you can pinch a finger in these things, and not at the hinge. When you slide the two telescoping sections back in, the rungs come together. Not so bad on the little versions, but on some of the taller ones, its not fun due to the weight of the top section as it comes sliding down. You learn to be careful.

    These beasts _are_ heavy, but for that you get the flexibility and sturdiness discussed earlier. I don’t have to carry multiple ladders on my truck. Extension ladders are more convenient for some outside work, but generally aren’t usable indoors on finished surfaces.

    I work in the hills in California – many of the houses I work on are built into hillsides, and have crawlspaces that slope from 2′ to 10′. This ladder is great for that kind of work.

    The rungs are less comfortable to work off of than a traditional stepladder, but no more so than an extension ladder. If I use it at home wearing sneakers or dockers, its definately not comfortable, but generally I work in boots anyway, so its no big deal.

    Finally, I’ve used Gorilla, Little Giant, and Werner versions of these ladders, and to be honest I’ve noted very little practical difference between them.

  14. Ronnie says:

    Consumer Reports says that all 17′ and higher extension ladders represent a crushing risk for hands and fingers.

    Also see infoNOTmercial.com for some videos showing the various extension ladders.

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