Some of those accidents may happen because people use ladders the wrong way, but Consumer Reports just evaluated dozens of ladders and says some ladders can increase the chance of mistakes and accidents.
Testers assessed stepladders, which are light and good for jobs that aren't too high, telescoping ladders that extend for higher jobs, and multiuse ladders, which can work as both an extension and a stepladder.
Consumer Reports found the 22- to 26-foot multiuse ladders tested present serious risks for single-person use.
Testers found the added height and weight made these ladders extremely difficult--even unsafe--for one person to set up in the extension mode.
Therefore, seven multiuse ladders are judged Not Acceptable by Consumer Reports. They are Cosco model 20221-T1A. Little Giant aluminum ladders model M 22 Types 1 and 1A and model M 26 Type 1A. As well as Little Giant fiberglass ladder model M 22 Type 1A. Also, Werner ladders model MT-22 and MT-26.
Testers also found problems with six telescoping extension ladders. In tests, one telescoping ladder kicked out too easily on smooth surfaces, which means it could slide out from under you. As a result, Consumer Reports has judged Not Acceptable the Xtend amp; Climb 770.
Testers also found five other telescoping ladders pose a serious hazard when you're closing them. The ladders are labeled with instructions for slowing their descent. However, Consumer Reports says it's all too easy to not follow them, allowing the sections to drop very fast. If your hands or fingers are in the way, you could be injured.
For this reason, Consumer Reports also judged Not Acceptable the Telesteps 1205 Types 1A, 1, and 2, as well as the Telesteps 1600 Types 1A and 1.
Consumer Reports says to reach high places; a better bet is a conventional Type 1A extension ladder.
Consumer Reports did find several ladders to recommend--including ones from some of the manufacturers mentioned in this report. For the full ladders Ratings and more on ladder safety, go to www.ConsumerReports.org/ladders.