What Are the Best Ladders to Use on Stairwells

Doing DIY and maintenance on the walls or ceiling of a stairwell can be tricky and dangerous if you don’t have a sturdy and well-balanced ladder. Unless you are practicing a superbly daring DIY act for America’s Got Talent, you need to get on with the task of painting that wall or hanging that frame safely.

The best type of ladder for a stairwell and landing is one with feet that are individually adjustable. Some ladders are specifically designed for use on stairs, while multi-way ladders offer versatility and practicality with different configuration options for stairwells.

best ladders to use on stairwells

If you have the means to buy a new ladder, let’s go through some of the best consumer-rated ones.

If you already have a ladder or are on a tight budget, there are a few hacks or products to secure your ladder so that you can safely reach those awkward places.

Different Types Of Ladders Best Suited For Stairwells

There are various types of ladders, but those best suited for stairwells are the adjustable, multi-way types. However, depending on the size of your stairwell and the height of the walls, you need to assess what is best for you.

If you have the opportunity to view ladders in person, it may be best for you to visit your local hardware store. That’s the best way to get an idea of the best size, function, and weight for you.

The truth is, most ladders can be used on a stairwell, within reason, of course. If your ladder doesn’t have adjustable feet, there are platforms and gadgets you can buy (or make). This will create a stable surface. 

The Nordic company, Wibe, makes amazing industrial ladders. However, the means and cost of getting one make it an unachievable goal for most of us. On the other hand, if you want some stairwell ladder eye-candy today, you got it! They have a stairwell platform ladder that has multiple leg levellers, a platform, and a tray! You can check out their stairwell platform on YouTube here.

Next, we’ll look at the different types of ladders, starting with the most ideal for stairwells. Moving through the list, you will get an idea of the best choice for your budget and needs. Plus, see the different options available to you to make the best out of your existing ladder. 

Multi-Way Ladders Ideal For Stairwells

Multi-way ladders offer an all-in-one solution by being able to transform into different types of ladders. They can be two-sided, self-supporting structures, a stepladderan extension ladder, and a trestle ladder. Different manufacturers will determine the different capabilities of their products. But adjustable multi-way ladders are generally considered the best option for stairwells.

Telescopic ladder

Typically, multi-way ladders can extend to a length of between 4 to 13 feet. But you can get much longer (and heavier) ones. Some can hold one or two people depending on their configuration options and material. They have strong hinges for folding and configuration. They are usually aluminum or fiberglass. 

Some Options

Some ladders, like this Aluminum Telescopic Ladder, Multi-Purpose Telescopic Ladder, or the Little Giant Ladder Systems 15422-801, and the Velocity M 17 range have adjustable ratchet levelers for use on multi-level surfaces like stairs, as well as wheels for easier transportation.

These ladders have good guarantees and consumer and safety ratings, making them worthwhile investments.

Another great ladder option for stairwells is the Telescoping Ladder Extension Multi-Purpose. You can use it as a 90-Degree ladder, an extension ladder, an A-frame stepladder or a staircase. Making it a useful all-purpose ladder for stairwells.

A similar staircase ladder is the Wolec 19FT Telescoping Ladder with 2 Detachable Hooks. It has fewer configuration options, is heavy, and has no wheels. These factors make it difficult to maneuver. But this ladder is a good option if you are on the strong side and have a tight budget.

The Gorilla Ladders 14-Feet Reach MPXA Multi-Position Ladder is also an excellent and versatile option.

A multi-way ladder is a convenient and economical all-rounder ladder to have if you have limited storage space. However, you might still need a platform for the ladder’s base to make it more secure when using it on a stairwell. GardenFork shows you a quick hack to make a platform, while this handy link to Pinterest shows you many other options for a staircase and ladder platform.

Other Ladders and Gadgets, And How You Can Use Them On Stairwells

Maybe you don’t have an adjustable multi-way ladder or don’t want to buy one. As it is not something you’ll use very often. There are gadgets you can buy or platforms you can make that can create stability for your ladder while using on a stairwell.

Gadgets For Modifying Ladders For Use On Stairwells

Before getting to the other ladder types, let’s look at some options for making those ladders safe on stairwells, should you choose not to make or buy a platform.

One such gadget is the Ladder-Aide Pro. It is a ladder-leveling tool that you can use safely with heavy ladders where one foot is not on a surface. The Ladder-Aide Pro can accommodate an aluminum ladder with a maximum base of 22″ wide, with a ladder foot size not exceeding 7.7″.

If your ladder is going to be in one place for an indefinite time, and you don’t want a platform or too many bits sticking in the way, you can try the LeveLok Leveler.

It’s an attachment that you put onto one leg of your ladder to accommodate the height difference between the steps of your stairwell.

Using Stepladders And Platform Ladders For Stairwells

Stepladders are the most common multi-use ladder types. They have an A-frame, self-supporting structure, meaning they don’t need to be propped up. Stepladders usually have four feet, so using them on a stairwell would require a strong, large platform for at least 2 feet to make it level.

Platform ladders are similar to stepladders, except with railings at the top and a larger surface area (platform) on which to stand. The advantage of this is that you can reach higher (depending on the size) and stand for long periods.

Since platform ladders also have four feet, they’ll require a base platform or leveler for at least two feet when using this type of ladder on a stairwell.

Using Straight Or Extension Ladders For Stairwells

Straight ladders are single ladders and look like half a stepladder. Straight ladders require anchoring at their topmost section as they are not self-supporting and are not adjustable in length. An extension ladder is like a straight ladder but has an adjustable length. The ladder comprises two or three sections you can adjust on the guided tracks.

Using a straight or extension ladder on a stairwell would require using a platform or leveler. You’ll need to ensure that both feet have enough grip or an obstruction to prevent sliding. 

Using Trestle Ladders For Stairwells

Trestle ladders are like stepladders, but with two climbable sides. This allows two people to work on the ladder close to one another. You would need a large, strong platform to support a trestle ladder, so you should be cautious if using one.


Ladders with adjustable feet are the best option for stairwells. Some multi-way ladders have adjustable feet and offer more configurations and options for working in stairwells.

If you already have a ladder, you can make or buy a base platform for your ladder to stand level. Or, alternatively, buy a ladder leveler that can be permanently attached to your ladder.

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