Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ToolTalk Tuesday: Werner 17’ Multi-Position, Telescoping Ladder

I don’t like heights. I’m not exactly afraid of them, I just prefer to have my feet planted on terra firma. Unfortunately, This D*mn House comes with some maintenance areas where you just have to shimmy up a ladder. For the longest time, I have beaten a path to my neighbor’s door for either his 12-foot fiberglass step ladder or his really enormous aluminum extension ladder.

But last fall, I did what any self-respecting, home-owning, DIY tool freak would: I bought my own d*mn ladder.

This decision was not made easily. After all, the house is tiny, sans garage, and the storage shed is loaded. Where would I keep an extension ladder?! A trip to one of the hardware stores (I say one of them, because both Home Depot and Lowe’s carry the Werner line and I honestly don’t remember which one I first saw it at) revealed the Werner 17’ Multi-Position, Telescoping Ladder. This ladder can reach 17 feet, yet it folds down to a size that is SHORTER than me! (And almost no one and nothing is shorter than me.)

A free shipping deal from Amazon, combined with a price drop, sealed it. This baby arrived at my door for less than $126, total! It logged some time in the foyer before ultimately being moved to the basement … until last weekend. I had to reach that cupola and vent that you see in my banner – atop the carport. The six-foot step ladder doesn’t get you there. Or, at least not me. So, I decided it was time to crack the plastic on my Werner ladder.

I’ll admit that I was a little apprehensive. I’d read some reviews that had decried multi-function ladders as hard to use. The reality for me was that they were wrong. Once I determined that pushed in meant “open” and popped out meant “locked” for the circle on either side, it was good. The ladder also had two “J locks” which allow an extension at either end to slide freely to the desired height and then be secured in place. Easy peasy.

Because it is essentially two ladders connected together, you have controls for either end. It can be a step ladder. It can be an extension ladder. It can be a multi-level ladder, adjustable for stair use. Or, you can take the two ladders apart and use them as scaffold supports! It has 20 different position/height combinations in all.

Because the hallway leading into the basement is so tall, I know this ladder will be getting used there. It was also convenient to bend into a step ladder to do some work under the carport.

When the mother went to move it, she said: “Hey, that’s heavy.” And it is definitely heavier than it looks. At about 40 pounds, an errant wind gust isn’t likely to tip it over. Its load capacity rating is for 300 pounds for each side.
Because it really is two ladders melded into one, you can climb either side or, if needed, have someone else standing on the other side! Handy for many jobs.
Even so, it is not too heavy which made turning it into an extension infinitely easier than what I’m used to. But for that same reason, I did have to grit my teeth a little as I climbed past the mid-section which has just a bit of bounce to it when extended.

Pros: A sturdy, extremely versatile extension ladder that takes up no more space than a standard six-footer. Easy to change positions and fold down for storage; secure locking mechanisms.

Cons: Heavy (which is also a plus, making it less prone to tipping than standard aluminum ladders); rungs are incredibly narrow making standing for extended periods uncomfortable. (If you can get to a double step though and still reach, this isn’t the case.)

Conclusion: This is a fabulous product considering its host of features and affordable price. An A+ for versatility, B- for comfort, A for ease of use and portability, and an A- overall.

Availability: Home Depot and Lowe’s (but often online only for both stores), Amazon.com, other Werner dealers. Prices currently range from $139 to $189. Best advice – wait for a deal that involves free shipping or an online deal that lets you pick it up in-store for free.

1 comment:

Mama Martha said...

Speaking from someone who is just as short as you that is a truly amazing ladder!