Steps & Ladders - Buy cheap UK Access Equipment online

Legislation states that employers must organise and plan any task that involves working at height where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause injury. The key is to detemine the safest, most appropriate equipment for the task i.e. use glass fibre ladders or steps for electrical work. Our broad range of access equipment from stepladders, folding steps, extension ladders to combination ladders and work platforms will ensure we have the product to suit your task.

Access Equipment Categories...
Shop By Brand...

Steps and Ladders Buying Guide

Contents

Introduction

Types of steps and ladders

Working at height: What you need to know

Questions to ask before shopping for a ladder

Choosing a ladder

Ladder accessories

Ladder safety tips

General best practices when buying steps and ladder

Further information

Introduction to Steps & Ladders

Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast planning on home improvements or a contractor carrying out work for others, steps and ladders will be some of the most useful tools you use. Whatever kind of work you're carrying out, if you’re working from height, a stable ladder or steps is crucial for safety.

There are a host of types to choose from: steps allow for easy reach of objects up high without the bulk of a full-on ladder, and are also easily stored. Standard ladders are ideal for decorating or DIY tasks and extendable ladders or scaffolds are useful if you’re a contractor working for a period of time at height.

The type of ladder you choose will depend greatly on your requirements and with so much to choose from, it’s worth breaking down the types of steps and ladders available. You should take into consideration health and safety legislation if you’re working at height and consider your own weight and that of any tools you will be using.

Preparing a list of questions in advance will help you to find the correct ladders for your purpose and you can also choose from a number of time-saving and helpful add-on accessories that will make your job easier.

Shop around and protect yourself online when making a purchase, and look for retailers like Equip4Work who offer substantial guarantees and free next-day delivery on many items.

Finally, it’s worthwhile taking some time to familiarise yourself with best practices for safety when using ladders; falls from height are common, but can often be avoided by ensuring that you follow some common-sense safety guidelines. Let’s explore what you need to know when you’re in the market for ladders and steps.

Types of steps and ladders

There are many types and sizes of steps and ladders available, and it is important that you choose the right ones for the job. While the choice is vast, steps and ladders can be broken down into a number of distinct categories that can help you to narrow your search:

Step-ladders

These are your everyday household ladders. They tend to be shorter in height and are useful for reaching high cupboards and for decorating standard sized rooms. They often have wider steps for safety and are self-supporting for greater stability. You can purchase step-ladders in a variety of heights, usually up to around 8 feet. Step-ladders fold away for easy storage when not in use and come in a range of materials, including metal, timber and glass fibre, rated to support varying weights.

  • Ideal for everyday use
  • Self-supporting
  • Lightweight and easy to store

Straight ladders

These ladders are single-section so have a fixed height and are not self-supporting, meaning they need to be carefully propped against a wall when in use. Safety features such as rubber feet that don’t slip are worth looking for and they also come in outdoor and indoor varieties. They are usually constructed from light, hard-wearing materials so that they can be carried with one arm, and are ideal for general purpose use.

  • Easy to transport
  • Safety features
  • Hard-wearing for indoor or outdoor use

Extension ladders

Extension ladders are similar to straight ladders, but feature a telescopic function, meaning they can be extended to greater heights without compromising storage space. These are not self-supporting so need to be secured against a wall, but are ideal for high jobs like working on a roof, cleaning top floor windows or decorating higher rooms. Their full heights vary and require safe working; the top three rungs are not for standing on as your stability would be compromised. Modern models are very easy to extend, with a smooth, sliding mechanism, and yet will remain solidly rigid when in use.

  • Telescopic for a variety of heights
  • Mainly commercial use
  • Lock in place for safety

Mobile steps

Mobile steps are used solely in commercial environments, as their bulky construction and functions rarely suits the home. Fixed on spring-loaded casters that lock in place when a load is applied, they are ideal for industrial use where ladders will be moved around frequently. They typically come with guard rails for extra security and are usually made from high-grade, heavy-duty materials for increased stability and durability.

  • Industrial use
  • Easy to manoeuvre
  • Spring-loaded casters lock in place

Loft ladders

These are specifically for use to access lofts and attics and are generally collapsible to be fitted inside the loft door. They will be supplied with hinges or sliders that allow the ladder to fold back up into the loft when not in use. They maximise space by being stored in the loft area, and because they fold away neatly, allowing you to keep the attic door closed, they also minimise heat loss. Loft ladders are available in extendable straight ladder styles or in concertina style, and are usually manufactured in either metal or timber.

  • Fold away neatly
  • Maximise space
  • Minimise heat loss

Step stools

These are the most practical steps for everyday use in the workplace or home where just a small boost in height is required. They usually have only two to four rungs with a wide footprint for stability, and some models can be neatly folded away or nested so they only take up a minimum of storage space. These can be useful for retail stores, where some products are kept at higher levels, or in low level warehouses, office storage rooms and other areas where a higher reach is needed.

  • Practical for everyday use
  • Easy to store away
  • Wide rungs for safety

Scaffolding

Scaffolding is used primarily in commercial work, whether construction or painting. They often come with two fixed sets of ladders on each side and a varying number of platforms between them. Many scaffolds are customisable in a variety of configurations and have handrails and non-slip platforms for safety. Some of them come with wheels for mobility while others are fixed structures. You can also choose mobile access towers that have a smaller overall footprint with a higher reach.

  • Commercial outdoor use
  • Safety features for working at height
  • Usually customisable

Multi-position ladders

These ladders are customisable for a variety of uses. Using the latest technology, they can be reconfigured to act as a number of other types of ladder. Configurations include straight ladder, step ladder and sawhorse ladder, making this a fantastic choice is you have a number of regular needs. Many of the newest models come with a flared base that offers ever greater stability. While the initial outlay can be costlier, these ladders are usually more economical in the long run as they reduce the need for multiple types of ladders. They are also easy to store as they are telescopic.

  • Re-configurable for a variety of uses
  • Economic over time
  • Easy to store

Roof ladders

As the name suggests, these are designed for the sole purpose of working on roofs. They are usually extendable and have hooks at the top that will reach over the edge of the roof and secure the ladders. Some styles have weight distribution measures to prevent damage to roofs and have safety catches for added security. They are practical and safe, and ideal if you do a lot of roof work. You can also purchase roof hook kits that allow you adapt extendable ladders for this use.

  • Safe working
  • Weight distribution
  • Conversion kits available

Work platforms

Also known as sawhorse ladders, these platforms are short in height and are generally used for odd jobs or for low-level commercial tasks. They fold away into a compact size for easy storage and are sturdy, with non-slip platforms and rubber feet. They are lightweight which makes them easy to carry around and have locking hinges for extra safety. Some models come with a built-in extendable plastic tray that reaches closer to your standing height to prevent bending to pick up tools.

  • Lockable hinges for safety
  • Compact, foldaway size
  • Extra features available

Working at height: What you need to know

Falls from a height are one of the leading causes of serious injury and death in the UK. While domestic accidents of this nature can occur, they are most often work-related, with industries ranging from construction and roofingto agriculture and forestry.

Such injuries can lead to loss of life or serious injuries that result in long-term healthcare. They also contribute to absence from work and, in some cases, litigation. Legislation allows employees to make compensation claims against their employer if they can prove that their accident was caused by their employers’ negligence or carelessness.

There can also be a knock-on impact to your business if clients find out that you have been engaging in unsafe practices, so consider your reputation. In fact, there are many reasons why health and safety shouldn’t be considered an impractical burden, but instead a foundation on which you build and grow a successful company.

What is working from height?

Work at height is any work that is carried out in a place where a person could fall a distance great enough to cause personal injury if precautions are not taken. For example, if you work above ground height, could potentially fall from an edge or work close to an opening or a fragile surface, then you are working from height. Sometimes this work will be carried out on a surface such as a floor or roof of a building while at other times, it might be carried out on access equipment such as scaffolding or mobile towers.

Working from height does not cover walking up and down a staircase in the line of your work – it only governs work carried out at a height.

Who governs working from height?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) oversees implementation of The Work at Height Regulations 2005, which was brought about to prevent death and injury caused by falls from height. They outline the duty of care employers, building owners and others have in regards to their employees or people who use their premises for work and set up guidelines and procedures that should be followed.

HSE has a wealth of information online to guide employees and it’s worth visiting their website for more information. You can also contact them directly if you would like advice on carrying out risk assessments or other aspects of ensuring employees are protected when working from height.

Employees are also required by law to take reasonable care of themselves and carry out their work in such a way as to limit the chance of injury to others. They are also legally obliged to comply with an employers’ processes and procedures that are designed to ensure the employer meets their legislative requirements.

All work at height must be fully risk-assessed. It should be carried out following careful planning and with ongoing supervision and should only be undertaken by trained, competent workers. Employers must also take care to ensure that any equipment used is appropriate for the job, is regularly maintained and is repaired or replaced should it become outdated or defective.

Myths around working from height

There are a number of myths surrounding the laws around working from height. Many of these myths centre around outright bans on using ladders on construction sites or around the use of ladders (a prevalent one being that you must have two feet and one hand on the ladder at all times).

In actual fact, the law is much more flexible than this and instead gives clear guidelines on the use of ladders on sites, including the types of ladders. Workers do not need to be “qualified” to work at height, they just need to be competent. The meaning of this varies by industry but it usually involves having had some training for the work and otherwise having the skills, knowledge and experience to carry out the work – a common sense approach is valued.

How do you carry out a risk assessment?

Risk assessments, and what they need to cover, will vary by industry, so you should ensure you check HSE guidelines and seek advice. However, there is a broad assessment that should take place for all work from height.

· Do you need to work from height?

The first thing to do is to check that the work needs to be carried out a height. If it can be carried out another way, for instance by using extendable tools, then this should be your first choice.

· Can you prevent a fall?

If you must work from height, the next step is to check that you can prevent a fall from occurring. In many circumstances, falls from height are completely avoidable, for example by working in a place that is already secure and safe or using equipment designed to prevent people from falling, like harnesses, tower scaffolds or scissor lifts.

· Can you minimise the consequences of a fall?

If falls from height can’t be completely avoided, as is sometimes the case, the next measure is to implement procedures to minimise the consequences of a fall, usually by reducing the distance. This can also include installation of safety nets or air bags for soft landings.

Following these simple, common sense guidelines will usually allow you to risk assess the work you do and find practical ways to reduce the chance of injury. However, it should be reiterated that depending on the industry you work in, risk assessments that are designed to fully meet legislative standards should be carried out.

Equipment for working from height

So-called ‘access equipment’ is any piece of equipment that has been designed specifically to allow people to work safely at height. This can include ladders, scaffolds, mobile platforms, towers and more.

As an employer, it is your duty to ensure that you purchase the right equipment for the job. Helpfully, HSE has produced an online resource that can help. The Work at Height Access equipment Information Toolkit (WAIT) was developed to help employers understand the issues around working and height and help them to choose the safest access equipment for the task at hand.

However, be aware that WAIT does not cover specialist types of working, so scaffolding or rope access techniques are not covered, and neither are other specialist types of access equipment.

For those types of equipment, advice is available online:

It is your responsibility as an employer to ensure that equipment is appropriate for use. It must also be regularly maintained, with regular checks carried out to ensure it is fit for purpose. Equipment that is faulty or defective should be repaired as soon as reasonably possible and should not be used for the duration. If it is not possible to repair the equipment, it should be replaced.

You may also have some duties to ensure that certain pieces of equipment are upgraded. For instance, case law can find the equipment is outdated during the course of a trial over industrial accidents or death. Guidelines are published in these instances but it is your duty to stay up-to-date with changes to legislation and guidelines around equipment.

Questions to ask before shopping for a ladder

Some of the questions that may help you to understand your needs include:

  • What is the nature of the task at hand?
    • Ask yourself what type of use you need the equipment for – will you be using the ladders indoors or outdoors? What kind of work will you be doing? How high do you need to reach? Is it a one-off job, or something that will be undertaken regularly? This will inform the type of ladders you are looking for and the features you need in a product.
  • Is there a possibility of working around electricity or overhead power lines?
    • If you plan on working with electrical tools or near power lines, you should choose fibreglass ladders, which are non-conductive. Don’t be tempted to choose timber as these have metal hinges, which could conduct electricity and cause serious injury. Fibreglass ladders are also flameproof, and so are suitable for work in areas with high temperatures or the risk of fire or flames.
  • How much weight will be on the ladder, including tools and materials?
    • You need to be aware of not only how much you weigh, but also the weight of any additional tools or materials. Thankfully, it’s easy to gauge maximum loads for ladders as they are clearly stated in specifications and also through the labelling on the ladders themselves. Think about the total weight you will need the ladder to support, including anything you might hang off the side or place on the top step.
  • Will you be working on an insecure surface or will there be nearby obstacles?
    • Use of a straight ladder that needs to be propped up against a solid surface would be impractical for hedge-trimming, for example, and in that case, you’d need step ladders that are self-supporting. If there’s a chance of obstacles nearby, you might want to opt for the newer multi-position ladders which will allow you to configure the ladders for the place you’re working, or include stabilisers or levellers in your purchase.
  • Will you be working at a variety of heights?
    • If you’re only going to be working at specific maximum heights you can comfortably opt for straight or step ladders which have sufficient reach for the task. However, if you think you might need to work at a variety of heights during the time you own the ladders, consider extendable versions that will allow you to adapt them to your needs at different times.
  • What is the highest height you need to reach?
    • Consider the accessories you might need to purchase in order to make the job safe. For example, a roof hook kit can make the job of clearing gutters, replacing slates and other external jobs done at height much safer than without. You might also want to look at other accessories like anti-slip devices, wall brackets or bucket hooks for holding tools and materials so that your job is as safe and easy as you can make it.

Choosing a ladder

Once you’ve asked yourself what your requirements for a ladder are, you can begin to research the exact specifications you require. Choosing the right ladder for the job means finding the right combination of heights, materials, weight capacity and other features so that you stay safe and secure throughout the process.

Types of material

Ladders come in three basic material choices: aluminium, fibreglass and wood (usually, but not always timber). Choosing the right material depends on the job and also long-term requirements.

Aluminium

Aluminium ladders are non-corrosive, making them ideal for outdoor work. Naturally resistant to moisture, ladders made from this material will last for a long time, even if they’re occasionally left outside. They are also very light compared to wooden ladders, so are easier to move around from place to place, even in larger sizes. Their incredible strength means you won’t have to worry about a rung snapping or bending, unless excessive force is applied (and it would need to be very excessive; aluminium is an alloy designed for its strength above all else).

Wood

Wood is often chosen for its aesthetic qualities as it tends to fit in well with home décor and has a natural feel. Because it can be easily cut to size, wood is also an excellent material for custom ladders that are purpose-built for a specific job. However, they do require more maintenance than other materials, including treatment and staining, especially for outside use. Without this care, the wood can become brittle and crack, risking accident and injury. While there are still many reasons to choose wood, most people opt for aluminium.

Fibreglass

Fibreglass has many qualities that make them a great choice for particular types of tasks. They are even more durable than aluminium and can be left outdoors for long periods of time, as they will not rust, become brittle or otherwise start to decay. As they are non-conductive, they can also be used around power lines or when electrical tools are in use. Fibreglass is also flame resistant and so is an ideal choice when working around flames or heat. This material will not heat up like aluminium does, which makes them ideal for industrial use. However, they do tend to be more expensive to purchase than aluminium counterparts, and are significantly heavier to move around too.

Height

Getting the right length of ladder is crucial. Too long or too short and you risk losing balance, falling and injuring yourself. If the ladder extends more than three feet beyond its uppermost support point, it is too long. If you have to stand on or above the first step from the top rung of a step ladder or the third from the top of an extension ladder, it’s too short.

Make sure you choose the height carefully, particularly with a fixed-length ladder. For a good balance between ease of storage and a comfortable working height, opt for an extension ladder that will reach well beyond your maximum height. For even more flexibility, a multi-position ladder which allows for use in a variety of situations is a great all-round choice. Above all, be safe; if the ladder you own is forcing you to be in an insecure position, you need to trade up.

Load capacity

The load capacity is the maximum weight load that a ladder can bear, previously known as the ‘duty rating’, and is designed to cover both the person using the ladder and their tools and equipment. All ladders made and sold in the UK and the European Union need to be manufactured to specific standards, as well as being correctly classified and labelled for use.

Ladders are classified according to strength and durability, and are rated with a suggestion of the types of applications they are suited for. These classifications can help you to choose the right ladder for the job, as well as have an understanding of how secure and safe they will be. No ladder should be sold to you without clear classification and maximum load, so steer clear of any offers made to you without this published information.

Class III Domestic Ladders – Red badge or rubber feet

These are classified for use in DIY and home improvement. Produced in a thin aluminium and lighter and weaker than other types of ladders, they are designed solely for occasional use in the home. It is against health & safety legislation to use them commercially and doing so will usually invalidate insurance policies for accidents at work, so be careful.

  • Max. load: 125kg

EN131 Trade Ladders – Green badge or rubber feet

These ladders are classified for use by tradesmen or for regular home use. They are constructed from thicker aluminium than Class 3 ladders and this is the classification that is most popular in the UK.

  • Max. load: 150kg

Class I Industrial Ladders – Blue badge or rubber feet

Built for commercial and industrial use, these are the heaviest and strongest ladders available. They are designed for heavy site work but can be used anywhere, including in the home. Tough and durable, they also come in the biggest range of sizes and you have the option of rope operation if you choose.

  • Max. load: 175kg

Other classifications

Further to these broad classifications, there are also British Standards that apply to specific types of ladders.

BS 1129:1990 applies to timber ladders, steps and trestles.

BS 2037:1994 applies to metal and aluminium types.

These standards govern dimensions, marking and safety testing requirements that include torsion, rigidity, straightness, loading and other specifications.

Ladder accessories

  • If you need to carry tools or materials up a ladder, you should have somewhere to stow these so that you have your hands free. Hanging cargo holds or hook bucket accessories attached to the ladder to allow you safe use.
  • Some step ladders come with holes or notches along their length, allowing you to hang compatible tools or use a bungee cord to attached items like buckets.
  • Levellers come as part of some ladders while there are additional add-ons that can be purchased for those without. These allow the ladder to be used on an uneven surface terrain. Spirit levels can also be attached so that you can be sure you are working on a level.
  • Many extension ladders come equipped with serrated feet. These can be driven into the ground to secure the ladder for extra stability, although you may want to use a spirit level to check.
  • Anti-slip devices can be attached to the feet of ladders for extra stability. These are particularly useful on smooth surfaces, ensuring that the bottom of the ladder doesn’t slip away, and add extra protection.
  • Foam buffers can be used to protect walls from the upper support point of the ladder. They are easily adjustable and so can be used at a variety of heights. They can also prevent the ladder slipping.
  • Work planks are telescopic surfaces that can be connected between two sets of ladders and give you an extra workspace on which to store tools and materials, although make sure that both ladders and the plank are secure before use.

Ladder safety tips

Using a ladder properly should keep you safe and prevent injury, but in order to make sure you’re working safely, run through a short checklist before use.

Make an assessment

  • Is the ladder the right one for the job?
  • Will the job take less than 30 minutes? If not, another type of access equipment may be better.
  • Are you (or the other person using the ladder) competently trained?
  • Should you use any protective gear for added safety (such as gloves or a hard hat)?

Check stability

  • Is the ground beneath the ladder stable? Are levellers fitted if not?
  • Are there nearby obstacles or hazards that need to be removed?
  • Do the rungs of the ladder run parallel with the floor? (Use a spirit guide to check)
  • Does the ladder rest securely against a strong surface? If not, consider using a step ladder.

Inspect the ladder before use

  • Have you checked the ladder for defects?
  • Are any rungs missing or bent?
  • Are the feet in good condition, or are they worn or missing?
  • Does all of the ladder’s locking mechanism fit securely into place?

Carefully climb the ladder

  • Are you climbing up or down the ladder one rung at a time?
  • Are you moving slowly? Going too fast can cause the ladder to bounce out of position and slide.
  • Are you able to maintain three points of contact at all times? (Usually, two feet and one hand, although two feet and one knee is also practical)
  • Do you have to stretch, overreach or lean to reach your work? If so, you need to reposition the ladder.
  • Are all tools and materials secured? Carry these in a tool belt when taking them up the ladder to allow you use of your hands.

General best practices when buying steps and ladders

When buying steps or ladders you should apply the same judgement you make with any large purchase. However, following some best-practice guidelines can help. Apply your judgement, watch out for things that don’t feel right and have in mind a series of guidelines before you shop around. Follow these guidelines when buying steps and ladders and you can’t go wrong.

Choosing a supplier

It’s likely that you’ll be looking online for options, whether you choose to purchase online or visit a store. Most of us like the ease, flexibility and time that online shopping allows and it’s a great way of comparing prices and models.

However, do be careful not to just go for the simplest or cheapest option – remember that there are a number of important factors to consider when purchasing steps and ladders, no least of which is safety and compliance with legislation.

Ensure that your chosen retailer is legitimate and reputable by checking the following:

  • Does your browser give you any security warnings when you visit the site?
  • Is the retailer upfront – perhaps by offering customer reviews?
  • Does the retailer have a legitimate contact address (not a PO box number)?
  • Is there a facility to contact a sales advice team for more help?
  • Is the website professional? Look out for bad design, broken images and poor spelling or grammar
  • Do the prices seem too good to be true? If so, then they usually are, and you should look for the catch.

An easy way to check that you are on an authentic website is by using the Whois service. Check the website address and you’ll find out who the owner is, where they are based and how long the website has been functional. Retailers who hide their Whois information by remaining private should give cause for concern.

Websites can look authentic, but don’t be fooled. There are many simple ways to clone the website of an authentic retailer and either skim money or phish for credit card information, so be careful to check that you’re buying from the right place. Thankfully, modern internet browsers have many of these features built-in and should warn you if the site looks dodgy.

It’s also worth avoiding companies that look very new or that you haven’t heard of before. Making major purchases from these kinds of retailers runs the risk of the company collapsing – and that means all returns policies and guarantees will become null and void, leaving you no recourse but to purchase new ladders if the ones you bought are faulty or defective.

Also, be careful if you’re purchasing from overseas. In some countries, legislative standards are lax and at the very least, the products you buy won’t have BS kitemarks or European Safety Standards applied to them if you buy outside of the EU.

Check the reviews

Legitimate, authentic websites from well-known brands will usually be really upfront about customer feedback, good and bad. The way they look at it is that even if one product scores low, being open about this instils trust in future customers – and will drive them to products that have great feedback.

Look for averages instead of single scores – in every set of reviews, there will always be customers who give low scores or bad feedback when in fact it was they who purchased the wrong product or didn’t do their research.

Reviews can also be sources of nuggets of useful information. For instance, you might read about a customer who tried to use a product in a specific way but found that the product wasn’t quite up to that use. This information can help you to make a more informed decision on what to buy.

Above all else, customer feedback shows that a company or retailer is not afraid to engage with their customers and offers a certain amount of legitimacy and trust.

Shop around

One of the best things about online shopping is the ability to shop around and compare prices. Whether you use a price comparison site or tool or just visit a number of sites to compare, it’s always worth spending a little more time to make sure you have a variety of prices from different vendors.

Some companies will even offer price guarantees, where they promise to beat the price if you can find it cheaper elsewhere. This can mean that you get the best deal but get to buy from a preferred retailer – but always make sure you check the small print, as these offers are not always as simple and straightforward as they might seem.

If you’re shopping around and you need some help in choosing the right product for the right price, it can be worth contacting the supplier by phone. A chat with them might point you in the right direction and, if you’re canny with the advisor, you might just find that they have the authority to offer a discount for a first-time buyer or for trade. Pluck up the courage to ask!

The ability to talk to an advisor can make the difference between shelling out on an unsuitable product or making a purchase that will last. They’re usually fully trained on their products and are a great source of information and advice.

Remember when you’re buying online that there can be hidden prices that can bump up the overall cost. Make sure you check all the small print and fully read the checkout page so you know what the final balance will be. Here as some key things to watch out for:

  • VAT: Value Added Tax in the UK currently stands at 20%. That’s a fifth of the cost of the product, so always make sure that you check to see if VAT is included in the quoted price or will be added at checkout – falling foul of this has left many people paying over the odds for something they thought was a bargain.
  • Import or export tax: Buying from overseas can often result in far cheaper prices than from British retailers. However, be warned: it’s not just legislative standards that you need to be wary of. Overseas purchases can be landed with massive import/export taxes that you won’t become aware of until delivery. That cheap purchase might not look so good if there’s a heavy duty applied on delivery.
  • Delivery: Equip4Work offers free delivery on the majority of products delivered to UK addresses. However, some other retailers can apply hefty postage charges, especially for large items that need to be delivered by courier. Once again, you probably won’t see these charges until you reach the checkout page, so stay alert!
  • Express: For commercial or work-related purchases, you often need them in a hurry. Many retailers will apply an even greater fee for express delivery, so be warned. Luckily, most of the products we sell come with free next day delivery so you can get your ladders quickly with no worries about a huge fee.
  • Admin and sundries: It’s unlikely you’ll be charged an admin fee nowadays, but it’s something to watch for – especially if you’re opening up a commercial account with the retailer and are paying by invoice. Watch for “sundry” items – additional costs that you may not have been aware of if you didn’t check the small print. These can include admin charges for setting up your account.

Remember that when you’re purchasing steps and ladders, the price shouldn’t be your sole focus. Getting the right equipment for the job, which will last as long as you need and which will keep you safe may require you to shell out a bit. Don’t skimp on cost at the expense of any of these factors – you could regret it in the long run. Find a balance between cost and quality and also pay for the best quality you can afford.

It’s important to consider that you’ll also want to pay that little bit extra to ensure you get great warranties and guarantees should anything go wrong and for top-class customer sales and aftercare too.

Don’t be seduced by technology: buy what you need

The last piece of advice when considering purchasing steps or ladders is to stay focused on your requirements. Consider the information you’ve read in this Buyer’s Guide, the answers to the questions to ask and the job at hand, and only buy what you absolutely need.

It’s easy when making a new purchase to go over the top. There is a certain thrill and adrenalin rush that comes with any major purchase, but resist the temptation to give into shiny things just for the sake of it.

While technology has improved dramatically over the years and there are countless new styles of ladders out there, you don’t need something with all the bells and whistles if you only need your ladders infrequently or for a single kind of use.

For instance, the newer type of multi-position ladders might look cool, but they’re expensive. Don’t shell out on those unless you’re absolutely sure you have a need for a configurable set of ladders for a variety of uses.

Fibreglass ladders look great, coming in bright, bold colours, but unless you need flame-resistant or non-conductive materials, it’s an easy way to waste your money. Similarly, timber ladders might go well with your home décor, but are you going to take the time to treat and stain them, or will they just eventually dry out and become brittle, with rungs snapping at the most inopportune moment and potentially causing injury?

Keep a clear head; sit down with your requirements, your maximum budget and evaluate everything coolly and calmly. Look past gimmicks or useless add-ons – they might be helpful to some people, but maybe not to you.

It’s easy to get caught up in the decision-making process too – with so much on offer, you can become side-tracked, looking at every available option and poring over specifications, and meanwhile, that job you needed the ladders for still needs to be done!

Narrow down your choices in the broadest possible way. Remember:

  • Requirements/style + materials + height + weight = your ideal purchase.

Use this simple formula and the information provided in this Buying Guide to help you narrow down your choices efficiently and find the best solution to your needs.

Further information

We have plenty of options to help you find steps, ladders and accessories on our website, with full specifications and upfront pricing. However, we’d be happy to help you if you’d like more advice. Just contact Equip4Work on 08444 999 222 or email us at sales@equip4work.co.uk and our experienced, friendly team will give you all the help you need to make your decision.