Recently, my family and I moved to an old farm house in the country. While we all loved the location, we all knew the house would need some work. The house was built in the 1920’s and has nine foot ceilings. While I loved the space the ceilings brought to the rooms, I knew it meant we would need to get a new ladder.
When we moved we brought with us our Little Giant M22 aluminum ladder. We had originally purchased the ladder because it was classified as a multiuse ladder. Multiuse ladders are ladders which can be used as extension or stepladders, as a scaffold or on stairs. Over time we found out Little Giant M22, was easier to store than traditional ladders and useful for a variety of projects. Most of the projects we used the ladder for were at a height of seven feet or lower.
The Little Giant M22 was designed to extend to about twenty feet in height. So when it was time to paint the ceiling in our new home we thought the ladder would easily extend to the height of the ceiling. The Little Giant M22 did extend to that height and beyond but it was very difficult for us to get it set up. Unlike the commercials on television, the Little Giant M22 did not easily snap into place and it was somewhat unsteady at taller heights. In one situation, I almost smashed my fingers when a section I thought was secure came loose and crashed down to the next section.
We were getting very frustrated with the Little Giant M22 as it seemed to be taking longer to set up the ladder than it would to paint the ceiling. We expressed this frustration to some friends who offered to loan us their multiuse ladder – the Gorilla AL-13. The Gorilla AL-13 was aluminum just like our Little Giant M22 but it seemed sturdier than our ladder, especially at heights greater than seven feet. Both my husband and I used it and we noticed much less swaying and tipping than we had experienced with the Little Giant M22.
The Gorilla was complicated to set up but the instructions which came with it were easier for us to understand than those accompanying the Little Giant M22. Still, compared to a conventional ladder both took much longer to set up and secure. The Gorilla AL-13 seemed to us to be a stronger ladder than the Little Giant M22 and it did not move across the floor when we worked.
Having paid around $300 for our Little Giant M22, were surprised to discover the Gorilla AL-13 cost $100 at our local Home Depot. (The same style of ladder was available in fiberglass for $180.) Given the $200 price difference, we felt our friends had gotten the better buy with the Gorilla AL-13. In the future we will definitely check out the Gorilla brand! If you are looking for a new ladder, I would suggest you think carefully about your needs before buying a multiuse ladder. Unless you do many projects at varying heights, work with scaffolding or work around stairs, you might want to consider investing in a stepladder and a conventional ladder instead of a multiuse ladder. The cost of a stepladder plus the cost of a conventional ladder will still probably be less than a multiuse ladder. While multiuse ladders may be easier to store than conventional ladders, they are complicated to assemble and to adjust. As we learned it may take more time to set up your ladder than it does to complete the project you need the ladder for!