One of the perennial challenges of home improvement and maintenance is getting to the work. Gutter cleaning or crown molding, drywall or painting, trimming branches or replacing a window; whatever the project, you need to get yourself–and your tools–to where the work is.
The basic step ladder has been the go-to for most single-story work of this nature. They have–and still–serve many projects well. They are, however, sort of one-trick ponies. Notably, they’re a fixed height and on uneven terrain–whether that’s stairs, a porch roof, or a sloping grade outside–they can’t adjust.
Little Giant’s new Select Step stepladder, however, takes these challenges into account in their reinvention of the stepladder.This new tool adds a level of versatility and convenience I have never seen in a step ladder. Long story short, it’s awesome and I’ve used it all over the place.
Adjustable Height. The most common stepladder heights on my projects are 4 foot and 6 foot. While I often need an 8 footer, I’ve made due by…well…I’ve made due. The Select Step adjusts between a 5 foot and 8 foot ladder in 1 foot increments without sacrificing safety or stability. I can work on it just as easily at any height, though more carefully the higher I go. Simple release levers on the front and back of the unit allow the leg rails to slide such that they can telescope to the desired height. I’ve used this for everything from painting above a window to setting crown molding on a porch remodel–all with one ladder.
Independently Adjustable Legs. The front and rear legs adjust independently of one another. You can set the front lower than the back enabling you to lean the ladder flush up to a wall to get yourself and your tools right next to the work (I just did this on a drywall repair–very handy). It also enables you to work on a slope (I cleaned my second story gutters by setting the ladder on my porch roof; the roof pitched but I stood evenly and safely.) The most common example of this feature you’ll probably see is someone setting it up on stairs for painting the stairwell (which I haven’t done.)
Features. The ladder ships with what Little Giant calls their Air Deck, which is a large platform you can slot into the the top of the ladder to house a paint can and various tools. At first I thought it was a little too large, however, it grew on me and I like it. I can slot everything from screwdrivers and pliers (think ceiling fan installation) to my impact driver i the various holes and cut-outs. And its large enough that I can place a pneumatic nailer lying flat on it without much worry it’ll get knocked off.
There’s a round recess in the center of the Air Deck for paint cans–very cool. It’s even magnetized so small metal parts don’t roll around when you move the ladder. Nice. My Air Deck doesn’t like to stay in its on-board storage slot which is a slight headache, but I also got an early model of this ladder and it may be a manufacturing kink they’ve worked out by now. You can also slot the Air Deck vertically and use it as sort of a balance handle at the top of the ladder. I didn’t use this much, but I can see where it’d be ideal for someone new to ladders. Good idea.
The stance is nice and wide so whether working at 5 feet or 8 feet I feel stable. The legs are solid and there’s nothing flimsy about this ladder (it’s a Type 1 A rated for 300 pounds). It folds down quickly, easily and stores in a compact, easy-to-move package. I love this both for the shop and traveling to job sites. And since this single ladder now serves as three or more separate ladders for me, that’s a real storage bonus.
Bottom Line. Little Giant has reinvented the step ladder category, in my view, with Select Step. It costs a little more up front (about $220) than a traditional step ladder but I think its payback in versatility and convenience (not to mention an additional 8 foot stepladder I don’t need to buy, carry, and store) is well worth the investment. It’s a professional grade tool that makes all kinds of home improvement and repair easier and safer.