I’m I the only one who believes ladders are one of those things you should only buy once? When the little Giants ladders came out, they were visually appealing albeit gimmicky. They’re without doubt every home improver go to ladder perhaps because they come in the $150 to $400 range. Little Giant ladders are versatile and make for compact storage but their biggest drawback is in their bulky nature. They aren’t the fastest ladders you’ll ever set up either; and that’s why Werner’s customer base is growing. How do these brands compare? In this little giant vs Werner post, we’ll compare them and you’ll understand why carpenters and electricians would rather carry 4 ladders instead of getting the all in one Little Giant.
little giant vs Werner: How they differ
The weigh the same even though the Little Giant is almost twice the size; suggesting that the little Giant is made of lighter (and stronger) materials. The Werner has considerably slimmer steps, it won’t be as comfortable as the Little Giant. The steps on the Werner are somewhat rounded – instead of being rectangular – adding to the discomfort. The little Giant has wider steps and its comfortable and sturdy even when working indoors. However, both ladders have the same feel when you’re wearing boots with study soles like these ones (Amazon). Stepping on the Little Giant feels beet in crew socks in comparison to the Werner.
Sturdiness/durability and steadiness
The Werner is no match for the Little Giant’s joints. When using the Werner as a stepladder, you will notice that the joints play too much and it wobbles once in a while, though you’ll never topple. The Little Giant on the other hand is the sturdiest ladder you’ll set your hands on. Werner ladders have proven stable over time and I’m yet to come across a grumbled buyer but Little Giant inspires confidence. There’s literally zero wobble with it and it often feels like you’ve stepped on solid ground.
Number of pins in each joint
The little Giant ladder has 4 pins on each joint for whereas the Werner has only two. It’s evident that the Little Giant is stringer due to this. However, Little Giant ladders are designed with comfort and stability in mind but come at a premium price tag. Werner ladders are a budget pick and the manufacturer had to compromise on the materials to ensure affordability. This (amazon) is a good Little Giant clone and the only downside is in its bulky nature.
Ease of use
The 4 pins on each Little Giant’s joint make it sturdy but this means that assembling and dissembling this unit will take up twice as much time. The top pins on the Werner are easy to degrees when fooling the ladder and they’re easily secured in place when you’re setting it up. The Werner is definitely easier to use.
Extending and contracting sections
When contracting and extending sections, rungs on the Little Giant ladder are secured in place by locks. You have to be carefully when using them lest you end up with a pinched arm or finger. The Werner makes use of a spring mechanism when releasing and inserting pins. This requires considerably more effort (and shoulder strength). The Little Giant is definitely easier to use.
little giant vs Werner: Why I would go for the Little Giant any day
The Little Giant comes with two wheels at the base for easy movement and I wouldn’t compromise mobility for anything else in a ladder. Moving and relocating it is definitely easier. The Little Giant Revolution Model (amazon) has a permanent integrated leg lever variant to. It’s definitely pricier but well worth the extra bucks.
Frankly speaking both are great ladders and you won’t regret getting either. They have varying features as they were designed for different consumers. The Werner will be the Better choice if you can compromise on comfort, stability and portability. The Little Giant ladder on the other hand is stable on all surfaces but this is reflected on its price tag.
What type of ladder is a little giant?
It’s both a step ladder and a straight ladder. Release the hinge locks and rotate the pins and it becomes an extension ladder. It’s quite versatile and you can use it around obstacles and on staircases. This 300 lb. rated ladder is considerably light at 39 pounds.
The little Giant is a multi-ladder, is it stable?
A straight up aluminum ladder will be sufficient for carrying out most home improvement tasks but a multi-ladder is a better investment if you ever need to do anything else. Multi-ladders may be unstable at the joints and that isn’t something you would risk when you’re 20 feet off the ground. Little Giant ladders are the sturdiest money could buy but they’re somewhat bulky too. Multi ladders tend to have wider bases than their straight counterparts for even better stability. The Little Giant won’t let you down (pun intended)
Little Giant and Werner Ladder Safety
Most homeowners will require the use of a ladder at some point in time during their lives and so it is vitally important to understand the basic safety skills involved in using a ladder. I am going to outline them below:
Tip 1: Buy a good quality ladder. Pay the extra money to get a newer model. Buy an aluminum or fiberglass ladder that is rated to hold your weight! If the ladder says it will hold 250 lbs. don’t’ buy this ladder if you weigh 251 lbs. or more. Buy a stronger ladder and don’t take the risk.
Tip 2: Buy ladder stabilizers. This is not a gimmick! Trust me on this one. These are usually around $25-40 at your local hardware store and can be attached to the end of the ladder to stabilize the sideways motion of the ladder. Most falls take place where someone is trying to get back on the ladder from the roof and the ladder kicks out sideways. Ladder stabilizers help prevent this problem by widening the base. Also buy the rubber ladder guards that can be put on the end of the ladder stabilizer prongs. This will also prevent damaging your siding and denting your gutters.
Tip 3: Buy a ladder that has leg equalizing technology or buy the hardware and install it yourself and install it on both legs of your ladder. This will help keep your ladder straight when the ground below is at an angle.
Tip 4: Buy a ladder that is tall enough to get you easily and comfortably to whatever you are working on. If you are buying a ladder to hang your Christmas lights and the top of the highest peak is 25’ you need to buy a ladder that will get you higher than this height. You will need at least a 28’ ladder to work safely. Many accidents happen when the homeowner has to reach out to get that last Christmas light clip in. When working on a ladder your hips should NEVER go outside the frame of the ladder…EVER! You need to put the ladder down and move it over or buy a ladder that will get you the extra few feet you need. I cannot stress this enough…many accidents happen this way. One thing I always tell my employees is if you can’t reach something comfortably then you need to move the ladder or throw up a taller ladder.
Tip 5: When the surface is slick that the legs of the ladder will be placed on put a bag of tube sand at the base to prevent the feet from kicking out. This may seem like a hassle but when your ladder all of a sudden drops out from beneath you and you’re at 30’ in the air this is not a good situation to be in. Ask those who have had this happen to them.
Tip 6: When the feet of the ladder are in the grass roll the ladder feet forward so the rubber grip pads are looking at you in the face. This allows the feet to really dig into the grass and provides much better stability. Also another option is to tie a rope and stake in both feet between the house and the ladder to prevent kick back.
Tip 7: Tie off the top of your ladder to the gutter. This can be done using a rope or bungee cord. This prevent s the ladder from moving sideways at the point where the ladder meets the roof.
Tip 8: When climbing a ladder always make sure you have both hands on the ladder and at least one foot AT ALL TIMES! You should be focusing on each step as you ascend and descend a ladder. I have cleaned windows and gutters for many years and I still follow this practice. There is nothing cool about running up a ladder and then having your foot slip and be hanging upside down with a compound fractured leg to show for it. Also NEVER WALK DOWN A LADDER WITH YOUR BACK TO THE LADDER! This is like saying, “I want to die please prepare my casket.”
Tip 9: Do not try to carry too much weight up a ladder. It is far better to make too trips up the ladder than one trip that ends fatally with a pile of equipment lying on your face at the bottom of the ladder.
Tip 10: Put two ladders up if you’re working on the roof alone. Guess how stupid you feel when you accidentally knock over your ladder with the hose you hauled up to clean the gutters and now you’re stuck on the roof with no way down…
Tip 11: When carrying a ladder always look out for power lines and tree branches. Make sure you have a clear path before carrying your ladder around the house. Do you want to get fried?
Tip 12: If while climbing a ladder you have a lot of bounce in the ladder…stop and wait for the ladder to stop bouncing and then continue up. The more bounce the more likely the feet of the ladder will slip or you will slip.
Tip 13: Wear boots when climbing ladders! NOT slickster tennis shoes or penny loafers. Come on man? Seriously? Boots provide protection for your feet for one and two the heel of the boot helps prevent your foot from slipping on the ladder rung preventing a disastrous situation. I know a guy who slipped through the ladder and now he has a gnarly scar that runs from his knee cap all the way down to his ankle because they basically had to reconstruct his leg. Looking cool while cleaning your gutters is less important than having to have someone scrape your body off the pavement because your foot slipped on the rung.
Tip 14: Practice extending and lowering your ladder a few times before you actually use it. Big strong firefighters have to do this as part of their training don’t you think you should too?
Tip 15: If you are trying to raise a ladder from the ground to a vertical position and the ladder is 16’ higher you should use the foundation of the house to act as a fulcrum to raise the ladder. Having a ladder come back down and land on your head is not fun. Ask those who have done it.
Tip 16: Clean your ladder before you use it. If your ladder has been sitting outside and has dirt/grime and mildew growing on it you should clean it so you don’t slip on the rungs. Get the pressure washer out and really deep clean the ladder.
Tip 17: Treat your ladder like a friend and it will protect you. Don’t drop your ladder on the ground or slam it around. When the frame gets bent on a ladder it suffers structural damage and is not as strong as it was before. This is a bad thing which can result in injury. Any broken ladder should be replaced with a newer structurally sound ladder.
Tip 18: When moving a ladder in the raised position from one spot to another you should have your left arm carry the weight below your waist and your right arm direct it where to go. Your right arm should be right in front of your face. The ladder should be as straight up and down as possible. You should think of Fred Flintstone and shuffle your feet to keep your body directly underneath the ladder at all times.
Tip 19: Use your shin to stabilize the ladder as you gently lower the ladder down with both hands to the surface it will be sitting on. This is how many gutters are dented and siding paint ripped off. Ladders must be controlled at all times. An out of control ladder is a recipe for disaster. Not cool if your daughter comes walking around the house right as you lose control of your ladder and it hits on the dome. You need to control the ladder at all times. There should never be a time when you feel like you don’t have total control of the ladder.
Tip 20: When the ladder says, “Don’t step on this rung or go any higher than this” DON’T! I did an estimate for a gentleman who voluntarily told me how he had fallen off his stepladder and broken several things in his body and then he said to me, “You know, now I understand why they say not to step on the last rung of the ladder!” Yes now he knows, but wouldn’t it have better to just follow the manufacturer’s recommendations in the first place? Step ladders are an asset but don’t abuse them.
Tip 21: When working with step-ladders make sure that all the feet are solidly on the ground and that there is no rocking going on. When you climb onto a step ladder you should stand on the lowest rung and gently rock the ladder a little to find out if it stable or not. You don’t want to find out if the ladder is stable or not when you’re at the top….we all know how this could end up.
Tip 22: Be aware of your surroundings and keep you head on a swivel when working with ladders. Don’t have your headphones on or music blasting from the garage as you work on ladders. It may seem like you’re taking the monotony out of a boring job, but when you aren’t totally focused on what you’re doing this is always a bad thing. Just think how boring it would be lying on the ground with a herniated disk listening to your favorite song on the radio wondering if anyone will find you and when you yell for help they can’t hear you because all they can hear is Jack Johnson singing surfing tunes as you suffer on the ground.
Sometimes I cruise through neighborhoods and I see guys working on ladders and I just want to get out and lend a hand because I’m actually worried about them! If you actually apply the tips I mentioned above this will help prevent accidents from happening in a big way. I have already climbed more ladders than most people ever will in their lifetime and I have never had an accident. A lot of that is due to applying the principles detailed above. Often homeowners say to me, “I’m just glad it’s you up there instead of me!” Or, “You must be one of those adrenaline junkies who just love doing crazy things!” Let me say this…I have a beautiful wife and two beautiful children that I come home to every day and I have ZERO interest in doing things that would put me in danger. Yes the risk will always be there when working on ladders, but if you’re smart about it you can drastically reduce your chance of injury. Now let’s talk about safety while working on a roof.