* Prices may differ from that shown
I have, over my time, owned a few ladders. Starting with the good old fashioned wooden ones that seemed to crumble if left out over night in the rain, with the only thing surviving being the thin rod of metal that was attached to the underside of each rung. Then there's the more rain proof ones that weighed more than a double decker bus full of passengers, which seemed to wobble when you got to the top of them, (the ladder not the bus).
And not forgetting the other ladders either, those step ladders that got you up to the heights that only a chair could get you to, and being about as safe to get there.
But the main things that all these ladders had in common was one thing, one thing only. I mean, they may have got you up where you wanted to, maybe washing your upstairs windows or cleaning the gutter. But when it comes to moving the ladders from one place to another, especially those longer ladders, the one thing that they have in common is that they are just so awkward and difficult to move around, with the odd bumping into things and damaging everything that gets in the way.
Luckily, over the years, the boffins that draw up the blue prints for ladders have realised that people do have to carry long ladders from one place to another and not all of those people have either a van with a roof rack nor do they have muscles the size of the van that they need to put the ladder on the top of.
So, over the time, and with lots of the old 'back to the drawing board' scenarios, (although before they invented the drawing board what did they go back to..?), the boffins came up with a way that someone could get to the gutter on their houses and then easily carry the ladder to another place without knocking into the telephone cables that attached to their homes, keeping them connected to their friends by phone and the internet, (although some people do have other means of internet connection).
One particular ladder than comes to mind, one which I have had the pleasure of using for a while now, amongst others, is the type of ladder that gets you up there whilst being able to be transported from A to B without ripping anything from its housing in the middle.
The ladder I am actually looking at right now, (as I write this) is called the Abru 10 point multi purpose ratchet ladder which, as I said, is a fold away ladder that is as safe as the proverbial house when it is extended to its full length.
* Let me explain the ladder first...
First and fore most it's a ladder; Simple as that really. Only this ladder it's one of those ladders that can be store in a shed yet can still be used to clean the upper floor windows with out you having to over stretch.
The ladder is made out of hollow aluminium, which makes it strong yet lightweight, which for a ladder is very important. The sides of the ladder are a rectangular tubing with the rungs being sort of a more rounded hollow tubing with each end being welded into the side tubing.
When you extend it to its full height you can get 3.38 metres, (3380mm or about 11 foot). Then there's the in between height, which vary depending on which one of the settings you want to use. But for example, the step ladder height is 1.65 metres (1650mm or about 5½ foot)
It looks like it's made of four sections, and it is really, if you think about it, with each section being joined by a ratchet mechanism that may look a little fragile as my financial future but they are stronger than a politicians bank balance.
It's called a 10 point ratchet ladder which means that it has ten different positions that this ladder can be used in.
It's hard to give each position a name but I'll try and describe some of the positions...
There's the standard full height for those higher windows.
Then there's the almost full ladder where the top quarter folds at an angle so that this can be used to support the ladder away from a surface.
There's the half ladder which makes it more like a step ladder.
There's a sort of step ladder with half one half that fold over, which can be used for keeping the ladder level on uneven surfaces.
Then there's the platform style which is where the end quarters on either side are angled in a way so that the central section acts like a platform above the ground with the bent ends acting like legs. This is ideal for such things as ceiling painting or those areas that are just out of reach even when you're on your tiptoes.
* So how does it actually work then..?
It uses something called a click lock system, which means that the hinges click and lock into place to support the weight on the ladder. To release the hinges you simply push the little metal clips that are on the hinges, move the ladder slightly so that the hinge lock slides, then, when the hinge lock finds the next locking section it will click into that locking position... if it's not the right position then simply push the clip once more and repeat the process... it's as simple as that really.
* Is it easy to use..?
It's a ladder; how difficult can it be to use a ladder?
Basically, you drag it out of the where ever you have put it, pull out the sections of ladder, with each one clicking into place, firmly locking as each hinge finds its connection, making the ladder longer and longer.
Then, when the ladder is at the height you want it, you can then climb up and down it as often as you want to, getting the jobs done as you go.
Then, when the jobs done, you simply pull back the little catches on the hinges, which release the locking mechanism, and you fold the ladder away ready to put it back into the cupboard, shed or where ever you store it.
* Speaking of storing away, is it easy to do that..?
As I've just mentioned, it can be folded away and slotted into a space in your shed, garage or even your house, which will keep those little thieving toe rags from taking a liking to your ladder just so they can get some quick cash without having to get themselves a proper job.... (You know who you are..???)
This ladder itself, when folded it is 90cm (900mm) in height, and looks like four mini ladders all plonked together, side by side.
But regardless of how high you have this ladder it is always going to be about 400mm wide so that you can easily climb the rungs without kicking the sides of the ladder, even if you've got feet like barges. Then there's what they call the 'stabiliser bars' that are on the top and bottom of the ladder which stick out about another 75mm on either side. These bars have solid rubber feet on each end so that they not only give the ladder a wider 'foot-print' they also give the ladder better grip on flat surfaces.
Also, for you're added safety, the entire ladder weighs in at about 11kg so that it's quite easy to carry around, and it can take a fat mans weight of 150kg before the rungs start to give in and bend under all the pork pies that the fat man has eaten.
* My opinion...
I have used a few ladders over my time, starting many moons ago with the good old fashioned wooden one that would snap in half at the slightest sneeze. Then I moved onto aluminium, those being long ladders, step ladders and several other ladders as well. And now, since using this ladder, I would never stand on one of the others ever again. (although there is another ladder that I would like to get my hands on, which I will do if this one ever lets me down, but I won't mention that one here yet).
This ladder is, without a doubt, a very useful ladder indeed, being more than your normal ladder if you thin about it.
I have had it in all positions, (easy now..!) and find that each position really does have its uses.
The full extended ladder is the most popular and I use this for window cleaning and all those higher jobs, although I do show a little caution when it comes to thing like clearing the gutters as the full height of this does fall a little short so it is a matter of stretching up a little if I want to do that.
The step ladder function is no doubt one of the most useful functions as it is not only a standard step ladder as we know it, mainly due to the fact that the ends of the ladder can be adjusted into a position so that one side can be rested on ground that is higher than the other side... if you know what I mean.
Then there's the platform system, which is ideal for high wall painting or even painting a ceiling, although you may have to buy the actual platform sections separately, as I had to, but they aren't that expensive and they really do help out as they slot nicely onto the rungs of the central two sections of the ladders making it a good firm and safe platform.
I particularly like the step ladder position, (easy now..!), but when I first had it in that position I was a little dubious when I looked at it. My first thought was that there was no cross beam to hold the two sides together, making the 'A' frame that all step ladders have the look of. And it was the lack of this cross beam that made me feel like this ladder was going to simply collapse under my weight, (and I'm not the heaviest of people before you say anything).
But once I ignored the fact that I could hurt myself I stepped onto the ladder, climbing up slowly, cautiously. This is when I realised just how sturdy this ladder was as it did not collapse under my weight, nor did it actually move at all, as I feared it would with the lack of the cross beam.
And from then on I have feared this ladder no more. Climbing up and down it in all sorts of positions.
But no matter which position I've had it in it has never made me feel unsafe whilst I'm on top of it, (again, your mind's thinking funny thoughts, and not about this ladder either. Now, let's think about the ladder).
The bottom of the ladder, and the top, in fact both top and bottom, which could turn into two bottoms, or legs, but the top, bottom, two bottoms are extended out from the width of the ladder so that they can add more support on a side ways basis, which has come in handy when I have almost over stretched to the side and felt like I was going to go over. On any other ladder I would have ended up in the rhododendrons but with this one, due to the leg supports, the ladder stayed in place until I came to my senses.
It is this stabiliser that gives me more confidence when I'm up at the top of the ladder doing what ever I'm doing.
Then there's the little rubber feet themselves that are on the ends of the stabilisers. These are firmly attached to the metal of the ladder and they make sure the ladder doesn't slip anywhere when you are on it, which makes me feel better as I don't like to find myself clinging onto the top rung for deer life as the ladder slips away from underneath me.
This ladder just goes anywhere and everywhere really, and, with the way it can be 'bent' in many ways, plus the fact that there's no bars going across connecting the sections together, like there are on step ladders, making them look like an A-frame, then this ladder can go over many things as well, especially when it's in the platform position.
I actually feel safe climbing the ladder, knowing that the rungs under my feet aren't going to snap, in fact, the rungs don't even 'give' as my big flat feet step on them, which is nice.
* What more can I say about this ladder..?
It does weigh a little bit, 11 kilos in fact, but it's lightweight compared to some ladders that I have had to cart around with me when doing a few jobs around the house.
It's safer to use than standing on a chair and more versatile than a Swiss army knife
* So how much does it cost to go up in the world then..?
To get a set of these ladders you'll have to hand over about £80 to £120 of your hard earned cash.
This may sound a lot of cash at first sight but if you think about how much a normal ladder costs, then add the cost of a step ladder, then a platform type ladder, which could consist of two step ladders, a plank of wood and a quick prayer to what ever god you think is watching over you. Then add the cost of replacing all those ladders at least once when that little hoodie toe rag has whipped off with them all because you had no place big enough to store them in, then this Abru ladder is going to work out a lot better value for money indeed.
* Would I recommend this ladder..?
Yes, I certainly would, and, at the end of the day, I'm glad that I spent my money on this one, (although, as I said, there is another ladder that I have my eyes on which is another foldable one but the way it folds away is nothing like this one... but that's another review once I get my hands on that ladder).
But as for this ladder. It is an all rounder and no matter what sort of job you have to do in and around the house, or beyond, if a ladder is needed, what ever the height, then this ladder will get you to the top of it in a safe and secure manner.