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I have a long history of buying my darling husband DIY gifts for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries etc. To date I have bought him a power drill, a hand drill, a jigsaw (not the puzzle variety although I have bought him those as well), a heat gun, sander, a 2 piece ladder, a loft ladder and most recently a step platform. I would describe my husband as "handy" and is an electrician by trade so although its a common joke between us, although I admit I was less impressed when I received a dyson and blender!!
I bought one of these platform steps for my husband last year from Wickes, (think it was his birthday) he had been eyeing it up when we went to look at kitchens and bathrooms (when renovating). We ended up not buying a kitchen but did buy a shower cubicle, towel rail etc and so amassed some of their My wickes vouchers (now stopped). I stopped in one day sneakily and used them up on this.
Why I bought it (apart from the fact I had a voucher to spend...)
In our new home we have rather a lot of very tall hedges / trees, that need a good cut back. When trying to cut the hedges we had been balancing on normal house steps but when you have also purchased very large petrol hedge cutters that seem massive, wobbling on a tiny set of steps just feels everso slightly dodgey.
My husband also uses them when doing " man stuff" in the house when he previously used the house steps but to be honest they aren't really necessary but has made life easier. I haven't used them to decorate yet but they will definitely be used for ceilings.
You do feel a lot safer on these, as opposed to steps, the top of them have a non slip texture. You also have much more room to move around than normal steps, an area of 700 x 300 mm. They only go to the step height of 0.5meters and don't adjust at all, but do "lock" into place.
When not in use they fold down quite flat for storage and are light to carry due to being made of aluminium.
It has a score rating of 4.9 (out of 5) on the wickes website and are described as a professional Hop up Platform for painters, decorators, plasterers and plumbers.
Ours was about £39.99 but free with the vouchers, but are on the Wickes Website as a sale item and having currently 25% off (so £29.99). This price was comparable at the time with other DIY retailers.
I am used to using steps and putting my feet in a wedge position against the sides, so I do feel a bit "free" when balanced on this platform, which feels a little scary (I am a girl) but my husband is really pleased with them. So Overall I am going to score these a respectable 4 Doo Yoo Stars.
Being of very average height, I often find myself not quite tall enough to reach certain things. Lightbulbs that need changing. Tins at the very top of the cupboard (which raises the question of how they got there in the first place!) The entrance to the loft. I'm sure you get the picture.
Obviously a massive ladder is bulky and annoying to carry around, assemble, disassemble and repeat whenever you need to just be a little higher up.
Enter the hop up. The branding is Zarges, and I got this at B&Q. It feels very secure (tested by bravely jumping up and down on it a few times). That removes any fear of falling whilst doing something delicate, such as painting the ceiling of your bedroom to resemble the Cistine Chapel (an ongoing personal project of mine, which I would be loathe to see ruined by shoddy hop-up manufacture.)
Luckily, that is not the case. The hinges and legs are secure, the base upon which you stand is capable of supporting a great weight (my girlfriend and I both stood on it, to see how much weight it could withstand.) Needless to say, the Zarges hopup rose to the challenge magnificently.
Sometimes ladders are just too much. Sometimes there are situations where all you need is a small 'hop up' to reach that so close, yet so far location within the home and at work. Well this steel platform from Zarges is exactly the tool you need to achieve that additional height in a stable and reliable fashion. Whether it be for helping to paint neatly and professionally towards the top of the wall or fence, or for helping to replace light bulbs, smoke alarms or to put up shelves - this product allows you to get stuff done with greater ease and safety.
Though the Hop Up is for more temporary situations, it can be used as a permanent tool in areas where the industrial / workman-like look of thing isn't an issue. For instance, I have mine permanently set up in the garage to reach up to some tall shelving units I have in there - and that means I don't have to find a place to store the thing. Saying that, the Hop Up collapses down nicely from its erected height of 480cm (just under half a meter) as the legs fold into the main body or platform neatly to help with transportation and storage of the product. For people using this in their jobs this helps massively - it will quite happily squeeze into the corner of a white van. Because it's very light-weight (at just 4.65 Kg) and durable you can chuck the thing about a bit as well, and those suffering from a bad back won't have an issue with lifting it about.
The platform is 0.6 meters by 0.3 meters in dimension and can hold a total load of 150 Kg - though I'm sure this is lower than its true load capacity - the company will be covering its back. However it is hard to see how any more than that could fit onto the surface which is quite small. There's enough room for one person to stand comfortably which is all there really needs to be. I think one of the positives of this is the fact you do feel safe and secure aboard it (despite its size), you don't get that horrible uncertain feeling you get when at the top of a ladder - that psychological anxiousness willing you to get down and get off as soon as possible (...or is that just me).
The plastic protectors on the four feet at ground level give minimal grip, and are just as hard and rugged as the metal so would probably still scratch flooring if dragged. The horizontal reinforcements which join the legs in pairs look like little steps leading to the platform above, but I wouldn't trust the balance of the product to put my whole weight on one - it's easy enough just to step straight to the platform.
I think the general build quality is excellent. A very well put together product. The joints which collapse the legs are strong and seem like they'll last years. The whole contraption has a working man's sense about it which you feel you can rely on when completing the great mass of possible jobs this thing can provide support for. With a rough working height of nearly 2.5 meters I would trust this product with a personal guarantee of 10-20 years.
If you want a strong and supportive addition you can rely on about the house and at work, trust in this little platform to reach you. A good load capacity, non-wobbly stance, tight and compact design which folds up, and light-weight construction set at the correct working height - an all-round 5 star product which will be hard to beat.
~A low level ladder platform that works!~
This simple hop up ladder by Zarges is something that I have had experience of using for a number of tasks around the home, where it has provided a safe and easy to use platform that has enabled me to carry out various tasks that needed attention. If you are looking for a ladder system that can cope with the weight of a medium to large adult plus tools, that will allow you to work at medium to low height, this compact and easy to set up system will certainly be something that may be of use. I have found that this ladder system is made from strong yet reasonably light materials which perform well even with regular use. I am pleased to say that there has been no rusting to the metal work of the ladder as it is made of durable and smart looking aluminium making it something that you can use when working in damp weather, or where you need to use water to wash/ prepare or clean an area.
~Using the ladder~
The safety hinges on the legs of the ladder are very well made and work well to help the legs of the ladder stay put when in use due to the way they fit together when the ladder is opened up for use. I have found that when the ladder is in operation the hinges do ensure that the form of the ladder is as it should be, giving a nice solid and settled base for you to work safely from. The metal body of the hop up ladder has a lightly textured finish that makes a good safe surface to work from, as it certainly feels like there is enough grip to the surface area. There are no super shiny or slippy surfaces which may cause you to loose balance when standing on the platform and I feel that once you have stepped up on to the top of the working platform the whole thing feels strong, safe and stable.
Jobs that this product has been used for have been varied and the surfaces on which the hop up ladder has been placed have been equally as varied with it being set up on wooden flooring, carpets, tiled surfaces, block paved surfaces, lawned areas etc. In all cases the ladder system has felt safe and secure with it providing enough extra height so as to allow tasks such as decorating, hedge trimming and car washing to be carried out with success. The platform height is around half a metre from the ground which makes this a very useful ladder to have for use around the home, with the maximum weight that can be placed on to it being 150 kg. The working area of the platform is around 60 by 30cms which I feel offers enough space for a person to move around safely on the platform when it is in use.
It is easy enough to set up the ladder as it can be simply unfolded and whilst it should be reasonably easy to put away, I have most often had to have some help with that as I just seem not to have the knack of folding it all back after use (I feel this is more up to my lack of skill with it rather than any fault with the product). Once folded the ladder is smaller and more compact than when it is fully extended and is therefore easy to store or transport if wanted. The weight of this system is just under 5kgs which means it is reasonably light for this type of product and is something that can be carried from place to place without too much effort.
The small slim side steps that are set at each side of the top of the ladder offer a stable way for you to climb on to the working platform when needed, making this a good option as a general purpose ladder for work at low heights. This hop on ladder product can be used in a variety of situations as it can be placed on a variety of surfaces, where it sits with a good degree of stability. My rating for the product is a fair 4 stars as I feel that at between £35 to £40 it offers a good solution for those who are looking for this type of ladder.