Best Step Stools and Ladders to Help You Reach New Heights

published Oct 25, 2012
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

After your hundredth time climbing up on a swivel chair to reach the top shelf in your closet, you’ll probably decide it’s high time to invest in a step stool or ladder. All of our top picks are not only much sturdier than a chair, but treaded steps and handrails also make them significantly safer. Whether you fold them up and stash them in a closet or choose one attractive enough to leave out on display, these stools are a step in the right direction.


We spot this wooden step stool in home tours and DIY projects all the time—and for good reason. The simple design means this workhorse will come in handy all over the house, while the unfinished wood allows it to be stained or painted however you like.

If you’re looking for a small ladder that’s more practical than pretty, you’ve met your match. This lightweight ladder weighs in at just 6 pounds, but it can hold up to 225 pounds. We’re also giving bonus points for the convenient tray that can hold a hammer or other tools.

A step above the BEKVAM stool, this 3-step ladder helps you reach the very highest shelves. It also doubles as a decorative display stand—I use mine to hold houseplants.

You can easily fold away this ladder and stash it in a hall closet, but the sophisticated green color is so stylish, you won’t have to be shy about pulling it out when guests are over.

Our Previous Lists:

  • 5 Easy-to-Store Step Stools
  • 12 Ways to Use the IKEA Bekvam Step Stool All Around the House
  • 13 Ways to Repurpose Ladders Around the House


Online reviewers agree: These ladders are as lightweight as they are sturdy. Choose the 3-step if you live in a small apartment, or opt for the 5-step if you live in a house or have high ceilings.

The mint green finish on this stool helps it blend in effortlessly with your home decor. If pastels aren’t your cup of tea, choose from orange, red, black or white color ways.

A taller version of the 2-step above, this bright orange ladder refuses to hide in the closet. If you have a modern kitchen with lots of open shelving, this pick will be put to use every day.

Handrails and 5-inch-deep, non-skid steps will save you from slipping while you’re busy hanging up the highest pieces in your gallery wall.

Perfect for apartments with tiny closets and no space to spare, this step stool folds up to a remarkable 1 3/4-inches deep.

Other Good Resources:


Wheels on the back of this step stool’s legs let you roll this mini ladder all around the house. A 300-pound load capacity makes this one of the sturdiest models on our list.

Good news for those who want to avoid sore arms from lugging a heavy ladder around during a day of chores: Reviewers report that this option is lightweight enough to carry out to the backyard or down the stairs.

Sure, $400 is a lot to spend on a step ladder, but this vibrant, graphic piece will also give your wall decor a boost.

This freestanding, high-end ladder seems to defy the forces of gravity. Leave this standout beside your bookshelf to serve as a conversation piece.

*Re-edited from a post that originally appeared 10.25.12. – KH