Tall, wide, strong and secure. That’s my first thoughts when thinking about the best ladder for cleaning gutters. If I’m going to be going up to fair heights, I want something that is going to be reliable!
Sure I want my wife to think it’s a simple manly task for me to get done, but in all honesty safety is really my main priority. I want to feel really really REALLY safe when I’m up there. Don’t you?
Of course if you’re like my partners nephew (who is a roofer), you’ll be laughing your head off at this.
“Just get up and get on with it” is his favourite saying.
I don’t know about you but I want the ladders to be secure and firm when I’m up there. Wobbling swaying and creaking ladders are going to put the fear of death into me!
I also want it to be quite wide as I may have to lean across a little bit while working and will need to make sure I still have plenty of grip.
For safety reasons, one thing I learned years ago is you always need to try and ensure you have got 3 points of contact when up a ladder.
Things to consider:
- You want your upper body to be ABOVE the gutter – OR AT VERY WORST YOUR SHOULDERS so you can see in, and work in the gutter. This means your ladders need to be long enough to reach above the gutters – this is why a ladder stay (or “stand off”) is very much needed. These attach near to the top of your ladders and force your ladders off the wall. You can even put a ladder stay leaning on the roof tiles which will get you the right sort of access needed.
- You want to have safe room for working – a ladder stay or stand-off gives the the room to manouvre normally as opposed to being pressed up against the wall in fear of moving your body.
- You don’t want the ladders to be slipping around – consider “ladders little helper” (here on Amazon) – not cheap but will stop the ladders slipping sideways, so what price can you put on safety?
- You want a really good solid strong base – the wider the better when it comes to using ladders up at gutter height. The base of the ladder needs to stay in one place. Rubber feet are usually included in good quality ladders. These help reduce chances of slips.
- Lightweight ladders always make this job that little bit easier – when you are carrying them to and back from the job, or getting down to move them then getting back up again and so on, it soon takes it out on you.
- Ladder stand off – must have
- Solid non slip feet – must have
- Tall enough to reach above the gutters – must have
- Light weight – optional
- Ladders little helper – optional but sounds like it would be very useful
- Any other safety enhancements always very welcome!
So what sort of height do we need? Surely we can’t really measure how tall our gutters are from the ground.. can we?
No, you can’t, not easily anyway. What you need to do is measure the height of the ceiling in the downstairs room, and then add this to the height of the ceiling in the upstairs room.
For most average 2 storey houses, you are looking at around 2.35 metres in height per room, so about 4.7 ,metres height total from ground to gutters (where the eaves are). So the best ladder for cleaning gutters needs to extend up and above this (and you don’t want to be standing on the top 3 rungs for safety reasons).
In simple terms, for a typical house, a “minimum” height of around 5.8 to 6 metres would be enough. I recommend you simply go bigger though and choose a triple extension ladder that will go up to as much as 8 metres. Remember, your ladder will have it’s feet away from the house for the correct angle, so it does need to be longer than you think you need.
That way you are able to cover a lot more scenarios,
Kind of makes sense.
Our top pick:
- This 6.26 metre trade 3 section extensions ladder is extremely high quality
- Rated to carry up to 23.5 stone
- Comes with FREE integrated stabilizer bar
- Is professionally tested and certified (EN 131)
- Lightweight alloy (nice!)
- Auto lock safety clamps for extra peace of mind (sweet!)
- Feature non slip ribbed rungs for easier safer climbing
- Smaller step height compared to other ladder manufacturers (this is a real good idea!)
- This ladder can also be converted into a step ladder, so you can use it for your outdoor hedge cutting jobs, or even indoor when painting etc. ! (This is a great idea that saves you buying multiple ladders)
Any other ladders suitable for gutters?
Sure, there are a good number of very similar ladders nowadays.
This TB Davies ladder set is fairly similar to the main pick above, and price wise it’s about the same as well. It’s got box sectioned metal and a wide base bar for stability. The good points are that it is very strong and doesn’t flex at all. The downside is that it is quite heavy to lift up and move around, so it becomes a chore if you are on your own. If you really want light weight then opt for the top pick above.
What is the safest angle to position your ladder?
Ladder height ratio explained.
A ratio of 4 to 1 is needed for the safest angle (or 75 degrees).
This means that if your ladder is 1 foot away from the wall at the base then it should be 4 feet up the wall. If your ladder top is 12 feet up the wall, then the ladder base should be 3 feet away from the wall, at the bottom.
As another example if your ladder top is 6 metres up the wall, divide 6 by 4 to get 1.5, that’s 1.5 metres out away from the wall at the bottom.
How else can I make the ladder stay safe?
In addition to common sense, safety headwear, the right angle and so on there are a few more things you can use, especially more so if you are on your own.
A safety strap.
A simple strap attached to one of your rungs, and then attached to the wall, perhaps via a screw screwed into the wall will help anchor the ladder. This method won’t be practical in a lot of situations though, but if the opportunity exists then why not take advantage of any suitable anchor point you can see in the wall.
An anti slip surface
An anti slip mat or even better, a ladder leveller that also incorporates anti slip surfaces. The beauty of using ladder levellers like the one below is that you can use them on a variety of uneven surfaces like steps or gardens. In fact if you use ladders regularly then ladder levelers will be part of your regular kit.
How do you use a ladder stay?
The video below shows you how a ladder stay attaches to the ladders, how to move it into position and how to lean it against a wall.
And finally we have an extensive write up on extension ladders you might want to read which can be found here.