How to Buy Ladders on eBay

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How to Buy Ladders on eBay

Most people wish that they were taller. While some are well over six feet in height, most people are of average height, putting a lot out of reach. Short of strapping on stilts, if one want to access something high and out of the way, one needs to pull out a ladder. Humans invented ladders as tools for reaching things located out of reach. The use of ladders dates back to at least 10,000 years ago, as evidenced by a Spanish cave painting. Most ladders generally fall into the rigid or rope category. Today, there are many different subtypes of ladders, each useful for a particular situation, whether escaping from a building or cleaning a chimney. eBay provides shoppers with a wide selection of ladders at extremely competitive prices. The number and variety of sellers on eBay increases the probability of finding the exact ladder required, whether new or used.

Searching for Ladders on eBay

There are a couple of basic ways to find ladders and other DIY products on eBay. One can also combine the two different methods. First, try viewing all ladders listed on the site by doing a keyword or keyphrase search. Type 'ladders', or a more specific request, such as '5 metre fibreglass ladder' into the search field and click on the Search button. The eBay search engine quickly returns all items that match those search queries. Ladders may show up in several different categories, depending on the type of ladder and the seller's discretion when categorising the listing.

If a specific term does not generate any results, either try again with a more general phrase, or use the eBay directory to navigate to a product group. Return to the homepage, find the link to 'all categories', and select the category that is most likely to feature the desired type of ladder. Continue to move through subcategories until arriving at the subcategory for ladders. Use category filters on the page or the keyword search function to further narrow down the selections.

It helps for a buyer to have some idea of what type of ladder he or she is looking for before beginning to browse. This just makes shopping more efficient.

Types of Ladders

It might seem simple enough to purchase a ladder; however, there are many types of ladders on the market, and each serves a slightly different purpose. One should consider how the ladder is to be used.

Escape Ladders

Any building that stands two or more storeys high should have an escape ladder available in case of a fire or other emergency. There are two kinds of escape ladders: permanent and temporary. Permanent escape ladders are affixed to the side of the building. These are at the higher end of the price range and cost money to install properly. Temporary escape ladders usually hook over a window ledge and unfold or unroll. These rope ladders are usually less expensive and can be moved from one location to the next.

Loft Ladders

One generally uses a loft ladder indoors to access an upper floor where there is no staircase. This upper level may be a true loft, mezzanine, or attic. While some lofts feature a built-in ladder, the ladder may be in disrepair, or there may be no ladder at all.

Multi-Purpose Ladders

A multi-purpose ladder, as the name suggests, can be used in many situations and usually folds into several different configurations. The user can adjust the height and position of such a ladder, use it vertically or horizontally, and even lay a scaffold across the rungs at either end. Multi-purpose ladders are also useful on staircases when accessing a high window or light fixture. There are many different multi-purpose ladders, so a buyer should always check the ladder's features to be sure that it suits his or her needs.

Regular Ladders

Regular ladders are what most people probably imagine when discussing ladders: two long rails with evenly spaced horizontal rungs or crosspieces for stepping. These ladders are flat and may be a fixed length or extendable. A regular ladder is usually propped up against a wall or the side of a building. It is ideal to have a spotter present to steady the ladder and provide assistance.

Roof Ladders

There are a couple of different types of roof ladders. The term 'roof ladder' may apply to any ladder that one uses to access a rooftop. This may include regular and caged ladders amongst others. More specifically, a roof ladder (also known as a cat ladder) refers to a ladder that is hooked over the peak of a roof and lies flat against the roof itself. This ladder allows workers to safely climb along the roof without slipping.

Step Ladders

Unlike regular ladders, step ladders are freestanding units that can be moved around as needed. While it is not necessary to have a spotter while using a step ladder, it is always a good idea to have another person nearby when working at a height. Many step ladders are hinged and fold flat for convenient storage. When unfolded, such ladders form an 'A' shape, although some are permanently extended and come on wheels so that they can be rolled around as needed. One might see this type of ladder in a library or warehouse.

Step Stools

While most step stools feature just one or two steps and are not ladders per se, some step stools do look much like very short step ladders. These are ideal for indoor use but can also come in handy for outdoor use, depending on the task at hand. One might use a step stool to water hanging plants, change light bulbs, and perform other such chores.

Ladder Materials

The earliest ladders were likely made from either wood, plant fibres, such as in rope, or a combination of the two. Today, buyers have a few different choices of ladder materials, each having particular benefits.

Aluminium Ladders

An aluminium ladder is strong yet lightweight, making it easy to manoeuvre; however, aluminium is not necessarily lighter than a comparable steel ladder. Aluminium does not corrode, however, it can be expensive. Still, an aluminium ladder is extremely durable and does last for years.

Fibre Glass Ladders

A fibre glass ladder is essential in industrial situations where electrical contact is a possibility. Also known as electricians' ladders, this type of ladder features aluminium treads and stays but it is framed by vertical fibreglass stiles to reduce conductivity. Some of these ladders are rated to withstand a particular voltage.

Plastic Ladders

Super strong plastic ladders are available for light-duty use. These ladders are lightweight and generally inexpensive. Plastic does not corrode, although plastic can eventually crack. Be extra vigilant to inspect plastic ladders regularly.

Steel Ladders

The strongest steel ladders are ideal for heavy-duty use and outdoor conditions. Most steel ladders are made of galvanised or stainless steel. Galvanising steel consists of coating the steel with zinc. The zinc coating provides resistance to rust. Stainless steel is also rust-resistant.

Other Factors to Consider

Although the main factors in choosing a ladder are the type and material, one should also consider the height and any accessories required.

Ladder Height

When determining the ideal height for a ladder, remember to consider the approximate height of the shortest person who needs to use the ladder. The combination of ladder height plus the height of the user equals the maximum reach. However, keep in mind that the person's full height should not be added to the ladder height, because a person standing at the highest safe rung, or step, is going to be about half a metre below the top of the ladder. For example, a person who stands 2 metres tall and stands on a 3-metre ladder has a maximum reach of about 4.5 metres. The following chart provides a quick glance at maximum reaches for various ladder heights.

Ladder Height

Average Maximum Reach

1.2 metres

2.4 metres

1.8 metres

3.0 metres

2.4 metres

3.6 metres

3.0 metres

4.2 metres

3.6 metres

4.8 metres

4.2 metres

5.4 metres

4.8 metres

6.0 metres

Most people stand between 1.5 and 2 metres tall. The arm's reach should not be calculated, because it generally is not safe to extend one's arms overhead when standing on a ladder, as it is quite easy to lose one's balance in this position.

Ladder Accessories

One can purchase ladder accessories such as hooks, braces, and levellers to use with certain types of ladders. These do not necessarily need to be purchased at the same time as the ladder itself; however, some ladders may come bundled with these accessories, and it helps to buy everything at once in order to reduce shipping costs.

Buying Ladders on eBay

Now that you have made a decision on what you want to buy, it is time to research potential items and their sellers. Gather as much information as possible by clicking on an item's photo or title. This takes you to the product page. Here, you can read the full product description, including shipping methods and return policies, and check out basic seller statistics. To get more information on the seller, click on the username, which is linked to a personal eBay user profile.

Choosing the Seller

Depending on the exact type of item you seek, you may have your choice of many different sellers. You should consider more than just the lowest price. When viewing the seller's profile page, pay attention to the percentage of positive feedback. This tells you how likely you are to have a positive experience when dealing with this particular seller. You can also read comments left by other eBay users regarding this seller's level of customer service. The seller's profile page lists scores in specific service categories.

eBay Shops

Some professional eBay sellers run eBay Shops. If you find a seller whom you trust, you can save that shop as a favourite and return to it later. A seller who deals in ladders may offer replacement steps, accessories, or other related items that may be of use to you. Anyone who runs a eBay shop generally has a good track record on eBay.


Ladders are useful tools for accessing out-of-the-way items and places, whether up or down. There are several things to consider when purchasing a ladder. First, one must determine what the ladder is to be used for. Ladders range from short step stools and step ladders to extremely long telescoping ladders. Next, one should consider the material. Only fibreglass ladders are safe for electricians and other people working in situations that involve contact with electricity. Both aluminium and steel are strong; but only aluminium is rust-resistant unless the steel is galvanised or stainless steel. Plastic is another option.

One should also consider the height of the ladder. One that is too tall is unwieldy and impractical for indoor use. A ladder that is too short is dangerous and a waste of money. Most importantly, when purchasing a ladder, safety should be foremost in one's mind. When one steps onto a ladder, one is trusting the equipment with his or her life. Be sure to get a quality ladder, and inspect it regularly for signs of wear or damage.

For ladders of every type and length, consider starting your search for a new or used ladder on eBay, where the site's easy to use search platform makes looking for the right ladder very straightforward.

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