Know the Right Ladder Height With the Ladder Height Chart & Calculator

Ladder Height Chart

Using a ladder with the proper height for the job is important. It can help you do the job efficiently. And at the same time, it’s safer and may prevent any untoward incidents. 

But do you know what height your ladder should be? It’s not a 1:1 ratio. A 26 ft height doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s suitable for structures up to 26 feet.

It can be confusing, especially for first time DIYers. That’s why we’re here to help you out. Let’s explore a bit on the ladder height chart so that you would be able to compute the exact height of the ladders to use.

It’s not as hard as it looks! So let’s get started.

Ladder Height Chart for Step Ladders

Different types of ladders may have different computations. Let’s start with one of the most basic ladders, the step ladder.

A common mistake of most is that they maximize the steps of the ladder. And this can be pretty dangerous and it can cause imbalance. Thus, tipping over is very likely to happen.

The safest highest step that you can stand on a step ladder is 3-4 steps from the top. Anything less than this is an invitation for accidents.

So let’s see the height chart below for step ladders.

Ladder heightMaximum reach
4 ft8 ft
6 ft10 ft
7 ft11 ft
8 ft11 ft
10 ft14 ft
12 ft16 ft
14 ft18 ft
16 ft20 ft
18 ft21 ft
26 ft23 ft

Ladder Height Chart for Extension Ladders

Extension ladders are very versatile and used for a lot of applications. But using this type of ladder requires caution since it’s not stable on its own. Hence, you have to use the right height for the job. You’re going to be several feet away from the ground. So maximizing the steps of the ladder is a sure way to land in a hospital bed.

So let’s see the height chart for extension ladders.

Factors to consider in calculating required height for a ladder for any application

In computing the required height for any job, there are also some factors to be considered. 

  • Especially for extension ladders, these ladders have an overlap. For instance, a 14 ft ladder has an overall of 1-2 inches between the base and fly section. So the maximum working height is 12-13 feet.
  • Extension ladder sizes may range from 16-40 feet. They should extend 3 feet past the edge of the surface that you’re working on. But it should not be more than 4 feet. 
  • The angle is also one aspect that you have to consider since you won’t place the ladder in an upright position.
  • The highest safe level is a few rungs from the top of the ladder.
  • You shouldn’t stand on the top few rungs.
  • If you’re using a ladder on top of the roof, you need the ladder to extend at least 3 feet from the top.
Ladder heightMaximum reach
16 ft15 ft
20 ft19 ft
25 ft23 ft
28 ft27 ft
32 ft31 ft
36 ft34 ft
40 ft37 ft
44 ft41 ft
48 ft45 ft
60 ft49 ft

So using the ladder height calculator, let’s compute what ladder height you’d need to reach a maximum of 25 feet. Let’s see again the chart: 

Ladder heightMaximum reachHeight to gutter
16 ft15 ft9 ft
20 ft19 ft9-13 ft
24 ft23 ft13-27 ft
28 ft27 ft17-21 ft

Different Types of Ladders and Their Uses

Different types of ladders ]correspond to a specific use. And ladders have their specific limitations. So it’s important to use the right ladder for the job.

We are going to list several types of ladders and their intended use:

1. Extension ladders

Extension ladders are popular and versatile too. There are different types of extension ladders. And these ladders are used for reaching higher heights.

Extension ladders consist of two sections, the base, and the fly. This makes it possible for this type of ladder to extend to a higher reach. These are also perfect for painting ceiling, fixing your roof, and are often used in industrial and warehouse settings.

 Let’s see some pros and cons.


  • Can be used for higher heights such as roofs
  • Ideal for outdoor work
  • Portable


  • Needs proper setup to be used safely
  • Can only be used by one person at a time

2. Step ladder

These ladders are a staple in everyone’s home. These are perfect for reaching out hard to access cabinets. They can also be used for cleaning windows in your homes. It consists of an A-frame structure and is available with one or two-step ladders.


  • Self-supporting and stable
  • Can be used by two people ( for two-sided step ladders )
  • Portable
  • Ideal for almost all types of surfaces


  • Have height limitations

3. Multipurpose ladders

Multipurpose ladders are a combination of 4-5 ladders in one. And this type of ladder is perfect for the seasoned DIYer


  • Can save you on the cost of buying multiple ladders
  • Versatile and can be used on almost all applications
  • Reduced storage since it replaces the need for multiple ladders


  • Higher upfront cost
Safety Tips When Working with Heights

Safety Tips When Working with Heights

Working a few feet from the ground is serious. That’s why there are several guidelines that you need to follow to not end up paying for hospital bills.

  1. Though the best brands have slip-resistant rungs, it’s still advisable to wear slip-resistant shoes. 
  2. Don’t use the ladder in extreme weather conditions.
  3. Do not overreach or extend your arms out to either side of the ladder.
  4. Maintain 3 points of contact all the time.
  5. For working near powerlines, use only fiberglass ladders. Avoid metal and aluminum ladders as they can conduct electricity.
  6. Do not overload the ladder
  7. Always face the ladder when climbing.
  8. Check the ladder first before using it. It should be free from dents, rusting, and chips. And the lock should be in place in case of an extension ladder.
  9. Don’t carry tools in our hands. A tool belt is there for a reason.

You may also like: Types of Ladders


What do you mean by a 4:1 ratio when determining the ladder height?

For every 4 feet, you need to leave 1 foot from the wall. So if you need to reach 16 feet, the ladder should be 4 feet from the wall.

What is the most important safety rule when climbing ladders?

You should maintain 3 points of contact. That’s two feet and one hand. Though for platform ladders, this isn’t that necessary.

What is the main cause of ladder accidents?

Overloading the capacity of the ladder.


To avoid any accidents, you must use the proper ladder height for the surface that you’re going to work on. Failure to do so can make accidents more inevitable. Our ladder height chart and calculator would provide you with simple guidelines and computation on what ladder height you should use.

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