Tools & Equipment

The UK’s Best Tripod Garden Ladders For Stability At Height

tripod ladders sat against an orchard tree

Whether you are a hobbyist gardener or a weekend handyman, all too often you need to work at a height. A tripod ladder allows you to attain height while maintaining great stability. In addition, many tripod ladders have safety features and are highly adjustable.

Whether you are a hobbyist gardener or a weekend handyman, all too often you need to work at a height. A tripod ladder allows you to attain height while maintaining great stability. In addition, many tripod ladders have safety features and are highly adjustable.

About Tripod Ladders

A tripod ladder is a very useful piece of equipment for the enthusiast gardener and also for the aspiring handyman. This type of ladder sets you up to prune tall bushes and also pick fruit, yet it also enables you to do chores such as paint a shed or garage all the way up or unclog roof rain gutters.

Unlike conventional folding ‘A’ stepladders, folding tripod ladders do not have symmetrical halves with two legs or two rails each, front and back. The front part comprises of a regulation stepladder with two legs or rails but at the rear is a single but solid pole. This three-leg principle means that all three feet of a tripod ladder are in firm contact with the ground, even on sloping surfaces. To seal the deal, on most tripod ladders the rear leg’s length is adjustable which means that it is ideal for uneven ground, as is found in many a country garden.

Tripod ladders with a single pole-like far leg have an unexpected benefit. If you need to prune a very tall hedge, this pole-like leg can be pushed part-way into the hedge thus allowing you to ‘get up close and personal’ with the hedge for easy and precise pruning.

Safety and Security

Although tripod ladders have a platform on top, it would be a mistake to conclude that it is meant for standing on. Only practised professionals should stand on the top platform. While the tripod ladder itself may well be perfectly stable, it is quite difficult, not to mention risky, for most DIYers to stand on the platform because you’re up there with nothing to hold on to, or even lean against or brace yourself against. It is also tricky to climb up on the platform because you cannot hold on to anything while doing so.

The correct and safe ‘working height’ is on the third rung or the second rung from the top, not including the top platform. This way the lower part of your body is in contact with the ladder, greatly improving your balance and stability. In fact, high-end models incorporate a broad and deep standing platform at about the third rung. Such a design automatically ‘clues in’ a newbie as to where he/she should stand. Moreover, such a design both promotes a feeling of security and provides actual security.

Our #1 Top Pick
Tripod Garden Ladders with Built-in Platform by Henchman 8' - (2.4m) All 3 Legs Fully Adjustable....
Value Pick
Estate to Garden Tripod Ladder Aluminium Arborist, 1 leg Adjustable 2.4m and 3m available (1.8m)
Also Consider...
Hendon Standard Tripod Ladder GMF300, 3.0m (9.8ft), 10 Tread, Aluminium Lightweight Frame, 1 x...
Material
Aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium
Frame Height
2.4M
1.8M
3.6M
Max Capacity
100Kg
Unknown
100Kg
Weight
8Kg
6Kg
10.5Kg
Price
£349.00
Price not available
Price not available
Our #1 Top Pick
Tripod Garden Ladders with Built-in Platform by Henchman 8' - (2.4m) All 3 Legs Fully Adjustable....
Material
Aluminium
Frame Height
2.4M
Max Capacity
100Kg
Weight
8Kg
Price
£349.00
Value Pick
Estate to Garden Tripod Ladder Aluminium Arborist, 1 leg Adjustable 2.4m and 3m available (1.8m)
Material
Aluminium
Frame Height
1.8M
Max Capacity
Unknown
Weight
6Kg
Price
Price not available
Also Consider...
Hendon Standard Tripod Ladder GMF300, 3.0m (9.8ft), 10 Tread, Aluminium Lightweight Frame, 1 x...
Material
Aluminium
Frame Height
3.6M
Max Capacity
100Kg
Weight
10.5Kg
Price
Price not available

Last update on 2020-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images / Pricing from Amazon Product Advertising API

Underneath we review and recommend a high-end choice, another high-height choice, two sharp budget options, and a variant: a premium ‘A’ stepladder.

Best Pick: Henchman Garden Ladders With Built-In Platform

Henchmans kit is a premium product with great design features, such as adjustability of all three legs, but also showing sturdiness and stability.

Henchman’s high-end tripod ladder is 2.4 metres high. It is also available in 3 metres.

This premium product is made of fully-welded high-grade aluminium and is rated at EN131 Class 3 (Domestic). It boasts an array of impressive features.

To begin with, unlike most tripod ladders, all three legs on this one are fully adjustable up to 46 centimetres, making it the best choice for working on seriously uneven ground. On top of that the feet are broad and have ‘claws’ to maintain a firm grip on all types of surfaces. However, for interior use you can buy rubber shoes so as not to scratch and scrape flooring.

Confirming its excellent design, this tripod ladder incorporates a wide and deep standing platform at what would otherwise have been the third (from top) rung of the ladder. This platform is 1.5 metres up the ladder and is 18 centimetres deep. A shoulder-height guard-rail can be grasped or leaned against, enhancing security.

All this adds up to, as the sales material says, ‘a remarkable comfortable, safe and secure stance from which to work on,’ and it is truly so. This one’s so stable and sturdy that if some overly-mischievous tyke gives you a jostle, the only result will be egg on the kid’s face!

The build quality of this durable ladder is quite excellent. It is rated to a maximum working load of 100 kilogrammes, which goes up to 150 kilogrammes on the Professional version. A ladder of this size at a mere 8 kilogrammes feels unexpectedly light. It is easy to carry and also easy to manoeuvre. It folds to a profile of only 30 centimetres.

If you buy Henchman’s 2.4-metre platform tripod ladder, take good care of it because all your neighbours will want to borrow it!

For a 2.4-metre ladder, it may be rather costly but in view of its overall excellence, this top-quality tripod ladder is our Best Pick, and well deserved at that.

Henchman provides a 3-year warranty.

Pros

  • Multiple smart design features, like depth of platform and guard-rail, that enhance safety.
  • Inherently a very stable and sturdy ladder.
  • Strong and durable ladder shows excellent build quality.

Cons

  • Quite costly.
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Value Pick: Estate To Garden Aluminium Tripod Ladder

A very good tripod ladder, Estate to Gardens kit has solid build quality, is stable, has slanting handrails, and more, all at a bargain price.

Estate To Garden makes garden tripod ladders in heights of 1.8, 2.4, 3.0, and 3.6 metres.  These ladders are made of fully-welded high-grade aluminium.

The 1.8-metre model is reviewed here.  It has with 5 rungs plus top platform and is 90 centimetres wide at the base. The rungs comprise of dual narrow rods instead of a single broad step. 

The feet, ‘wide and clawed,’ have downturned corners with which to ‘grab’ the ground. They provide a firm grip all types of surfaces, including concrete, except for really smooth-finished ones. 

The rear leg is adjustable.

A detachable chain links the third rung, about midway on the ladder, to the far leg for enhanced stability. And this tripod ladder is very stable; this attribute is one of its key strengths. A pair of slanting rails link the two front legs to the rear of the platform; these are very handy to grasp if you happen to need support. In addition, there is a horizontal rail at the top platform against which you can lean. 

Estate To Garden’s tripod ladder manifests quite impressive build quality. It is rated to support 100 kilogrammes. It is also very portable and easy to move around, even one-handed courtesy of its very light weight of only 6 kilogrammes, and folds flat to a very narrow profile. It is advertised as being resistant to rust and corrosion.

This is truly a very good tripod ladder nailing a B or B+ on every criterion, and at its eye-catchingly low price it is a real bargain, just nicking the Hendon Platform 1.8-Metre Tripod Ladder, reviewed below, as our Value Pick.

Estate To Garden provides a full refund if the item is returned within 14 days of delivery.

Pros

  • Dual slanting rails near the top are handy, and helpful to grasp when you need support.
  • For a ladder that supports 100 kilos, it is featherlight.
  • In view of its stability and overall solid quality, at its price this kit’s a real bargain.

Cons

  • Does not have an intermediate standing platform.
  • Feet are not suitable for smooth surfaces.
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Hendon 3M Standard Tripod Ladder

Bare-bones in design but very high and sturdy, for its 3-metre height Hendons tripod ladder is lightweight and for its quality its a value buy.

Hendon’s tripod ladder is 3 metres (10 feet) high and has 10 rungs including the top rung (which does not qualify as a platform per se). It is made of fully-welded aluminium and is rated to BSI EN131 Class 3 (Domestic). This company, which prefers Imperial units of measure, makes its standard tripod ladder in quite a range of heights: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 feet.

Sloping, uneven ground will pose no problems for Hendon’s ladder as the telescopic far leg is adjustable both in length and also in angle, resulting in firm contact with the ground. A convenient clip-on chain connects this leg with the third rung in front. 

The rungs comprise of dual narrow rods instead of a single broad step. However, the clawed feet securely grip ground of all kinds, making the ladder safe and stable. For use on flat and secure surfaces which could be damaged by clawed feet, say wooden decking, Hendon sells a three-pack of rubber caps.

Designed on a less-is-more outlook, Hendon’s standard tripod ladder lacks a platform, be it a top or intermediate platform, though the top rung is flat and measures about 35 x 20 centimetres. It is a very high, sturdy and stable ladder which promotes a feeling of security. Indeed, stability is this tripod ladder’s most notable attribute. It combines a minimalist, simple design with a big 10 feet of height and excellent build quality.

For a 3-metre tripod ladder, it is fairly lightweight at 10.5 kilogrammes, and is also quite economical. It has a 100-kilogramme load capacity. It folds very flat.

Hendon provides an open-ended warranty “against defect – guaranteeing that the Goods will be free from defects in material and workmanship and fit for purpose,” with a replacement guarantee.

Pros

  • Simple in design but very stable and sturdy.
  • Very good build quality yet also relatively lightweight for its height.
  • Quite high at 10 feet, and if that’s not quite right there are three higher sizes (and also three smaller ones).

Cons

  • Simplicity of design means fewer helpful features for security
  • Lacks a platform worth the name.
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Hendon Platform 1.8-Metre Tripod Ladder

A real steal, Hendons tripod ladder is low in price yet up there’ in safety features like deep standing platform, upper handrail, and guard chain.

Hendon’s 1.8-metre (6-foot) platform tripod ladder has excellent design features and is a very strong competitor to our Value Pick, being quite inexpensive. This company, which prefers Imperial units of measure, makes its platform tripod ladders in heights of 6, 8, 10, and 12 feet. They are made from fully-welded aluminium alloy extrusions. They are tested to BS EN 131.

This compact 1.8-metre kit has three rungs including the platform plus a ledge-like top rung on which tools, equipment, and such can be placed. The rungs comprise of dual narrow rods instead of a single broad step.  

The telescopic rear leg’s length is highly adjustable. All three feet are clawed to provide a secure grip on most types of ground but they are not quite as effective and ‘grippy’ than those on some other tripod ladders. For use on smooth, finished surfaces that could be scratched by the ‘claws,’ rubber overshoes are available separately.

That said, the chief attraction of this tripod ladder (and this range of ladders) is the deep and secure intermediate standing platform. On this 1.8 metre ladder the 17.5-centimetre deep platform is at a height of 87 centimetres. Improving security is a handrail right at the top which you can grasp or lean against. Topping off this tripod ladder’s ‘Safety First’ design is a detachable chain that connects the second rung to the rear leg. This kit even comes with a little leaflet with safety guidelines and do’s and dont’s.

It was touch-and-go between this first-rate tripod ladder and the Estate To Garden kit for our Value Pick spot.

This six-foot tripod ladder has a 100-kilogramme load capacity.

Hendon provides an open-ended warranty “against defect – guaranteeing that the Goods will be free from defects in material and workmanship and fit for purpose,” with a replacement guarantee.

Pros

  • The deep and secure standing platform enhances safety.
  • Additional safety features include a well-positioned handrail and detachable connecting chain.
  • Attractively low price makes this splendid kit a superb value for money.

Cons

  • The unnecessarily narrow top platform is basically only a ledge.
  • The clawed feet do not grip ground quite as well as those on a few other ladders.
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Henchman HIS6 Major Hi-Steps

A top-class A’ stepladder, Henchmans Major combines premium features, including unique ones like auto-pivot feet, with robustness and durability.

For those persons who do not care for tripod ladders and prefer a conventional folding ‘A’ stepladder, Henchman makes a premium version, its ‘Major’ model. It has an aluminium framework but the legs are made of steel, making the ladder that much more rigid and strong. 

On this top-of-the-line ladder, each leg is individually adjustable up to 60 centimetres in increments of a mere 2.5 centimetres. The large textured feet with treads swivel and pivot by themselves so as to maximise contact with sloping ground.

This stepladder has a proper, honest-to-goodness platform that measures 60 centimetres square. A waist-high (as from the standing platform) guard rail in front and a detachable clip-on belt at the back fully enclose you for maximum security and afford you protection when you lean in any direction. This smart design ensures that you stay within the footprint of the ladder.

The platform’s height can be varied from 1.8 metres to 2.4 metres by adjusting the retracting legs. 

Moreover, an optional extender can add 0.9 metres to the height.

Assembling this ladder is a straightforward task though it requires some time and trouble.

Henchman supplies easy-to-follow assembly instructions. 

For such a big ladder it folds to a very slim profile. It is exceptionally well made and is tough and durable. It supports up to 150 kilogrammes, and weighs 29 kilos so this one’s not so easy to lug around.

There is just no fault to find in such a top-quality item. It is really heavy, but, then the legs are made of steel. And, yes, it is very expensive but that’s the premium price to pay for premium quality.

Henchman provides a 3-year warranty.

Pros

  • Just about the best standing platform, and height-adjustable at that.
  • Individually adjusting legs and auto-pivoting feet.
  • A strong and durable product of admirable build quality.

Cons

  • Up there in pound sterling means it is heavy on the pocket.
  • Also up there in pound weightage means it is heavy on the arms.
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Are Tripod Ladders Safe?

Tripod ladders are about as safe as any specialised equipment that, when used properly is safe to use, but when used carelessly or improperly can result in injury. 

In fact, tripod ladders are considered to be safer than more commonplace ‘A’ stepladders for two reasons. First, when the respective heights and footprints of the two types of ladders are more or less equal, the ‘A’ stepladder is more prone to tipping over on either side because of inherent wobble and especially if the ground is uneven which will cause one of the four feet to find itself in thin air. In contrast, the tripod ladder is less likely to tip over because, scientifically, three legs will always rest in contact even on sloping ground thereby reducing wobble and increasing stability. 

However, it gets better. The second reason is that, unlike ‘A’ stepladders, in tripod ladders the length of the far leg, the support leg, is adjustable, as is its angle. This adjustability means that no matter what the lay of the land, you can position a tripod ladder (by rotating it on its vertical axis) and adjust the length of the far leg such that all three feet make full and firm contact with the ground. 

Topping off the safety question, high-end tripod ladders come with safety features that improve security and enhance confidence. Here are a few examples. At around the position of what would be the third rung from the top you’ll find a broad and wide platform that provides a very secure place to stand – with room to even shift your feet. At around lower-chest height there is a protective rail. 

Not only does it protect you from a dangerous tumble, you can lean against it or brace yourself against it. Finally, most tripod ladders are equipped with ‘clawed’ feet that have downturned tips to grip the ground to eliminate or at least minimise any slippage or movement.

What Height Tripod Ladders Do You Need?

This is one of those questions that falls in the category of ‘If you ask the right question…’ 

However, even if you do, the ‘right answer’ may be evasive. The beginner might be tempted to think that the tripod ladder you need is one that will enable you to reach to the height you need to work at if you tot up the height of the ladder and the mileage up to around your shoulders. But that would be an error. Here’s how to calculate the height of the tripod ladder you need.

First, determine the height that you need to work at. Next, know the length from your feet to your shoulders, and subtract it from the height you need to work at. The length you are left with (the difference) is the height you need of the tripod ladder as measured from the bottom to the third rung from the top, no more than the second one. This is because you do not stand on the top platform as you have nothing to lean against, nothing to brace yourself against, and nothing to hold. Doing so is too unstable and too dangerous. This is the reason many higher-end tripod ladders have a standing platform near where the third rung from the top would be.

But there’s more. After you calculate the height of the tripod ladder (to the third, or, at most, second rung, or the standing platform), add 20 percent. It’s a sure bet that sooner rather than later you’ll end up needing a little more vertical reach than you had bargained for so it would be smart to build in this tolerance upfront.

Consider:– A growth spurt may take your plum tree’s fruit-bearing branches half-a-metre higher than they used to be. Or you may find that your shed’s roof gutters are jammed – and your new tripod ladder won’t let you reach that high.

About the author

Kersasp 'Kersie' Shekhdar

Kersie learnt the basics of gardening as a toddler, courtesy of his grandfather. In his youth he was an active gardener with a preference for flowering plants. He is a professional and vocational writer and his freelance projects have spanned various kinds of writing.

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