Many homes have attics. Sometimes they bother us with how awkward they look: they’re these spaces above the floors of a house and below the pitched roof of buildings – but nobody can deny their value when discovered and used.
Attics are also known as lofts, garrets, or sky parlors, and most of the time they’re converted into offices, storage spaces, or bedrooms if people can reach them. That’s where attic ladders come in.
If you want it to last long, take note of what makes a good attic ladder. You can buy unbranded, normal ladders and they will serve you for some time.
First, an attic ladder should be strong enough to carry at least above 200 pounds of weight (Source). Or, alternatively, it should be able to carry the weight of the heaviest person who would be using it.
Secondly, it should be made of high-class material, be easy to tuck away when not in use and be balanced and sturdy.
And finally, of course, the attic ladder should fit your needs and preferences.
As promised, here is a compilation of the best attic ladders based on their ease of use, style, material, weight, durability, and installment process.
What Is A Compact Attic Ladder?
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is A Compact Attic Ladder?
- 2 How Much Do Compact Attic Ladders Cost?
- 3 Comparing The Best Compact Attic Ladders
- 4 1. Louisville Ladder AA229GS Elite Aluminum Attic Ladder – Best Overall
- 5 2. FAKRO LST 66875 Insulated Steel Scissor – Best Ladder for Energy Consumption
- 6 3. Louisville Ladder L224P 250-Pound Duty Rating – Best for Tight Attic Compartments
- 7 4. Finether 15.4ft Multi-Purpose Aluminum Folding Extension Ladder with Safety Locking Hinges – Most Heavy-Duty Attic Ladder
- 8 5. WERNER LADDER AA1510CA Al Attic Ladder, 7′ – 9’10” – Easiest to Install
- 9 How Much Does It Cost to Install Attic Ladders?
- 10 Can You Cut Ceiling Joists for Attic Access?
- 11 Which Is Better: Aluminum Attic Ladder or Wood Attic Ladder?
- 12 Things You Should Consider Before Buying a Compact Attic Ladder
- 13 Ready To Buy The Best Compact Attic Ladder?
The houses in the west part of the globe usually have attics or similar spaces in the roofs. Such areas can be quite useful for storing old yet memorable items or creating a small bedroom. However, a problem with attics is that they do not usually have a convenient staircase to access.
That is where a compact attic ladder is an excellent choice to create a simple, useful, and efficient way of accessing the space in the roof. Compact attics ladders comprise of a custom staircase that slides down from the attic floor.
That lets you instantly access the room above you without compromising with the space in the surrounding. These ladders have an impressive construction as they take little space to construct, as they slide over each other, which helps them retract when not in use.
Furthermore, they lock themselves in the attic floor safely. To access them, you just need to pull the rope or chain hanging below the ladder to bring them out.
How Much Do Compact Attic Ladders Cost?
A typical compact attic ladder can have a cost variation between $80 and $1300. The price usually varies based on the type of ladder you choose.
Your chosen attic ladder can be available in three types of material, namely steel, aluminum, and wood. A wooden one should cost you around $100, an aluminum one will have at least $120 for investment, whereas steel ones start at $300.
You might be aware that compact attic ladders have a retractable feature, which lets you slide them up or down as per need. Such folding models cost between $100 and $1200.
Comparing The Best Compact Attic Ladders
|Louisville Ladder AA229GS Elite Aluminum Attic Ladder|
|FAKRO LST 66875 Insulated Steel Scissor Attic Ladder|
|Louisville Ladder L224P 250-Pound Duty Rating Wooden Attic Ladder|
|Finether 15.4ft Heavy Duty Multi Purpose Aluminum Folding Extension Ladder|
|WERNER LADDER AA1510 Ladder Aluminum Attic|
1. Louisville Ladder AA229GS Elite Aluminum Attic Ladder – Best Overall
Furthermore, its installation kit comes with its own insulated door and EZ hang strap. Easy and straightforward to assemble with its inclusion of a complete instruction manual, you can have access to your attic in no time by installing this yourself or hiring the services of a handyman.
Aside from that, its most remarkable and user-friendly feature is its use of hydraulic gas cylinders instead of the traditional spring mechanisms that slam attic doors shut, so it opens and closes easily with very little effort.
Moreover, the Louisville AA229GS also solves the issue where it is common to fall off while carrying wide boxes up or down attic ladders. It boasts 3 by ¼ inch deep steep steps, which help increase its stability and balance alongside preventing you from losing footing.
2. FAKRO LST 66875 Insulated Steel Scissor – Best Ladder for Energy Consumption
Its sides are made into ‘S’ shaped strings which also double as a protective handrail for use as support while climbing up or down. Moreover, its body is a beautiful scissors design that gives it an eye-catching look.
Built to carry weights of no more than 300 pounds, this attic ladder comes pre-installed with thick rubber gaskets between its boards. It is really simple to install and readily adjustable to fit into ceilings of heights between 7 feet and 2 inches to 9 feet and 6 inches. As a result, a tiny space is consumed due to its small ladder dimensions and its foldable system.
More than that, special embossed patterns are also designed on its step surface to prevent accidental slipping.
Additionally, it also has a unique system built into its hatch which ensures that the ladder opens slowly, then holds its self in position to prevent slamming when closing.
However, the best feature is this: this design allows you to easily add or detach a step from it or into it as you please. To get extra steps, be it one, two, or any amount of your choosing, you need only contact the company. FAKRO believes so much in their product they added a two-year limited warranty.
3. Louisville Ladder L224P 250-Pound Duty Rating – Best for Tight Attic Compartments
It comes with EZ hang straps which allow quick installation. The Louisville attic ladder is also foldable which makes it great for tight attic compartments where you need to save space. Furthermore, it has heavy-duty hinges which help it unfold quietly.
And if that didn’t pique your interest yet, here’s another thing: this product also meets the safety standards set by ANSI.
Additionally, it comes with an ergonomic T-Handle which you only need to tug on to give you a secure grip for effortless opening, and balance for easy climbing. Simple to follow instructions are included to direct you in its installation and proper fitting dimensions.
4. Finether 15.4ft Multi-Purpose Aluminum Folding Extension Ladder with Safety Locking Hinges – Most Heavy-Duty Attic Ladder
It comes in two styles. It can be fully extended to a length of 470 cm / 15.4 feet, or when it needs to be kept you can fold it to a length of 123 cm / 4 feet, which makes this foldable extension ladder convenient to carry.
Since it is a multipurpose ladder, it is employed for a wide range of activities: it could be used as an attic ladder, single ladder, double sided ladder, a work scaffold, or a platform. Additionally, it has strong safety locking hinges and panels for extra added protection.
And more than that, it is made of rust-proof aluminum alloy and weighs only 26.9 pounds or 12.2 kilograms.
Apart from using it in your attic, you can also use it in your library, for painting, window washing, decorating, and many other things. It has a rung to rung distance of 11 inches with a total number of 16 rungs. That, in conclusion, makes it steep enough for good balance.
5. WERNER LADDER AA1510CA Al Attic Ladder, 7′ – 9’10” – Easiest to Install
It boasts 15” wide frames and 11” rungs which provides enough room for your feet to balance. Moreover, it is very lightweight due to its simple design. It features a pole grip on it which makes it easy for you to open and close when not in use.
However, the bulk of its material is made of aluminum, so you might not like it if you need something made of wood. It has a 250-pound load capacity which means your weight and whatever you are carrying cannot weigh more than 250 pounds when you climb it.
Therefore, it is advisable to try not to reach its maximum capacity. Included with the ladder is the hardware for the attic door, but the door itself is not included so you would need to make a fitting one for your attic.
How Much Does It Cost to Install Attic Ladders?
You can DIY for installing these ladders, but the work might not be neat enough if you are inexperienced at it. Therefore, you might need the help of a professional installation service that will come over to set up the ladder for you.
Installation through a service adds a labor cost up to $500 depending upon the installation task. However, compact attic ladders made of aluminum are more comfortable to install on your own, if you want to do that, as they are lighter in weight.
Can You Cut Ceiling Joists for Attic Access?
A typical residential roof is going to have a truss or joist structure that supports the roof rafters in place. People often need to create an access to the attic area, for which they need to open a way through the joist framework.
To install a compact attic ladder, you can cut a couple of joists to create a space for the ladder. However, before cutting the beams, you need to add headers to the nearby joists for supporting the stress upon them.
Headers act as a bridge to keep the adjacent joists steady. However, some houses have a truss framework, which is challenging to cut on your own. In that situation, you are going to need the help of a professional to calibrate the appropriate way of transferring the load.
Which Is Better: Aluminum Attic Ladder or Wood Attic Ladder?
While looking for an attic ladder for your house, you might come across these amenities available in various materials, such as wood and aluminum. It can be challenging to decide between the two.
Both have a cost-effective price with a sturdy framework to serve your purpose. However, aluminum frames offer a better compact attic ladder system that is more durable compared to wood.
Aluminum-based compact ladders can be easily fitted within tight spaces for your convenience. However, a wooden one will offer you a more sophisticated look. Overall, both are fine, but the choice is mostly subjective.
Things You Should Consider Before Buying a Compact Attic Ladder
If you are yet to explore your attic, it means you have an undiscovered and useful space idly lying in your home. If you have decided to bring it to use, you would then need an attic ladder.
Now, before getting an attic ladder, there are some things you should know; as not all types suit all attics, and not all attics fit the ladders.
Usually, most compact attic ladders come pre-assembled with manuals for installation, so you should be able to fix it yourself but it is advisable to get extra help. Some ladders actually mention in their manuals that you need two people for installation.
You would have to note the distance between your attic opening and the floor. Since the attic ladder needs to perch on a side of the attic opening and balance its foot on the floor, the length should be a good fit. It should, therefore, be neither too short nor unnecessarily long.
Next, write down the measurements of its framing. Some ladders come with their doors while others do not. You might have to make the attic opening a bit wider or make adjustments so it fits. Hopefully, with careful measurements and planning, it isn’t too small.
It is assumed that you already have a particular cut or hole in your attic to fit for an attic ladder. Likewise, this hole should have a door. It is to this door and the cutout hole that the attic ladder is affixed. Not all attic ladders come with their doors, so when buying an attic ladder make sure it has its own door except if you can get one for it.
Aside from the hole and dimensions, you need to take note of the location your attic ladder would be. Attic ladder kits are specific for fitting between a framed hole in the ceiling.
Therefore, you would have to think about whether or not the attic ladder could perfectly fit there and allow you access to the attic. You would also have to factor existing ceiling beams.
When deciding where your attic ladder would reside, make sure the ladder itself would reach the bottom evenly and that there would be room to maneuver. Otherwise, you could get into an accident.
Above all, always remember that you have to option to either choose where and how big your attic hatchway should be and let it fit the ladder, or pick your ladder according to the location of your attic’s opening.
This is quite straightforward and just depends on your choice. You can pick either metal steel aluminum or just simple and good old wood.
Precaution cannot be overemphasized. First of all, if you do not have extra help and you are not a fan of DIY, it is better to get help in affixing your attic ladder.
Not a lot of people remember this, but any handy work that would require you to look up at it while working demands that you put on your safety workshop spectacles instead of sunglasses.
Now, climbing up and down the ladder requires a bit of stealth, so if this attic ladder is to be used by kids or elderly people, it is better to get the one with safety handrails for added support.
Ready To Buy The Best Compact Attic Ladder?
There you have it; you have just covered the A to Z of the best compact attic ladders. Now you can without a doubt pick the one that is perfect for you and your attic. To sum up, the best of the best of this list is a tie between the Louisville Ladder AA229GS Elite Aluminum Attic Ladder and the FAKRO LST 66875 Insulated Steel Scissor Attic Ladder. This is based on their ease of use, fitting, installation, and capacity.
However, if you do not want a permanent attic ladder and would just avoid the installation aspect, then your best choice would be the Finether 15.4ft Heavy Duty Folding Extension Ladder.
And finally, if, perhaps for some reason, you would rather use wood than anything metal, then the one for you is the Louisville Ladder L224P Ladder.
Check out our other review and How-to guides for more information.