What is a combination ladder?
A combination ladder is a lightweight aluminium ladder system that consists of several, flexibly hinged and lockable sections. This means that they are very versatile as their ladder sections can be angled and manipulated into many forms to perfectly reach where you need to work.
The main advantages of combination ladders is that they can be used anywhere. They are ideal for jobs inside and outside of your home. They can be used as fixed straight ladders, stair ladders or even ‘A’ frame ladders. They very often come with additional options like infill platforms.
These get placed onto a horizontal section of ladder when manipulated so you can stand on it and use it as a platform. Some may also come with stabiliser bottom bars to increase stability.
Manipulated ladder forms can also help in awkward situations like stepped stairs for example. Hinged sections can be altered and locked into place giving you a higher, level working platform on stepped stairs. The combinations will seem endless!
They can even double up as a work bench or even a seating bench for unexpected guests at a barbecue! If you have a task that requires more height like cutting tall hedges, you could read about accessing taller hedges and trees with our article on ladders for cutting hedges here.
Combination ladders are in most cases are made from aluminium which means they benefit from being lightweight and easy to move around whist remaining strong and robust. One task a combination ladder is suited to is for cleaning a caravan roof! In fact, you can further read how to clean a caravan roof with our helpful article on cleaning a caravan roof here.
For most of the usual maintenance jobs around the home, a combination ladder might be the only one you’ll ever need! You’ll also be amazed on how many ladder accessories are out there to make your tasks easier. You can read more about ladder accessories here.
What are the benefits of a combination ladder?
The main advantage of a combination ladder is that it effectively is several ladders in one. This obviously means that money can be saved by not having to purchase separate solutions like hop ups, small step ladders or fixed taller ladders. There is a good chance that the one combination ladder will cater for all of your needs.
Another advantage is that you are not having to constantly move or fetch other ladders or hop ups so it has a massive impact on time and convenience. These types of systems also fold up into a very small footprint so are very easily carried and stored.
They are also quite safe to use as they are put through rigorous safety tests in their various manipulated guises. As long as the manufacturers instructions are followed and any locking mechanisms are fully engaged, things will be safe.
3 Way combination ladder
A 3 way combination ladder basically consists of 3 ladder sections that are joined by specially designed hinges that can alter the angles of the sections. This gives a good degree of flexibility in awkward situations.
Mostly designed for domestic stairs, they fit perfectly into the stair width. Sometimes the “3 way” description can describe the section numbers, or the fact that it can become 3 “types” of ladder, depending on the manufacturers description.
4 way combination ladder
A 4 way combination ladder consists of 4 ladder sections that are also joined by specially designed flexible hinges. These alter the section angles and give an even greater degree of flexibility than a 3 section system. Again, this could describe not the sections but the number of positions it can be manipulated into.
Some combination ladders have up to 12 position options!
Best combination ladder
What makes a combination ladder a must have in the home and which one do I go for?
There are many reasons to own one and severals factors to look at. This includes the quality of the manufacture, its flexibility and number of positions, its overall height, its weight and even how small it packs away and stores. It may or may not also come with additional accessories. If not, can I purchase them if they’re available?
At Best Ladder Access, we have chosen 3 of the best combination ladders we could find from the best known manufacturers in the business. Makes that are known within my field, the construction industry.
Clow Multi-Purpose Combination Ladder, Heavy Duty 150Kg
What we like:
Very compact when folded up
Stabiliser bars are removable depending on situation
Click Lock hinge system
Has many possible positions
Platform deck included
What could be better:
Takes a little practice getting all possible positions
The Clow combination ladder is the first of our offerings. Clow are known for quality access solutions and are well known in the industry. In fact, I have several contractors on my construction site that have Clow equipment.
We liked this one because it’s well made and is flexible as it can be manipulated into 12 possible combinations. It’s well worth checking out.
We also liked the fact that the stabiliser bars can be removed to get into tight spaces depending on your task. The stabiliser bars when in position greatly increase the base width and so increase stability.
The platform deck is included which is a nice touch and the click lock angles are satisfyingly robust. It does take a little practice to obtain all positions but it’s flexibility overrides this.
Youngman combination ladder
Our second offering is the Youngman multi purpose combination ladder. This is another well known make within the construction industry and again, for many of my sub contractors, it’s they’re goto brand for quality. These combination ladders are a quality piece of kit that feel like they’ll last forever.
Having 4 ladder sections, this system is very flexible and is several ladders all in one. The stabiliser bars give it great stability and it folds away easily into the boot of a car. Its robustness comes from the from rigid aluminium box section stiles and square rungs. This gives it fantastic rigidity and the click lock hinges are strong!
We would of loved these combination ladders even more if they’d have come with an integrated platform to stand on. However, we thought this was a small consideration and if necessary, we would of found or made a timber platform deck from some ply board, or found a small scaffold board.
Abru combination ladder
Our final offering is the Abru 4 in 1 combination ladder. Again, coming from an established manufacturer, you know this while pass the test of time. What we liked about this system is that it combines a stepladder, extension ladder, stairwell ladder and freestanding extension ladder all in one system.
It’s extremely well built and very rigid because of its boxed design. The rung lock hinges are easy to manipulate also.
The ladder feature has its own adjustment to make it perfect for working on stairs. The stabiliser bar is a nice touch also along with the locking bar for safety.
This system is very well made and will not disappoint. Like the Youngman, it doesn’t come with a platform deck but one can easily improvise with some plyboard or a short scaffold board.
If you are only looking to purchase one ladder for small to medium jobs in or around the home, a combination ladder system could be the ideal thing you’re looking for. It can be used for decorating to cutting hedges or pruning trees.
A combination ladder’s attraction is the flexibility of its uses, either as a straight ladder, a stair ladder or an ‘A’ frame ladder cutting hedges.
The advantages are that you have several ladders in one system that folds up neatly and is easily carried and stored.