Best Loft Ladders – Take The Next Step [Buyers Guide]

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The best loft ladders are a convenient halfway-house between stairs and regular ladders.  They are comfortable and easy to go up and down, but they take up much less space than a proper flight of stairs.

If you’re in the market for a loft ladder and just want to know which one to buy, then please head on down to our “best loft ladder reviews (UK)” section.  If you’d like to know a bit more about loft ladders before you decide whether or not you need one at all, let alone which one is right for you, then please keep reading for our best loft ladders buying guide.

Best Loft Ladder buyers guide

Best loft ladders buying guide

If you have a loft then you can have a loft ladder.  It doesn’t matter how tight the space is, you’ll be able to find a loft ladder to fit it.  What’s more, usually you only need basic DIY skills and tools to fit a loft ladder.  Even someone with minimal DIY skills and tools should generally be able to fit a loft ladder in two to four hours, especially if they have an extra pair of hands to help.

Occasionally you might run into some technical challenges, like the need to fit bracing around the hatch or the need to add a complete frame to increase the size of the opening.  Competent DIYers could probably manage this themselves, everyone else could find a tradesperson to do it for them.  It will obviously add to the costs, but your reward will be the convenience of having a proper loft ladder.

If you’re renting, then we have a “bonus pick” option for you.  It’s not as convenient as the very best loft ladders, but it’s still very decent, packs away tidily and can be taken with you when you move.

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Types of loft ladder

There are four main types of loft ladders.

Folding loft ladders

Folding loft ladders take a bit of effort to open and close because they have to be (un)folded multiple times.  They are very sturdy and so feel very safe in use, especially if they come with handrails.  Folding loft ladders can be a good option for situations where you’re likely to leave the loft ladder extended most of the time, but still want the option to tuck it away.

Sliding loft ladders

Sliding loft ladders are very easy to operate, you literally just unlock each section and slide it down or up.  They’re also very sturdy, which makes them both comfortable and reassuring to use, especially if they come with handrails.  Their one downside is that they tend to be quite heavy as compared to other loft ladders so again they’re generally best suited to situations where you’re probably going to leave the loft ladder extended most of the time.

Telescopic loft ladders

Telescopic loft ladders as their name suggests extend and retract in the same way as a telescope (or, these days, a telescopic lens).  They are compact and light, which makes them ideal for small spaces and/or occasional use.  Telescopic loft ladders frankly aren’t usually very pretty to look at, so you probably want to avoid them if you’re planning on keeping your loft ladder extended most of the time.

Concertina loft ladders

Concertina loft ladders fold and unfold like the instrument (or an old-fashioned fan).  They are very like telescopic loft ladders in that they are lightweight, adjustable and easy to use making them great for small spaces and/or occasional use.  Again, they aren’t the sort of loft ladders you’ll want to have out on display for extended periods.

Size, weight and load-bearing capacity

Once you’ve decided what type of loft ladder you need and/or want, you’ll need to think about the practicalities of size, weight and load-bearing capacity.

In terms of size, here are the key measurements you need to note.

Floor to ceiling height

Floor to floor height (of the main room and the loft space)

Hatch length and width

Horizontal and vertical clearance from the hatch

Floor clearance where the loft ladder must rest

The weight of the loft ladder will influence how it is best used.  A lighter loft ladder will be easier to get out and put back, but will not usually feel as nice to stand on or be able to hold as much weight as a heavier loft ladder.  Likewise, heavier loft ladders are sturdy and can usually hold quite a bit of weight, but can be a pain to get out and put away.

Safety

When it comes to loft ladders, safety is largely a function of build quality.  This is why you need to be very careful about where you buy new loft ladders (and if you’re buying second-hand, you need to be even more careful about checking the condition of a loft ladder before you part with your cash).  In particular, you want to look for the following features.

Strong joints – so the loft ladder won’t buckle in use

A good locking mechanism – so it reliably stays extended (or folded)

Secure treads, with good grip.

Handrails are a nice extra bonus, but generally only available on sliding loft ladders.

5 Best Loft Ladders

Best loft ladders reviews (UK)

We’ve chosen what we think are the five best loft ladders in the UK.  The selection covers different styles for different situations, tastes and budgets.  We made our choices on a combination of functionality and price, so basically overall value for money.

Aurora Thermo Folding Timber Attic / Loft Ladder

Aurora Thermo Folding Timber

This folding loft ladder comes in various sizes and weights, but all have a maximum load of 160Kg.  They have non-slip feet, robust treads, a safety handrail and an opening rod.  The hatches have a soft-close mechanism and a U-value of 1.22 W/m²K.

Opinions may vary on how good the instructions are.  Basically they’re in pictures rather than words.  We’re guessing this is because this loft ladder is popular internationally and so using pictures saves on translation costs.  There are, however, helpful videos on YouTube if you need more detail and/or actual words.  As a bonus tip, even though parts of this loft ladder do come assembled, screws can work loose, so it’s worth double-checking them before you start proper assembly.

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Aurora Thermo Folding Timber Attic / Loft Ladder & Insulated Hatch. 55...

Last update was on: June 3, 2020 5:41 am
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BPS Access Solutions Concertina Loft Ladder

BPS Access Solutions Unique

This concertina loft ladder also comes in various lengths from 2.44M to 3.66M and hence various weights, but all variations have a maximum load of 150Kg.  They also have rubber-coated, non-slip treads which are a reassuring 8cm deep x 35cm wide and rubber wheels on the base which both add grip and protect floorings.

The loft ladder itself is supplied fully assembled and is a breeze to install.  What’s more it’s so compact it stores fully within the perimeter of the hatch area, thus maximizing the storage space within the loft.  It’s equally easy to extend and contract.

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BPS Access Solutions Unique 3.05m (10') (11 Tread) Concertina Loft Ladder -...

Last update was on: June 3, 2020 5:41 am
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Dolle Straight Flight Timber One Piece Loft Ladder

Dolle Straight Flight Timber One Piece Loft Ladder

Having just said that there are four main types of loft ladder, we felt we had to include this slightly off-beat option from Dolle.  It’s a one-piece loft ladder which is designed for a floor-to-floor height of 2850mm (although you can cut it shorter).  It holds a maximum weight of 150Kg.  Treads are non-slip and there are rubber safety feet.

This loft ladder is designed to be fixed into position, which means you need to be happy to leave the loft hatch open.  As such it’s probably only likely to be useful for lofts which have been converted to rooms and hence are being regularly accessed.  Alternatively you could hang it on a wall near your loft and just move it when necessary.

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BPS Access Solutions Unique 3.05m (10') (11 Tread) Concertina Loft Ladder -...

Last update was on: June 3, 2020 5:41 am
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Youngman 3-Section Sliding Loft Ladder

Youngman 313340 Easiway Aluminium

This sliding loft ladder has a minimum floor-to-floor height of 2.3M and a maximum floor-to-floor height of 3M.  The maximum weight is a bit of a mystery.  On the one hand, the packaging says 100Kg.  On the other hand, Youngman’s own website says 150Kg.  This would be in line with the general standard.  In either case, there is a handrail and treads are wide, deep and comfortable.  This sliding loft ladder is really easy to install and very simple to operate.

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Youngman 313340 Easiway Aluminium 3-Section Loft Ladder

Last update was on: June 3, 2020 5:41 am
£65.00 £68.93
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Youngman Telescopic Loft Ladder

Youngman 301000 Telescopic Loft Ladder Aluminium 2.6 Metres

This telescopic ladder has a minimum floor-to-floor height of 2.17M, a maximum floor-to-floor height of 2.61M.  It supports a maximum weight of 150Kg.  Build quality is good as are building instructions, be aware, however, that the packaging is just adequate.  While this is probably good for the environment, it’s not necessarily good for protecting the loft ladder from scratches.  It also makes it possible for small parts to fall into the telescopic legs.

Overall, however, these are minor gripes about what is generally an excellent telescopic loft ladder.  It’s not pretty to look at, but the basic idea is that it’s going to be out of sight and out of mind most of the time.

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Youngman 301000 Telescopic Loft Ladder Aluminium 2.6 Metres / 8.53 Feet, Silver,...

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Last update was on: June 3, 2020 5:41 am

Bonus pick for renters

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Extendable Aluminium Loft Extension Ladder

This isn’t actually a “proper” loft ladder, it’s a freestanding, extendable ladder (available in various heights, maximum supported weight 150Kg), but it will get you up to your loft (or any other high space) in safety and a reasonable degree of comfort.  It’s nicely affordable and you can take it with you when you move.

10.5Ft 3.2M Extendable Alminium Ladders Telescopic
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Youngman 301000 Telescopic Loft Ladder Aluminium 2.6 Metres / 8.53 Feet, Silver,...

& Free shipping
Last update was on: June 3, 2020 5:41 am

Best loft ladders conclusion

We can’t reasonably name a single “best loft ladder” because everyone’s needs and wants are different.  Instead, we’ve chosen five different loft ladders to suit different needs, wants, tastes and budgets.  We think each one is the best in its category.

Best wooden loft ladders

If you’re looking specifically for the best wooden loft ladders, we’d recommend the Aurora or the Dolle.  The Aurora is more compact and stows away but the Dolle may be more convenient and can look very stylish in the right setting.

Kelvin Cooper

Kevin is a fitness fanatic and award-winning product reviewer. Over 20 years experience, Kelvin’s freelance offerings have featured all across the web on such outlets as NY Times, Forbes Magazine and more and is a great asset to the team. Kelvin loves his job and passing on his knowledge. Appeared on TV numerous times. Always smiling and raising money for charity in between service the demand for his talents

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