Every home inspector has its gadgets, most of them are usually the same for all inspectors because they are simply inseparable part of their profession. One of those gadgets I extremely enjoyed while working as an inspector is a telescopic ladder, an ingenious device that comes in many sizes, shapes, and has various applications.
The main idea behind designing this particular type of a ladder was to minimize its dimensions while still being able to reach the same height. Using regular extension ladder by many types of tradesman is often out of the questions because it requires larger form of transportation, therefore, the revolutionary telescopic design hit the jackpot.
I remember smiling, several years ago, when they first came out and I was watching some advertisement promoting it. It was basically my dream come true, I was finally able to put this aluminum ladder in a trunk without complicated strapping to the roof of my sedan.
Of course, the telescopic ladder is also great for homeowners or rather apartment owners with very limited storage space. I wouldn’t buy it only because it’s cool to have a ladder like that, by all means, if you have enough space to store regular extension ladder, go for it. As much as telescopic ladders are cool, they are definitely not cheap; you will have to pay a few times more for this hi-tech convenience than for a regular ladder.
I believe that I owned one of the first of those telescopic ladders that started showing up in US. Initially they were only available online and after a couple of years started popping up in local hardware stores. My ladders always experienced heavy usage since I was also providing equipment for working for me fellow home inspectors. I don’t know if this was the reason they failed a few times, or maybe their initial quality wasn’t that great at the beginning. Based on my experience their quality improved significantly after about 3 years since they first came out. I’m just glad that neither I nor my employees experienced any injuries associated with their failures.
Over the years new manufacturers appeared everywhere offering better designs and guaranteeing wider range of applications. I think it all started from a brand called “Telesteps” from Sweden (this is their website – http://www.telesteps.com/en/pro/home/) and “Xtend & Climb” (website here – http://xtendandclimb.com ) which appear to be still dominating and several others followed. Among a few, I’d say “unusual” the most popular are regular extension telescoping ladder and combination ladder, both made out of aluminum. There is also a new baby on the block, a fiberglass telescopic ladder. This one is even lighter than its aluminum counterpart and definitely more suitable for electricians. Although, it appears to be difficult to purchase using regular channels such as Amazon and EBay, it’s possible that it doesn’t conform to our regulations.
One type I wasn’t aware of previously is a Teletower telescopic ladder platform, it’s like a scaffolding system that fits in your trunk. I’m pretty sure that many people will find this particular one very useful. Unfortunately it is popular in Europe and I’m not sure if you could even get it here, it’s also around $1000.
Take a look how it works –
If you ever decide to get one of those convenient but expensive ladders make sure that you carefully read all instruction provided by the manufacturer. This is extremely serious safety concern! Standing on improperly opened or not knowing how to correctly close telescopic ladder may end up in a disaster, you can get hospitalized, lose your fingers, break your hand, leg, or die! All this can happen on a regular ladder, fancy one needs 10x of your attention when in use.
I know, I know, you can say that I’m exaggerating but as a home inspector I was telling people about safety for many years and I hope I saved a few lives by doing that.
Read the safety instructions and follow them!!!