Whenever you’re doing work in your garden, safety is key. After all, no one wants a fulfilling day outdoors to turn into an evening spent in the emergency room.
Tripod ladders can be a game-changer when it comes to gardening safely. Allowing you to get closer to your work with increased stability, these tools can be extremely useful for tree work, fruit picking, and all sorts of other outdoor projects. Keep reading to learn more about how tripod ladders can help you garden safely and effectively.
All About Tripod Ladder Safety
In order to get a better idea of the benefits of using a tripod ladder, let’s talk a bit more about ladder safety in general.
General Ladder Safety
Since ladders are used for all sorts of projects and jobs, there are a lot of great safety resources out there; the OSHA guidelines for ladders are particularly comprehensive. At a glance, here are the most important points to remember about ladder safety:
- Always check your ladder for damage and potential safety hazards before using it
- Always face forward while on the ladder
- Maintain 3 points of contact with the ladder at all times – either 2 feet and 1 hand or 1 foot and 2 hands
- The safest standing height is 2 feet (usually 3 steps) from the top of the ladder
- Never lean away from your ladder or reach outside its boundaries
The Tripod Difference
So, what sets a tripod ladder apart from other traditional ladders?
There’s a good reason why these models are often considered “orchard ladders.” Among their many benefits, they allow you to get extra close to your work without risking your safety – which is a major plus if you’re doing any sort of tree work or fruit picking.
Unlike traditional ladders, the tripod leg allows you to position this ladder so that you can get close to your work without having to stand perpendicular to it. The leg also spans over obstacles more easily and gives you better stability.
Tripod Ladder Buyer’s Guide
Clearly, these ladders have some great benefits for gardeners – but how do you pick the right one for your next project? Let’s take a look.
Height & Length
Tripod ladders are available in a variety of lengths, so you’ll want to buy one according to what sort of gardening activity you’ll be using it for.
Generally, you can calculate the ladder length you’ll need by considering the greatest height you’re hoping to reach. Given the maximum safe standing height of 2 feet from the top of the ladder and the ideal ladder positioning angle of 70-75 degrees, your ladder should typically be a few feet longer than the greatest height you’re aiming for.
Additionally, these ladders are available in a range of materials. Fiberglass is a popular choice, as it is very durable, has great weight-bearing capacity, and is weather-resistant. Aluminum is another viable option and is known for being more lightweight and easier to transport.
Abiding by a ladder’s stated weight capacity is crucial for using it safely. While fiberglass has a reputation for being able to hold more weight, each tripod ladder will specify its own maximum weight capacity.
When selecting a ladder, it’s important to make sure the model you buy can handle your weight. Going over the recommended weight limit is highly dangerous as it could cause the ladder to tip or collapse.
In terms of extra features to look for, some ladders have dedicated spaces to hold tools and other items, which could be helpful as you work. Having non-slip material on the steps of a ladder is always a plus for safety, too.
No-skid feet may also be an essential feature, depending on where you’ll be working. You can only use a tripod ladder on a hard surface (besides grass and dirt) if it has slip-resistant feet.
This versatile ladder from Werner is sure to keep you safe and secure as you work in your garden. Its fiberglass construction is very durable and lends the ladder great longevity; customers report having owned these models for years and years.
The ladder’s tripod leg has a special locking mechanism for extra stability. It also features slip-resistant steps and no-skid feet, so it won’t “walk” around like a traditional ladder might.
This product is available in four different lengths, from 4-12 feet, so you’ll be sure to find the perfect size for your project. It also has a convenient spot at the top of the ladder to hold tools and any other items you may need.
- Slip-resistant feet allow it to be used on a variety of surfaces
- Built-in place to set tools down
- Very sturdy, great longevity
- A bit pricey, especially for the longer options
- Relatively heavy; may be a bit difficult to set up by yourself
- Can be awkward to carry around
If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, this ladder from Stokes may be just right for you. It’s available in 8, 10, and 14 feet long options and is made from aluminum, making it easier to transport and set up by yourself.
With a tripod leg that can pivot, this ladder is a great choice for many different gardening projects. In terms of safety, this model features slip-resistant material on the steps, an extruded side rail, and a “no higher” sticker reminding you not to exceed the maximum height.
- Affordable, especially for these longer lengths
- Pivoting tripod leg allows for different positions
- Aluminum makes the ladder more lightweight and easier to carry
- No padding on feet, so can’t be used on pavement
- No place to set tools down
Step Up On Your Tripod Ladder!
When it comes to safe gardening, tripod ladders are essential for anyone picking fruit, working on trees, or doing any other sort of project up high. Now that you’ve seen the benefits of these ladders and learned how to pick the right model for the job, you’re ready to select the best tripod ladder for your gardening needs!
To learn more about different types of equipment for all your outdoor projects, be sure to check out our other posts about garden tools.
- About the Author
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Based in Cincinnati, Lauren loves spending time outdoors and witnessing the beauty of Ohio’s changing seasons. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, watercolor painting, and botanical drawing. Lauren believes that everyone has the ability to create a beautiful outdoor space and is passionate about helping readers cultivate their own little slice of paradise.
With a bachelor’s in Classics and a master’s in Library & Information Science, she finds her work deeply fulfilling and enjoys having the opportunity to learn something new every day.