The stepladder I am using at my temporary painting job is pretty fancy-schmantzy! When my boss stopped by today, he asked me how I like it... seems they just bought it last week. So I started looking at some of the features. Except that it has one really serious flaw for painting – what I am doing – it’s got a ton of good features.
First of all, it’s a 6-foot aluminum stepladder, so it is fairly lightweight. There are plastic feet to keep it from slipping. The top two steps are plastic shelves and can’t be stepped on. This is a safety feature so that crazy people like me won’t stand too near the top and fall over. But, of course, it also renders it into a 4-foot stepladder. Sigh. The 4-foot step is a full coverage plastic platform. So if you are working at that level for quite a while it is easier on your feet. The remaining steps are ridged aluminum for good traction. The ridges also catch tons of dirt.
It is very sturdy and stable. The top tool tray actually has finger grips on the edge so you can hold on easily!
To fold it up you pull up on a little flap handle at the edge of the 4-foot step. This is well-designed, and the ladder folds up easily and there is enough clearance that you don’t pinch your fingers. I have to say that I did pinch my fingers when I opened it back up, but this just means that I need to learn where to put my hands on this ladder.
When it is folded, there is a handle on the side with a snap closure to hold the two halves of the ladder together, and then you can carry it with one hand. This is nice, and the balance point is correct.
When it is open there is one thing that I don’t like about the design. There is no bar on the back at the same level as the 3-foot step. When I move a ladder around I like to grab the step and the corresponding bar on the back and then just put it where I want it. But now I have to re-learn to grab the side rails. Maybe this is just me.
All the other features are in the design of the tool tray, and someone really put some thought into this. There is a hammer hole, and two screwdriver holes. There are semi-circular depressions in the edges of the shelf so you can rest some bar or long tool across the shelf and it won’t roll off. There is a notch in one edge with a lip around it. This is to slip the plug end of your extension cord into so you don’t have to tie the cord around the ladder (not a safe idea). There are two small depressions which could hold screws, bolts or other small parts. The center of the tool tray is an open space where you can put larger objects, like a paint can.
The top step is a tray with edges. This is nice to hold small tools, and they won’t roll off.
There is a paper towel holder that hangs below the tool tray. This is very handy when I remember that it’s actually there.
There is a feature described as a drawer. It pulls out toward you from underneath the tool tray. I’m not sure what good this is except for a little more space to put things. It has two small depressions for screws, etc, and also a hammer hole, but the “drawer” is just a shelf, not a drawer with any depth. It also pulls toward you so that it would be difficult to stand on the 4-foot step with the drawer open.
And now, for the fatal flaw for painting. The tool tray is too short! A paint can sitting on it is just barely beyond the front edge of that top tray. What this means is that every single time you need to dip your brush in the paint you have to reach awkwardly, slightly around that top shelf. Come Monday, I am going to bolt a longer board to that shelf. I’ve had enough of that! If I were doing other odd jobs I’d like all those cool features of the shelf. But for painting, it’s simply too frustrating.
I know my boss bought this at a local store, but I don’t know which one. They are available on Amazon for $78.