The Best Attic Ladders of 2022

Optimize neglected space in your home with an attic ladder for easy loft access.

By Timothy Dale | Updated Jun 6, 2022 6:10 PM

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Best Attic Ladder Options

Photo: depositphotos.com

A home’s attic usually has untapped potential. Homeowners know it’s up there, but it’s a hassle to access for storage, much less use it as living space. Installing a new attic ladder or replacing an old one can change that, opening up a whole floor to be used for whatever homeowners like.

The best attic ladders are easy to use, durable, and sturdy enough to support the heftiest family member—and the heaviest object that person might carry. To choose the right model for a home, consider the following options, each regarded as one of the best in its respective category.

  1. BEST OVERALL: FAKRO LMS 66866 Insulated Steel Attic Ladder
  2. RUNNER UP: Louisville Ladder 22.5-by-54-Inch Wooden Attic Stairs
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Abru 37000 3 Section Compact Aluminum Loft Ladder
  4. BEST FOR SMALL OPENINGS: Yvan Telescoping Ladder
  5. BEST TELESCOPING: Telesteps 1800EP Fully Automatic Telescoping Ladder
  6. BEST FOLDING: Louisville Ladder Aluminum Attic Ladder
  7. BEST SCISSOR STYLE: Fakro LST 66821 Insulated Steel Scissor Attic Ladder
Best Attic Ladder Options

Photo: depositphotos.com

Types of Attic Ladders

There are four types of attic ladders: telescoping, folding, scissor style, and electric.

Telescoping

Telescoping attic ladders come in mobile or semipermanent designs that allow them to be installed in an attic or stored nearby. These ladders take up less space than folding ladders because fitted mechanisms on the side supports and steps allow them to collapse into themselves. When needed, just pull on the bottom step and the ladder extends out.

Folding

Folding attic ladders can fold up into two, three, or four sections, depending on the length of the ladder, the height of the ceiling, and available clearance space for folding. These attic ladders are stronger than telescoping ladders and are easy to use, but they take up a significant amount of attic floor space because they lie on the floor when closed.

Scissor Style

These ladders, which have scissor-style collapsible rungs for easy storage, have two main benefits over their counterparts. The scissor-style steps don’t slide too quickly during unfolding (the way telescoping ladders do), and they don’t require a large clearance space to unfold (like folding ladders do).

Electric

Powered by direct wiring to raise and lower with the push of a button, pricey electric attic ladders are new to the market. Some high-end models can be operated with a smart device. These are a good option if homeowners have physical disabilities that would prevent them from pulling down a manual attic ladder or if they are looking to add another automated smart home feature to their homes.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Attic Ladder

Keep these factors and features in mind when shopping for an attic ladder.

Ceiling Height

One of the first things to ascertain before purchasing an attic ladder is the height of the ceiling below. Because manufacturers have already measured the angle of their product, consumers need to be concerned only with the distance between the attic opening and the floor of the room below.

Most attic stairs will fit ceiling heights from 7 to 10 feet, but homeowners should double-check their ceiling height: If consumers purchase a ladder that’s too long or too short, they won’t be able to use it. To measure, the homeowner should have a helper in the attic hold one end of a tape measure at the attic opening while the owner extends the tape until it touches the floor directly underneath. The reading on the tape at this extension is the height of the ceiling.

Dimensions and Weight

Attic ladder descriptions include dimensions for the length and width of the attic opening that they fit. If an attic already has an opening, homeowners need to measure its width and length before buying an attic ladder. If, however, they’re making a new opening, they should cut the hole to a length of 54 inches and a width of 22.5 inches, because most attic ladders are designed for an opening of this size.

Attic ladders also have weight restrictions that can range from just 200 pounds to more than 400 pounds. If family members are on the slight side and won’t be taking particularly heavy items up to the attic, a heavy-duty ladder capable of supporting 300 pounds may not be needed. lf family members are within 10 pounds of the weight limit, consumers shouldn’t take the risk of a ladder breaking while in use and will want to buy a stronger attic ladder that can be used with confidence and safety.

Material

Attic ladders are generally made of aluminum, steel, or wood.

  • Aluminum attic ladders, typically the top choice, are strong yet lightweight, making them easy to access. A rust- and rot-resistant metal, aluminum is the ideal option in high-moisture climates. Aluminum ladders are fire-resistant and generally more affordable than their steel or wood counterparts.
  • Steel attic ladders are stronger—and pricier—than wood and aluminum; they are also moisture- and fire-resistant. Invest in one if the attic will be used on a regular basis, particularly as a living space.
  • Wood attic ladders are strong and resilient, and some may be treated to be fire-resistant, but because of the porous nature of wood, they’re more susceptible to the effects of moisture and temperature changes. Wood can also have natural defects that could result in premature wear.

Ease of Installation

Though ease of installation depends largely on the ladder type and the layout of the attic, any model should include clear, easy-to-understand installation and operation instructions. It’s recommended to set up an attic fan during installation to improve the airflow and provide adequate ventilation while working.

  • Telescoping and scissor-style attic ladders are relatively easy to install compared with folding ladders. They’re fastened to either the ceiling joist above or floor stud below the attic floor, easily collapsing up into the attic when not in use.
  • Folding attic ladders need to be attached to a hatch or opening so that they can swing down and unfold. Therefore, homeowners will also need to install a hatch capable of supporting the weight of the ladder and some weight of the climbers, though most of the weight is supported by the feet of the ladder when it is unfolded and resting on the floor. This can make installation more involved than telescoping or scissor-style attic ladders.
  • Electric attic ladders have similar installation challenges as the other types, but they also require wiring the ladder directly into the electrical system. These ladders may also require additional setup on a smartphone if they are WiFi- or Bluetooth-enabled.

Fire Resistance

Fire resistance is an important factor for attic ladders—in case of a home fire, everyone in the attic will need a safe route down and out. Most ladders offer some fire resistance, with both aluminum and steel having a natural resistance to heat, yet not all aluminum and steel ladders go through the required testing to be designated as fire-rated. The term “fire-rated” certifies the product has passed official fire-resistance tests. It can be awarded to aluminum, steel, and even some wooden attic ladders.

Check building codes on the local government website or at the town hall to find out what restrictions may be in place, as some locations permit only fire-resistant attic ladders. Even if that’s not the case for a home, the added safety factor of a fire-resistant ladder is of inestimable value, especially if the attic is being used as a living space. Consider investing in fire-resistant attic insulation as well to help reduce the risk of fire-related incidents.

Safety Features

Attic ladders can come with various safety features, including handrails, slip-resistant steps, and locking latches.

  • Handrails can be included on one or both sides of the attic stairs, giving an area to grip when ascending and descending the steep ladder rungs.
  • Slip-resistant steps are grooved or coated with rubber to provide more friction and grip-surface for feet. This simple addition helps prevent slipping when climbing up and down.
  • Locking latches are found on folding ladders to lock the ladder in place once the sections have folded down. This prevents the ladder from bouncing at the hinges, giving users a more rigid climb.

Our Top Picks

The top-rated products below were chosen for quality, price, and customer satisfaction to help consumers find the best attic ladder for a home.

Best Overall

Best Attic Ladder Options: FAKRO LMS 66866 Insulated Steel Attic Ladder
Photo: amazon.com

This steel attic ladder is capable of supporting as much as 350 pounds and comes with an insulated pinewood frame and door. The Fakro Insulated Steel Folding Attic Ladder can be folded up into three sections and comes in sizes to fit attic openings of 22 inches by 47 inches and 25 inches by 47 inches

It can be used for ceiling heights from 7 feet 2 inches to 8 feet 11 inches and uses a unique opening mechanism to ensure that the ladder opens slowly. The tread pattern on the surface of the rungs prevents slipping, and when the hatch is fully open, a safety mechanism keeps it from accidentally slamming shut.

Product Specs

  • Type: Folding
  • Weight capacity: 350 pounds
  • Material: Steel

Pros

  • Comes with a box frame
  • Fire-resistant construction
  • Anti-slamming safety mechanism
  • Anti-slip treads

Cons

  • Folding design takes up a lot of attic space

Get the Fakro steel attic ladder on Amazon and at The Home Depot.

Runner Up

The Best Attic Ladder Option: Louisville Ladder 22.5-by-54-Inch Wood Attic Stairs
Photo: doitbest.com

The Louisville Ladder Wood Attic Stairs is a budget-friendly option that folds into three different sections. It uses Louisville Ladder’s exclusive EZ hang system for simple installation. The folding ladder can support as much as 250 pounds and comes with reinforced grooved steps for increased traction.

This attic ladder can be used with ceiling heights from 7 to 8.75 feet and for attic openings of 22.5 inches by 54 inches and 25.5 inches by 54 inches. The ladder also includes a helpful handrail and an easy-to-use pull-down cord.

Product Specs

  • Type: Folding
  • Weight capacity: 250 pounds
  • Material: Wood

Pros

  • Simple installation with EZ hang system
  • Comes with a box frame
  • Grooved steps for added traction
  • Wire rod supports under each step

Cons

  • Folding design takes up a lot of attic space
  • Wood is vulnerable to fire

Get the Louisville Ladder wood attic ladder at Do It Best.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Attic Ladder Option: Abru 37000 3 Section Compact Aluminum Loft Ladder
Photo: amazon.com

Not all pull-down attic ladders are folding. This lightweight aluminum attic ladder is designed for accessing small attics and loft spaces, so it has a compact telescoping construction that slides up into the attic when it’s not in use. Push the ladder up into the attic with the included stowing pole. When someone needs to access the attic, the stowing pole can be used to pull the ladder down.

It comes with a 15-inch by 18-inch box frame and all the necessary parts to install the attic ladder. Additionally, the aluminum ladder is fire-resistant and comes with a 5-year guarantee against defects in materials and workmanship. Use this ladder with ceilings measuring from 6 feet 10 inches to 9 feet 10 inches. Keep in mind that this product ships from the United Kingdom, so it’s recommended to check shipping times and costs before purchase.

Product Specs

  • Type: Telescoping
  • Weight capacity: 330 pounds
  • Material: Aluminum

Pros

  • Comes with a box frame
  • Includes a stowing pole
  • Fire-resistant aluminum design
  • D-shaped rungs for improved comfort and security

Cons

  • Ships from the United Kingdom

Get the Abru attic ladder on Amazon or at Bigamart.

Best For Small Openings

The Best Attic Ladder Option: Yvan Telescoping Ladder
Photo: amazon.com

One of the first steps during attic ladder installations is measuring and cutting the opening in the ceiling to fit the new ladder. However, many attics already have openings that were added during the home’s construction, so if the opening is too small, it can be altered to fit a larger ladder. For individuals who don’t want to take on this additional work, a smaller ladder that fits the existing opening is a great choice.

The Yvan Telescoping Ladder is made of fire-resistant, lightweight aluminum and can support as much as 330 pounds. It measures just 19 inches in width, making it ideal for small openings, and can stretch up to 12.5 feet in height. This ladder has a one-button retraction system, so users don’t need to struggle to pack the ladder up after use, and the portable design makes it easy to set up or store. However, for those who prefer a permanent or semipermanent attic ladder installation, this product isn’t the right choice.

Product Specs

  • Type: Telescoping
  • Weight capacity: 330 pounds
  • Material: Aluminum

Pros

  • Portable and easy to store
  • One-button retraction system
  • Lightweight, fire-resistant design
  • Textured steps to prevent slips

Cons

  • Not made for permanent installation

Get the Yvan attic ladder on Amazon or at Crafty Box Store.

Best Telescoping

The Best Attic Ladder Option: Telesteps 1800EP Fully Automatic Telescoping Ladder
Photo: amazon.com

Despite weighing just 30.5 pounds, this telescoping ladder can extend up to 18 feet in height and support as much as 300 pounds. The lightweight aluminum design is resistant to fire, and it makes it easy to carry and store the ladder when it’s not in use. However, if users prefer to have a more permanent attic ladder installation, the Telesteps ladder isn’t the best option because it cannot be secured to an attic opening.

When the telescoping ladder is closed, it is just 34 inches in height, but with the built-in one-touch system, the ladder automatically extends. To adjust the height, raise the ladder from the bottom rung in 1-foot increments until it is at the correct height. Textured steps and silicone anti-slip pivoting feet help to keep users safe as they climb. However, it’s still important to ensure that the ladder is supported effectively before stepping onto the first rung.

Product Specs

  • Type: Telescoping
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Material: Aluminum

Pros

  • 18-foot maximum height
  • Weighs just 30.5 pounds
  • Fire-resistant aluminum construction
  • Silicone anti-slip pivoting feet

Cons

  • Not made for permanent installation

Get the Telesteps attic ladder on Amazon or at Telesteps Ladders.

Folding Pick

The Best Attic Ladder Option: Louisville Ladder Aluminum Attic Ladder
Photo: amazon.com

The Louisville Ladder Aluminum Attic Ladder is a lightweight folding attic ladder with heavy-duty power. Capable of supporting as much as 350 pounds, it can be used with attic openings of either 22.5 inches by 63 inches or 25 inches by 63 inches. It fits ceiling heights from 10 to 12 feet.

When not in use, the aluminum attic ladder can be folded up into three sections for easy storage. This folding attic ladder comes with adjustable rubber shoes for better grip on the feet and has reinforced grooved steps for maximum traction when ascending or descending. Robust hinges on either side of the ladder help it to unfold smoothly and keep it from wobbling as the user climbs into the attic space. Users can also grip the built-in railing handles to help steady themselves as they ascend or descend the ladder.

Product Specs

  • Type: Folding
  • Weight capacity: 350 pounds
  • Material: Aluminum

Pros

  • Comes with a box frame
  • Aluminum design is fire-resistant
  • Reinforced, grooved steps
  • Built-in railing handles improves safety

Cons

  • Folding design takes up a lot of attic space

Get the Louisville Ladder aluminum attic ladder on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Scissor-Style Pick

Best Attic Ladder Options: FAKRO LST 66821 Insulated Steel Scissor Attic Ladder
Photo: amazon.com

The Fakro Insulated Steel Scissor Attic Ladder collapses into itself for simple storage. Unlike a folding ladder, it doesn’t require a lot of clearance space when it opens, and the stairs descend smoothly and slowly compared with the quick drop of some telescoping ladders. This ladder can be used with small to average attic openings of 22 inches by 31 inches, 22 inches by 47 inches, 22 inches by 54 inches, and 25 inches by 47 inches.

The collapsible, S-shaped brackets at the side of the ladder act as a handrail and are made of rugged steel that suits modern decor. The scissor-style ladder has a maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds and can be used on ceiling heights between 7 feet 2 inches and 9 feet 6 inches. This attic ladder also comes with a frame and hatch made of high-quality pine and uses an embossed pattern on the steel steps for better traction.

Product Specs

  • Type: Scissor
  • Weight capacity: 350 pounds
  • Material: Steel

Pros

  • Insulated steel is fire-resistant
  • Collapsible brackets act as a handrail
  • Comes with a box frame
  • Slow, smooth opening for added safety

Cons

  • High price

Get the Fakro scissor attic ladder on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Our Verdict

The Fakro steel attic ladder features a slow-opening mechanism and step treads to improve user safety. Or, if consumers prefer the reliable, heavy-duty weight of a wooden attic ladder, the Louisville Ladder 22.5-by-54-Inch Attic Ladder is an excellent alternative.

How We Chose the Best Attic Ladders 

To put together this list of the best attic ladders, it was necessary to research more than 30 products. Attic ladders are used for accessible ingress to the attic and egress from the attic, so they need to be able to support the weight of the user and provide enough space for the average person to move freely up and down.

Convenience and portability also factor into the product design. For instance, an electric steel scissor attic ladder can fold up into the attic or fold down with the touch of a button. However, it’s more common to see manual pull-down ladders that can be released by hand or with an assist pole, then when the user is done with the ladder, it folds up into the attic space.

Telescoping ladders may also slide up into the attic or they could be portable models that can be tucked into a closet when the ladder isn’t required. The ceiling height was also a consideration during the selection process because if the ladder doesn’t reach the ground or extends too far, it won’t work for the given space. If a product had additional features, such as textured steps to help prevent slips, it typically stood out from similar attic ladders that lacked these extra features.

FAQs

The following is some additional must-know information before shopping for the latest attic ladders.

Q: How much does an attic ladder cost? 

Depending on whether homeowners want a portable or fixed ladder, the cost can range significantly. Small portable telescoping ladders that can be stored in a nearby closet when not in use will typically cost about $100 to $200. If consumers are looking for fixed attic stairs or pull-down attic stairs then the price increases to a range of about $300 to $1,000. Electric pull-down attic stairs are the most expensive option. These attic stairs can exceed $3,000.

Q: Which is better: a wood or aluminum attic ladder? 

Aluminum and wood attic ladders are comparably strong, but aluminum attic ladders are more affordable, lightweight, and not at risk of damage by moisture or fire.

Q: How is the height of an attic ladder measured? 

To determine the right height of an attic ladder, use a tape measure to measure the distance from the ceiling, where the attic door panel is, down to the floor. Buy an attic ladder of the same measurement.

Q: What is the standard attic opening?

The standard opening for most attics is 22.5 inches by 54 inches, but some homes have a smaller or larger opening. Make sure to move any unnecessary items out of the attic and measure the attic opening before buying a new attic ladder.

Q: How is an attic ladder installed? 

To install pull-down attic stairs, homeowners need to measure and cut an opening in the ceiling, then create a framework around the opening. Some aluminum or wooden attic ladder kits include a box frame, so DIYers don’t have to build their own framework. Once the frame is in place, the installer can position the ladder and attach it to the ceiling frame. When installing a wooden attic ladder, homeowners can cut the ladder feet so that the ladder sits flat on the floor. To avoid this step, make sure to check the ceiling height before purchasing an attic ladder. The best attic ladder kits will include parts and instructions for installation, so always check the manufacturer’s information to figure out how to install a specific set of attic stairs.