Step Ladders vs Step Stools: Which Should You Choose?

Many people are confused when it comes to picking bed step stools for the elderly. To learn which is best, read our guide on step ladders vs. step stools.

Step ladders and step stools are the two useful pieces of equipment that are needed frequently in one’s regular life. 

Even if both objects portray similar attributes regarding their design, construction, and appearance, there are numerous differences between the two that you should understand before investing in one of them.

Since step stools and step ladders assist you in different purposes, we will discuss the main differences between them so that you can make sure which one is right for the job at hand.

What are step tools?

Step stool, either made of wood, plastic, steel, or aluminium, is a one or two-step stool that helps you to reach a height not more than a few feet. A step stool is different from a normal stool but is in the form of a ladder with a step or two. 

An efficient step stool makes it easier for people with mobility to reach a high point that is a few feet above their grasp. Also it helps seniors to age in place.

Bedroom Step Stool With Storage

What are step ladders?

Step ladders, mostly manufactured using either fibreglass or aluminium materials, are A-shaped or inverted V-shaped ladders that offer the user to climb three to twelve steps. A step ladder is a self-supporting portable ladder that assists you in reaching a height above your natural grasp while establishing a secure state of the situation. The step ladder is most probably used by all age users.

Step Ladders vs Step Stools: Difference

1. Design:

  • Manufacturers have subsequently created step stools and step ladders with various materials, yet their design remains quite similar making it difficult for the users to distinguish between them.

  • As mentioned earlier, a step ladder consists of more than three steps, thus making it taller than a step stool that allows you fewer treads as it helps people with mobility to improve their mobility. 

  • Step stools are mostly designed in a way that allows the user to sit comfortably on the top step (or, top cap), whereas a ladder offers the assistance of a two-sided ladder.

  • Step ladders are best suited for outdoor activities due to their height. Step stools, on the other hand, are appropriate for indoor usage since it helps you reach a few feet above your natural grasp.

  • While a step ladder provides varied designs from single-sided and multi-position to twin and foldable types, among others, a step stool mostly comes with two designs – foldable and unfoldable. However, step stools do come in a variety of sizes and looks that makes it a good purchase.

2. Size:

  • Depicting the prior-stated, step ladders are taller and bigger since they have more steps than a step stool, which also makes them heavier than the ladders Step tools are a type of mobility device for seniors that allows those with limited mobility or the elderly to get out of bed.

  • The matter of size makes a step ladder preferable for outside chores given its sturdier form and capability to offer more height as compared to a step stool.

3. Weight limits:

  • A step stool weighs not more than 100 kgs given its form, size, and the number of steps which makes it effortlessly portable. 

  • On the contrary, a step ladder is manufactured using strong materials that require it to assist the user in major outdoor tasks, thus making it heavier than a step stool.

4. Types of Use:

  • Due to its height, the number of steps, and sturdier form, step ladders are used for various indoor and outdoor activities. Be it construction works or painting houses, a step ladder can be used effortlessly without the risk of being unstable.

  • A step stool, however, comes with limited assistance that includes reaching shelves, high cabinets, and cupboards, reaching short heights for cleaning purposes, among other indoor activities. step stools is the most needed devices for elderly.

  • While a step stool can provide help in organising the bookshelves at a short distance, a step ladder can also assist you in indoor spaces with reaching the ceiling, repairing and fixing fans and bulbs, climbing higher places for cleaning and dusting jobs, among others.

4. Duty Rating:

  • Since step ladders are built to carry out heavy tasks, from construction to industrial purposes, it is hardly surprising that they have a higher duty rating than a step stool.

  • The duty rating ranges from Type I, Type IA and Type IAA for a step ladder for industrial usage to Type II which is for commercial purposes. Step ladders also cover Type III, qualifying it to assist in household jobs as well.

  • Step stools, on the other hand, have duty ratings of Type I, Type II, and Type III with not more than a weight limit of 250 pounds, making it best for lighter tasks.

5. Precautions:

  • Whether it’s a step ladder or a step stool, it is highly recommended to abide by the user safety standards and employ proper use in order to receive efficient functioning. 

  • One must confirm that the two halves are properly spaced and locked before climbing to prevent snapping.

  • The user should always check the ground level for a flat surface so that it has a strong grip from all four feet.

  • One shouldn’t try to sit or stand on the top two rungs or steps of the step ladder which is safe to do with a step stool.

The right one for you?

Coming back to making the right choice, it entirely depends on your needs and on the job that you plan to do. Given the circumstances, if you are planning for a little uplift around the house or you are looking for bed step stools then a step stool becomes a fair choice. However, to reach a height of 12 feet or higher with a safe and secure grasp, a step ladder proves to be a better option.

When it comes to cost investment, step ladders will be costlier than a step stool given their design, size, and duty rating.


These handy tools are used majorly for indoor or outdoor jobs. So one must be sure of making a decision after taking into consideration the situation or circumstances you are in, the type of job or task that needs to be done, the amount of weight you will be carrying, and how high you aspire to reach. The more you consider these factors, the more it will be clear for you to make the right decision for a safe climb.


About PensionsWeek

Pensionsweek is dedicated to providing comfortable touch to the day-to-day tasks for the elderly. We provide the most helpful opinions and information on the best retirement gears & plans for seniors. We believe that various components involved in old age and retirement work differently. Therefore, we bring a wide range of reviews on retirement gears, from an upright walker to a step stool and essential plans for your retirement life. 

Our team sorts out the best retirement plans and investment information for you so that you can experience a secure, comfortable, and fun retirement. Since retirement planning is a multi-step process, we are here to build the financial cushion that will assist you in achieving your retirement goals.


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