Speciality Ladders - Little Giant Step Ladders
One piece of equipment that can make or break any diy home repair project is a good ladder. The important distinction here is a GOOD ladder - in any movie or tv show where tools are in use, the most common injuries are hitting your thumb with a hammer (always good for a laugh) or falling off of a ladder. The right ladder will get you where you need to work and provide a stable platform for you while you complete your tasks. The wrong ladder may encourage you to attempt stunts usually reserved for circus performers.
If watch tv, you have probably seen the infomercials on Little Giant step ladders a time or two. Being a bit skeptical of any informercial product (and having owned a few As-Seen-On-TV objects over the years) I would probably not have considered one. However, around a year ago my father was in the market for a new ladder. He had an broken aluminum extension ladder and a selection of step stools for use as step ladders around the house. I was not suprised that he actually purchased one.
Demonstrating his new ladder (like any proud DIY parent with a new tool) it quickly became evident that this was one infomercial product that might actually exceed the claims made on tv. Compared to an articulated ladder I currently own, the Little Giant is lighter yet much more stable. Where I rarely use my standard ladder at full extension I felt fairly comfortable climbing to the top of this one. The ability to reconfigure the ladder for your current job need may look like a gimmick but to the home handyman this is very convenient. The first time you need set it up as a step ladder (short or tall), extension ladder, scaffolding, 90 degree, or staircase ladder you will find how much more secure you feel while you are working.
While the Little Giant speciality ladders may be the best known, there are also others available. You local hardware superstore is likely to carry a similiar ladder by either Gorilla or Werner. Both manufacturers produce quality products and may actually be less expensive BUT they may also provide less features and accessories. Your best bet is to look at how frequently you use a ladder, what types of jobs you use it for, and how often you avoid a job for lack of the right ladder.
If you can, try it before making a purchase - chances are you know somebody who owner a Little Giant and the other types you can probably try out at the local hardware store.