There are few better places to store ‘stuff’ that you can’t bear to get rid of, than in the loft.

Most lofts are spacious areas, and unlike sheds and garages, keep your belongings safe and dry.

If you’re going to need frequent access to the loft, the most convenient, safe way to do so is by installing a set of loft ladders.

The best loft ladders store discreetly inside the loft hatch and pulls down quickly to make the top floor of a home easily accessible.

Youngman 301001 Telescopic Loft Ladder

If you have a drop-down loft hatch then the Youngman loft ladders are worthy of serious consideration. Their compact design ensures that they fit in the smallest of loft entrances, but not at the expense of the step-width. Each of the treads measures 12-inches wide providing plenty of sure-foot surface for all sizes of feet.

The loft ladders have a small footprint. When they are inside the attic space their profile height is just 8-inches.

They are constructed from anodised aluminum, a tough and durable metal that is relatively light. The ladders weigh less than 13kg yet are capable of safely bearing loads of up to 150kg.

It is possible for one person to install the loft ladder, although time and effort are reduced if 2 people carry out the task. The instruction leaflet could be clearer; we find that following YouTube installation videos clarify each step much better than written directions. The mounting kit is supplied, open the box and start the job.

They are adjustable telescopic ladders that have 3 lockable lengths;

  • 217 – 261cm
  • 243 – 288cm
  • 273 – 320cm

There  is an extending aluminium rod with a hooked end for the user to slot into a loop and pull the ladders down. As they slide towards the ground they emit a series of clicks as each section locks into place. Rubber feet on the legs not only steady the ladder, but they also prevent any damage to floor coverings.

The ladders retract just as easily. There is a red release button at either side of the second step. Once pressed, they push back into the loft where they lock back into position.

The Youngman loft ladders are high-quality, sturdy, and safe. They are simple to operate; even when space is at a premium.

Pros

  • High-quality, well designed
  • Adjustable to 3-different lengths
  • Wide treads for safety and comfort
  • Ideal for small loft hatches
  • Mounting kit supplied

Cons

  • Instructions could be clearer
  • Only compatible with downward opening hatches

Deluxe Wooden Loft Ladder with Twin Handrails

Very few loft ladders come with handrails for additional safety. The deluxe wooden loft ladder does, and it makes a world of difference. Situated at the top of the ladder in the final third section, the red handles take the effort and stress out of stepping off the ladders and into the loft.

They are made from high-quality timber that complements any landing space without looking metallic or garish.

The ladder is of tri-fold construction, is delivered fully assembled and ready for installation.

Unlike similar models, it is pre-attached to a loft hatch. The user needs to replace the existing door with the new one by following the instructions and guidance videos.

The door is double-sprung and counter balanced. Not only does this take the effort out of sliding the ladders up and down, but it also ensures the loft hatch stays locked into place securely.

It is of high-quality construction. It is 36mm thick and has rubber seals to prevent any heat loss. There is also architrave supplied to make a neat finish around the hatch.

Little loft space is swallowed up by the ladders with this innovative design. 

The ladders feel incredibly strong and sturdy and have a weight limit of a generous 150kg. The treads are wide and deep but if you’re worrying about foot room on the top section due to its proximity to the loft door, don’t. It is possible to affix the final tier further away from the hatch for additional toe space.

The deluxe loft ladders are so easy, quiet, and safe to use, so much so that it can be done one-handed.

With a life-time guarantee, it is difficult to find a reason not to buy them!

Pros

  • Superior quality timber construction
  • Supplied fully-assembled with loft door
  • Twin safety handrails
  • Up to 2.8m height fittings
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • 150kg weight rating

Cons

  • Available in 3 frame sizes; loft hatch may need enlarging
  • The foot design is for carpet, it may mark wood or laminate

Telesteps 60324 Mini Telescopic Loft Ladder

If you’re looking for some lightweight loft ladders for use in a restricted space, these could well be the model for you. Unlike similar styles, the Telesteps loft ladder doesn’t take up needed loft space, instead it stores neatly within the ceiling space.

Made from aluminium, Telesteps have designed a telescopic retraction system that works similarly to a domino effect. Once the ladders are securely installed, the user simply has to pull the length of webbing and watch each step drop in sequence, locking into the previous one as it goes. The slick mechanism ensures the loft ladders open quietly and smoothly.

When they are settled into the floor, a quick peek beneath each step should show a small red clip that guarantees full automated locking of the system has occurred.

The tubular frame makes for a comfortable grip as you mount the ladder; the deep, wide tread ensures safety and comfort.

It has a maximum load-bearing weight of 150kg, ensuring almost everyone has easy loft access.

As seems to be the issue with lots of loft ladder brands, the installation instructions are a little vague. Telesteps have produced a video on their website which make the job much easier. With 2-people working on the installation, it is much less time consuming and relatively easy. Most of the assembly is done prior to assembly.

They are very sturdy loft ladders that are compatible with very small loft openings. Ensure you have all of your measurements correct before ordering as these mini, compact ladders fit a definitive area. Larger models are available.

Their modern silver design and robust construction offer many years of service while freeing up the maximum amount of storage space.

Pros

  • Compact, space-saving
  • Effortless operation
  • Automatic let-down and locking system
  • Compatible with 2350mm – 2450mm ceiling heights
  • Safe, sturdy, and secure

Cons

  • The spring is hard to connect, wear protective gloves
  • Vague written instructions

BPS Access Solutions Unique 2.74m Concertina Loft Ladder 

Not all loft accesses are generously sized, which is where the BPS concertina loft ladder steps in.

It is designed to fit in small and awkward spaces, taking up little loft space as it does.

When stored away, it sits snugly within the hatches perimeter, with just 4cm profile standing proud.

Enclosed within the system is a conversion kit to transform a push-up hatch into the drop-down style required. All of the components are included, although some ultra-strong carriage bolts are a worthwhile addition.

Installation is best with 2-people, one to bear the weight as the other aligns the fittings and attaches them. The instructions are in English but, as seems to be the problem with all of our featured loft ladders, they aren’t very clear.

YouTube is rife with handy videos and step-by-step installation videos.

The ladder is double spring-loaded, this supports its weight as it is lowered and raised. A handy rod is included to pull the steps down; the extra hook is an alternative option, it has to be securely screwed into the tip of the rod.

Choose the most comfortable gradient for you and rest the ladder there. If the ladder seems too long it is simple to undo and remove 1 of the 10 steps.

Each step has a soft rubber coating. Not only does it increase comfort levels, but it also grips the foot to improve safety.

Similarly the base has rubberized wheels. We love how these protect all types of floor coverings.

The BPS loft ladders are very strong and durable. The large aluminium treads are capable of withstanding 150kg weight, that is equivalent 23.5-stones.

They are a perfect set of loft ladders for difficult spots and small loft hatches, easy to operate and install.

Pros

  • Lifetime Guarantee
  • Compatible with small loft hatches
  • Space-saving design
  • Hatch opening conversion kit supplied
  • Rubber anti-slip treads
  • Strong and durable

Cons

  • Poor installation instructions
  • It is quite large in the hatchway; may prevent storing very large items

Teenza 2.9M Telescopic Ladders

The final review of the best loft ladders is something a little different. The Teenza ladder is portable, it can be used for accessing loft space and is useful for a multitude of other indoor or outdoor tasks.

It is made from aluminum which keep its overall weight down to around 9kg.  It is a deceptive ladder; despite it’s lightweight it has a weight rating of 150kg.

When fully extended it has 10-steps and reaches 2.9m; folded to its shortest it stands at just 74cm tall.

Because of this, the Teenza is storable in many places; the garage, a kitchen cupboard, it even slides beneath a bed unnoticed!

The ladder sets at many heights. It’s telescopic design allows each step section to pull out individually and lock into place. There is an audible click to alert you to the lock, but  there is also an added safety feature of a pair of locking clips to put your mind at ease.

For maximum safety, there are a pair of fixed hooks at the top of the ladder. When hooked over a ledge, they increase stability, as does the balance bar at the base of the ladder. Rubber feet also help to keep the ladder secure.

This lightweight ladder is very strong and versatile. It  stores anywhere and usable for jobs around the house; inside and out.

If you’re an infrequent visitor to the loft, then it seems futile spending time and money on a fitted set of ladders when the Teenza will do the job, and a million other beside.

Pros

  • No assembly or installation required
  • Lightweight, portable, and versatile
  • Extends from 0.75cm – 2.9m and anywhere in between
  • Very strong and durable
  • Easily extends and retracts

Cons

  • The retraction action pinches fingers if they’re not kept away
  • Not a permanent fixture as a loft ladder

Features of the best loft ladders

Ease of installation and use

Installing loft ladders is a job that any competent DIY-er could carry out – if they had precise instructions. None of the models featured in our reviews, or the ones that we ruled out for that matter, had concise directions.

Before undertaking the installation, refer to the many online videos available to help along the way.

Loft ladder companies ensure operation of their ladders is as straightforward as possible. Choose a brand with a smooth opening mechanism that doesn’t require too much weight-bearing or effort.

Materials

Aluminium keeps the weight of ladders to a minimum whilst being strong, durable and looking contemporary .

Timber loft ladders have a classic style that doesn’t creak or ‘give’ beneath your feet. They feel warmer and are quieter to use. Wooden loft ladders tend to be more expensive than an equivalent metal model.

Safety and Comfort

Handrails are one of the best safety features for anyone unused to working at height.

Many ladders have rubber feet to aid surface grip, others have rubber steps to aid comfort and non-slip capabilities.

Adjustable length

Your chosen ladder needs to be a particular length to reach from the floor of the loft to the landing floor.

Some loft ladders extend further to reduce the climbing angle.

Space saving

Compact loft ladders cost a fraction of the price of installing a staircase and take up little or no space.

The most compact models require very limited space within the loft, giving the user maximum storage space.

Types of Loft Ladder

  • Telescopic loft ladders are ideally suited to small spaces as the retract within them selves and store within the confines of the loft hatch or ceiling. They are lightweight and easy to use.
  • Concertina loft ladders, sometimes known as zig-zag ladders, are great space savers and easy to extend and retract. They require minimum vertical clearance; they are durable and rigid.
  • Folding loft ladders often require no storage space as they attach to the inside of the hatch door. They require more landing space to open out than other types but have less moving parts to fail. They are easy and quiet to use.
  • Portable loft ladders are convenient and versatile. They have many indoor and outdoor uses and most collapse to manageable, portable sizes. Storage is easy, their main sticking point is the need to carried from downstairs, the garage, shed, each time you need to access the loft space.

Final thoughts

It is imperative that you measure your available loft access precisely. Failure to do so could result in expensive alterations.

We recommend enlisting the help of a friend when attempting installation, and referring to online guides and videos for help.

When it is installed and you can nip up and down the loft with very little effort, ypu might wonder why you didn’t invest in the best loft ladder sooner.