A step ladder is a step ladder, right? Not when it’s the new Select Step ladder from Little Giant. I got my first look at the Select Step at Little Giant’s booth at this year’s National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. Not only was I impressed with the ladder, but I was impressed with the Ninja skills Mel demonstrated when he took the time to point out the innovative features on the Select Step. Check out this video I shot at NHS, and I think you’ll be impressed with the ladder features and with Mel’s ladder-ninja skills.
Shortly after NHS, Little Giant sent a Select Step, Fuel Tank and storage rack to HomeFixated so we could see how it performed around the home. I’ll have to admit I was a little skeptical for a couple reasons. 1) A stepladder is a pretty basic tool. I wasn’t convinced it should have all kinds of bells and whistles on it. I use ladders to make myself taller, not to have them cook me breakfast. 2) I assumed since Mel manipulated that Select Step like he could do it in his sleep, he actually spent several years training at Little Giant’s covert ladder-ninja dojo, all to make using the complicated looking features easy. Turns out my skepticism was unfounded. And, since the features work so well, now I kinda do wish the ladder could make my breakfast too. I’ll just assume Little Giant will add a toaster oven option after reading this.
The Select Step has some real standout features:
You know that numbness that sets in when you’ve spent too much time balanced on a ladder rung? The Comfort Platform aims to eliminate that. About 2/3 of the way up the ladder you’ll find the Comfort Platform. To call it a rung would be an insult. Instead, it’s a platform that gives you what feels like the ladder-equivalent of a football field to stand on. I found it improved my balance, and made working “at altitude” much, much more comfortable. It’s also how you open and close the ladder, making finger pinches far less likely than on typical step ladders. A great feature!
This starts to get into the area I was a little skeptical of, and it turned out to be one of my favorite features. The Air Deck stows in convenient clips and then pops right out to be mounted at the top of the ladder. You can use it to hold your paint, tools, hardware, but definitely not your beer, ok? It even has a magnetic tray, great for me since I have a habit of shifting ladders around and getting bonked on the head by hardware I forgot in the tray. My favorite part of the Air Deck is really from enhanced safety. When you’re standing higher on the ladder, the Air Deck provides a quick handle and a way for you to keep your bearings while not looking at the ladder. Definitely added peace of mind, and I would guess it will prevent a few falls. Just don’t treat it like a diving board.
Independent Height Adjustment
A few years ago I got the brilliant idea to install a hanging light fixture above our stairwell. Sure it looks good, and it provides good lighting for the stairway. Unfortunately, it is also a nightmare to clean and change bulbs in. Previously, I had to take a 24′ extension ladder, prop it against a 2nd story interior wall, and then run a scaffolding plank across to the stairs. Changing the bulb then involved a move that would make Johnny Depp proud. . . you had to walk the plank. With the Select Step, I was able to adjust the two ladder legs to different heights and then very safely reach the bulb. Take that matey!
I liked how wide the legs of the Select Step are. Despite being adjustable from five to eight feet in height, the wide stance made for a more stable operation.
Fuel Tank (Option)
The funniest thing about the Fuel Tank is in the documentation: “Not recommended for fuel.” I can see it now, you load the tank up with highly flammable gas, climb up to the top of the ladder for a smoke. . . . I should probably stop before the Little Giant attorneys go into shock. Anyway, just for the record, I agree, the fuel tank should not be used for fuel. But it can be a handy place for paint, or in my case window washing water and soap. For window washing it was ideal. An integrated handle let me easily remove the tank and carry it around, and having it mounted at the top of the ladder was super for getting those higher windows. If you plan to use it for paint, it comes with a handy roller and magnetic brush holder. The only downside to the Fuel Tank is that I couldn’t use it and the AirDeck at the same time (they install in the same mounting holes). Indispensable for window washing though.
The Select Step stores down to a compact 5′ size, but for it’s size it’s not incredibly light. If you’re headed over a smooth surface, the optional wheels at the bottom of the ladder make transport a cinch. Since I was running around stairs and obstacles with mine, most of the time I found it easier to simply carry it.
There’s also an optional Little Giant Ladder Rack. It’s a convenient way to store the Select Step, although I found a bit of play once the ladder was on the rack. My guess is the rack is designed to accommodate more than just the the Select step which accounts for it not fitting like a glove. It’s easy to install with a four included screws, and a worthwhile accessory if you don’t already have a storage solution in mind.
The versatility and useful features of the Select Step make it ideal for DIY’ers and homeowners, but I think pro’s would appreciate it as well. It’s compact size is great for storage, and yet it’s extendable height makes the Select Step very versatile. When it’s collapsed, it’s definitely easier to get around than most traditional step ladders due to its compact form. You can find the Select Step for about $200. Buy one and you’ll be a ladder ninja in no time!