Little Giant Ladders
One of the original “multi-ladders,” probably the best-known, and one of the very best built; Little Giant Ladders were invented in Germany in the 1970’s. On a European tour, Hal Wing “discovered” the invention and immediately recognized its practicality and value. Convertible, collapsible, and adaptable, the Little Giant takes the place of three or four different ladders and work platforms. Wing began importing Little Giants and selling them at trade shows and county fairs. As the story goes, Wing and his family assembled the ladders in their garage until the business finally outgrew the garage and the family. Word-of-mouth fueled such intense demand for Little Giants the family mortgaged just about everything, purchased exclusive American licensing and manufacturing rights, bought a dilapidated warehouse, and spawned both an industry and a host of cheap imitations.
Little Giant’s popularity originates in the product’s design: comprised of two straight ladders hinged at the centers, the basic Little Giant becomes an extension ladder, two-step ladders, a multi-level work platform, or support for simple scaffolding. Made of rugged, lightweight aluminum, and outfitted with excellent hardware, the Little Giant is fairly expensive. But because it does the work of three separate ladders, it becomes a great bargain for a professional or intrepid do-it-yourselfer who will use it constantly. Collapsed, the original Little Giant fits into the trunk of a mid-size car; it easily fits in even a tiny pick-up truck, and it is light enough to lift in and out, up and down several times a day with little wear and tear on a journeyman’s muscles.
Painters and plumbers especially like Little Giants because of their flexibility and stability. Painters can reach any and every interior surface in a conventional home with just this one tool; plumbers can work comfortably on overhead pipes, confident the ladder will remain steady and secure. Electricians are recommended to use the Little Giant Fiberglass ladders. Homeowners rave about the Little Giant, because it satisfies all their household needs and stores easily on a garage shelf or hook.
Since Wing Enterprises took over manufacturing Little Giants, they have expanded and diversified the line, offering a range of lengths and duty ratings. The low-end “Type 1,” rated for 250 pounds and stretching to 15-feet at its furthest extension is the least expensive model. The Type 1A “Classic,” featured in and famous for infomercials, is certified to hold 300 pounds and stretches to 19feet; it remains by far the best seller. And Little Giant is making a foray into the industrial market, offering a Type 1AA. All the Little Giants come with lifetime warranties.
Wing also has introduced a variety of accessories, some extremely useful and others a little too cute. The “wing-span” attachment secures the extended ladder against a wall, both stabilizing the ladder and protecting the wall from scratches and dings. The leg-levelers adjust to different heights, so that the ladder or work platform rests securely on uneven ground. And the telescoping work platform transforms the Little Giant into a reliable scaffold, perfect for painting interiors and single-storey exteriors and eaves.
Little Giant’s user-friendly website makes it easy to learn all about the products, look at the suggested retail prices, and consider the value of all the accessories. The website invites uncertain purchasers to e-mail their questions, and people at the factory respond fairly promptly to customers’ inquiries. Although customers can buy directly from the website, most shoppers agree the cost of shipping wipes out most of the discounts, and the major home improvement retailers often offer deep discounts on Little Giants.
Ready to Shop Around?
If you're going to purchase a Little Giant ladder, we highly recommend using a trusted source. These ladders, as simple as they are to use, do have a number of working parts and you'll want to ensure you get a working ladders.
- eLadders.com is amongst the top Internet distributors of the Little Giant Ladder System. They carry all of their designs at the lowest available prices.
- LadderSales.com offers a full line of Little Giant Demo Ladders - Visit their site to learn more about what a demo ladder is and how purchasing one can some you some extra money.
- The Wing Company also sells their own ladders.