Tool Review: Werner MT-22 Telescoping MultiLadder

2012-10-02 by . 9 comments

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Every homeowner at one point feels the need to either get up on their roof or reach something really high off the ground.  The problem with large ladders is just that – they’re large.  An extension ladder capable of reaching the roof of a typical 2-story house is likely to be 10′ long when stored, which at a minimum may make transporting it back from the store difficult.  Also, it cannot work as a stepladder, as it has to be braced against something solid, typically your house.  The industry has come up with a solution to this issue, and it is known as a telescoping multiladder.

There are several brands of this style of ladder available, and most of them work in a very similar way.  In this article, I’ll be reviewing the Werner MT-22.

 

There are 4 main ways to use this ladder, and we’ll look at them one at a time.  First, though, we’ll look at the hinges and locks and see how they operate.

Here’s the hinges in the locked position.  The blue plastic knob is sticking out from the ladder, and you can’t see the pins.  In order to move them to the open position, you simply push the blue plastic ends so they are flush with the ladder.  They are pretty solid, but you can move them easily by pushing with the palm of your hand.

Then, you can see the 3 pins pop out of the ladder frame.  You’ll do this on either side, and then the ladder will swing freely until it reaches one of 3 positions – extension ladder, or 180 degrees, stepladder, which I would estimate around 20 or so degrees, and storage, where the legs are right next to one another and the ladder is not particularly stable.  Once it reaches one of those positions, the hinges snap back into place, locking solidly.

The second set of locks are the ones that go into the ladder rungs when they are extended.  They are solid metal pieces that are spring-loaded, and at the end they have a “U” shape.  To unlock them, pull them out and then rotate them away from the ladder.

To lock the rungs, just do the same thing in reverse – pull out the metal U, turn it so the end goes into the rung, and let it slide ino the rung.

 

The whole system is fairly easy to use, and if there is not any weight on the elements, they slide and go into place quite freely.  If you’re trying to unlock a hinge and it’s under some weight, it might take some wiggling, however.  They can be left half locked (in the outer set of holes) and then when you slide the inner ladder to match up the holes, it’ll spring fully engaged.  There is a tiny bit of a ridge around the inner hole, so it might not catch perfectly every time, but it works most of the time.

Now that we’re familiar with the special parts of this ladder, we’ll go on to review the different ways it can be used.

The first usage method is as a traditional stepladder:

The ladder used this way has a weight rating of 300 pounds per side.  You can lock the rung hinges on any particular rung, so it can be used for a short reach or a long reach.  This is great in a backyard if you want to get up to a high tree branch with pruning shears.  Next is the usage as a stair stepladder:

This method is extremely useful when the thing you are trying to get to is above a staircase.  If you have a larger home, you may have a very large foyer, with some lights in the ceiling above a staircase.  Now you can get to them to work on them, and as a bonus, 2 people can do this – one from either side.

3rd is the primary reason I bought the ladder, the extension ladder:

As you can see, it reaches up to the roof of the second story house, allowing me to clean the gutters.  The top two steps are not meant to be stepped on.  Instead, you’re supposed to hold onto the rungs above you for stability, so I don’t think I could get on top of the roof with this ladder easily, but that is likely to be another project.  This way of using the ladder brings me to its one drawback – the weight.  This ladder is fairly heavy, weighing in at 42 pounds.  The difficulty comes in maneuvering the ladder when it is in extension mode.  I’ve found the best way to use it this way is to extend the top section fully first.  Second, place it against the wall, hold the inner rungs of the bottom section, and undo the hinges.  Lastly, pull it back towards you a bit, just so can pull the inner part up.  I was able to move it a couple of rungs up each time before I leaned it back against the wall and reset my arms to pull it up another 2 rungs.  It gets much easier with practice.  It’s simply very difficult to push it straight up right while keeping the ladder up, and if you extend it fully on the ground, it’s difficult to pull the ladder to an upright position – it is 19 feet long.  This is where one area where a competitor’s ladder, if it is lighter, could be much more useful.  Bonus points for commenting and  describing the unsafe application of the ladder in this picture.

The last method, and the least useful for me, is the scaffold method:

Imagine the pole is a scaffold plank:

This method is used when you are working either on a wide high piece and don’t want to continually move the ladder, or if you are working directly above a hole in the ground (a basement storm cellar outside entrance, for example)  For this method, you simply slide off the inner rungs on both sides, and then lock them together, then insert the plank between the two separate ladders.  I simply don’t have a lot of need yet for this sort of activity, but it’s nice to know that it can be used in that way.

Werner also makes several accessories for the ladder, including a work/tool platform as well as a stand-off/stabilizer that can be used to either allow you to work across a window, or just to give you more stability at the top.

Overall, I am very satisfied with the ladder.  The main problem I have with it, as I noted earlier,  is that it is heavy, but it’s also made out of steel instead of aluminum – you could buy a lighter one, but you’d pay more for it.  It stores easily, and it can be transported in a typical sedan, both of which are things that a “normal” extension ladder is not capable of.  Also, there’s no rope or pulleys involved, which is another plus.  I would give this product a solid 4 out of 5 Captain Constructions, especially if you cannot get an extension ladder home yourself.

4 Captain Constructions

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9 Comments

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  • Karl Katzke says:

    I second this review! I actually own two of these, and love them. They work wonderfully inside and out. I can even fit one ladder in the passenger seat of my Accord Coupe. Show me another 22′ ladder that can do that.

  • Casey says:

    Looks exactly like a Little Giant ladder, except the LG gives you rubber wheels to protect your house when using it in the extension mode. I don’t know who came up with the design first, but there is a slight difference.

  • Rich Homolka says:

    I’ve got a shorter version of this ladder. It’s very stable, and very easy to store. As Karl says, works wonderfully indoors as a stepladder as well.

    At first i thought that having the adjustability would make it less stable, but i found that once you put weight on it, there’s no give at all and feels as stable as any other ladder you’ll find.

  • Joe says:

    I have this ladder as well. Besides the weight, the other complaint I would have is that the little plastic feet come out if you drag the ladder around. Not a big deal.

  • Matthew says:

    You have instantly made me want one of those ladders.

    Thanks. :)

  • Nice review Aaron! I have this same ladder and it’s been great. I agree, it is a bit heavy but overall I think it’s one of the best ladders for the price.

    These ladders with the hinge in the middle always make me nervous when I’m on them, because I’m afraid of the hinges giving out. This ladder, however, has one of the more sturdy hinge systems on it, which is a little more comforting. I’m still not fully comfortable climbing it when it’s fully extended, but I think I would be that way with any ladder! :)

  • Jeff says:

    Great review and nice job with the pictures.

    I used your tip about standing the ladder upright and sliding the lower inner section up to get full height and it worked well. I really struggled trying to stand it upright already extended. Thank you!

    This ladder is one of the best investments I ever made, and the cost was very reasonable. My house is a bi-level, so I use the stair setup to change the front porch bulb, which was always precarious to do prior to having this ladder (extension ladders were too long and risked smashing transom window, step ladders were too short and porch stairs were in the way). I also can fully extend it to reach the highest second story portions. I like the sturdiness of the hinges and the wide spread feet put me at ease. I’ve been able to accomplish many household jobs more quickly and definitely more safely since purchasing this ladder.

  • Peter says:

    I always recommend this ladder: reasonable price, very stable and really multifunctional…

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