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.