Best Drywall Stilts

Updated January 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
14 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best drywall stilts

If you want to give the crown molding in your home a fresh coat of paint, it would be difficult to do from the floor. Even with a step ladder, you’d need to climb down to reposition the ladder and climb back up to start painting again, which just compounds the chances for falling and injury. A quality pair of drywall stilts is the solution when it comes to painting ceilings and many home repairs.

Drywall stilts typically add anywhere from 18 to 40 inches to your reach without the use of a ladder. These handy devices can be used for simple tasks like changing a lightbulb and painting to heavy-duty chores like hanging suspended ceiling tiles. The best models are secure, comfortable, adjustable, and able to support the full weight of both you and your tools.

For more detailed information about the features and uses of drywall stilts, continue reading. If you’re ready to buy and would like some high-quality suggestions, consider the drywall stilts that we've spotlighted on this page.

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Drywall stilts don't just make drywall construction easier, they also come in handy when doing a number of tasks, such as painting or hanging ceiling tiles.

Key considerations

The two critical elements you need to consider when purchasing drywall stilts are height and weight capacity.

Height

The right height needed for drywall stilts varies depending not only on the project but also the size of the individual. Luckily, most drywall stilts extend around 18 inches from the lowest height setting to the highest. You don’t want to purchase stilts that are too short because that means you'd still have to stretch to accomplish the task, only now you're doing it on stilts! Think about your ideal height for the task at hand and choose the model that can elevate you to that height. If you do this kind of work for a living, consider purchasing two pairs of stilts of different sizes so you’ll always be prepared.

Weight capacity

The load-bearing capacity of drywall stilts typically tops out at about 230 pounds. Since that’s per stilt, some believe a pair can support well over 400 pounds. This would be the case if the load was equally distributed over both stilts and it never moved. However, the instant you pick up one foot, the stilt that’s still on the ground is bearing the full load. If that load is more than the stated weight capacity, the stilt may fail. Look for a model that can safely support your weight plus the weight of your tools and any construction materials you may be carrying.

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Did You Know?
It’s important to set your stilts at the proper height. Too low and you’ll need to reach; too high and you could collide with overhead fixtures.
Staff
BestReviews

Features

Components

Feet: The larger the feet on your drywall stilts, the easier it is to maintain your balance. The best models have two support beams running from the footplate to the stilt foot so it can provide better support and offer a slightly more natural flex in the step. It’s important to have nonslip, non-marring rubber feet on the drywall stilts to keep them from sliding out from under you or damaging the floor when you’re walking.

Footplates: Your feet rest on these when wearing the drywall stilts. They need to be large enough to accommodate your shoe size. Adjustable heel plates are also highly recommended because they hold your heel in place.

Locking straps: The straps that go around your shoes need to lock in place so they won’t loosen while you’re working. Some of the high-end models feature a ratcheting system to make sure your feet are securely fastened to the stilts.

Calf supports: When wearing drywall stilts, your calves are the most prone to discomfort or chafing. The best calf supports are cushioned, with a strap that fully wraps around your leg to hold it in place. You also want calf supports that somewhat curve around your calves to help cradle them in place.

Tool-free adjustment

Drywall stilts need to be adjustable so you can customize them to the task at hand. However, if you need an arsenal of tools to change the height of your stilts a few inches, you may opt to work at an uncomfortable level rather than make the adjustment. Tool-free adjustments that can be fully secured with ease are the best.

Weight and durability

A pair of drywall stilts needs to be lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant. Even though aluminum alloy isn’t quite as tough as steel, it’s preferred because of its lighter weight. Every time you take a step, you need to lift the stilt off the ground. Toward the end of the day, when you’re getting tired, a heavier stilt increases your chances of tripping and falling.

When taking those first few steps on drywall stilts, it helps to have someone on either side of you for balance and confidence.

Staff
BestReviews

Drywall stilt prices

Inexpensive: Drywall stilts start at around $100. Although it's not a hard and fast rule, in general, these models offer a height boost of about 18 to 30 inches. These drywall stilts might not provide a great deal of comfort or have much more than the most basic safety features, but they’re probably good enough for someone who needs a pair for occasional use.

Mid-range: From around $150 to $200, drywall stilts tend to give the user a little more height, usually 24 to 40 inches. These models also tend to include locking safety features and additional padding and support around the calves. The average user can expect to spend this much.

Expensive: Unless you’re going to be using your drywall stilts on a regular basis, you probably don’t need to spend $250 or more. Although these models may offer extra height or be reinforced to support more weight, the drywall stilts in the middle price range will likely be of greater value to the average homeowner.

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For Your Safety
Although it might be impossible to eliminate taking a backward step for balance, you should never walk backward in drywall stilts.
Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Clear the area before you put on your stilts. Remove all potential tripping hazards. You're not going to be able to reach the floor once you have the stilts on.
  • Inspect the stilts. Before putting on your drywall stilts, make sure the straps are in good condition, the springs are functioning, and all the nuts and bolts are tightly fastened.
  • Start at the shortest level. Until you feel comfortable wearing the stilts, keep them at a low level. The taller your stilts, the more difficult walking becomes.
  • Put on your stilts. One method is to use an elevated, secure surface, such as a sturdy table that’s strong enough to support your weight. Or you may sit on stairs, two or three steps up from the bottom, with the drywall stilts on the floor (not the steps). Another strategy is to simply step up onto the first stilt and fasten it. After that leg is secure, use a sturdy structure, such as a wall, for support and balance to put on the second stilt.
  • Fasten the calf strap first. If you happen to fall with just your foot securely strapped and not your calf, the result could be a broken ankle.
  • Secure the straps out of the way. To keep the straps from catching on anything and to help keep them secured, tuck in the ends of the straps so they aren’t dangling while you work.
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Work boots or shoes with good traction, such as sneakers, are the best footwear when using drywall stilts.

FAQ

Q. Are drywall stilts legal?

A. At the time of writing, OSHA does not prohibit the use of drywall stilts. In California, however, stilts are specifically named and prohibited by Cal-OSHA (Article 21: Scaffolds: General Requirements). In Canada, you may be required to take a course before using drywall stilts. Additionally, the use of drywall stilts might require workplace modifications such as raised guardrails. Be sure to research the region where you’ll be working to make sure you aren’t unintentionally violating any safety codes.

Q. Are drywall stilts hard to use?

A. Hearing the words "drywall stilts," most people might think of a balancing act in the circus. Fortunately, modern drywall stilts are not quite so dangerous. Drywall stilts have a large footprint, making them easy for most people to use rather quickly. This is not to say that drywall stilts are free of risk. They can contribute to serious injury if used improperly or carelessly.

Q. What are some of the benefits of using drywall stilts?

A. The biggest benefit is convenience. You don’t need to keep climbing up and down a ladder on a job site when using drywall stilts, so it can make the workflow more smoothly. Also, even though they may look more dangerous than a ladder, drywall stilts can offer greater stability and comfort whether you’re moving or standing still. The best reason for using drywall stilts, however, is to keep you from reaching. Overextending is one of the biggest reasons for back and other workplace-related injuries.

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