An attractive solid wood 2-step stool that's available in choice of 2 finishes. Has a hand hole that makes it easy to carry. Build is very sturdy.
Takes up a bit of space to store. No slip-resistant coating. Assembly required.
Super easy to fold, so you can tuck it away and forget it when it's not in use. 16" design provides more height than most one-step models. Has anti-slip "dots" and a carrying handle.
A bit wobbly, so it's not likely to accommodate the advertised 330 lb. weight limit.
Earns high marks for safety, thanks to the handrail and slip-resistant surface. Has rubber-coated feet and soft-grip handle coating for added stability. Can also be used without the handrail.
Assembly is somewhat confusing and time consuming. The 300 lb. weight rating is questionable. On the heavy side.
This one comes packed with features: compact, easy to fold and unfold, and holds plenty of weight. All of this at a great price makes it a solid choice for plenty of tasks.
The 8" height is not suited for tasks that require a higher climb.
Features an oval structure that is almost tip-proof. Build feels solid; has protective rubber coating on top and bottom to guard against slips. Suitable for kids, but is sturdy enough for adults to use as well.
At approximately 6", it is fairly short and not suitable for consumers who need more height.
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When you need to grab something that’s just out of reach, pulling over a chair isn’t always your safest bet — especially if said chair has wheels. The smart solution? A step stool, of course.
Step stools are made of materials like hard plastic, wood, or metal and come in various shapes and sizes to accommodate everyone, from toddlers to adults. While shorter models are best for minor tasks and most commonly used by children, those that have more to offer in the height department are excellent for reaching high places, like top shelves in closets or cabinets. Some step stools even have bonus features, like dual steps for long reaches, carrying handles that enhance portability, and foldable designs to keep them neatly stored when not in use.
To learn more about this useful household helper, read on. If you’re ready to buy, consider one of our recommended models as you shop.
Many step stools range from 8 to 12 inches high, which is practical for the most common uses, such as reaching top-level shelves and cleaning high areas around the home. Shorter models are suitable for when something is just out of reach, kids who need an extra boost, and adults who don’t feel comfortable climbing. However, taller step stools that go up to around 20 inches are also available and ideal for higher reaches. The downside to the added height, however, is an increased risk of losing your balance or of the stool tipping over. Multi-tiered models with two or three steps are best for added height, as the design structure distributes weight for added stability.
The platform of a step stool is the component that you step on, so it’s designed to accommodate both feet. Approximately 12 to 20 inches wide is fairly standard. The length, or top-to-bottom measurements, also varies depending on the style of the step stool, but standard designs are typically between 8 to 10 inches.
It’s important to think about the people who will be using a step stool before you make your selection. Shorter models with uniform, stable construction are best for kids and users who don’t want a high climb. Some step stools have handrails that make them ideal for anyone who needs something to grip for added security. In addition, some step stools are sturdier than others, so check the weight limit on the models you like before you choose.
If you choose a step stool that lacks traction, consider purchasing anti-slip tread tape to put on the stepping surface. It’s reasonably priced, easy to apply, and will provide added peace of mind when using your new step stool.
Although the concept behind the step stool is straightforward, there are several important features to think about before you buy. Here’s a closer look to help you decide.
Step stools are close cousins to step ladders but are typically lighter and easier to use. They are best suited for simple tasks around the house and to use in a bathroom or kitchen.
Inexpensive: Single-tiered step stools and those made of plastic are quite affordable. Although they aren’t designed for heavy-duty use, they meet many basic needs. If you don’t have a lot to spend, you can find a model in this category for around $15 to $20.
Mid-range: If you need a few extra features like dual steps or metal construction, you’ll pay in the neighborhood of $20 to $30.
Expensive: A top-quality step stool with extras ranges in price from about $35 to $60. At this price level, you’ll find solid wood, metal, and multistep models. Unique shapes and designs, as well as models with handrails, also come at premium prices.
A youngster may be tempted to play on a step stool, which could result in a fall. Teaching her how to use a step stool when she needs help reaching objects — and not to use it as a toy — will help her develop a sense of independence instead of an injury.
The Cooking Stage Kitchen Step Stool is a well-built option that’s designed with cooking needs in mind. If you need a little extra height when working at your counter, sink, or stove, the wide platform lifts you a little over 4 inches, improving your reach just enough for many kitchen tasks. It’s also extremely tough and can hold as much as 500 pounds. If portability is a priority, Ollieroo’s Folding Step Stool has locking legs that can easily be tucked under the platform when not in use. It also has a sturdy handle, so you can grab it and go. For customers who prefer an uncomplicated, lightweight design, the Rubbermaid 2-Step gives you two step levels and is made of molded plastic that is reasonably strong but not heavy.
Q. I need a step stool that can handle a lot of wear and tear. What are the most durable materials for heavy-duty use?
A. Step stools are made to hold weight, and with that in mind, the materials used to make them are reinforced for strength. However, wood and metal are stronger than plastic, and while wooden step stools are ideal for all kinds of tasks around the house, those made of metal are suitable for use in the garage, workshop, or even tasks around a home’s exterior.
Q. Will step stool legs slip on hard flooring surfaces?
A. This is a concern, but many manufacturers have taken precautions to prevent slippage. Most step stools have rubber-coated feet or bases to keep them in place when people are climbing on them. Look for this feature if you plan to use your new step stool on floors that could be slick.
Q. I like that folding step stools are easy to transport and store, but do they come with any disadvantages?
A. When it comes to some designs, you will trade the conveniences of portability and compact storage for a bit less stability. However, features like folding legs that lock it in place are pretty reliable. If aesthetics are concerning for you, foldable models look a bit industrial and certainly not as stylish as wooden models.
Q: What’s the best height for a child’s step stool?
A. You’ll want to start your child off with a step stool that has a fairly low platform — enough height to increase his reach, but not so much that he could hurt himself badly if he takes a tumble. Look for a model that is designed for kids or one that is between 4 and 6 inches tall — just enough to give him a boost.
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