Updated November 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 
Bottom line
Best of the Best
IKEA Bekvam Wooden Utility Step Stool
Bekvam Wooden Utility Step Stool
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Comes in Three Finishes
Bottom Line

A well-made model that's crafted to last with styling that fits most home decor. This step stool is as good-looking as it is practical.


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.

Best Bang for the Buck
Acko 16-Inch Folding Step Stool
16-Inch Folding Step Stool
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Easy to Fold & Store
Bottom Line

Worth considering if you are looking for a single-step model that is higher than most and simple to fold and store. However, it's not the most durable option.


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.

DMI Step Stool with Handle
Step Stool with Handle
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Built-in Handrail
Bottom Line

Despite some quirks, this is a versatile step stool that's perfect for most consumers who need the added security of an easy-to-grip handrail.


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.

Adams Manufacturing Quik-Fold Step Stool
Adams Manufacturing
Quik-Fold Step Stool
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Compact & Affordable
Bottom Line

If you just need a simple, 1-step stool that's inexpensive and easy to store, this is a fantastic choice. Incredibly affordable and highly functional.


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.

Joovy Step Tool
Step Tool
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Unique Design
Bottom Line

A basic stool with a stable design. A good pick for youngsters who need a boost to a sink or potty, or for adults who just need a little added height to lengthen their reach.


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.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best step stools

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.

A step stool in action
Step stools have many uses around the house but also come in handy for tasks in the garage and workshop. In addition to using one to reach areas over your head, you can use one to place paint cans, tools, and hardware on while you work.

Key considerations


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.

Who will be using the step stool?

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.

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For your safety
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.

  • Multiple steps: Some items are easy to reach with just a little added height; others are farther out of your grasp. A step stool with more than one step can give you a better reach when you need it.
  • Handles: Step stools often come with simple handles, such as holes to slip your hands through, that make it easy to move it from one location to another.
  • Foldable components: Storing a step stool can be cumbersome, especially for consumers who have limited space. Foldable legs or entire units that fold up solve this problem and also come in handy for those who need a model that’s easy to transport.
  • Slip protection: Made of rubber or rubber-like materials, slip guards keep step stools in place and are located on the platform, base, and legs.
  • Materials: When choosing a step stool, you’ll have your choice of three materials: metal, wood, and plastic.
  • Handrails: Specialized models come with handrails that give users a device to hold onto while climbing the step stool. Handrails are usually removeable for storage or when they aren’t needed.
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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.

Step stool prices

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.


  • Pay close attention to a step stool’s weight limit before you make your decision. The weight each model can accommodate varies, and the maximum amount is typically indicated in the product description.
  • Keep a step stool that will be used by a child in the bathroom. It will be easy to grab when he needs it to reach the potty, wash his hands, or brush his teeth. Plus, he’ll feel like a big kid when he doesn’t need help in the bathroom.
  • Do you have balance or stability issues? Don’t risk using a step stool when you are at home by yourself. However, if you live alone, consider a step stool with a handrail that you can hold onto while you reach.
  • Don’t forget that a step stool can also come in handy as a stool. From working in the garden to playing with the kids, the right step stool can double as a portable seat.
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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.
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Closets with high shelves are great for storing shoes and folded clothing but can be difficult to reach. Keep a step stool in your closet, so you can simply pull it out when it comes time locate a favorite pair of shoes or to store clothes when the seasons change.


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?
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?
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?
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?
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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