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How Much Weight Can a Ladder Really Hold? (Read This First!)

Ladders are a piece of essential equipment in daily life. They are used to extend reach, and safely hold up a certain amount of weight in them. They are mostly used to help people reach heights where they can’t reach easily.

In this article, we will discuss the weight-holding capacity of a ladder.

How much weight can a ladder really hold? 

The maximum bearing capacity of a ladder depends on its grade. A professional type of ladder that is used in special types of work is capable of weighing 300 to 365lbs. This weight-bearing capacity is calculated by combining the weight of accessories, the ladder, and the weight of equipment.

There are a few things to keep in mind when calculating how much weight a ladder can hold. Usually, the carrying capacity of a ladder is calculated by the combination of accessories, people, and equipment.

In addition, ladders are quite differentiated by grade based on their working purpose. Step, platform, extension, and leaning step ladders are considered as some common basic ladder types.

The weight holding capacity of the light ladders starts from 200lbs and the maximum and maximum of the ladders can hold up to 900lbs. Here is a list of some of the ladders based on their capacity of holding weight and size: 


200 LB ladder:

The 200 LB ladder is a light-duty type III extension ladder that is mostly used for light application purposes.

They have a durable extruded rung lock and a maximum of 15ft higher reaching capability from the ground has slip-resistant to make your application safer and more convenient.  

225 LB ladder:

The 225 LB ladders are considered type II based on their duty rating and have higher durability due to their 225lbs of weight holding capacity. The ladder has a 32ft higher reaching capability and can be used for industrial purposes. 

250 LB ladder:

The 250 LB ladders are considered a type I ladder. This typically means it is applicable for use in heavy-duty and industrial purposes.

The 250lbs weight capacity of this type I ladder is calculated by combining the weight of one person, tools and accessories kept on it.  

300 LB ladder:

The 300 LB ladders are also known as gorilla ladders and are rated Type IA based on their applications. They can reach 18ft higher and can hold up to 300lbs weight.


Pool ladder:

The pool ladders have their common application to hold people in the swimming pool area. The pool ladders have a weight capacity of 400lbs.

RV ladder:

The RV ladders are a great option for residential purposes. They generally weigh around 200-300lbs.

They have good durability and longevity and most of the manufacturer companies provide a slip-proof mechanism in them. The ladder’s weight depends on the total weight applied to it. 

How much weight can a 12-foot ladder really hold?

The 12 feet step higher ladders can hold weight up to 200 pounds. Most of the ladders have 12 feet higher reaching capability dedicated to use for household or residential purposes.

These ladders are considered as type three and they are rated light duty Depending on their usability and functionality. Although the ladders are called 12 feet, they have a reachability of a maximum of 16 feet higher.

The four key elements when choosing a right-sized ladder are style, size, duty, and material. It is recommended to use a fiberglass ladder rather than using aluminum since the fiberglass tends to be much stronger.

Moreover, fiberglass ladders are resistant to electricity. This means you can even use them in the household for electric repair purposes as well.

Just in case, if you want to make sure if you’re using the right 12 feet ladder, you need to make sure that you do not exceed 200 pounds of weight capacity on the ladder. 

How much weight can a ladder hold horizontally? How much weight can a ladder rack/shelf hold?

Generally, a ladder can hold up to 300 pounds of weight. If you lay down the ladder horizontally it can even withstand the pressure of 400 pounds with some bending and won’t fall or break.

But it is highly recommended to avoid laying the ladder horizontally to avoid any accident. Moreover, laying down the ladders horizontally and getting up on them might cause serious damage to the joints of the ladders.

Climbing up on the backside of the ladder by putting it down horizontally might cause damage and break the ladder in some cases.

Typically, a ladder that is used for household purposes can hold up to 200lbs and the ladders which are used for industrial purposes can hold up to 350lbs. All these weights are the combined weight of the ladder operator, tools, and accessories.

On the other hand, generally, a ladder rack or shelf can hold around 25lbs of weight without any trouble. 

What are the factors that affect ladder weight capacity? 

There are very few factors we should be kept into consideration when calculating the ladder weight capacity. Things such as the material, design, and type of ladder are the obvious factor that should matter when calculating the ladder weight capacity.

We already know that plastic ladders are a basic type of ladder. You can use the steel ladder or the aluminum ladder instead of using a plastic one. The alloy-built ladders are more durable, and they can carry much more weight than the steel ladders.

Some of the main factors that affect the ladder weight capacity are described below.


The design of the ladder plays a very important role to improve the weight holding capacity off a ladder.

For example, some ladders use an impact-resistant mechanism and shoe mechanism which prevents them from slipping down from any surface.

the ladders which usually have spreaders or locking device attached to them is much helpful to secure the ladder standing still in a position.


The first thing that affects the lighter weight capacity is the material that is used to make the ladder. Generally, ladders are made of different types of materials that have different weight holding capacities.

For example, a plastic ladder can hold up to 100lbs and a metal ladder can hold up to 200lbs. On the other hand, a fiberglass ladder can hold up to 500lbs, fiberglass just not only makes the ladder durable but also shockproof.

Weight holding capacity:

The weight holding capacity of a ladder is determined by the ladder type. Generally, you can use a light-duty ladder for household purposes. And a heavy-duty letter for industrial purposes.

What are the color code for ladder type and weight limit?

Different types of color codes are defined to make sure which ladder has how much load capacity. Besides, these color codes will help you differentiate between household, construction, or industrial purpose used letters.

They are also graded by a CSA code and ANSI code. You can simply differentiate the ladders using the right color code. The details of the color code of the ladder-type and weight limit are given below:  


Is the color code for the household purpose light duty letters, which are graded III by CSA and considered as type 3 ladders. This can hold up to 200lbs weight. 


Green is the color code for the medium-duty ladders, which are used for tradesman and farming purposes. The grade II letters are capable of holding 225lbs of weight.

Light blue: 

Light blue is the color code for the construction and industrial purpose ladders which are considered heavy-duty ladders. These ladders are graded grade I by CSA and this can hold up to 250lbs of weight.


Orange color also defines the construction and industrial heavy-duty ladders, which are considered as grade 1A and can hold up to two 300lbs of weight. 


This color could define the 1AA heavy-duty construction and industrial ladder, which can hold up to a maximum of 375lbs of weight.

How accurate are ladder weight limits?

The ladder weight accuracy is measured and confirmed by the manufacturer company and it can be proven if you tested based on the right criteria.

Most of the ladder’s weight capacity is based on the weight of the operator, their outfits, and tools and accessories put on them. The ladders go through many types of tests so that their weight holding capacity of them can be considered as correct.

When buying the letter, make sure you buy the writing ladder based on your demand and working purpose.

Generally, a ladder can withstand at least four times the total load it can carry but it is highly recommended not to try putting extra weight than the ladder’s weight holding capacity.

If you buy a ladder with the right weight capacity, there will be no problem during any use.

Final thoughts 

The weight holding capacity of a ladder is determined by its working purpose. Generally, a ladder which is used for household works is capable of carrying 200lbs of weight on it. on the other hand, the ladder is used for industrial purposes or capable of carrying up to 375lbs of weight.