When we put together a feature to help people choose the right kind of ladder, we weren’t really prepared for the Little Giant SumoStance 24 foot IAA rated extension ladder. Well, we thought we were. We thought we were in for just another solidly build extension ladder. Then it was delivered and we opened it up…
The Little Giant SumoStance extension is not just an extension ladder. It’s THE extension ladder.
There really is gold at the end of the rainbow. Fairy tales do come true. And yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
Do I have your attention yet?
Excellent, let’s dig deeper.
We need to set a reasonable expectation of what were comparing to here. A traditional, well built extension ladder in this class is made of fiberglass. It can support usually 300 (IA) or 375 (IAA) pounds. It slides down in two or three sections to make it easier to carry. The extension of an extension ladder is achieved by pulling on a rope and pulley system centered behind the back of the ladder. OSHA requires that an extension ladder is set at a 4:1 ratio of working height to distance from vertical surface. They also require that at least 3 feet of the ladder extend beyond the contact point and that the top three rungs not be used for climbing.
Little Giant SumoStance Features
The features are what really sets Little Giant SumoStance extension ladders apart from the crowd. For a ladder, it’s a surprising number of innovative features.
Imagine a sumo wrestler or look one up on Google if you really need to. These large men achieve balance by having a really wide base. That’s exactly the idea behind the Little Giant SumoStance outriggers. With the release of a lever, they go from the traditional vertical positioning and lock out for a wide, more stable base. They also have the ability to extend independently of each other and account for uneven ground.
There are a pair of integrated bubble levels on Little Giant SumoStance ladders. The first one serves a very obvious purpose: ensure that you are climbing the ladder as if on perfectly even ground. Once you’ve adjusted the balance using the outriggers, the first level helps ensure you got it right.
The second bubble level is the one that hooked the math genius in me. This one doesn’t mean that your ladder is perfectly level vertically. It ensures that you are at the correct OSHA required ratio from the vertical surface you’re leaning on! Yep, it doesn’t matter what height you’re climbing to. Since the requirement is based on a ratio, it means that the angle to the ground doesn’t change. No more math required. And the crowd went wild!
Side Mounted Dual Pulley System
Go back to physics… remember the concept that pulleys make load lifting easier? They do. And the more pulleys you add, the easier the lifting becomes. Little Giant SumoStance ladders use two pulleys instead of one. That makes them much easier to extend than the traditional single pulley systems on the market.
They also place that dual pulley system on the side of the ladder. By doing that, you can extend the ladder without having to reach behind it or attempt to pull between the rungs.
Color Coded Warning System
Okay, maybe “warning system” isn’t the perfect way to describe it, but red does tend to get your attention. The top three rungs on Little Giant SumoStance ladders are colored red. Simple. Just colored red, but with massive implications. The last three rungs are also the last three feet on your ladder. This means that even the new guy on the jobsite will easily remember how far OSHA requires you to extend the ladder beyond the contact point and which three rungs to avoid climbing on.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
Is there anything lacking on Little Giant SumoStance Ladders? As a matter of fact, yes. I’d like to see them switch out the round rungs for D-rungs to add that little bit of extra comfort when climbing. With the potential of 375 pounds of guy/gal plus gear climbing, even the smallest increase in surface area will relieve significant pressure on your feet.
It says a lot when three grown men that are no strangers to extension ladders stand around staring in awe at the Little Giant SumoStance. The additional features that are included over and above what the traditional extension ladders does is worth the additional cost in my opinion. Prices vary wildly around the internet on this, but I found it settling in between $665 – $690, which is about $50 more than other ladders in the same class.
Is the Little Giant SumoStance Extension Ladder the best in the world? I can’t say that for sure. However, I can tell you that it’s the best one I’ve ever seen!