Which Little Giant Ladder Is Better? – For a Contractor and a Homeowner
A YouTube Review can be found on our channel: https://youtu.be/KnKhW0eLiJM
The first multi-position, or as some call it, the “do-it-all” ladder I had my hands on made me almost quit window cleaning on my first day. It was this 26-footer Werner ladder that weighed a ton and the moment I tried to lift it, I knew I wasn’t cut out for it. It was an absolute pain to carry it around let alone adjust lengths. Thankfully, I decided to hit the gym instead and keep my brand new window cleaning career. Even then, when it came time for me to buy ladders, I elected for an extension ladder and a step ladder (also known as A-ladder) instead of a multi-position even though I really could have benefited from the compact form. I also worked with a window cleaner friend a day or two a week to supplement income and whenever I had to handle his 22-footer Werner multi-position ladder, I hated it.
Fast forward to earlier this month, I paid $320 for a high-end Little Giant multi-position ladder that comes with all the bells and whistles. What changed? I was at Costco the other day and stumbled upon a 17-footer Little Giant they carry. I couldn’t believe how light, compact and maneuverable it was! And, it was supposed to reach a majority of the 2nd story windows which is really all I need a ladder for. It also came with wheels, so I don’t have to carry it around! Upon research, I found out that Little Giant makes the best of the best multi-position ladders, a true pioneer in the industry. Having a data analyst background, I researched quite possibly every multi-position made on earth. After days (yes, days) of research, I decided on Little Giant Revolution 17-ft (actual extended length 15 ft) with Ratchet Leg Levelers (Model #12017-801). Then, Amazon messed up my order and sent me a Little Giant Xtreme 17-ft, also with Ratchet Leg Levelers (Model # 12317-801). Since I kind of wished that there was a comparison review for these two ladders, when I finally received my correct order and Amazon asked me to just keep the incorrect order, I decided to do this review!
Why These Two:
Multi-position ladders are available in four lengths by major manufacturers: 13 ft (actual extended length 11 ft), 17 ft (15 ft), 22 ft (19 ft), and 26 ft (23 ft). I feel that the 17-ft multi-position ladder is the best first ladder for most home-owners as well as many contractors who won’t need to reach all the way to the 2nd story roof.
After Little Giant shook the ladder market with their invention, many manufacturers started making multi-position ladders. Notable ones are Werner, Gorilla Ladders, Cosco (not Costco), and Harbor Freight. As of today, Werner multi-position ladders are still too heavy and use the older U-Pin Locks for height adjustment which is just not very convenient. The same can be said with Cosco and Harbor Freight lines. Gorilla Ladders’ newest MPX line, on the other hand, is a huge improvement over their last one. It boasts 375-lb load capacity over Little Giant’s 300-lb for their non-fiberglass lines. It also started using Twist Locks (they call these Speed Locks) which are also used by Little Giant on their high-end Quantum line for height adjustment. The weight also came down significantly and Gorilla MPX ladders are usually only 2-3 pounds heavier than their Little Giant counterparts. Given that the price is almost always less for Gorilla ladders sometimes by as much as $150 or so, they’re a great option. However, I feel that Little Giant’s Rock Locks used on most of their lines such as LT, Velocity, Revolution, and Xtreme are the easiest way to adjust ladder height in most situations. Also, the Revolution, Xtreme, and Quantum lines use Quad Pin Hinges as opposed to Dual Pin Hinges used on other Little Giant models and all of the models offered by other manufacturers. Little Giant ladders already have a firmer, stiffer feel at the hinges, a mark of higher quality craftsmanship, but these 4-Pin Hinges add even more stability and I feel safer with them as someone who uses ladders on a daily basis at jobsite. In addition, the optional built-in Ratchet Leg Levelers are so much easier to use than the previous favorite of mine, Level-Lok Quick Connect Ladder Stabilizer. At the same time, they add very little weight to the ladder, about 5 lbs or so. The Level-Lok stabilizers are 8 lbs in total and with the leveler off the ladder, I suspect would be about the same.
Little Giant Xtreme Model 17 with Built-in Ratchet Levelers is being sold at $420 or so but comes with a ton of accessories: trestle bracket set, instruction sheet, Fuel Tank (for painting), and Air Deck. I can see the value in each of these items for a home-owner.
Little Giant Revolution Model 17 with Built-in Ratchet Levelers is being sold at $300-380 and comes with basic things: trestle bracket set, instruction sheet, and a DVD with video instructions for many different Little Giant models including the Revolution and Xtreme lines.
The cost of the additional accessories included with the Xtreme is about the same as the difference in these two ladders if bought on sale. I’d say the price/value factor is about the same for these two, perhaps a half point more for the Xtreme as the Air Deck mount is pre-installed on it.
Another part the Xtreme model has that the Revolution model doesn’t have is on the ladder itself: the Comfort Step. It’s a large platform that opens itself when the ladder is folded out in it’s A-frame configuration. This is especially useful when you’re going to be on the ladder for an extended period of time and you certainly feel safer. However, these additional parts add to the weight, making the Xtreme with the Ratchet Levelers 41 lbs, 3 lbs more than the Revolution model also with the Ratchet Levelers at 38 lbs.
One more difference between the two, the material used for the palm press on the Quad Lock Hinge and the Rock Locks. While both of them work smoothly, the Xtreme uses heavy duty plastic for the outer parts whereas the Revolution uses metal parts. On a cold day, I can honestly tell you that the plastic parts were appreciated as they were warmer to the touch and softer as well. However, as a contractor who uses these ladders on a daily basis, I appreciate the durability of the metal parts on the Revolution.
For contractors, I think the Revolution is a stand-out winner thanks to its durable metal parts, lighter weight, and less bulk. What do I mean by “less bulk”? The Comfort Step platform, when folded, blocks the space between the top rung and the second rung. This is where I often put my shoulder in to carry it around surfaces where the wheels can’t be used. While this addition certainly is nice when used as a step ladder, I usually carry a lighter step ladder or step stool in the truck (Little Giant QuickStep and Gorilla 2-Step Aluminum ladders), so I’m happy to sacrifice that feature over better mobility and less weight. So far, I am extremely happy with this ladder and it is my daily choice of ladder when cleaning windows.
For homeowners, I feel that the Xtreme offers a very nice value and features that will actually come in handy. The additional weight of 3 pounds probably won’t matter as much when used occasionally at this setting. While the Air Deck mount can be added onto the Revolution as well, I suspect many home-owners will appreciate the fact that this is pre-installed on the Xtreme.
I’d like to add that both of these ladders are very high quality and it was a real pleasure trying them out side by side. Also, the Ratchet Leveler is such an awesome feature! I strong recommend that you consider spending the extra money to add this safety feature. Thank you for reading, and please leave a comment below if you enjoyed it or had a question!