Best Step Stools – Buyer’s Guide

Best Step Stools (Updated December, 2020)

1. Best Choice Products 3 Step Ladder – Best For Kitchen

Our first step stool is a simple steel design with anti-skid rubber feet. It’s lightweight and folds for easy storage. The steel is durable and rustproof, so you’re investing in a tool you’ll have for a long time. It’s rated for personal and light professional use.

It has an attached tray at the top so you can use it for projects like painting or household repairs. The tray is about a square foot, as are the steps. It has three steps with heights at just over nine inches, just over 18 inches, and just over 26 inches. It holds up to 330 pounds.

The handle at the top is plastic and a little flimsy. Also, the rubber pieces on the bottom tend to fall off after some use. Also, be gentle when you step up on the ladder. Some reports notice a flimsy bottom step, but the product does usually come with a 60-day warranty.

PROS:
  • three steps
  • project tray at the top
  • durable steel frame
CONS:
  • the bottom step can wear sooner than expected
  • rubber feet and handle are flimsy

Best Choice Products Shade 3 Step Ladder Platform Lightweight Folding Stool

2. Cramer 1001-01 – Best One-Step Design

Cramer’s stool is a single step design meant for small spaces where you need a boost. It has a non-skid bottom and top. You and the stool are stable. It’s solid steel and holds up to 350 pounds.

It has retractable wheels that lock into place when you need to use the stool. All you have to do is step up, and they lock automatically. It has rubber bumpers around the edges to keep you from putting nicks into your walls or furniture as you slide it around.

It comes disassembled but snaps together without tools. It gives you an extra 14 inches in height but stores easily out of sight. It’s identical to many stools you find in labs. It’s not too heavy, but the top part can be a little tricky to assemble if you don’t have enough force (read: weight) behind you.

It’s a simple solution if you don’t need a lot of extra height. Pay attention to the rubber strip on the bottom because it can come loose after using the stool for a while. The stool will still lock in to place, but it’s a little more slippery.

PROS:
  • simple design
  • easy to store
  • wheels lock automatically
CONS:
  • rubber barrier can be flimsy
  • assembly might be difficult

3. Rubbermaid RM-SLA3-T – Best Folding Ladder

If you need an even lighter version, Rubbermaid’s three-step stool is an all aluminum version. It cuts down weight significantly but still gives you a full three steps. It has a 250-pound weight capacity but weighs just seven pounds.

It folds completely away when not in use. It has a tray on the fourth level so that you can store things for your project. The top step is large with plenty of foot space so you can work. It’s stable and non-skid. That top step locks into place to keep things stable.

It has non-marring feet so you won’t cause damage while you’re moving around doing your projects. The highest step is 29 inches. It weighs just over seven pounds.

The first and second steps aren’t very big and meant more as transitional steps. If you don’t need the full height of the third step, it might not be so convenient.

PROS:
  • ultra lightweight
  • sizeable top step for long projects
  • step locks into place for stability
CONS:
  • first two steps aren’t comfortable
  • weight rating is lower than some other steps

Rubbermaid RM-SLA3-T 3-Step Ultra Light Aluminum Step Stool

4. Home Basics 2-Stair Step Stool – Best Two Step Design

Rubbermaid’s two-step stool is an ultra lightweight choice if you want a middle ground between the one step and the three steps on the list. It’s made of molded plastic, so there aren’t any heavy, sharp edges like those of metal. It’s simple to store but has a 300-pound weight capacity.

This one is for quick household tasks like reaching the top portions of cabinets or dusting areas of the ceiling you can’t typically reach. No-slip pads on the feet and steps secure your weight and keep the stool from harming floors.

There’s a cut-out handle, and it weighs just over five pounds. It gives you an extra 16 or so inches in height with a low profile and small footprint. There’s no wobbling either, so it’s safe for kids or the elderly.

It doesn’t fold, so it’s best to leave it out. If you need it to hang in a tight space, this one may not be the right choice.

PROS:
  • two-step design gives a little extra height
  • molded plastic is lightweight
  • hand cutouts for storage
CONS:
  • doesn’t fold up
  • the top step can be wobbly if you don’t step on the first step to stabilize the stool

Home Basics 2-Stair Step Stool

5. Secure Home by Jessa Leona Toddler Step Stool – Best For Kids And Toddlers

Secure Home’s step stool is specifically for toddlers. It gives them plenty of safe height so they can be more independent at the sink or potty. It has a slim profile and holds up to 150 pounds. The design is intended only for children, but it’s a safe way to help them up to heights they can’t reach by themselves.

It has slip resistant feet and steps. The profile fits right up to the sink or potty and small steps help them get their footing. It’s a soft white design so it should fit in with most bathroom decor. Plus it’s plastic, so there’s nothing too heavy if your toddler decides to move it around.

The top step is just over ten inches high.

The weight limit of this stool disqualifies most adults from using it as well, so keep in mind this isn’t multifunctional. It’s exclusively made for children. It may take some time for your toddler to get used to the uneven step height, but with a little time, this shouldn’t be an issue.

PROS:
  • slim profile for kids
  • universal design should fit with your bathroom decor
  • no metal parts
CONS:
  • not for adults
  • steps may take some practice for toddlers
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6. Jeronic SS051B – Best For Traveling

If you don’t need much, just a little extra height, a folding step stool might be the right choice. This one is a single step design that folds flat for storage. It’s molded plastic, so it’s very lightweight. You can open it using only one hand, which is great for when you’re in the middle of a project.

It may be small, but it can hold up to 300 pounds. It’s one of the more versatile stools on the list, so it’s suitable for small spaces. It gives you an extra foot or so in height, and the step is about 15 by 12 inches. We like this stool for areas where you need portability, such as an RV or maybe a closet space.

It has a large handle so you can hang it up for storage. It comes in a few different colors. If you’re using it for children, make sure they are supervised. Overextending reach may cause the stool’s feet to shift.

PROS:
  • folds for easy storage
  • one step design is suitable for compact spaces
  • great travel stool
CONS:
  • may not be appropriate for younger children
  • folding the stool can pinch fingers (careful!)

7. Little Partners LP00727 3-in-1 – Best For Kid’s Projects

Little Partner’s stool is a safe way to get kids involved in more household activities. It has an adjustable height step and tall sides for stability. It’s useful for allowing kids to reach the counter or other high places because the tall handles help prevent falls.

It can also function as a seat or stool when you need extra seating for your children. It supports up to 250 pounds, so it’s good even for older kids. It has non slip treads on the bottom, and it’s made of wood with non-toxic paints (painted versions).

It comes in a few different colors so you can match it to your decor. The tallest step is 15 inches high, and the handles reach about 35 inches. It’s very sturdy, but it’s massive. Wherever you put it, it’s going to be in the way because it doesn’t fold up for storage. Be aware of that trade-off.

PROS:
  • extra tall handles help prevent falls
  • holds up to 250 pounds
  • functions as both a stool and a seat
CONS:
  • large profile takes up a lot of your space
  • requires assembly when it arrives

Little Partners Growing Step Stool

8. Delxo Steel Ladder – Best For Heavy Duty Tasks

Delxo’s heavy duty ladder has three equal steps with no slip treading. It folds for secure storage, but the construction is ultra sturdy. It’s even large enough to be an impromptu chair if you need emergency seating.

It has a metal frame that holds up to 330 pounds with non-marring treads on the bottom to protect your floor. The steps are extra wide and equal in dimension to each other. The first is about ten inches from the ground, and the steps are about ten inches apart. You won’t hit your knees as often.

The bent hand grip means you can sit down without it digging into your back and it’s easier to carry when folded.

The locking mechanism keeps it stable when in use. The whole thing weighs about 15 pounds, and folding it up is smooth. It doesn’t make a clicking sound when it locks, so double check that the mechanism is in place before stepping up.

PROS:
  • three equal steps so you can work at various heights
  • all metal design makes it very durable
  • bent handlebar allows you to sit down
CONS:
  • locking mechanism requires double checking
  • no tray for workspace

Delxo 3 Step Ladder Folding Step Stool

9. Vive Step Stool – Best For Unique Medical Needs

If you need a traditional style step stool with broad steps for stability, this simple version from Vive is a suitable option. It has a steel frame with non-marring, non-slip rubber feet. It’s durable, but it won’t mess up your floors.

The wide square foot base is suitable for standing for long periods of time. It’s about nine inches off the floor, so it’s best for simple household projects. It doesn’t fold up. You’ll need to use it in a space where it can be left out without being in the way.

We also like it for someone who frequently needs a boost, but doesn’t want to (or can’t) bend down to fold and unfold it. It’s medical grade and safe for those with particular health needs that disqualify a traditional step stool.

It only weighs about six pounds, but it is a trip hazard if you have a lot going on in the same area. Be aware that the feet stick out farther than the step.

PROS:
  • medically rated for those with unique medical needs
  • non-folding design is simple
  • steel frame with rubber feet
CONS:
  • can’t be folded for storage
  • feet stick out farther than the step

Vive Step Stool-1

10. King’s Brand 33CH – Best For Bedroom Spaces

King’s Brand is a bedroom style step stool with an upscale design. It’s meant to give you a boost to your large bed or to help you reach things in the top of the closet, but it doesn’t take away from your bedroom decor.

It gives you storage space as well, which is nice because you can’t tuck it away out of sight. It has a wood finish in a dark color that blends well with most bedroom decor. It has two small steps, one at about eight inches and one at about 16. The steps are rectangular and a lower profile than traditional step stool steps.

The weight capacity is about 200 pounds, so you don’t have much wiggle room if you’re a larger than average size. It requires assembly when you receive it, and it doesn’t have no-slip feet, so use on carpet or a rug where it won’t slip.

PROS:
  • luxe design doesn’t take away from bedroom decor
  • offers a little storage
  • narrower profile
CONS:
  • no grips on the bottom of the stool
  • not much support room for larger than average adults

King's Brand Large Cherry Finish Wood Bedroom Step Stool

Buyer’s Guide

If you aren’t sure what step stool is right for you, don’t worry. There are a few things you need to consider before you make your decision. Let’s take a look at some critical features.

Age

The first thing you need to decide is who is using the stool. Kids, adults, and the elderly all have a need for extra height but for very different reasons.

Step Stool for KidsIf the step stool is for your child, you’ll need something lightweight. Your child should be able to move the stool around without risking injury by dropping it. It should have no-slip treads on the bottom and even steps to prevent accidents. Be aware that stools meant for children aren’t strong enough to hold many adults. If you use it, be sure you are well under the weight limit for the stool.

Adults have a wide range of needs for stools, but the primary requirement is that the weight range is suitable. Many of the stools on our list support weight up to 300 or so pounds, which should give the average sized adult plenty of support. If you’re on the heavier side, be sure to get something that is well supported and won’t buckle under your weight.

The elderly can’t always handle bending down to unfold a stool, so one that’s stationary is critical. It should have a broad base and preferably a handle for easy transportation. Also, look for one that’s in a durable material with no-slip treads on the feet and the step for maximum stability. Consider the space where the stool will be since it will be out all the time and pay attention to weight limits just as you would for other adults.

Height

Most step ladders come in standard one step, two step, and three step models. Single step models are useful for basic height boosts such as getting things down from cabinets quickly or dusting the top of the fridge. They’re a low profile, and many can be kept out permanently, making them a quick solution integrated with your household decor.

If you have unusually tall ceilings, a two-step may be necessary to reach what you need. If you do many household DIY and repair projects indoors, a two-step gives you more leeway than a one step. You may or may not want to keep them out permanently, so finding one that can fit in your storage might be a consideration.

Three step ladders are for households with a lot of different needs. They can function as extra seating, have trays for long-term projects and work, and move all around the house indoors and possibly outside. These are typically durable, metal frames that fold for storage because of their overall size. They can give you as much as three extra feet in height.

Storage

Step Stool - StorageFoldable step ladders are suitable if you don’t have a lot of space to keep the ladder out permanently. They fold flat so that you can hang them on a wall out of sight or on the back of a door for ease of use.

The downside to foldables is that it’s a pain to get them out and put them back up. If you’re the type who leaves the stool out despite its footprint, you may want to look into a dedicated stool rather than a foldable.

They’re less of a trip hazard than a dedicated stool, but they’re also inconvenient if you’ve got your hands full. Look for one with a single-handed unfolding mechanism to make this process easier.

Dedicated stools are great for spaces where you always need a boost. A single step just under that one tall cabinet keeps you from getting bogged down trying to get ingredients or dishes from a frequently used, but too tall, space.

If you find yourself tripping over it a lot, it might not be a good idea to have a dedicated stool. These don’t get put away for storage, so you need to think about whether it’s a trip hazard to have a permanent step in that space.

The upside is that retrieving things out of your reach is a seamless process, almost as if you were already that tall. Consider if you have children as well and whether they’ll continuously take advantage of that extra height. It can be dangerous.

Those with unique medical needs may also need stools that are dedicated, either because the folding mechanism is difficult to operate or the risk of collapse. These typically have a very wide base and stay in one place permanently.

Weight

If you’ve ever struggled with moving a step ladder from place to place, you know how important it is to keep the weight reasonable. Heavy duty ladders are more cumbersome, so you’ll be trading weight for durability.

Some of the lightest stools on the market are molded plastic. This plastic is durable enough for a few years for average weights, but will eventually break down faster than their steel or aluminum counterparts. If you aren’t worried about the durability long term, a light plastic stool may suit your needs.

If you plan to use your step stool outside at all, plastic isn’t going to work. It degrades far faster than metal so stick to rust proof or powder coated metal for indoor/outdoor use.

The Takeaway

Stop balancing on a chair. There are safer ways for you and your family to reach what’s out of your hands now that won’t mess up your style or add to your inconvenience. Keep in mind your primary use, and you should be able to find a step ladder that solves your main issue so you can get on with your life.

What annoying task will a step ladder or stool solver for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Kylie Perkins
Kylie Perkins
Rate author
Home Furniture Adviser
Add a comment

  1. Avatar
    Marie Luise

    I’ve got vinyl flooring in my kitchen. Can you please recommend a slip-resistant step stool ladder for me?

    Reply
    1. Avatar
      Nate Bohnen

      What you should look for is a set of no-slip pads. They’re pretty common among step stools ladders and won’t be a problem to get. They’re made of plastic and need to be put on each of the four feet of the ladder. In my opinion, the Delxo steel ladder is the finest offer to date. It’s a bit expensive, that’s true, but this is compensated by superb craftsmanship and sturdy, durable materials.
      That’s what makes it the best 3 step stool for me. I’ve had it for quite some time now, and is has never slipped.

      Reply