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10 Best Step Stools – (Reviews & Buying Guide 2020)

best step stool

Today, we will be talking about the top 10 step stools available on the market right now. These products are useful in a variety of applications, convenient in kitchens, garages, and just around the house in general. Of course, you might be thinking why a review of each of them is necessary, as isn’t one stool more or less the same as any other? The answer is, surprisingly, not really! While all step ladders share the same basic function, they offer a variety of designs and weight handling capabilities. This means that multiple types will suit the needs of different people.

In this detailed review, I’ll go through what I feel are the best step stools for the money. Then I will discuss a bit of my methodology in choosing the top notch models. Finally, I will provide a bit of advice that might help to make your final choice a bit easier.

Comparison Chart: Best Step Stools & Ladders 2020

Product NameHeight from GroundWeight CapacityDimensionsPrice
Gorilla 2-Step Stool28 Inches225 lbs41.5 x 18.875 x 3.5Check Price
Shade Folding 3 Step Stool30 Inches330 lbs28.7 x 17.7 x 52Check Price
Cramer Rolling Step Stool14 Inches350 lbs15.6 x 15.6 x 14Check Price
Cosco Retro Chair Step Stool24 Inches225 lbs23.4 x 16.1 x 35.3Check Price
Hailo 4342-001 Safety Plus27 Inches330 lbs58.8 x 19 x 56Check Price
KidKraft Wooden Step Stool8 Inches-12 x 7 x 12Check Price
Arredamenti Italia 3 Step23.62 Inches220 lbs18.9 x 26 x 45.7Check Price
Rubbermaid 3-Step Ladder29 Inches225 lbs19.7 x 3.5 x 56Check Price
Deluxe Step Stool with Handrail33.5 Inches300 lbs13.75 x 11.25 x 17.5Check Price
Acko Folding Step Stool16 Inches400 lbs19.9 x 14.8 x 1.7Check Price

The Step Stool Reviews (Updated List)

Welcome to our steps stool reviews section. Here we take a look at the most popular models as shown in our comparison chart. We have handpicked these units to fulfill needs of various types of people at schools, libraries, kitchens, warehouses, home, shops and other worksites, etc. By reading our in-depth review you’ll get a better idea about each product has to offer and how it can fulfill your requirements. We also keep on updating our pages regularly, so that you’re always looking at freshest product selection on the market.

1. Best Overall: Gorilla 2 Step Stool and Ladder

Overall, I think the best combination of value and utility comes from this excellent little step stool.

This is not an expensive ladder. It claims a Type II Duty Rating, but this is just a fancy way of saying it can support up to 225 lbs of weight. It weighs in at a mere 6 lbs, and is constructed using light yet sturdy aluminium with plastic fittings and stepping surfaces.

The upper step of the 2 step is quite generous, being both wider and deeper than on other models, allowing you to rest your entire foot on a stable, ribbed surface. This is a great aid to safety and stability, but is also more comfortable than standing on a shallower step for extended periods.

The final feature that makes this my number one step stool choice is the integrated tool rack and safety bar at the top. Many lightweight step ladders have a similar bar as a carry handle, but this one has generous surface real estate and tool slots, making it very useful for handling pesky, elevated home maintenance projects.

2. Top Heavy Duty: Best Choice Products Shade 3 Step Ladder

This one even has “best” right in the title, so how could you go wrong?

In seriousness, I found this to be an excellent and versatile choice.

The Shade has 3 steps, so it can access those higher, hard to reach places. Each step is very generous, with plenty of space to rest your feet instead of a narrow bar that your toes and heel end up overhanging.

It has a very nice 330 lb max weight it can support, making it a good choice for heavier guys who need to bring heavy tools to an elevated task.

Speaking of tools, in addition to the three steps, there is a fourth panel at the top with a variety of slots and recessed spaces to store tools in a variety of shapes, secure for your working needs. Admittedly if you’re using the third step this puts your tools just below waist height and could make access a bit awkward, but it’s a minor adjustment, not a huge flaw.

The Shade weighs in at 15.2 lbs, so it isn’t as light and easy to use as other stepstools. However if you find yourself working at semi-elevated levels on a regular basis, it’s a worthwhile investment at only a small price.

3. Most Maneuverable: Cramer Kik Step Stool

I found this to be the most maneuverable step stool I looked at for this review.

The Cramer Kik Step is a neat little design, consisting of a cylindrical base with a single elevated stepping surface. This gives the user a foot or so of extra reach. It can also support a whopping 350 lbs of weight, as it is made of solid steel.

This heavy manufacture comes at a cost, of course. It weighs a substantial 10 lbs, which is a lot for a stool that provides so little elevation. However, the Kik Step makes up for it with an innovative set of rollers on the underside.

It can be steered and maneuvered with one foot, and then the rollers lock down in place when weight is applied to the stool, keeping it from skidding about and endangering the user. Rubberized casting on the base protects walls, floorboards, and other surfaces from collisions when it’s rolled into place.

This sturdy step stool is a bit bulky, and doesn’t fold down, but it makes an excellent stool to have if you’re frequently getting stuff from higher shelves and need a lot of use, such as in a small business with elevated stock or libraries.

4. Most Creative Step Stool: Costco Retro Chair Step Ladder

This is definitely the most creative and nostalgic step stool out of the bunch, at least for me.

I admit that this design is one that will only work with a certain retro style of decor, but I could not pass this up. My grandmother had a similar step stool in her home, and I was fascinated with it as a kid.

This ladder mimics the look of a 1950s or early 1960s style of diner “bar” chair, with an integrated step-stool. It looks great with a reddish-brown surfacing over chrome support structures.

The step ladder element folds underneath the seat, storing back out of the way and allowing you to use it as an elevated seating surface. This makes it a great workshop chair that can be converted into a step ladder as needed. In addition, the step ladder makes a not too bad footrest when seated, if you prefer.

You may wish to invest in a cushion if you do intend to sit on it for extended periods, however. It can support up to 225 lbs of user weight and weighs in at 16.6 lbs.

5. Best Step Stool for Toddlers in Bathroom: Allnice Bathroom Toilet Stool

This choice is one I found ideal for choosing when investing in a step stool for your toddler.

Why might a toddler need a step stool, you ask? Simply put, they’ll need one to access the toilet when beginning potty training.

The allnice Bathroom Toilet Stool is an excellent, flexible design that serves several functions. The main foot stool is height-adjustable, with a 9 inch elevation for young toddlers, and a 7 inch height for growing kids, or even adults looking to take advantage of the “squatting” bathroom craze.

The stool is lightweight plastic and easily maneuverable, perfect for a toddler who needs to move it from the toilet to the sink, so they can see the mirror as they brush their teeth.

It currently sells for an affordable cost, and can support an astounding 400 lbs of weight.

6. Best Step Stool for Toddlers in General: KidKraft Large Flip Stool

In addition to bathroom needs, toddlers might need some elevation assistance in general.

The KidKraft Large Flip wooden step stool is a nice, multifunction piece of furniture you can provide your toddler as they begin asserting their independence and curiosity.

As expected, it consists of a large, fixed base, with a “step” that can flip up to form a small seat. This gives your child a way to reach spots, in the bathroom or elsewhere, while also giving them a piece of wooden furniture close to the floor for all their Important Projects.

The KidKraft weighs in at 7.2 lbs and comes in both a Large and Small size based on your needs.

7. Best Kitchen Step Stool: Arredamenti Italia Ladder

The best kitchen step stool I discovered was the Arredamenti Italia. The name alone conjures images of Tuscan cooking, and the design is just as lovely.

This is a slim design and folds up into a roughly 3″ wide space back to front. It’s reasonably hefty at 15 lbs, but the storage convenience makes it ideal as a kitchen stool.

It can be brought out as needed for high shelves, and stored away in a convenient hideaway when not needed. The wooden furniture has a gorgeous aesthetic as well.

The Italia also has a generous surface on the top step, giving plenty of stability when up high. It can support 220 lbs, making it “medium” duty rather than heavy.

8. Best Lightweight Step Ladder: Rubbermaid RM-SLA3-T 3-Step

The best lightweight step ladder I found returns to the world of workshops and projects, and it is a beauty. It has a very light construction at 8 pounds, when considering that it is a 3 step ladder.

Further, it offers a generous work area, with a highly elevated work surface full of contoured tool slots. It’s actually better positioned for use than the tool space on the Gorilla, and is also ANSI Type II (225 lb) rated.

The only reason I rate this stool lower is because of its expensive price tag.

That said, it is an excellent lightweight stool on the market right now.

9. Safest Step Stool: AdjustaStep DoubleSafe Deluxe Step Stool

The Doublesafe Delux is the safest step stool out of the ones I have reviewed here.

It consists of a single stool step with a textured, nonslip surface. Rising along the sides are two elevated hand rails to allow ease of stepping for users.

This is an excellent step stool for people who need some hand assistance getting in and out of the bathtub, or to provide for guests who might have difficulty stepping out of a car.

It is rated to a 300 lbs capacity, weighs only 5 lbs and can be adjusted for handlebar height.

10. Best Small Folding Step Stool: Acko 16 Inch Folding Stool

The Acko is one of the best small folding step stools in the bunch. Consisting of high-grade plastic, it can hold an extraordinary 400 lbs of weight.

It also folds up completely into a small, rectangular space. When done, it can be easily stored with a minimum of fuss. It has excellent use as a garden “seat stool” or a simple stool to bring out when you don’t need to access stuff on higher shelves frequently.

The Acko Step Stool is a recommended buy. The only reason I haven’t rated it higher is because of its limited height which also limits its utility.

A Complete Buying Guide for Step Stools

Before starting our testing process, we shortlisted some of the most popular ladders available on the market. Each of these filtered out units were manufactured by most prestigious brands with a good trackable history. Later, we tested each of these practically and wrote down the points each gained in each of our testing categories. At first, we eliminated the units made up of wood as its prone to breaking and splitting away after certain period of time. Furthermore, some of the most expensive ladders also didn’t make the cut as they did not provide enough value for money to the end-user.

We rated stools based on quality of materials, sturdiness, folding mechanisms and overall design. The offered safety mechanisms such as safety lock system also made big part of our selection process. If any step stool was lacking safety lock or did not provide enough spread for balance, we would quickly eliminate it from the list. Furthermore, we phased out the units that were not capable of providing enough weight support. Being lightweight for swift portability was also one of the prime factors in our ranking chart.

Some of the technical aspects we focused on during our selection process included having ample step feet to support large bodies, small rubber feet at bottom to stick the unit properly on the ground and maximum height it can provide to the end-user. We also paid attention to common flaws and complaints about each model reported by the testers. The warranty offered by the manufacturer for each of their products also made our selection process a whole lot easier.

What are the Most Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Step Stool?

The specific type of step stool you choose is influenced by why you need it. A stool for the kitchen will need to be light and movable, but easily storable to get it out of the way of counter space. The stool for getting safely in and out of the bathtub, on the other hand, needs to focus more on safety and support. When picking up any stool, you must keep few factors in mind:

  • Height: In order to perform certain activities, you need to achieve a specific level of height. Picking up the right step stool to help you reach high ceilings, tall cabinets and hard to reach shelves is the most important aspect of selection process. In most cases, a 3-step or two-step stool is good enough to meet all your requirements in and around the house in general. As a rule of thumb, go for the extra height so that it feels safe when you are trying to reach difficult spots while standing on the stool. Make an estimate about the level of height you can reach with full arms extension and then see the extra boost a ladder can provide you. For shorter boosts like getting in and out of vehicles, a small step stool is rather the perfect option.
  • Weight: Always buy a stool that offers highest weight rating. Although, you may not need it for now but it makes the use more versatile. If you are lifting heavy items while standing on the unit, you are less prone to breaking or damaging it. Even better, other people who are bulkier than you can also use the product with ease.
  • Home or Commercial Use: Better decide if you need a step stool for household or commercial use. If you want it for home, a mid-range unit can help you carry out all occasional and minor tasks. However, it is completely opposite scenario if you intend to use it for commercial purposes. For warehouses or worksites, it is recommended to opt for a rugged and durable metal step stool that can endure both rough and rigorous use.
  • Safety: With a handle grip, you will feel much safer and stable while using the step stool. The wide feet garnished with slip resistant materials are absolute necessary for good safety. Even better, if you have safety lock mechanism in place to make your work more secure. In general, step stool accidents are not as dangerous as with ladders. There is a considerable difference between falling from 3 feet and 20 feet height respectively.
  • Durability: Are you looking to use a step stool for long term? If yes, then pay attention to the type of materials, design and weigh rating of the unit. You definitely won’t like the unit to break in the time of using it. It should last for a long time and provide good value for the money. With good step stools, they are always hard to break, feel much secure and grip tight to the ground.
  • Portability: This extends beyond simply being able to carry the thing. Can you get it in and out of the selected storage space? Can you set it up unassisted? You may have noticed that our top-ranking models are quite lightweight. Always pay attention to the dimensions, weight, folding capacity, wheel mounting and wheel traction features when finalizing a specific model. See if it can be easily tucked away in your car trunk if you need to transport it away from home or worksite.
  • Price: There are dozens of products out there on the market with a wide range of prices. You need to find something to fit your budget without compromising on quality. From low to high price points, you will find several brands that manufacture stools. In our analysis, the mid-range items turn out to be equally as good as high-priced units in most cases.
  • Décor: Some step ladders need to stay out for extended periods. For example, a stool in a large home library might not be stored away. Does it fit with the decor of your home? Will you be happy with it sitting in view? Find out answers to these questions before you rush out and pull the trigger on your most favorite step ladder.

Why Do You Need a Step Stool?

A step stool is a small portable ladder that uses multiple flat steps and is capable of folding and self-supporting. The exact number of steps on each ladder varies and users can ascend or descend all steps one-by-one to reach either top or bottom position.

During our research we found that people use step stools for a variety of reasons. This is exactly why there are so many types of products available on the market to cater each user’s needs. You will find these stools being used at various places such as shops, workshops, warehouses, libraries and homes to easily access and perform maintenance tasks. They come in real handy when you need to reach heighted locations to reach lights, changing bulbs, accessing files or moving items from shelves, etc.

Some of the other common uses include getting in and outside of vehicles for physically disabled, reaching painting walls or ceilings, helping kids to use bathroom and brushing. Not everyone can reach every place in a kitchen with high ceilings and counter-space, for example. Lightbulbs need changing, and some folks just enjoy DIY project such as installing their own designer fittings that might be higher up. The step stools are very useful for various other situations as well. Their wide application and use also encourage manufacturers to categorize them into several types and qualities.

One of the most popular type is the folding step stool that can be folded away with ease to occupy less space. It comes in multiple sizes such as large folding ladders that are used for higher boosts while small folding units are selected to accomplish minor height-oriented tasks. On top of all that, you can also choose type of material such as plastic or metal to suit your requirements. It is very important to select the right kind of material to fulfill your needs properly.

It is important to mention that each person’s specific needs or type of use also make big part of the purchasing decision. For example, it is perfectly suitable to use plastic step stools for less exhausting tasks in schools, offices, libraries or general home use. These are not only sturdy but also lightweight to carry around. On the other hand, if you plan to use them rigorously at warehouses or worksites, then you should opt for metal step stools.

Overtime, such units are capable of tolerating even greater wear and tear and can stand the test of time. Metal stools have loading capacities and material strength that is much higher as compared to plastic units. Regardless of the type of material and design you choose, it is best to consider safety aspects first before you hit that buy button. Always make sure that your selected ladder uses non-slip materials to prevent any injuries that may occur during its use.

Safety Guidelines

Here are some of the safety guidelines and precautions to follow when using step stools:

  1. Must check condition of the step ladder before using it. Look for damaged or missing parts, condition of climbing and anti-slippery surface. If you are suspicious about anything, stop using the product and get an appropriate replacement.
  2. Analyze the status of anti-slippage feet at bottom of step stool. Ensure if you have the right foot wear to avoid slip out. Furthermore, refrain from placing the ladder on wet or unstable surfaces.
  3. Do not use the step ladder if it is not levelled properly with all its four feet gripped on the ground. Avoid placing it over unstable objects such as boxes or other items to gain more height.
  4. Make sure that spread of step ladder is properly opened and locked. Never use it in partially opened position with locking mechanism not engaged.
  5. Either climbing up or down, direction of your face must be towards the ladder.
  6. Place the stool near to your work location during use. Align your body properly and avoid over-reaching to avoid accidental fall off.
  7. If you need to move or change location of step ladder, must come down first, relocate and then climb up in the end.
  8. Never put anything on top of the ladder during storage. Also keep it out of very hot and humid environments to prevent wear and tear.

Types, Features and Benefits

There are a number of broad types, but they can be broken down into several types. These are utility stools, meant for working projects, convenience stools that are meant to improve access to spaces in a given area. Then there are mobility stools, meant to improve a person’s ability to use restroom facilities, or rise up and down an area such as a high bed.

Step stools come, as we’ve seen, with a number of features. They might include tool racks, non-slip surfaces, or even convert into seating arrangements. Don’t simply judge a stool on the basis of whether it’s tall enough!

Further, step stools can provide a number of benefits. They increase safety by allowing you to get to the height you need to complete a project in the way standing on a chair cannot.

The stools increase mobility for people with back and leg problems, particularly in the case of stools with handrails.

Wrap Up

I hope you find our buyer’s guide useful to help you shop the perfect step stool. Just remember that height, supported weight, built-quality and safety are some of the most important factors to pay attention to when buying any unit. Although more features equate to a higher price but it’s not always the right thing to overspend and you must make your selection wisely. Further, durability and reliability of any unit in the long run is heavily based on its quality of materials and the way you’ve used it overtime. If you’ve failed to take care of it and did not follow any safety guidelines, you’ll end up replacing the unit much earlier than expected. Last but not least, if you actually need a two-step stool, it’s better not to spend your money on a 3-step model to stay under budget. It will definitely help you save few bucks for good!