Unlike the traditional stepladder, the step stool is designed for reaching shelves or relatively high places in your shop, garage, or home. It has the added benefit of providing you with a portable seat for working at multiple locations. While the best step stools will likely have some minor variations from one company to the other, a height of around 3 feet is typical, giving the user access to the ceiling panels in an office, a storage area in the shop, or simply the ability to wash the roof of today’s SUVs.
Unlike most other tools found in the garage, a good step stool is perfect for the home as well, storing in a small space but giving ready access to high shelves, cupboards or even the attic pull cord any time you need it.
With roots in the Northeastern United States, 80% of Rubbermaid’s products are still manufactured inside the USA, including the company’s top rated step stool. Rated as a Type III Household Stepladder, it has a steel frame with 3 wide steps and a bit over 25-inch standing height when in use. The wide steps are made of sturdy, hard plastic that can support up to 200 pounds per step.
For convenient access, the Rubbermaid RM-3W will fit conveniently in spaces slightly more than 3 inches wide, and at only about 13 pounds, moving it to where you need it will not be a chore. For projects such as indoor painting, this is best stepladder to reach the ceiling without fear of tipping or the hassle of moving around a larger ladder. In the kitchen, it will provide enough reach to get to the shelves of every cabinet, even above the refrigerator.
For your safety, the rungs will automatically lock in place and the patented foot design will not mar flooring. While it’s an excellent step stool for many projects, it’s important to keep in mind that this tool is not designed for use on uneven surfaces. It will work great for changing a bulb on the porch, but is not the safest approach to trimming a limb in tree.
There isn’t a lot to complain about with the Rubbermaid RM-3W, but there has been mention of problems with the non-marring feet being too loose. But an overwhelming majority of users say this was not a problem, so it doesn’t appear to be a common problem.
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If you need a high-quality step stool, but with a bit more strength, the American-made Little Giant might be what you are looking for. Manufactured from aircraft quality aluminum, each step can hold up to 300 pounds, and it is still light enough to carry around with one hand. When folded, it measure 5.25 inches by 22 by 43, small enough to fit in a closet, the trunk of your car, or in a job site lockbox.
It’s built to meet or exceed industrial ANSI specifications, well balanced, and allows you to work towards either side of the ladder without tipping. Even though it is built to stand up to heavy duty industrial use, this is not the best stepladder for use on open ground, or even on flooring that is tilted at a significant angle such as a pedestrian ramp. You may find that this model is a bit heavier than the Rubbermaid, weighing in at 20 pounds, but it’s also built to provide more strength.
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The American leader in quality ladder design, Werner manufactures some of its products, like the StepRight step stool, in China. It’s designed to be light to medium use step stool in a lightweight design. Manufactured of steel, it weighs only 13 pounds and measures about 46 x 19 x 3 inches when folded.
Built for lighter applications than our other top picks, the Werner 223-6 can accommodate 225 pounds per step, and gives you a little more reach at approximately 28 inches high. In the shop or in the kitchen, the slip resistant steps will give you more security of movement, and the top of the handle is over 43 inches high when in use, to give you a stable place to grip. While this model gives you a few inches more in height, the steps are relatively narrow, at only 14 inches, and that could pose a safety hazard for some jobs or users.