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A step stool helps to elevate the user to a higher level, but does not extend to the same height as a platform ladder or an extension ladder. Characterized by a compact design, the step stool can be easily stored inside of a home or other room with limited space.

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Step Stools Overview

What is a Step Stool?

A step stool is a self-supporting set of portable steps with four legs that typically measures less than 48 inches in height. Generally speaking, a step stool will have only one or two steps with the top step designed to fully support the weight of the user. Many step stools can be folded in such a way that they can be tucked away in a corner or otherwise out of the way. Other one-piece models are not designed to be folded, though the small size of the step stool still makes it possible to hide the step stool away while not in use. These smaller models may be small enough that they can be easily slipped under a table or other piece of furniture when not in use.

How to Choose a Step Stool

When choosing a step stool, you should consider the following factors:

  • Application: Step stools are designed to be used by one person at a time in order to reach items that may be placed on high shelves or other areas that may otherwise be difficult to reach.

  • Materials: Step stools are typically constructed from either wood or steel, though some non-foldable models are made from plastic or steel.

  • Height/Reach: Non-folding step stools typically consist of just one step that is less than one foot off the ground, while the larger models may reach heights of up to four feet.

  • Duty Rating: A step stool should be capable of holding the weight of the user as well as any items that the user may carry up and down the step ladder.

  • Safety Concerns: Spreader bars increase the sturdiness of the step ladder while also locking into place to prevent collapsing while in use.

Step Stool Uses

Step stools are usually used in homes or worksites in order to assist with reaching items that are on high shelves. Do to their short size, the heights that can be reached with a step stool are limited. On the other hand, due to the compact nature of the step stool and the ability for most to be folded away neatly, they offer a lightweight and convenient way to quickly access items that may be just out of reach. Step stools are particularly popular for use in kitchens where the top shelves of cabinets may otherwise be difficult to reach.

Step Stool Safety Tips

When using a step stool, it is important to ensure the spreader bars are locked into place. If these bars are not properly secured, the step stool may collapse while the step stool is in use. If this occurs, the user may fall from the step stool and become injured.