With advanced technology, ladders are now made of different types of materials than only wood or bamboo. Indeed, it brings welfare and benefits on many occasions. But we can’t deny it; it also raises a few confusions among the buyer.
Regardless, to say, nowadays the two most common materials of the ladder are fiberglass and aluminum. And both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Consequently, people often get confused about fiberglass vs aluminum ladders. Which one is better and why?
Eventually, choosing between these two types of the material requires a few factors to consider. So instead of relying on fictitious and mythical information around the web and person. It will be helpful to get knowledge by yourself.
Meantime, we are here to guide you in finding the right material ladder for your job.
However, along with the material tangle, there are a few more questions you surely need to get the answer. It helps you to make your final decision more worthy.
- Which ladder is lighter, aluminum or fiberglass?
- Aluminum or fiberglass, which one is stronger?
- Fiberglass vs. aluminum which material lasts longer?
- Which material is heavier, aluminum or fiberglass?
- Fiberglass or aluminum, which one is more affordable?
Fiberglass or Aluminum Ladder: Which One is Best?
Choosing any ladder between fiberglass or aluminum requires knowledge about both material details, their advantage, disadvantage, using field, features, quality, function, and many more.
Generally, both fiberglass and aluminum ladders are best in their feature and function.
Now essentially, things get difficult when you have to choose a ladder according to your job type and activity.
Considering the fact, Let’s get started with both types of ladder definitions along with their pros and cons.
What is a Fiberglass ladder?
A fiberglass ladder is made of fiberglass that is an artificial reinforced plastic (FRP) material. Generally, fiberglass is a combination of glass fiber and plastic resin material. It is sturdy, durable, and can be steadily used in different temperatures and weather without fear of decay.
Further shared, it is a non-conducted high-grade material. It does not conduct electricity and never gets bent under heat and temper. And does not corrosion with any chemical.
Therefore, a fiberglass ladder can carry heavyweight (also heavier in weight). It is undoubtedly the safest choice for indoor and outdoor environments, whether for industrial or home use.
Since it has more quality than maximum types of ladder material, it demands a higher price than other ladders.
Advantage of fiberglass ladder
- Non-conducted ladder ideal for electrical work
- Super durable, strong, and rigid
- Having weather, heat, and chemical resistance property
- Can bear heavyweight (ideal for heavy person)
- Perfect for both indoor and outdoor projects
- Can be stored in any place
Disadvantage of fiberglass ladder
- Heavy to carry from one place to another (not portable enough)
- Expensive if compared with aluminum ladder
- Require periodical maintenance
What is an Aluminum ladder?
Unlike fiberglass, material aluminum is not an artificial material. It is a silvery-white metal that is an element of the earth’s crust. The most common chemical element in our world after oxygen and silicon.
It is one of the most used materials you find everywhere. Whether in-home tools, automobiles, airplanes, mobile phones, and every new technology.
Now, at the point of aluminum ladders, it can be called an all-rounder ladder. As it is lightweight, durable, versatile in use, inexpensive, easy to maintain, and easy to transfer from one workplace to another.
Despite its lightweight structure, an aluminum ladder can bear heavy weight depending on your chosen ladder type.
Only one downside of the aluminum ladders is that they are conducted with direct electricity. But it does not mean you can’t change the bulb, fans, or other things using an aluminum ladder.
It conducts electricity when you use it around open wires, under lighting storms, power lines, and that sort of direct electrical encounter.
Behind this downside, an aluminum ladder can be an ideal choice for both home and industrial use, depending on your job type.
Advantage of aluminum ladder
- Aluminum material the capacity to resist corrosion and rust
- Suitable for a maximum type of job
- Inexpensive compared to fiberglass ladder
- Very lightweight to carry
- Super portable
- It never catches on fire
- Almost free of any maintenance
Disadvantage of aluminum ladder
- It directly conducts electricity
- Low-grade aluminum tends to bent under hot temperature
- Aluminum ladder absorbed more heat when working outdoor under heavy sunny weather
Fiberglass vs. Aluminum Ladder Comparison: How to Choose the Right One?
As we have already mentioned, both fiberglass and aluminum ladder have their quality and downside. Now when you want to compare aluminum and fiberglass, then you have to consider a few factors.
Generally, any type of ladder has 6 factors that one mainly considers while choosing to buy a ladder.
Consequently, when you need to choose between these two materials. You can compare each factor and then decide which one is better for your job.
Let’s have a look.
1. Stability and Weight Capacity
The stability and weight capacity of a ladder are considered among those factors that you can’t avoid. No matter what material ladder you desire to own.
Eventually, when it comes to estimating fiberglass and aluminum ladder stability and weight capacity. Both ladders can maintain stability on smooth ground. And carry heavyweight depending on the ladder-type.
In comparison, fiberglass is a more strong and rigid material than an aluminum ladder. So it’s obvious fiberglass ladder is more stable than an aluminum ladder.
But it does not mean aluminum is too weak. It simply means aluminum ladders can shake or wobble in stormy weather more easily than any fiberglass ladder.
At the same, it does not mean the fiberglass ladder never shakes and breaks. If you put an extreme load on a fiberglass ladder, it also can break or crack.
Then which one has more stability and weight capacity?
Well, both aluminum and fiberglass ladders can carry up to 375 pounds of weight.
But this weight capacity depends on what type of ladder you select. Not entirely on the ladder material, you have chosen.
So, you must see both ladder duty rating and ladder material details for proper stability and weight capacity.
Bottom line: If you are a beginner and mostly use a ladder in your homework. Choosing a fiberglass ladder is the safest idea. In case you are a middle-level ladder user, then an aluminum ladder will be a good choice.
2. Ladder Weight and Portability
Another difference between fiberglass and aluminum ladders is their weight and portability. Specifically saying, aluminum is much lighter and portable than fiberglass ladder.
Because of aluminum ladder lightweight casting, it becomes easier to shift from one place to another. And can be an ideal choice for different job purposes.
However, as ladder height increases ladder becomes heavier and bulky depending on ladder material.
Here aluminum ladder keeps it more sensible. Because the ladder’s height never increases ladder weight as the fiberglass ladder does.
On the contrary, aluminum is used for extension ladders, step ladders, telescoping ladders, and even step stools. As it never increases the overall ladder weight.
Bottom line: An aluminum ladder is far better than a fiberglass ladder when it comes to ladder weight and portability. So, if you are doing such a job where you often need to shift a ladder from one job site to another, then an aluminum ladder would be appropriate.
3. Safety and Security
Safety and security are the big deal of ladder use that cause accidental falls, serious injury, and even death. So, you must check ladder safety and security disclosure before you have finally chosen ladder material.
With that said, we have already mentioned fiberglass does not conduct electricity but aluminum ladder does.
So, when you are working around open power lines, electrical poles, an aluminum ladder is not a good choice.
Thus, an aluminum ladder highly conducts heat. This means it absorbs heat quickly compared to a fiberglass ladder.
Once more, in extreme heat and fire, the aluminum ladder does not get burned. It became bent and expanded when the temperature increased between 120-degree Fahrenheit to 650-degree Fahrenheit.
On the other hand, in fire, a fiberglass ladder gets burned easily due to its reinforced plastic material. Still, fiberglass does not absorb sunlight heat so easily.
Confused? Let us explain,
Very clearly speaking, fiberglass will lose its durability when you work near the fire. But it does not absorb heat so quickly like an aluminum ladder. And does not burn until it gets direct fire.
More or less, it’s not safe to work around the fire with a fiberglass ladder. As like as it is not safe to use an aluminum ladder around electricity.
Bottom line: Now, do keep in mind both aluminum and fiberglass ladders have a few safety issues. It depends on your job type and job area, which material ladder you need.
4. Weather resistance quality
Again, aluminum is weaker than fiberglass in terms of weather resistance.
Since fiberglass is an artificial material, it has amazing quality to defend against heat, moisture, and rain. In fact, the fiberglass ladder does not rust and loses strength under harsh weather.
On the contrary, aluminum is metal, and it’s obvious it gets easily exposed to rain, heat, and humidity. An aluminum ladder has a high tendency to get rust and lose its strength quickly under harsh weather.
Bottom line: When you mostly work outdoors, it will be good to choose a fiberglass ladder. Also, aluminum is not so weak of weather resistance if you occasionally use it in outdoor weather.
Any material ladder’s durability depends on how and where you use it. Considering that both aluminum and fiberglass have enough durability if you use them with proper care and maintain few restrictions.
However, the fiberglass ladder is non-conducted and has more weather resistance than the aluminum ladder. So fiberglass ladder is considered more durable and long-lasting than an aluminum ladder.
By the way, it does not mean aluminum ladders are not worth buying. If you have an aluminum ladder, try to save it from direct weather exposure. And trust me, it will get enough durability.
Bottom line: In the case of durability, the choice between fiberglass and aluminum ladder will be a toss-up. Both ladders can survive long life if you use them with condition and care.
6. Price difference
Price plays a significant role while choosing between fiberglass and aluminum ladder. Regardless, an aluminum ladder is much cheaper compared to a fiberglass ladder.
It does not mean the aluminum ladder is not good in feature and quality. Since the aluminum ladder is a light metal and an element of the earth’s crust. So it demands less price than an artificial fiberglass ladder.
Although the aluminum ladder has an inexpensive price tag. It can survive more than one generation if it gets proper maintenance.
Bottom Line: You can find an aluminum ladder at your nearest local hardware store due to its cheap price tag. Fiberglass ladder is available in online and physical stores. But you might not find it in a local store like an aluminum ladder.
Brief comparison table between fiberglass vs aluminum material
|Stability||Excellent||Less than fiberglass|
|Weight Capacity||Up to 375 pounds||Up to 375 pounds|
|Electrical Safety||Fantastic||Very poor|
|Maintenance||Require periodic maintenance||Require very little maintenance|
|Price||Higher than aluminum||Budget-friendly|
|Fire safety||Very poor||Fantastic|
Frequently asked question
- When should I get a fiberglass ladder?
Answer: A fiberglass is an excellent choice when you are doing small jobs like painting, cleaning gutters, doing electrical jobs, repairing roofs, cleaning indoor or outdoor windows, and that type of job.
- When should I get an aluminum ladder?
Answer: An aluminum ladder is an ideal choice for an industrial job, construction site, and for those places where you need to reach a high height place. While using an aluminum ladder, be careful; there are no open electrical poles or power lines around the ladder.
- Which ladder is best: aluminum or fiberglass?
Answer: Both fiberglass and aluminum ladder have pros and cons. Fiberglass has fantastic weather resistance quality. Therefore aluminum is lightweight and budget-friendly. So, one is not better than the other because both ladders are best in their own tasks and areas.
- Are fiberglass ladders lighter than aluminum?
Answer: No, a fiberglass ladder is heavier than aluminum. And somehow difficult to transport when compared to an aluminum ladder due to its heavyweight.
We have broadly discussed, compared, and answered all mostly asked questions about fiberglass vs. aluminum ladder.
Hopefully, from our discussion, you got the answer fiberglass or aluminum which one is right for you!
That’s all for today.
If you have any further questions about the discussed topic, feel free to contact us or comment here.