The 6 Best Escape Ladders

Updated October 17, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

6 Best Escape Ladders
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Don't wait for a fire to endanger your family or employees. Installing one of these escape ladders in your home or workplace is both exceedingly simple and very cost-effective. We've ranked the top options here by safety, ease of use, and overall value. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best escape ladder on Amazon.

6. Saf-Escape 4-5 Story

The Saf-Escape 4-5 Story features a tangle-free steel chain design, so you can count on it to be ready when disaster strikes, and to be easy to fold back up after a drill. The fact that it's tested to a 1,000 pound load should also provide some comfort.
  • safe for multiple uses
  • heavy duty zinc-plated steel
  • deployment can damage windows
Brand Saf-Escape
Model 1045
Weight 37 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. ResQLadder FL25

The ResQLadder FL25 covers a full three stories and sets up in mere seconds with no permanent hardware or installation, so it's ready whenever an emergency strikes and when every second counts. The spacing of the standoffs, however, provides only minimal stability.
  • fire safety planner guide included
  • supports multiple users at once
  • heavy for young ones to handle
Brand Res-Q-ladder
Model FL25
Weight 20.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. X-IT 2 Story

The X-IT 2 Story has received awards and accolades for its compact, lightweight, yet highly durable and effective, design. It has gone through multiple independent tests and has always scored high marks, especially with regards to its ease of use.
  • exceeds astm f2175 safety standards
  • weighs less than 6 pounds
  • unattractive for a permanent fixture
Brand x-it products
Model pending
Weight 6 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. First Alert EL53W-2

The First Alert EL53W-2 three-story is a great option for families in larger homes or for low-rise apartment dwellers. It's also a must-have for offices that are several stories tall. It works for all types of windows, so your safety won't depend on your building.
  • tested to a 1125 pound capacity
  • dupont cordura nylon strapping
  • fits 6-13-inch windows
Brand First Alert
Model EL53W-2
Weight 19 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Kidde KL-2S Two-Story

For any two-story, single-family residence, the Kidde KL-2S Two-Story is an absolute essential. It's very easy to use even by youngsters or by older residents, and everyone can appreciate the fact that it's affordably priced.
  • white hooks easy to find at night
  • anti-slip coating on rungs
  • 5-year limited warranty
Brand Kidde
Model 468093
Weight 8.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. ResQLadder FL50SL Portable

The 50-foot long ResQLadder FL50SL Portable is long enough for safe egress from windows as high as five or six stories above the ground, so it's the one to buy if you're in a tall building and you aren't sure which window may be your exit.
  • perfect for hotels or apartments
  • very well-reviewed by owners
  • made in the united states
Brand Res-Q-ladder
Model FL50SL
Weight 38.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

It's Good To Be Standoffish

Escape ladders hook onto the area of wall below your windowsill with two curved pieces of metal. That curvature utilizes the strength of the wall itself to support the ladder, kind of like the grappling hook. What hangs over and out of the windowsill are the rope ladders of old, but modernly updated with rungs supported by chain or sturdy nylon straps to ensure higher weight capacity. The last missing element are the standoffs.

We don't mean standoff as in a room full of actors pointing guns at one another; rather, small rubber pegged feet that not only keep the ladder from scratching the side of your home's exterior, but they also keep it from swinging uncontrollably once you're climbing down it.

Standoffs exist to create space between the rungs of the ladder and the wall, increasing the stability of the ladder itself, decreasing the amount of damage done to your siding, and, most importantly, giving you enough room to climb down without injury.

Drill, Baby, Drill!

I used to love fire drills. The long, tedious school day, indiscernible from the days before it, indicative of the days to come, could sometimes drag on endlessly. Then you'd hear it: that piercing, shrill alarm. Almost without thought your body would rise and head toward an exit, in an orderly line, of course.

Once outside, in the fresh, clean air, away from textbooks and chalkboards, away from droning teachers and looming bullies, there was the hint of freedom. Fire drills serve two important purposes. First, they train the body to act without interference from the mind. Second, they break up the monotony of quotidian suburbia.

Choosing the right ladder will make your drilling process that much nicer, as deployment and resetting will be easier, and the climb down less frightening. The first thing to consider, however, is how much ladder you actually need. Every ladder on our list can be purchased in a variety of lengths to suit the needs of your home. Count the stories up to your highest window, then buy a ladder that goes one higher.

Trust me, the last thing you want to do is buy a two story ladder today, only to move into a three story home next year and have to replace it. Also, take a look at the weight of each ladder and its relative ease of use. If you mean for a child to deploy it for themselves, make sure they can handle it.

England To The Rescue

In the late 1700s, an Englishman by the name of Daniel Maseres invented the first fire escape of any recognizable kind. Though you may picture a device more medieval than practical, they were actually window-deployed ladders, just like the ones we're discussing today.

The superintendent of the Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire improved on the idea, and the english fire escape was on its way. The US wouldn't have an official patent on a fire escape system until nearly 100 years later.

As cities grew, building codes demanded that construction include metal fire escapes, which led to a decline in the need for the deploying ladders of our page. But since the end of the Second World War, suburban sprawl has spiraled out of control, and individual homes require no such escapes in their building codes, leaving the escape routes up to the homeowner.

Thanks in large part to that sprawl, and also due to the increased flammability of housing materials and furniture manufactured overseas, these ladders are more important than ever.

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Last updated on October 17, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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