Garden & Lawn

5 Best Tripod Ladders – Orchard Ladder Review

Last updated on May 11th, 2021

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Have you ever looked way down from the top of a regular ladder placed shakily against a tall tree in the middle of your garden and wondered how and why you got there? Don’t risk life and limb again. Use a tripod ladder the next time you need to get close to something that’s not near a convenient wall to prop a ladder securely against or worst on uneven ground. Tripod ladders take you where normal ladders can’t go, including being stable on soft or uneven ground.

Our Best Tripod Ladder review looks at the best of this amazing invention. We list the pros and cons of each model we review and discuss what their features mean for your safe gardening and DIY life.

Our Buyer’s Guide highlights what the best tripod ladders offer and why these features are important. The FAQ section addresses some of the most common questions asked about these remarkable ladders.

Tripod ladder being used on uneven group to work on trees safely
Tripod ladder being used on uneven group to work on trees safely

Our Best Pick of the tripod ladders is the Hendon 3.6m (11.98ft) Tripod Ladder. Its aluminium frame is lightweight for easily moving the ladder around your property. It’s high enough to reach the tops of most hedges for trimming and most overgrown tree branches for pruning or picking fruit.

The Henrys 3 – 3.6m Tripod Garden Ladders with built-in Platform by Henchman is our Runner-up selection. Despite its ultra-lightweight, this ladder is great for heavy-duty tasks. It’s designed in such a way that it can fit into awkward spaces and has a handy platform near to the top.

BEST PICK
Hendon Standard Tripod Ladder GMF360, 3.6m (11.8ft), 12 Tread, Aluminium Lightweight Frame, 1 x Adjustable Leg, Tested to EN131
RUNNER-UP
Henrys Tripod Garden Ladders with built-in Platform by Henchman - 3.00m -3.6m. 10' Ladder. All 3 Legs Fully Adjustable. Lightweight aluminium garden maintenance, hedge cutting, tree pruning, fruit picking, topiary ladder.
Estate to Garden Tripod Ladder Aluminium Arborist, 1 leg Adjustable 1.8m, 2.4m, 3m 3.3m and 3.6m available (2m)
Hendon Platform Tripod Ladder, GWF240, 2.4m (7.9ft), 5 Tread, Aluminium Lightweight Frame, 1 x Adjustable Leg, Tested to EN131
Tripod Garden Ladders with Built-in Platform by Henchman - (16' Ladder) All 3 Legs Fully Adjustable
Title
Hendon 3.6m Tripod Ladder
Henrys 3.6m Tripod Garden Ladders with built-in Platform
Estate to Garden 2m Tripod Ladder
Hendon 2.4m Garden Tripod Ladders
Henchman Tripod Garden Ladders
Height
3.6m (11.98ft)
3.6m (11.98ft)
2m (6.5ft)
2.4m (7.9ft)
4.8m (16ft)
Number of adjustable legs
Telescopic 3rd leg
3 Adjustable legs
Telescopic 3rd leg
Telescopic 3rd leg
3 Adjustable legs
Built in platform
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
BEST PICK
Hendon Standard Tripod Ladder GMF360, 3.6m (11.8ft), 12 Tread, Aluminium Lightweight Frame, 1 x Adjustable Leg, Tested to EN131
Title
Hendon 3.6m Tripod Ladder
Height
3.6m (11.98ft)
Number of adjustable legs
Telescopic 3rd leg
Built in platform
No
Buy from Amazon
RUNNER-UP
Henrys Tripod Garden Ladders with built-in Platform by Henchman - 3.00m -3.6m. 10' Ladder. All 3 Legs Fully Adjustable. Lightweight aluminium garden maintenance, hedge cutting, tree pruning, fruit picking, topiary ladder.
Title
Henrys 3.6m Tripod Garden Ladders with built-in Platform
Height
3.6m (11.98ft)
Number of adjustable legs
3 Adjustable legs
Built in platform
Yes
Buy from Amazon
Estate to Garden Tripod Ladder Aluminium Arborist, 1 leg Adjustable 1.8m, 2.4m, 3m 3.3m and 3.6m available (2m)
Title
Estate to Garden 2m Tripod Ladder
Height
2m (6.5ft)
Number of adjustable legs
Telescopic 3rd leg
Built in platform
Yes
Buy from Amazon
Hendon Platform Tripod Ladder, GWF240, 2.4m (7.9ft), 5 Tread, Aluminium Lightweight Frame, 1 x Adjustable Leg, Tested to EN131
Title
Hendon 2.4m Garden Tripod Ladders
Height
2.4m (7.9ft)
Number of adjustable legs
Telescopic 3rd leg
Built in platform
Yes
Buy from Amazon
Tripod Garden Ladders with Built-in Platform by Henchman - (16' Ladder) All 3 Legs Fully Adjustable
Title
Henchman Tripod Garden Ladders
Height
4.8m (16ft)
Number of adjustable legs
3 Adjustable legs
Built in platform
Yes
Buy from Amazon

Best Pick

Hendon 3.6m (11.98ft) Tripod Ladder
The Hendon 3.6m (11.98ft) Tripod Ladder has all the features that you need to be safe when pruning unwanted tree branches or trimming your hedges at a height or if your lucky enough to have an orchard its great for picking fruit too. It has one adjustable telescopic leg for stability on the ground, whether it’s uneven terrain, a smooth surface or soft earth. The flat-top step lets you put your apple basket there when picking fruit or your pruning tools when tidying up your topiary. This is a solid and convenient tripod ladder for all your gardening and outside up-high tasks and we think its one of the best available which is why we named it our Best Pick.

Our top 5 best tripod ladders that we review including our top picks

  1. Hendon 3.6m (11.98ft) Tripod Ladder – BEST PICK
  2. Henrys 3.6m Tripod Ladder with built-in Platform by Henchman Runner-up
  3. Estate to Garden 2m Tripod Ladder
  4. Hendon Platform 2.4m Tripod Ladder
  5. Tripod 4.87m (16ft) Garden Ladder with Built-in Platform by Henchman

Runner-up

Henrys 3.6m Tripod Garden Ladders with built-in Platform by Henchman
Henrys 3 - 3.6m Tripod Garden Ladders with its built-in Platform is a lightweight aluminium tripod ladder designed for all garden tasks that you need to reach up to. It’s almost as high as our Best Pick but, unlike that model, it has three adjustable legs for the utmost stability. The top rung is actually an 18cm deep platform for you to lean against for extra security when working one or two-handed. Or you could put your trimming and pruning tools there. This is a good alternative to our Best Pick with a few extra features, though more pricey which us why we named it our Runner-up.

Top 5 Tripod Ladder Reviews

1. Hendon 3.6m (11.98ft) Tripod Ladder

BEST PICK

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Hendon 3.6m (11.98ft) Tripod Ladder

The Hendon 3.6m (11.98ft) Tripod Ladder offers a great solution for gardening and landscaping on slopes and uneven grounds, not to mention it being a very stable structure on level surfaces. Whether you are a garden maintenance person trimming hedges or a tree surgeon cutting down trees, the 3.6m tall tripod ladder allows you to go high with little worry of falling over, thanks to its triangular footprint. It goes without saying though, care must be taken at all times on any ladder.

The tripod ladder’s third leg is adjustable by about 73cm in 15 increments. Simply stretch this telescopic leg and straighten the ladder to get a comfortable working position. The ladder features a lightweight yet solid aluminium frame that can hold up to 100kg and still allow easy transportation from tree to tree. 

Optional protective rubber caps for the feet comes in handy when using the ladder on smooth surfaces such as concrete paths. However, the clawed feet make it possible to work on rough ground as they grip the ground firmly. When you want to get close to your working area, as you can with all tripod ladders, use the third telescopic leg by pushing it towards the hedge. The ladder can easily manoeuvre low fences, alongside walls and garden boarders when pruning. If you harvest fruits from trees or high bushes, you can place your basket or your tools on the flat top step, making it one of the best tripod orchard ladders. 

Pros

  • Lightweight, welded aluminium construction ensures easy shifting from tree to tree.
  • Has a telescopic 3rd leg that makes for easy set up on almost any surface. 
  • Broad double rung treads provide better grip in all weather.
  • Decent load capacity – 100kg.
  • Has an extra wide base for increased stability. 

Conclusion

Overall, the Hendon 3.6m is hands down one of the best garden tripod ladders because of its tall height. We also like that the angle of the tripod’s third leg can be altered to suit various degrees of slope. The platform/flat top step is useful for putting your tools or your fruit baskets on and saves time and effort in you climbing up and down the ladder. Absolutely awesome for the price, you can get other tripod ladders with three adjustable legs but these will set you back more money.

We’re impressed with all the features of the Hendon 3.6m (11.98ft) Tripod Ladder and its accessible price. It’s our Best Pick of the tripod ladders in our review.

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2. Henrys 3 – 3.6m Tripod Garden Ladders with built-in Platform by Henchman

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Henrys 3 - 3.6m Tripod Garden Ladders with built-in Platform by Henchmanxxx

Henrys 3 – 3.6m Tripod Garden Ladders with built-in Platform by Henchman will make you feel safe and stable when working at height or on rugged terrain. All its three legs are independently adjustable so you can find perfect balance on uneven surfaces. It’s impossible to leave one leg hanging in space, a problem that models with a fixed design encounter.

This tripod ladder also has a wide foot print which enhances stability and prevents wobbling. This gives you confidence to work at height especially if you are not used to being that far up in the air. You can also tuck your legs in to gain added support against the ladder’s verticals, which gives you even more reassurance of security. 

Even on soft ground, this ladder is incredibly stable thanks to its wide, clawed feet that are designed to grip soft surfaces without slipping or sinking. There is a decent width between the main legs and the tripod and this helps in spreading the weight of the load. If you need to use this tripod on slippery floors, make sure to put on the optional anti-slip “rubber shoes”, which will also prevent scratching the floor. 

The tripod design is obviously crucial for gaining easy to access hard-to-reach areas, whilst the maximum load support of 100kg means heavier adults can stand on it without having to worry.

Pros

  • All three legs are adjustable, which allows for stable set up on any garden terrain, especially slopes. 
  • Wide, clawed feet improve stability on soft ground.
  • Good load support of up to 100kg.
  • Narrow top and 3rd leg enhance access to awkward spaces. 
  • Top rung is a 18cm deep platform to lean against or to put tools on.
  • Lightweight construction, which makes for ease of transportation and storage. 
  • Three-year warranty for full peace of mind.

Conclusion

The Henrys 3 – 3.6m Tripod Garden Ladders with built-in Platform by Henchman has a lot going for it. For a ladder weighing only 10kg, its capability and a three-year warranty. This is not the cheapest ladder in our review – it’s more of an investment piece of garden equipment. But if you plan on using this tripod ladder frequently or for a long time. we think it’s well worth the cost.

We stand behind our recommendation by making Henrys 3 – 3.6m Tripod Garden Ladders with built-in Platform by Henchman our Runner-up choice.


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3. Estate to Garden 2m Tripod Ladder

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Estate to Garden 2m Tripod Ladder

The Estate to Garden 2m Tripod Ladder is popular for heavy duty jobs such as trimming high hedges and pruning overgrown trees branches. Thanks to a lightweight aluminium construction, the tripod ladder is super-easy to move around the job area and back into the shed after you’re done. The robust aluminium frame is rust and corrosion resistant so you can be sure of years of reliability.

The ladder’s adjustable third leg, nicknamed the “milking stool”, is pretty flexible, allowing you to set it up well on both flat and sloping terrain. It also makes it impossible to wobble or topple, so you can rest assured of your safety whilst standing on the ladder. 

The Estate to Garden 2m Tripod Ladder features wide clawed feet that prevent sliding and sinking into soft ground. The inverted cup design of the feet grips the ground really well and the wide width spreads weight for excellent balance. Better still, each leg is adjustable by 18 inches, making it easy to level the platform of the ladder on more tricky terrains such as embankments.

Working with this ladder assures you of support. You can tuck your legs and gain extra support against your thighs, and without hitting your shins on the rung above which is a common problem with most other types of ladders. The top rail allows for one-handed working but we like that you can lean against it for added support when using both hands. This comes in handy when using cordless hedge trimmers or other power tools.

Pros

  • Comes with an adjustable third leg that allows for stable positioning on uneven ground.
  • Features wide clawed feet that firmly grab soft ground to prevent any movement and sliding.
  • Ultra-lightweight aluminium construction at around 11kg for ease of transportation and carrying it. 
  • Rust and corrosion resistant frame. 

Conclusion

The adjustable design of Estate to Garden 2m Tripod Ladder makes it the perfect tool for getting into those hard-to-reach spaces, like when you need to carry out topiary work or pick fruit if you’re lucky enough to have your own orchard. At 2 meters tall, this ladder gives you enough reach to easily trim hedges that are 3m-4m high. And at the price, its also one of the more affordable options making it a great choice for general garden use.

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4. Hendon Platform 2.4m Garden Tripod Ladders

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Hendon Platform 2.4m Garden Tripod Ladders

The Hendon 2.4m Garden Tripod Ladder is the more affordable option than the other ladders we review. This is partly because it’s only 1.8 metres tall , but this would be perfect for anyone with a smaller hedge, say around 2-3m tall. A standout feature of this tripod ladder is the 17.5cm deep top tread, which is comfortable and reassuring to stand on every time you are tending to your garden.

Watch the video by Jason Gardener a professional gardener as he explains all about these fantastic tripod ladders

Uneven ground is no stumbling block to getting your job done with this ladder. This model features only one telescopic back leg that you simply need to extend to a stable position and work away. You will also find it easy to move the ladder from one spot to anther since it’s made from lightweight aluminium. For strength, you can trust the welded frame which we think is much better that riveted frames. 

Its clawed feet are perfect for rough ground and there are optional rubber caps that can be fitted to the legs for use on smooth surfaces. This will protect against slipping. The extended width of the tripod ladder is another thing that promotes stability, whilst you can always get deep into the hedge you’re cutting by pushing the back leg into the greenery. 

The top portion of this tripod ladder is a bit narrower than usual. That’s a good thing because it won’t get in the way of you moving your trimmers around to trim hedges. Strong and lightweight, the ladder is made from welded aluminium extrusions and can support up to 100kg. 

Pros

  • Designed with a deep platform that offers a safer place stand on. 
  • Back leg is adjustable to stand more securely on uneven ground.
  • Comes with protective rubber caps for use on smooth ground.
  • Includes a flat top step for resting tools or baskets.
  • Constructed from lightweight aluminium welded frame for great strength. 

All things considered, the Hendon 2.4m Garden Tripod Ladder is a great budget pick. The single adjustable leg lets you position it on uneven ground but not to the same stability as a tripod ladder with three adjustable legs. It’s not a very tall ladder but it’s suitable for anyone who doesn’t need to climb very high, making it a great choice for average sized hedges. 

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5. Tripod Garden Ladder with Built-in Platform by Henchman

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Tripod Garden Ladder with Built-in Platform by Henchman

The Tripod Garden Ladders with Built-in Platform by Henchman is the ladder of choice for people who need to get up to the top of tall trees and hedges. At 4.8m tall, this tripod ladder lets you reach these heights safely and securely as the three adjustable legs are always all in contact with the ground. This is the tallest ladder in our review.

As with all Henchman tripods, the top rung is actually a 18cm deep platform which you can use to rest against or to put your tools on. Coupled with the grab rail, you can safely work one-handed or even no-handed if you are using a two-handed power tool.

This Henchman tripod ladder narrows quite a bit at the top so it fits into quite awkward spaces. Its lightweight aluminium frame lets you easily carry the ladder from place to place as well as into the garage for storage. The three-year warranty backs up the manufacturer’s claim of a high quality product.

Pros

  • Aluminium frame tripod ladder with a narrow top that’s able to fit into awkward spaces and tight corners.
  • Ladder is 4.8m tall to reach the uppermost branches.
  • Platform at top is 18cm deep to put all your tools on.
  • Top rail offers support if you’re working one-handed or for leaning against.
  • Clawed feet are deliberately wide for grabbing soft ground so the ladder doesn’t sink into it.
  • All three legs are adjustable so the ladder will never wobble on uneven terrain.
  • Holds up to 100kg of a human plus their tools.
  • Three-year manufacturer’s warranty highlights the quality construction.

Conclusion

The Tripod Garden Ladders with Built-in Platform by Henchman is the obvious answer for anyone who wants a ladder to reach close to the utmost heights of the trees and hedges in their garden. At 4.8m tall, it’s sturdy enough to be stable and safe at this height even though it’s made of aluminium. Its three adjustable legs ensure that all the feet of the ladder are always on the ground, however uneven or soft the terrain is.


Buyer’s Guide

A tripod is one of the most stable structures you can build. And a tripod ladder provides free-standing stability when you want to work at a height and you don’t have anywhere to prop up an ordinary ladder. If you’re hesitant to climb a normal ladder, a tripod ladder offers more security and stability anyway. This Buyer’s Guide looks at the advantages and features of the tripod ladder and points out what the best of these ladders have.

What is a tripod ladder?

A tripod ladder sometimes referred to as an orchard ladder or fruit picking ladder is an indispensable tool in any garden with tall hedges and trees that need seasonal maintenance. Unlike a traditional ladder that needs to lean against a wall or a step ladder that needs even ground, the tripod design doesn’t anything to lean up against – they are self-standing ladders. Tripod ladders have a third leg that creates a very stable structure for you to carry out tasks at height with total confidence. Just place then next to or under the object you want to work on.

Tripod ladder being used to reach fruit on trees on uneven ground
tripod ladder being used on uneven ground

Do I really need a tripod ladder?

Have you tried to balance at the top of a step ladder to trim the top of a hedge? Or even worse, propped an ordinary extending ladder against a tree and tried to climb that? These are strenuous and dangerous things to do, especially as you are usually on uneven ground.

A tripod ladder is a great solution and will save you from struggling to balance on an ordinary ladder. This type of ladder can be positioned by a hedge either by positioning the front leg into the hedge itself (something that is usually not possible with a normal step ladder as the two legs get in the way) or angled alongside the hedge.

Features of tripod ladders

Legs

As you would expect, a tripod ladder has three legs. This design not only creates a wider base but also ensures that all feet remain in solid contact with the surface, be it on level ground, slopes or steps. This extra level of stability is crucial particularly because most gardens are not completely level.

Many models have one or all adjustable legs, which means you can adapt the legs to match slope of the ground. Being able to adjust all three legs independently means that all the feet of the ladder will always be on the ground, ensuring maximum stability.

Orchard ladder used to reach apples
Orchard ladder using for picking fruit

Grab rail

Some models such as the Henrys Tripod Garden Ladders by Henchman include a grab rail at the peak of the ladder to provide extra support for leaning against. This is a necessary safety feature for hands-free working, especially when using a chainsaw. Plus it gives those who are apprehensive of heights a sense of security.

Construction

The best tripod ladders are made from high-grade aluminium which is both robust and incredibly lightweight. This offers the benefit of a durable frame that does not rust, as well as ease of transport and storage.

Watch this video by Curtis Jones to get a better understanding of tripod ladders

Factors to take into account

First and foremost is the height you want to work at. Maybe you have a very tall hedge to maintain regularly or you want to use the tripod ladder for other tasks such as painting walls. Basically, you just have to match your tripod ladder to the kind of tasks you’ll be doing. You will most likely want to use your tripod ladder for various jobs once you have invested in one, so think about the highest you plan to work at.

The ability to adjust your tripod ladder is also important. At least all tripod ladders have a telescopic third leg that can be adjusted to attain stability on uneven ground. As for the price, it will usually go hand in hand with the quality of the ladder as well as the height and the brand.

Safety

Tripod ladders are extremely stable – a necessity when working at height. Obviously, anything that improves stability reduces the risk of accidents. But you should still take all the recommended precautions for working at height, especially if you’re using power tools when you’re up there.

The significance of using the right ladder for the appropriate task cannot be overemphasized. And when it comes to the laborious task of tree pruning, hedge trimming, and fruit picking, a tripod ladder comes up trumps.

Tripod ladder also known as a fruit picking ladder
Tripod ladder also known as a fruit picking ladder

FAQs

Is a 3m tripod ladder really 3m high?

This may seem like a strange question but the answer is ‘yes and no’. The legs of the ladder are 3m high. But the topmost rung, or standing platform, is not going to be right at the top of the legs, it’s going to be a ways down, perhaps 0.5m or so. This means that, on a 3m tripod ladder, you stand only 2.5m from the ground; you’re 0.5m less high than you thought you’d be. This may be enough of a difference to encourage you to buy a taller ladder.

What’s the correct way to position a tripod ladder when I’m trimming my hedge?

Tripod ladders are essential for trimming large topiaries and hedges. You can either work face-on, with the back leg of the ladder poking into the hedge, or sideways, with the ladder parallel to the hedge. However, some experts state that it’s safer to always face your work. Working sideways can increase your instability and maybe throw you off balance.


Our Final Conclusion

Clearly, the challenge with jobs done at height is that you can never really feel safe on a ladder that has to lean against a structure or trees and hedges. There is the worry about losing your balance or the ladder falling backward.

A tripod ladder, however, is free-standing and can be positioned anywhere due to its adjustable legs. You will feel more secure and grounded, and your loved ones watching won’t keep nagging you to get down. 

Our Best Pick of the tripod ladders we review is the Hendon 3.6m (11.98ft) Tripod Ladder. The double rung treads provide extra security and stability.

Our Runner-up is the Henrys 3 – 3.6m Tripod Garden Ladders with built-in Platform by Henchman. This very lightweight tripod ladder gets into tight places without wobbling.

If you need to work at height inside your home, our review on work platforms has great information and recommendations.

And for any work on the outside of your house above the first floor, read our recommendations on the best scaffolding towers.


Sources


Last update on 2021-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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