Since retiring early and moving to the homestead, I've slowed down a bit to enjoy what life has to offer. I've got plenty of time to do projects. Some projects, compared to others, involve some degree of risk....case in point, cleaning out the gutters on our house and garage. It's not that I dread climbing a ladder....quite the contrary. It wasn't that long ago that my hobby had me climbing radio towers to install antennas. What I don't want is to fall. Actually, the falling isn't that big of a deal but those darn landings is what can really mess up your day. So when it came time to clean the gutters, I decided to give my aluminum extension ladder an upgrade by way of Ladder-Max.
After doing a couple of hours of online research, I decided on the Ladder-Max stabilizer. Aside from some comments regarding the additional weight at the end of the extension ladder, that was about all I could come up with. Seriously? Come on folks, yeah, you bolt something to the end of your ladder and it will weigh a bit more and it may be a little harder to maneuver around. Do some pushups and in a month, you won't even notice the change in the ladder.
I purchased the stabilizer from an online vendor. I will comment that the Ladder-Max is priced at the higher end of the various ladder extensions I researched. When I started seeing comments from buyers who said they install gutters or do roof work for a living, it helped with my decision. I also noticed a number of stabilizers that used muffler clamps to attach them to the ladder. That turned me off right there. Ladder-Max claims easy on/easy off in just a few seconds. As I discovered after assembling mine, they weren't exaggerating their claim.
Another feature that caught my eye was the standoff depth, which Ladder-Max says is 19". Other stabilizers indicated just 10" and that didn't seem like it would give my clearance between the ladder and the gutter. The steps and tubing are made from 16 gauge steel tubing and sheet metal. The nuts & bolts package included Nyloc nuts which I prefer. I didn't know about the hardware specs until receiving the stabilizer but it did help reinforce my choice of product.
The provided instructions seem well written and are not a copy of a bad copy. Ladder-Max provides a money back guarantee (less and shipping expenses). Details are in the instructions. The parts list is clearly detailed showing everything, including the mounting hardware, in an easy to view diagram. The assembly instructions use another page of the document with easy to follow written text and diagrams, all in English. Thank you for that little detail. Since I live in the United States, I've no need for documentation containing a half dozen languages. Ladder-Max is a U.S. company located in Hayden, ID. so if buying American is important to you, you found your manufacturer.
Let's get on to the assembly.
Laying my extension ladder on a pair of saw horses, I took the first two pieces to be assembled, the bowtie bracket and the right arm. The arm is easily identified by the red electrical danger sticker on it. The bowtie bracket, which is factory attached to the top step, holds both of the stabilizer arms.
Two bolts secure the right arm between the bowtie bracket and the stop. None of the nuts will be securely tightened until all parts have been assembled.
Two more bolts and nuts secure the left stabilizer arm to the bracket and the step. The thinner Nyloc nuts are used with the bolts on the top step.
Four more bolts and the thicker Nyloc nuts are used to attach the lower step to the right and left stabilizer arms. The square shoulders on the bolts all lock into the square holes in the steps. These nuts are also put on finger tight just like the nuts on the upper step.
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