Ladder Angle Rule – What Is The Proper Angle For A Ladder?

The ladder angle rule is an easy way to stay safe while climbing on a ladder. Any leaning ladder such as an extension or portable straight ladder that doesn’t support itself needs the right angle to set up to keep it both sturdy and safe.

Ladder is a part of our everyday life at both home and work. It’s a convenient tool for quick and easy access to hard to reach places. But before using, you need to understand how to use it safely. Proper and safe use of ladder will help you continue working comfortably and safely without accidents.

The inclined angle of ladder is a critical factor in ladder safety. Using a ladder can be risky if you fail to angle it correctly for the distance you need to climb. It may lead to slip, which is one of the major causes of falls from heights.

This article will explain to you two methods of angle rule for ladder.

Ladder Angle Rule

Several methods have been proposed for setting up a ladder at the proper angle. Two popular ways to determine the correct ladder angle are:

#1. 4 to 1 Rule

According to 4 to 1 ratio ladder rule, your ladder should be at 75-degree angle. The 75-degree is the 4 to 1 ratio of the pitch.

A four to one ratio for positioning a single ladder or extension ladder means that for every four feet of wall height, the bottom of the ladder must position one ft. away. In other words, for every four units of height that you’ll climb (or the working length of the ladder), you need to move the bottom (legs) of the ladder one unit away from the supporting wall.

Ladder Angle Rule

Not clear?

Well, let’s see an example.


The height you need to climb= 16 feet

Following 4-to-1 rule, (16 ft. x ¼) = 4 ft.

That means you need to place the base or bottom of your ladder 4 feet away from the wall.

What will happen if you set your ladder at a wider angle and a steeper angle?

If the bottom of the ladder is very close to the wall, it’ll create a wider angle (the angle between the horizontal and ladder rail). This may cause tipping over your ladder backward.

4 to 1 Rule

If the base of the ladder is too far away from the wall, the inclined angle (the angle between the ladder rail and the horizontal), will be too small and the bottom can slide out.

An extremely tight angle will put too much pressure on the ladder’s sides, and it may break.

That’s not all…..

There is another quick method to set the ladder at the right angle. This method is known as “the stand and reach method”.

#2. The Stand and Reach Method

To follow this method, you’re instructed-

  • To stand to face the ladder
  • At the base of the ladder, place your toes against the front of the side rails
  • Extend your one arm straight out.

If you can touch the rung closest to your shoulder level with the palm of your hand, your ladder is in the correct angle position.

***The recommended safe angle for straight or extension ladder is 75.5- degree. But the average ladder inclined angle is 67.3-degree with a standard deviation of 3.22-degree.


By following the adequate precautions and ladder angle rule for safe placement of the ladder, you can minimize the risk of slipping and falling from ladder.

Follow the correct ladder angle ratio and stay safe!

Thanks for reading!

Frederick McHale

Hi! I'm Frederick, a passionate blogger. I have work-experience in many fields. Professionally I'm an Engineer. I have over 15 years of experience working with different power tools.

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