Bercom Ladder Pail


I’ve always done my own painting. I’ve owned a number of boats and have restored an 80-year-old house. Through all that I used dozens of metal and plastic roller pans, the standard variety that are widely available for next to nothing. While they are ubiquitous and cheap, they don’t keep the roller out of the paint; they don’t have a place to keep a brush out of the way and out of the paint; and they’re easily knocked off your ladder’s paint shelf. This one by Bercom rules them all and is well worth the money.

It’s listed as a ladder pail, but it’s really best as a replacement for a standard paint tray. I can fill this bucket with paint, hook my roller on one side, a good brush on the other and proceed to neatly and easily paint both from the ground and from up on an extension- or step ladder.

I’ve used it for more than a year and have done a number of rooms with high ceilings in two different houses. The ability to suspend both the brush and the roller above the paint and use either without interference, easily, on a ladder make this bucket a joy to use. All the fittings are first rate. The shape is perfect. Even the little details shine, such as the molded-in channels to make pouring the paint from the bucket back into the can smoother.

And the magnet that holds the brush is removable for cleaning, which means I can easily get the bucket back to like-new condition. All in all, I highly recommended it. I won’t paint on a ladder without it.

-- Dennis Faust  

Bercom BER-4500-CC Handy Ladder Pail

Available from Amazon

Manufactured by Bercom

Werner Combination Step/Extension Ladder


This is the only big ladder I own. It works great as an extension ladder for painting, cleaning the gutters or reaching any of those high places. Like the Little Gorilla, it can be re-configured as a step ladder, so you can use it anywhere there is no wall to lean against. But like the previously-reviewed Green Bull Double Front Ladder, this ladder also has steps on both sides, allowing two painters to work at the same time (the max capacity is 375 lbs). The Werner definitely offers the best of both worlds. More expensive, yes. But surprisingly lightweight for a ladder this strong. I’ve had mine for more than 10 years with no sign of wear or tear. My dad is still using the one he bought in the ’70s.

-- Dan McCulley  

Werner Combination Step/Extension Ladder
$406 (8ft.)
Manufactured by Werner

Available from Amazon

Green Bull Double Front Ladder

These ladders have steps on both sides, which really helps if you’re doing something where someone has to climb up and help you, like hanging fans or light fixtures. It has a higher rating (375 lbs) than most other heavy-duty commercial grade ladders. Its exceptional build quality and strength make it pretty much bullet proof. A friend introduced me to these after his painter had left one for him to repair some fallen gutters at his home three years ago. He loved it and bought one. I saw it, loved it and bought one and have been using it ever since.

-- Velemir Cicin  

Green Bull Double Front Ladder
Available from Western Tool

Manufactured by Green Bull Ladder

Deep-Step Safety Ladder


Unlike conventional stepladders, the top step of this nifty aluminum stepladder is the most stable because of its extra size (100 square inches, the biggest of all the steps). It also makes tasks lickity-split efficient, especially with its thoughtful storage bin 11.5″W x 4.25″L x 1.25″, meaning no more lost nuts, etc. And if you’re changing light bulbs, for instance, you can leave the top open and place tons of stuff inside.

There are three, four, five and eight-step models. I bought the four-step version ($99) which weighs 9lbs, so it’s easy to lift with one hand and much lighter than my rickety old wooden ladder. It folds to 4.5″ wide, so storing it is easy. Nicely engineered, the ladder opens and closes smoothly — meaning no pinched fingers – and very little force is required to open it (they are lightweight). I highly recommend these ladders for older folks who’re getting on and may not feel as stable, but insist on taking care of stuff around the house nonetheless. The ladder I have has a flat, undivided storage compartment designed to hold tools. If dusting or cleaning is more what you need the stepladder for, Frontgate also makes a version with a built-in towel rack and a bin with sections intended to hold spray bottles.

-- Joseph Stirt  

Deep-Step Safety Ladder
$200 (8-step)
Manufactured by and available from Frontgate