A Guide to the Best Fire Escape Ladders

We researched the top emergency escape ladders to keep your home safe during a fire emergency.
Best all-around
Kidde fire escape ladder
Kidde KL-2S
  • pro
    Holds up to 1,000 lbs.
  • pro
    Deploys quickly
  • con
    Doesn’t offer longer warranty
Trusted pick
First Alert ladder
First Alert
  • pro
    Holds up to 1,125 lbs.
  • pro
    Affordable price
  • con
    Steps are narrow
Reusable pick
ISOP fire escape ladder
  • pro
    Holds up to 2,000 lbs.
  • pro
  • con
    1 year warranty

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review

Fire Prevention Week 2023

Fire Prevention Week is October 8-14, 2023. This year’s theme is “Cooking safety starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention™.”

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S., with around 170,000 reported in 2021. To help keep your home and loved ones safe, we put together a list of tips with simple but vital actions you can take to stay safe in the kitchen. 

We recommend the Kidde KL-2S Fire Escape Ladder for escaping your multi-level home or apartment through a window safely. It’s easy to use, well constructed, and affordable.

You have an average of two minutes to escape before smoke and flames engulf the entire house. Having a window-escape ladder in place is one way to ensure that you and your loved ones can escape quickly and safely from a home fire. Many ladders that are offered online are not safe because they use ropes or chains that can tangle or burn or pinch hands. Others are by sketchy brands. We’ve researched the best emergency escape ladders to bring you the best.

Fire escape ladders comparison

Take a peek at our top picks for the best fire escape ladders.

Best for
Weight limit
Learn more
Read review
Best all-around7.75 lbs.1,000 lbs.5 years
Trusted pick12.8 lbs.1,125 lbs.5 years
Reusable pick10.93 lbs.2,000 lbs.1 year

*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Best fire escape ladders reviews

1. Kidde KL-2S Fire Escape Ladder: Best all-around

Best all-around
Kidde fire escape ladder
Kidde KL-2S

Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Kidde’s KL-2S Fire Escape Ladder has everything going for it: strength, durability, and ease of use. Like others on this list, it can hold up to 1,000 pounds. The thick straps and wide steps keep the ladder stable as you descend. Best of all, there are no chains or ropes to pinch or burn your fingers as you climb.

pro Reliable up to 1,000 pounds
pro Quick to deploy
pro Affordable
pro Lightweight
con Doesn’t offer longer warranty

In addition to an anti-slip, zinc-plated rung design that provides stability for children or older family members, it also attaches to windows easily, making it perfect for a fast exit. We also love the Kidde escape ladder’s tangle-free design.

This affordable safety ladder comes with a five-year limited warranty, which is pretty standard. We would have liked to see a warranty more like the ladder that places second on our list (15 years).

2. First Alert EL52-2 fire ladder: Trusted pick

Trusted pick
First Alert ladder

Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

First Alert is known as one of the most trusted safety companies on the market, so it’s no surprise the First Alert EL52-2 fire escape ladder is a sturdy choice. This steel ladder has been tested to hold up to 1,125 pounds.

pro Reliable up to 1,125 pounds
pro Easy to use
con Narrow steps
con Heavy

It’s also easy to deploy. It hooks onto the window seal and unfolds itself so you can get out quickly.

The one thing we didn’t really like is the steps. The steps are narrow and slippery. This makes the emergency ladder less stable as you climb down it. Thicker straps and wider steps, like the ones on the Kidde escape ladder, would have been better.

3. ISOP Fire Escape Ladder: Best reusable pick

Reusable pick
ISOP fire escape ladder

Amazon.com list price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Unlike other fire escape ladders on this list, the ISOP Fire Escape Ladder is reusable. This is ideal if you want to practice using the ladder. Other ladders can be harder to store, which is probably why they are marked for only one use. The ISOP is easy to fold up and even comes with a storage bag.

pro Reliable over 2,000 lbs.
pro Reusable
con 1 year warranty

ISOP also comes with slip-resistant resin rungs and thick ropes that won’t tangle or hurt your hands. It can also support over 2,000 pounds, so it’s the heavy-duty ladder on our list.

We didn’t like the warranty, though. Other ladders on this list have their warranty information readily available online, and five years or more is the standard. ISOP has a warranty of only one year.

Other fire escape ladders we considered

This ladder came close to making our top-pick list.

Hausse Retractable Fire Escape Ladder

The Hausse Retractable Fire Escape Ladder has a similar construction to our top pick, but we just couldn’t recommend it for one big reason. It’s retractable, which means you need to fiddle around with the ladder’s hooks to get it to extend fully before you attach it to a window sill. These few seconds can mean the difference between getting out safely and not getting out at all.

What to look for in fire escape ladders

An emergency window escape ladder only works if you can access it easily and all your family members can use it safely. Here are some factors to consider while comparing your options:

  • Height: Match your home’s height. Choose 13 to 15 feet for two-story homes and 20 to 25 feet for three-story homes.
  • Ladder weight: Find a ladder that’s lightweight and compact so you can move and store it with ease.
  • Weight supported: Look for a ladder rated to carry at least 1,000 pounds so multiple family members can use it at the same time.
  • Anti-slip: Make sure the ladder has anti-slip features for children or older household members with mobility restrictions.

Using and storing window escape ladders

An emergency escape ladder may be awkward to use, so test it out before an emergency. Once you’re done shopping for safety ladders, test it in its intended window. Have each family member place the ladder out the window and climb out. Think of it as a mini fire drill.

One-use ladders

Many ladders are labeled as “one use only.” Be sure to check the label or call the manufacturer to see if testing the ladder will void the warranty.

When storing a portable window escape ladder, keep it folded up in a box. Always place the ladder or the box near the window where you intend to use it.

Final word

We found that the Kidde KL-2S Fire Escape Ladder checked all of our boxes for the best fire escape ladder. It’s fast, strong, and affordable. While no fire safety product is guaranteed to save your life during a fire, we think this ladder will be your safest emergency exit option from a multi-level home or apartment through an escape window. 

To learn more about fire safety and prevention, visit our Home Fire Safety Guide.


Preventing house fires requires routine maintenance, careful planning, and common sense.

  • Start by being careful with activities like cooking and heating your home.
  • Make sure your fire and smoke alarms are up to date, and check your oven, grill, and other big appliances too.

Models like the Nest Protect smoke alarm can let you know if there’s danger, even when you aren’t home.

You’ll want to install your fire and smoke alarms on each level of your home and at least outside each bedroom. See our full guide to learn more about installing fire and smoke alarms.

Depending on the situation, try to put the fire out first if it is a small fire. In addition to fire escape ladders, having a fire extinguisher and fire safety kit handy is a smart idea.

If you can’t get the fire out, get out of the building through a planned escape route. Be sure to practice your routine with your family so you know what to do should a fire strike your home.

Video: What does fire safety sound like?

Play Video

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and learn how to protect your home, loved ones, and belongings.

How we reviewed the best fire emergency ladders

For this fire escape ladder review, we scoured hundreds of reviews from users and ratings on various websites. We also used our decades of experience as safety experts, and experience as a volunteer firefighter, to evaluate how well each product would work in a real-life fire emergency.

Here are some features we prioritized when reviewing fire ladders:

  • Slip-resistant rungs
  • Wide ladder rungs
  • Chain- and rope-free design
  • Simple ladder hooks
  • Weight capacity

For more on how we review products, take a look at our SafeWise methodology page.

Related articles on SafeWise


*Amazon.com list price as of post date. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SafeWise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Alina Bradford
Written by
Alina Bradford
Alina is a safety and security expert that has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. Her goal is to make safety and security gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification and paving the way to her current career. Her activities aren’t nearly as dangerous today. Her hobbies include fixing up her 100-year-old house, doing artsy stuff, and going to the lake with her family.

Recent Articles

woman adjusting thermostat in bright home
The Best Home Security Systems of 2024
After thousands of hours of tests and research, we picked Vivint and SimpliSafe as the...
senior couple hiking
Most Affordable Medical Alert Systems
Medical alert systems can save lives, but how much do they cost? We compared the...
medical alert products on an illustrated background
Best Medical Alert Systems
See which medical alert system is the best to keep you and your loved one...
Man and woman couple wife husband set up surveillance security camera
Best Apartment Security Systems
These renter-friendly apartment security systems help keep you safe and require less commitment than your...