A Guide to the Best Fire Escape Ladders

Aug 25, 2017 |


Every home should have an emergency fire escape plan. 78% of all fire deaths occur in home fires, and household members 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 if a home fire breaks out.

To help make your home safer, we’ll cover some of the features you want in an emergency escape ladder and give you our top recommendations for ladders that are worth checking out.

What to Look For in Fire Escape Ladders

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

  • Match your home’s height. Choose thirteen to fifteen feet for two-story homes and twenty to twenty-five feet for three-story homes.
  • Find a ladder that’s lightweight and compact so you can move and store it with ease.
  • Look for a ladder rated to carry at least 1,000 pounds so multiple family members can use it at the same time.
  • Make sure the ladder has anti-slip features for children or older household members with mobility issues.
  • Check for ladder standoffs, also known as ladder stabilizers. These protrusions hold the ladder rungs away from the wall of the house, giving enough room for a secure toehold and stabilizing the ladder for safe descents.

The 5 Best Fire Escape Ladders

Once you know what type of ladder you need, you can make a choice that works for your home. These are our top picks.

  1. 1. X-IT Emergency Fire Escape Ladder

  2. List Price: $89.95 (Thirteen-foot length)

    Buy on Amazon

    Rated as one of the safest and best in the market, the X-IT Emergency Fire Escape Ladder fits to walls and windows of all sizes. Because the X-IT ladder weighs just six pounds, most members of the family can move it. It also comes in a range of lengths from thirteen to fifty-three feet.


    • Lightweight and easy to carry
    • Reliable up to 1,000 pounds
    • Designed to fit all windowsills (but window size may influence strength)


    • Difficult to fold back and store once used
    • Unable to fit in windows without sills
  3. 2. ResQLadder FL15SL Extended Escape Ladder

  4. List Price: $119.95 (Twelve-foot length)

    Buy on Amazon

    The ResQLadder FL15SL Extended Escape Ladder can support up to 1,000 pounds. This American-made portable ladder features strong steel hooks that easily attach to standard-sized window sills, and the grooved rungs provide a non-slip surface. Intended for a variety of house or apartment building styles, this ladder comes in twelve-foot, fifteen-foot, twenty-five-foot, thirty-five-foot, and fifty-foot models.  As an added bonus, the ladder is backed by a lifetime limited warranty.


    • Reliable up to 1,000 pounds
    • Quick to deploy
    • Steady with removable standoffs
    • Able to fit any window frame
    • Durable plastic encasing over chains


    • More expensive than other fire escape ladders
    • Easy to tangle in storage
  5. 3. Kidde KL-2S Fire Escape Ladder

  6. List Price: $6.99 (Thirteen-foot length)

    Buy on Amazon

    Kidde’s KL-2S Fire Escape Ladder comes in thirteen-foot and twenty-five-foot models. In addition to its anti-slip, zinc-plated rungs that provide stability for children or older family members, it also attaches to windows easily, making it perfect for a fast exit. This safety ladder comes with a five-year limited warranty.


    • Ready to use with no required assembly
    • Reliable up to 1,000 pounds
    • Less expensive than other ladders


    • Only stable for one-time use. It cannot be deployed for practice/fire drills.
    • Heavy for children
    • Bulky to store
  7. 4. First Alert EL53W-2 Three-Story Escape Ladder

  8. List Price: $119.99

    Buy on Amazon

    The First Alert ELS53W-2 ladder features steel standoffs and wide windowsill hooks that can accommodate sills between six and thirteen inches. The nylon straps in between the slip-resistant rungs ensure stable and safe exits. This portable escape ladder comes with a six-year limited warranty.


    • Reliable up to 1,125 pounds
    • Reasonably priced for a high-quality escape ladder


    • Only available in three-story length
    • Susceptible to melting nylon straps
    • Difficult to fold back and store once used
  9. 5. Werner ESC330 Fire Escape Ladder

  10. List Price: $122.90 (Two-story model)

    Buy on Amazon

    Designed to help multiple family members evacuate quickly, the Werner ESC330 Fire Escape Ladder carries up to 1,200 pounds and has a 400-pound load capacity per rung. It comes with anti-slip rungs and standoffs as well as heat-resistant nylon straps. The ladder comes in two- or three-story models. This ladder requires permanent installation, which is why it ranked lowest on our list.


    • Quick setup for evacuating multiple household members
    • Reliable up to 1,200 pounds
    • Heat-resistant straps
    • Reusable


    • Permanently installed and cannot be relocated during an emergency

Using and Storing Window Escape Ladders

An emergency escape ladder may be awkward to use, so make sure you test it out before an emergency. Once you’re done shopping for safety ladders, test it out 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.

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.

As a homeowner, protecting your family from fire and other emergencies is top priority. Use our list of the best window escape ladders to make sure you and your loved ones can exit safely and quickly during a fire. To learn more about fire safety and prevention, visit our Fire Safety Resource Guide.

Written by Hillary Johnston

A proud mother of four, Hillary is passionate about safety education. She holds a degree in Public Health and Disaster Management. Learn more

Share with your awesome friends.