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
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Holds up to 1,000 lbs.
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Deploys quickly
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Doesn’t offer longer warranty
Lightest pick
X-IT brand fire escape ladder
X-IT
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Holds up to 1,000 lbs.
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Deploys easily
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Costs more than competitors
Trusted pick
First Alert ladder
First Alert
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Holds up to 1,125 lbs.
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Affordable price
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Steps are narrow
Reusable pick
ISOP ladder
ISOP
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Holds up to 2,000 lbs.
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Reusable
  • Icon Cons  Light
    1 year warranty

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.

Product
Price
Weight
Weight limit
Warranty
Learn more
Best all-around
Kidde fire escape ladderKidde
7.75 lbs.1,000 lbs.5 years
Lightest pick
XIT ladderX-IT
5.95 lbs.1,000 lbs.15 years
Trusted pick
First Alert ladderFirst Alert
12.8 lbs.1,125 lbs.5 years
Reusable pick
ISOP ladderISOP
12.8 lbs.More than 2,000 lbs.1 year

*Amazon.com list price as of 06/01/2021 at 3:05 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Best fire escape ladders reviews

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

Best all-around

*Amazon.com list price as of 06/01/2021 at 3:05 p.m. (MT). 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 Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Reliable up to 1,000 pounds
Pro Bullet Quick to deploy
Pro Bullet Affordable
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Doesn’t offer longer warranty

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. We also love this 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. X-IT 2 Story fire ladder: Lightest pick

Lightest pick

*Amazon.com list price as of 06/01/2021 at 3:05 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Rated as one of the safest and best in the market, the X-IT Emergency Fire Escape Ladder is light and has an outstanding warranty. Because the X-IT ladder weighs just under six pounds, most members of the family can move it. This is a huge plus for households with little ones.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Weighs just 5.95 pounds
Pro Bullet Reliable up to 1,000 pounds
Pro Bullet Offers long warranty
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Pricey

We also love that X-IT offers a better warranty than its competitors. You get a 60-day full refund, 15-year limited warranty for material and workmanship, and they will replace your ladder if you use it in an emergency.

This ladder is around $30 more than its competitors. This could make it harder to afford for homes with multiple upper-level windows.

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

Trusted pick

*Amazon.com list price as of 06/01/2021 at 3:05 p.m. (MT). 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 Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Reliable up to 1,125 pounds
Pro Bullet Easy to use
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Narrow steps

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 ladder less stable as you climb down it. Thicker straps and wider steps, like the ones on the Kiddie ladder, would have been better.

4. ISOP Fire Escape Ladder: Best reusable pick

Reusable Pick

*Amazon.com list price as of 06/01/2021 at 3:05 p.m. (MT). 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 Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Reliable over 2,000 lbs.
Pro Bullet Reusable
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet 1 year warranty

ISOP also comes with slip-resistant metal rungs and wide straps 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 seal. 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.

Checklist
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 exit option from a multi-level home or apartment through an escape window. 

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

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.

FAQ

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 fire extinguishers and fire safety kits handy is a smart idea. If you can’t get the fire out, get out of the house through a planned route. Be sure to practice your routine with your family so you know what to do should a fire strike your home.

Related pages


Disclaimers

*Amazon.com list price as of 06/01/2021 at 3:05 a.m. (MT). 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 has been reviewing the latest tech for more than a decade and has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. She specializes in smart home and security technology, working to make gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification. 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.

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  • Mark Choi

    So many important facts wrong here, it makes the entire article unreliable and essentially worthless.
    E.g., for the Kidde unit under “pros”:
    Steady with removable standoffs

    The Kidde does NOT have removable standoffs.

    Durable plastic encasing over chains

    There is not a single chain on the unit, let alone covered in plastic. The ladder uses nylon straps

    And while the author lists as using these nylon straps as a “con” on another ladder, it is not even mentioned for the Kidde.

  • Shomare

    The “4. First Alert EL53W-2 Three-Story Escape Ladder” states “Cons – Only available in three-story length”, yet there are 2 story versions all over the place (Lowes, Amazon, etc), and the reviews on the 2 story one on Amazon date back to 2013? But I could be missing something.

    • Mark Choi

      You’re not missing anything. The author gets multiple key facts wrong.