1. Home
  2. Safety News
  3. A Guide to the Best Fire Escape Ladders

A Guide to the Best Fire Escape Ladders

Make your home a little safer by adding a fire escape ladder for emergencies. We rank our favorites here.
Written by | Updated November 4, 2020
Best Overall
X-IT brand fire escape ladderX-IT Emergency Escape Ladder
  • Lightweight
  • Holds up to 1,000 lbs.
  • Lightweight
  • Holds up to 1,000 lbs.
Runner Up
ResQLadder brand fire escape ladderResQLadder Fire Escape Ladder 35-Foot
  • Holds up to 1,000 lbs.
  • Deploys quickly
  • Holds up to 1,000 lbs.
  • Deploys quickly
Budget Pick
Kidde fire escape ladderKidde Fire Escape Ladder
  • No tools or assembly required
  • Affordable price
  • No tools or assembly required
  • Affordable price

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.

Every home should have an emergency fire escape plan. Note that 75% 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.1, 2

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.

The best fire escape ladders

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

Minimum Price*
Maximum Length
Maximum Weight
Learn More

*Amazon.com list price as of 11/04/2020 at 9:00 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Our approach

We sifted through the best fire escape ladders to narrow down the best for you. Here are some of the most important features we considered:

  • Temporary vs. permanent solutions (hint: permanent will cost you some extra coins)
  • Amount of weight supported
  • Affordability
  • Warranties
  • Extras and bundles

Visit our methodology page to learn more about how we review products.

Best fire escape ladders

1. X-IT Emergency Fire Escape Ladder

Best Overall
X-IT brand fire escape ladder

Rated as one of the safest and best in the market, the X-IT Emergency Fire Escape Ladder works with 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 13 to 53 feet.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Difficult to fold back and store once used
  • Unable to fit in windows without sills

2. ResQLadder Fire Escape Ladder 35-Foot

Runner Up
ResQLadder brand fire escape ladder

The ResQLadder Fire Escape Ladder 35-Foot 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 12, 15, 25, 35, and 55-foot models. The 35-foot model is available on Amazon. As an added bonus, the ladder is backed by a lifetime limited warranty.

Pros

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

Cons

  • More expensive than other fire escape ladders
  • Easy to tangle in storage

3. Kidde KL-2S Fire Escape Ladder

Budget Pick
Kidde fire escape ladder

Kidde’s KL-2S Fire Escape Ladder comes in 13 and 25-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 affordable safety ladder comes with a five-year limited warranty.

We also love this ladder’s tangle-free design. Some users complain about the non-adjustable hooks, but most customers are happy with this ladder.

Pros

  • Reliable up to 1,000 pounds
  • Quick to deploy
  • Tangle-free design
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Non-adjustable hooks

4. Werner ESC220 Fire Escape Ladder and LED Flashlight

Permanent Pick
WERNER 2-Story Built-In Fire Escape Ladder ESC220

If you’re looking for a permanent fire escape solution and a nice bundle, look no further than the Werner ESC220 Fire Escape Ladder and LED Flashlight.

You can install this fire escape ladder permanently in your window and deploy it in seconds when needed. It has anti-slip rungs, a climbing assistance strap, and it can support up to 1,200 pounds.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Permanently installed and cannot be relocated during an emergency

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 13 to 15 feet for two-story homes and 20 to 25 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.

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.

Fire Escape Ladders FAQ

How can I prevent a house fire?

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, check your oven, grill, and other big appliances too. Models like models like the Nest Protect can let you know if there’s danger even when you aren’t home.

Where should I put my fire and smoke alarms?

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.

What should I do in case of a fire?

Depending on the situation, try to put the fire out first. In addition to fire escape ladders, having fire extinguishers and fire safety kits handy is a smart idea. If not, 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.

Sources

  1. Marty Ahrens and Ben Evarts, National Fire Protection Association, “Fire Loss in the United States,” Accessed November 4, 2020.
  2. Ready.gov, “Home Fires,” April 2020. Accessed November 4, 2020.

Disclaimers

*Amazon.com list price as of 11/04/2020 at 9:00 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.

Google, Google Nest, Google Assistant, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

Written by Katherine Torres

Katherine has had several years of experience developing and executing multichannel marketing campaigns, but actually started her career path in journalism. Though she switched gears, she continues to be driven by the need to deliver information that can be helpful for individuals. As an owner of two rescue dogs, she is most interested in technology and products that allow her to keep a close eye on her pets when she’s away. Learn more

Share this article.
  • 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.

  • 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.