Gorilla Ladder (Little Giant Clone) at Home Despot 129 review

I needed to reach something a few days ago and found that my 6 ft stepladder wasn't quite long enough but there wasn't room enough to fit one of the segments of my extension ladder. Now, I'm sure I could have rigged something that would have been adequate, but I've reached an age where falling off of a rigged ladder has lost all appeal (if I want to bust my ass my motorcycle is quite sufficient to the task). So I figured an 8 footer would do the job. So down to Home Despot I go. Looked at the ladders, looked at the prices. As usual looked at the Little Giant and looked at the price and said "well, if I didn't already have a decent stepladder and a decent extension ladder . . .". But this time sitting next to the Little Giant was something called a "Gorilla Ladder" and the price was about the same as the 8 foot stepladder sitting next to it. So I poked and prodded it and decided "what the Hell, I'm not gonna use it that often, so even if it sucks it should't be a problem".
Got it home, set it up, and it turns out that it doesn't suck. Does everything they say it does, and if I get the feet set straight it's as solid as my other ladders. It's got practically no give to it at all though, so if the feet aren't set straight it's not going to twist to accomodate, it's going to wobble instead. Comes with a second connector to allow it to be used as two scaffold stands or sawhorses or whatever--that's fixed, not adjustable, in a nice plastic case. The adjustment latches are quite rugged looking, big solid aluminum pins going deep into their holes. They were pretty stiff at first--I sprayed them with some Teflon lube and they smoothed right out. The one at the top needs a little fiddling to seat now and again--I suspect that that may smooth out with use.
Now, it has some downsides. The biggest is that it's _heavy_. Not unmanageably so, but heavier than one expects a ladder of its collapsed height to be. Adjusting the spread needs to be done before adjusting the height unless you lay it down first--you have to be able to reach to the top of it fairly easily to adjust the spread. It doesn't work leaned against a wall at the lowest height--try it and you find that it rests on the back legs, not the front, and tries to tip toward you--raise the front a notch and it's OK. Doesn't have any kind of platform at the top like a regular step ladder, there's no place to rest stuff. Little Giant addresses this by throwing in a work platform--you can get a similar one premade for 40 bucks or just cobble something up that rests on a couple of rungs.
Might or might not be as durable as the Little Giant--it's partly welded, partly riveted, and the non-welded rungs pass right through the rails so I don't think _they_ are going anywhere.
On balance I like it--I think that I'm going to end up using it instead of the extension ladder for heights within its reach, but not instead of the stepladder unless I need to go higher than the stepladder can reach.
They also have a shorter, lighter one that does all the same tricks but doesn't reach as high. I got the 21', the other one is 13'--I didn't check the price on it.
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--John
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I have had the "3' when collapsed" Gorilla for 2 or 3 years and have had the Little Giant "5' when collapsed" for about 6 years. IMHO the Gorilla is as capable as the Little Giant.
That said, things that I have noticed are that the Little Giant hinge locks do lock every time and have never missed an occasion to lock properly on both sides. The Gorilla has failed to automatically lock on me with me going up the ladder on a tile floor. This has happened on numerous occasions on other surfaces. I now always look to make sure the hinges lock, something you should be aware of and probably should do anyway. Another slight problem is when collapsing the Gorilla the outer section will not fully collapse unless it is perfectly centered between the bottom step braces. This has never been a problem with the Little Giant. These two annoying items would keep me from buying again if I used the ladders daily, but I don't. FYI the Little Giant rep recommended using Endust to lube the ladder.

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What is important to me is not so much the versatility but the comfort (width) of the treads, the weight (lack thereof) and the non- conductive character of fibre glass. I have 3 that do I all need, and when I need a tall one, I call somebody who has one, and have him climb it. The big wide treads are the big deal for me.
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Robatoy wrote:

When it's extended the treads on the non-overlapped sections are fairly narrow--on the overlapped sections though the width of the two together is OK.
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We needed a replacement for our 30 year old extension ladder this summer; and did a pretty good source-selection on Gorilla, Werner, Little Giant. We ended up with a 22' Werner but it was nearly an equal with the Gorilla. The Little Giant didn't make the final cut beacause of the cost and cheesy way the attach the tops when used in dual short-ladder/scaffod configuration. The little whells appeared to be useless in outside applications. Obviously Little Giant spends too much money on annoying TV ads because some dealers had them at around $100 more than the others.
I agree with your assessment on weight. We found the Gorilla and Werner to be heavy. They are also a little cumbersome to lift at the extended length. However, in use they weren't that hard to extend from the vertical position. I spent a house-worth-of-painting on the extension ladder this summer and found it to be very stable. The ability to adjust leg lengths make those kinds of ladders very useful for getting over landscaping or woking on uneven ground. They make a great step ladder too.
Again, I'm basing comments on the Werner; but except for the stepladder-configuration top joining method, they are pretty much equal.
RonB

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Whew - Obviously I'm used to having an editor available.
RonB

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On Sat, 22 Dec 2007 11:46:23 -0500, "J. Clarke"

I looked pretty hard at both before buying the gorrila. It seems pretty close to an equal with the Little Giant - little less quality - at a significant price dif. I bought because I needed a step ladder. For inside the house I have a couple spaces that need a tall ladder and others where 8 ft would be a max if not a bit much. It is a pretty good step ladder except for the weight. It is almost as heavy as my dad's REALLY stable 8 ft. wooden painters' step ladder. I did bolt on a couple casters that I had laying around to mimic the LGs wheels and it does help. Got a work platform too that is pretty nice. It is damn heavy and ackward as an extension ladder and at 21' not all that long anyhow.
Dave Hall
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I noticed the Gorilla at the Borg a few years back. I've had my Little Giant for going on 13 years, so I was curious to see a clone with such a price difference. It looked alright, but I've never been on one so I can't comment on its comparative quality. I can say that after more than a dozen years of use I consider my Little Giant one of my best tool purchases. The thing operates like the day I got it, and I've never lubricated the rails with spray wax the way they tell you to.
If the thing ever dies - I'll probably go before it will - I'd probably get the fiberglass model as the weight is a bit more than I'd like.
Thanks for posting the review.
R
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I looked at these two and went with the COSTCO model that Wal-Mart sells for $99.
Its too heavy for regular use, but great for getting close to a wall surface, working up a stairwell and as a scaffold - though its a bit scary to use becuase the assembly of the "second" pier seems flimsy - but does work OK - although I did add clamps to secure the 2x12 as I wa working on an uneven gravel surface and am scared sh++less of hieghts.
Son-in-law has the Gorilla ladder and didn't seem to find much difference worth telling me about.
I, too, would prefer the fiberglass. Though the fading color on my Werner FB indicates they may not take too well to being left in the FL sun.
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