Henchman launched their “high step” and tripod ladders more than twenty years ago at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and they’ve been a regular presence at the shows ever since. It’s not hard to see why – their product makes a real difference to the working life of the gardener, and the ability to get a job well done, without risking life and limb.
I’ve done my time wobbling about on step ladders. I’ve had several, some very good, some less so – to the extent that I’ve got pretty much down pat the art of leaping from a tumbling set of steps. It’s not a great, nor particularly safe way to work, especially when you're tethered to powered cutting tools, and so it's hard to overstate the difference that a stable platform makes to your working environment, and that’s just what this ladder offers. The Henchman range of tripod ladders come with either one or three adjustable legs, and unless you can be confident that you'll always be working on a bowling green flat surface, I’d always opt to have as much adjustment as possible – it only takes a difference of an inch or so to create a wobble that'll have the top of a ladder swinging like a pendulum. The model that Henchman sent me for review was their 6 foot ladder, which actually has a working height of about 8 feet when fully extended. Everything inspires confidence, from the spring-loaded pins that click into place on extending the legs, to the wide, comfortable treads and deep work platform with its safety cage – you almost feel cocooned within the structure, whilst having complete freedom of movement to work. And the added bonus of the well-thought out treads means no more sore insteps from perching on thin rungs for hours at a stretch. The wide stance of the legs eliminates any wobble, while the third single leg allows you to sneak the ladder into surprisingly tight spaces and get as close to your work as you need to.
The most surprising thing about these aluminium ladders is the weight –having stood and worked from one and felt the reassuring sturdiness of the platform, to carry and manoevre, these things are incredibly light (only 6kg for the 6 foot tripod). It might seem odd to be raving about a ladder – but if you’ve ever found a tool that helps you to do a job with confidence, rather than one that vasicallates between assisting you, getting in your way, and threatening your safety, you’ll know what a blessed relief and joy it can be.
There are three lines within the tripod range – the 1- and 3- leg adjustable ladders have a load bearing capacity of 100kg, which rises to 150kg for the fully adjustable Professional range. The single leg adjustable and Professional ranges feature heights from 6 to 12 foot, whilst the 3-leg adjustable range extends this with 14 and 16 foot options.
If you have hedges to cut, apples to pick, or high wall shrubs to prune, I would thoroughly recommend a tripod ladder from Henchman. If you’re at an RHS show, go and have a chat to the folk on the stand, and try one out – I think you’ll like them.
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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.