How Do I Store a Ladder in the Garage?

Four garage wall ladders on hooksMy ladder is currently sitting horizontally across the wall. This ladder is both bulky and heavy. It is taking up the real estate where a slatwall or utility hooks could go. I put the ladder there 30 years ago. Garage storage innovations passed me by. I set out to learn about my garage ladder storage options.

What are my garage ladder storage options? I can:

  1. use hooks to hang the ladder on the wall
  2. store the ladder at the ceiling using a manual pulley/hoist
  3. store the ladder at the ceiling using a motorized pulley/hoist
  4. store the ladder in a ceiling rack
  5. hang the ladder from wall organization (slatwall) system

However, before hanging the ladder, I need to know the ladder’s weight, height and width. I need to know the weight capacity of the tool I use to hang the ladder. In addition, I need to know the weight capacity of the wall or ceiling from which the ladder hangs.

Is There a Better Ladder Storage Option than This? (Picture)

My ladder stored horizontally 2018
My ladder stored horizontally 2018

I have not been shopping for a ladder storage solution in so long,

I was not even aware of the hooks specifically devoted to ladder storage.

It has been 30 years since I thought about how to store a ladder in my garage.

30 years ago, I bought “hooks,” but I do not remember there being such a thing as “ladder hooks.”

Pros and Cons of Wall Ladder Hooks

Wall ladder hooks allow you to hang the ladder horizontally or vertically. If it is vertical, you might need only one hook. Just because of its length, a horizontal hang requires at least two hooks.

Horizontal storage takes up a lot of space. The ladder starts to look like a storage shelf, as you can see in the picture of my garage.

Wintek ladder hooks
Long hooks with rubber coating.

With two hooks, you are spreading the ladder’s weight across more surface area. If each hook can carry 30 lb., and you use two hooks, you can hang a 60 lb. ladder.

No matter what the hook manufacturer says, install the hooks in the wall stud, not just the drywall.

To hang the ladder vertically on the garage wall, you might need only one hook. It will just depend on the ladder’s weight and the hook capacity.

Vertical storage takes less space across the garage wall. A vertically hung ladder is less likely to become a storage shelf.

Different Types of “Ladder Hooks” for the Garage Wall

Ladder hooks are a cost-effective ladder storage solution.

There are three things to look for in a good ladder hook.

  1. The surface should be long enough to carry the depth of the ladder
  2. The surface should be coated to grip the ladder and avoid scratches
  3. The weight capacity should be larger than the ladder weight

A good ladder hook is deep enough to hold a solid portion of the ladder. You do not want the ladder dangling off the edge of the hook.

Most ladder hooks have load capacities from 25 to 100 lb. Use two or more hooks to increase the weight capacity of the entire set of hooks.

A good ladder hook is coated in rubber or neoprene. These add grip to hold the ladder in place. They are natural anti-scratch materials.

Good Ladder Hook Design

Ladder hanging vertically on Tornado Ladder Hook
Ladder hanging vertically on Tornado Ladder Hook

I found some common complaints about different ladder hook materials and designs.

I found two ladder hooks I recommend.

I also describe two solutions that can use some improvements.

The Tornado and Art of Storage Hooks are stellar examples of how to build a ladder hook.

The CoolYeah hook looks like the Tornado, but it needs some hardware improvement.

The Impresa hook has no hardware. It is a screw and a hook in one. The rubber coating could use a little reinforcement.

The Tornado Ladder Hook is 6.75" tall by 7" long (where the ladder rests)
The Tornado Ladder Hook is 6.75″ tall by 7″ long (where the ladder rests)

The Tornado 00525 Ladder Hook

The Tornado 00525 Ladder Hook is a cost effective and well-designed wall hanging hook.

I like that the Tornado Ladder Hook is extra long. It can handle even large top rungs. The hook’s upturned tips prevent the ladder from falling forward.

Tornado Hooks are rubber-coated. Reviewers do not complain that the rubber coating comes off. This is a frequent problem with some ladder hooks. It is why the Tornado hook made the cut.

The Tornado Ladder Hook has an effective back plate to take on some of the ladder’s weight. It doubles as an installation template as it has notches to mark the wall where you want to install the hook.

The Tornado Ladder Hook is 6.75″ tall (from hardware to the hook’s first bend). It is 7″ long where the ladder rests. The tips are 1″ high. It has a 30 lb. weight capacity.

While Tornado’s instructions say you can mount the Tornado Ladder Hook in drywall (but not a stud), I would still find a stud to hold my ladder’s weight.

Tornado says that this hook can carry 20 lb. if mounted into drywall, and 30 lb. if mounted into a stud. Since you only need one hook for vertical storage, hang up to a 30 lb. ladder on this hook.

If the ladder weighs more, use two hooks to distribute the load.

For horizontal ladder storage, install one hook per 30 lb. of ladder weight. Distribute the weight across two or more hooks.

I really like the Tornado hook for strength and weight distribution. If your ladder is close to or over 30 lb. though, there are some bigger solutions, below.

The Art of Storage UH2000 Utility Hook

Vertical ladder storage using the Art of Storage UH2000 Hook
The UH2000 is not as deep as the Tornado, but it’s much wider, offering a lot of surface area.

The Art of Storage UH2000 Utility Hook is a beautifully designed ladder hook that is also useful for hanging wheelbarrows and other large, bulky objects.

Although it is not as deep as the Tornado Hook, it is extra wide. This distributes more weight over its surface.

The hook arm is covered in that slick kind of rubber coating that lasts many winter and summer temperature changes. Reviewers do not complain that the rubber comes off. The rubber has a grip to it to prevent the ladder from moving, and from being scratched.

For about the same price as the Tornado Hook, the Art of Storage UH2000 Utility Hook can carry 50 lb. as opposed to the Tornado Hook’s 30 lb. The UH2000 has an excellent load distribution design, too. The tall installation plate and wide ladder arm distributes the ladder weight across a relatively large surface area.

The UH2000 is 8 in. wide by 5 in. tall by 5 in. deep. The hook is a little less than 5 in. deep, meaning you want to place a ladder rung — not the top platform — in the hook mouth.

The Art of Storage UH2000 Hook has excellent load distribution properties.
The Art of Storage UH2000 Hook

I would prefer if this hook were a little deeper, but it is otherwise a fine ladder-hanging hook with excellent durability and weight distribution.

As with any ladder hook, mount the UH2000 hook into a garage wall stud (or for masonry, a cement wall furring strip.)

Get one hook for up to 50 lb. of vertical ladder storage. Get two hooks for horizontal ladder storage. Use an additional hook for every 50 lb. of weight.

I love the UH2000 design and rubber covering. The UH2000 is a well thought-out, sturdy and durable ladder-hanging hook especially good for heavier ladders. It is cost-effective and able to carry 50 lb.

The CoolYeah Long U-Hook

CoolYeah Double U Hooks
CoolYeah Double U Hooks

The CoolYeah Long U-Hooks come in a package of three. They offer a competitive price-per-hook.

The CoolYeah Long U-Hook has a similar design to the Tornado Ladder Hook. The installation plate is deep and the hooks are long to distribute the ladder weight.

The hook interior (where the ladder rests) is 6.3 in. long. The iron hooks are covered in anti-slip PVC that keeps the ladder from moving.

As with the Tornado Hook, instructions for the CoolYeah Long U-Hooks say that you can install them in drywall, without using a stud. For myself, I would not hang a 50 lb. ladder from a drywall screw. I would find and use a stud to install the any ladder hook.

As much as CoolYeah brags about its wider, upgraded screws, its installation hardware is not that popular. As of December 2018, reviews still complain about the screw quality.

I wouldn’t say the supplied wall screws are *totally* useless, but they are suboptimal. If you’re going to hang more than 20-25 pounds on the hook, I’d suggest using a bigger lag screw/bolt.

— Amazon reviewer

The reason I point this out is to make you aware of a typical problem in garage storage that you will need to address for your garage.

Very often, otherwise good products come with crappy mounting hardware.

When in doubt, upgrade the installation screws and wall anchors when installing load-bearing hooks, baskets, shelves and the like.

While I like the CoolYeah U-Hook design, I would probably get two or three Art of Storage hooks before I would get the CoolYeah hooks. I could swap out the CoolYeah’s mounting hardware as I have plenty of screws hanging around in my basement.

However, Art of Storage has an excellent reputation, and their ladder hook holds 50 lb. Tornado reviewers do not complain about the mounting hardware.

Impresa Bike Hooks for Ladder Storage

Many wall hooks and bike hooks work well but have weak rubber covers
Is the hook mouth deep enough for your ladder?

I have always used bike hooks to store ladders. These are hooks and screws all in one. The opposite end of the hook is the screw.

The advantage of a bike hook’s built-in screw is also its disadvantage.

It is nice not to have to pull out a screwdriver or drill. However, this means you have to apply a lot of pressure on the hook to create the screw hole in the stud.

One workaround is to drill a pilot hole for the bike hook. However, if you are going to get out the drill, why not get an Art of Storage ladder hook?

Bike hooks are also called screw-in hooks. Generally, a screw-in hook mouth (where the ladder rests) will not be as deep as a ladder hook mouth. If the ladder rests on the hook tips, it might be wobbly. It could even fall off. You just want a good amount of surface area where the ladder rests on the hook.

Impresa Bike Hook
Impresa Bike Hook

A “wide mouth” for a bike hook such as the Impresa bike hook is a 4″ width. By comparison, the Art of Storage hook is just less than 5 in. deep, and the Tornado ladder hook is 7 in. deep. The Impresa hook mouth is shorter (and is therefore a less secure hanging surface).

However, Impresa hook’s load capacity is an impressive 100 lb. Impresa instructions say to install the bike hooks install only into the stud, not into the drywall.

In order to accommodate the bike hook’s small mouth, only use it to hang ladder rungs rather than the top ladder platform.

The Little Giant 22 Ft. Ladder configured as a step ladder
The Little Giant 22 Ft. Ladder configured as a step ladder

For example, look at the Little Giant 22-Foot Velocity ladder.

This ladder weighs 39 lb, and its rungs are 1 in. and 1.5 in. in diameter.

For smaller mouth hooks, hang the ladder by the rungs.

Screw-in bike hooks are good but not ideal for hanging ladders.

However, they are an excellent solution for hanging power equipment, furniture, tools and hoses.

Ceiling Ladder Storage

Before you even think about ceiling ladder storage, you need to know:

  1. “Is this safe?”
  2. “How will I get the ladder up to and down from the ceiling hook?”
  3. “How much weight can I hang from my garage ceiling?”

There are safe ways to hang ladders on the ceiling. However, anything hanging from the ceiling presents a danger of falling on someone’s head.

Pros and Cons of Ceiling Pulley Hoist Systems

Store Your Board Hi-Lift Nylon Strap Wraps Around the Cargo
Store Your Board Ladder Pulley

It was fun to find were ladder hoists, also known as “garage ceiling lifts” or “hoist and pulley” systems.

First, you hook or tie the ladder to the pulley.

With a manual pulley, you then pull on the rope. This pulls the ladder toward the ceiling. The mechanism is a lot like pulling the cord on a window blind. You pull, it goes up. You let go, it goes down.

With an automated pulley, push the button instead of pulling or letting go.

The ladder goes up to the ceiling, and out of the way.

With a ceiling rack, you need a ladder to get your ladder off the ceiling. With a hoist, you do not need another ladder. The pulley does that work for you.

Store Your Board Ladder Pulley Tie Off
Store Your Board Ladder Pulley Tie Off

With any ceiling storage, it is crucial that you know how much your ceiling can hold. It is equally crucial that you install the hoist correctly. No amount of convenience is worth a ladder falling on your head.

Either you have to leave the spot under the ladder clear, or you need to be able to move whatever is under the ladder. When the ladder comes down, it will hit anything below it.

The ceiling hoist system holds the ladder more securely than the ceiling rack does. You literally tie the ladder to a pulley, whereas the ladder just rests on a rack.

Ladders can get heavy, so check how much weight you can hang from the ceiling before using ceiling storage.

The Store Your Board Pro Hi-Lift Ceiling Hoist

Store Your Board Hi Lift Pro carrying extension ladder
Store Your Board Hi Lift Pro carrying extension ladder

One of my favorite ladder pulleys is the Store Your Board “Pro” Hi-Lift ceiling hoist.

First, you wrap the straps around the ladder. Then you insert the pulley hooks into the straps. Each hook gets one strap to pull.

Pull the pulley rope to lift the ladder to the ceiling.

To bring the ladder down, unlock the rope and let it go up.

This will allow the ladder to come down.

Then you tie off the extra rope onto a wall hook.

The Partsam Automated Winch

Partsam 440 lb. winch straps
Partsam Winch

While there are automated pulleys designed to lift ladders, I cannot recommend any of them here. They are not safe enough.

If you want an automated solution, you could use a Partsam winch to pull the ladder to the ceiling.

Partsam is one of the only brand winches I have found that appears to have a good safety reputation. I am going off the Amazon reviews to make this judgment.

Many automated pulleys and generic winches just do not seem safe enough to buy. The Partsam winch has a good reputation.

Pros and Cons of Ceiling Rack Storage

Ceiling Rack
Ceiling Rack

Ceiling racks are stationary holders that hang from the ceiling, over your head or your car.

Whereas a pulley will carry the ladder up and down, a ceiling rack stays where it is. Therefore, you have to get the ladder up there on your own. Ceiling racks do not bring the ladder up and down as hoists do.

Always ask and answer the questions: “Is it safe to put a ladder on this ceiling rack?” and “How will I get the ladder up to and down from this ceiling rack?”

If you use a ceiling rack, you need access to the area under the rack to get the ladder down. You need a stepladder or another ladder to reach the one on the ceiling!

If you have a second ladder to get the first ladder, the question becomes, “Where do I store the second ladder? Might I suggest a wall hook, a slatwall system, or a hoist?

Ceiling racks excel at storing things that are long and bulky. The device design is simple. It is just two poles sticking out of the ceiling, and two horizontal poles hanging off them.

Anything you store on a ceiling rack sits on the horizontal poles. I have seen many DIY videos on how to make ceiling racks. The purchased racks save a lot of trouble. They are also lighter (about 15 lb.) compared to the weight of DIY pressure-treated wood.

The Store Your Board Ceiling Rack

The StoreYourBoard ceiling rack holding two ladders
Store Your Board Hi-Port Mount Ceiling Rack

One of the best ceiling racks was originally designed to store surfboards. The Store Your Board Double Ladder Ceiling Rack is one of the most popular ceiling racks out there. It carries up to 75 lb. per side, or 150 lb. total. The center column height is adjustable between 10″ and 18″ tall. It installs into a ceiling joist.

You are still going to need a ladder to retrieve your ceiling rack contents. You can use a stepladder stored closer to the floor to reach the ceiling rack. Store the stepladder on the wall, and use it to access the bigger ladder in the ceiling rack.

You also want the ceiling rack out of the way of where people walk. This is true of all ceiling storage solutions!

The Pros and Cons of Garage Wall Storage Systems

Garage Wall Storage Systems
Garage Wall Storage Systems

Slatwalls (sometimes called “slat walls” and “slot walls”) are tracks and panels you install into the garage wall studs. They accept proprietary hooks that are easy to move and lock into place.

Once you have installed the tracks or panels, you can put the drill and screwdriver away. The hooks lock into the wall channels. You just unlock the hook, move it, and lock it again.

The most popular garage storage systems are Gladiator, Proslat and Rubbermaid FastTrack.

There are some other good brands out there, including GarageMate (technically a rail rather than a slatwall), StoreWall (great for outdoors but more expensive than standard offerings), diamondLife (pegboard company still getting its feet wet in the slatwall market), and Flow Wall, (an excellent garage wall storage system).

Gladiator and Proslat allow you to use wall panels to cover large areas, and tracks to cover smaller areas. Rubbermaid FastTrack is a track-only system.

Info! Do not buy wall storage system hooks unless you have the panels or tracks. The Gladiator, Proslat and Rubbermaid hooks are intended to be used with their respective wall panels and tracks. While you can install some of these hooks directly into the studs, it makes much more sense to get ladder hooks for wall studs, and proprietary wall system hooks for wall systems.

Use Proslat 13012 Super Duty Hooks to hang the bikes on the wall
Each garage wall organization system comes with its own proprietary hooks.

A slatwall garage organization system creates a clean, elegant interface for hooks, bins and baskets. All slatwall companies sell hooks that fit into their proprietary hardware.

 

Each slatwall hook comes with a load capacity. They are usually 25 lb. or 50 lb. maximums.

Hanging a ladder on a slatwall is similar to hanging it on the garage wall. Now you have hooks that are easier to move. You will use the hooks that go with the system you buy. Gladiator hooks for Gladiator panels; Rubbermaid hooks for Rubbermaid panels, etc.

As with hanging a ladder on the wall, horizontal ladders tend to turn into unintended storage racks. Use two or more hooks to hang the ladder horizontally.

I like the Gladiator Deep Hook, the Proslat Hose Hook, and the Rubbermaid FastTrack Ladder Hook.

The Ladder Hook holding a ladder and a step ladder
The FastTrack Ladder Hook holding a ladder and a step ladder
The 13016 hose hook
Proslat Hose Hook is a good depth for ladders

My favorite is the Rubbermaid FastTrack Ladder Hook. The Rubbermaid hook is covered in soft rubber to protect the ladder. The top ladder step can rest on the hook’s huge 13 in. depth. In addition, as with any rail and slatwall system, you can pick up the hook and move it with a simple unlock and lock.

Look at the Ladder hook image to see how deep this hook is. It has no problem gripping two ladders at once.

If you have (or are getting) a Proslat wall system, the 8 inch locking hooks work well with ladders. They come three to a package. It has a large 8-inch platform with rubber coating to hold the ladder in place. Each hook holds 50 lb. Hang the ladder horizontally across two hooks, which will offer 100 lb. of support combined.

If you have (or are getting) a Gladiator GearTrack or GearWall storage system, get the Big Hook to store the ladder. The Gladiator GearTrack system comes in a set of two 4 ft. tracks per package. Gladiator offers a huge assortment of hooks and garage wall storage.

Ladder on the Big Hook
Ladder on the Gladiator Deep Hook

The Gladiator accessory kit comes with 18 hooks, six bins and a 24-inch basket. The accessory kit hooks hold 35 lb. or 50 lb.

Like all Gladiator hooks, the Deep Hook locks into the GearTrack. No tools are required to move hooks around. The Big Hook holds 50 lb., and is outfitted with neoprene rubber tips to protect the ladder. They grip onto the ladder to keep it from moving.

You can tell by looking at it that the Deep Hook is not going to move at all when you put the ladder on it.

The Deep Hook surface is 11 inches deep, which is a secure depth to hang a ladder.

People Also Ask

Can I store a ladder outside? The sun’s UV rays will weaken fiberglass and plastic on your ladder. Outdoor ladders are also way too much of an invitation to be robbed. Do not store a ladder outside without considering the alternatives.

How do I choose the right ladder for the job? There is an entire association devoted to this question. Visit the American Ladder Institute’s “Ladders 101: Choosing the Right Ladder.”