My ladder is currently sitting horizontally across the wall. This ladder is both bulky and heavy. It’s 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 hang the ladder from the wall or ceiling using hooks; I can hook it to a manual or an automatic pulley hoist; I can install a ceiling rack; I can use hooks on my Gladiator or Proslat wall storage system. But before hanging the ladder, I need to know its weight and dimensions; and I need to know the weight capacity of the hook and ceiling or wall I use.
Is There a Better Ladder Storage Option than This? (picture)
I haven’t been shopping for a ladder storage solution in so long, I wasn’t even aware of the hooks specifically devoted to ladder storage. It’s been 30 years since I thought about how to store a ladder in my garage. 30 years ago I bought “hooks,” but I don’t remember there being such a thing as “ladder hooks.” You can use ladder hooks to store the ladder either vertically (at least one hook) or horizontally (at least two hooks) on the garage wall. If you use a hook to hang the ladder from the ceiling, you need to know: “Is this safe?” and “How will I get the ladder up to and down from the ceiling hook?” and “How much weight can I hang from my garage ceiling?” What was really fun to find were ladder hoists, also known as garage ceiling lift or hoist and pulley systems. Hook the ladder to the pulley, then pull the string (or push the button) the same way you’d open a window blind. The ladder goes up and out of the way. Using a hoist, you know how to get the ladder up to and down from the ceiling. But you still need to ensure the ladder is safely stored and will not fall on anyone. Ceiling racks are stationary holders that hang from above. They don’t go up and down as hoists do. Ceiling racks pose the same questions as ceiling hooks. “Is it safe to put a ladder on this rack?” and “How will I get the ladder up to and down from this ceiling rack?” 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?
Slatwalls (slat walls) are tracks and panels you install into the garage wall studs. They create a clean, elegant interface for slatwall hooks, bins and baskets. Besides being good looking, slatwall storage offers a huge advantage over hooks, pulleys and racks: You can “install” and remove slatwall hooks without screwdrivers and drills. Slatwall hardware snaps into and out of the slatwall channels. This means you can move the hooks around at any time without any serious effort. All slatwall companies sell hooks that fit into their proprietary hardware. You can use one or two hooks (depending on weight load requirements) to hang your ladder on your garage wall. Personally, my favorite slatwall company is Gladiator, with Proslat being a very close second. I like the Gladiator Big Hook and Proslat Hose Hook for storing ladders.
Rubbermaid FastTrack is a garage organization rail system. Hang the rails, hang hardware on the rails, and hang your stuff on the hardware. FastTrack is on of the best garage organization wall hanging systems out there. Learn about the Rubbermaid FastTrack Ladder Hook here, or see if directly on Amazon.
How to Use a “Ladder Hook” to Hang a Ladder
A ladder hook is specifically designed to hold the deep portion of the ladder top rung. Ladder hooks are a very cost-effective (cheap) solution to ladder storage. They have a load capacity of from 25 to 100 lb. Ladder hooks have features specifically for storing the weight and depth of a typical ladder. In other words, they’re not just hooks. They’re hooks with ladder storage features.
The Tornado 00525 Ladder Hook
The Tornado Ladder Hook is very cost effective and is well-designed. The hooks are extra long to carry the full depth of a ladder’s top rung. The hooks are rubber-coated to prevent the ladder from moving. The back plate is extra tall to help distribute the ladder’s weight. And the installation plate has notches to mark the wall where you want install the hook. The hook’s upturned tips prevent the ladder from falling forward. 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. 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. Install the Tornado hook into a stud. For vertical storage, hang a vertical ladder up to 30 lb. on the Tornado hook. If the ladder weighs more, vertical storage will require strategically placed second hook 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. Otherwise, check out the cost-effective Tornado Hook on Amazon.
Art of Storage UH2000 Utility Hook
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. The hook arm is covered in that slick kind of rubber coating that lasts many winter and summer temperature changes. The rubber has a grip to it to prevent the ladder from moving, and from getting 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. I’d prefer if this hook was a little deeper, but it’s 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. Get additional hooks for every 50 lb. of weight hanging on the set of hooks. 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’s cost-effective and able to carry 50 lb. Check out the Art of Storage UH2000 Utility Hook on Amazon.
CoolYeah Long U-Hooks
CoolYeah Long U-Hooks come in a package of three, and the price per hook is competitive. 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 which keeps the ladder from moving. As with the Tornado Hook, instructions for the CoolYeah Long U-Hooks say these can be installed 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 U-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. I used a 1/4″ x 3″ lag bolt for the hook that carries a ladder and another one for a hook that carries an electric lawn mower. While you might be able to get away with using the supplied screws for loads like that, why risk it? I assume a lot of users like myself will be using these in a garage and having my ladder and/or lawn mower tear the hook off the wall and fall onto a car wasn’t worth the worry. Would only think about using the drywall anchors for *very* light loads. On the plus side, the assortment of hooks is nice, they’re well made, and the plastic hook covers seem durable. — 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 really good products come with pretty 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’d probably get two or three Art of Storage hooks before I’d get the CoolYeah hooks. I could swap out the CoolYeah’s mounting hardware as I have plenty of screws hanging around in my basement. But Art of Storage has an excellent reputation, and their ladder hook holds 50 lb.
Impresa Bike Hooks
The advantage of the bike hook’s built-in screw is also its disadvantage. It’s nice not to have to pull out a screwdriver or drill. But 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. But if you’re going to get out the drill, why not get an Art of Storage ladder hook? Bike hooks are also known as 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. 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). But 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. 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. But they are an excellent solution for hanging power equipment, furniture, tools and hoses.
How to Store a Ladder in a Ceiling Rack
The “Ceiling Rack” was yet another ladder storage innovation that was new to me after 30 years of not shopping for a ladder storage solution. Ceiling racks started out as specialized solutions to store ladders, kayaks and surfboards. Ceiling racks excel at storing things that are long and bulky.
The ceiling rack device design is pretty simple. It’s just two poles sticking out of the ceiling, and two horizontal poles hanging off of them. Anything you store on a ceiling rack sits on the horizontal poles. I’ve seen many DIY videos on how to make ceiling racks. The purchased racks save a lot of trouble. They’re also lighter (about 15 lb.) compared to the weight of DIY pressure-treated wood. One of the best ceiling racks was originally designed to store surf boards. The StoreYourBoard 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.
There’s just one problem. How do you access your ceiling rack to store your ladder? You could use a step ladder stored closer to the floor to reach the ceiling rack. Store the step ladder on the wall, and use it to access the bigger ladder in the ceiling rack. You also want the ceiling rack to store the ladders out of the way of where people walk. This is true of all ceiling storage solutions! This is what a ceiling rack looks like with two ladders installed:
How to Store a Ladder on a Hoist
The ceiling hoist system holds the ladder more securely than the ceiling rack does. For safety, place the pulley system away from walking areas. Ladders can get heavy, too, so check how much weight you can hang from the ceiling before you install this garage ladder storage solution.
What is a Garage Ceiling Hoist and Pulley Ladder Storage System?
Just as with ceiling racks, garage storage companies originally offered hoists to store kayaks, canoes and bicycles. Ceiling storage does get big toys off the floor and out of the way. The problem with ceiling hooks and ceiling racks is that you need a second ladder to get the first one down. If you have a wall-hanging step ladder nearby, this might be your solution. But if you don’t want to get on a ladder to retrieve your ladder, you might very well enjoy the ladder storage hoist instead.
A ceiling hoist is a pulley and string system that lifts and lowers the way a window blind opens and closes. Pull the string to lift. Let go of the string to lower. With a ladder hoist, you stay on the floor. Just the ladder goes up in the air.
What is an Example of a Garage Ladder Storage Hoist and Pulley System?
One of my favorite ladder pulleys is the StoreYourBoard “Pro” Hi-Lift ceiling ladder storage hoist.
How Does the Hoist and Pulley Carry the Stored Ladder?
First you wrap the straps around the ladder. These straps have to be “hook width” apart. Then you insert the pulley hooks into the straps. Each hook gets one strap to pull. Pull the pulley rope to lift the ladders to the ceiling. Allow the rope to go up to bring the ladders down. Then you tie off the extra rope onto a wall hook. With this hoist, you don’t need a second ladder to get the first ladder down.
How to Store a Ladder on a Garage Wall Organization System
Slat wall (slatwall) and slat track garage organization systems allow you to attach panels or tracks to your garage wall. You then hang your garage stuff onto the system using hooks specially designed for the brand of panel or track you have. You can hang bins, baskets and specialty storage items to the wall as well. As I think about how to solve my own poorly organized garage, I’ve been studying slatwalls and gear tracks. See the Proslat, Gladiator and Rubbermaid reviews. 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 (peg board company still getting used to slatwall design), and Flow Wall (excellent garage wall storage system).
Rubbermaid offers an excellent garage wall track system you can learn more about here. If you are getting (or have) a Rubbermaid FastTrack storage system, you can’t go wrong with their 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. And 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 image to see how deep this hook is. It has no problem gripping two ladders at once. Check out the Rubbermaid FastTrack review, starter kit, and the Ladder Hook.
Proslat is sometimes my 1st place and sometimes my 2nd place all time favorite garage wall storage system. Read more about the Proslat storage system here. If you are getting (or have) a Proslat wall, get the 8 inch locking hooks (they come 3 to a package). The Proslat hook 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. Check out the Proslat walls, bundles, and their hooks and accessories.
I’m strongly leaning toward buying the Gladiator GearTrack wall storage system. With a GearTrack setup, I’d get the Big Hook to store my 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. 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. For the GearTrack system itself, I really like that I don’t have to think about where the hooks go. If I don’t like a placement, I just unlock it, move it and lock it!
Like all Gladiator hooks, the Big 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, and to grip onto it to keep it from moving. You can tell by looking at it that the Big Hook is not going to move at all when you put the ladder on it. The Big Hook surface is 11 inches deep, which is more than enough space to securely hang a ladder. The GearTrack is probably my favorite solution for both storing the ladder as well as many, many other garage items such as power tools, sports equipment, screws, cleaning equipment and electrical cords. Check out the GearTrack on Amazon, as well as the Big Hook for ladder storage.
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 get robbed. Don’t store a ladder outside without considering the alternatives. How do I choose the right ladder for the job? There’s an entire association devoted to this question. Visit the American Ladder Institute’s “Ladders 101: Choosing the Right Ladder.”