The Little Giant Type 1A Revolution XE Ladder is a great multi-use ladder for around the house, work or even those RV excursions with its versatility and general light weight.
Ease of Use, Performance: 20/25
Look & Feel: 20/25
How much I enjoy 20/25
Starting a new style and model of Little Giant Ladders with all kinds of additional well designed features I now get to review a Little Giant Revolution XE ladder. The Little Giant Ladder is probably best known for those infomercials where they do all kinds of stuff with a ladder to show off its unique features and versatility.
The Revolution XE is quite a ladder and one I would be happy to own but the price is still a bit much for my tastes at about $429 for the smaller version. The Smaller model 17 of the Revolution XE can reach 15 feet as an extension ladder while the large model 22 can reach 19 feet and costs about $469.
Cost aside I took the ladder for a test drive, so to speak, and am impressed with some of their improvements over the old model and have one concern for an addition to the set. The Revolution XE can be used as five models of ladder at various heights depending on your circumstances.
You have your conventional A frame ladder and using the convenient Rock Locks that can extend the A frame from 4 feet to the maximum of 7 feet. The extension ladder goes from 9 feet to 15 feet and the scaffold is 3 feet tall by pulling the two sections off the inner one and using the plastic trestle brackets. To use the Revolution XE as a scaffold you will need to use a plank or scaffold platform that is not included with the Little Giant Revolution XE.
The Revolution XE can also be used as a 90 degree ladder to get you closer to your work or the wall and is about 4 feet six inches at its lowest and 6 feet six inches at its tallest. These heights including the ones for the extension and A frame are not the highest points you can safely step on the ladder but the height of the actual top of the ladder.
Due to the flexibility and various positions you can set the ladder up into the highest safe step you can use will of course vary. The Revolution XE Model 17 is a nice convenient size for around the house or just right for use on a recreational vehicle as an all around convenient ladder.
The various ladder configurations and positions are due to the general design of these multiuse ladders with a center section held together by a hinge and two removable leg sections. Each center leg section inserts into a channel of the outer leg section so the two outer legs sections are movable independently from the other.
You can also remove each outer leg section to create the scaffold with two A frame ladders made from the three pieces and the brackets. Simply remove the outer leg sections and using the plastic brackets connect the two leg sections together to create another A frame and place a plank between the two A frames.
You can have one leg section a step higher than the other to configure the ladder so one leg is higher than the other so you can use the ladder on stairs or to get you closer to the work. This is also quite handy for a portable ladder like use in a recreational vehicle where one ladder is all you would want to take with.
The use of the 90 degree and A frame makes for nice work for things like painting and working on fixtures and the extension makes a nice way to work on the outside of a one story home. The model 17 does not extend tall enough to be much use on the second story of my house though.
The extension does reach the bottom of my second story window but not any higher, I can use the extension to wash or remove the screens and other work but could not get to the very top of the window itself. The extension for the model 17 is the perfect height for a lower one story home but would be a bit inadequate for anything higher.
The A Frame is great for working around the house as well as outdoors and the versatility of being able to convert from one type of ladder quickly to another is great. The quick working Rock Locks securely hold the ladder sections in place and make for a quick way to unlock and reposition the leg sections.
To use the Rock Lock you simply push in on the bottom half and the top half pulls out of the hole in the inner and outer section of the leg pieces. The Rock Lock has a mechanism inside that holds it in the open position until you pull the section toward the top of the ladder or push it in.
This means you can lock open the Rock Locks and pull the top A frame section of ladder and extend the ladder with the lower two piece sections remaining on the ground. Once you have the ladder to the height you want you can move the section back down and it will lock in the next available hole.
This works well for adjusting the height of the ladder while it is in the storage position with both sections close to each other to get the height before opening the sections to an A frame or other position. Using the Rock Locks and the center Mag 4 hinge you can adjust the ladder quickly into any position and height for a secure ladder.
The Mag 4 hinge works well and holds the center hinge securely in place while working on things and being on the ladder and includes magnets on the sides to hold metal tools or materials. The Mag 4 lock has four pins that go into the four holes to secure the hinge; I believe this was changed from the previous version with only two pins for more stability.
The trestle brackets are my one main contention with the Little Giant ladder that I feel is made much too cheaply for the whole set. They are the pieces you use to hold the two outer sections of ladder when you want to set it up as a scaffold and should be firmly held in place on the legs. You remove the two lower sections that come completely off the A frame pieces and use the trestle brackets to secure them together.
The Rock Locks hold the two brackets into the channels but they are only plastic and the brackets do not hold tightly into the channels on the two sections. In a video I remember and found on You-Tube a tool tester named Leon Frachette demonstrates the strength of the A Frame Little Giant ladder Model 1A that is prior to the Revolution XE model by putting his weight on the lowest rung of the ladder with its lying on the ground.
The A frame is laying with one leg section on the ground with the rungs of that side flat along the floor and all the weight of the person is pushing down on the hinge. I tried this test the exact same way and was unsurprised to see it took my 200 plus pounds easily on the hinge. I then removed the two sections and secured the lower pieces in the scaffold position and checked to see how much play and whether the scaffold piece without the hinge and using the brackets is.
I could move the one section of ladder up and down almost a foot and move the sections around very much while the one section is lying on the floor. In comparison I dug out my older Gorilla ladder and put it into the scaffold position and could easily put my weight onto the scaffold section that has two aluminum brackets that are used the same as the plastic ones from Little Giant.
I did not put my whole weight on the Little Giant ladder scaffold section as I was very afraid of bending the daylights out of the lower pieces and breaking the plastic brackets. With the ladder set up and lying on the one section it moves side to side much more than the same section of the Gorilla ladder placed in a side by side comparison.
The Little Giant ladder is made from a thinner aluminum material than the Gorilla ladder and this would explain why the Little Giant outer sections bend more than the Gorilla ladder ones do. The center section is a solid channel so it will not matter but the outer section is a channel with one side open to allow for the outer section to slide over the center section.
The Little Giant Revolution XE ladder weighs 28 pounds and the Gorilla ladder I have previously purchased weighs 28.6 pounds according to the websites. I tried a weight comparison using a digital scale I own and weighed the Revolution in at 27.5 pounds and the Gorilla AL-13 at 29.5 pounds.
The Gorilla AL-13 is a 13 foot ladder while the Little Giant Revolution XE 17 is a 17 foot ladder that does weigh a few pounds less but is also a little more flimsy when it comes to the same bottom section and material thickness. I do not have a caliper to measure thickness of the aluminum used on both ladders but the Gorilla ladder is a heavier gauge material than the Little Giant ladder.
Other features like the four pin hinge of the Mag 4 are great and add even more stability and strength to the hinge as well as the ladder as a whole. The ladder is fairly stable as far as wobbling when set up in the extension configuration when working on a single story roof.
I did some cleanup after the company my landlord hired did a poor job of cleaning up after replacing shingles on my house and cleaned out the gutters of debris. I set the ladder up as an extension and climbed to check out how much the ladder wobbled and moved when being bounced and climbing.
While the ladder does some bouncing I found it quite stable and did not worry me that it would collapse or be a problem while using at the highest setup. While the ladder is setup in any of the configurations, A Frame, extension and scaffold I found it very stable and a good ladder.
The main problem I have aside from the plastic trestle brackets is the cost of the Little Giant Revolution XE as well as all the Little Giant Ladders. They are quite expensive and I begin to wonder if the infomercials and the many websites I found on the internet for the Little Giant have something to do with this.
Compared to the Gorilla Ladder the cost is more than twice as much with the 17 foot Little Giant Revolution XE costing $429 while the Gorilla ladder of the same size costs $179. Yes, I understand the Revolution XE has a few extra perks and does have the more stable four pin lock and the magnet tool holder but I don’t like the cost.
I can purchase the Gorilla 17 foot aluminum ladder as well as an adjustable aluminum plank for the scaffold and still have money left over for the cost of the Little Giant Revolution XE ladder. Another thing I found out but that does not apply to this ladder but others that Little Giant does sell and I feel I do need to warn about is the larger sized multiuse ladders above 22 feet from any company.
In doing research for this article I found that Consumer Reports has a warning that multiuse ladders from 22 feet to 26 feet are unacceptable due to possible hazards and dangers to the users. When using the 17 foot ladder you do have to be careful not to pinch fingers when collapsing the ladder from the extension and setting the leg sections down into the center section.
This warning is probably best for any ladder that has the collapsible features from any company, not just Little Giant, as these ladders are hard to work with due to the length for a single user. If you will be using these types of ladders with another person you can do so safely but you should always be careful of the dangers of a device that has points where fingers and hands can be crushed and pinched.
While moving the ladder into and out of the extension ladder configuration you may have to maneuver the ladder around while it is on the ground. You can extend the legs and such while it is up against a wall but you should be aware of the hazard of getting hands and fingers caught in the rungs if you slip and the ladder sections fall back down. A longer ladder would be even more difficult to maneuver and safely handle while extended and Consumer Reports also agrees with this.
I would also have a concern that the longer ladder above the 17 foot would get to be too bouncy and unstable while using it as the hinge introduces an unstable point in the longer extended ladder. If you increase the length of the ladder to the 22 foot or longer sizes I believe this bouncing would also be increased to an almost dangerous level.
I cannot be sure of this as I only have the 17 foot one to use as a test and would have to check this out for myself to say for sure. I personally feel that working on any heights like 20 feet or higher would require a secure extension ladder and would prefer to use a regular 1A type extension ladder without a hinge on it for my own safety.
All those points aside the multiuse ladders like the Gorilla and the Little Giant are really nice for home owners who want the convenience and multipurpose design of this ladder type. The Little Giant Revolution XE is a great ladder and has plenty of nice features that are even better than the previous model.
If price is not much of a concern the Little Giant Revolution XE is well built with plenty of accessories, I really like the tool shelf that I also tried out. The Little Giant Revolution XE is a great ladder for all those various uses and makes a convenient and handy ladder in one simple package.