Gorilla GLA-5X Aluminum Hybrid Ladder: A Step Up from Step Ladders

I was just going to post a quick follow-up to the conversation about step ladders for my place. However, I’ve written enough about Gorilla’s GLA-5X (Amazon Link) that I’ve decided to expand upon it an do a quick review.

There are a few handy things I’ve been wanting to do around my place—such as replacing a bunch of burnt-out lightbulbs. A normal step ladder would work in most situations, but I’ve got rather high ceilings and needed something a bit taller.

The Wirecutter had reviewed and recommended a fiber glass version that had been out of stock for a significant period of time. It looked like a perfect option, so I ended up going with the aluminum version.

I’ve been very happy with it—plus the aluminum version is about $30 cheaper.

Stability and build quality

For whatever reason step ladders always seem flimsy. They’re built out of cheap plastics and metals. I wanted something that would feel sturdy holding me 5 feet in the air.

The GLA-5X Aluminum Hybrid passes this test with flying colors. It looks and feels like a real ladder. It’s just not quite as large.

Rubber feet prevent sliding

One thing I didn’t give much thought to was the feet of the ladder. My place has smooth epoxy floor that can be slippery. The rubber feet on this ladder make sure that it doesn’t slide around while you’re working. It’s also great for people with wood floors and are concerned about scratching.

Folding and storage

Storage was a big concern for me. The big advantage of the flimsier step ladders is that they fold away into tight spaces well. The more robust ladders tend to have an issue with that.

I don’t have a lot of places where I can store a ladder, but as you can see above the GLA-5X has no such issue. The folding mechanism is smooth and when completely folding the ladder is only about 3.5 inches deep. It perfectly fits away into the side of my coat closet.

Tool tray and item storage

An unexpected feature I love about this ladder is the tool tray that caps the ladder. There’s a lot of things you can store here. It came in handy when I was Installing a new smoke detector.

  • It has three holes for various screwdrivers and small tools
  • One for hammers or larger tools
  • Two trays for screws nails or other miscellaneous items
  • A spot for paint cans or spools—although I’m not gutsy enough to store paint there

Once again, this was not on my list of criteria when I began searching for a household step ladder. Now that I know this exists, I couldn’t do without it.

Wide steps

The wide steps are probably the best thing about this step ladder. The two top steps are incredibly wide and provide much more footing. In my opinion this—in combination with stability—are what make this the best household ladder for people with high ceilings.