5 Best Fire Escape Ladders for 2 – 3 Story Homes (2020)

About the Authors: Hi, we’re Chris and Rosie and we run things around here. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

What’s the Best Value for Money Option?

The Kidde 468093 KL-2S



The Kidde 468093 KL-2S is a very affordable and decent quality option for a 2-story (13 foot) escape. If you just want an affordable and easy to use fire escape ladder, this is the one for you. Its hooks are high quality and the rungs are anti-slip for a sturdy climb.

When we moved into our 1960s apartment, it didn’t cross our minds that we needed a fire escape ladder. Rosie and I went out for a beer one afternoon and started chatting with a firefighter. He strongly advised that we get an escape ladder. He called our building a ‘fire trap’ that wouldn’t pass code in the 21st Century. We also discovered that 40 people per year die in high rise building fires[Source: NFPA]. So, we decided to act – and bought a ladder for our home.

We chose the EFE Emergency Fire Safety Escape Kit. But we thought we’d share our list of the best fire escape ladders that we found while researching for our own purchase.

The best fire escape ladders are:

  • EFE Emergency Fire Safety Escape Kit (2 Story) – Best Overall & Our Choice
  • ISOP Fire Emergency Ladder (3-4 Story)
  • HYNAWIN Anti-Slip Fire Emergency Ladder (6-Story)
  • Hausse Retractable Fire Emergency Ladder (2-Story)
  • Kidde 468093 KL-2S (2-Story) – Best Value for Money

Best Fire Escape Ladders for Homes and Apartments

#

Fire Escape Ladder

Length

Quick Review

Our Rating

1.EFE Emergency Fire Safety Escape Kit13 Feet (2 Story)This is our pick as the best fire escape ladder. It’s a high quality fire emergency kit that comes in a great storage bag. (Go to review)

10/10

2.ISOP Fire Emergency Ladder30 feet (4 Story)If you’re on the 4th story of an apartment building this ladder is best for you. (Go to review)

9/10

3.Hynawin Anti-Slip Fire Emergency Ladder50 feet (6 Story)If you’re on the 6th story of an apartment building you’ll need to get this one. (Go to review)

8/10

4.Hausse Retractable Fire Emergency Ladder13 feet (2 Story)We like that this 2 story ladder comes in a nice small storage bag. (Go to review)

8/10

5.Kidde 468093 KL-2S13 feet (2 Story)This 13 foot ladder is a very affordable no frills option but it doesn’t come with a storage bag. (Go to review)

7/10

1. EFE Emergency Fire Safety Escape Kit (2-Story) – Best Overall

Quick Review: We love that you get a fire proof bag, fire blanket and heat resistant gloves in this kit. You get a lot of extra goodies for a very competitive price.


This amazing kit is more than just the ladder. It’s an entire fire emergency kit for your home. You get the ladder, a fire blanket, gloves and a fireproof bag. It’s all wrapped together in a quick access fire emergency kit that’s easy to sore. Keep the kit somewhere discrete but accessible when the time comes.

The ladder itself is for 2 story buildings only, so if you live on the third floor or above, consider getting a longer one. Because the ladder is quite short, it doesn’t come with a safety harness. While this is disappointing, it’s not a deal breaker for us.

Benefits for your Family:

  • Large, Easy-to-Use Hook: You need a sturdy hook that will hold fast onto a balcony or windowsill. The hook on this one is very sturdy.
  • 2 Story: The 13 feet extension length is ideal for a 2-story building (home or apartment).
  • Quick Deploy: It comes stored in a red zipped-up kit. It’s clearly designed with quick deployment in mind as the kit is very easy and fast to open.
  • Holds heavy People: Can hold 990 pounds of weight – more than enough.
  • Bonuses: Comes with additional goodies – including heat resistant gloves, a fireproof bag for bringing your passport & important belongings with you, and a fire blanket.
  • Light Weight: At 13 pounds (6 kg), it comes in at the average weight for a fire escape ladder. Light enough that most people in your family can use it.

Keep in Mind:

  • No safety harness: Most 2-story ladders don’t come with a safety harness. If a safety harness is a big concern for you (e.g. someone in your family is scared of heights), consider the ISOP Ladder below.

2. ISOP Emergency Fire Escape Ladder (4-Story)

Quick Review: Our pick for a 3 or 4 story balcony. At 30 feet, you can get down three stories and live to tell the tale. We love the safety harness to give added peace of mind.


If you live on the 3rd or 4th floor, you’ll need to get a longer ladder. We like that holds very heavy weights so the ladder itself will be able to handle even very large men climbing down it. It comes with an excellent safety harness, too. Our one main concern is that it connects at the top using carabiners – so you’ll need to have a look around your house for a suitable place for it to attach. If you don’t have hooks for the carabiners, you’re better off getting one that hooks onto a windowsill.

But if you’re the sort of person who’s scared of heights and wouldn’t dare use an emergency ladder without a harness, this might be a good choice for you.

Benefits for your Family:

  • A Good 4-Story Option: Consider this one if you need a lot of ladder! At 30 feet, it is usable for up to 4 stories.
  • Comes with Safety Harness: You can hook up to a safety harness to save you if you fall. While the ladder can hold many people at once, there is only one safety harness.
  • Holds Heavy Weights: Holds up to 2500 pounds – far more than you need.

Keep in Mind:

  • Heavier than Competitors: Of course, with more ladder comes more weight. It comes in at 19 pounds (8.5kg).
  • Uses Caribiners (not a Hook): Attaches to a balcony or windowsill via carabiners rather than a hook. Some people feel more at ease with a caribiner method, but it takes up precious time. You need to look around for a spot to hook on – and there might not be a good option. It also worries me that people might lock their ladder to a curtain holder or railing that won’t hold your weight. That’s why we prefer large hooks over carabiners.
  • Overall, it’s Fiddly: We like the safety harness concept, but with all the carabiners involved in the descent, this ladder is going to consume a lot of your precious time. Nonetheless, it’s a good safe option and has lots of rope for a 4 story apartment.

3. HYNAWIN Anti-Slip Fire Escape Ladder (6-Story)

Quick Review: Best for very high apartments. We also love that it has aluminum footholds.


The main benefit of this ladder is that it is so long. It’s perfect if you’re in a very high location. It works for up to 6 stories and has sturdy anti-slip rungs. But you’ll need to keep in mind that it hasn’t got a safety harness, so it’ll be a scary climb to escape! It’s also quite heavy due to its length, so you’ll need a bit of strength to operate it.

One thing we do like is the hooks, which appear sturdy and able to grip well to a windowsill.

Benefits for your Family:

  • For High Escapes: The 50-foot ladder can get you down 5 to 6 stories. Let’s hope you never need to escape from that far up!
  • Large, Easy-to-Use Hook: You need a sturdy hook that will hold fast onto a balcony or windowsill. The hook on this one is very sturdy.
  • Aluminum Footholds: We always feel more sturdy stepping on metal footholds than rope ones. These steps are sold as ‘anti-slip rungs’ due to their strong grip.
  • Option to Buy the Shorter Length: If you love the idea of aluminum footholds but don’t need a 6-Story ladder, you can get the 2-Story (15 foot) version for a lower price.

Keep in Mind:

  • No Safety Harness: At a height of 50 feet, you’d think they would include a safety harness.
  • Heavy: Of course, with so much length, you’ll expect it to be heavy. It’s 28 pounds (12 kg).
  • Aluminum Footholds: You may notice I’ve put the aluminum footholds down as a ‘pro’ and ‘con’ here. The edges of the footholds are sharp. You may cut yourself on assembly.

4. Hausse Retractable Fire Escape Ladder (2-Story)

Quick Review: A quality product in a nice compact storage container. Aluminum footholds and quick to deploy.


The best thing about this ladder is its amazing storage bag. It keeps the ladder in an organized, easy to access package that’s easy to use and quick to access. It’s also got a pretty good hook for gripping to a windowsill. Aside from those great ‘pros’, this is similar to most other multi-story emergency escape ladders. It’ll work for a 2-story building and deploys 13 feet of ladder.

Benefits for your Family:

  • 2 Story: The 13 feet extension length is ideal for a 2-story building (home or apartment).
  • Compact: We love the container that it comes in, which is compact enough to store under a bed or in a cupboard under the sink. Make sure you store it in an accessible spot near your escape window or balcony.
  • Aluminum Footholds: We always feel more sturdy stepping on metal footholds than rope ones.
  • Large, Easy-to-Use Hook: You need a sturdy hook that will hold fast onto a balcony or windowsill. The hook on this one is very sturdy.
  • Light Weight: At 11 pounds (5 kg), it comes in at about the average weight for a fire escape ladder. Light enough that most people in your family can use it.
  • Holds heavy People: Can hold 1000 pounds of weight – more than enough.

Keep in Mind:

  • No Safety Harness: Does not include a safety harness.
  • Aluminum Footholds: Again, the aluminum footholds are a ‘pro’ and ‘con’ here. The edges of the footholds are sharp. You may cut yourself on assembly.

5. Kidde 468093 KL-2S (2-Story)

Quick Review: A very affordable fire escape ladder. Great for the budget conscious buyer.


This ladder is our pick for value for money. It’s your basic 2 story 13 foot aluminum ladder. But it’s also really lightweight and anti-slip. The main thing that we don’t like about it is that it doesn’t come in a good quality storage container. There are several others that are provided in higher quality zipper bags, which we’d prefer. But, we’ve highlighted this one as a ‘value for money’ option because you get the most important things to get started without any additional options that add to the price. 

Benefits for your Family:

  • 2 Story: The 13 feet extension length is ideal for a 2-story building (home or apartment).
  • Lightweight: Coming in at 7 pounds, this is also one of the lightest ladders on the market.
  • Anti-Slip Rungs: The steps have grip to prevent slipping on your way out the window.
  • Large, Easy-to-Use Hook: You need a sturdy hook that will hold fast onto a balcony or windowsill. The hook on this one is very sturdy.
  • Quick Deploy: The release strap makes it easy to deploy. Hang it out the window and rip the release strap for deployment.

Keep in Mind:

  • Packaging: We do wish it came in better packaging. We like the Hausse red zip-up container much more.
  • Metal Footholds: Again, I’ve put the metal footholds down as a ‘pro’ and ‘con’. The edges of the footholds are sharp. You may cut yourself on assembly.
  • No Safety Harness: Does not include a safety harness.

What to Look for in a Fire Escape Ladder

a) Height

You will need to determine the requisite height of your fire escape ladder. Fortunately, most manufacturers will give you a guide here. 13-15 foot ladders are recommended for 2-story homes and apartments. 32 foot ladders are recommended for 3-story apartments. 50 foot ladders are recommended for 4-story apartments.

b) Product Weight

If you are small, or you want your child to be able to operate the ladder, keep an eye on the weight of the ladders. The weight will range from 7 pounds up to 28 pounds. It would be a good idea to have a practice with your children so they know how to use the ladder, just in case you’re not home when disaster strikes.

c) Attachment Mechanism – Hook vs Carabiner

V-Hooks and carabiners are the two primary ways for attaching a fire safety ladder to your home.

The V-Hooks are designed for very fast deployment and they should grip tight to most windowsills or balconies.

Carabiners feel somewhat safer as they actually lock to something. However, we find them to be fiddly, time wasters, and cause the ropes to twist at times. We also worry that people may attempt to lock caribiners to curtain hooks, which isn’t sturdy enough to hold your weight.

Be aware that you should try to attach the ladder to a very sturdy spot that will withstand your weight. A loose balcony railing that can’t hold your weight just won’t do.

d) Storage

A good quality red storage bag would be ideal. It should be easy to open using a zip or velcro mechanism.

You should also be able to store it under a bed or in a closet. However, keep in mind that it also needs to be stored close to the escape route.

e) Rung Material

Most rungs are made of metal (aluminum or steel), while others are made of sturdy rope. Be aware of sharp edges on the rungs. You might also want to look out for a model that has anti-slip rungs to make it easier to climb down in high stress moments.

f) Ease of Deployment

A heavier rope will obviously be harder to deploy. Also consider the type of attachment. Hooks are much faster to deploy than carabiners. We would strongly recommend practicing with the ladder when it arrives so you know how to use it in high-stress situations. You should know what sill you will use so you are confident of exactly where you will deploy the rope.

g) Safety Harness

A safety harness is a great additional option for people afraid of heights. The one option on this list that has a safety harness is the ISOP (#2 on the list above). However, note that safety harnesses can take up extra time – and usually a fire escape ladder will only come with one safety harness. So, the next person down will be without the harness for themselves unless you find a way to get it back up the ladder.

Why Do you need a Fire Escape Ladder?

People who live in high-rise apartments need to have an escape route when the fire takes over the stairwells. According to the NFPA (National Fire Prevention Agency), U.S. fire departments respond to about 14,500 high-rise building fires per year. In the U.S., high rise building fires cause 40 deaths per year as well as over 500 injuries.

In your home, you need to think about your 2nd and 3rd Stories. What will you do if you’re on the 2nd or 3rd floor and the bottom floor is on fire? Suddenly, your escape route is blocked off – you need to escape through your last escape route: the window. A ladder will be necessary in this moment.

Final Thoughts

In our opinion, the best fire escape ladder is the EFE Emergency Fire Safety Escape Kit. It provides great value for money and a thorough amount of equipment that’s stored in a small quick deploy bag.

Fire escape ladders are just one element of a thorough fire preparedness and home fire safety plan. You also need to make sure you have quality smoke detectors and alarms strategically placed on each floor of your house. The smoke alarms should have a combination photoelectric and ionization detector to identify both smoldering and fast flaming fires. Also consider stocking fire blankets in your kitchen to smother kitchen fires before they get out of control and a fire extinguisher in your house and garage.