Best Ladder Stands of 2022

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Published Aug 23, 2022 4:03 PM

I’ve been a fan of ladder stands since my first time in a hardwood tree 15 years ago. Though the ladder was narrow, it didn’t pop, creak, or move and the steps were perfectly spaced. Up I went until I reached the platform. Yikes, it was small. There wasn’t much room to stand, and when I did, it felt like my stomach was doing somersaults. But when that Illinois 9-point emerged out of the fog, I could rise semi-quietly and draw my bow. The entire process lacked grace, but because the ground-to-platform height was 20 feet, the buck had no clue I was around. I put an Easton through his lungs. 

While ladder stands aren’t the best option for the run-and-gun public-land whitetail hunter, they are perfect for those that own, lease, or have permission on private ground and who want to get off the ground. Today’s top-end ladder stands feature secure stand-to-tree attachment and, when used with a lifeline and safety harness, are incredibly safe. Whether you’re stringing a series of ladders across your slice of whitetail paradise or want one to hold you and your favorite hunting partner, here are the best ladder stands out there. 

Best for Bowhunting

Why It Made the Cut:

It’s incredibly sturdy, and the flip-back two-way adjustable padded shooting rail is an added safety feature for the bowhunter. Plus, its up/down operation is smooth and quiet. 

Key Features

  • 21-feet seat height
  • 82 pounds
  • 350-pound weight rating
  • 4 double-rail ladder sections

Pros

  • Deep foot platform 
  • Super comfy seat
  • Flip-back footrest
  • Easy setup and deployment
  • Quiet and comfortable

Cons

The height of this ladder stand makes it a win for the bowhunting crowd. Too many ladders are too short; with these lesser models, you’ll get busted and struggle with scent control. This steel ladder stand sits tall in the tree, and once the ratchet strap and one-inch stabilizer straps are attached, the stand is ultra-sturdy. You’ll love the Flex-Tek seat that flips back and out of the way in a smooth, quiet manner whitetail hunters will appreciate when you want to stand. The 19-inch wide by 17-inch deep footrest is also a flip-back style. The Skybox Deluxe is the type of treestand that makes all-day sits comfortable and enjoyable. 

It’s a heavy ladder stand, but I love the all-steel construction. The frame is super durable, and though you’ll need a partner to hang it, you’re good to go once this ladder is up and set. For rifle, shotgun, or muzzle hunters, the shooting rail is a firm rest. I also like that if you plan to use the stand only for bowhunting, you can not attach the shooting rail during assembly. 

Best Two Man

Why It Made the Cut:

This two-seater is as good as they get, giving each hunter their own space. The 20-foot height is perfect, and the Comfort-Flex seats are soft on your butt and lower back. 

Key Features

  • 122 pounds
  • 42-inch wide by 34-inch deep
  • 500-pound weight rating
  • 20 feet to shooting rail

Pros

  • Two accessory hooks
  • Comfort-Flex seat
  • Heavy-duty steel frame
  • Expanded grates on platform
  • Quiet and roomy

Cons

You can’t go wrong with this 20-foot ladder stand when you want two in a tree. The weather-resistant mesh Comfort-Flex seat is a pillow, and the padded armrests and flip-up footrests up comfort and function. The stand works great for vertical and horizontal bows, rifles, shotguns, and muzzleloaders. The silent snap pin and self-lubricating nylon washers thwart any metal-on-metal game-spooking noise. Setup is generally straightforward—you’ll want two people—but the stand’s grip-style jaws eat into the tree for increased stability and security. The cup holders aren’t necessary but are a nice touch, especially if you’re taking a youth hunter. I cheer for the accessory hooks, and though the ladder is a tad narrow, it’s safe and durable. 

Best for Big Guys

Why It Made the Cut:

Along with a sizable platform, the stand has a 500-pound weight capacity, which is generous, and each of the three 59-inch ladder sections makes entrance and exit easy. 

Key Features

  • 16-feet, 1-inch height to seat
  • 86 pounds
  • 12-inch to 20-inch tree diameter range
  • 40-inch by 26-inch platform

Pros

  • Flip-up, TearTuff mesh bench seat
  • Great for standing or sitting shots
  • Two-way adjustable shooting rail
  • Excellent for bow or gun

Cons

It’s often best for larger hunters to opt for a two-person ladder stand instead of trying to find a single ladder with a more prominent seat. This is an excellent ladder stand that promises all-day comfort and is roomy enough to hold a pair of hunters or a single hunter toting a plethora of gear. 

I love River’s Edge’s bench-style all-in-one seat on its TowPlex Two-Man. Not only is the seat comfortable, but it measures 37 inches wide and 14 inches deep. It’s made with bulletproof TearTuff mesh and flips up out of the way quickly. A pair of tree blades improve platform stability, and two ratchet straps work harmoniously with the criss-cross stability straps to boost security. Once set, this stand doesn’t waver or wobble even when climbing up and down the three-piece ladder. The two-way shooting rail is adjustable for height and depth. 

Best Portable

Why It Made the Cut:

At 40 pounds, this stand is super light and excellent for on-the-move bowhunters. It’s a breeze to set up, and a single hunter can carry it from spot to spot and hang the stand solo. 

Key Features

  • 16 feet tall
  • 3 ladder sections
  • 19-inch wide by 10-inch deep platform
  • Steel 

Pros

  • Adjustable support bar for tree attachment
  • Two armrests
  • Ratchet strap tree attachment
  • Easy to move and hang

Cons

  • No shooting rail
  • Not super comfortable
  • Short

The ladder stand crowd isn’t often a run-and-gun bunch, but when hunting public land or the need arises to make a quick move and get on the X, and you’re a ladder goer, you don’t want to be lugging tonnage through the woods. The Big Game Warrior Pro Ladder isn’t the stand you want to sit in all day, day after day, but it will work in a pinch. This is an excellent portable ladder stand option, and its 16-foot height is respectable. 

The stand is economical, and while it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, the adjustable support bar that runs from the second ladder section to the tree and the ratchet strap creates a secure stand-to-tree bond. The stand’s minimum diameter tree attachment is nine inches, which is a big plus; it fits in most any tree. The seat and platform are small. If you fear heights, this ladder stand isn’t doing you any favors, but at 40 pounds, it’s an excellent option for getting on right-now buck movement. 

Best for the Money

Why It Made the Cut: 

This ladder stand comes in under $250 and is meat and potatoes. Designed more for the bowhunter than the rifle hunter, the frame is sturdy, built from steel, and stands 17 feet tall. 

Key Features

  • 50 pounds
  • 300-pound weight rating
  • 17.5-inch wide by 12-inch deep platform
  • 8- to 20-inch tree diameter range
  • Easy ratchet strap tree attachment

Pros

  • Textilene seat and contoured backrest
  • Flip-up footrest
  • One-person deployment
  • 1-year limited warranty

Cons

  • No shooting rail
  • Only 17 feet

Piles of hunters put their trust in Summit’s stands, and for good reason: They work. Not loaded with fancy-to-do features, this 17-foot tall ladder stand is easy to get in a tree. With 19 feet to the stand’s seat, it’s narrow and doesn’t take up much room in the tree, which makes it super easy to conceal, and the open front porch is a win for the bowhunting crowd. The comfortable Textilene seat and contoured backrest are worthy of being dubbed as “sit-all-day,” and the flip-up footrest helps with leg fatigue. Bowhunters will appreciate the stand’s open design. 

Best Single

Why It Made the Cut:

You can’t beat this stand’s size, comfort, height, and tree securement system. The large platform is big enough to hold your pack and other need-right-now gear. 

Key Features

  • 21 foot tall
  • 26-inch wide by 33-inch deep platform
  • 99 pounds
  • 300-pound weight rating

Pros

  • Oversized steps
  • Ultra comfortable
  • Large platform 
  • Lounger seat for all-day comfort
  • Exclusive cross tensioning system

Cons

You’ll love the all-day comfort, but one of the best features of this one-person ladder is the security that the wide-stance exclusive cross tensioning system provides. The platform—as one-person ladder stands go—is monstrous, and when sitting in the XXL MeshComfort Seat, you’ll feel like you’re in a lounge chair on the beach. It’s one of the most comfortable I’ve ever tried and flips up out of the way. After all, it’s easier to stay focused and in the woods when you’re comfortable. 

The stand is built with XL Oval Tubing & Hawk’s patented Safe-Tread Ladder Steps, which naturally give the frame an extra boost in the safety department and prevent slippage. The shooting rail is a nice touch and I applaud the use of silent Teflon washers—ladder stands are known for creaking and popping—as deer don’t like unnatural noises. This stand gets you off the ground and is an excellent choice for multi-weapon hunters.

Things To Consider Before Buying a Ladder Stand

As I recommend with all hunting-related products, don’t overcomplicate the process. There are lots of ladders on the market. However, my good buddy, by happenchance, sent me a list of criteria for ladder stands, and I think it’s brilliant. While your style of hunting and the purpose of your ladder stand may not mirror his, I recommend creating a similar list of what you want in a ladder stand and then finding a few makes that meet your demands.

Here’s what his list looked like:

  • 17-20 feet to the seat
  • Comfortable for all-day sits
  • Large platform
  • One-person
  • Under 110 pounds total weight
  • Secure attachment system
  • Bowhunting only — don’t need an arm
  • Easy assembly

Create a list of your own to make choosing a suitable ladder stand a much easier task. There are stands designed for solo hunters, two hunters, those that put a premium on rifle hunting, etc. When you list your hunt-from-above needs, you can find ladder stands that will work for you. 

Ladder Stands FAQs

Q: Are ladder stands safe?

The spookiest piece of the ladder stand puzzle is hanging them, and as long as you have help, follow the manufacturer’s hanging instructions strictly, and use proper safety equipment, getting them in a tree isn’t something to fret over. If you plan to hang your stand solo, you’ll want a lightweight build.

Once situated in a ladder stand, they are incredibly safe to hunt from, especially if you purchase one with a sizable platform and a shooting rail.

Q: Do ladder stands spook deer?

I’ve had deer come and lick the bottom steps of my stand hours after putting them in a tree. Because of the ladder, they tend to stand out a little more than a lock-on or climber, but if you can get a model that puts you 17 feet or more above the ground and can situate the seat, so you’re not silhouetted against the sky, you shouldn’t have much trouble with deer busting you.

Q: Is there a way to camouflage a ladder stand?

I’ve seen hunters wrap camo fabric, burlap, and the like around them, but it’s unnecessary. The best way to camouflage a ladder stand is to use the tree’s trunk and branches and the branches from other trees to blend it in.

Q: How much do ladder stands cost?

It depends on what you want the stand to have. The more bells and whistles, the more the stand will cost. Expect to pay between $200 and $375 for a quality make. 

Q: How can I make my ladder stand more comfortable?

If you have an old-school ladder stand with a tiny platform and metal seat, your only option is to purchase a padded seat, but that won’t help much. Get a stand with a sizable platform and mesh-style seat if you want comfort.

Q: How long should you sit in a ladder stand?

If you’re curious how to hunt deer from your tree stand, remember this: You can’t kill them if you’re not in the woods. However, during September and up to October 20, I try to hunt for three or four hours in the evening and avoid morning hunts. From October 20 through November 3, I start logging more hours and make it a point to hunt mornings and evenings. From November 4 through November 15, it’s an all-day—or as long as I can stand it—grind. 

Final Thoughts

Ladder stands are a great deer hunting tool. Most are safe and easy to assemble, and if you have some help, you can get them situated in almost any tree you find. 

Note, however, that because these stands have so much metal, you can get some creaking and popping. Do yourself a favor, and don’t leave your stands in the woods all year. Take them down after the season, clean them up, and store them properly. When you head to the woods to hang them the following year, ensure armrests and shooting rails are moving fluidly without a creak. If you have noise, use a lubricant to eliminate the noise. You also want to check for any metal-on-metal contact, which leads to unwanted sound when ascending, descending, or shifting weight while in the stand. 

If you still aren’t sure about ladder stands, we also reviewed the best tripod deer stands.

Methodology

I’m not going to blow smoke; I prefer to hunt from lock-on stands, but ladder stands are used in many locales where I chase bucks each October and November. I’ve hunted from most of the stands included in this list, and if I haven’t, I have interviewed an outfitter or trusted whitetail Yoda that has hunted from them. 





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