There are two basic kinds of ladders that people have to use around their home – an A-frame ladder or an extension ladder. You could use either type for your gutter cleaning needs depending on the height of your gutters and the condition of the ground around your home.
A-frame ladders are also called step ladders. They are called A-frame because when they are in use, the two sides of the ladder and the supports that go across the middle form an A. The name step ladder comes from the fact that these ladders have wide steps to stand on rather than thin rungs. The extra stability afforded by those wide steps are one reason that an A-frame ladder is a good one to use for a gutter cleaning project. Another reason in favor of step ladders is that they often have shelves built in near the top to hold tools and things. This shelf can be very helpful when you need to switch between a gutter scoop and a gutter brush while gutter cleaning. If you did not have the shelf, you might have to climb up and down the ladder to exchange tools.
A-frame ladders might not work in all cases, though. Usually step ladders are meant for smaller jobs. This type of ladder usually does not go very high. If your house is only one story then you can probably get away with it. But if you need to get twenty feet in the air, you probably will not be able to do it with an A-frame. Another thing to consider is the ground around your house. A step ladder needs a lot of space to set up. You need to make sure that there is level ground on both sides of where the ladder will be set up and that there are no bushes or landscaping in the way. It is not safe to balance an A-frame ladder on anything but the ground unless you have one of those convertible ladder systems like the Transforma ladder that come with staircase ladder configurations..
If you cannot use an A-frame ladder then an extension ladder might be in order. The second major type of ladder is the extension ladder. The name comes from the fact that the ladder is stored so that it is only eight to ten feet long, but it can be extended to reach much greater heights. Other than their adjustable nature, the other major difference between these types of ladders is how they stand. Extension ladders are meant to be leaned against something and cannot stand up on their own. The bottom of these ladders usually has feet that swivel so that they can be level with the ground no matter what angle the ladder is sitting at. Extension ladders are a good choice for gutter cleaning because they will definitely reach your gutters no matter how high they and you can fit them almost anywhere because they do not take up much room on the ground.
There are some downsides to these ladders, however. The rungs on an extension ladder are typically round and small. There is not as much support for your feet when you are on these ladders so it is especially important to follow proper ladder safety procedures. Another downside to these ladders is that they do not usually have any kind of shelves or places to put things you are working with. If you are using an extension ladder, then you will need to carry things in your pocket or a bag or sit them on the roof. Because the roof is sloped, that could be a problem, but you have to make do with what you have.
As you can see, there are benefits to both kinds of ladders. I am afraid of heights so I want as much support as possible when I am on a ladder. That is why I prefer A-frame or step ladders whenever possible. However, my two story house means that I have to use an extension ladder.