For professional drywall installers and contractors, having a pair of drywall stilts on hand is a must. These adjustable stilts simplify the process of working on items above your head.
Drywall stilts take some time to learn to use properly and safely, but they will reduce the amount of time required for some jobs versus going up and down a ladder.
At the end of our guide, check out our top recommendations for the best drywall stilts. Our number-one pick, the SurPro Dual Legs Support Stilts, delivers maximum comfort in a lightweight design.
Considerations when choosing drywall stilts
When narrowing the list of drywall stilts that will fit your needs, start by focusing on two items: Extension-height range and weight capacity.
Drywall stilt manufacturers will give their models a maximum weight rating, based on the design and on the materials in use. An average pair of stilts will be able to support around 230 pounds of weight (keeping in mind that this includes your body weight and equipment you’re carrying).
For a greater weight capacity, you may need to rely on professional-level quality stilts, which often will support 400 pounds or more.
To be more useful, drywall stilts have an adjustable-height feature. This will give users a range of heights to use between the minimum and maximum. Drywall stilt manufacturers try to make the process of adjusting the height as easy as possible, so workers can do it in a short amount of time while at a jobsite.
A common height-extension range for a pair of drywall stilts would be between 24 and 40 inches. For an average-sized person, this range would simplify the process of working on ceilings 8 to 10 feet in height.
Cheaper drywall stilts may have an extension range of only 18 to 30 inches. If you are taller than average, an 18-inch extension height may be perfect for you to work on an 8- or 9-foot ceiling.
Understand that some local regulators limit where contractors can use drywall stilts or ban them altogether. OSHA allows the use of these stilts but limits their use on scaffolding. Regulators worry that someone could trip over a small guardrail or a scaffolding rail while using the stilts, falling a great distance.
Once you’ve found the height and weight support you need in your drywall stilts, you then can focus on some of the other features in these tools.
Support: You'll want the proper support rods in the stilts that give your feet plenty of support, making it easier to maintain your balance.
Rubber feet: With rubber coatings on the bottom of the stilts, you'll have a better chance of avoiding skidding when moving on the stilts, as the rubber maintains a grip on any kind of flooring.
Footplate design: If you have large feet, finding footplates to support your entire foot could be a challenge. Additionally, you'll probably want a heel cup to keep the foot in place effectively.
Cushioned calf support: The upper part of the stilts will wrap around your calf muscles for stability, so cushioned support in this area will deliver a higher level of comfort.
For a simple pair of drywall stilts with a maximum extension of about 30 inches, expect to pay $100 to $150. For a pair with up to a 40-inch extension, expect to pay $150 to $250. Professional-level stilts made for comfortable use for several hours per day can cost more than $250.
Q. Can I use drywall stilts in my area?
A. Check with your local regulations for use of stilts on the jobsite. Some states and cities have banned stilts or require the installation of special safety gear where stilts are in use.
Q. How can I put on drywall stilts safely and easily?
A. It can be tricky to put these on the first few times. Try sitting on a sturdy table, countertop, or bar stool, where you have a couple of feet of elevation over the ground to simplify the process.
What we like: Uses a lightweight magnesium frame that will last a long time. Uses rubber soles to avoid skidding.
What we dislike: Cost is a bit higher than we'd expect to find.
Kyle Schurman is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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