The Best Stilts for Drywall 2018

It probably isn’t your first consideration, but if you’re not monstrously tall then you’ll rapidly find moving a step stool around to get at the top seams of drywall isn’t exactly a fun or easy task.

Stilts aren’t just for circus performers anymore, you can readily find a pair adapted perfectly to any kind of building task you can imagine, and you might be able to find the perfect pair to aid you in your home improvement.

Harry , Homethods Author
Harry

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The 3 Best Drywall Stilts in 2016

Without further ado, let’s look at the best of the best, and you’ll be sure to find a pair that’s perfect for you to use around the house for your own projects.

Pentagon Tools 18″ – 30″ Drywall Stilts

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4.9/5 Rating

These stilts from Pentagon Tools are great for most household uses. As long as you’re not under about 5’6” or so, you’ll easily be able to reach all but the tallest ceilings of your home and make short work of whatever you need to take care of.

They’re adjustable in two inch increments, giving you fairly fine control over where you decide to work. They’re also made of lightweight aluminum alloy which is lighter than most of the stilts you’ll find on the market.

Add in the fact that these stilts have padded leg straps and adjustable foot plates and you’re looking at a real bargain for the price.

These stilts are well-suited for working around the average sized house, and the lower height means that even a complete novice will feel at home on them in a short period of time.

Pros
  • Highly Adjustable
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Sizable foot plates make them unsuitable for small feet
  • Non-ratcheting straps  

GypTool Pro 48” – 64” Drywall Stilts – Silver

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4.6/5 Rating

If you’re working with super high ceilings, then you just might find these stilts from GypTool are exactly what you’re looking for.

These aren’t for the faint of heart, they start at 48”, end at 64”, and can be changed in four inch increments. This makes for a fairly rough measurement of control, unfortunately, but the stilts are a bit too tall for most residential jobs anyways.

The stilts themselves are made of high-grade aluminum alloy, and come in at 28.3lbs which makes them plenty heavy, but most workers should be fine with them.

The strap system is especially secure, coming with two calf straps and a positionable foot plate that will allow you confidence even at the considerable height that you’ll be working at.

While they aren’t for most homes if you have high ceilings, you’d be hard pressed to find a better pair of stilts suited for your needs.

Pros
  • Secure Strapping
  • Amazing Height
  • Positionable Foot Plate
Cons
  • A Bit Heavy
  • Not Suited for Most 8’ Roofs

Aluminum Tool Stilts 24″ to 40″

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4.6/5 Rating

These aluminum stilts are well suited for most people’s homes, coming in with a decent range of heights at an adjustable 24” to 40”.

The soles are real rubber which will help with traction, and can avoid some nasty slips and falls that might occur since you’ll have a good grip to the ground. Add in the three position heel plate and you’re looking at a simply superb amount of stability.

They’re durable, but more than that all parts are replaceable, which means you’ll be able to repair them quite easily in case they are damaged.

The only real difference between these and some of the more expensive stilts on the market is that they lack ratcheting straps but if you take care the locking metal buckles are nearly as secure.

The extension system is pretty easy to work with as well, utilizing wing nuts for tool-less height changes.

If you’re looking for professional quality drywall stilts on a budget, then you’ll be in the right hands.

Pros
  • Rubber Soles
  • Tool-less Height Changes
  • Replaceable Parts 
Cons
  • Lack of Ratchet Straps
  • Shin Straps Aren’t Padded
NameLoad CapacityStrap TypesRating 
Pentagon Tools
18” - 30”
228lbsMetal Buckles, Padded Shin Straps4.9
GypTool Pro 18” – 30”225lbsMetal Buckles, Standard Shin Straps4.8
Pentagon Tools 24” – 40”228lbsMetal buckles, Padded Shin Straps4.7
GypTool Pro 48” – 64” 225lbsMetal Buckles, Double Shin Straps4.6
Aluminum Tool Stilts 24” – 40” Adjustable227lbsMetal buckles, Non-Padded Shin Straps4.6

What Are Drywall Stilts?

Drywall stilts are essentially a more stable platform to work on than the standard stilts you see performers work with. They’ll allow you to get at the top of walls no matter what height you may be working with.

The stability is the key here, normal stilts are inherently an unstable platform in order to require the performer to utilize some skill in their acts. Drywall stilts generally feature dual-legs and they’re much wider at the base, allowing for you to elevate yourself a little bit.

They’ll also generally have heavy treads, to keep the stilts from swaying while you’re standing and working in one area.

As a general rule, they’ll attach to your shins and just function as an extension of your leg. This allows them to remain fairly natural as long as you’re careful, although they still might require a little bit of practice to walk on with confidence.

What is the Advantage of Using Drywall Stilts?

Drywall stilts offer an inherent speed advantage over using a step ladder in order to reach the top of the walls. You’ll find that using a ladder gets tedious quickly as you’ll have to reposition it every four or five feet while sanding or hanging in order to make sure you can get the job done properly.

Stilts are particularly useful for longer jobs, hallways and the like might require you to reposition your ladder five or six times just to get one side done. What you gain by buying them is expediency, the job will be done quite a bit faster.

You might even be able to manage a cleaner job than you would otherwise, since there’s a tendency for spots in between ladder placements to suffer a bit if you’re not careful. A smoother job will allow for a better finished wall, and that’s rather important at the end of the day.

If you and a friend both get a pair, you can even make a ceiling installation, which might be a bit easier on the wallet although a drywall lift is still the better option for this kind of work.

You’ll also find that they’re quite useful for a lot of other tasks around the home, even changing a light bulb in a room with a high ceiling can be done quite easily once you’re strapped in. Think about the amount of tasks which require you to use a ladder around the house, many of them can be done more easily with a good pair of stilts.

Overall, they offer a lot of advantages over doing things free hand while hanging on ladders, which is a dangerous task in and of itself. If you’re planning on doing a lot of work with drywall, then making the investment in a pair will quickly pay you back, with dividends, in the shorter amount of time you’ll end up working.

Things to Consider When Picking the Best Drywall Stilts

The main thing you’ll want to look at is the comfort level of the stilts. A pair that bites into the skin or isn’t padded adequately is going to leave you chafed and irritated by the end of the job.

Many people have more issues with their feet than with the straps when using them. This means that a platform large enough for your foot plus your work boots is absolutely essential. The strapping system used for your feet will also mean a lot.

Of course, durability is always a factor and using a pair that’s built well is absolutely essential. Failure can mean a pretty good tumble, and if you’re not quick you’re going to get hurt when you take the fall.

Some varieties will also have a tendency to “walk”, meaning that they’ll lean in one direction or another when you’re trying to stand still. This can usually be compensated for by adjusting the tension of the springs and making sure they’re at the correct height.

The other thing is to make sure that you can adjust the height properly for the job you’re doing. Most stilts will allow up to 30” of elevation when fully extended, but it’s pretty rare that someone will need them to be that high in anything but extreme cases where a lift or ladder might be a better option.

It you’re particularly short, however, you may need all the extra height you can guess.

Those who are tall will have their own set of problems, and will want the most stable platform they can find. Most drywall stilts bottom out at 18” or so, which is something to keep in mind when you pick your pair out.

Overall, the way you should consider them is with the following order in mind:

  • Durability
  • Comfort
  • Height
  • Cost

If you keep all of this in mind then you’re looking at a serious advantage in the future of your home improvement projects.

Learning to Use Drywall Stilts

Drywall stilts aren’t going to take an acrobatic person to learn how to use, but you’ll need to be a bit steady on your feet for the most part. If your legs are any kind of disabled, just use a lift or a ladder, it’ll be a lot less risky.

Learning to use them isn’t as hard as some people make it out to be. The best place is probably the front yard, or anywhere else that’s open with a soft surface. Strap them on and stand up, walk around a little bit, and you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.

You’ll have to lift your leg up pretty high in order to avoid “scuffing” the toe, which might cause you to trip. Remember that you’re not “swinging through” like you do normally when walking, but instead you’ll want to lift from the hip with each step. Too long of steps can cause some pairs to do odd things though, so you’ll want to measure them carefully.

If you have the time, it’s best to practice for a couple of hours before you start working with them, but as long as you’re steady and can walk decently well you should be okay.

Falling is bound to happen when you’re just starting out. Don’t panic, circus performers have been falling on their heads from much higher distances for a long, long time.

The basic technique used to protect yourself is called a knee drop. If you wibble when you should have wobbled, you’ll be able to protect yourself with this. Since you’re not a performer and you’ll be mostly working around walls, it’s not that important to practice it, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind.

Slow your descent as much as possible, and bend your knees. If you do it right, your things will catch the brunt of the impact and you’ll be able to catch most of the rest with your upper body. Do not stiffen your arms or wrists, instead let them impact naturally in order to protect your head.

If you start to fall backwards, take a step back and try to shift it into a forward fall. There is no safe way to fall off of stilts backwards, but if you can’t help going over that way, tuck your chin and close your mouth.

You’ll still get the wind knocked out of you, but your upper back should take the brunt of the impact and you won’t risk biting off a chunk of your tongue. Trying to catch behind yourself with your hands is a losing game, and a broken wrist is a pretty likely outcome.

Falling really shouldn’t be much of a concern in most cases, drywall stilts are amazingly stable for what they are, but just keep the above in mind. A small loose dog, tripping over a bucket of mud, or any number of things can happen and a little bit knowledge can go a long way in this area.

References

  1. http://www.stiltsman.com/manual.htm
  2. http://www.ebay.com/gds/How-to-Use-Drywall-Stilts-/10000000177634441/g.html
  3. http://www.galttech.com/research/household-DIY-tools/best-drywall-stilts.php

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