Podium steps are the heavy-duty alternative to a step ladder or scaffold tower for working at height for long periods of time and with equipment. Although scaffold towers are useful, they require assembly and dis-assembly in between jobs, which can be a nuisance if you need to work for extended periods in different parts of the same site as taking down and erecting the tower will eat into the work time. Step-ladders are great for when you need to move about the site between jobs, but they are uncomfortable when used for a long period of time and a scaffold tower is much safer and better to use when equipment is involved. Podium steps are the perfect in between solution, providing both stability and portability. There's a wide range of podium steps available so letâ€™s take a look at some of the models on the market.
Lyte Sitepod podium steps
The Sitepod range of podium steps is manufactured by Lyte, a British company with an excellent reputation for both quality and price. The shortest model has a platform height of 96 centimetres (38 inches), which gives a working height of at least 2.8 metres. This model weighs 32 kilos when assembled and will fold flat in seconds for easy transportation. This model however, is narrow enough at 67 centimetres when fully assembled, to pass through a standard doorway without being dismantled - a feature that makes this model perfect for work in domestic or commercial premises. The 96 centimetre model will set you back around £295 (including VAT and delivery). The next model up has a platform height of 1.2 metres and costs £315, but there is a model that sits in between these two shorter versions: one that combines both platform heights. The adjustable Sitepod podium steps offer platform heights of both 96 centimetres and 1.2 metres, thereby giving the user a range of working heights for small projects without needing to invest in two sets of steps. The adjustable Sitepod is Â335 (again including VAT and delivery). The Lyte Sitepod range of podium steps are available with further platform heights of 1.4 metres (£475), 1.7 metres (£534) and 2 metres (Â£649). All the models are made from aluminium to reduce weight as far as possible, fold flat quickly for transportation and feature chequer-plate platforms and access steps to provide good grip. The guardrails on these models are on all four sides of the platform and have locking gates to reduce the possibility of falling. The 360-degree castors and locking wheels means moving the unit around and securing it in place is easy and the three taller models all have double outriggers for added stability while working. They are designed and classified for industrial use, but the smaller models are also ideal for a domestic or commercial environment.
Zarges Sherpamatic Podium Steps
The Sherpamatic range of podium steps is manufactured by Zarges, another reliable and trusted name in the world of access equipment. There are three models, with three, five and seven treads respectively. The three tread model has a platform height of 72 centimetres (28 inches) which is a lot shorter than the smallest of the Lyte Sitepods. At £369 it is more expensive than the Lyte model of comparable size, but the Zarges Sherpamatic podium steps have more features when compared side by side. Toeplates are in place on three sides of the platform, stopping tools falling off and eliminating the danger of overstepping or slipping through. The guardrails and folding gate complete the safety features of the platform. These units can be moved around site on two wheels: when the front of the unit is raised, wheels at the back connect with the ground. At 19.5 kilos, the shorter model is very light and easy to manoeuvre. When the podium steps are to be moved to the next site, they fold flat for transportation in a van or on a roof rack and they are classified for industrial and site use, so can withstand heavy work (as Zarges is a French company, the units are classified according to French standard PIR NFP 93 352, similar to class 1 Industrial in the UK). The tallest of the Sherpamatic podium steps is the seven tread model, with a platform height of 1.65 metres. Costing £439 including VAT and delivery, the taller model actually works out cheaper than the Lyte Sitepod of comparable size (1.7 metres, £534), so although the entry price point for these Zarges podium steps is higher than the Lyte ones, the price range is smaller, offering great quality and safety features for less money as the size goes up. These Sherpamatic podium steps also have independently adjustable stabilisers, which can be used individually or together, offering extra stability and meaning they can be used against a wall with great efficiency.
Zarges Sherpascopic Telescopic Podium Steps
The Sherpascopic range of podium steps is another Zarges product and combines all the safety features, ease of use and build quality of the Sherpamatic range with the convenience of telescopic legs that offer more versatility than a single, fixed-height podium step. There are two models, the four to six tread model with platform heights between 1.06 and 1.52 metres, and the seven to nine tread model, with platform heights between 1.77 and 2.23 metres. The shorter model costs £495 (VAT and delivery included) and the taller one is £540. This works out far cheaper than the Lyte standard models and could be seen as better value than the Sherpamatic range from the same manufacturer, as the range of working heights achievable with the telescopic podium steps makes the price of the telescopic unit worth three fixed height ones. The other main advantage to having telescopically adjustable legs is that these podium steps can be used on stairs, as the front and back legs can be adjusted independently to sit evenly on stairs and other surfaces where there is a height difference.
Youngman Teleguard telescopic podium steps
Youngman, a very popular and trusted name in the ladder manufacturing, have also got a range of telescopic podium steps. As with the Zarges Sherpascopic models, the Youngman versions are available in four to six tread and seven to nine tread models. The shorter one is the same price as the Zarges model at £495, but the taller one is more expensive at £595 (prices include VAT and delivery). These British made telescopic podium steps have four stabilisers on the legs of the steps, as well as two crossbars keeping the structure rigid. As you would expect, the front and back legs can be adjusted separately, allowing for use on stairs and uneven surfaces. The double guardrail and locking gate on the chequer-plate platform provide excellent prevention of falls and slips and there is a toeboard on the platform to prevent slips thus making working at height safer. An inbuilt tool tray shows that these podium steps were designed and built with the worker in mind and it is this attention to detail that makes Youngman stand out from the rest. The units can be wheeled from location to location around the site and they are easy to transport on a van or roof rack (the closed size of the shorter model is 2.4 metres long, 72 centimetres wide and 48 centimetres deep and it weighs 37 kilos). The working heights achievable using the shorter, four to six rung model are between 3 and 3.6 metres, while the taller model gives 3.9 to 4.45 metre working heights. Both models are classified for industrial use and the attention to detail in the rubber ends to the feet and stabiliser bars, tough wheels suitable for use in many environments and surfaces, as well as the locking mechanisms on the platform gate and platform itself all goes to show that this is a set of podium steps worth investing in.
Zarges Telepod Telescopic Podium Steps
This last offering from Zarges is a single unit that offers three different heights in one and can be erected, used, and packed away by one person. Even the platform height adjustments can be done easily with one hand. Weighing in at 28.5 kilos, it really is light and the wheels mean it can be pulled to the van, so no need to carry it long distances. The platform heights that this model offers are 57, 82 and 99 centimetres, so although this piece of equipment does not offer very large heights, it is very useful for small business where only one person can be sent on a job. Currently on sale at Midland Ladders, this unit will set you back just £299, which is a reasonable investment for a smaller business. It is designed for low-level work where a step-ladder would be too uncomfortable to use for a long period and has the four sided guard rail you would expect to find on podium steps. Although these podium steps use telescopic technology on the legs, they are not really designed for use on stairs; rather the telescopic legs are for space saving and ease of use. So, there you have it, the podium step demystified! Please do contact us if you've got any questions on these versatile pieces of equipment. Pop a comment below or come visit us at our main website and see our full range of podium steps at www.midlandladders.com, as well as the models explained above we have many more from the same manufacturers as well as Ugo and Deltadeck too!