Top Hook Ladders Vs. Sliding Ladders

Mar 6th 2024

Top hook rolling ladders and sliding ladders offer easy access and stylish design, and knowing their differences helps you choose the right one. Both hook and sliding library ladders have a top track and wheels on the bottom. The main differences between hook-style library ladders and sliding library ladders are how you move them and their aesthetics. The choice between the two depends heavily on personal preferences for functionality and style.

Hook Library Ladders

As the name indicates, hook library ladders attach to the track, with hooks, similar to a boat ladder or fireman’s ladder. The wheels at the bottom allow the ladder to slide back and forth along the track. When you need to access different parts of the room, simply lift the ladder to unhook it, roll it where you need it, and hook it back to the track. Hook-style rolling ladders were particularly popular in libraries since this detach-and-move-where-needed feature worked well in extremely large rooms with high shelves.

Since hook library ladders were developed in the late 1800s, they tend to retain a classic, traditional look suited for vintage spaces or mid-century modern décor. Our Putnam rolling ladder, the gold standard of American rolling library ladder design, is available in a hook style for anyone who wants a perfectly classic rolling ladder. For more contemporary spaces, we offer our budget-friendly Meadow Lane rolling ladder, which is available only as a hook-top. Meadow Lane hook-style ladders also conform beautifully in retro or vintage spaces in any prefinished wood option with polished brass, bronze, or black hardware. If you have a larger room or need top-of-the-line materials, choose our Quiet Glide rolling ladder in a “single hook” option. The track for Quiet Glide ladders are solid aluminum, not hollow tubes, and each component is worked by American craftsmen. The Quiet Glide hook-style ladder adds a beautiful but subtle decorative feature to any room in a residential, commercial, or educational space.


Sliding / Rolling Library Ladders

The popularity of rolling library ladders inspired the development of a top rolling assembly to replace the hooks. Some people didn’t like having to move the hooks off the track, and wanted a way to keep the ladder on the track and move it smoothly from place to place. Sometime in the late 1900s or early 20th century, rollers were installed on the top of the ladder (not just the bottom) so the library ladder could slide easily around the room on the track without having to be removed.

Today, sliding library ladders are typically more streamlined with a contemporary feel to the design. They work well for modern and minimalist spaces, and they offer added security since they’re attached around the track. You’ll find that our ultramodern ALTA metal rolling ladder comes in a “single hook” option as well as a sliding style. Our classic Putnam ladderand Quiet Glide ladder also have sliding style options if you prefer a wooden rolling ladder for your space.


If you’re shopping for a rolling ladder and aren’t sure whether you should choose a hook-style or sliding style, connect with our Ladder Specialists at Putnam Rolling Ladder. They can answer your questions and offer expert advice on our rolling ladders.

All you have to do is schedule your phone call on our Talk to an Expert scheduling tool. You can also reach us online via our contact form.