Once your little treasure has attained that kitten-like agility, they move across a room at the speed of light.
But their explorations bring them into danger zones, such as the stairs and kitchen.
Baby gates placed in strategic positions can keep your young adventurer safe from hazards. You can also use them to keep your pets and toddler apart.
We’ve rounded up the best baby gates to help keep your baby or toddler safely contained.
- Super wide and adjustable
- Can be extended
- Doubles as a freestanding playpen
- Meets APSM & JPMA safety standards
- Easy to move & reconfigure
- Automatic locking feature
- Fits doorway and hallway openings
- Prevents gate from tipping over
- Preset index positions
- Integrated tuning to adjust fit vertically
- Sleek and stylish
- Clear, strong, commercial-grade perspex
- Minimal damage to walls
- Available for use with banisters
- Four-point hardware fitting
- Blends in with home decor
- Easy glide handle
- Easy installation
- One-handed opening
- Nice sturdy gate
- Easily adjusted pressure fittings
- Sleek steel design
- Secure locking system
- Easy one hand adult operation
- Designed for staircase summits
- Auto- open and close feature
- Double locking system
- JPMA certified
Types of Baby Gates
There are several different types of baby gate; take your time shopping around so you can make an informed choice on which will best suit your needs.
Hardware Mounted Gates
When it comes to baby gates, these are generally the sturdiest option. They’re screwed into walls, door frames or banisters, which hold them securely in place. If you need a gate for the top of the stairs this would be the best type.
Hardware mounted gates may be more difficult to fit, though — careful, precise measurement is required. They don’t usually have a base bar, which means less chance of tripping up or stubbing your toes, both of which I’ve done, and definitely don’t recommend.
When fitting a gate at the top of the stairs, remember to make sure they open toward the landing, and not the stairs.
- Sturdy, robust option.
- Reduced trip hazard.
- Once removed, you’ll need to repair the holes left in the wood frame.
- Not portable.
Pressure Mounted Gates
As the name suggests, a pressure-mounted gate uses tension on each end to keep it firmly in place. These come in many different materials and widths, often with extension kits for wider spaces.
While being an easier option to fit and move around the home, or even for traveling, they do have a base bar, which poses a trip hazard.
If you want to avoid any falling accidents, pressure-mounted gates are better suited to areas like the bottom of the stairs, or on level surfaces, away from any steps.
Although there’s no need to drill holes to fit this type of gate, the pressure points could still leave marks where they make contact.
- Quick and easy to install.
- Won’t leave holes behind when removed.
- The base bar could cause tripping accidents.
- Not as sturdy as the hardware option for the top of a staircase.
- Tension has to be accurate so they can’t be pushed over.
These require zero fitting and can be moved around with ease. They’re great for wider openings or weird-shaped areas.
Rubber feet and wider side panels hold them in place. They aren’t as sturdy as hardware or pressure fitted gates. However, they should be heavy enough that the average toddler won’t be able to move them.
- Easy to move to spaces where they’re needed.
- Good for unconventional spaces, like kitchen islands, or wide doorways.
- Less sturdy than fixed options.
- Can be cumbersome and difficult to store when not in use.
These gates work on a similar principle as a roller blind. They’re fitted to one side of a wall or doorway, then extend and attach to hooks on the other side. If you don’t want a permanent fixture or have unusual angles to cover, this might be something to consider.
- Unobtrusive when not in use.
- Good for wide spaces and odd angles.
- Generally made from fabric so not as strong as other options.
How to Choose the Best Baby Gate
Choosing a gate for your baby is not as simple as picking one that’s pleasing to the eye and will go with your decor. Although aesthetics might come into it, there are some other things you should think about first.
Where Will You Use it?
Preventing your precious little one from tumbling down the stairs requires a sturdy gate that won’t budge. A hardware-mounted gate, or one designed for the top of stairs, is your best option. You definitely don’t want this to fall down on the job.
Just need to keep baby in one area of the home, such as out of the kitchen or away from the bottom of the stairs? A pressure mounted gate works great in these situations.
Finally, a freestanding or expandable gate can be used for setting up a barrier in an instant, as and when you need it. Some can even be configured as playpens, to create a safe baby play room outdoors, or in a large family room.
Measure Your Gap
Gates come in many widths, ranging from narrow to extra wide. Some areas might require extension panels to be added. Carefully measure the gap where you intend to place your gate —there’s nothing more frustrating than finding your perfect gate doesn’t quite fit.
Got a small, narrow opening or awkward angle? A retractable gate might be your best option.
Baby and Pet Barriers
If you’re like me, and you have fur babies and a toddler who hasn’t yet got the hang of handle with care, you might have to think about how to keep little hands away from little paws.
If your pet can’t jump over the gate or squeeze through the bars, then a gate with a pet door could work for you. Just make sure it’s small enough to contain a budding contortionist so they can’t follow the family pet through. Little ones love sharing the biscuits you put down for your furry family.
How Tall is Your Child?
Regarding height, most safety gates are around the 30-inch mark, which should be enough to stop most kiddies up to 2 years old from climbing over. However, not all little ones grow at the same rate, and if your toddler has had a growth spurt and is above average, there are gates available which are taller.
If you happen to be tall parents, they might help you too — you won’t have to bend as much to open them.
Moving Your Gate Around
While the home has many potential hazards, gates at every doorway is overkill. A gate which has flexible installation allows you to move it around with you, to put where you need it at any given time.
Pressure mounted or travel gates aren’t permanently fixed, so they can be easily moved from one room to another.
Some gates come with additional mounts. You can easily unclip them from one location and place them in a different fixing point.
This is one of the most important features you should look for. Safety standards specify the main qualities, such as height, durability, and reliability of locks.
The Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is one body which makes sure the standards set are being adhered to.
Looking for a gate which carries their seal of approval, which guarantees that (1):
- They’ve been made ensuring gaps cannot trap little fingers.
- Locking mechanisms will be effective and the height acceptable.
- The distance between the floor and the base of the gate will measure less than three inches — making sure baby can’t play limbo and get stuck under it.
Products manufactured outside the US may be certified by other bodies, like the CE markings in Europe. This again indicates that essential safety standards have been met.
Can You Open and Close the Gate Easily?
While putting a barrier up to contain your child is a good idea, you don’t want to be penned in as well.
Look at consumer reviews to see how easy a gate is to operate, not only by you but also by your baby. Some kiddies don’t take long to catch on to how to escape, and the last thing you need is a baby on the loose in the danger zone.
Some gates have a one-handed system which should be easy for you to manage but not for your two-year-old. Others take on a hands-free approach by using a foot pedal to unlock them.
Some swing open while others slide. There are even gates with a stay-open feature for when you need it.
Also, consider how securely they shut. There are gates with indicators to let you know they’re properly locked, while others have an auto-close function. Some need to be locked manually once you have passed through.
Will the Gate Match Your Decor?
We know safety comes first, but baby gates aren’t always the most attractive addition to home decor. Fortunately, there are many options to choose from, so you can channel your inner interior designer.
They can be made of wood, metal, fabric or perspex, and come in a host of colors and finishes.
The Best Baby Gate Reviews of 2021
Here are our favorites baby gates to suit moms in every situation.
1. North States 3-in-1 Metal Superyard
I love how versatile this gate is. Panels can be removed or added to fit the space you have. Each one measures 25½ inches wide and 30 inches high, and you get six of them, which covers a total of 12 feet.
Need more width? Extra panels can be purchased and easily added to extend this even further. It’s made from heavy-duty metal, and each end can be secured with hardware mounted to a wall, keeping it steady.
The base has rubber pads that should protect your floors, meaning the only damage you have to worry about is your toddler racing his toy cars along.
A walk-through swinging door panel has a kiddie-safe double locking system. What’s really neat is the door can be placed wherever you want it within the gate.
I think this is an excellent option if you have irregularly shaped rooms, a fireplace, or you don’t want to move everything out of baby’s reach.
- Super wide and adjustable, to section off large spaces.
- Can be extended if you live in a home with big rooms.
- Doubles as a freestanding playpen.
- Additional hardware might be needed when you change the panel configuration.
- Due to the length, a strong toddler might be able to move individual panels.
2. Regalo Super Wide Adjustable Baby Gate
If your home doesn’t conform to the norm, this super wide gate could be a good choice for you. It’s also handy if you want to close off a particular area. You can use it to keep your toddler away from the fireplace or out of the kitchen, or configure it as a 19 square feet playpen.
Comprising eight 24-inch by 28-inch panels, the gate can be arranged to fit widths up to 16 feet. They can also be removed to change the length or shape if you want, and each can be locked in place.
The walk-through opening has a safety lock, easily opened by grown-ups with one touch. This should keep it fuss-free for you, and keep baby where you want them.
Wall mounts secure the gate in place when in use, and it can easily be removed whenever suits you. Considering the size, it folds away neatly , which also makes storage less of a hassle.
- Meets APSM and JPMA safety standards.
- Easy to move and reconfigure.
- Portable for visiting grandparents to use as a playpen.
- Vertical bars, with 2.25-inch spacing.
- Made from steel for strength and durability.
- The opening panel might be a bit on the small side for some.
- Removing panels has to be done in twos.
3. Richell Freestanding Pet Gate with Door
Even though this happens to be a pet gate, it’s still a freestanding option which is perfect for keeping kiddies corralled.
We were loathing to install a baby gate in their home, so they bought this. It stops our mischievous little human escaping from their family room and into the kitchen. The great thing is that when baby isn’t making use of it, it also keeps their pooches out of the way.
It’s capable of fitting doorways or other openings, from 61.8 inches to 90.2 inches wide and stands 28.5 inches high. There’s a panel at either end to prevent tipping, and rubber feet to stop it damaging or sliding on floors.
The lockable walk-through gate opens in either direction. As long as you don’t open it beyond 90 degrees, it will self-close.
- Hardwood surround could match home decor.
- Can be moved and placed anywhere in the home with ease.
- Automatic locking after gate panel closes.
- It’s bulky to store when not in use.
4. Munchkin Loft Aluminum Baby Gate
When Munchkin designed this baby gate, they thought outside the box. It’s made from aluminum and the brushed silver finish has a really clean look to it.
Standing 30.5 inches high, it will fit stairs, doors or hallways measuring between 26.5 inches and 40 inches wide.
I particularly like how, even though the gate is hardware mounted, it has a quick-release feature. If you love to host dinner parties, the quick release allows the gate to be removed and placed out of the way for the evening.
The double-locking door swings either way, and opens with a handle integrated into the design.
Another favorite is that this door opens it’s full width rather than just a section. This makes it much easier to walk through, even when carrying bulky items, like a vacuum. Finally, there’s no base bar, so zero chance of tripping… unless it’s over your own feet.
- Preset index positions to adjust the width.
- Integrated tuning to adjust the fit vertically on uneven walls.
- Sleek and stylish.
- Needs two to three feet of clearance for installation above the side rails.
- Reviews suggest it can be tricky to install.
5. QDOS Crystal Baby Safety Gate
This innovative gate is made with a piece of clear, strong, commercial-grade perspex, with slate-colored sides. If you’re looking for both safety and style, this modern and contemporary gate just might fit the bill.
It can be mounted and used anywhere in the home where you need a gate measuring between 29.2 inches and 39 inches. The gate is 30 inches high and you can choose from hardware and pressure-mounted options.
Got a wider space? Extensions can be added to the pressure-mounted version, which takes it to 48 inches. This version also has a glow-strip, so you can see the base bar at night.
Both options have a magnetic lock, with an at-a-glance indicator that shows green when the gate is shut.
- Minimal damage to walls, with only four screws to mount.
- Kit available for use with banisters.
- Hardware option can be mounted at an angle.
- Little ones may not realize it’s there — so you might require a decal on the perspex to prevent accidents.
- Could harbor grubby finger marks and may need more cleaning in the long run.
6. Evenflo Easy Walk Thru Gate
The top of the stairs is one place where you need a sturdy hardware fitted gate. This gate is excellent for most standard stairways. It measures 30 inches tall and is expandable to cover widths between 29 inches and 42 inches.
While you can raise it off the floor a further three inches, this might leave a gap, which could lead to your tiny tot launching small toys down the stairs. However, at least the vertical bars should prevent the little monkey using it as a ladder.
The easy-glide handle can be opened with one hand and has a red/green indicator lock, so you can know at a glance if it’s secured. The walk-through gate can be set to open in either direction.
This gate can be used in other places in the home as well; it will fit doorways, hallways, kitchens or playrooms.
- Four-point hardware fitting.
- Neutral gray or beige color to blend in with home decor.
- No base bar to create a trip hazard.
- Doesn’t auto-lock when closing.
7. North States Easy-Close Gate
Constructed from white painted steel, this gate pressure mounts at the base of your stairs, or in doorways. Measuring 29 inches high and from 28 inches to 38.5 inches wide, it should fit the bottom of most stairs.
What I particularly like about this gate is the hold-open feature. With my little one, I inevitably travel up and down the stairs several times a night. At least with this, you would only have to open and close one gate, not two.
The triple-locking safety system ensures it also stays closed when you want it to. Add to that a gentle push to close and auto-lock, and you have a very easy gate for adults to use.
It also opens both ways. Two different extension panels (additional purchase) take the width to either 45.5 inches or 53.5 inches.
- Easy installation.
- One-handed opening.
- Nice sturdy gate.
- Opening mechanism can take a bit of getting used to.
- Metal bar at the bottom could be a trip hazard.
8. Munchkin Auto Close Pressure Mount Baby Gate
At 29.5 inches tall and 29.5 inches to 37.8 inches wide, this gate will fit most doors or stairs. If not, then extensions can be purchased, extending the width to 54 inches.
The opening between the vertical bars is 2.5 inches, ensuring your little one can’t get stuck in them. After all, once penned in, you can guarantee they’ll want to escape.
Made from steel for strength and durability, the gate should be able to withstand the bashing most toddlers will throw at it.
The gate has a dual locking handle which you have to pull and then lift to open. It also has a specific type of hinge which works to close the gate automatically once you let go.
This is a nice idea for forgetful moms (myself included), ensuring you don’t leave it open by mistake and end up with a little one on the loose.
The walk-through gate on this model is nice and wide and can be set to open in either direction.
- Easily adjusted pressure fittings.
- Hardware included for fixing if you prefer that option.
- Secure locking system.
- Some moms find the auto-close mechanism is quite loud.
9. KidCo Safeway Gate
While this gate is designed for staircase summits, it can also be used elsewhere in the home. It’s suitable for any opening with a width range of 25.75 inches to 42.5 inches. Fitted, the 30.5-inch gate is actually 33.5 inches high, this takes into account the height required to fit the hardware.
Usually, your hands are full when you open a baby gate, whether it’s carrying your little one, the laundry or something else. Being an octopus would be great, but failing that, this gate has an easy one-handed operation to open and close.
The hardware has a quick release feature, to take it on and off.
Another highlight is that the hinge side can be mounted at an angle. This is perfect if your walls are uneven.
- Made from steel for durability.
- Written instructions for fitting are easy to follow.
- The performance of the gate isn’t compromised by the quick-release removal feature.
- It has a pin to stop gate opening over stairs.
- Anchors aren’t included for fitting to the drywall.
10. Dreambaby Auto Close Security Gate
One thing I really like about these gates is the range of size options. They cover three widths, with a minimum of 28 inches, extending to a maximum of 39 inches, and the gate is 29.5 inches high.
If you do decide you want to use it somewhere else, you can buy extensions to take it up to a massive 188 inches wide. However, when it comes to banisters, the pressure mounting is quick and easy to install, with no screws to damage the wood.
With the single-handed opening and auto-close features, moving through the gate with baby in your arms should be a breeze. It also double locks, preventing even budding Einsteins from figuring out how to open it.
- Stay-open feature, when you don’t want the gate closed.
- Color options of white or black.
- The choice to fit most banister widths.
- It might take more than one person to fit properly in a wider area.
11. Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate
This is another versatile gate, and not just for narrow spaces. It’s available in two widths, 52 inches and 72 inches, and it’s 34 inches high. Additional mounting brackets can be purchased, allowing you to move this around your home easily.
It’s made from a see-through mesh fabric which, thankfully, is washable. This might leave you wondering whether it’s strong enough to withstand the barrage of abuse from a toddler. My friend’s twins lean on it while watching her in the kitchen, and it holds up just fine.
It comes with a childproof lock that operates in an open or closed position. One-hand can be used to release the gate, which automatically rolls up.
If you own a motorhome or boat, this gate is ideal for preventing your toddler from getting into places they shouldn’t. It will also work on stairs on a deck, or across a porch.
- 100 percent made in the USA.
- Can be used with banisters via an adapter kit.
- Quick and easy to install.
- Available in three versatile colors: black, beige, and white.
- Two-step closure so you need to remember to lock it.
- Additional hardware might need to be purchased for installation.
12. Regalo Extra Tall Walk Thru Gate
Capable of fitting openings between 29 inches and 38.5 inches, this gate from Regalo is an ample 41 inches high. It comes supplied with fittings for pressure or hardware mounting, and a six-inch extension kit.
I like that you can easily open the one-touch release lever without having to bend. The gate opening is, however, only 16 inches: fine for me but not so for my slightly wider partner. He has to turn sideways to get through, but this is not a deal-breaker.
While some clever little mites manage to work out how to get baby gates open, because of the height, it’s unlikely a child will be able to crack this one.
- Wall protectors included for pressure mounting.
- Easy to install.
- Made from steel, making it strong and long-lasting.
- The narrow opening means having to lift items like a baby carrier over the top.
- The lower bar could cause you to trip.
13. Summer Infant Deluxe Stairway Wood Gate
This gate from Summer Infant has a nice mid-color antique oak finish, so it should blend well with different wood tones.
It’s hardware mounted, giving it the strength you need when your toddler decides to take out their tantrum on it.
At 32 inches tall, it will fit any opening from 30 inches to 48 inches. The vertical wooden slats are 2.75 inches apart, making it difficult for a little one to put things through. It also has a comfort grip handle, which releases the gate with the use of only one hand.
It also comes with a handy template, to enable accurate and easy fitting without having to measure.
- Walk-through gate opens completely.
- No base bar, eliminating a trip hazard.
- Can be locked to open one way only.
- Instructions for installation can be hard to follow.
14. North States Easy Swing & Lock Gate
A secure hardware mounted gate might not be what you’d expect from an inexpensive gate. However, this one from North States has many features you’d associate with a model at the top end of the price range.
It’s adjustable to fit widths of between 26.68 inches to 48.75 inches, and has a height of 31 inches. It comes in an attractive bronze-colored finish, which should blend in well with most decors.
The gate swing opens fully, so when you’re walking through, you won’t need to worry about what you’re carrying. It also swings closed and self-locks.
- No bar at the bottom to trip over.
- One-handed operation to open.
- Made from durable steel.
- Installation might be a little tricky.
- Attaching to a drywall will require anchors.
15. Cardinal Gates Outdoor Child Safety Gate
This is a hardware-mounted gate that’s been specifically designed for outdoor use. I really like that it has been manufactured using materials which deter rust: it’s made from strong aluminum, with stainless steel hardware. A brown powder-coated finish reinforces the rust-free materials.
I found my deck was a difficult place to find a suitable gate for. Whenever I wanted to go outside to hang laundry or just sit and have some coffee, I either needed eyes in the back of my head or someone else around to watch the little one.
At 29.5 inches tall and widths between 27 inches and 42.5 inches, this gate will fit many openings. There are additional extensions of 10.5 inches or 21.75 inches, which can take it to a maximum of 64.25 inches. It can even be mounted at angles, up to 30 degrees.
The one-handed, latch-operated opening system also stops little foragers from being able to open it.
This video on the manufacturer’s website shows you how to install the gate.
- Optional one-way opening.
- Easy to install.
- Some users found the latch can be difficult to open.
- It can be hot to the touch on a sunny day.
16. Carlson Extra Wide Pet Gate
Standing 30 inches tall, this gate can expand to cover widths from 29 inches to 37 inches. It also includes a six-inch extension kit and is good for hallways, doors or the bottom of the stairs.
The pressure mounting is very easy to fit and requires no tools. This is also kind to your walls and door frames, with no drilling or screwing required. Wall mounts are included, should you want extra security for the installation.
Your smaller pets should be able to pass through this gate when it’s closed. There is a 10 inch by 7-inch door, which can open in either direction. However, make sure your little one can’t get through it too — a smaller crawling contortionist might be able to.
- Steel construction for durability.
- Locking feature on gate opening.
- Pet door can be opened or locked.
- Larger animals might not fit through the pet door.
17. North States Portable Traveler Gate
At just four pounds in weight, with its own drawstring bag, this gate is certainly portable. It will even fit into a suitcase if you’re traveling somewhere by airplane.
It’s capable of securing a little one behind openings from 25.2 inches to 42.6 inches wide. This should cover your needs for most doorways, hallways or other spaces.
It fits via pressure mounting and generally leaves no marks, but if this is a concern, you can buy protectors. Installation is painless and, once in place, there are release mechanisms top and bottom to remove and replace it.
Full specifications, instruction manuals, and extra parts are found on the manufacturer’s website.
- It comes with tension knobs for a secure fit.
- Durable neutral-colored fabric.
- 28 inches high, to contain your little cherub.
- Fabric can bunch up if not fully extended.