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The Best Baby Gates for All Your Childproofing Needs

Safety comes first—which is why baby gates should be top of mind. From extra-sturdy to super-chic, check out some of these best options.
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profile picture of Lynsey Eidell
Contributing Writer
Updated
October 10, 2022
best baby gates
Image: Amazon (2), Walmart | The Bump
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When you have a baby, safety is top priority. So when it’s time to childproof your house, finding the best baby gate is a must. Baby gates are designed to section off spaces and rooms to prevent babies and toddlers from getting into danger zones, like staircases and kitchens. Statistics show that more than three million children experience an unintentional household injury every year, ranging from steam and hot-liquid burns to falls and poisonings. Suffice it to say, a baby gate is a consequential purchase.

Parents usually start installing gates when baby reaches the six-month mark, since baby will be moving and exploring soon. (FYI, if baby is on the go sooner, you’ll want to start looking for the best baby gates even earlier.) Remember, children develop at different rates, so use your discretion when deciding what works best for your home.

Ready to shop the options? Here’s what to know when browsing for the best baby gate for your family’s needs.

What to consider when shopping for a baby gate

Baby gates are anything but child’s play. In fact, as you shop for the best baby gates, you’ll discover that there are several different variations—all with their own set of pros and cons. This can be enough to make any parent’s head spin. Before you make a purchase, here’s a breakdown of what to consider.

  • Safety. Babyproofing becomes pointless if the baby gate you’re using isn’t a safe product. Keep an eye out for Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification when shopping for baby gates, which ensures that the gate meets the top safety standards (like a minimum height of 22” and the ability to withstand 30 pounds of push-out force). Also keep an eye out for any recalls.
  • Height. Speaking of height, those with taller toddlers will want to look out for extra-tall baby gates, which can have heights of up to 36” for extra security.
  • Material. Baby gates come in a variety of materials, from metal to mesh to wood. Each has its own benefits, depending on your needs. Metal is easiest to clean, while mesh allows for a clear view of your little one on the other side. Wood is both sturdy and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Location. Think about where you’ll be placing the baby gate in your home, as that will also affect the type of product you select. Baby gates being used at the bottom or top of stairs must be hard-mounted for safety, while those closing off hallways or doorways can be pressure-mounted. If it’s a high-traffic area, look for a gate with a doorway pass-through; places you want to remain blocked off (like a fireplace) can have a more closed-off format.
  • Portability. If you need a gate to travel with or take on the go to a friend or relative’s house, look for a pressure-mounted baby gate that folds or collapses to make for easier transport.
  • Aesthetics. Baby gates don’t need to be an eyesore in your home. There are several chic and stylish options, ranging from barn door styles to ultra modern designs.

Types of Baby Gates

As previously mentioned, it’s important to consider where you’ll be using the baby gate before deciding on the mounting and pass-through style. If you’re looking for stair gates or have an uneven surface, a wall-mounted option is your best (and safest) bet. If you’re using the gate on a flat surface like a doorway, and want something easy to remove, a pressure-mounted baby gate will work well. Here’s a closer look at the differences.

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  • Hardware-mounted baby gates. Hardware-mounted baby gates are securely attached into the framing of the walls of your home. There’s a bracket that’s installed into either a doorframe or the frame behind the walls to secure the gate in place so it won’t fall over. Avoid screwing the baby-gate mount into the drywall or plaster alone, because that won’t guarantee stability. Statistics show every six minutes, a child in the US is treated for a stairs-related injury, so it makes sense to find the most secure options available. Hardware-mounted styles are recommended as the best baby gates for stairs, because when installed properly the risk of them toppling over is much lower than with pressure-mounted ones.
  • Pressure-mounted baby gate. Pressure-mounted baby gates use an expandable spring system to lock the gate into place by squeezing it between two walls or other surfaces, creating pressure to hold it in place. There are usually rubber pieces on both sides that help secure the gate in place and protect your walls. When you’re looking for the best baby gates, even a top-notch pressure-mounted model isn’t recommended for staircases of any type because the gate could topple over if not secured properly. Rather, pressure-mounted baby gates are best suited for areas that are level and flat, like doorways.
  • Step-over versus walk-through. Walk-through gates, or baby gates that have a doorway or open-and-close mechanism, are preferred to gates that require you to step over them—since it removes any trip or fall hazard. Step-over gates can be a great option when traveling or needing a temporary solution; but, in most other situations, walk-through gates are better and safer.

Best Baby Gates

Ready to give your home a safety makeover? Now that you have the lowdown on babyproofing with baby gates, check out our picks of the best baby gates for stairs, fireplaces, doors and more.

Best Baby Gate for Stairs

Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate
Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate
Image: Buy Buy Baby
Buying Options
buybuyBaby | $99.99

Little ones just love to explore the stairs, making it important for them to be safely barricaded off. There are certain features that help make baby gates work best for stairways, and this option from Cardinal Gates has them all. It hard-mounts at the top or bottom of stairs and can be angled up to 30 degrees, helping ensure you hit a stud and get that extra security. An optional stop bracket prevents the gate from swinging open over a stairway, and the latch system is easily operated with one hand by adults. There’s also no trip bar, and it’s made from a lightweight but strong aluminum.

  • Height: 29.5”
  • Width: 27” to 42.5”

Best Baby Gate for Stairs With Banisters

Summer Metal Banister & Stair Safety Gate
Summer Metal Banister & Stair Safety Gate
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon | $99.99

Banisters present multiple challenges, when it comes to baby gate installation; this safety gate from Summer Infant addresses practically all of them. It accommodates banister-to-banister, banister-to-wall or wall-to-wall installation—without drilling into your banisters and leaving holes behind. The no-trip bar (preventing any tumbles down the stairs) and a door stopper prevents the door from swinging open over the staircase. The extra-wide door also opens the full-width of the stairs for easy pass-through.

  • Height: 32.5”
  • Width: 31” to 46”

Best Baby Gate for a Doorway

Toddleroo by North States Bright Choice Auto-Close Gate
Toddleroo by North States Bright Choice Auto-Close Gate
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon | $74.55

High-traffic doorways require an easily operated but still secure baby gate—and we’re big fans of this option from Toddleroo. The 22” door swings in both directions and provides plenty of room to walk through. The auto-close feature makes sure the gate shuts behind you, no hands required. But when you need the doorway path to stay open, there’s a hold-open feature that kicks in when you open the door past 90 degrees. The glow-in-the-dark handle also makes this gate easy to spot in the dark, helping prevent any late-night tumbles.

  • Height: 30”
  • Width: 29.75” to 40.5”

Best Fireplace Baby Gate

Qdos Construct-a-SafeGate
Qdos Construct-a-SafeGate
Image: Amazon

A fireplace transforms from cozy to hazardous once you have children—making a fireplace baby gate an absolute necessity. Our favorite is the Qdos Construct-a-Safegate, which hard-mounts to the surrounding walls and features anti-skid floor pads to prevent any movement. It’s not only ideal for blocking off fireplaces, this baby gate also comes with two wide sections, a door and multiple panels to create a safe space anywhere you might need.

  • Height: 29.5”
  • Width: 35.4” to 82.7”

Best Baby Gate With a Door

Evenflo Barn Door Walk-Thru Gate

There’s little not to love about this baby gate with a door. The Evenflo Barn Door Walk-Thru Gate is a favorite for many reasons. The barn door swings in both directions and self-closes (perfect for when your hands are full). A red and green indicator lets you know if the gate has been locked properly, a stair stopper prevents it from swinging out over steps and it can be pressure-mounted or hardware-mounted for use almost anywhere in your home. The chic barn door style is an added bonus.

  • Height: 30”
  • Width: 29” to 43”

Best Extra-Wide Baby Gate

Regalo Super Wide Baby Gate and Playard
Regalo Super Wide Baby Gate and Playard
Image: Amazon

Open concept homes become quite tricky when you have a baby on the move. Enter the Regalo Super Wide Baby Gate and Playard, which is perfect for every wide open space in your home. It comes with eight 24” panels, and can close off an opening as wide as 16 feet. This extra-wide baby gate is also versatile, and can be configured as a standalone playard or fireplace gate as well. The sturdy, all-metal frame will keep little ones in—and adults can easily get out thanks to the one-touch safety lock release lever.

  • Height: 28”
  • Width: Up to 192”

Best Retractable Baby Gate

Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate
Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon | $149

Hundreds of parents rave about this retractable, mesh baby gate from Retract-A-Gate. It tucks away when you don’t need it, and lets you see your little one on the other side when it’s up. It can be used both indoors and outdoors, and the neutral colors blend seamlessly into any home decor. The mesh can withstand up to 200 pounds of push-pressure—making it just as strong as its metal and wooden counterparts. It’s also one of the few retractable baby gates that can truly be operated with one hand (perfect for when you’re carrying a baby or toddler in the other).

  • Height: 34”
  • Width: 52”

Best Pressure-Mounted Baby Gate

Regalo Easy Step 38.5-Inch Extra Wide Walk Thru Baby Gate
Regalo Easy Step Pressure Mounted Extra Wide Walk Thru Baby Gate
Image: Amazon

Although a pressure-mounted baby gate is a no-go for stairs, it’s a great choice if you want to keep babies out of a room like an office or a kitchen without damaging your walls with drill holes. This one from Regalo allows each spindle rod mount to be adjusted independently (perfect for uneven walls or surfaces), and has a one-touch release safety lock for adults to pass through easily.

  • Height: 30”
  • Width: 35” to 38.5”

Best Modern Baby Gate

Munchkin Loft Baby Gate
Munchkin Loft Baby Gate
Image: Amazon

Stylishly fashioned out of sleek aluminum, you could put up this swing gate in an industrial-chic loft and people would assume it’s part of the design. But this former Best of Baby winner boasts both form and function: A quick-release wall mount allows you to put it away when you have grown-up guests over, and put it right back up when someone suddenly shows up with their kid. You can station it across openings 26.5 to 40 inches wide virtually anywhere in the house, thanks to its integrated tuning system that abuts snugly to any wall, even when it’s not level.

  • Height: 30.5”
  • Width: 26.5” to 40”

Best Mesh Baby Gate

Baby Delight Span Expandable Folding Gate
Baby Delight Span Expandable Folding Gate
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon | $57.99

Mesh is a great option for baby gates, as it allows you a better view of your little one and provides a softer surface for any potential collisions. The benefits don’t stop there with this expandable mesh baby gate from Baby Delight. It comes in three different width ranges, it can be unfolded and set up in minutes (with no hardware or tools necessary) and it comes with a carry bag for when you need to move it to a different location. It’s a great option for both babies and families on the go.

  • Height: 34”
  • Width: 60”

Best Wooden Baby Gate

Regalo Heritage and Home Wooden Safety Gate
Regalo Heritage and Home Wooden Safety Gate
Image: Amazon

Looking for an option that’s not plastic or metal? Look no further than this wooden baby gate from Regalo. The Regalo Heritage and Home Wooden Safety Gate features a sleek wooden and gray design that won’t be an eyesore. This wooden baby gate isn’t just aesthetically pleasing though: It works for stairways, hallways and doorways; offers secure hardware mounts that can be used on walls or banisters and fits openings up to 42 inches wide.

  • Height: 30"
  • Width: 23.5” to 42”

Best Clear Baby Gate

Qdos Crystal Designer Baby Safety Gate, Hardware Mount
Qdos Crystal Designer Baby Safety Gate, Hardware Mount
Image: Amazon

If you’re a fan of the Philippe Starck ghost chair, then this see-through, hardware-mounted baby gate may be right up your alley. Its transparency is not only stylish, it’s practical too, lending an unobstructed view of what baby is up to. High-grade acrylic holds up to the rowdiest of tots, and a special indicator lets you know at a glance that the gate is securely latched. It can be installed within openings and door frames, at the top or bottom of stairs, at an angle and around baseboard or quarter-round molding—making it as versatile as it is secure.

  • Height: 30.7”
  • Width: 29.5” to 39.8”

Best Budget-Friendly Baby Gate

Regalo Wooden Expandable Baby Gate
Regalo Wooden Expandable Baby Gate
Image: Target
Buying Options
Target | $24.99

Whether you have lots of doorways to close off, or you are simply looking for a more cost-effective option to keep your little one safe and secure, the Regalo Wooden Expandable Baby Gate is a great budget-friendly option. The twist-and-lock system helps to secure the gate into place, and rubber bumpers make the pressure mounts gentle on your walls. At 24”, it’s easy to step over (no walk through option here), and the wooden design is sleek enough to match any home decor. The best part? The just-under $25 price tag.

  • Height: 24”
  • Width: 26” to 42”

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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