Best Baby Gates 2017 – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide & Reviews
I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say:
A well-designed baby-gate in the home is a major KEY to keeping your baby safe!
But finding the perfect baby-gate is not so easy!
Have you tried searching on Amazon for one? There are so many choices, that it is truly overwhelming!
Well, that is WHY I have created this comprehensive and easy-to-navigate
list of: The BEST Baby Gates of 2017!
This is the result of many, many hours that I have spent comparing and contrasting consumer ratings, features, and functions in order to bring you the BEST on the Market!
On this website, I share with you all the information that I discovered, plus the pros & cons of each of these top-rated gates so that you will easily be able to pinpoint exactly what you are looking for.
Don’t assume that all baby gates are made equal. It is important to avoid any that are unstable, too short, or have potential footholds that a child could use to climb over. If a gate is not designed well, it can actually be more of a danger than a safety item!
Finding the best baby gate for your specific needs is one of the trickiest shopping chores that a parent can face!
This is because every home is unique and has its own set of issues to overcome -- with everything from stairs and wide spaces to angled walls and low baseboards.
So to make your job a lot easier, I have divided the Best Baby Gates into 10 Specific Categories that cover a wide variety of situations that nearly every parent will encounter.
Best Baby Gates
28” – 48”
36” – 60”
52” or 72”
28” – 32”
Up to 144"
Table of Contents
2 Things to Consider Before Buying a Baby Safety Gate
1. What size is the opening?
Grab your measuring tape!
One of the main factors that will ultimately determine which gates will work for you is the size of the opening that you are wanting to block off.
Check carefully what the minimum and maximum size the gates come in, taking into account their ability to adjust.
Some gates come with extension pieces and other gates have an option of extensions, but they have to be purchased separately.
No matter how great a gate is, if it is too big or too small for your needs, then you will need to keep searching!
2. How tall is your child?
Another consideration that will influence which gate you will want is how tall your child is.
A general rule of thumb is that the gate should be at least ¾ of their height. This means that you will not want a gate that is any lower than about their chest or shoulders.
If your kiddo can lean over the gate...chances are that you will need to get an extra tall gate.
Keep in mind that baby gates are only meant for younger children that are not overly strong, are less than about 30 lbs., and are shorter than 3 feet.
Once they are older and bigger than what the gate is designed to contain, it actually becomes more of a hazard than a safety item.
Height: 36”, Fits: 28” – 48” (extension pieces included). Instructions
For a basic all-around awesome pressure-mounted gate, this is my #1 recommendation.
Not only has it received excellent reviews by consumers, it is so simple to install that it takes all the guesswork out of baby proofing your home!
Not only is the walk-thru door fairly wide, but it opens easily with one hand. It also swings open both ways and can be locked open at 90 degrees.
It is available in two colors (white or bronze) and is a durable steel gate that is strong and sturdy.
Also, it comes with two extension pieces so that you can easily adjust it to fit the most common standard doorway widths. A large percentage of your baby-gate needs will be met with this one simple solution!
Height: 32”, Fits: 36” – 60” (extension pieces included). Instructions
If you have an extra wide doorway or an open space between two walls (up to 5 feet), this is a perfect solution for you.
It is such a beautifully-made gate that it will complement your home while also keeping your little one safe.
It features a door that swings both ways and has a one-handed safety latch.
It comes with several extensions that you will need to get it to its maximum width. Made of both metal and wood, this gate is built to last. It is on the pricier side, but if you can afford it, would be a great addition to your childproofing accessories.
Fits: Two sizes – Up to 52” or 72”. Instructions
If you have less than a standard doorway that you need to babyproof, the very best baby gate option is this retractable one!
It has a high-quality mesh, one-handed open and close feature, locking mechanism, and automatic retraction.
It comes in two sizes (up to 52” and up to 72”), so it works for both very narrow spaces, as well as wider areas.
Keep in mind that this gate will need to be permanently mounted into position.
4. Best Baby Gates For Top Of Stairs
I have three recommendations for the top of stairs.
All of them are designed to be permanently mounted for safety purposes.
Type #1: Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate
Width: 27"- 42.5". Instructions
The Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate product is perfect for if you have two flat surfaces to mount to. It is very durable and can be attached at up to a 30 degree angle!
Extensions can be purchased if you need to span a wider area and it is designed to swing fully open with one-handed operation.
Width: 27"- 42.5". Instructions
If you have a round post (or two of them) at the top of your stairs, you will need the Kidco Safeway, Top of Stairs, Gate that can accommodate the KidCo Stairway Gate Installation Kit which transforms the gate by giving it the option of attaching to a newel post or baluster.
Width: Up to 192".
If the top of your stairs has open railings or have no place to attach a baby gate, then you will want to consider getting the Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Gate and Play Yard.
This system features a walk-thru door and the panels can be configured in many different angles and shapes.
It is super long to allow you to stretch it across areas that are dangerous but don’t have normal door jams or stair rails.
It is designed to be attached permanently to walls, even if they are not directly across from one another. This is not a free-standing gate.
5. Best Baby Gates For Bottom Of Stairs
Though any of the gates that can be used at the top of the stairs can also be used at the bottom, you can also use a pressure-mounted gate if you have surfaces on each side of the stairway.
This leads me to the following three options:
28” / 28” – 32” (up to 111” with extensions – sold separately)
If you have one or more round posts, then my recommendation is the Dreambaby Chelsea Auto Close Security Gate because of the option to add special Y-shaped adaptors to help grip a round surface with the force of the pressure-mounted hardware.
Even beyond that, this is just an all-around awesome gate. The whole gate swings both ways, so you can install it to open away from the steps and it also has an automatic close and latch system.
Fits: 28” – 32” (111” max with extension - sold separately).
This is almost the tallest gate on the market, and definitely the best tallest one I could find.
It has a bunch of great features such as automatic closing, a door that swings both ways, one-handed operation, and the option to buy extensions to make it as wide as 111 inches.
If you need to contain a bigger jumping dog or a toddler who likes to climb, this gate is definitely the one for you.
Consumers have consistently reported that it is strong and durable, which makes this gate really stand out from the competition.
7. Best Safety Gates With Pet Door
If you have the need of a safety gate for bigger pets and/or children, but want the option to let smaller pets roam, I have two favorite gates to recommend.
Height: 30” , Width: 29"- 44"
(Pet door is 10" H x 7" W).
The first, the Carlson Extra Wide Walk Through Gate with Pet Door, is a pressure-mounted gate with opens with one hand.
It is a solid gate that comes with a two extensions so that you can install it in different-sized openings.
The walk-thru pet door swings both ways and is 10”x7”, which is actually big enough to let even a medium dog pass through easily.
2. Best For Wide Spaces: Carlson Flexi Pet Gate
Widht: Up to 76"
The second is the Carlson Flexi Pet Gate.
Though the pet door is essentially the same in this gate, the main difference is that this is a LONG gate (76” or up to 13 ft. with optional extensions) with flexible hinges that allow for it to be placed at various angles.
It is a permanent-mount gate that help provides a solution to unique scenarios.
It has the option to be opened both directions or to install a “stop” bracket if you want to put it at top of stairs.
It can be installed with an angle up to 30 degrees, which is perfect in case your deck railings are not perfectly aligned.
It is made of steel and lightweight aluminum and comes in two colors (brown or black) and has a rustproof powder-coat finish. This is definitely the best waterproof gate on the market!
It has wide, stable “feet” with rubber bottoms that keep the gate from tipping or sliding around.
It is adjustable in width, so you can cover a fairly large area, but is rather short at only 28” in height.
It is not designed for older toddlers, however, so only choose this gate for younger children and babies.
It makes a perfect barrier in front of an entertainment system or in an area that is lacking in walls to attach to.
Height: 30", Fits: Up to 144". Instructions
This is a great 6-panel gate that spans an area up to 12 feet and has optional 2-panel extensions that can be purchased and added.
It is wonderfully versatile because you can rotate the hinges of each panel to contort it to any shape or angle.
It comes in white, matte bronze, or wood to suit any decor need, and is solidly built of steel.
It is designed to be permanently mounted to whatever walls you can reach, regardless of whether they are directly across from each other or not.
It will stand alone as well, but ONLY if it is attached back to itself in a playpen configuration.
The fact that it comes with rubber underneath its feet to protect your floors and a door that automatically closes, as well as a one-handed safety latch, shows that this gate is chocked full of awesome features.
Understanding the Different Types of Baby Gates:
There are many different kinds of safety gates to cover the range of different uses and sizes that might be needed.
Choosing an appropriate gate is fairly simple and straightforward, but let’s cover the basics so that you know about all of your options.
1. Pressure-Mounted Gate
This category of gates is the most common and the least expensive. Because they work with tension rod springs, they are easy to move from place to place and leave no permanent marks on your wall. Not all, but many of the models available have walk-thru doors that open with a nifty one-handed latch. Most of these types of gates cover a range of widths, as they are expandable and extendable to accommodate different openings.
2. Retractable Gate
A retractable gate is perfect for openings that are either too narrow or too wide for traditional gates. They are also awesome because of their ability to stash neatly at the side of a doorway, all rolled up in a small space when not in use. They are a permanently-mounted gate, but come with the option of being easily detached from the hardware and moved to different location that also has another set of hardware already in place.
3. Permanently-Mounted Gate
This category of gates can be used almost anywhere a pressure-mounted gate can, but is the only kind of gate that is approved for use at the top of stairs. Because they can not accidentally be pushed out of place, they are necessary for uniquely dangerous spots. Many come with optional attachments that allow them to be installed at angles or to round banisters. Keep in mind that installation will require for you to use screws in your wall.
4. Free-standing Gate
Sometimes you need a gate to create a boundary where you have no walls or door jambs to attach it to. Sometimes you just want to block off a piece of furniture or area that has no distinct boundaries. This is when a free-standing gate comes in handy. Easily picked up and moved, they are versatile and can be put where you need them most at any given time. They aren’t great for older kids, who can just push them out of their way, but there is definitely a time and place for this kind of gate.
5. Portable Gate
This is the gate that can fold up to fit into a small bag and be easily taken with you on vacation or a trip to Grandma’s house. It doesn’t have many fancy features, but when you need a gate that can travel with you or fit into a piece of luggage, this is going to be your best bet. Expandable, and installed with spring tension, it accommodates while leaving no trace, with the hallmark of being super lightweight.
Why Should I Care About Baby Gates?
A baby gate is your ticket to peace of mind when you have a little one that is getting to the exploring age. You can’t expect babies or toddlers to stay put in a corner, so by installing a safety gate, you give them the freedom to roam, yet also provide a very clear boundary.
Of course if the entire house is completely babyproof-ed, you might think ‘why bother?’ But hazards are everywhere, even despite our best efforts. In most homes, the average family finds that a well-placed baby gate that keeps the explorer contained lets everyone more easily keep an eye what is going on. Baby gates are that extra layer of protection that help you breathe easy even when you are a busy parent that is multi-tasking and juggling all the activities of running a home.
You should care about baby gates because baby gates make your life easier, and as a parent, you know that is reason enough.
Becoming Familiar with Baby Gates Brands:
When choosing a baby gate, it is a good idea to become familiar with the various brands that are on the market. Which brands carry the type of baby gate that you need? Which ones are the sturdiest and easiest to use? Some brands specialize in fancy features or beautiful stylish pieces, while other brands focus more on functionality and keeping the cost budget-friendly. Let’s take a peek at some of the more popular brands you might encounter.
1. North States
This company has been around since 1953 and makes all manner of safety gates for babies and pets. Their mission is to manufacture innovative and high-quality products that are safe, durable, and easy to use. They have a large assortment of various styles, including superyards, and carry some of my top picks in certain categories, for both value and versatility. All their products are certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA).
Regalo is an industry leader in baby-proofing products. They not only make baby gates, but other safety solutions, such as bathing and travel products and bedrails, as well. You will notice several items from this brand reviewed here on this site. They tend to receive fairly good reviews on most of their gates, and are especially known for their economical prices and variety. If cost is a factor for you, the value for function is definitely observable with this company.
3. Summer Infant
Summer Infant is a well-known brand that often blows away the competition. Their focus on helpful features and style makes their products stand out. Their baby gate selection is broad and even their deluxe models are surprisingly affordable. They carry not only metal gates, but various wooden ones that look beautiful and are very sturdy. I have reviewed several of their gates and have noticed many other parents who also rate this company with five stars.
One of the first gates I ever bought was from this stellar company that specializes in gates that retract into themselves. Not only is their customer service unmatched, but I have enjoyed my retract-a-gate for many years and have never been disappointed. Made 100% in the USA, and offering a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, this is one of my favorite companies. The fact that their baby gates are JPMA-certified for the top of stairs is phenomenal and worthy of mention.
This company tends toward simple, practical gates with basic profiles. With a range of sizes and types that span a very affordable price point, they consistently receive high reviews. Known for their lightweight aluminum gates and all metal gates with no plastic pieces, they have captured a market niche since 1993. They hand-inspect their products in Newnan, Georgia and take pride in their genuine customer service.
One of the first companies to bring metal gates to the baby gate market, KidCo also has a whole line of other babyproofing products. Designed and engineered in the US, KidCo products have innovated the baby gate market with unique items such as ‘build-your-own’ gate models and ‘angle gates.’ Their products are simple and sleek and their company is family owned and operated.
A trusted company with high reviews, this company prides itself in top-quality manufacturing of durable and cost-effective safety gates. I love some of their gates’ unique features, such as “stay-open” and “auto-closing” walk-thru doors. All their gates are JPMA-certified and it is obvious that this company cares about safety.
One of the best-known names in baby products, Evenflo is a long-standing brand. They offer some of the most affordable gates on the market, and carry multiple styles and price points. Their headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located in Ohio, and they are committed to providing products that are #1 in safety.
9. Safety 1st
A well-known brand for all things related to baby-safety and babyproofing, this company has been around for over 30 years. They carry a wide range of cost-effective solutions for baby-gating your home. Their baby gates range from simple to elaborate, and come in many styles and types. They have wooden, metal, and plastic gates in many configurations, but specialize in practical and sturdy gates that are less for looks and more for function.
Tested to the highest safety standards, Munchkin gates are all JPMA-certified and come with a 1-year limited guarantee. This company was founded in 1991 in Los Angeles, California with a passion for creativity and innovation for modern products for today’s parents and children. With a whole line of various styles and kinds of baby gates, it is easy to find something budget-friendly that has the features you need with Munchkin.
Most frequently asked questions:
1. How do I install a baby gate?
There is no need to worry, as baby gates are fairly easy to install. First decide what kind of safety gate you need and measure your opening. Read through the instructions that come with the gate you have chosen and put together the different sections. If your gate does not come with installation instructions in the box, many manufacturers have them available online on their website.
You will need to adjust the width of the gate to approximately the right size before actually installing it, so measure the gate as you assemble it. Pressure-mounted gates don’t require any screws or probably won’t require any tools, either. If available, merely adjust the rubber knobs to make the gate fit snugly into place, taking into account the varying width of the wall and the baseboard.
If you are installing a permanent-mounted gate, gather together a drill gun with a screw bit that matches the screws in the kit for easy of installation. Make sure that there is a wooden stud behind any drywall that you are screwing into so that it will tighten and hold properly.
It only takes a few minutes to install a baby gate, so don’t feel intimated by the process. Even those of us who are “less than handy” have been able to successfully get them into place without too much trouble and just a little bit of time.
2. How many baby gates do I need in my home?
Many parents wonder how many baby gates do I need for my home? It’s a great question, but not necessarily easy to answer, because everyone’s situation is so different. Nevertheless, I want to give you some pointers to consider as you make these choices.
#1: What is your baby-gate budget?
If you can afford to purchase multiple gates for different areas of your home, your ability to baby-proof these areas will give your baby more room to roam safely. If you can block off the stairway with one gate, the kitchen with another, and the fireplace with a separate one, then perhaps your little one can have full access to the rest of the house (not counting rooms with doors, such as the bathroom!).
#2: How big is your home and is it separated by individual rooms or is it an open layout?
This will also make a difference as to how many gates you’ll need. If you have wide open areas, you may need an extra-long gate, which would substitute (space-wise) for two or more short ones.
So, taking these factors into consideration, if you have only the budget for one gate (whether small or large) the idea is to contain your baby in one area...effectively blocking your child from having access to multiple areas with the use of one gate. However, if you can buy several, you can simply block off the dangerous areas or objects, instead of your child.
So, for a small home, one gate may be adequate, but for a medium-size home, two or three gates are more reasonable. If you have a large home, plan to buy between 4-6 gates, depending on the layout of your space. Also, if you have a porch or deck, you will likely need at least one gate, if not more, for making that area safe as well.
I hope you now feel confident and ready to make your baby gate decisions, plus inspired to get this task done so that you will be ready for when baby begins to explore.
The sooner that you tackle your baby-proofing, the better you will feel when the time is ripe and you are not scrambling to make last minute purchases and trying to install with baby clamoring around you.
Also keep in mind that babies that are already familiar with baby gates in their space do a better job of accepting their boundaries later when they reach the toddling stage.