Best Baby Gates For Stairs 2017

(Top and Bottom) – Guides & Reviews


After I had children, the first time I moved to a home with a 2nd story AND a basement I knew my work would be cut out for me if I did not find a solution to those enticing steps!

It’s almost as if kids are drawn like a magnet to stairs!

Of course there is no way for a toddler to know the danger that lies thereon, so it will likely always be an attraction.

Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate

Thankfully, there are some great gates that have been invented to help parents like us solve this crazy dilemma!

So, whether you need to keep them from tumbling downward or climbing up, up, up...you have an array of choices to fit your needs.

Best Baby Gates For Stairs

There is two kinds of baby gates for stairs:

1. Best Baby Gates for Top of Stairs

First, we will start with the top of the stairs.  

This is definitely the most dangerous place in your home, so you will need a gate that has hardware that can be permanently installed into place.

It will not do to simply put a pressure-mount gate, as they are most likely to fail due to user error or a heavy shove.

top of stairs ilustration

Top of Stairs Baby Gate

When it comes to figuring out which gate is the “best” for the top of the stairway, you will find that there is no one right answer.

This is because there are so very many different styles of staircases.

But to keep things simple, I have narrowed it down to three kinds of baby gates that will take care of almost every “top of the stairs” scenario that you can imagine.

Only about 1% of staircases won’t be able to be secured with one of these types of gates.

Type #1:

Flat Surfaces
on Both Sides

Type #2:
Round Posts on One
Side or Both Sides

Type #3:
Only One Normal Anchor Point or None at All

Flat surfaces on both sides
Round posts on one side or both sides
Only one normal anchor point or none at all

Jump To:

Type #1 | Type #2 | Type #3

Type #1: Flat surfaces on both sides

cardinal gate best for top of stairs
Kidco gate best for top of stairs

Fairly straightforward, this kind of configuration is pretty much what you would find elsewhere in your home. But there are a few features that make a gate for the top of the stairs unique.

First, of course, they are mounted permanently, as mentioned before. Also, they are designed to open one way so that they don’t swing out over the stairs.

Finally, they can be installed at a bit of an angle, in case your two flat surfaces are not exactly across from one another.

And there are four best baby gates for this scenario:

Best of The Best

Best Bang For
Your Buck

Cardinal Gates
Stairway Special Gate

North States Supergate Easy Swing and Lock Metal Gate

Kidco Safeway Gate,
Top of Stairs Gate

Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate

Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate
North States Supergate
Kidco Safeway Gate, Top of Stairs Gate
Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate

Editor Rating

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Size*

29.5” / 27"- 42.5"
(Up to 64” with extension pieces)

Size*

29” / 28" - 48"

Size*

30.5” / 24.75" - 43.5"

Size*

36” / 28" - 48"

*Size: Height/Width

Feature

Price

Safety

Design

Height: 29.5”
Fits: 27"- 42.5". Instructions

This is a great gate that is designed especially for the top of the stairs and can be installed at up to a 30 degree angle!


I like that it is sturdy and well-made, as well as having a one-handed latching mechanism.

Best of The Best - Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate

This baby gate does not have a “door” as some do, instead, it works as a door...the whole width of it swings open.

Available in either white or black wrought iron, it also accommodates extension pieces (pick from either 10.5 or 21.75 inch) so that you can custom-size it.

This gate is one of the pricier models on the market, so keep that in mind when making your decision.

PROS:

  • Installation on 2 flat areas with up to a 30 degree angle
  • Optional “stop” bracket to keep it from swinging open over stairs
  • One-handed latching mechanism
  • Adjustable width with optional extensions available

CONS:

  • More expensive than the competition

Final Verdict

If you can afford this model, I recommend it as my top pick, based on features and reviews by other consumers. I especially love that it doesn’t have a piece that runs along the floor like some others do...so it isn’t a trip hazard!

Best Bang for Your Buck - Kidco Safeway Gate

Feature

Price

Safety

Design

Height: 29.5"
Fits: 24.75" - 43.5". Instructions

For the price, you just can’t beat this unit! It is made of heavy-duty steel and has a one-handed open/close feature.

Though it is a permanently mounted gate, it has quick release hardware to remove the gate portion from the mounts if you need it out of your way for awhile.

Kidco Safeway Gate, Top of Stairs Gate

Like the Cardinal, I’m glad to see that it does not have bar running along the floor, which is super-important for a “top-of-the-stairs” gate because those are seriously a trip hazard!

Some consumers have complained that the screws that come with the package are a pain in the neck...too soft with shallow grooves, causing them to strip the screws.

It’s easy enough to get a handful of replacement screws from the hardware store, so this doesn’t need to be a deterring factor, if you otherwise love the gate.

PROS:

  • Directional stop to keep gate from swinging open over stairway
  • Hinge side can be mounted on an angle
  • Quick release for gate portion
  • One handed latch mechanism

CONS:

  • Comes with poor quality screws that may need replaced

Final Verdict

Definitely a “top” gate worth your consideration. With the ability to adjust from 24.75 inches to 43.5 inches, it covers the average span of most stairwells. I would not hesitate to purchase this unit, as it really gives you a lot without breaking the bank!

Type #2: Round posts on one side or both sides

Flat Surface to Round Post - Baby gate

Flat Surface to Round Post

Two Round Posts - Baby gate

Two Round Posts

Generally speaking, if you don’t have flat surface (or only one) at the top of your stairs, it is because you have a series of balusters and possibly a newel post, which is a thicker, heavier, and oftentimes round post at the top of the stairs to anchor the railing. 

These posts bring a new dimension to installing a baby gate.  Obviously it is a little more tricky to attach hardware to something round than to something flat.

Thankfully, baby gate manufacturers are aware of this and provide a great solution.

There is ONLY one gate that I recommend when you need to attach to a round post:

Kidco Safeway Gate,
Top of Stairs Gate

Kidco Safeway Gate, Top of Stairs Gate

Yup, this is the exact same baby gate as the one above

And the matching KidCo Stairway Gate Installation Kit to attach to a round post

KidCo Stairway Gate Installation Kit

If you have a newel post or baluster (or any other round post) that you need to attach to, my recommendation is to buy the Kidco Safeway Gate referred to above, and then purchase the matching Kidco Stairway Gate Installation Kit to attach it with.

You will need to buy one kit if you have only one side that is not a flat surface, or two kits if both sides have posts. This handy set of hardware will allow you to convert your post to a surface that the gate can be attached to.

Whether your post is round or square or combo of both, don’t worry...the kit comes with the option to attach either way.

Type #3: Only one normal anchor point or none at all

best top of stairs baby gate
best stairs baby gate

Do you have a unique staircase configuration that nearly defies babyproofing?

Perhaps you have only one flat surface, but neither a wall nor a post on the other side.

Maybe your stairs have no actual anchor points on either side, or have railings that are as dangerous as the open stairs are.

In this case, no normal run-of-the-mill baby gate is going to do the job.

When the danger area is large and wide open, there may be no other option than to use a play yard, which will give you the versatility you need to make even the craziest set-up safe for your little one.

There is ONLY one real choice:

Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Gate and Play Yard

Regalo 192-Inch Super  Wide Gate and Play Yard

Editor Rating

Size*
28" / Up to 192"

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*Size: Height / WIdth

Feature

Price

Safety

Design

Height: 28
Fits: Up to 192" .

This awesome 28-inch tall gate provides so many solution possibilities that it will likely “wow” you!

But the important factor here is that it can be stretched out and permanently attached across a wide open stairwell and railing scenario, as long as eventually you can make it from one wall to another wall...up to 192 inches apart.

Regalo 192-Inch Super  Wide Gate and Play Yard

It has a walk-thru gate with one-handed operation with a safety locking feature.

The panels are removable if you don’t need all of them, and the whole gate is foldable for storage.

It is not fancy by any means, but it is definitely functional and can turn an unsafe area into a protected one.


2. Best Baby Gates for Bottom of Stairs

With the bottom of your stairs you do not need to be nearly as picky as at the top, because you do not need to keep someone from a potential nasty fall.

With that said, of course any gate that works at the top of a stairway can also be used at the bottom.


If you have a crazy configuration, once again, the Regalo 192-inch Play Yard is a great solution.

bottom of stairs ilustration

Bottom of Stairs Baby Gate

However, you don’t generally need a permanent mount at the bottom of the steps, so I am going to show you a couple of pressure-mounted options that are great, whether you have have flat surfaces, round posts or a combination of both.

Type #1:
Flat Surfaces on
Both Sides

Type #2:
Round Posts on
One Side or Both Sides

Type #3:
Only One Normal Anchor
Point or None at All

bottom of stairs baby gate
best gate for bottom of stairs with one or two round posts
best bottom stairs baby gate

Jump To:

Type #1 | Type #2 | Type #3

Feature

Price

Safety

Design

Height: 29” 
Fits: 28” – 31.5” (38.5 with included extension pieces). Instructions

If you have two flat surfaces at the bottom of your staircase, this is a basic no-nonsense git-er-done baby gate.

It offers one-handed operation with a locking latch mechanism. It can be locked open at 90 degrees if necessary.

North States Supergate Easy Close Metal Gate

The fact that it can open both directions might seem unnecessary when used in conjunction with a stairwell...and while that is mostly true, keep in mind that it means that you can also install the gate in such a way to allow the door to open toward you to the right or turn it around and let it open toward you to the left.

Also great is that it comes with a couple of extension pieces that allow you to use it across an opening up to 38.5 inches.

Feature

Price

Safety

Design

Height: 28”
Fits: 28” – 32” (up to 111” with extensions – sold separately)

This gate is chock full of features that you want in a baby gate...it has a one-handed latching mechanism, it can swing both ways (see above to see how that is still a benefit if you are using it at the bottom of stairs), and it closes automatically.

Dreambaby Chelsea Auto Close Security Gate Review for Bottom of Stairs - Two Round Posts or One Flat Surface and One Round Post

You can choose whether to use it as a pressure-mount or a permanently mounted gate. If necessary, you can buy extensions that will allow it to fill a gap up to 111 inches.

The fact that it can open both directions might seem unnecessary when used in conjunction with a stairwell...and while that is mostly true, keep in mind that it means that you can also install the gate in such a way to allow the door to open toward you to the right or turn it around and let it open toward you to the left.

The most important feature of this gate, however, is that not only will it install on flat surfaces (one or both), but you can also buy special adaptors designed to fit around your round balusters or newel posts at the bottom of the stairs. 

special adapters - baby gate

When I say “around” I don’t mean completely around, but rather these interesting Y-shaped pieces are designed to grasp/push against a round surface for the purpose of pressure-mounting a gate.

Talk about a handy! They are rubber-lined so that they don’t mar the wood on your post, and they work with a few different gates, but for sure this one.

Please remember that these are not designed to be used at the top of a stairway...even if it seems tempting, as they are still part of a pressure-mounting system.

Dreambaby Chelsea Auto Close Security Gate

The adaptors come in packs of two, so if you have round posts on both sides, you will need to buy two sets.

If you have newel posts that are round at the top, but square/flat on the bottom, you could buy one set and use them for just the top of the two newel posts, while letting the regular gate pressure-mounts do their job at the bottom of the posts.

Width: 28"
Height: Up to 192".

If you have a more difficult area at the bottom of the stairs to partition off, then I recommend once again the Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Gate and Play Yard mentioned above.

Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Gate and Play Yard

Editor Rating:


Final Words

So there you have it, a whole array of baby-proofing solutions for your staircase...up, down, and all-around!

I hope you feel a lot more confident now about what choices make the most sense and what will and what won’t work the best! Keep safe and…

Happy Baby-Gate Shopping! 🙂

About the Author Melanie Pierce

I am a homeschooling mom of 16 years. With the experience of raising five babies, one of whom is still less than a year old, I have had my fair share of baby gate wrangling. I enjoy sharing with other parents and passing on what I have learned.

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