Best Baby Gates for Stairs 2019 (Top and Bottom) – Guide & 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! 

Best Baby Gates for 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.

Thankfully, these are some of the best baby gates for stairs 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 are 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.

Best Baby Gates for Top of Stairs

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.

Jump to:

Jump To:
Type #1 | Type #2 | Type #3

Type #1: Flat surfaces on both sides

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 five best baby gates for this scenario:

Here are the Best Baby Gates For Top of Stairs

OUR #1 PICK

Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Baby Gate 27"-41.5", White

Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate

Why we chose this gate as the best one?

Based on the unique features of this gate and the fact that 82% of customers rated it 4 or 5 stars, we feel like this baby gate stands out from the crowd. It has consistently been a consumer favorite and performs very well overall.

Height: 29.5”
Fits: 27"- 42.5" (Up to 64” with extension pieces). 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.

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 lightweight aluminum, 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 definitely would recommend it 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! The sturdiness of this gate definitely makes it one of the best baby gates for stairs!

BEST PRICE

North States 47.85" Easy Swing & Lock Baby Gate: Ideal for Standard or Wider stairways, Swings to self-Lock. Hardware Mount (mounts Included). Fits 28.68"-47.85" Wide (31" Tall, Bronze)

North States Supergate Easy Swing And Lock Metal Gate

Why we chose this gate as the best price?

Though not necessarily the cheapest gate, this choice gives a lot of bang for the buck. It is affordable without skimping on important features and is perfect when you need something that will do the job on a budget.

Considering everything, this gate is a great buy.

It is made of matte bronze-colored steel. It is designed to swing fully open from one hinged side and can be opened with one hand.

Designed specifically to be securely attached to your walls, it is perfect for the top of your stairs. It fits an opening from 28” to 48” wide and is 31” tall.

The space between the bars is a mere 2-⅞”, which is perfect for making sure that baby cannot slip through. 

The biggest complaint with this gate is installation. It is tricky to get it exactly where you want it the first time even if you are reading the instructions.

Double check for differences in placement between the upper and lower sections if you have baseboards.

Don’t rely just on the included directions. Lay everything out and measure carefully. If you can get the past the headache of a tricky install, it otherwise should do you fine.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Looks classy
  • Sturdy solid steel construction
  • Does not a have “trip” bar along the floor
  • Swings only away from the stairs
  • Can be operated with one hand

Cons

  • Does not automatically close
  • Installation can be tricky
  • Locking mechanism not the most ideal due to design according to some reviewers
Final Verdict

Despite some inconveniences noted, this gate is solidly in the running for best gate at this price point. It is not an expensive gate and is fairly simple, but is a great option when you just need something to do the job without getting fancy. Plan to spend some time on installing it and have a helper on hand to make your job a little easier. After that, you will be good to go.

This is a permanent-mount gate, with a removable swing stop (to keep the gate from swinging over the stairs).

It features a one-handed operation, with 2 distinct movements, to keep your toddler from mastering the locking mechanism.

It also has a red/green locking indicator so that you can see at a glance that it is locked into position.

Evenflo Easy Walk-Thru Top-of-Stairs Gate, Simple Assembly, No Tools Required, Easy-Glide Handle, 32-Inch Gate Height, Safety Lock Indicator, Great for Children and Pets, Neutral Finish

It can accommodate an opening from 29 - 42” wide and is 30” tall. Since it can be installed 3” above floor level, that gives you 33” of total height protection if installed this way. It installs with basic tools and has a nice neutral look that will blend in with most homes.

Pros

  • Red/Green locking indicator
  • Swing stop
  • One-handed operation
  • Child-resistant lock

Cons

  • Does not self-latch
Final Verdict

Because this gate fully swings open, it does not have a “trip-hazard” floor bar. This feature, as well as the focus on a secure latch and the swing stop, assures that it is made with safety in mind. The only drawback is that it does not automatically latch closed, but must be purposefully shut.

This is a nice solid gate! 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.

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!

Best Baby Gates 2019

Credit: KidCo

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!

I love this gate! It is beautifully designed with an upscale look.

Instead of swinging fully open, it has a “walk-thru” gate that is 17” wide. The whole gate is adjustable to fit a width of 28” to 48” and though it can be used as a pressure-mounted gate, it also comes with hardware to permanently install it, which makes it great for the top of the stairs.

Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Baby Gate, Bronze

It stands a fantastic 36” in height, making it one of the taller gates for this application.

Keep in mind that it does have a bar that runs along the floor, because of the design of the “walk-thru” gate. 

This is not ideal at the top of the stairs, but if you are willing to accept that drawback for the convenience of the dual-locking auto-close door, than this may be the gate for you. It did receive the Moms’ Picks Award from Baby Center for Best Looks & Best Ease of Use for good reason!

Pros

  • Easy, one-handed operation
  • Automatically closes
  • Gorgeous metal gate comes in 2 colors
  • Can be used as a pressure-mount gate, but also has hardware for permanently mounting at the the top of stairs

Cons

  • Width of gate opening is only 17"
  • Does have a bar running along length of floor
Final Verdict

At this price point, you are looking at one of the most well-designed walk-thru gates that can be permanently mounted. It is heavy in features and well-liked by most reviewers. I highly recommend it if the bar along the bottom will not bother you and if you don’t need a wide opening. If those two issues are important to you than you might want to look at the other options that are in the running for the best baby gates for stairs.

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

Regalo 2-in-1 Stairway and Hallway Wall Mounted Baby Gate, Includes Banister and Wall Mounting Kit

So what is the difference between a banister and a baluster and a newel post?

These terms are often confusing because there is some overlap of usage, so here’s the scoop: 


Banisters are the vertical posts on a stairway, but the word banister can also refer to the main handrail itself, or even the whole ensemble. The original word for the spindles that hold up a railing was balusters, so in this sense, a banister and a baluster are the same thing. A newel post is the larger “corner post” so to speak that provides more structural support at the top and the bottom of the handrail. For the purposes at hand, the point being made is that the surface that you trying to attach to when dealing with banisters and newel posts is not flat, but round. That means that you will need to have additional attachments to secure your gate, and to protect the surfaces of the 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 banisters 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.

Our Recommendation: KidCo Stairway Gate Installation Kit, Round to attach to a round post or banister

If you have a newel post or banister (or any other round post) that you need to attach to, one recommendation is to buy the Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate referred to above, and then purchase the KidCo Stairway Gate Installation Kit to attach it with. 

Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate

 

KidCo Stairway Gate Installation Kit

Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Baby Gate 27"-41.5", White
Kidco Stairway Gate Installation Kit - No Drilling

One great thing about this gate is that you can also buy the KidCo installation kit to adapt it to square or round posts. One kit will have to purchased for each side that has banisters. No drilling is necessary, just mount on. Please keep in mind that it can only be used on posts that are between 2 1/2″ – 3 5/8″ wide.

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

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. 

Only one normal anchor point or none at all

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 of brand for this scenario: Regalo Baby Gate

Why we only chose Regalo Baby Gate for this case?

Whether you need a shorter or longer “super wide” gate, Regalo has fantastic features and excellent reviews. Customers are consistently pleased with the results they get from these gates.

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 Adjustable Baby Gate and Play Yard, 4-In-1, Bonus Kit, Includes 4 Pack of Wall Mounts

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.

Pros

  • Can cover a very wide area
  • One-handed operation
  • Has removable panels
  • Foldable for storage

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • Some reports of it sliding around some
  • Must use even, not odd, amount of panels for installation
Final Verdict

Overall this gate has received raving reviews. It is versatile and supplies a solution to a very real problem in some homes. If you need this kind of coverage, this gate will give you the answer you’ve been seeking. It may not be perfect in every way, but then again, it just might.

This “Super Wide” gate is not the longest on the market, but if you don’t need the extra length, this one will go 72” and stands 30 inches tall. 

It is made of steel and has a 16” walk thru door. It has 3 panels that can arranged in an accordion pattern and can be used in odd shaped spaces or when you need to install at an angle. 

Regalo 76 Inch Super Wide Configurable Baby Gate, 3-Panel, Includes Wall Mounts and Hardware

If you need to temporarily remove it, just lift it out of its mounts, fold and put away. This feature makes it even more handy than it already is.

Pros

  • Not too long, Not too short
  • One-handed operation
  • Walk-thru gate
  • Folds for storage
  • Easy to remove from wall mounts

Cons

  • Some reports of an awkward/not secure latch system
  • Some reports of being wobbly
Final Verdict

Perfect for awkward spaces that are too wide for a traditional gate. It is a happy medium between those and the extra super wide gate mentioned above. Though the actual locking mechanism has some mixed reviews, this gate does serve a very good purpose for many consumers and for that reason gets my recommendation.

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 or 76-inch Play Yards are two great solutions.

Dreambaby Banister Gate Adaptors, Silver (Limited Edition)

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.

Jump To:
Type #1 | Type #2 | Type #3

Type #1: Flat Surfaces on Both Sides

If you have two walls on either side of your stairway bottom, you will simply need a regular pressure-mount gate. These types of gates are super easy to install and can be removed quickly when not needed.

Our Favorite: "Easy-Close Gate" by North States 

OUR FAVORITE

North States Easy-Close Baby Gate

Our Favorite

"Easy-Close Gate" by North States

This baby gate has consistently high reviews and lots of happy customers. It has unique features that make it versatile and easy to use. Plus it has far more pros than cons.

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.

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.

Pros

  • One-handed operation
  • Locks open at 90 degrees
  • Can open either direction
  • Comes with optional extensions
  • Has a triple-locking system 

Cons

  • The walk-thru gate is a bit narrow (16.5 in)
  • Can be a little tricky to open
Final Verdict

I love how this gate can be locked open, but also pushed easily to close with its auto close feature. The triple-locking system is designed to keep baby safe and secure. It installs easily, performs very well, and looks great while doing so.

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

If you have banisters on one or both sides of the bottom of your stairway, you will need to purchase some special adaptors to secure your choice of pressure-mount gate to them. 

There are 2 best products for this scenario:

This is the same gate described in the section above, you will just need to add special adaptors, such as the Dreambaby Adapters discussed below. 

"Easy-Close Gate" by North States 

 

Dreambaby Banister Gate Adaptors

North States Easy-Close Baby Gate
Dreambaby Banister Gate Adaptors, Silver

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.

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.

Dreambaby Banister Gate Adaptors, Silver (Limited Edition)

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

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 a​​daptors designed to fit around your round balusters or newel posts at the bottom of the stairs. 

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 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 with 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 Banister Gate Adaptors, Silver (Limited Edition)

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.

Pros

  • Can be installed permanently
  • Bi-directional opening
  • One-handed latch system
  • Optional extensions available
  • Auto-close feature
  • Accommodates special adaptors for round banisters

Cons

  • Some reports of difficult installation
  • Some reports of unattractive warning stickers stuck on the gate
Final Verdict

An excellent choice as a bottom-of-stairs gate, especially if you want to use the matching adaptors for banisters. This gate is dependable and versatile and looks fantastic. Keep in mind that the basic gate only fits 28-32” wide opening unless if you add an extension.

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

If you don’t have any anchor points at the bottom of your stairway, but rather a large open space, you will need either a play yard or super wide gate that can extend outward and attach to various spots farther away.

If you have a more difficult area at the bottom of the stairs to partition off, then I recommend once again the Regalo 72-Inch or 192-Inch Super Wide Gate and Play Yard mentioned above.

Regalo - 4-in-1 Extra Large Metal Playard

Final Words

So there you have it, a whole array of the best baby gates for stairs that provide 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! 🙂

Reference:

  • Can you please tell me which gate was used in the type #3 picture for bottom of the stairs? Thank you!

    • Hello Tiffani, Thank you for your inquiry. The gate that you are referencing is the Regalo 4-in-1 Extra Large Metal Playard. It can be set up as a self-standing Play Yard or can be used to span larger areas. It is especially great for awkward areas that aren’t necessarily straight across. Good luck and Happy Baby-Gating!

  • Great post. We need 2 gates (1 for top of stairs and 1 for bottom). we were so confused on what to buy and this post simplified everything! Thank you!

  • >