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Our 2020 Top Picks for the Best Baby Gates for Top & Bottom of Stairs

(Based on Consumer Ratings & Reviews and Research)

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 2019

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, have an array of choices to fit your needs.

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.

For safety reasons, we only recommend gates that have good reviews and also “open wide” with no threshold trip bar at the bottom. These are gates that are designed specifically for use at the 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 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 seven best baby gates for this scenario:

So Here’s Our List Of The 7 Best Baby Gates For Stairs In 2020

*For top of stairs in type #1 (flat surfaces on both sides)

Of the best baby gates for top of stairs that we found that the Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate was our favorite based on the fact that it fully swings open and can be installed at a 30-degree angle

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

Why we chose this gate as our Pick?

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.

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! It is adjustable from 27-42.5” in width and stands 29.5” in height.

The bars are 2.5” apart and the optional “stop-bracket” prevents it from being opened over the stairwell, for even greater safety.  Also note that it does not automatically close.

I like that it is sturdy and well-made, as well as having a one-handed latching mechanism that most children can’t figure out. Plus, as we’ve discussed previously, this permanently-mounted baby gate does not have a “door” as other types do, instead, it works as a door. The whole width of it swings open, meaning that it doesn’t have a trip bar along the floor.

Made from lightweight aluminum in a powder-coat finish in either black or white, 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, but is a great solution for difficult stairway mountings.


  • 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 on metal version
  • Does not have a threshold trip bar along floor


  • More expensive than the competition
  • May make a loud or clunky noise when closing
  • Some reports of tricky install or difficulty with latch system
The Bottom Line

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 other types of gates it isn’t a trip hazard! The sturdiness of this gate definitely makes it one of the best baby gates for the top of stairs!

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)

Why we chose this gate as our second pick?

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.

This sturdy, permanently-mounted gate is a great choice for the top of stairs. Designed to swing fully open from one hinged side, this gate does not have a trip bar along the floor and must be securely attached to your walls or doorway. Plus it only opens over the landing, not over the stairs, for added safety.

It is made of matte bronze-colored steel and can easily be opened with one hand. It is adjustable and can fit an opening between 28.68”- 48.85” wide and is 31” tall. With a bar spacing of 2 ⅞ inches, it is impossible for a baby to slip through.

One of the great features of this gate is that it self-locks when you swing it shut, and though it is easy for an adult to open, little ones will be baffled.

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 past the headache of a tricky install, it otherwise should do you fine.


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


  • Installation can be tricky
  • Locking mechanism not the most ideal due to design according to some reviewers
The Bottom Line

Despite some inconveniences noted, this gate is solidly in the running as one of the best gates for the top of stairs 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 metal gate stands out from the competition because it comes fully assembled and “ready to install.”

As you might have noticed, many baby gates work great once they are installed, but this process tends to be tricky with most gates on the market.

Safety 1st has seen this problem and filled an important need...making installation easy!

Safety 1st Ready to Install Baby Gate (White)

It is perfect for stairways because it is a permanent-mount gate. It can be adjusted to fit doorways that are 29-42 inches wide and it stands 30 inches high. It swings shut easily and does not have a “trip-bar” along the floor.

It has one-handed operation, but requires two separate movements which makes it easy for adults but impossible for little children to open. It has the option of a one-directional stop so that you can have it open both ways or just one (important if installing on stairways).


  • Comes fully-assembled
  • Can be easily installed in 15 minutes with just a screwdriver
  • Has a one-directional stop, but otherwise can be opened in either direction
  • One-handed operation
  • Fairly quiet to open and close
  • Gate can be removed from wall brackets for easy storage between uses


  • Can only be installed at a 90-degree angle to the wall
  • May need drywall anchors or alternate screws during installation
  • A few reports of becoming difficult to open over time
The Bottom Line

If installing a hardware-mounted baby gate sounds like a chore (and it often is!) then this is the gate for you! Because it comes completely assembled, with easy instructions for placement and installation, anyone can easily get it screwed into position in just a few minutes. This takes the guesswork out of the equation and makes baby-gating simple!

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

It features a one-handed operation with an Easy-Glide handle that opens with two distinct movements, to keep your toddler from mastering the locking mechanism. 

Evenflo Secure Step Gate

It also has a red/green locking indicator so that you can see at a glance that it is locked into position.  Please note that it does not self-latch.

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.

Installation may be tricky and some consumers have reported using upgraded hardware or some DIY modification for various reasons. As this gate is a bit heavy, make sure to install it into a wooden stud, as the screws will likely rip out from drywall only.


  • Red/Green locking indicator
  • Swing stop
  • One-handed operation
  • Child-resistant lock
  • No trip-bar along floor 


  • Installation may not be simple
  • Plastic pieces may fail over long term use
The Bottom Line

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 major drawback is that it does not automatically latch closed, but must be purposefully shut. Though there are a few complaints about installation and long term durability, many customers have not had these issues. Overall, I think this gate is a solid option that may deserve your attention.

This is a great permanent-mount gate that is perfect for the top of stairs. I really love that it is extra tall and wide! 

It stands 36” tall and adjustable from 33”-56” wide. It has a one-way directional opening for use on stairs (but can be set to open both directions if you have it installed in a regular doorway).

Munchkin Extending XL Tall and Wide Hardware Baby Gate, Extends 33" - 56" Wide, White, Model MK0004

Because it attaches to the wall and swings all the way open, it doesn’t have that pesky threshold strip along the floor, making it much safer for stairways. The latch isn’t the best part of this gate unless carefully adjusted, according to the reviews, but it is not easy for a child to figure out. 

The high-quality steel has a modern design that goes with any decor. It has a quick-release detachment feature when you want to remove it temporarily. Plus, it has a uniquely-structured integrated tilting hinge mechanism designed to place less stress on your walls.

Some consumers have reported that they suggest using better quality screws than what comes with the gate and it is recommended to install it into your studs, not just drywall, due to the weight of the gate.


  • Extra tall and adjustable width for wider spaces
  • No trip bar along floor
  • Quick-release feature for easy storage
  • One or two-way directional opening


  • Not the best latching system
  • May need better screws for installation
The Bottom Line

If you have a need for an extra-tall or extra-wide gate, this may be the answer for you! I like that you can remove it easily when not in use and that it has a directional stop so that it won’t swing out over the stairs. But the install and latch design does leave something to be desired. If you can overlook these difficulties, then this is a solid option.

This is a beautiful wooden gate with an oak finish that enhances your decor. Designed for the top of stairs, it is permanently mounted and has no threshold strip along the floor.

It has a comfortable handle grip for an easy one-handed latch release and an optional directional stop so that it can be set to not open over the stairs.

Summer Infant Deluxe Stairway Simple to Secure Wood Gate

I love the installation template that comes with it to help guide you when drilling your pilot holes for the screws. Watch the video to take the guesswork out of the installation steps!

It is adjustable from 30”- 48” inches and is 32” tall, so can accommodate a fairly large opening. It does appear to be a bit wobbly if you have it towards its farthest extension. However, there is one little “foot” that stabilizes it and keeps someone’s weight from allowing it to push downward.


  • Beautiful wooden finish
  • Comes with installation template
  • Comfort grip handle with one-handed operation
  • Directional door stop


  • Some reports of difficult install and weak screws
  • Makes a loud noise when opening/closing
The Bottom Line

This is a very pretty gate and has decent features with the installation template and comfort grip handle. With several people reporting struggling with the installation however, it may be that the template is not always right on target. Besides that, it is a fairly good option if you are looking for a budget wooden gate that is appropriate for top of stairs use.

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

Round posts or banisters on one side or both sides

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: Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate + 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.

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 be 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. 


Source: Neige Morte

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

There is ONLY one real choice for this scenario: North States 72" Wide Deluxe Décor Baby Gate.

North States 72" Wide Deluxe Décor Baby Gate: Provides safety in extra-wide spaces with added one-hand functionality. Hardware mount. Fits 38.3"-72" wide (30" tall, Bronze)

Why do we recommend ONLY this gate?

Many extra-wide baby gates, though they appear to be safe for the top of stairs, specifically state in their instruction manuals that they are NOT to be used for that application. The North States 72” Wide Deluxe, however, is specifically designed to work properly at the top of stairs when you need more coverage and have a less-traditional configuration. For this reason, this is the gate that we recommend in these types of circumstances.

Here is a permanent-mount 30” tall gate with so many solution possibilities that it will likely “wow” you!

This gate is uniquely designed to handle larger openings, as well as angled walls. It comes with two side panels and a swing-open door that are 72” wide.

What makes this gate extra-useful is the fact that it is very expandable if you buy the optional extensions, which are each 15” wide. It is designed to accommodate up to 6 of these extra panels, giving you additional footage that make this gate extend 162”! That’s over 13’ of coverage!

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 162 inches apart. According to the manual, it is safe for use at the top of stairs, but must be installed with the walk-thru door NOT opening over the stairs. Plus, the included hardware must be mounted into a solid substance, so don’t screw it directly into drywall, as it may not hold. (Using wood trim at the anchor points would be ideal.)

This gate has some great features beyond its length and versatility. The arched door is extra-wide and has one-handed operation. Plus, it can be opened fully to activate it’s “stay open” system or it will close automatically with just a gentle push.

It also can be unhooked from its wall mounts in a quick motion and stored flat. If you only need to push it out of the way temporarily, just unhook from one side and fold it up against the opposite wall.


  • Can cover a very wide area
  • Extra wide walk-thru gate with stay open feature
  • Closes automatically
  • Safe for top of stairs
  • One-handed operation
  • Foldable for storage


  • Has a “trip bar” due to type of door opening
  • Not the widest gate available
The Bottom Line

This beautiful gate offers both security and style for when you need a configuration that is out of the ordinary. It has received an overwhelming amount of great reviews from customers. I definitely recommend this gate for a unique top of stairs application, as well as other areas that require extra length or where walls are at different angles. It may work just perfectly for your needs!

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, such as the North States 72” Wide Deluxe Decor Gate mentioned above, can also be used at the bottom.

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 flat surfaces, round posts or a combination of both.

Dreambaby Banister Gate Adaptors, Silver

All Pressure-Mounted Baby Gates have potential safety and usage issues that you need to be aware of to reduce risk of failure, accident, or damage:

  1. Gate could fall, or be pushed over, if not inspected and tightened regularly
  2. Pressure-Mounted should never be used at the top of stairs
  3. There is a metal bar along the floor that could be tripped over
  4. Pressure-mounts could damage wall/drywall if tightened and left in place too long
  5. Gate may be difficult to assemble/disassemble or move easily between locations, so should not be considered extremely portable

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.

In fact, any of the gates that we have reviewed on the page The Best Pressure Mounted Baby Gates can be used for the bottom of stairs and will do the job nicely.

North States 38.5" Wide Easy-Close Baby Gate: The Multi-Directional Swing gate with Triple Locking System - Ideal for doorways or Between Rooms. Pressure Mount. Fits 28"-38.5" Wide (29" Tall, White)

Why we chose this gate as our favorite?

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


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


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

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 your 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 two 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.

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 Chelsea Auto Close Security Gate in White

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.

Dreambaby Banister Gate Adaptors, Silver

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

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.


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


  • Some reports of difficult installation
  • Some reports of unattractive warning stickers stuck on the gate
The Bottom Line

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 a 28-32” wide opening unless 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.

Perfect when you need an extra-long gate, but not necessarily the longest, this option will give you from 38-72” of gate to cover your wide opening and it stands 30 inches high.

It can be mounted straight-across or at various angles, making it great for stairways, odd-shaped openings, or being placed in unique configurations.

It has an easy, one-handed operation and a stay-open feature for the walk-thru door.

Toddleroo by North States 72” wide Deluxe Décor Gate: Perfect safety solution for extra wide spaces with added one hand functionality.  Hardware Mount. Fits 38.3 - 72” wide. (30" tall, Soft White)

Made of metal and having a soft white finish, it looks stylish and will blend nicely with your home’s decor. Optional 15-inch extensions are also available for sale, if you need to cover even more space. You can add up to 6 of these to extend the gate up to 162 inches!


  • Extra-long with additional extensions available for purchase
  • Can be installed at an angle
  • One-handed operation
  • Walk-thru door with stay-open feature
  • Can be removed from wall brackets for easy storage
  • Affordable


  • Some of the plastic parts may not hold up over time
  • Bottom brackets too low and may have to be installed into your baseboards
The Bottom Line

This is a great option for when you need an extra-long, hardware-mounted gate. It isn’t the longest on the market, but has a great range, especially with the optional extensions. It has received great reviews from other consumers and comes highly-recommended if you are looking for these dimensions.

This extra-wide baby gate can be a permanently-mounted barrier or used as a free-standing play yard (up to 10 square feet).

It has 10 configurable panels that lock into place and stands 30 inches high. (There are also smaller 6-panel and 8-panel options, if desired.)

The swinging walk-thru door panel features a child-proof, double-locking system which can be operated with one hand by an adult. The powder-coat finished metal is sleek and stylish and works well with any home’s decor.

The mounting hardware easily accommodates extra-tall baseboards. Plus, this gate can be mounted to angled walls and can be infinitely extended with extension panels (which are sold separately) to span extra-wide areas.


  • Infinitely expandable with extra, optional panels (sold separately)
  • Double-locking mechanism on walk-thru door
  • One-handed operation
  • Accommodates extra-tall baseboards
  • Can be removed from wall mounts for easy storage
  • Affordable


  • Walk-thru door is quite narrow (13 ¾”)
  • Walk-thru door only opens in one direction
  • Walk-thru door can be somewhat difficult to open
  • Extra panels have male/female connectors that require panels to be installed in sets of two, which may make you need to add/remove sections that you don’t want.
The Bottom Line

We love that there are infinite options with this gate! It is affordable and versatile, which makes it a great solution for a home that needs unique configurations with its baby gates! So many consumers are satisfied with this gate that it is easy to give it our recommendation! We also love the price!

This is an awesome 28-inch tall gate with lots of great features.

It is perfect for when you need to secure a wide area or have configuration issues at the bottom of a stairwell.

It mounts permanently, so as long as you can reach from one anchor point to another...up to 192” apart (16 feet!).

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. Plus, 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. One word of caution: It does state in the manual that it is not designed for use at the top of stairs.


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


  • A bit pricey
  • Some reports of it sliding around some
  • Must use even, not odd, amount of panels for installation
  • Cannot be used at the top of stairs
The Bottom Line

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.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Do you need baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs?

Yes, stairs are one of the most dangerous places for young children, so we recommend not only gating the top of the stairs, but also the bottom. If there is no gate at the bottom of stairs, then some children may be able to climb up and could potentially tumble back down.

2. When should I start using them?

We recommend installing baby gates on stairs just before your child begins to get mobile. For most children, this is usually when they are about 5 months old. If your child is learning to scoot or crawl, then that is definitely your cue to make sure that baby gates are firmly in place.

3. What age should stair gates be removed?

That depends. Baby gates are usually very adequate to contain a child who is about 2.5 years old or less, but this can vary depending on their strength, height, and climbing ability. For this reason, if your child is tall and can bend over the gate, is capable of climbing over the gate, or can unlatch it themself, then it is time to simply remove it.

Some do’s and don'ts about baby gates for stairs


  • Install baby gates at the top of stairs
  • Install baby gates at the bottom of stairs
  • Only use a permanently-mounted gate at the top of stairs
  • Make sure gate hardware is firmly attached into wood trim or frame
  • Choose a gate with no “trip-bar” for the top of stairs
  • Install stair gates just before your child is learning how to crawl
  • Only use gates that are designed as safety gates for children (not pets)
  • Keep gates closed and latched


  • Don’t use pressure-mounted gates at the top of stairs
  • Don’t select a gate that automatically closes for the top of stairs
  • Don’t install your baby gate too high (gap should be 3 inches or less from floor)
  • Don’t install a gate that swings open over stairs
  • Don’t climb over your baby gate
  • Don’t leave baby unattended even with baby gates installed

How do we come to our conclusions on this website?

We are committed to bringing to you, our reader, updated and relevant information about baby safety gates. We have spent a lot of time researching these products and safety standards. We strive to update our guide regularly to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information possible.

Final Words

Though we have attempted to cover every bit of information that you may need to know about safe baby-gating for stairways, we are also open to your suggestions.

If you think we have missed something or need to update our recommendations, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Add your question or comment below and we will respond!

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! 🙂

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I am a coffee-lover and homeschooling mom of 20 years. With the experience of raising five babies, one of whom is still a toddler, I have had my fair share of baby gate wrangling. I enjoy sharing with other parents and passing on what I have learned about child safety. I don’t enjoy that, due to the hustle and bustle, I have to keep reheating my forgotten cup of coffee, though.

22 thoughts on “Our 2020 Top Picks for the Best Baby Gates for Top & Bottom of Stairs”

  1. Hello Melanie,

    Thank you for this post, it is so helpful. One question, if you have any ideas. We would like to keep the top of stairs gate closed at night once our toddler is in a bed and able to walk around at night, but would like our cat to be able to go up and down stairs freely at night. Are there any gates that have pet doors that are good for top of stairs, or that we could install a few inches off of the ground that the cat could squeeze under but the kids couldn’t? If you have seen this come up or have any ideas, we would appreciate it!


    • Hi Cara!
      Nearly all of the permanently-mounted gates that we have reviewed on our Best Baby Gates for 2020 page can be installed a few inches off the floor (never more than 4 inches, however, for your child’s safety). There are a few gates on the market with little pet doors designed for cats or small dogs to pass through, however, we cannot recommend them for the top of the stairs because they are not “permanent-mount” gates, plus we don’t feel they are super safe for little children anyway.

  2. We need a gate for the top of our staircase. One side is a wall and the other side is a banister made of thick plastic, so we can’t drill into it. Also We rent and im not sure if we are allowed to drill into the wall.

  3. We are going to rent a beach house with a staircase and will have two 14 month old walking babies. We can’t permanently mount a gate at the top of the stairs. We know we’ ll have to be extra careful with a pressure gate. Which one would be our best bet?

    • Though, of course, we cannot recommend any pressure-mounted gate for the top of the stairs, in this situation, have you considered a portable pressure-mounted gate? These gates are specifically designed to be used for travel because they are lightweight and easy to pack for a trip. Please feel free to read my Portable Gate Reviews. If you are simply looking for the strongest-holding pressure-mounted gate in general, my best recommendation is the: North States Supergate Easy Close Metal Gate. You can find our review for this gate HERE.

  4. Hi!
    We are a very tall family, is there a top-of-the -stairs baby gate
    that you would recommend that is approx 36″ tall? We can go
    as high as 39″.
    thank you

    • Hi Cynthia! Thank you for your question. Of course, the important thing to remember is that a top-of-stairs gate needs to be permanently-mounted. Unfortunately, the majority of extra-tall gates on the market are pressure-mounted gates only. However, there is one gate (Regalo Home Accents Extra Tall Walk Thru Gate) that is extra tall (37”) AND has an option to be permanently-mounted. You can find my review for this gate on our Best Extra Tall Baby Gates page. Please double-check the width of this gate to make sure that it will fit your area properly.

  5. Hi, We are trying to figure out the best gate to buy for the top of the stairs. Due to the banister, trim, and handle…a straight across gate will not work. Is there a gate we can buy that mounts to the “front” of the banister and the “front” of the wall. “Front” being what you’d be facing as you look down at the opposed to trying to mount in between the wall and banister. Any suggestions??

    • Hi Angie! Unfortunately, I know of no baby gates that are installed in that manner. Perhaps your best option is to hire a local handyman who can create a custom-made gate for your very unique situation. I wish you great luck in remedying your problem! Thank you for submitting your question!

    • I am facing the same issue with finding a baby gate for my house. Have you been able to find a gate that fixed your dilemma? Please share.

  6. Hi there, we have a unique setup that needs a bottom of the stairs baby gate. Our baluster is only 1″ thick so we were trying to find some work around. The best I could come up with is an adapter which could fit a pressure mounted gate like this:

    I’m nervous about having the trip bar at the bottom of the stairs though, as our baluster railing only starts on the first stair and not the floor. Are there any options we could do without the trip bar that could solve this?

    • Hi Mike! Thanks for reaching out. All pressure-mounted gates are going to have the issue of dealing with a trip bar due to the way they are designed to be installed. And as you probably already know the adaptor that you referenced only works on a pressure-mounted gate. A possible work-around for you is to purchase a permanent-mount gate and use 4 of these “spindle-clamp” attachments to create a surface on which to attach the permanently-mounted gate to. If you watch the video provided, you will see how easily these install. Of course, without seeing your exact banister set-up, I can’t say for sure if this will work for you, but hopefully this is a possible solution to your unique situation.

  7. We have a top of stairs issue. Drywall mount on one side and a post with square bottom and round above. We were considering the Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate + KidCo Stairway Gate Installation Kit. But have another issue! We need it to install at an offset as the wall stud does not align with the post on the other side. The application of this gate where both sides mount to a flat surface reflects the ability to install with a 30 degree angle offset, but the gate that attaches to a flat surface and then to a post on the other side does not describe it as allowing for a 30 degree angle. Can you please address?

  8. This is so helpful! You helped me identify things to look for in both a top of stairs and bottom of stairs gate. I was wondering though if you had a top of stairs gate with an auto shut feature? I thought I found a good on one amazon but it has a trio bar I don’t want.

    • Thank you for your question, Desiree!

      The top of stairs gates that we recommend do not have an auto-close feature. This feature is more commonly found with pressure-mounted gates that have walk-thru doorways with trip bars.

      I believe that most permanently-mounted, top-of-stairs baby gates generally don’t have this feature due to the risk of the gate swinging automatically and accidently bumping someone (especially a baby) in the back, risking a fall down the stairs.

      I did find one permanently-mounted gate that we feature that does have a push-to-close feature with an easy-latch system: the North States 47.85″ Easy Swing & Lock Baby Gate It does not auto-close, but may be closer to what you are looking for, however, than the other gates on our site. I hope this helps you in your search!


    • Thank you so much for your question! It has come to our attention that the Regalo Super Wide and Extra-Wide Gates are not designed to be used at the top of stairs. This information is pointed out in their user manual. For that reason, we are updating our recommendation to the North States 72″ Wide Deluxe Décor Baby Gate (with optional extensions, if needed). It is rated safe for Top of Stair usage, even though it does in fact have a “trip bar” along the bottom.

      Normally, gates that “swing fully open” are my first recommendation to reduce the risk of accidents, since they don’t have any trip bars and are ALWAYS permanently-mounted gates. But if you need an extra-wide gate, the next best option will have a “swing-open” door that invariably comes with that pesky “trip bar.” Even though it is not ideal, it is fine to use at the top of the stairs. Please make sure to install it so that the door does not open out over the stairs. Note: Never install a pressure-mounted gate at the top of the stairs, however, as this is definitely not safe.

    • 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!

  9. 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!


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