Buying Guide

Best Baby Gates for Stairs (2023): Choose the Right One for Your Needs

Melanie Pierce


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.

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.

Table of contents:

How I Pick the Best Baby Gates for 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 the safety of your child, we only recommend baby gates that have:

  1. Favorable reviews from reliable sources and satisfied users.
  2. An “open wide” design without a threshold bar at the bottom to avoid tripping hazards.
  3. JPMA certification, indicating compliance with the highest safety standards in the industry.

Second, 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 potentially nasty fall.

You don’t generally need a permanent mount at the bottom of the stairs. However, keep in mind that All Pressure-Mounted Baby Gates have potential safety and usage issues that you need to be aware of to reduce the risk of failure, accident, or damage:

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

How to Choose the Best Baby Gates for Top and Bottom of Stairs

When it comes to figuring out which gate is the “best” for the top or bottom 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 and bottom 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:

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 →

Type #1: Flat Surfaces on Both Sides

Although the configuration of this gate is fairly standard, there are some specific features that make it suitable for use at the staircase’s upper landing.

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.

Of the best baby gates for top and bottom 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.

Our Top Pick: Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Baby Gate

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

What makes this gate the absolute best?

Based on the unique features of this gate and the fact that 88% 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” 
Wide: 27-42.5” 
Certified by JPMA for use in stairway areas
Best for: A maximum safety gate made for the top of a staircase, but it works well in all areas.

This is a great baby gate that is designed especially for the highest point of your staircase 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 hardware 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 inches) 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.


  • Very sturdy and well-made
  • Easy to open and close with adults, but difficult for young children
  • 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
  • Does not have a threshold trip bar along floor
  • Easy to install with only 4 holes needed in your walls (There is even a Youtube video with installation instructions)
  • Has no plastic parts that can break or wear out
  • Gate can be easily removed while brackets stay on the wall


  • More expensive than the competition
  • May make a loud or clunky noise when closing
  • May needed 4 longer screws to really get it tight or to go into a stud (the manufacturer only provide 2 long screws)
  • Some reports that the screws keep loosening, so you have to keep on tightening the screws every few weeks or replace the screws with the longer and better quality one
  • 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 do…so it isn’t a trip hazard! The sturdiness of this gate definitely makes it one of the best baby gate for the top of stairs!

Our 2nd Pick: Toddleroo by North States 47.85″ wide Tall Easy Swing & Lock Gates – Series 2

Toddleroo by North States 47.85" Wide Easy Swing & Lock Baby Gate - Series 1: Ideal for Wider Areas and stairways. Hardware Mount. Fits Openings 28.68" - 47.85" Wide (31" Tall, Matte Bronze)

Why we chose this gate as our second pick:

As ASTM safety standards for children’s product change, sometimes a redesign is needed to continue to meet those standards.

In fact, not many products have improved from year to year, but Toddleroo by North States does it by improving several things in this series 2.

Height: 36” 
Wide: 28.68”-47.85”  (Bars are 2.75″ apart)
Certified by JPMA for use in stairway areas
Best for: Safe for use between rooms or at the top or bottom of stairs

This sturdy gate is an excellent option for areas with stairs that require a permanent mounting solution. 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. For added safety, it only opens over the landing, not over the stairs.

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”- 47.85” wide and is 31” tall. With a bar spacing of 2 3/4 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.


  • 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
  • Extra wide baby gate
  • Have a version with a 36″ tall
  • Can easily remove the gate from the wall hinge cap without requiring the screw from the hinge cap prior (an improvement from the earlier version)


  • Installation can be tricky
  • Locking mechanism not the most ideal due to design according to some reviewers
  • May need to use wall anchors to prevent the gate from constantly coming loose.
  • Not all parts are metal; the latching mechanism is made from plastic
The Bottom Line

Despite some inconveniences noted, this baby gate is solidly in the running as one of the best baby gates for 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 installing it and have a helper on hand to make your job a little easier. After that, you will be good to go.

Best for Wide Openings: Munchkin Extending XL Tall and Wide Hardware Mounted Baby Gate

Munchkin Extending XL Tall and Wide Baby Gate,  Hardware Mounted Safety Gate for Stairs, Hallways and Doors, Extends 33" - 56" Wide, Metal, White

The Munchkin XL Tall and Wide can fit in an opening up to 56 inches wide and 36 inches high to provide an extra measure of security that you cannot expect from a standard baby gate for stairs.

Height: 36”
Wide: 33”-56” (not really fit 55 or 56” as advertised, because it has 2” incremental) 
JPMA certified
Best for: Top and bottom of stairs

This mounted baby gate is designed to be incredibly sturdy, making it a great option for areas with stairs that require extra protection. I really love that it is extra tall and wide! It stands 36″ tall and is adjustable from 33″ to 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).

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
  • Sturdy and strong
  • One-handed latch mechanism (with practice)
  • The handle is difficult for a child to operate but is simple for adults


  • Not the best latching system
  • May need better (bigger) screws for installation because it is a heavy gate
  • The hinges are made of plastic, not metal. Consumers have different experiences concerning the durability of plastic hinges
  • May only be applied to openings 2 inches smaller than the advertised size
The Bottom Line

If you have a need for an extra-tall or extra-wide baby 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. The latch design does leave something to be desired, but otherwise, it is a solid option.

Honorable Mentions:

Safety 1st Ready to Install Baby Gate

This metal baby 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 a vital need: making installation easy!

Safety 1st Ready to Install Baby Gate (White)

So, If installing a hardware-mounted baby gate sounds like a chore (and it often is!), then this is the gate for you!

Apart from the benefits of easy installation, there are a few more advantages that you can take advantage of. It can be adjusted to fit doorways 29-42 inches wide and stands 30 inches high. It swings shut easily and does not have a “trip-bar” along the floor.

It has a one-handed operation but requires two separate movements, making 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 installed on stairways).

However, there are some downsides to this gate that you should be aware of before making your decision. First, it can only be installed at a 90-degree angle to the wall. Second, there may also be loosened screws over time, requiring an alternative solution such as drywall anchors during installation. Also, a few reports of becoming challenging to open overtime, and the locking mechanism is not great.

Munchkin Push to Close Baby Gate

This sturdy permanent-mount baby gate extends between 28.5″- 45″ wide and is 29″ tall.

It has an integrated tilting hinge spring mechanism designed to put less stress on your walls when opening and closing.

The latch mechanism is easy to use and only requires you to push it close to lock it. There is an optional stop-bracket for when you only want it to swing open in one direction.

Plus, the quick-release bracket allows you to easily remove the gate from the wall for storage when not needed.

This stylish, dark gray baby gate is sleek with no unsightly adjustment holes. Because this gate functions as a wide swing door, it doesn’t have a trip bar along the floor.

Some drawbacks that need to be carefully noted is, based on my findings, the included hardware may not be adequate, especially for drywall installation. Then, it difficult to install, and also, the screws are too short of reaching the stud. In addition, I believe it would be a better value if the plastic hinge pieces were replaced with metal ones.

Type #2: 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 things. A newel post is the larger “corner post,” which 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 you are 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 protect the surface of the posts.

Generally speaking, if you don’t have a 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 often round post at the top of the stairs to anchor the railing.

These posts bring a new dimension to installing a baby gate. It is 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 are currently three excellent stairway banister adaption kits available on the market that can be used to adapt any gate for the highest point of your staircase.

The Stairway Banister Adaptation Kit below can you used for most baby gate, including everything we suggest in the list above.

Summer Banister to Banister Universal Gate Mounting Kit

This mounting kit comes with 6 brackets, 2 long flat strips of wood, and zip tie straps to hold it all into place.

It is perfect for adapting your posts into a surface suitable for installing virtually any permanent baby gate. Plus, it works for almost any size or shape of post.

Summer Banister to Banister Gate Mounting Kit - Fits Round or Square Banisters, Accommodates Most Hardware & Pressure Mount Baby Gates up to 37” Tall, Gate Sold Separately


  • Accommodates most baby gates up to 37 inches tall
  • Works on virtually any size or shape of post
  • Screwing into posts is entirely optional, not needed
  • Comes with enough parts to adapt two banisters
  • Can be installed even if banisters are not parallel from each other
  • Can be used at top or bottom of stairs
  • Cost-effective


  • May need to modify for use with certain post sizes or configurations
  • May be tricky to install, depending on your stair posts
  • May not be sturdy enough for round posts without using wood screws
  • May not work for posts larger than 4” on each side
  • Not compatible with Safety1st baby gates, as their mounting system differs from every other gate on the market.

Safety Innovations No Hole Stairway Baby Gate Mounting Kit

This stair post mounting kit comes with white plastic clamp brackets that can be used with square or round posts and a piece of flat wood for securing your gate to.

Before buying this kit, the company strongly recommends that you accurately measure your banister post. The kit only works for one post. If your post is round on both the top and the bottom, ask the company to send an extra adaption piece for free.

Safety Innovations No Hole Stairway Baby Gate Mounting Kit - Fits Posts from 2 3/4 inches to 3 5/8 inches Wide with Square or Round Tops - No Adhesives On Or Screws in Your Posts, (1-Pack)


  • No drilling/screwing into posts
  • Solid and sturdy
  • If your gate is round at both top and bottom, company will send you an extra round adaptor free of charge, if requested
  • Can be used at top or bottom of stairs


  • Only works on posts between 2 3/4″ – 3 5/8″ inches wide
  • Installation may be a bit tricky
  • Only comes with enough hardware to adapt one post
  • Expensive

Are you looking for Pressure-mounted Baby Gates to install at the Bottom of Stairs for Type #1 and Type #2?

If you have two flat surfaces at the bottom of your staircase or if you have banisters on one or both sides of the bottom of your stairway, this is a basic, no-nonsense pressure-mount baby gate.

Dreambaby Chelsea Auto Close Security Gate

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 Baby Safety Gate-White - Model F160W, 28-32 Inch

The fact that it can open both directions might seem unnecessary when used in conjunction with a stairwell. 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 adapters 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 Chelsea Auto Close Security Safety 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.

As an alternative to these pressure-mount adapters, you can also simply use one of the previously mentioned banister mounting adaptor kits, though they are a bit more pricey:

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.

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

There are ONLY two real choices for this scenario: North States 72″ Wide Deluxe Décor Baby Gate and Dreambaby Newport Adapta Baby Gate.

Why ONLY two? 

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. Both the North States 72” Wide Deluxe and the Dreambaby Newport Adapta Gate, however, are specifically designed to function properly in non-traditional stairway configurations where you need more coverage. For this reason, these are the gates that we recommend in these circumstances.

North States 72″ Wide Deluxe Décor Baby Gate

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 up to 72” wide as well as angled walls. It comes with two side panels and a swing-open door.

Toddleroo by North States 72” wide Deluxe Décor Baby Gate: Sturdy extra wide baby gate with one hand operation. Hardware Mount. Fits 38.3 - 72” Wide. (30" Tall, Matte Bronze)

What makes this gate extra-useful is that it is 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 to 162”! That’s over 13 feet 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 you can make it, eventually, 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 its “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
  • One-handed operation with childproof double-locking system
  • Can be removed from wall brackets for easy storage
  • Relatively easy to install
  • Extra-long with additional extensions available for purchase


  • Has a “trip bar” due to type of door opening
  • Not the widest gate available
  • Cames with poor quality of the mounting screws
  • It’s possible that the 72″ opening (as advertised) will only accommodate 71 1/2”
  • Comes with a template for installation, but your mileage may vary in terms of how easy it is for you to install
  • 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 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 configurations, as well as other areas that require extra length or where walls are at different angles. It may work just perfectly for your needs!

Also worth considering: Dreambaby Newport Adapta Baby Gate

This is another excellent option that we recommend if you are looking for an extra-wide gate. It accommodates 33.5” to 79” across, perfect for larger entryways.

What makes it special? It is ideal for unique openings because it allows you to adjust the panels! It causes odd angles, landings, and other openings a breeze with its flexibility.

Dreambaby Newport Adapta Baby Gate - Use at Top or Bottom of Stairs - for Straight, Angled or Irregular Shaped Openings (Brown)

Have you ever wondered how you know if the gate is secure? Well, with the Dreambaby Newport gate, you won’t have to! It has something called an EZY check indicator. If the tension or latch is not secure, you will see a red indicator. No red indicator means everything is closed correctly and safe.

Many parents enjoy two more features: the Auto-Lock and the Smart Stay Open. This baby gate closes and locks automatically with the auto-lock, providing you with peace of mind. On the other hand, the Smart Stay Open feature allows the gate to stay open when you need it to.


  • Opens in both directions, but can be switched to only one direction when needed
  • Comes in 3 stylish colors; white, brown, and black
  • Smart stay-open feature
  • Easy one-handed operation
  • The EZY check indicator also lets you know if the baby gate has been installed properly
  • Relatively easy to install
  • Wider than North States measured without additional extension


  • Has a “trip bar” due to type of door opening
  • The gate opening is very small, only 14″ to walk through
  • Some consumers say the screws are flimsy
  • A few reports that it’s a little wobbly
  • Has plastic material that potentially breakable
The Bottom Line:

You have a small selection of babyproofing solutions for unusual staircase configurations. The North States and Dreambaby are currently available, but both come with potentially broken plastic materials and poor-quality screws. The Dreambaby, on the other hand, has a wider gate width than the North States (measured without any additional extensions). Still, I prefer The North States because several reviews indicate that the Dreambaby gate is a little wobbly. Also, the gate opening is too narrow, measuring only 14″ compared to The North States’ 25 1/2″.

What about the possibility of using Pressure-Mounted Baby Gates as a solution for this type #3?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to use a pressure gate-type since it will not be strong enough to withstand severe loads due to its extreme width.

You can always use the gate we mentioned before, the North States 72” Wide Deluxe Decor Gate, which can cover the opening up to 72″ or 162″ with six additional extensions, depending on the large opening you wish to cover.

Alternatively, you might also consider the North States 3 in 1 Metal Superyard below, which can fit in an opening up to 144″ (there are also smaller 6-panel and 8-panel options, if desired).

Toddleroo by North States 3 in 1 Metal Superyard: 144″

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).

Toddleroo by North States 3 in 1 Metal Superyard: 144”

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 Toddleroo baby gate that it is easy to give it our recommendation! We also love the price!

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.

When did we start researching baby gatesSince July 2016
Number of products we reviewed100+
Do we accept compensation from the manufacturerNo!
How often do we update the reviewsOnce or twice a year

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Due to the potential danger of stairs for young children, we highly recommend installing gates both at the top and bottom of the stairs. Failing to install a gate at the bottom may enable some children to climb up and subsequently fall 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 and only use a permanently-mounted gate models to ensure stability
  • Install baby gates at the bottom 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 baby gates and retractable 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

Tips to install, use and care for your baby gate for stairs properly

Before attempting to install your baby gate for stairs, make sure that you have measured the opening and have all the pieces handy and laid out. Also, make sure that you have read any instructions that came with your gate and have the proper tools ready.

All top of stairs gates are permanently-mounted and will require that you install the brackets with screws. If your opening has a wooden door frame, you will likely need an electric screw gun to drill a pilot hole with a small drill bit before screwing the brackets into place. If there is only drywall to screw into, make sure to use drywall anchors to ensure that the screws hold properly.

Make sure that you measure properly and mark the wall before attempting to install the brackets. Most permanently-mounted baby gates are a bit tricky to install, so we suggest having a helper to hold everything in place as you measure, align, and screw everything into place. Sometimes a second set of hands just makes the whole process simpler!

If you are installing a gate at the bottom of your stairs, you have the option to use a pressure-mounted baby gate. These can be easy or difficult to install, depending on the type. Plan accordingly to have everything laid out and don’t hesitate to ask someone to help you to make it easier overall.

If you have balusters, newel posts, spindles, or other round or square posts at the top or bottom of your stairs, be prepared to install a mounting adaptor kit as discussed earlier on this page to give yourself a proper surface to install your gate onto. 

Keep in mind that these types of mounting kits use up several inches of the opening, so install them before pulling the measurement of the opening and deciding what size of gate you will need. Most gates are adjustable somewhat, but best to know ahead of time what size you will need so that you don’t order a gate that won’t fit!

If the gates you use at the top and bottom of your stairs become dirty over time, simply use a washcloth to wipe it down with mild soap and water.

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! 🙂


27 thoughts on “Best Baby Gates for Stairs (2023): Choose the Right One for Your Needs”

  1. Hello! Can you tell me if there are any baby gates that fit between 2 banisters that have a height difference of several inches?

  2. Hi! I’m REALLY hoping you can help us find a baby gate for the top of the stairs. We only have metal spinal type balusters without any type of thick wood newel posts for securing one end of the baby gate. We have the wall on the other side, so no problem there. Are there any spindle clamps that can mount to the thin metal post and not just a pressure clamp?
    Feeling desperate.

  3. Thank you for naming the Cardinal Gates Stairway Special the best gate of Top of the Stairs use! We very much appreciate the consideration in the first place and we are honored that you chose us. Have a great day!

    Your friends from Cardinal Gates

  4. Are there any gates out there that are for the top of stairs that are self-closing? My son doesn’t need a gate, but being young he sometimes will forget to close the gate and that leaves the baby now vulnerable.
    Both the top and bottom of our stairs have Newel Posts that are flat and are 36″ high.
    What would you suggest?

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your question. I don’t know of any baby gates that are designed to be actually self-closing, per se, as most need at least a “push” in the right direction. For the top of the stairs, it is even more limiting because you will need a permanently-mounted gate and probably would prefer one without a ‘trip bar’ running along the floor.

      There are 2 gates that have a “self-locking” mechanism that will latch by themselves if the gate is given a light shove. Perhaps you can teach your son to push the gate lightly after he passes through? It isn’t a perfect solution, but better than a gate that requires you to relatch manually.

      The 2 gates that may work for you are:
      Toddleroo by North States 47.85″ Wide Easy Swing & Lock Baby Gate
      Munchkin Extending XL Tall and Wide Hardware Baby Gate
      I hope this helps you!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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!


  13. Hi, the Regalo extra wide gates have the “trip bars” at the bottom. Are they still ok for top of stairs?

    • 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.

  14. 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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