Retractable baby gates are a fantastic option for lots of reasons!
We love that they are versatile, easy to use, have a very slim profile when open, and work for narrow, traditional, and wide spaces alike!
Though commonly chosen for narrow spaces where a traditional baby gate won’t fit, a retractable gate may also be the perfect choice for your home because of its other unique features.
Whatever your reason is for choosing a retractable, this page will help you find the right one for your particular needs!
Wondering which retractable baby gates are the best on the market? Take a peek at this list to find out!
This gate is made with a strong, scratch-resistant fabric mesh that retracts quietly and easily with one-handed operation. It features a child-proof lock with a press & turn mechanism on the top and is perfect for narrow spaces or stairways.
Due to its unique design and innovative fold-away feature, we are pleased to recommend this gate as our 2nd top choice. It has consistently received excellent reviews and is a leader in quality and function.
Things To Consider Before Buying Best Retractable Baby Gates
Several factors would be kept in mind when choosing a baby gate that is needed to fit into a narrow space.
First of all, precisely what measurement do you need? Keep this information handy as you search, as you will want to double-check the dimensions of any gates that catch your eye.
If the area is too small to fit any standard-size gates, your best solution will probably be a retractable gate. This particular style of baby gate is designed to be quite variable in how large or small of an opening it will block off.
Second, retractable gates are, because of the way they are installed, permanently attached to the doorframe, so don’t plan to quickly move one of these gates to a different location, as it won’t be portable.
Updated: Almost all retractable gates on the market include additional mounting brackets for convenient relocation; only Retract-A-Gate sells them separately.
Third, all retractables available on the market right now are advertised as one-handed operations to open and close. Still, our findings show that it’s not, but it’s much easier with two hands exactly.
One last consideration is, based on our research, retractable baby gates may not be suitable for older children. The manufacturer said it’s ideal for 6 – 24 month babies (and “max 20 months”). One of the reasons is the adaptability of the mesh bottom to let the baby learn to go under netting. Because of that reason, we also concluded – or realized? -the retractable gates were also unsuitable for installing at the top of the stairs; they’re flexible in design based on these findings, even though the manufacturer said their product is JPMA certified to install at the top of the stairs.
Here are the top 2 retractable baby gates of 2022, selected well based on our research
Overall, this research has given me the information I needed to identify the top two contenders for the best retractable baby gates in 2022.
This is one of the more expensive retractable gates on the market, but I found it worth the extra investment!
It has everything I looked for in a baby gate, including:
- A variable-width that works for a narrow opening
- A strong mesh
- Automatic retraction
- One-handed operation (although there is a learning curve for that feature!)
- Sturdy plastic hardware
- A locking mechanism
- and a sleek look
The customer service from the company also really impressed me because when I put too much pressure on one of the brackets, and it broke, they were quick to send me a replacement piece at no charge.
This is a permanently-mounted gate but has the option to be easily removed from the mounting brackets and moved to different openings in your home. To do this, simply order extra mounting brackets and install them in other spaces around your house.
Two sizes are available (52” & 72”), but those dimensions include the brackets, not just the mesh, so if your opening is genuinely one of those full widths, it may not quite fit due to the need to pull the mesh over the bracket to hook it into place.
This gate is advertised to work for the top of a staircase, but we do not personally recommend this usage due to the potential flexibility of a retractable mesh gate.
- Best quality on the market right now based on our research
- Durable, with a strong mesh
- 100% made in the USA
- Automatic retraction
- Locking feature for safety
- Quiet operation when opening and closing
- One of the widest retractable gates on the market (Fits up to 72” opening)
- Available in 3 colors
- The only retractable gate that has been tested extensively to be used outdoors by the manufacturer
- Have stair banister adapter kit (not included in purchase) that can be used to install to a banister or spindle
- Most Expensive
- Not recommended for top of stairs, despite being advertised that way
- May only realistically work for openings 2-4″ smaller than advertised
- Not cames with additional Universal Mounting Bracket Kit like the others (sold separately)
- If you want to install it on the baseboards, you’ll need to buy wall spacers that are sold separately.
The Bottom Line
Overall, my experience with the Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate was almost entirely positive.
My baby could not find a way around it. However, my older and stronger toddler eventually figured out how to wriggle underneath the bottom of the mesh since it is, after all, fabric and not entirely rigid. However, it was not easily breached, so I was mostly impressed despite this.
Retract-A-Gate is the most expensive option, but if you value the quality and security of your babies, then you should stop your search right now.
I researched more than ten different retractable baby gates brands, but none outperformed Retract-A-Gate in every way except pricing.
Why we choose this as our 2nd pick:
Due to its unique design and innovative fold-away feature, we are pleased to recommend this gate as our 2nd top choice. It has received consistently excellent reviews and is a leader in quality and function.
This innovative 28″ high gate is unique in that it automatically accordion folds out of the way when opened. It is sturdy and hides quickly when not in use. It can be installed either inside of a doorway or on the outside of the jamb. It is an excellent solution for small tricky areas, and it can also be used at the bottom of the stairs.
The gate itself has two sizes that you can choose according to your needs. First, the 36.2″ size gate, which can close openings from 25.6″-36.2″. Second, the 45.6″ size gate that fits openings from 21.6″-45.6″. They also have an extension that can add an extra 9.4 inches.
Please keep in mind that these measurements are for if you are installing inside the doorway. If you choose to install on the outside of the jamb, the gate can cover an opening 21.7″ – 32.2″ for 36.2″ size and with the Extend-A-Guard extension, up to 41.7 inches.
Though this is a plastic gate, it is aesthetically pleasing and is 100% PVC-free. Because this is a retractable gate, it doesn’t have bars but instead has small folding panels that tuck away neatly when the gate is open.
- Sturdy, despite its plastic look
- One-handed latch opening
- Automatically folds away when opened
- Hides quickly when not in use
- An excellent solution for small openings
- No trip bar along the floor
- Baby cannot crawl under it
- Can be fitted on a diaganol
- Cannot be moved to another location due it is a permanent traditional baby gate
- Has some flex in it, still not suitable for all top of stair installations
- Falls one inch short of fitting a standard door opening (35.2”)
- May require an additional purchase of the extension
- May troublesome to install over baseboards
- Comes with horrible installation instructions
- Fairly expensive
The Bottom Line
Though there are a few complaints, as I have outlined above in the “cons” section, overall, this is a fun, beautiful, and intriguing baby gate solution! Unlike most other gates, it makes it stand out from the crowd. Many happy customers have given their thumbs up to this product, which is definitely worth your consideration.
Looking for Budget-Friendly Retractable Baby Gates?
Apart from the top two choices above, I researched more than ten products from ten different brands, including:
- And Perma Child Safety
While comparing all of the nine, my conclusion was that they all have some overall advantages and downsides.
The overall Advantages:
- All are affordable
- Has essential features, such as double locking mechanism and quick release (additionally includes additional mounting brackets for easy relocation)
- Can be used outdoors, though not yet tested extensively by the manufacturer
The overall downsides:
- Comes with poor quality screws
- Plastic parts are not sturdy and may break over time
- Mesh sometimes wrinkles when retracting
- Instructions may difficult to understand
- All have a price range of $45-$59. It could indicate their value isn’t very different from each other if it’s about this price range considering production levels
Assume you have a limited budget and are considering one of the nine brands listed above. In that scenario, I recommend taking a few steps to improve the product’s durability and safety.
- Use your own screws
- If the plastic part is broken or you have doubts about its durability, a hardware kit from the GRENFU brand (available in 2 colors: white and grey) can be purchased. This may be the only best option currently available on Amazon based on my research.
As a result, the downsides mentioned above are at least mitigated.
Probebi, Wiscky, Yoofor, and Betertek were the only four brands that didn’t match one of our main criteria: they didn’t have an ASTM standard or a JPMA certificate.
I looked for information about it but couldn’t discover any. As a result, even though many people could use their products safely, we did not recommend them at all.
This is my favorite for budget-friendly retractable Baby Gates from the ninth brand I mentioned above. It stands 34 inches high and can cover an opening up to 54 inches wide.
- It has all of the advantages that I had previously discussed
- It has a soft but strong mesh
- The double-locking mechanism works with a push and twist motion
- It auto-retracts when opening and has a slim profile against your doorframe when not in use
- But, mesh does not always stay tight
- And may be tricky to install
Please Note: This gate is advertised as suitable for top of stairs use, but we do not recommend any soft mesh retractable gate for installation at the top of stairs due to the potential of the mesh sagging over time or with too much pressure applied.
This affordable gate looks sharp and is adequate for most applications. It is not the highest quality, but it is an excellent option for the price.
This sleek and clean design can be withdrawn 33 “high and block openings from 33” to 55 “.
- It has all of the necessary features, such as a double locking mechanism and the ability to retract when not in use
- It also has all of the advantages, like cames with cheap screws and the plastic parts that are not sturdy enough for long-time usage
- But, the double locking mechanism feature may be confusing because it’s green for locked and red for open
- And the fabric may change over time and will not look as clean and nice as it did when it was brand new
It is not the highest quality but one of the least expensive retractables on the market, making it an obvious choice for many families.
If you’re thinking about getting the EasyBaby Retractable Baby Gates but need a wider one or one that’s both wider and taller, keep in mind that they have it.
This version of EasyBaby is similar to the regular one but has a larger width. It’s available in three colors and works better on openings up to 71 inches wide.
The result? While it works well for narrow doorways, it also works well for wide ones. It just takes up a small amount of space on one side of your entryway when fully retracted.
This version of EasyBaby is also designed with the same features as the regular one, but it is both higher and wider, so it is more suitable for taller children than their average age.
All those extra inches add more protection and provide an extra measure of security that you can’t expect from a standard tall retractable gate.
It could be the only retractable baby gate on the market today that meets the extra height and width specifications. So, there isn’t any alternative option
This retractable gate has a soft mesh installed as hardware in your doorframe. It stands 34 inches tall when installed and can be pulled across an opening as wide as 54 inches.
To close it, simply grasp the handle and set it into the two brackets attached to the wall. Then, turn the knob to lock it closed. It rolls up upon opening and can be locked into “open mode,” as well.
- It has all the critical features of the competitors, like a double locking mechanism and quick release
- One cool feature of this gate is that it can be stretched in any direction (3-directional rotated opening or 360 degrees). So if you mount it at a junction of two (or three) openings, you can easily switch between the openings as long as you have brackets installed at each doorway
- It also has all disadvantages discussed previously, plus it may be troublesome to install over baseboards
This is a great retractable gate option if you are on a budget. It does have a few drawbacks, but overall does a good job for the money.
How about Momcozy and Perma Child Safety Retractable Baby Gates?
Momcozy appears to be a good value-for-money alternative. It currently has a decent Amazon rating. However, when writing this review, I noticed it’s more expensive than OttoLives and EasyBaby. It also doesn’t offer any unique advantages over them, so I feel like choosing either OttoLives or EasyBaby would be the better decision. I’d possibly go back to them in the future to see if their product has received any interesting new updates.
The Perma Child Safety Retractable Gate has over 20,000 ratings on Amazon, and it’s the highest-rated product in its category. Among all the options currently available on the market, this product may be one of them that consumers most favor. However, after researching this product, I don’t see anything that can outperform its competitors. They also don’t provide two sets of hardware. So, if you need to relocate your gate at any time, then that would not be a favorable alternative for you.
How Can You Trust This Research
Here are the processes I went through to determine the best retractable baby gates available:
- I first searched online and read the descriptions of many models and paid particular attention to their dimensions.
- I analyze the main features of various products and note the specifications.
- The following factors are my primary considerations:
- JPMA certified or meet or exceed both of ASTM or EN safety standards
- Using quality materials, such as solid plastic, strong mesh and providing good screws
- Automatic retraction for ease of use
- Double locking mechanism
- Easy to install with clear instructions
- Provides additional mounting brackets for convenient relocation
- Any gateway with bad ratings and reviews on retail sites is quickly dismissed. I don’t want to seriously consider any product that doesn’t work with other consumers.
And, because I’ve personally used Retract-A-Gate, I feel I can give you, the consumer, some unique insights because nothing beats a parent-to-parent review.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Are retractable baby gates safe?
Yes, most retractable baby gates are very safe for most places. They are great barriers that can work in some tricky areas in your home! Please be aware that if the mesh on your gate gets pushed or warped, it might not perform as well and could create a compromising situation where a child could slip underneath. Check your gates for any wear and replace if necessary.
Are retractable baby gates safe to install at the top of the stairs?
No, we at Baby Gates Expert do not recommend that you install a retractable gate at the top of the stairs. This can be pretty unsafe, even if you see photos of this usage or see a manufacturer recommending it. A retractable gate can have some “give” or “flex” if enough pressure is put on the mesh. This is why we only recommend a traditional permanently-mounted gate for the top of the stairs.
Which one should I choose: a pressure-mounted gate or a retractable gate?
Whether you choose a pressure-mounted gate or a retractable gate will depend on your particular needs. Do you have a narrow area that won’t fit a pressure-mounted gate? Use a retractable! However, retractable gates tend to be a bit more expensive and may not always be as easy to open and close as some pressure-mounted gates. But a retractable gate nearly disappears when not in use, so it has that advantage. Think over the issues that matter the most to you, considering your home and your budget, when you decide which gate is the right fit for you!
Can retractable gates be used outdoors on a deck or bottom of porch stairs?
Some of the retractable gates that we have reviewed are manufactured to withstand the rigors of the outdoors. They may fade over time or weather faster than a metal gate, but they are designed to handle rain, snow, and rain if noted as indoor/outdoor gates. If you don’t see that designation on the gate, you will want only to use it indoors.
What is the widest retractable baby gate?
Retract-A-Gate currently has the widest gate on the market (72”). Please remember that this dimension includes the wall brackets to work best for a maximum opening of 68-70 inches.
Where should I install retractable baby gates?
Retractable Gates are perfect for too narrow openings for any traditional pressure-mounted or permanently-installed walk-thru baby gates. However, they also work excellently in wider openings, and some are purposely designed for wide openings. They are great for doorways bottom of stairs, and some can even be used outdoors on a deck.
Do you recommend using wooden expansion retractable gates?
No, we do not recommend this style of the retractable gate because of the “diamond”-shaped footholds that it inherently creates when expanded across an opening. Little children have small toes and feet that fit neatly in these gaps, making it a perfect invitation for climbing over the gate. For this reason, we suggest avoiding gates with this design.
Tips to install, use and care for your retractable baby gate properly
Before attempting to install your retractable baby gate, make sure that you 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 retractable gates are permanently-mounted and require installing 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, use drywall anchors to ensure that the screws hold properly.
Make sure that you measure properly and mark the wall before installing the brackets. Most retractable gates are tricky to install, so we suggest having a helper hold everything in place as you measure, align, and screw everything into place. Sometimes a second set of hands makes the whole process easier!
Once installed, ensure that you don’t allow the mesh to sag and hang when not in use. Retractable gates are designed to auto-retract but may need for you to apply a bit of tugging to activate the recoil mechanism. Make sure it fully retracts into its spool when open.
Suppose the style of retractable gate that you have chosen is easily removable from the wall brackets. In that case, you have the option to install extra wall brackets into other openings around your house and move the mesh portion of the gate to different locations when necessary.
If you have an easily-removed retractable gate installed outdoors, consider storing the mesh portion indoors when not needed to prolong its life. Even an outdoor-rated gate will weather over time and have a decreased life span if left outside in the elements, such as wind, rain, sun, or snow.
If your retractable gate becomes dirty over time, use a washcloth to wipe it down with mild soap and water.
Remove or replace your retractable gate if/when the mesh begins to sag badly or if the auto-retraction feature wears out. Retractable gates are most suitable for babies and younger toddlers that don’t have the strength or ability to wriggle under the fabric mesh or attempt to climb over it. If your child hangs on the mesh, it will likely be put under too much stress and not be usable.
It may feel like finding the perfect retractable baby gate for your doorway is a tricky business, but remember to consider all your various needs and wants. Each individual situation is unique, and you must consider what features are most important to you personally. Whether you need to block off a narrow or wide doorway, we highly recommend Retract-A-Gate as our top pick. If you need a budget gate, we hope this list helps you evaluate your options and make the decision just a little bit easier!
Happy Baby-Gate Shopping!