Not all baby gates are very versatile when it comes to fitting in small spaces. For this reason, I went on a hunt for the perfect gate for a really tricky area in my home.
If you also have a narrow doorway that you need a solution for, than keep reading!
I’m going to show you some great options that are on the market that will help keep your baby safe without breaking the bank.
Things To Consider Before Buying Best Retractable Baby Gates
There are several factors that I would keep in mind when choosing a baby gate that is needed to fit into a narrow space.
First of all, exactly what measurement do you actually 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 just too small to fit any of the standard size gates, your best solution is probably going to be a retractable gate. This particular style of baby gate is designed to be quite variable in how large or small of an opening that it will block off.
Something else you will need to consider is that retractable gates are, because of the way they are installed, permanently attached to the doorframe, so don’t plan to easily move one of these gates to a different location, as it won’t be portable.
One last consideration is that when you install a baby gate in an already narrow space, you probably do not want to further restrict the amount of walking/carrying space through that area by having a gate that takes up a fair amount of room.
This is another reason why a retractable gate tends to work really well in an area like this, as it needs only a few inches of space when it is fully retracted, so as to optimize the usable space of the doorway when not in use.
How I Selected The Best Retractable Baby Gates?
In order to share the best available options for baby gates designed for narrow openings, first I searched online and read the descriptions of many models and paid special attention to their dimensions.
I analyzed the key features of the various products and noted their specifications. Any gates that had very low ratings and reviews on the retail sites were quickly dismissed, as I did not want to seriously consider any products that other consumers did not have success with.
I also realized quickly that I had to eliminate standard rigid-framed gates, as I couldn’t find any with a slender enough profile.
Thankfully the market offers several retractable gates that work for even the smallest of openings. These attach easily to a doorframe with just a few screws. I looked for gates with a durable mesh and automatic retraction for ease of use.
As I have personally used the Retract-A-Gate, I also felt I could offer some unique insight to you, the consumer, because there is nothing quite like a review from parent to parent.
Overall, this research has provided me with the information necessary to come up with a list of the five top contenders for the best baby gates designed for narrow spaces that will provide you with an excellent barrier.
Best Retractable Baby Gates of 2018
Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate
Two sizes – Up to 52" or 72", 34" high
Gaterol Active Lite White Retractable Safety Gate
18" – 55" Wide, 36.6" High
Lascal KiddyGuard Avant Retractable Baby Safety Gate
Up to 48" wide, 32" high
Summer Infant Retractable Baby Gate
Up to 50" wide, 30" high
Dreambaby Retractable Gate - L820
Up to 55" wide
Reviews of Top 5 Best Retractable Baby Gates in 2018
#1 Best Choice - Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate
This is one of the more expensive retractable gates on the market, but I found it to be totally 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 did put too much pressure on one of brackets and it broke, they were quick to send me out a replacement piece at no charge.
Overall, my experience with the Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate was almost entirely positive.
My baby could not find a way around it, although 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. It was not easily breached however, so I was mostly impressed despite this.
#2 Best Price - Gaterol Active Lite White Retractable Safety Gate
This super safety gate is 36.6 inches tall and can handle openings from 18” to 55” wide.
It comes with 2 sets of mounting brackets so that you can easily move it between two locations.
It is designed to be opened and closed with one hand, although some say it is not so easy.
It automatically retracts when you open it and takes up minimal space in the doorway.
The mesh is nice and does its job well. There are some reports about installing around a baseboard being tricky, so some people have opted to add in their own spacer. It only comes in white, but is an overall nice looking gate.
Overall, this is a really nice gate for the price. It doesn’t have the highest quality parts, but considering everything, I would recommend it if you are on a budget. It seems to consistently get the job done, even if it has a few issues that are somewhat annoying. Since it looks nice and functions as it should, this is easily one of the nicest gates on the market for the money.
One of the prettiest baby gates on the market, the Lascal has an elegant Swedish design that looks fantastic.
It comes in black or white and extends up to 48” wide. It has a timer system that allows you to unlock and walk through, before relocking.
Some folks really like this gate, but it has been noted that the mesh has a tendency to droop and sag over time, especially if it gets a lot of “hanging on” or “pushing against.”
It is designed to be used with one hand, as are most gates. Some have reported having a tough time with that feature, but it doesn’t seem to be an overwhelming consensus. As long as can get past the tricky installation and can afford the higher price, this gate may be perfect for you.
Overall, this is a pretty great gate, but it has some annoyances that don’t seem to justify the larger price tag. It’s one thing to have plastic hardware or cheap screws on an inexpensive gate, but that is not expected when you have paid a premium price. The brushed aluminum frame is super pretty, but if the mesh does sag over time, then that will detract from the beauty. If you need something that looks classy and don’t think the gate will get a lot of abuse then this gate will probably be great.
This particular gate also features one-handed operation (although some reviews disagree with this), automatic retraction, the ability to fit into a narrow doorway, and a locking mechanism.
It has a very distinguished and classy look, but the mesh is not necessarily as strong and sturdy as I was looking for. It appears to have a fair amount of slack, at least on some of the units, so this affects both its safety and design ratings.
The locking feature appears to be one of the neatest parts about this gate. You lift up a small lever to unlock and push it back down to lock it. I am impressed at how easy it appears to be to operate this gate.
The Summer Infant Retractable baby gate seems like a decent option if you are looking to save a little money, however the reviews lead me to believe that if you can afford the more expensive gate that you may end up quite a bit happier in the long run.
If you don’t suspect that the durability is a strong issue for you, than you may be happy, however I have a feeling that your baby may very well find themselves going under this gate a lot easier and quicker than in comparison with the Retract-A-Gate.
This retractable gate will cover up to a 55” wide opening.
It has a locking mechanism that is designed to be opened with one hand, but in reality most users have reported that it actually needs two hands to open.
It is sleek and nice looking, but functions less smooth than other gates. It has a tendency to “roll up” crookedly if you are not careful with the retraction, though that usually only happens if you attempt to open it one-handedly. There just seems to be a learning curve to get it just right.
Also, this gate has a loud clacking sound when you open it, as it reels back into itself. That is a turn-off for some people, but not for all. If noise isn’t something that concerns you then this gate may have some merit.
The Dreambaby did not receive very high reviews, with users citing a cheap bracket system, loud operation, and inability to use with one hand. However, despite all those headaches, there are some reviewers that actually prefer this gate and think that overall it does a great job. I am most impressed at how it seems to quite effective at keeping kids in, both in terms of the mesh and the locking system.
It may feel like finding the perfect baby gate for your narrow doorway is 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.
I hope my thoughts help you evaluate your options and make the decision just a little bit easier!
Happy Baby-Gate Shopping! 🙂