Baby gates are the safest, best method to keep your babies and toddlers out of areas that they shouldn’t be, like the bathroom. For multi-story homes, baby gates prevent your child from climbing or stumbling downstairs. Every parent dreads the idea of their child falling down stairs, especially concrete steps that lead to your basement. Baby gates are a must-have item for all parents.
|Munchkin Easy Close Metal Gate|
|Summer Infant Deco Baby Gate|
|North States Supergate|
|Product||Type of Gate||Width||Rating|
|North States Supergate||Pressure-mounted||31” to 38” wide||4.8|
|Summer Infant Deco Baby Gate||Pressure-Mounted||Up to 48” Wide||4.7|
|DreamBaby Chelsea Extra-Tall Baby Gate||Pressure-Mounted||38” to 70” wide||4.6|
|Munchkin Easy Close Metal Gate||Pressure-Mounted||29.5” to 35” Wide||4.6|
|Kidco Safeway Stairs Baby Gate||Stairs Gate – Hardware-Mounted||28” to 43.5” Wide||4.7|
|Cardinal Gates Stairs Baby Gate||Stairs Gate – Hardware-Mounted||26” to 40” Wide||4.7|
|North States Supergate Stairs Gate||Stairs Gate – Hardware-Mounted||28” to 48” Wide||4.5|
Different Types of Baby Gates
First, you have to pick the type of baby gate you want. There are two types of interior baby gates: hardware-mounted and pressure-mounted.
Hardware mounted gates screw into your wall, door frame, or banister. These are the most secure type of baby gate you can purchase, so use these types where the largest danger lies. Top of the stairs is the best place to set these gates.
Pros of Hardware-Mounted Gates:
- Unlikely to be rammed over by dogs
- Won’t slip if your child leans against it
- No bottom threshold to trip over
- Best for the top of stairs
Cons of Hardware-Mounted Gates:
- Installation takes more time
- Leaves holes in the wall or woodwork
- Not ideal for rental homes
- Can’t remove in a hurry
Most baby gates on the market are pressure-mounted. They work similar to a tension rod for your shower curtain. Typically, you have to screw a knob to tighten the gate. Some gates come with wall cups to secure the gates to the wall. These are the most popular choice for several reasons.
Pros of Pressure-Mounted Gates:
- Easy to set-up and assemble
- Easy to move from place to place
- You don’t have to screw into your walls, so its okay for rentals.
- Larger selection.
Cons of Pressure-Mounted Gates:
- Can slip under your child’s weight
- Large dogs can knock it over.
- Don’t use at the top of stairs.
What About Step Over Gates?
Everyone has seen step over gates! They tend to be the cheapest choice and install quickly, but that’s about all they have going for them.
The biggest issue is that you have to step over them, hence the name. That can be quite the safety hazard, especially if you are holding the baby. Pets easily jump over them as well.
Step over gates aren’t good for areas that have a lot of foot traffic. Don’t put them between your living room and kitchen or in front of your only bathroom. Step over gates are good for traveling or the ocassioanl usage.
Look for Certification
You want a baby gate that is going to, for sure, keep your child safe. When purchasing something that is designed for safety, look for a product that is certified. The ideal gate is certified by the JPMA, or Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association.
JPMA sets standards for all gates that they certify, so you know what you are getting. Their standards say that the gate must be no less than 22 inches tall, and the distance between the bottom of the gate and the floor must be less than 2 inches. This requirement decreases the risk of your child’s head getting stuck under the gate.
Think about Your Pets
Parents who also have pets need to take other considerations. If you have small pets that you don’t want to keep out of the area, there are gates that have a small pet door that allows them to pass in and out of the room freely. The pet door is too small for children to fit through.
Big dogs, on the other hand, are just blocked out, and you will have to let them in and out of the room. If the doggie door could fit a through animal through, your child could fit through as well.
On the other hand, if you want to keep your pet out of the area, you need to make sure the gate is strong enough to not fall over. When Fido sees the mailman delivering your tenth Amazon package that week – no judgment here! – you don’t want the gate to topple over as he rushes to save you.
Pet owners should select a hardware-mounted gate instead. Also, cats and dogs can jump high if they desire, so look for an extra-tall gate as well. Both of these factors are important if you don’t want your animal to come bursting into the room.
Don’t go for a wooden gate if you have a puppy. Puppies love to chew, and your new wooden gate will be a delicious snack.
Measure the Width of Your Doorframe
Before you make a selection, you have to measure the width of your doorframe. Most doorways are between 32 to 36 inches wide, but some are wider. You need to know the width where you want to put the gate. If your doorframe is 40 inches, buying a gate with a maximum width of 36 inches won’t work!
Modern homes are more likely to have wider frames and open floor plans. In those cases, you might need an extra-wide gate that stretches from 60 to 72 inches wide.
If you have a really large opening, you might want to try a gate that opens in accordion style. Those types of gates are perfect for gating off your Christmas trees or keeping baby on the patio.
The Best Baby Gate Picks
One of the top picks is the North States Supergate, and it is budget-friendly. It is one of the best-reviewed gates; everyone seems to have this gate! It is a pressure-mounted gate, so there is no assembly required. The gate squeezes itself into the doorway of your choosing. To hold the arms in place, North States added wall cups which stop the arms from slipping forward or backward when your child tries to push on it.
The wall cups do screw into the wall if you wanted. You also can use double-sided mounting tape for extra security, which is included in the box. Overall, the gate is very secure; your baby isn’t going to come crashing through it.
The locking mechanism has two settings, so you have to twist and lift. It is clever and difficult for a child to figure out, but an adult can easily open the gate open-handed. Moms have to do everything one-handed!
North States adds extensions for the gate, so it can fit doorways that between 31 and 38 inches wide. The gate is 29 inches high, so taller adults could step over the gate if desired rather than opening and closing it.
You can purchase the North States Supergate is either white or bronze. It consistently receives recommendations from parents, so you can believe it is worth a try.
|Type of Gate: Pressure-mounted|
|Width: 31” to 38” wide|
|Pressure-mounted, with the option to install with hardware|
|Easy to install|
|Not ideal for top of the stairs|
|A 2-inch threshold at the bottom is easy to trip over.|
Another top contender is the Summer Infant Deco Baby Gate, which often ties with the North States Supergate for the best baby gate on the market. If you are stuck between the two, there are some key differences to know.
The Deco Baby Gate is 34-inches tall (36-inches at the peak), but the North States gate is only 29-inches tall. So, this gate is considered extra-tall, so it is great for families who also want to contain pets to a specific area. You don’t have to reach down too far to open the gate, but that also means you won’t be able to climb over it.
With all of the extensions, this gate can open up to a maximum of 48-inches. That is crazy!
Moms love the next difference. When you open the gate and walk through, you can let it swing shut and the gate locks automatically behind you. That feature is awesome, especially when you have your hands full with a baby or a stack of laundry you delayed folding.
It does have a narrow walkway, only about 17” wide, so you might not like that.
Summer Infant Deco Gate is a pressure-mounted gate, but it does come with a hardware kit if you want some extra security. It is a bit harder to install this gate because it is sensitive to the amount of pressure you apply during installation. If you apply too much tension, you narrow the opening of the walkway, and it won’t lock shut.
Note that Summer Infant claims that this gate can be used at the top of stairs because you can swing the gate in different stairs, so it won’t open over the stairs. However, there is a threshold bar that you need to walk over to enter the room, posing a tripping hazard. So, while they claim it can be used at the top of stairs, you should look for a different choice.
|Type of Gate: Pressure-Mounted|
|Width: Up to 48” Wide|
|Extra-tall at 34-inches tall|
|Opens up to a maximum of 48-inches|
|Includes hardware kit|
|Automatically locks when shuts|
|Not ideal for stairs|
|Can’t step over|
DreamBaby is a bit pricier than the previous choice, but it is a secure and well-crafted baby gate that will keep your baby safe. It is a pressure-mounted, extra-tall baby gate that has a 2-inch threshold along the bottom of the gate.
The first thing you will notice is that it is very sturdy. That’s essential! The child-proof lock is easy enough that you can open one-handed, but complicated enough that a toddler can’t let himself out of the room. You can swing the gate in both directions, and it does automatically swing shut. Their EZY check indicator will show red if the gate isn’t closed properly.
DreamBaby includes extensions for homes with larger doorways. You can use it to fit a doorway as small as 38-inches and as wide as 70-inches. Don’t worry! If your doorway is smaller than 38-inches, you can purchase their smaller option, plus that one is cheaper. If you need a gate for a HUGE opening, you can use the optional extension kits to measure the gate up to 188-inches wide!
One main negative is that there is no open-hold feature that will leave the gate open at a 90-degree angle. It does include a hardware mounting kit, and DreamBaby states that their gate is safe to use at the top of stairs. However, there is a threshold you need to walk over, so there is a tripping hazard to consider.
|Type of Gate: Pressure-Mounted|
|Width: 38” to 70” wide|
|Pressure-mounted with a hardware kit|
|EZY check indicator that lets you know if the gate isn’t closed properly.|
|Multiple extensions options|
|Can use at the top of the stairs.|
|No open-hold feature|
|Tripping hazard with the threshold to walk over.|
|Too wide for some smaller doorways|
Every parent knows the brand Munchkin! They are one of the top brands you will find in the store, so you know that this is a trustworthy brand. The Munchkin Easy Close Metal baby gate is a great, well-reviewed option that parents love. It is budget-friendly, as most Munchkin items are.
Munchkin created a pressure-mounted baby gate with a 2-inch threshold along the bottom. The lock is child-proof, and it happens to be one of the best locks out of the list. Most kids won’t be able to figure it out.
Unlike other gates, this one doesn’t have an auto-close feature. That can be annoying because you have to push it closed each and every time. That can be annoying when you have your arms full of laundry or dishes. Even if you bump it hard with your hip, you will still have to stop and latch it shut yourself.
Make sure you pick a sturdy place to place the gate. It does have quite a bit of outward pressure when mounting, so it’s not ideal for banisters. The outward pressure could cause your banisters to bow or potentially break.
The Munchkin Gate fits doorways as narrow as 29.5-inches and as wide as 35-inches with the included extensions. If you want it to fit a wider space, Munchkin does sell extra extensions for this model.
|Type of Gate: Pressure-Mounted|
|Width: 29.5” to 35” Wide|
|Fits narrow doorways|
|Extra extensions available|
|Outward pressure requires sturdy location.|
|Doesn’t shut by itself|
|Not approved for top of the stairs.|
If you have stairs, you have to make sure that you make the right pick for a baby gate. One of the baby gates for stairs is by Kidco. Why? Because this gate is designed specifically to be sure at the top of the stairs, and it meets all of the necessary requirements.
First, there is no dangerous threshold to walk over that might cause you to trip. You can attach this gate to railing posts or the wall. It happens to be one of the top recommended picks by parents for stair gates. Kidco made sure their gate has a secure construction.
Parents can open the gate one-handed, which is perfect for those times you carry a sleeping child to their bedroom. The gate doesn’t automatically swing shut, which some parents prefer to have. It has a one-direction swing and hinge mechanism, so you never have to worry that the gate is going to swing out over the stairs. You can reverse it depending on your stairway configuration.
Kidco sells their gate in either black or white, so you can pick the one that goes with your decor. One thing to keep in mind is that the included screws seem to be rather short, so some parents use thier own screws. It offers hinge mounting as well.
The gate works for openings that measure 28 to 43.5-inches wide. With the mounting, you can attach it at different angles as well!
|Type of Gate: Stairs Gate – Hardware-Mounted|
|Width: 28” to 43.5” Wide|
|No threshold to walk over|
|Attaches to walls and railings|
|One-direction swing for safety|
|Screw and hinge mounting options|
|No auto-swing shut|
|Only intended for stairs usage|
|No extensions available|
Cardinal Gates may cost a bit more than Kidso, but it has great features to offer. The locking mechanism is so tricky that no baby or toddler will be able to figure it out. That might mean you lock Grandma out as well, but most people can figure it out with a bit of practice. A tricky lock is a GOOD thing; you don’t want baby tumbling down the stairs after he escapes from his crib at night.
Don’t worry; once you figure it out, parents can open the lock one-handed. The trick is to make sure you push down on both latch tabs while pulling upwards on the gate. No toddler can do all of that at one time, but an adult with improved dexterity can.
So, aside from an impressive locking system, Cardinal Gates offers parents the most important features for safety at the top of stairs. There is no bar to stepover at the bottom of the gate. It attaches to railing posts and walls.
This gate won’t swing shut automatically behind you, but it will close if you give it a bump. You can mount the gate at a 30-degree angle, which is perfect because some hallways are designed strangely. It allows you to mount it to different walls and accommodate railing layouts.
Cardinal Gates included a stop-bracket that stops the gate from swinging out over the stairs. However, this feature is optional, so you don’t have to install it if you don’t want. The gate fits doorways from 26 to 40-inches, and it is around 30-inches tall.
One thing to note is that the installation can be a bit tricky, so you will want to follow the directions closely.
|Type of Gate: Stairs Gate – Hardware-Mounted|
|Width: 26” to 40” Wide|
|Childproof lock that is tricky|
|Mounts at an angle|
|No step-over threshold|
|Stop bracket so gate doesn’t swing over gate|
|No option for hinge-mounting|
|Doesn’t swing shut automatically|
North States offers parents another fantastic choice for a baby gate, but this gate is designed for stairs. It has the features that parents want to see in a stairway gate, such as a one-handed open and a sturdy construction. North States constructed the gate with steel, and finished it with a matte bronze that matches many decors.
The gate doesn’t swing shut automatically, but it will lock automatically if you forcefully shut it. There is no threshold to walk over when you come up the stairs, and the gate won’t swing out over the stairs. The gate comes with all of the mounting hardware necessary, and you can attach the gate to walls or railings.
It is a great choice for homes with extra-wide openings. The gate fits openings from 28 to 48-inches, so it fits in almost any space. Overall, the North States Stairs Gate is a great contender, plus it has a nice finish that parents appreciate. No one wants an ugly gate because it does become part of your home!
|Type of Gate: Stairs Gate – Hardware-Mounted|
|Width: 28” to 48” Wide|
|Constructed with steel|
|Doesn’t swing out over stairs|
|Fits extra-wide openings|
|No open for hinge mounting|
|Doesn’t automatically shut|
How to Pick the Right Baby Gate for You
So, there are so many great pciks on the market, but how in the world do you pick the one for you? Here are some considerations to make before making your final purchase.
- Where Do You Want to Put the Gate? Swing open gates are perfect for corraling your toddler in the living room, but you want to make sure you pick a gate designed for the top of the stairs if thats where it will be located. Pressure-mounted gates that apply pressure outwards won’t be ideal to use against a wooden railing or banisters. Thresholds are dangerous to step over. Make sure you consider WHERE the gate will be first.
- Is The Gate Sturdy? Next, look at the sturdiness of a gate. Any parent with a toddler can tell you that toddlers are incredibly strong for their size. They will try to push and pull the gate loose. Your toddler might try to climb over the gate or use it as a leaning post as he watches Paw Patrol. You need a gate that is sturdy!
- Is The Locking Mechanism Childproof? Most locks are tricky for kids under two-years-old, but toddlers are intelligent. What good is a gate if your child figures out the locking mechanism as the terrible twos strike? Make sure the lock is tricky for toddlers but easy for parents to use. Locks that require two motions at once, like twisting and lifting, are perfect.
- Can You Open It With One Hand? Moms are experts at doing EVERYTHING with one hand. You are going to be carrying laundry baskets, stacks of dishes, and that precious baby around the house. If you have your baby in arms, can you open the gate one handed? If not, the gate isn’t a good purchase for you.
- Will It Fit Your Doorway? At the top of this buyer’s guide, we recommended that you measure you doorway, but it has to be said again. Make sure the gate will fit the width of your doorframe. Try to pick a gate that offers a wide range of measurements. If your doorway measures 35-inches, get a gate that works for gates that are between 31 and 38 inches.
The Best Baby Gate
It is hard to pick just ONE best baby gate, but the North States Supergate is the best of the best. It offers multiple extensions, so it will fit almost any doorframe. The lock is tricky for toddlers, but perfect for parents. You can open it one-handed! While it isn’t ideal for the top of the stairs, you can use it almost anywhere else.
Buying a baby gate is an important purchase, so put some serious considerations into your needs and wants. One of these impressive choices will meet all of your important requirements, and then you can sit back and relax. Your baby will be safe and contained.