Here Are the Best Baby Gates to Meet All Your Childproofing Needs

From covering stairs, pools, and more, these baby gates provide peace of mind

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Baby gates are essential when it comes to keeping your child safe. Whether you need to block stairs or a room, gates ensure your little one will not be able to go into an unsafe area. In addition to babyproofing, gates can also double as safety tools for pets. Of course, you'll want to make the sure the gate you choose is sturdy and functions as promised.

Reviewed & Approved

The Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Baby Gate is specially designed for the top of the stairway with a one-hand latch that's easy for adults to use, but not the kiddos. For a pressure-mounted gate, we recommend the Regalo Easy Step 38.5-Inch Extra Wide Walk Thru Baby Gate.

Measure the space where you are going to use the baby gate and check the installation method to see if you'll need any additional tools for assembly. We carefully considered design, material, ease of installation and use, and value when reviewing products.

Here are the best baby gates to meet all your babyproofing needs.

Best for Top of Stairs: Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Baby Gate

cardinal-baby-gate

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Multiple mounting options

  • Very sturdy

  • One-hand latch system

Cons
  • May require professional for installation

The Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Baby Gate is high on our list because this baby gate is specially designed for the top of the stairway, as it mounts at angles up to 30 degrees, which allows for the location of a stud when mounting on drywall. The aluminum construction is lightweight and easy to clean, and the one-hand latch system is difficult for kids to use, but makes for easy adult operation.

The optional stop bracket with this system prevents opening over a stairway for even greater safety. For staircases that are larger than average, you can buy attachments that will make up the distance.

Dimensions: 27 x 2 x 29.5 inches | Material Type: Aluminum | Product Weight: 3 pounds | Use: Stairways

Best Pressure-Mounted: Regalo Easy Step 38.5-Inch Extra Wide Walk Thru Baby Gate

Regalo Easy Step 38.5-Inch Extra Wide Walk Thru Baby Gate

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Tool-free installation

  • Wide expansion option

Cons
  • Not recommended for stairs

Pressure-mounted gates are wonderful because they don't require tools or holes in the wall. The Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru gate sets up in minutes so you can keep your baby contained in an instant.

Users love the extra-wide expansion option (it expands to openings between 29 and 39 inches wide and stands 30 inches tall), and its ease of set-up. With an included 6-inch wide extension kit, this gate can be used in doorways, hallways, or at the bottom of the stairs, and it’s easy to move around. The extra safety lock feature is nice for added security, as well.

Pressure-mounted gates shouldn't be used at the top of a staircase, but this gate would work great in between rooms to keep baby in or out.

Dimensions: 38.5 x 2 x 30 inches | Material Type: Metal | Product Weight: .352 ounces | Use: Multipurpose

Best Retractable: Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Adjustable Baby Gate and Play Yard

Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Adjustable Baby Gate and Play Yard

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Superwide build

  • Different configuration options

Cons
  • Not safe to use as freestanding gate

There are certain scenarios where a regular-sized—or even extra wide—baby safety gate option just won’t do, for example, if you have an open floor plan or want to contain your baby outside. If you’re looking for a baby gate that can cover an expansive area, the Regalo 193-inch super-wide adjustable gate and play yard fits the bill.

The superwide gate fits openings of up to 192 inches wide, and it can be configured to either extend straight as a gate or circular as a play yard. The gate is wall mounted and folds flat for easy storage. There is even an additional hardware mount available for added safety. In total, there are eight 24-inch panels that can be pieced together to create the barrier you need for your space.

Dimensions: 192.13 x 0.39 x 27.95 inches | Material Type: Steel | Product Weight: 30.8 pounds | Use: Multipurpose

Best Decorative: Summer Multi-Use Decorative Extra Tall Walk-Thru Baby Gate

Summer Multi-Use Decorative Extra Tall Walk-Thru Baby Gate

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Stylish

  • Opening automatically swings shut

Cons
  • More expensive

The Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate may be pretty to look at, but it’s not without safety merits. This gate uses a pressure-mounted system, so it’s best for blocking off rooms, but there are optional hardware mounts available for purchase that could make it useful at the top of the stairs, as well. The gate uses a dual locking, auto-close walk-through door, making it easy to close behind you.

If bronze doesn't fit into your decor scheme, this also comes in an off-white color option. Reviewers say it is sturdy and easy to install. Basically, this gate is everything you'd want in something that will protect your child.

Dimensions: 48 x 0.5 x 36 inches | Material Type: Metal | Product Weight: 21 pounds | Use: Stairways and doorways

Best Budget: Evenflo Position & Lock Classic Pressure Mount Gate

Evenflo Pressure Mount Gate

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Easy to take down

  • Rubber bumpers to protect walls

  • No tools required

  • Not suitable for stairs

Just because this product has a stellar price point doesn’t mean it isn’t high on safety standards. The Evenflo Position and Lock Wood Gate ​is as simple as baby gates come, and while you shouldn’t use it for the top of the stairs, it’s a nice quick fix elsewhere when you need something that’s easy to put up and take down.

The non-marring rubber bumpers prevent damage to your walls when mounted, and the locking bar is notched for easy installation and requires no tools to put up.

Dimensions: 2.5 x 25.5 x 23.5 inches | Material Type: Wood | Product Weight: 3 pounds | Use: Multipurpose

Best Wide: Evenflo Soft and Wide gate

Evenflo Soft and Wide Gate

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Travel-friendly

  • Pressure mounted

Cons
  • Mesh can easily rip or become damaged

If you have large doorways, you'll need a baby gate that can extend further than average. This model goes up to 60 inches in width so it can fit large open spaces. What's neat about this is that it folds up compactly, making it a smart option for travel or something to leave at the grandparents' house that won't take up much real estate when not in use.

Since this is a pressure-mounted gate, it is not suited for the tops of stairs but can be used in many other places in the home. It's machine-washable which is a major bonus. Reviewers comment that set-up is a breeze, it isn't an eyesore, and it keeps their kids (or pets) contained.

Dimensions: 60 x 2 x 27 inches | Material Type: Metal and cloth | Product Weight: 6 pounds | Use: Multipurpose

Best Play Yard: North States Toddleroo Superyard Colorplay 8 Panel Playard

North States Toddleroo Superyard Colorplay 8 Panel Playard

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Durable material

  • Won't damage wood floors

Cons
  • Not ideal for walking toddlers

A play yard is a very useful piece of equipment to have for your baby. While it won't keep them off of the stairs, it can be used in your living room so your baby can hang out safely while you tend to some chores or in the backyard as a safe haven. It has a soft coating on the bottom so it won't scratch hardwood floors and is also made of a durable material that can withstand the elements outside.

Reviewers commented that this provided a safe space for their baby but few noted it might not be that sturdy and their children eventually learned how to climb out. So while this isn't a permanent solution to corralling your kids, it gets the job done in a pinch, especially for younger, less mobile babies.

Dimensions: 262.5 x 2 x 26 inches | Material Type: Plastic | Product Weight: 25.6 pounds | Use: Freestanding

Final Verdict

For parents and caregivers looking for a safe, top-of-the-stairs baby gate, the Cardinal Gates Stairway Baby Gate (view on Amazon) is a great option thanks to its durability and ability to withstand active babies and toddlers.

But if you are looking for a gate that can double as a play yard, try out the North States Superyard Play Yard (view on Amazon). Aside from its bright and fun colors, your little one can safely play with plenty of space to explore.

What to Look for in a Baby Gate

Size

Measure the space where you are going to use the baby gate. Whether it is the opening at the top of the staircase or the doorway leading into the kitchen, you'll want to make sure that the gate is wide and tall enough to safely fit into the space.

Material

Baby gates are available in various materials, depending on where you will be using them and their purpose. For older toddlers who can easily topple over a gate that is made of flimsy plastic, you'll want to consider a more weighted option that will stay in place. On the other hand, an easy to clean and lightweight plastic option might be better for outdoor use or travel.

Installation

The method of installation for a baby gate matters, both for ease of use and for safety. Pressure-mounted gates are simple to put in place, but they are not suitable for use at the top of a staircase, since they could get knocked out of place and allow a little one to fall down the stairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When should I start using a baby gate?

    An ideal time to put up a baby gate is before your child starts crawling, which can be anywhere from 6 to 9 months. If that seems early to you, remember that all it takes it just a few seconds with a turned back for a baby to get across the room or into something dangerous. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the gate properly.

  • Do we need a baby gate at the bottom and top of the stairs?

    It is strongly recommended to use a baby gate at the top and bottom of your stairs. When installing a gate at the top of your stairs, look for ones that screw into the wall instead of pressure mount for safety reasons. If you put a baby gate at the top of your stairs, you need one that is very sturdy that won’t collapse under the weight of a toddler pushing on it, which could send both the gate and your child tumbling. If you have a wide staircase, look into buying an extender for an exact fit.

    Having a gate at the bottom of the stairs prevents little ones from climbing up and then falling back down.

  • How long do baby gates last?

    You should use baby gates from the time your baby is about 6 months old until around age 2. Baby gates help keep your children safe from stairs, doors, hot stoves, and more. If your baby’s chin is above the baby gate, it might be time to take the gate down. Or, if your child can unlatch it or climb over it, it might be time to ditch them. But remember that every kid is different and develops differently.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Katrina Cossey has been a digital content producer and news and feature writer for more than six years. She has covered local and national news as well as writing and researching parenting topics. Katrina is a parent herself and has a passion for helping parents and caregivers through writing.

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