Childproofing your home usually comes hand in hand with ensuring the safety of your baby. As babies grow, from the time they start crawling and moving a lot, they are faced with different hazards in your home. One way to make your baby safe all the time is by installing the best baby gates in areas where you want to block his or her access such as in stairways, kitchen, bathroom, fireplace and the likes.

Through this review we hope to guide you in getting the best baby gates to suit your requirement and style.

 

Usage and Benefits

Baby gates are used to prevent a child from accessing an area of a house that is not child safe. Baby gates are often installed inside the house to block access to stairways, between rooms, hallways and main doors. These safety gates can also be used outside the house in patios or balconies.

Gated playpens also serve the same purpose with that of baby gates. While the latter is mounted on walls, playpens are assembled to enclose a particular area to serve as your child’s play yard. But, there are extra wide baby gates that can be converted to standing playpens as well.

However, like most childproofing items, baby gates and playpens are only made to assist you or your babysitter to supervise your baby easily. These products shall not be the alternative to an adult presence and protection.

Top of Stairs

There are baby gates made especially for stairways. Baby gates installed on top of the stairs should be hardware mounted to zero out possibility of falls and gate collapse. If the gate has swing, it should swing to just one direction particularly on the side opposite the bottom of the stairs. If you intend to install the gate on top of the stairs make sure to choose from among those that are approved for top of the stairs installation like the following products:

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Evenflo Top Of Stairs Gate
  • One hand release handle is easy for parents but too difficult for children
  • Removable swing stop prevents gate from swinging out over stairs
  • Gate swings open one or both directions making it convenient for high traffic areas
  • Red/green lock indicator shows if gate is properly locked
  • Four point mounting hardware makes installation a cinch
Retract-A-Gate
  • Certified for use at the top and bottom of stairs by the JPMA
  • Proven for use with cats and dogs; mesh is scratch resistant
  • Quiet one hand operation when opening or closing
  • Tough, washable, and see-through fabric
  • Childproof lock on top prevents it from opening
Kidco Safeway Gate
  • Easy one hand adult operation
  • Quick release hardware allows gate to be easily removed when not needed
  • Directional stop prevents gate from swinging out over stairs
  • Hinge side hardware can be mounted on an angled surface
  • Heavy duty steel construction
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North States Supergate
  • Adjusts to fit openings 28 to 42 inches wide and is 30 inches high
  • Ideal for top of stairs, bottom of stairs or between rooms
  • Hardware mounts, removes easily when not in use
  • Safety latch offers easy one-hand operation
  • Proudly made in the U.S.A.
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Summer Infant Gate
  • Pressure mounted installation for between rooms with hardware included for top of stair use^Accommodates openings 28" to 42.5" wide; stands tall at 30"^Comfort grip handle with dual locking operation; can be opened and closed with one hand^Versatile, provides a secure barrier for pets^Walnut wood and charcoal accent finish blends with any home decor. Durable Product
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Cardinal Gates
  • Great for high traffic areas, doorways, or bottom of stairs; Stairway Special Safety Gate is best for top-of-stairs.
  • The Auto Lock features a patented latch that allows rapid pass through in either directionJust swing the gate shut and door closes automatically
  • Has an optional stop bracket that prevents opening over a stairway for greater safety
  • Adjustable width: 26.5" to 40.5".The autolock child safety gate is 29.5" tall.
  • The Auto Lock is made of aluminum and is powder coated which results in a beautiful but tough gate
Evenflo Top Of Stairs Gate
  • Top of stair wooden gate
  • 32" tall
  • Expands from 30" to 48" wide
  • Hardware mounted
  • Removable swing control
Kidco Safeway Gate
  • Easy one hand adult operation
  • Quick release hardware allows gate to be easily removed when not needed
  • Directional stop prevents gate from swinging out over stairs
  • Hinge side hardware can be mounted on an angled surface
  • Heavy duty steel construction
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Munchkin Easy-Close Metal Safety Gate
  • Includes (1) white Easy Close Safety Gate with (1) 2.75" extension to fit openings up to 35"; additional extensions are available for purchase on Amazon
  • Easy to use; simply push gate to close and lock
  • Dual-locking mechanism allows door to swing in both directions
  • Pressure-fit baby gate with hardware included for added safety
  • Measures: 29.5" tall and 29.5" - 35" wide with the included extension (fits up to 54" wide with if additional extensions are purchased). See From the Manufacturer section for additional information

 

For Between Rooms/Hallways/Bottom of Stairs

Baby gates designed especially for top of the stairs can also be installed on doorways between rooms, hallways and bottom of stairs. Also, pressure mounted gates or those that do not require tools to mount are better used only for these purposes. Pressure mounted gates are easier to install than hardware mounted gates. Also, the good side is that they will not leave marks on your wall when you decide to remove them.

For Outdoor

There are baby gates designed for outdoor use so when the weather allows it you can bring your child for a playtime outside free from harm’s way. These gates are best installed in your patio and decks. We included in this review Cardinal gates especially designed for outdoor use.

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Cardinal Gates Outdoor Child Safety Gate, Brown
  • Weatherproof - No better gate for outdoor use
  • Perfect for patios and decks
  • Easy installation
  • Adjustable width
  • Extensions available sold separately

Freestanding Playpen

Freestanding playpens are like ensemble of several gates that can enclose an area where your child can play free from uncertain dangers. Some freestanding playpen can be used as gate for larger openings like this product from North States and Regalo.

North States Superyard 3-in-1 Metal Gate
  • Comes with six removable and adjustable panels; encloses up to 10 square feet and is 30 inches high
  • Optional two panel extensions are available and will increase the size from 10 square feet to 19 square feet Unlimited two panel extensions may be used
  • Can also be hardware mounted as an extra wide barrier or fireplace screen
  • Swinging walk thru door panel is built with a child proof double locking system allowing easy access
  • 3 in 1 Metal Superyard is a great playard or play area for your young toddler or small pets, both indoors and outside
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Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Gate and Play Yard, White
  • Includes 8 removable and configurable panels that enclose 19 sq. feet
  • Expands to become a 192-inch wall mounted gate and 8-panel configuarble playard
  • Convenient walk through design with safety locking feature
  • Folds down for easy set up and storage ; All steel durable design
  • Juvenile Product Association Certified ; Great for pet too!

Some freestanding playpens have colorful designs and some even have attached toys on it.

North States Superyard Colorplay 6 Panel Playard
  • Easy access door offers one hand operation and dual lock for safety
  • Comes with six removable and adjustable panels; encloses up to 18.5 square feet and is 26" high
  • Optional two panel extension available and will increase the size from 18.5 square feet to 34 square feet
  • Works on any surface both indoors and outside; will not scratch
  • No assembly just click panels into place
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Friendly Toys Little Playzone with Electronic Lights and Sounds
  • ASTM & CPSC Certified for Child Safety
  • Electronic Lightup Activity Board With Interactive Sounds
  • This Playpen Provides 13 sq ft of space
  • Swinging hinged door with Safety Lock
  • Picture House, Spinning Balls, Play Phone, and Light Up Musical Keyboard
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North States Superyard Colorplay Ultimate Playard
  • Easy access door offers one hand operation and dual lock for safety
  • Comes with six removable and adjustable panels; encloses up to 18.5 square feet and is 26" high
  • Optional two panel extension available
  • Works on any surface both indoors and outside; Will not scratch
  • No assembly just click panels into place

Buying Guide

In looking for the best baby gate, design, size, material composition, ease of installation and safety features should be your top considerations.

Design

Baby gates come on different designs apart from being made out of different materials. These baby gates can be a swinging gate type, playpen or retractable type. Swinging gate type is also termed as pass through, walk through and door type because you can pass through it just like a door. Most of the products that we reviewed have this design. Freestanding playpens just like we discussed above can also be used as fence with gate for larger openings or just simply encloses the area with pass through feature. Retractable gates, on the other hand, are those that retract automatically when closing without the need to roll the gate manually. Retractable gates are usually made of washable yet sturdy mesh fabric.

Retract-A-Gate safety gate 52" wide White
  • Certified for use at the top and bottom of stairs by the JPMA
  • Proven for use with cats and dogs; mesh is scratch resistant
  • Quiet one hand operation when opening or closing
  • Tough, washable, and see-through fabric
  • Childproof lock on top prevents it from opening

Size

Sizes of different baby gates are usually determined by the measurement of gate height and width. The height is crucial because the gate should be the right measurement to discourage your child from climbing over the gate. The gate should be at least three-quarters of your child’s height. Gates with at least 22 inches high are safe. However if your child is taller than his or her age, then you may want to consider the tallest but safest baby gates available out there just like the following products:

Regalo Home Accents Gate
  • Walk through design with hard-wood inserts and premium finish
  • Color: Black with Cherry Wood
  • This gate stands 38" tall for added security, Expands to fit openings from 29 to 44" wide, pressure mounted
  • Features easy close handle, simply push the door closed
  • American society for testing and materials certified
Dreambaby Chelsea Security Gate
  • Extra tall in height at 39.4"
  • Made of steel
  • Pressure mounted, no hardware needed to damage your walls
  • Has automatic swing closed and locking door
  • Sold separately are banister gate adaptors
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Regalo Deluxe Gate
  • • Walk through design with premium pearl black finish
  • • This gate stands 41" tall and Expands to fit openings between 29"-39"
  • • One hand open with safety locking feature, pressure mounted
  • • American society for testing and materials certified
  • • American society for testing and materials certified; Great for pets too

The width of the gate on the other hand will depend on the location where you want the gate to be mounted. The products included in this review have 26 up to 72 inches measurement. So before shopping for the best baby gate of your choice, make sure to measure the width of the area you want to barricade. Makers usually indicate the gates measurement on product description.

For doorways or hallways, Supergate by North States and Expansion Gate by Summer Infant are the widest with measurements that can be extended up to 72 inches.

Supergate by North States
  • Adjusts to fit openings 38.3 to 72 inches wide and is 30 inches high.Pivot points on gate panels allow for mounting on angled walls
  • Ideal for extra-wide openings such as between rooms or the bottom of stairs
  • Heavy duty metal construction in a matte bronze finish will compliment any home décor
  • Arched gate is an extra wide 25.5 inches
  • Entire barrier swings open on both sides with child-proof safety latch on both ends
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Expansion Gate by Summer Infant
  • Secure hardware mounted design with 4 extensions included for use between extra wide openings
  • 36"tall gate fits extra wide openings, between 44 and 72" wide
  • Simple, one-handed walk thru door
  • Soft scratch guard on bottom rail to prevent the gate from scratching hardwood floors
  • Bronze finish

While, for top of stairs gate, Retract-A-Gate can barricade up to 52 inches while baby gates from Evenflo can cover up to 48 inches opening.

Retract-A-Gate
  • Certified for use at the top and bottom of stairs by the JPMA
  • Proven for use with cats and dogs; mesh is scratch resistant
  • Quiet one hand operation when opening or closing
  • Tough, washable, and see-through fabric
  • Childproof lock on top prevents it from opening
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Evenflo Top-of-Stair Gate
  • One hand release handle is easy for parents but too difficult for children
  • Removable swing stop prevents gate from swinging out over stairs
  • Gate swings open one or both directions making it convenient for high traffic areas
  • Red/green lock indicator shows if gate is properly locked
  • Four point mounting hardware makes installation a cinch
Evenflo Top of Stair Plus Gate
  • Top of stair wooden gate
  • 32" tall
  • Expands from 30" to 48" wide
  • Hardware mounted
  • Removable swing control

For freestanding playpens the area that can be enclosed usually determines the size. Playpens from Regalo  can cover the largest area up to 19 square feet. Most of freestanding playpens however can be extended anytime by buying the appropriate expansion panels.

Material Composition

Baby gates and playpens are usually made from metal, wood, bamboo, plastic and fabric.

Metal
Metal is the most durable among the other materials mentioned. Stainless steel and aluminum are often used because of their lightweight characteristics. Baby gates made for outdoor use are usually made of metals as well.

Baby gates made of metals are more stylish and usually come in different finishes such as bronze, white, black and brown.

Wood
Baby gates made of wood are less expensive than metal-made baby gates. Wood is sometimes used together with metal to make baby gates as well.

Bamboo
In this review, we have included an eco-friendly product made of bamboo and recycled plastic from Safety 1st. Being environment-friendly conscious on all things is great especially when we have our child to think about to save the environment for.

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Safety 1st Nature Next Bamboo Gate
  • Features a durable bamboo frame
  • Panels are made of 100% recycled plastic
  • Extends 28 to 42 inches for use in doors and openings
  • Height of 24 inches keeps you feeling safe
  • Pressure mounted system makes it easy to install and move between locations

Plastic
Plastics are used for freestanding playpens intended for indoor and outdoor use. What is great about plastics is that they are very lightweight and can be carried easily from one place to another. They are especially ideal materials for playpens because they can be made into different attractive colors that children like.

Fabric
Fabrics are the materials used for retractable or winding baby gates. Fabric-made gates are also advisable for those who frequently travel with their babies since fabric can easily be rolled and folded. These fabric-made gates also require no tools to install hence they can be installed easily and quickly: Safety 1st Fabric Gate and Evenflo Soft N Wide Gate. However, these gates do not have doors and you need to step over them to pass through.

Safety 1st Fabric Gate
  • Adjustable from 38 inches to 60 inches
  • 27 inches high
  • Sturdy adjustable design
  • Pressure mounted
  • Perfect for hallways and between rooms
Evenflo Soft N Wide Gate
  • Non-marring rubber bumpers help prevent damage to your home
  • Extra-wide to fit a variety of openings
  • No tools required
  • Neutral styling and fashion complements a variety of home decors
  • Not safe for top of stairs

Although fabric-made baby gates are less sturdy than metal and wooden type, Retract-A-Gate safety gate is approved by JPMA as safe for top of the stairs installation.

Retract-A-Gate safety gate
  • Certified for use at the top and bottom of stairs by the JPMA
  • Proven for use with cats and dogs; mesh is scratch resistant
  • Quiet one hand operation when opening or closing
  • Tough, washable, and see-through fabric
  • Childproof lock on top prevents it from opening

 

Safety Considerations

Certification on Quality and Safety
To ensure that the baby gate of your choice is independently tested to be safe, look for certifications or mark from the following agencies: CPSC, ASTM International, and JPMA.

Mounting System
Baby gates are also classified based on how they are mounted on walls – if they are hardware mounted or pressure mounted. Hardware mounted gates are said to be more secure than pressure mounted gates. For top of the stairs installation, the mounting system should always involve use of hardware tools. Pressure mounted systems are only approved for between rooms and bottom of stairs installation.

Slat Spacing
Another important safety consideration. Slat spacing matters usually to metal or wooden baby gates. A safe distance between slats should be less than 3 inches apart to prevent head entrapment.

Latch
A safe baby gates should come with a dual-action latch that cannot be opened by your baby. It should be easy for you to use but should not be easy for your baby to figure out. Ensure that the latch is child proof so that your baby cannot accidentally open it.

Automatic Close
For your convenience a gate with auto-close feature is a great help so that every time you pass through it you can just let the gate close behind you.

Using the above considerations, we made our picks of the best baby gate on categories that we think are relevant on your choice.

 

Best Top of Stairs Baby Gates

Our choice of the best baby gates for top of the stairs use is Summer Infant Anywhere Decorative Gate.

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Summer Infant Anywhere Decorative Walk-Thru Gate
  • Pressure mounted installation for between rooms with hardware included for top of stair use^Accommodates openings 28" to 42.5" wide; stands tall at 30"^Comfort grip handle with dual locking operation; can be opened and closed with one hand^Versatile, provides a secure barrier for pets^Walnut wood and charcoal accent finish blends with any home decor. Durable Product

The gate has an attractive design with a combination of steel and wooden materials that make the product durable as well. The charcoal accent finish with Walnut wood has an elegant appeal to it that would surely stand out if not blend with your home décor.

The product is JPMA certified and thus the height and width measurements are safe and compatible enough to suit your requirement (30 inches height and 28 to 42.5 inches width). It is designed with all the safety features such as the dual locking system, swing stopper on one side and mix of hardware and pressure mount systems.

The product is further designed for your ease and convenience with its smooth finish, easy to open features as well as easy installation. The product is highly rated and on the midrange price.

What is great about this product is that on top of its safe and user-friendly features the design is perfect and pleasing to the eyes.

 

Best Value Top of Stairs Baby Gates

Our pick for the best value baby gate for top of stairs use is Evenflo Top of Stair Gate.

Evenflo Top of Stair Plus Gate
  • Top of stair wooden gate
  • 32" tall
  • Expands from 30" to 48" wide
  • Hardware mounted
  • Removable swing control

This baby gate is made from wood and is specifically designed for top of stairs use with width ranging from 30 to 48 inches. Swing control is removable when you decide to install it in doorways or hallways. The product is hardware mounted to ensure that it will not collapse from your child’s pushing.

This baby gate from Evenflo is also designed for convenience of parents with its one hand release feature.

The design of this gate is very simple and neat. What is great about this product is that with the best price, you get to bring home a decent and safe baby gate that can actually serve or even exceed its purpose.

 

Best Between Rooms Baby Gates

We pick Summer Infant and North States as the best baby gates for use between rooms; the former for standard door opening and the latter for extra wide opening.

Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate, Bronze
  • Kindly refer User manual for installation issues
  • Pressure mounted installation for use between rooms with optional hardware mounts included for installation on stairways
  • 36" tall gate fits openings 28-48" wide
  • Dual locking, auto-close walk through door.Bronze metal finish
  • Removable door stopper for use at top of stairs, prevents gate from opening towards staircase

I is made of metal and can be pressure mounted or hardware mounted. This gate is extra tall and stands up to 36 inches and fits 28 to 48 inches opening. The product has all the safety and user-friendly features of childproof baby gate like dual locking and auto-close feature.

Also, what makes this product great is its perfect design to match your interior decors with its bronze metal finish. In fact, this product is a recipient of Moms’ Picks Award from Baby Center for Best Looks & Best Ease of Use.

 

North States Supergate Deluxe Décor Metal Gate, Matte Bronze
  • Adjusts to fit openings 38.3 to 72 inches wide and is 30 inches high.Pivot points on gate panels allow for mounting on angled walls
  • Ideal for extra-wide openings such as between rooms or the bottom of stairs
  • Heavy duty metal construction in a matte bronze finish will compliment any home décor
  • Arched gate is an extra wide 25.5 inches
  • Entire barrier swings open on both sides with child-proof safety latch on both ends

For larger openings, this gate is a great choice to barricade up to 72 inches. The product stands up to 30 inches high and makes use of hardware mount system. The design is great and made to compliment your home interior with its matte bronze finish and arched gate construction. The product can be installed straight across or angled depending on your preference. It has matching extensions sold separately if 72 inches is not enough for you.

Just like all great baby gates, this product from North States is designed to help your life easier and aid you in supervising your child. You can choose to let the gate swing on both sides or put a stopper on one side. The product is JPMA certified to further put your mind at ease.

 

Best Value Between Rooms Baby Gates

Our pick for the best value baby gates for between rooms is Safety 1st Nature Bamboo Gate.

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Safety 1st Nature Next Bamboo Gate
  • Features a durable bamboo frame
  • Panels are made of 100% recycled plastic
  • Extends 28 to 42 inches for use in doors and openings
  • Height of 24 inches keeps you feeling safe
  • Pressure mounted system makes it easy to install and move between locations

This product is not only affordable but eco-friendly as well being made from durable bamboo frame and recycled plastic panels. The measurement of this product suits most doorways and hallways, easy to install and safe to use for babies.

 

Best Freestanding Playpen

Our pick for the best freestanding playpen is Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Gate.

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Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Gate and Play Yard, White
  • Includes 8 removable and configurable panels that enclose 19 sq. feet
  • Expands to become a 192-inch wall mounted gate and 8-panel configuarble playard
  • Convenient walk through design with safety locking feature
  • Folds down for easy set up and storage ; All steel durable design
  • Juvenile Product Association Certified ; Great for pet too!

This gate from Regalo is made with 8 removable and linkable panels that surround a 19 square feet area. What is nice about this product is that it can be wall mounted to cover a 192 inches opening or wall distance and still extendable with extensions sold separately.

The product is durable being made from steel and certified safe by ASTM and JPMA. The safe locking feature is convenient as well as the set-up and installation.

So, if you are looking for a baby gate with proven multiple functionalities then this is the best product for you with multiple uses as fire place guard, stair way barricade, Christmas tree barrier, play yard and many more.

 

Best Value Freestanding Playpen

Our pick for the best value freestanding playpen is North States Colorful Superyard.

North States Superyard Colorplay 6 Panel Playard
  • Easy access door offers one hand operation and dual lock for safety
  • Comes with six removable and adjustable panels; encloses up to 18.5 square feet and is 26" high
  • Optional two panel extension available and will increase the size from 18.5 square feet to 34 square feet
  • Works on any surface both indoors and outside; will not scratch
  • No assembly just click panels into place

Made from colorful plastics that kids surely will find attractive, this freestanding playpen from North States comes with 6 panels. It encloses 18.5 square feet with extensions sold separately to increase the area covered up to 34.4 square feet and stands up to 26 inches high.

This playpen will not scratch your hardwood floors and is safe to use outdoor. The product is easy to install and can be carried easily from one place to another.

The product is offered at an affordable price yet the quality and safety is not compromised so you can have a JPMA approved product to ease your mind and let your child enjoy a colorful play yard and at the same time stimulating to his or her crucial development stage.

Final Note

Childproofing your house with the best baby gates of your choice can be very useful for you. This way your child gets also the liberty to move around and enjoy his or her independence in the safety of one secure place in your home or outdoor if weather permits for more stimulating and fun activity in your yard.

We hope through this guide you can make the right choice in which baby gates to buy that would surely be of long use for you and will accompany you to see your baby through as he or she grows.