Top 10 Baby Gates Buying Guide (2018 Review)


Safety is always the number one priority if you have a baby. However, toddlers can be crafty little humans, always moving quietly and swiftly when least expected.

Being a parent of an active toddler, you certainly attest to the fact that it is impossible to keep an eye on him/her all times. This is especially true when they start exploring the house.

There are certain parts you don’t want them in, perhaps calling for the importance of having baby gates. Baby proofing your home undoubtedly comes down to restriction, which can be achieved by installing the best baby gate in your home.

These gates are designed to section off rooms and spaces to prevent toddlers and babies from dangerous places such as kitchen and staircases.

That said, finding the best product can be daunting due to the overwhelmingly saturated market for baby products. However, worry not as our baby gate review outlines some of the best products as well as buying guide to help you make a good choice.

What are the Best Baby Gates for Stairs

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1. North States Baby Gate 

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The North States Baby Gate is all about options. It comes with sets of extensions that allow users to extend or widen beyond the standard 28-inches. You can push it open to 90 degrees and clicks in place, perhaps an ideal choice when lugging in groceries.

There are two ways of unlocking the gate, making it easy to pass through. Best of all, there is an additional unlocking step that comes in handy in outwitting older kids.


  • Walk through door
  • Self-locking latch
  • Tough and durable construction


  • Tedious installation instructions

What We Liked About This Product

We liked the fact that the North States Baby Gate features unique door sockets that provide the much-needed pressure and extra holding power for use in openings and doorways. It is a  great asset for pets too.

Apart from being easy to use, the gate has rounded edges that won’t pinch. It can also be used as a swing gate with specially designed rail sockets that allow the gate to be used between the wrought iron railings with ease.

2. Evenflo Soft and Wide Baby Gate

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If you are looking for a baby gate with utmost protection and convenience, try the Evenflo Soft and Wide Baby Gate. It is a standard width gate perfect for the top of the stairs but can also be ideal for hallways, bedrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens and playrooms.

This bracket based screw-mounted baby gate that requires approximately 15 minutes to install.


  • One hand handle
  • Easy walkthrough
  • Signals red or green to indicate lock status
  • Has swing lock for additional stair safety
  • Durable


  • Flimsy hardware

What We Liked About This Product

We liked the far and wide nature of this gate. It is extra wide for use in various parts of your home. It is also classically mounted making it easy to install and won’t damage your home like screw mounts. You will also certainly like the lightweight and portable feature of this gate.

The gate is a perfect choice to take for travel and visits with your kid. Assembly is also easy, with no tools being required. The construction that uses metal and cloth also ascertains durability.

3. Safety 1st Baby Gate

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The Safety 1st Baby Gate is a perfect eco-friendly feature-packed baby gate. Its customizable width enables the gate suit doorways and openings ranging from 28 to 42 inches. It is secure and sturdy featuring bamboo frames and recycled plastic panels.

This is a pressure-mounted gate that requires no tools or hardware to install. Besides, the non-marring bumpers protect the woodwork from unwanted scratches and dings.


  • Great for babies and pets
  • Sturdy design
  • Non-marring pads
  • Eco-friendly
  • Matches home décor
  • Easy installation


  • Not a walk-through gate
  • Seemingly basic

What We Liked About This Product

We liked the clever visual indicators that indicate whether the gate is safely closed. Besides, the gate can be opened in either direction, adding to its convenience. As if not enough, the double locking mechanism provides extra security for seemingly “clever” kids.

You will also like the auto-close mechanism that comes with this gate. With this, there will be no need of fiddling as you try to close the gate behind you.

4. Regalo Easy Step Walk-Thru Baby Gate

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The Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Baby Gate is a sturdy and convenient gate that helps in childproofing your home. It is made of durable steel construction with a pressure-mount system that is ideal for staircases and doorways.

This is a perfect choice for energetic or tall toddlers with lever style handle and safety lock for reliability.


  • Lightweight and portable
  • Convenient walk-through
  • Safety and convenience
  • Ideal for tall and energetic kids
  • Easy to install


  • Less stable

What We Liked About This Product

We liked the five key aspects of this baby gate. The aspects encompass its extra wide nature, easy to use feature, safe, durability and convenience, and adjustability. The gate is not only good for children but also works well for pets.

From our various tests, the gate fits most doorways with a convenient walk-through gate design. It also features a solid steel construction that meets various durability expectations.

5. Summer Infant Multiuse Baby Gate

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Childproof your home with this award-winning Summer Infant Multiuse Baby Gate. The attractive bronze metal gate adjusts to accommodate door openings and stairways of various widths. This makes it a good choice for use in between rooms to keep your pet or child in a safe place.

For use in stairways, the Summer Infant Multiuse Baby Gate comes with the necessary hardware to provide extra security. It is pressure mounted thus doesn’t require additional installation tools or drillings. However, there is hardware installation option if you need maximum security.


  • Auto close
  • Tension and hardware mount options
  • One hand walkthrough
  • Easy installation


  • Tension may not be the best

What We Liked About This Product

We liked the fact that you get to protect your baby without sacrificing on style or other features with the Summer Infant Multiuse Baby Gate. As mentioned, this gate is made from high-quality materials and adjustable that it can accommodate nearly all openings and any hallway.

It is pressure mounted, thus doesn’t leave marks on the wall. You will also enjoy its auto-close feature, comfort grip handles and versatility, as it can also provide a barrier for pets.

6. Munchkin Easy Close Baby Gate

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The Munchkin Easy Close Baby Gate is a breeze to open with one hand, perhaps making it a great choice for doorways. The gate fits wall widths ranging between 29.5” – 35” with an extension of 2.75”.

This gate is approved for use in top and bottom of the stairs as well as between rooms. The dual locking mechanism is child-proof that is easy to open for adults but difficult for children. There are both options for hardware and pressure mounts depending on the level of sturdiness required. It is also self-closing and shuts firmly when released.


  • Dual lock system
  • Hardware and pressure mount
  • Self-closing
  • Doorstopper for extra stairs safety


  • Quite expensive
  • Safety risks for small pets

What We Liked About This Product

This gate is pressure mounted, perhaps easing the installation process and minimizing damage on your walls. However, there is an option for hardware mounting if you need additional safety.

We liked the double locking system that eases its use for adults whilst making it hard for kids to pass through. The gate fits up to 54” wide hallways, making it a perfect solution for wide extensions. It also comes with a one year limited warranty.

7. Carlson Extra Wide Gate with Pet Door

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This kid and pet-friendly gate cost a little more than standard gates on the market. However, its price is worth its convenience. It is primarily designed as pet’s gate but also works e when you need to wrangle both pets and babies.

The gate’s easy lock latch comes in handy if you have full hands. The gate features a one-touch release lock that makes passing through the gate a breeze. Besides, it comes with built-in pet door that doesn’t restrict your pets.


  • Patented small pet door
  • Sturdy lead-free
  • All steel construction
  • Easy Lock


  • Lacks safety certification

What We Liked About This Product

We liked the steel construction of this gate, offering the much-needed sturdiness. It can also be operated with ease making passing through the gate a breeze. If you don’t prefer drilling holes in your wall, you can opt for pressure mounts, which doesn’t disappoint either.

What we liked most about this gate is the packable, convenient and portable nature. The easy-open latch system is convenient with the one-touch release handle.

8. KidCo Baby Gate for Stairs

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The KidCo Baby Gate is a great baby gate for use in stairs with banisters. The gate comes with additional gate installation kits for customizing the gate alongside some bells and whistles if it doesn’t work well on your staircase.

To avoid common stairs problems with swing gates, the KidCo Baby Gate features a directional stop that prevents the gate from swinging past the stairs. Its hinged side hardware makes it possible to mount on angled surfaces.


  • Easy one-hand operation
  • Heavy-duty steel
  • Directional stop
  • Quick release hardware


  • Screws are not the best in the market

What We Liked About This Product

The KidCo Baby Gate was among the first gates to meet the safety standards of baby gates in the US market. We liked that the gate provided all you need to keep your little one out of danger. The gates are available in various styles designed to complement your home décor.

9. Cardinal Bottom Stairs Baby Gate

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The bottom of the staircase is often a common enticing prospect for any new walker or crawler. To curb potential threats, the Cardinal Bottom Stairs Baby Gate is a perfect choice. This is a great gate for high traffic areas, the bottom of stairs and doorways.

Its auto-lock feature with patented latch allows rapid through pass by allowing directional swing or automatic door closure. An optional stop bracket prevents extensive stairway opening for enhanced safety.


  • Auto-lock feature
  • Best for staircase
  • Optional stop bracket adds to safety
  • Sturdy


  • Not stellar

What We Liked About This Product

We appreciated the fact that this gate works exceptionally when fixed on top of stairways. The latch system makes the opening of the gate baffling for toddlers but a breeze for adults. You will like the optional stop bracket that adds to its safety. It also comes with extensions and clamps, which are sold separately.

10. Evenflo Expansion Swing Wide Baby Gate

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If you are searching for a baby gate for tricky spaces, consider the Evenflo Expansion Swing Wide Baby Gate. Its adjustable gate that fits spaces between 24” to 60” and stands 32” tall. It is made of plastic and wood that suits nearly all home décor.

The gate features a child-resistant one-hand lock release, easy hardware installation, and swings in both directions. It is a great gate of choice for pets too.


  • Easy hardware mounting
  • One-hand release
  • Telescoping safety rail
  • Swings in both directions
  • Budget-friendly


  • Less sturdy
  • Kids can figure out its latch

What We Liked About This Product

The Evenflo Expansion Swing gate is a wide opening gate that keeps your home a safe haven for babies. We liked that the gate has different applications, and not only restricted to be used in stairways but also works for other standard openings.

You will enjoy the telescoping plastic safety rail, one hand release and easy hardware mounting that makes it easy to install and remove.

How We Tested the Gates

From the endless list of available models on the market, we narrowed down to the above ten by paying close attention to the specific features of each gate. This includes setup and breakdown components of each gate.

For a considerable amount of time, we tested installation times, individual gates lock mechanics, the doorway opening a well as the construction material or build of each gate.

Ease of installation and breakdown

Baby Gates Buying Guide

Most of the baby gates available on the market come pre-assembled except for the North States and Evenflo. Gates delivered pre-assembled require wall-mounting equipment to ease their installation process.

There are two main styles of installing the gates. This could be either tension mount or the wall mount with both offer varying level of performance. Tension mounted gates are easier to install as it simply involves extending the screws and twisting the tightening ring to create enough pressure to hold the gates.

On the other hand, wall mounted gates require some drilling and screws for installation. In both models, installation time was less, ranging between five to ten minutes.

Locking Mechanism

This is perhaps the most crucial feature of baby gates. The mechanism should be reliable in both openings and locking to keep the child safe while allowing adults to travel freely. It should also feature one-hand usability that comes in handy when the baby is in tow.

From the various models, the North States gate is a top-performer. You will appreciate its simplicity and fluidity that doesn’t compromise on its rigidness. Its locking mechanism requires pressing down of the locking wedge with a thumb. The gate then slides back to its locking position by pushing or pulling the brackets.

However, if you are looking for tension gates, try the Munchkin and Safety 1st gates. Munchkin’s locking mechanism features a double trigger system that pulls its locking pin when squeezed. It also easily snaps back with a gentle push or pull. Similarly, the Safety 1st gate relies on tension from the gates length for a snug fit.

Easy Walk-Through

It is important to note that all tension mounted gates have a bar running across the floor level. This creates enough tension to hold the gate in place without screws being drilled into the wall. This could be a potential trip hazard.

On the contrary, wall mounted gates have full clearance, but the walls will need some patchwork from the drilled holes once the gates have been removed. These gates do not require the same amount of support framing thus provides a wider doorway opening.

The ability to walk through the gate easily is as important as the partitions provided by these gates. For sure, the last thing you will want to experience is fighting with the gate when both hands are occupied.

Based on this, the North States and Evenflo gates do not require much framing on either side, thus easily won this category. Each gate spans up to 42” and 48” respectively. For tension gates, the Munchkin has the widest opening at 22”. Doors also swing in both directions for added convenience.

Some baby gates feature doors that shut behind you, such as the Summer Infant Model. This could be a great safety advantage to others while being a drawback especially if you want the door open when carrying large items.

Build Quality

This category solely focuses on the rigidity and build materials. This involves the weights of the build materials, stress tests on the frame bars and much more. Yet again, the North States claims the tag in this category. Despite the sturdy metal construction, it feels extra lightweight with a fluid swing.

The vertical bars, which initially appeared thinner than other gates did not bend under pressure. Its matte bronze finish also appeared elegant and appeared great against neutral colored walls and hardwood flooring. Besides, its locking mechanism doesn’t rely on cheap plastic systems like other gates.

Moving on, the Summer Infant baby gate got high marks for its heavy metal construction. Its framework is thicker compared to other gates and doesn’t bend at all. It weighs approximately 20lbs with extension panels that feel exceptionally sturdy.

On the other hand, the Evenflo gate might be the top when it comes to clean lines and its metal construction. However, the quality of its locking mechanism isn’t satisfactory and appears cheap. So to say, unlocking the gate requires that you squeeze the trigger and pull the locking module out.

The “dark horse” of this fold appeared to be the Safety 1st gate, which is made from durable bamboo combined with recycled plastics. This eco-conscious make maintains a clean and attractive look.

Do I Need a Baby Gate?

Absolutely yes! Unless your house isn’t storied or probably babyproof-ed every room in your house, you will certainly need a baby gate. As part of the normal toddler development, your little one will become mobile by either crawling or rolling at around seven months. This is the perfect time to baby proof your house. Tiny fingers might want to tamper with your cupboard arrangement, taste the dog food, while not forgetting the stairs…

Things to Consider When Selecting a Baby Gate

Before setting out to search for a baby gate, here are some of the things you might want to consider.

Where do you intend to set the baby gate?

Consider When Selecting a Baby Gate

Baby gates can be used in various settings at home. If you need a gate that protects your baby from falling down the stairs, consider a sturdy gate that will unlikely slip out of place. In this case, consider hardware-mounted gates or baby gates specifically designed for stair gates.

On the other hand, if you want to keep your baby out of the kitchen or partition them into a safe play yard, consider a pressure-mounted gate. With this choice, you can easily change the location to suit immediate safety needs. Freestanding or expandable gates are perfect for safe outside play areas.

Will you move the baby gate?

If you need a gate that can be moved around the house as you go about your daily chores, consider a child safety gate that can be on the go. Note that kids rarely stay in one place for long. Therefore, find mobile-friendly and retractable safety gates. It should be compact, easy to install and simple to operate.

Is the baby gate safety certified?

Baby gates are designed to provide maximum baby protection. Therefore, you should ensure that the gate meets the safety standards that can be relied on to keep your little one safe. That said, ensure that several regulatory bodies including Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association certify the gate.

The Different Types of Baby Gates

consider when choosing baby gates

There are four main types of baby gates. They include:

  • Pressure mounted gates– as the name suggests, they use tension systems to stay upright. Their advantage is that they are easy to move around and don’t leave a drilled hole on your wall. They also require minimal assembly. However, they can’t stand the excessive pressure and can be overrun by a strong child.
  • Hardware mounted gates– they are the safest baby gates present on the market.They use caps with screws attached to the wall to anchor the gate. They are overly sturdy but moving them around the house can be quite daunting, unless you have installed caps in various places.
  • Walk-through gates– walk-through gates are the direct opposite of those common wooden gates that easily block entryways requiring you to step over or take down the gate before passing. These gates eliminate this hassle and let you walk freely without obstacles.
  • Pet-friendly gates– as the name suggests, these gates have small openings for cats to get through. They limit the toddler but doesn’t impair the movement of your “furry children.” However, ensure that the opening isn’t big enough that your child can pass through.

When Should I Use Baby Gates?

Using the baby gates certainly comes naturally. This is often as a result of the need to keep your baby safe in your home or outdoor places. Note that the toddler begins rampaging after the sixth month. Therefore, you can consider installing the gates at this point.

Should I Buy New or Used Baby Gate?

Deciding if you want to buy a new or used and relatively older baby gate comes down to your choice. However, it is important to note that old or used baby gates have issues that can potentially endanger your child. For instance, some have V-shaped spaces at the top that can trap your child’s head.

Similarly, used and old models have spaces at the lower end that could function toe-holds that allow the baby to climb over the gate. Other aspects such as locking mechanism could also be faulty with used gates. Due to this, it is recommended to install a new baby gate.

How to Use Baby Gates

Using the baby gates is effortlessly simple. First, you need to identify where you need to gate. Be it at the top or bottom of the staircase, at the entrance of your toddler’s room or any other section. Once you have identified the right spot, install the gate properly and sturdy to provide restraint.

Other Tips and Hacks

Finding the right safety gate can be daunting. However, consider the following tips.

  • Making it fit– the majority of baby gates out there are adjustable and expandable. Therefore, before settling on one, consider both the width and height of the gate and the type of doorframe.
  • Measure the slats– you certainly don’t want your toddler’s little arms, legs or head being stuck between the bars of the safety gate. Therefore, measure the slats to ensure that they are less than three inches apart. Alternatively, avoid this by purchasing gates without slats.
  • Safety tip– you should never allow your child to watch your step over the safety gate. They will copy your step, perhaps a receipt for escaping.


Some of the frequently asked baby gate questions include:

What types of child safety gates are available?

There are four main types of baby gates. They could be either pressure mounted, hardware mounted, pet-friendly or walk-through gates.

How much should the gates cost?

FAQs about buying baby gate

Baby gates are available in wide range of prices. This often depends on the features you need. Basic gates could cost between 25USD to 80USD. Large gates and high-end models can cost as much as 300USD.

When is the best time to baby proof my house?

There is no “ideal” time to baby proof your house. However, it is important to complete this before the baby arrives.

Our Favorite Baby Gate

Based on this research, the North States Baby Gate is perhaps a superior choice. It provides value in both functionality and aesthetics. It scored good marks in almost all categories tried without major shortcomings. Its refined build, reliable locking mechanism, and light swing can make a convincing argument.

Finding the Right Baby Gate

The size of space at home determines a lot when it comes to finding the best baby gate. Therefore, you should begin by measuring the area you want to install the baby gate. Proceed by determining whether you need pressure or hardware mounted gate and find the right product. You can find one from our products above.

Related Topics:

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  3. Top Tips for Baby Safety around Dogs


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