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Best Baby Gates
Updated on
January 11, 2024

Best Baby Gates

By Babylist Team
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Best Baby Gates.
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Best Baby Gates

Newsflash: your chill, cuddly baby is about to turn into a turbo explorer who can their way into the most dangerous places in your home in seconds. This phenomenon seemingly happens overnight, so when it does, you’ll be happy you installed a baby gate.

Do You Need a Baby Gate?

Unless you live in a one-story home and you’ve baby proofed every room from ceiling to floor then yes, you’ll probably need a baby gate. Most babies start to scoot and crawl around seven months old. Tiny fingers love to tamper with cupboards, open every drawer they can get their hands on and even taste test the dog food—so you’ll want to make sure your living space is childproofed well before all of that unfolds. And don’t even get us started on stairs…

What Type of Baby Gate is Best?

There are two types of baby gates, each with different installations methods:

  • Hardware-mounted baby gates: Both sides of this type of gate need to be screwed into a door frame, wall or a banister. Although it’s not ideal to put permanent holes into your home, hardware-mounted gates are the most secure, making them a good choice for places like the top of your stairs and other precarious spots throughout your home.
  • Pressure-mounted baby gates: These gates are like tension rods and don’t require any screws or other hardware that goes into the walls. If you have a gate with the correct measurements, it should stand up as long as each end is tightly pushed up against a wall or door frame. Pressure-mounted gates are easy to set up (no tools needed) and can be moved from place to place.

Once you’ve decided what type of baby gate installation you prefer, you can check out various styles of baby gates. The main options include:

  • Swing through, a gate door that swings open
  • Step over, a gate you have to climb over because it doesn’t have a door
  • Stair gates, those built specifically to be used on stairs

When shopping around, look for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification on baby gates. This ensures that the gate meets all safety standards set forth by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, including requirements such as the gate being at least 22 inches tall, that the spacing between the bottom of the gate and floor isn’t big enough for a child’s head or neck to get stuck and that the gate can withstand the correct amount of force if a child attempts to push through it.

Best Highly Rated Baby Gate

This safe, versatile baby gate has earned over 80,000 positive reviews, and for good reason. It checks off all of the boxes of what to look for in a baby gate. It’s easy to open and close, constructed from durable steel, can be installed via pressure or wall mount, expands to fit wider doorways and stands 30 inches tall. It comes with all of the accessories you need for installation (wall cups, extension kit, etc.) and is affordable enough that you won’t break the bank if you need to purchase several for your home.

If you’re looking for an extra tall style, this Regalo gate features the same functionality and stands six inches higher.

Best Baby Gate for Stairs

There are two things you’ll want to look for when shopping for a baby gate for the top of the stairs: a hardware mount (pressure mounts aren’t recommended for stairs since they’re not secured to the walls) and no bottom bar (since that can be a trip hazard). This gate has both. It also features strong metal construction, flexible installation options and fits openings 25.6 to 40.9 inches wide.

Most Affordable Baby Gate

At under $25, this expandable gate from Regalo is an economical way for you to keep your home safe for your tiny explorers. This pressure-mounted baby gate expands to 42 inches and has rubber bumpers on each side to protect your walls. It’s very easy to install and stands 24 inches tall. Just note that there’s no door so you’ll have to step over it each time you need to get by, something to keep in mind if you’re thinking of installing it in a highly-trafficked area of your home.

Easiest Baby Gate to Open and Close

This pressure-mounted gate has two standout features. It’s a breeze to open with one hand while holding your baby—or whatever else you’re lugging around—in the other, making it ideal for high-traffic doorways you pass through frequently. (It also features an automatic closing door with a magnetic latch to ensure it locks automatically.) There’s also an indicator that turns red when the gate needs to be tightened, a convenient way to ensure the gate stays securely installed. The gate stands 28 inches tall and works on doorways 29 to 38 inches wide.

Baby Gate with Most Configurations

This ultra long and flexible baby gate has eight panels that together stretch 192 inches across. You can attach it to itself to create an octagon or rectangular-shaped play zone, bend it around off-limits places like the fireplace or use it as a room barrier in areas that have an open floor plan. This sturdy baby gate with a door can also be secured with wall mounts.

Best Retractable Baby Gate

This retractable baby gate stays out of sight when it’s not in use and is a good choice if you’re looking for a baby gate with a more minimalist design aesthetic. It also includes two sets of brackets, so you’ll be able to move the gate from one are of your home to another. (Including both indoors and outside.) It can be mounted inside door frames, hallways or other spaces up to 55 inches wide or can be used with an outside mount on frames up to 51 inches. It’s also easy to open with only one hand.

Best Baby Gate for Travel

If you’re headed on vacation, a trip to the grandparents or anywhere else where you know there won’t be much childproofing in place, this portable gate is a good addition to your packing list. It sets up in under a minute (no tools needed) and doesn’t leave any holes in the doorframe or walls. It’s also foldable and comes with its own travel bag. It’s available in three sizes: 48, 60 or 72 inches.

Best Modern Baby Gate

If you prefer a more clean, modern style than what’s available in more traditional baby gates, this option from Munchkin is a good choice. This sleek design is crafted from durable aluminum with a door that swings open in both directions. You can quickly adjust the gate’s size—from 26.5 to 40 inches wide—using the gate’s preset positions, no extensions required. This gate does come at a price, however. And it requires two vertical wall mounts to be screwed in so the gate can slide into them from the top down.

Best Baby Gate for Wide Doorways

Not all doorways are created equal—some require an extra-wide baby gate like this one. It expands to fit openings 29 to 56 inches wide with three extension kits: four, eight and 12 inches. With all-steel construction, this baby gate is strong and a walk-through door makes passing by a breeze. It’s also pressure mounted, so you can quickly remove it and use it in another doorway if you like.

Best Acrylic Baby Gate

Baby gates don’t add much to your home’s style, but this modern, clear design is much less of an eyesore than lots of other options. It’s made from professional-grade acrylic and meets European, US and Canadian safety standards. It’s 30 inches high and fits openings 29.9 inches to 37.8 inches using two included extensions. It also has a glow strip along the bottom to remind you it’s there at night, a magnetic level for simple installation and push-to-close functionality with a green/red indicator.

If you’d prefer a hardware mount (since pressure-mounted gates aren’t recommended for the top of stairs), Qdos offers that option too.

Best Farmhouse Style Baby Gate

What baby gate would Joanna Gaines choose? We’d like to think it’s this one. This solid wood gate fits perfectly into any modern farmhouse aesthetic. It can be pressure-mounted or hardware-mounted for the top of a stairway and fits openings up to 41 inches wide with no extensions needed. The door swings open widely and has an easy two-step slide-and-lift handle.

For another farmhouse-friendly look, check out the Safety 1st Easy Install Modern Farmhouse Gate.

The Fancy Baby Gate

With a bronze arch and detailed bars, this fancy baby gate almost looks like it’s a part of the decor. Would-be climbers are deterred by its extra height (it’s a tall baby gate at three feet high), and there’s less bending over for you. It also swings both ways and has an auto-close feature—just keep in mind that it can be loud when it closes so you may not want to position it near your little one’s bedroom if they’re a light sleeper.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and review products, as well as the Babylist Health Advisory Board.