Research has it that a child who is less than five years old is sent to an emergency every six minutes. This is primarily caused by a stair-related injury. If that sounds already scary as is, imagine the more danger our homes pose to our little ones. We have a bathroom that poses a drowning hazard with at least an inch or two of water in the tub. We have a kitchen that holds a variety of toxic chemicals. And we have the fireplace that obviously threatens our babies with burns. Thus, we need the best baby gates to keep our babies off of all these dangers.
Here are the best baby gates grouped according to their purpose and location:
- North States Supergate Easy Close Baby Gate
- Evenflo Position and Lock Classic Baby Gate
- Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate
- Munchkin Easy Close Metal Safety Gate
- Regalo Easy Step Wide Walk-Thru Safety Gate
- Kidco Safeway Baby Gate
- Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Safety Gate
- Evenflo Easy Walk-Thru Top-of-Stairs Safety Gate
- North States Easy Swing & Lock Gate
- Regalo 2-in-1 Stairway and Hallway Safety Gate
Playpen and Fireplace gates:
- Regalo Super Wide Adjustable Safety Gate and Playpen
- North States 3-in-1 Metal Superyard Baby Gate
- Summer Infant Extra Wide Custom Fit Baby Gate and Playpen
Basically, the best baby gates are made of the best materials – metal, wood, plastic, mesh. They vary according to where they are used. Also, the best baby gates should have a height of at least about 22 to 23 inches to keep ninja babies from climbing over. The slat openings should also be at most 3 inches, or else tiny arms and legs might get stuck in between. Below are more elaborate explanations on these and the specifics of the listed baby gates.
Two Types of Baby Gates According to Installation Method
Pressure-mounted baby gates are easy to install with no tools needed. These gates are pretty much like tension rods. They do not need screwing in. We only need them to be the correct measure, tightly pushed up against a door frame or a wall. Then, they should be able to stand up like that. Also, as easy as their installation is as convenient, they are for moving from place to place.
Hardware-mounted baby gates, on the other hand, need both of their sides screwed into a door frame, banister, or walls. This makes them the safest baby gates, especially required for the top of the stairs and all other precarious areas. We just have to put permanent holes in our homes, though.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Baby Gates for Our Homes
Usually, baby gates are made of plastic, metal, wood, or mesh. A lot of parents are hesitant to use plastics as they may have toxins and chemicals that are unsafe. However, we can actually consider plastics still, those that are free of PVC or polyvinyl chloride.
The openings in our baby gates should be at most three inches. Spacing that is more than three inches may risk our babies’ arms, legs, or head to getting stuck. We are required, thus, to check the slat distance before purchasing to minimize this risk. We may consider the gate types that have a plastic telescopic rail to avoid pinching accidents. Finally, as we install our gates or upon buying, we should make sure to read the manufacturer’s manual as well.
Ideally, the standard baby gate height should be a minimum of 22 inches. The gates should be able to prevent our babies from climbing over them. So, we have to purchase those that are at least the height of our babies. By the time they are about two years, probably three feet tall, we pretty much will not need gates anymore. Until then, we have to make sure that the gates are not easy to climb over and risk falling.
Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association certifies the safest products, including the safest and best baby gates. JPMA-certified means that a product has met all the requirements and examinations of the American Society for Testing and Materials. To check if a baby gate is JPMA-certified, we can search from the JPMA website for the product manufacturer.
Best Baby Gates for Doorways
North States Supergate Easy Close Baby Gate
This gate is pressure-mounted. Therefore, there will be no need to drill permanent holes on our walls. Its height is 29 inches, which is a pretty good height for keeping babies in. Its width, conversely, is 28 inches that can be extended to 38.5 inches with its extension set. It has auto-close and keeps open settings, which are convenient when we are carrying our babies, for example. Also, its locking system requires that we grab the handle and pull it up. But to outsmart our growing babies, there is an additional step of twisting the lock before lifting up.
As it is pressure-mounted, we have to be careful with its bottom bar. Otherwise, we will be flying in no time.
Auto-close and keep open
Two different unlocking settings
Price: around $50 to $52
Evenflo Position and Lock Classic Baby Gate
This is probably the most inexpensive among the best baby gates for doorways. For its price, it is very easy to install and reinstall without tools, perfect for when we are traveling. It is made of durable and secure plastic mesh and a sturdy wood frame. It also has non-marring rubber stoppers that will keep our doorways safe from damages. Its height is 23 inches to hold our babies off off-limits zones.
It might be a bit of labor to keep opening the gate up and setting it back. Thus, we may have to keep carefully stepping over it to get through.
Non-marring rubber stoppers
Neutral style and design
Price: around $11 to $18
Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate
This is a fancy baby gate that should add aesthetic to our homes when we are actually just raising babies. It is designed to have a bronze arch and detailed bars. It is 36 inches tall, that surely no baby can climb over. Aside from that, it saves us the labor of frequently bending over to lock or unlock it. It has a convenient auto-close feature, and its door also swings both ways. It can either be pressure-mounted in doorways or hardware-mounted for stairways. For the top of the stairs, it has a door stopper to keep the gate from swinging towards the stairs.
This baby gate, though, might be a little loud to disturb our babies’ peaceful sleep. But it also depends on how light a sleeper our babies are. We may need to place them at a considerable distance from our gates.
Can be used for doorways and stairways
Price: around $54 to $60
Munchkin Easy Close Metal Safety Gate
Munchkin Easy Close Metal baby gate, as its name suggests, is easy to maneuver. We can open it even single-handedly while we are holding our babies, bag of groceries, or basket of laundry. We can set which direction we want it to open – either we pull it toward us or push it away. It is 29.5 inches tall and 29.5 to 35 inches wide, with a 2.75-inch extension. It is pressure-mounted with hardware for added security.
Since this baby gate is pressure-mounted, we may need to be careful with the two-inch bottom bar. Also, it does not auto-close, so we may need to bend down a couple of times to close it.
Easy dual lock
Price: around $50 to $52
Regalo Easy Step Wide Walk-Thru Safety Gate
Apparently, doorways do not have the same measures in our different homes. Some doorways may be a little wider, which will require an also wider baby gate. To address this concern, Regalo came up with a wide gate that expands to fit 29 to 50 inches openings. It also comes with two extension kits adding either 6 inches or 12 inches. Also, as its name suggests, it requires us no sweat to open it as it has a walk-through door.
Because it is pressure-mounted, we may skip using this at the top of the stairs. This is because pressure mounts can be dislodged with a considerable amount of force. Regalo gate has wall mounts and screws, though, if we want to be extra secure.
Wide and adjustable with extension kits
Multiple safety locks
Price: around $35 to $52
Best Baby Gates for Stairs
Kidco Safeway Baby Gate
Kidco Safeway Gate is one of the best baby gates, especially for the top of the stairs, 29 inches high. It does not have a bottom bar, so we are safe from accidentally tripping over. It only swings in and opposite the stairs with its directional stopper. It can even be installed on an angled surface with its hinge side hardware.
In addition, it can be operated easily with one hand. This makes it convenient for us if we bring our babies down from nap, for instance. Also, it has a quick-release design so we can remove it easily without unscrewing anything.
This baby gate, however, does not auto-close. Therefore, we should not forget to close it behind us each time.
No bottom bar
Heavy-duty steel construction
Price: around $45 to $51
Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Safety Gate
Cardinal Gates is specially designed to accommodate our concerns for the top of our stairs. First of all, it can be operated easily with one hand for several occasions when one hand is not free. It has a latch system that will baffle our mischievous babies who try to get down the stairs. Also, we can add its stop bracket to avoid it opening over our stairways for added security.
Its width is adjustable from 27 inches to 42.5 inches wide. It is also about 29.5 in height. As its name suggests, it can be mounted at an angle of about 30 degrees for those asymmetrical stairways.
One downside, though, about Cardinal Gates is that its installation can get a bit complicated. We can always just read the manual, nonetheless.
Single hand operation
Price: around $70 to $72
Evenflo Easy Walk-Thru Top-of-Stairs Safety Gate
Even Flo Top-of-Stairs gate is usually hardware-mounted for when it is installed on the stairs. However, it can be used for doorways and hallways and can just be pressure-mounted then. It has a door swing control, which allows us to set the swing one or two ways. Usually, though, for the top of the stairs, we only need it to swing away from the stairs. Also, it has a red or green lock indicator that informs us when the gate is securely locked.
This baby gate is 30 inches high and is 29 inches wide, which can be extended to 42 inches. It is easy to install and is easy walk-through, as the name suggests.
Pressure-mounted or hardware-mounted
Safety lock indicator mechanism
Door swing control
Price: around $50 to $67
North States Easy Swing & Lock Gate
This North States gate is probably among the most convenient and best baby gates for stairs. It is especially convenient for parents that have a lot on their minds. It easily swing closed by itself and auto-locks so we will not have to worry if ever we forget. Also, it does not have a bottom bar, so we do not trip over when we are running busy. It is 33 inches tall and very difficult to climb even for 24-month olds. It also accommodates different openings, at least 28.68 inches to 47.85 inches wide.
It is important to take note, however, to never mount hardware into plaster or sheetrock. Hardware is only used in solid materials like metal or wood.
No bottom bar
One-hand operating latch
Price: around $40
Regalo 2-in-1 Stairway and Hallway Safety Gate
As its name suggests, this baby gate can be used either on the stairway or in the hallway. It is expandable, accommodating openings that are between 29 inches and 43 inches wide. It is 30.5 inches tall. It can easily be removed in case it needs to be in the storage already. Also, it is made of all-steel construction, with safety locks, and hardware-mounted for a hundred percent security.
Price: around $47 to $51
Best Baby Gates for Playpen, Fireplace, and Room Divider
Regalo Super Wide Adjustable Safety Gate and Playpen
This baby gate is super wide that it opens up to 192 inches wide. This makes it perfect as a room divider, for example, to keep our babies off the fireplace. Also, it can convert to an eight-panel playpen, anything for our needs and convenience. And speaking of convenience, it has a walk-through door, so we do not perform monkey bar moves over it. It is very durable and secure with its all-steel construction, wall mounts, and safety lock.
All steel construction
Price: around $80 to $90
North States 3-in-1 Metal Superyard Baby Gate
Homes that have working fireplaces can make good use of this North States Metal Superyard gate. It can hardware-mounted so that it permanently blocks off our babies from getting close to the fireplace. Otherwise, it can be a free-standing barrier, suitable for creating a safe playpen with an auto-closing door. The six panels are removable and stackable to fit the amount of space we want to cover. The maximum length it extends to is up to 144 inches making up to 10 square feet enclosure. It is also 30 inches tall.
Price: around $80 to $100
Summer Infant Extra Wide Custom Fit Baby Gate and Playpen
Aesthetic wise, this baby gate attracts parents that want simple and subtle decorative items at home. It is of stylish grey color and made up of white mesh fabric that easily blends with anything. But beyond its aesthetics, this gate is as good as a room divider to keep our babies off certain zones. It can also be a free-standing placard if two of the gates are used. Additionally, it has an easy single-handed operation for opening and closing. It is 30 inches tall and extends horizontally up to 141 inches.
Price: around $79
When is the perfect time to install baby gates?
The standard rule is that when babies are about six months old, we should start installing baby gates. This is the time when they are about to start to or already are crawling. This means that we should begin baby proofing our doorways, stairs, and fireplaces way before our babies are crawling. This is especially necessary if our baby cribs are those that babies can easily get off from. Accordingly, we must keep baby gates installed until our babies are over two years old.
How can we make the top of the stairs extra safe and secure?
The most important thing for the top-of-stairs baby gate is that it should be hardware-mounted. This has to be so with all the screws on to the walls or door frame. Forget about drilling permanent holes in our homes. It is important that we do not settle with pressure-mounted gates as they can be dislodged with enough force. This means that a good few pushes, anything will come rolling down the stairs with it. Also, the top-of-stairs baby gate must always open away from the steps and not toward them. We may need to use a bracket or stopper for gates that swing both ways.