Being a parent is such an amazing and rewarding experience. After you little bundle of joy is born, you bring them home and fall into a relatively easy routine.
That is, until, about six or seven months into this comfortable routine, your little cherub is going to decide to switch things up a bit. They'll start to move independently! And let me tell you, once they start, they'll be hard to stop!
That's why it's wise to invest in the best baby gates that you can so that you'll be sure to be able to keep your precious youngster not only contained but safe, as well.
Best Baby Gates (Updated)
(*) Below, you'll find my detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.
What Should You Look For in a Baby Gate?
It’s not a simple task to find a baby gate to suit your needs. It’s not as easy as opening up a baby catalog and picking any random gate. There are lots of different options out there, and each one is a little bit different. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for a baby gate.
1. Where Will the Gate be Located?
Whenever you are purchasing a new piece of equipment for your baby, you should always take into account where you will be using it. Before you start to look at baby gates, make sure you answer these questions:
- Will the gate be for a doorway?
- Will the gate be used at the bottom or top of the stairs? What kind of stair railing do we have? Will we need additional hardware to use a particular gate on the stairs?
- Do you want to be able to move the gate to different locations frequently?
- Will the gate remain in place until our baby is older?
If you make sure that you answer those questions beforehand, you will make your shopping experience that much easier.
2. How Will the Gate Attach in Its Chosen Location?
Depending on where you put the baby gate, whether you intend to move your gate around, and how simple the gate is to install, you can choose from several different attachment options. These include:
Screws – For gates that installed in doorways or hallways, you could use screws to attach the gates in place. While this does give you an incredibly secure fitting, it can also be a bit tricky to find a place that you can screw into without wrecking your walls.
Springs – This type of attachment is useful for a short amount of time, but a bigger and stronger child might be able to push this sort of gate out of the way. It is, however, ideal for a gate that you wish to move around.
Pressure Fittings – This type of fitting is a step right up from springs. It will give you a pretty secure attachment to most walls and door frames, but still, allow you to move it if necessary.
3. How Big of a Gate Do You Need?
There are a wide array of baby gate sizes available on the market today. You should be able to find a gate that fits your needs, although you may have to look for some extensions as well.
For instance, the Dreambaby Chelsea Auto Close Security Gate, which we review below, can fits spaces from 28 inches to 32 inches on its own. However, with the available extensions, you can go up to 111 inches. Always read the product descriptions carefully to make sure you have a gate to fit your space.
4. What Kinds of Closure System Do you Need?
Even though the gate that you are purchasing is to keep a baby safe or keep a baby in or out of certain areas, do not be fooled. Though these gates are for babies, they need to be extremely sophisticated, since young children, especially determined ones, have a knack for finding out how to escape. Some examples of the best closures we have used are:
Side Pull Latch - A side pull latch is by far the simplest of all of the closures that we utilized. Which, of course, means that it is the least secure of all of the different closure systems. It works by pulling a pin out of a slot to open the gate, and inserting the pin to close it. This system would work fine for children who are only crawling but would not work so well for kids who can reach it.
Push Button Latch - The push button latch system would probably work best for the crawlers in your life, but not so much for the walkers out there. It works by pushing a button, which releases the gate from its attachment, allowing you (and your children) to open the gate.
Lever Handle Latch - After testing out multiple lever style handles out on a few three-year-olds, we found that they were unable to open it. To operate this system, you need to push down on the top of it while you pull up on the bottom. The children lacked the coordination and hand strength to operate it successfully.
5. What Type of Material Will Work Best?
Most baby gates are made from either metal, wood, or plastic. Each type of material has been tested and each offer different advantages and disadvantages.
Metal - Gates made with metal are going to be the strongest and therefore the most secure and durable. However, they will also be the heaviest type of gate, which might make them difficult to move around if you want them in multiple locations.
Wood - Baby gates that utilize wood are the most aesthetically pleasing and offer a lighter weight when compared to metal gates without giving up a lot of strength. However, if you have pets in your home (or a child who is teething!) they might make a tempting target for chewing. After heavy use the wood might also begin to splinter and crack.
Plastic - Plastic is by far the cheapest and lightest material for baby gates. This makes it great for a gate that you intend to move around your home. However, this lightness will also cause it to break down quicker and break more easily than a gate made from wood or metal.
Top Five Best Baby Gates
This is a high-quality gate that was the biggest that we tested. It was also the most expensive but is definitely worth the money.
Intended Locations – This gate is designed to for use in between two rooms. It can be utilized in a hallway, a transition area, the bottom of stairs, or in a doorway. It is NOT designed for the top of staircases.
Attachment System – Since this gate is so large; it comes with a wall mounting system that includes screws. This is the best way to attach this gate since any other attachment system would be incredibly flimsy and easy for children to remove.
Size Availability – The smallest opening that the gate will fit is 39 inches, and the largest is 72 ½ inches. This is a MASSIVE gate built for a large opening.
Closure System – There are two ways that you can open this gate. Whenever you do not want it to be in use, you can detach the whole gate from one side of the wall mounted bracket and swing it open in that manner. The other, more traditional closure, consists of a two part button system that is guaranteed to be childproof.
Material – Since this gate is so large, it needs to be strong as well. That is why it has heavyweight steel construction in a matte bronze finish. It will be durable and should not break, even with rough treatment.
Drawbacks – The only drawback for this gate is its size and price. While the size can be a huge help if you have a large space to close up, it may be too much gate for some people’s houses. The price is also really high, so you may want to skip this gate if you won’t use most of the pieces.
This gate has some cool features that other gates don't. One of its best is its self-closing gate, which would help to make sure that you don't accidentally leave the gate open and endanger your little ones.
Intended Locations – This gate is super versatile! It can be used in virtually every place that you can imagine. It can be used in doorways, hallways, transition areas, and at the top and bottom of stairs (as long as you don't have a banister). It even comes with extra hardware to make sure that the gate will only open away from the steps.
Attachment System – Again, super versatile! You have the option of using a pressure-mounted system, or a screw mounted system. This gives you the opportunity to move the gate if you want to or have it installed more permanently.
Size Availability – While not as big as the Deluxe Décor Gate we reviewed above, this is still a sizable gate. It can fit spaces up to 48 inches or areas as small as 28 inches.
Closure System – The closure system operates with just one hand. However, this does not mean that it is not secure. You need to push down on the top and pull up on the bottom at the same time, making it childproof.
Material – The gate is built from high-quality steel and is available in multiple finishes.
Drawbacks – The biggest drawback for this gate is that the slots are widely spaced. This could make it possible for a small child to stick their head through the opening and become stuck. This is a big safety hazard, especially for young infants who are just beginning to crawl or walk.
This is a somewhat smaller gate that can be used in a variety of ways to help keep your children safe. It is easily operated and installed.
Intended Locations – The gate can be used in multiple locations, such as the top and bottom of stairs (not intended for banister mounting), hallways, and doors.
Attachment System – The gate can be mounted by screwing it into the wall or with the attached pressure mounts. Since this gate is a bit smaller, the pressure mounts should work just fine. However, if you are going to use it for the stairs, we highly recommend you attach it with the hardware.
Size Availability – The gate can fit spaces from 28 inches up to 42 ½ inches.
Closure System – Like other gates that we looked at, the closure system is meant to be operated with one (adult!) hand only. You must push down on the top and pull up on the bottom at the same time. Since the closure is relatively large, your children should not be able to operate it at all, even with two hands!
Material – This gate is made of two different materials. The sides that mount to the wall are made out of metal, while the actual gate is made from beautifully stained wood.
Drawbacks – The gate is relatively narrow and may be difficult to fit through for a larger person or if you are carrying multiple items at a time. Also, since it is a U-frame gate you might trip over it when you go through it if you are not aware of its lip.
While less versatile than other gates we looked at, this gate has its uses. It would be good for an expansive space where you cannot mount traditional hardware and that you don't need to access often.
Intended Locations – This gate is good for hallways, doorways, and transition areas. It is NOT intended for either the top or bottom of stairs.
Attachment System – The attachment system that is utilized by this gate is pressure springs. All you have to do to attach it is twist the springs out until they reach your desired length and tightness.
Size Availability – Despite the fact that it can only be mounted with a pressure spring system, this is a big gate. It can go as small as 36 inches and extend up to a massive 57 inches.
Closure System – Once installed, the gate cannot be opened unless it is uninstalled. This is a big drawback for us. How many times have you entered a room, gotten something, left, and then realized you needed something else from the same place? With this gate, that kind of sequence could take a lot longer.
Material – The gate is made of plastic and mesh. It is not overly durable, but would probably hold up just fine as long as your baby leaves it alone.
Drawbacks – The material is not very sturdy and could probably be ripped by a determined child over time. Since it offers no way to for you to attach it with hardware, the tension springs may wear out over time, which would make it easier to knock down.
Out of all of the gates that we have looked at, this is the smallest option that we liked. Its size makes it ideal for those parents who have a smaller home, or anyone that just needs a gate for a little space. It also features an automatically closing door, which we like.
Intended Locations – The Dreambaby can be mounted anywhere that it will fit. This includes the top and bottom of stairs, hallways, and doorways.
Attachment System – Here is yet another gate that offers flexibility and versatility with its mounting options! You can either pressure mount it, or, if you’re like us, you can go for a more secure mount by installing it with the provided hardware and screws.
Size Availability – This is the smallest gate that we checked out. It can only fit spaces that range from 28 inches wide to 32 inches wide.
Closure System – The gate uses a closure that can easily be employed by an adult with just one hand. This makes it an easy entrance to operate while you are carrying groceries, your baby, or your baby and groceries!
Material – The gate is made from high-quality metal that should be durable for many years of use.
Drawbacks – After testing this gate for a while, I started to notice a troubling trend. The self closing latch started to not close by itself! While it could still be closed by pushing it shut, you might not realize its not working until it is too late. Always make sure that you check the latches after you go through any gate.
So Which Gate is the Best?
With so many high-quality gates on the market today, it is tough to select the best baby gates for every situation. However, you want to make sure that you get a durable gate that is easy to install, can be operated easily but is still childproof, and is versatile enough to fit many different situations and locations.
After taking all of these various factors into account, my pick for the number one baby gate available today is the Deluxe Décor Gate. I like it because I live in a very old home with large hallways, and this gate allowed me to close them up tightly without having to purchase extra sections.
The fact that I can remove the whole gate system without taking out the wall hardware is also really nice. This allows me to move the gate out of the way for company without a whole big hassle.
So there you have it, my top pick for the best baby gate! Do you have any questions or comment? What baby gate have you found to work best for you? Please let us know in the comments section below!