Three best baby gates

Lauren Corona

Extra-tall baby gates are ideal for taller children or avid climbers.

As a parent, one of your main concerns is keeping your children safe. As soon as they're mobile, you only have to turn your back for a second and babies and toddlers can get themselves in a sticky situation. Using baby gates can keep your children away from areas containing hazards, such as stairs or a hot stove.

But which baby gate is right for you? With so many options available, the purchasing process can seem confusing. We've done our research and gathered all the relevant information to make it simpler for you to find the ideal baby gate to keep your little one safe and secure.

Considerations when choosing baby gates

How old is your child?

Consider the age and height of your child before selecting a baby gate. Older children, or kids who are tall for their age, might be able to climb over smaller baby gates. And some clever kids can work out how to open the latch. If you're buying a baby gate for an infant who's still only just crawling, you might think you don't have to worry so much about the height of the gate or how hard the latch is to open. But remember, your baby will soon be a toddler, and you don't yet know whether she'll be content to stay on her side of the baby gate or turn into a mini Houdini.

Where will you install your baby gate?

Think about where you'll be installing your baby gate and what surface you'll attach it to. If you'll be fixing the gate to brick or plaster with screws, you might need a special drill. It's worth noting that many safety experts don't recommend placing baby gates right at the top of the stairs. If your child does manage to climb over, he'll launch himself straight down the stairwell. It's better to place a baby gate several feet from the top of the stairs if the layout of your home allows it.

What's your budget?

Baby gates vary widely in price, depending on size, appearance, and overall quality. If you only need a baby gate to fit a relatively small space, such as a doorway or narrow hallway, you can find solid models starting at around $30 to $40. Large, decorative, or feature-rich gates can cost well over $100. That said, you shouldn't have to pay more than $50 to $60 for an average baby gate.

Baby gate features

Mounting system: Some baby gates are pressure-mounted, with a tension rod that holds the gate in place. These don't require any particular tools or expertise to put up, but some models can be fiddly to install. Other gates are mounted to walls or doorways using hardware and will require a power drill for installation.

Height and width: Make sure your chosen baby gate is tall enough that your child can't climb over it and wide enough to fit where you want to place it. If you need to install a baby gate across a wide area, you can buy extenders for some models.

Latch: Different latches open in different ways. The best latches are too tricky for a toddler to open unaided but simple enough that you can open them with one hand.


Q. Do I need a baby gate as soon as my child is born?

A. You won't need a baby gate until your child becomes mobile. Most babies start to crawl between the ages of six and ten months. We'd recommend installing your baby gates around the six-month mark, so you're prepared.

Q. I don't like the look of most baby gates. Is there a more attractive option?

A. Let's face it, most baby gates are stark white and look utilitarian and rather unattractive. That said, you can find some models with a more interesting decorative style or in a color that better fits the rest of your décor.

Q. Can the slats in a baby gate be too far apart?

A. Yes. Slats that are too far apart can pose a hazard to children or pets, who could get stuck in them. Make sure the space between the bars of your chosen baby gate doesn't exceed three inches.

Baby gates we recommend

Best of the best: Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate 

Our take: The attractive art deco-like style and the extra height make this our clear favorite, the only issue is the latch, which isn't as sturdy as we'd like.

What we like: Dual locking, with an auto-close feature. Offers pressure-fit installation, as well as optional hardware for use at the top of stairs.

What we dislike: Plastic latch doesn't feel as strong as latch on some competitors.

Best bang for your buck: Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate 

Our take: An affordable yet solid baby gate. It might not be the most attractive option or the easiest to fit and operate, but it does its job at a bargain price.

What we like: Can fit space between 29" and 39" wide. Sturdy and secure; an excellent basic choice.

What we dislike: Difficult to open one-handed.

Choice 3: North States Easy-Close Gate

Our take: Busy parents will love how easy it is to shut this gate securely with a single push, making life much easier when you have your hands full.

What we like: Door can open either way. Secure triple-lock system. Pressure-mounted for easy installation.

What we dislike: Some users find it needs regular tightening.

Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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