With all the child safety gates available on the market today, it’s easy to get confused. Each gate comes with its own special features, but they basically fall into two categories: pressure mounted and hardware mounted. The options you choose will depend on what you need from the gates.
A pressure-mounted baby gate adjusts in size to accommodate door frames and hallways of different dimensions. This kind of gate remains upright by squeezing between two vertical surfaces, like two sides of a door frame. While these safety gates are typically sturdy enough to support a toddling child, they aren’t quite as secure as a hardware-mounted baby gate.
Pressure-mounted options are generally less expensive and gentler on walls since they don’t have to be screwed into place. Plus, if you’re looking for a portable safety gate, pressure-mounted baby gates are the perfect choice: they’re extremely easy to pack up and move around.
A hardware-mounted baby gate is best for peace of mind; your kid won’t be knocking this down any time soon, since, as the name suggests, it’s literally affixed to your wall with metal hardware. While certainly not as portable as pressure-mounted gates, hardware-mounted options can be relocated if needed, as long as you’re willing to buy and install extra attachment fixtures around the house.
If you want baby gates for stairs, hardware-mounted gates are the way to go—they’re much less likely to topple down. This type of gate tends to be more expensive and tougher on walls, though, so if you want to keep your home pristine and don’t want to worry about minor repairs down the road, your best bet is a pressure-mounted gate.
Beyond these basic categories, you can find safety gates for almost any situation. Some are extra wide, some are extra tall, and some even come with built-in pet doors so your dog and cat can go through the gate rather than jump over it—perfect if you have a pet that’s injured or elderly. Safety gates meant specifically for outdoor use are also available.
Whichever gate is right for you, be sure to consider the number you’ll need for your home. Stair gates are an absolute must-have, both at the top and bottom of staircases, and additional gates may be useful at entrances to bedrooms, bathrooms, and hallways.