With over 40,000 ratings on Amazon, this Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Baby Gateis a favorite of parents everywhere. It expands wide to fit entrances up to 38.5 inches and uses hardware to stay in place.
The safety lock is easy for parents to use, even with an armful of laundry or toys, but tricky for toddlers and babies. The slats are small enough to avoid little legs and arms from getting stuck. It makes a great addition to pet parents’ homes as well.
The Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate is Amazon’s top seller, and we can see why: Regalo delivers simple installation, a walk-through door, and a one-touch safety lock—all at a price that won’t break the bank.
Of all the gates we looked at, it’s the easiest to set up (and take down). This gate features easy pressure mounts, and it comes with hardware and wall cups in case you want to mount it permanently.
Pressure or hardware mount
Durable steel construction
Good value for the price
Latch that kids can figure out
As noted in its name, this gate features a convenient walk-through door, but the gate is fairly narrow, which makes the door a tight (or impossible) squeeze for a large number of users.
This baby gate has a 6-inch extension to fit wider doorways. It works for openings from 29 inches to 34 inches and others 25 inches to 38.5 inches. However, it doesn't work for those between 34- and 35-inches.
The one-touch safety latch is great for parents who’ve got their hands full. Unfortunately, as kiddos get bigger and brighter, many of them are able to figure out the latch, which means this gate may only work for a year or two.
Many baby gates tout easy one-hand operation, but few deliver as well as the Munchkin Easy Close Baby Gate. Among parents and caregivers, this gate stands out every time for how easy it is to open. We also like the self-closing feature that ensures the gate always stays locked.
It features a childproof dual locking system that’s easy for grownups to use but tough for kids to crack.
Equipped with double lock handle
Safe for top of stairs
Sturdy enough for toddlers
Easy to open with one hand
Tough on drywall
Too narrow for many spaces, requires extenders
Bottom bar is a trip hazard
The biggest complaint about this gate is its width. Most users needed to buy the optional extenders to make the gate fit across an average-sized hallway. And, because this baby gate includes a bottom bar that stays in place when you open the walk-through door, it can be a tripping hazard for adults passing through.
3. Carlson Extra Wide Walk Through Gate with Pet Door: Baby + pet pick
If you’ve got both kiddos and pets, this pet-friendly Carlson Baby Gate is the best. It costs a little more than most of the baby gates on our list, but the price is worth it for the convenience.
In addition to the walk-through door that makes it easy for adults to pass through, this gate also features a pet door that’s the perfect size for cats and smaller dogs.
Built-in pet door
Easy lock latch
Gaps that smaller pets can get through
No safety certification
It has an easy, one-touch release that makes getting in and out a breeze—even with an armload of groceries or a squirmy two-year-old. Keep in mind that the bars on this gate are wide-set, which means that smaller pets and kittens can make it through even when the pet door is closed.
Also, because the pet door is made for animals to access at will, you’ll need to lock it down when you’re using the gate to corral your baby.
The Regalo Super Wide Gate does more than create a barrier between typical doorways—it can safely transform a great room into a playroom or operate as a stand-alone playpen.
This gate comes with eight 24-inch-wide detachable panels, so you can customize it to work around a fireplace, across a wide room opening, on the deck, around the Christmas tree, and more.
Perfect for larger play areas
Easy to set up and take down
Flimsy plastic joints
Best of all, the whole thing folds up flat for easy storage when you don’t need it. Unfortunately, the very thing that makes this gate so customizable also makes it less stable. Only the very end portions of the gate are secured to the wall, which makes the middle panels a little wobbly.
It is made of steel, but the joints that hold the individual panels together are made of plastic. Not only does this make the connections somewhat flimsy, but many customers have had the plastic split or break after repeated use.
5. Summer Infant Multi-Use Walk Through Gate: Style pick
If you’re a décor-conscious parent and the standard plastic and metal baby gate options don’t fit your style, Summer Infant has some great options for you.
Along with most of the standard baby gate features (like a one-hand latch), this gate also has a sleek art deco design that will complement almost any space. These gates can be pricier, but many customers don’t mind paying a little extra to get something that looks nicer in their home.
The Evenflo Secure Step Gate gate can block off stairs. Its one-hand release features a red or green signal to show whether or not the gate is locked. It can be set to swing in only one direction or in both.
While this baby gate is also reported to last for years, some reviewers say that the mounting hardware is flimsy. This could cause problems with older babies and toddlers who might push hard against the gate.
This is a pressure-mounted gate that doesn’t have a walk-through option. If you’re using it near stairs or in a high-traffic area, this could cause problems since you’ll have to step over the gate every time.
Some reviewers report that using this gate for pets can be troublesome since the plastic netting can be chewed through.
Evenflo's Expansion Swing Wide Gate has features that make it a great fit for unusual spaces: the gate is retractable, and its door swings in either direction. This makes it great for small spaces.
With metal hardware mounting and a safety rail, this gate can be used for babies or animals for quite a long time.
However, many reviewers report that as their little ones aged, they figured out the latch. It’s also a less sturdy gate, so if your baby is likely to push against it, it may not be the right gate for you.
Types of baby gates
These baby gates use a tension system to stay upright. The plus side of pressure-mounted baby gates is that they’re easy to move around. They also don’t put holes in your walls or require much assembly. However, they won’t be able to stand up to strong pressure or someone falling over them. If your child is strong enough, they could push this gate over.
Hardware-mounted baby gates are the safest solution. They use caps that you screw into the wall to anchor the gate. With this kind of fortification, the odds of knocking over your baby gate are very low. They’re extremely sturdy and can still be moved around your house if you install caps in different locations.
You’re probably familiar with those simple wooden gates that easily block an entryway but require you to step over or take down the gate to pass through. Walk-through gates eliminate those hassles with a built-in doorway that lets you walk through the barrier without having to take down the gate.
While your child is rampaging around your home with newfound legs, you won’t want to inhibit your furry children from roaming the house. Some baby gates have small openings for cats to get through. Some have larger gates you can open for dogs. Just make sure the opening is smaller than your child, or the gate will fail to do its job!
Tips for baby and safety gates
When it comes to choosing the right safety gate and installing it correctly, these are the tips you need to know.
Make it fit
Most baby gates are adjustable or expandable. This should make finding the perfect fit easy, but it can actually make things trickier.
Before buying, measure the height and width of the area you want to block.
If you’re using a pressure-mounted baby gate, be aware that many appear to be warped or curved. But this is an intentional design feature that ensures a proper, solid tension fit.
To install retractable baby gates on banisters, hollow walls, or iron railings, purchase a special gate installation kit to ensure a safe, sturdy fit.
Measure the slats
Make sure the slats on your gate are less than three inches apart to prevent little arms and legs from getting stuck. You can avoid this concern altogether by purchasing a gate without slats, like our number three pick above.
And don’t forget about your four-legged family members. Pets can also get stuck in an opening between slats, so keep their heads and legs in mind when measuring as well.
Beware of unusual spaces in decorative baby gates. Users of this gate report rambunctious puppies and kitties getting their heads stuck in the bottom of the gate where the bars stop.
Test it out
Before you leave your baby to play near a safety gate, give it a test run to ensure everything is working properly—especially it's guarding your fireplace or Christmas tree.
After the gate is installed, test how sturdy it is. You want it to remain firmly in place no matter how much pressure your child places on it.
Check all locks and latches to make sure they work correctly. If you have older children in the home, teach them how to properly lock and unlock the gate so that no one accidentally leaves it open.
If your gate has a self-locking latch, test it to make sure it securely locks each time.
Baby gate safety tip
Never let your child watch you step over the baby safety gate. Little ones love to copy us, and this is an open invitation for them to plot an escape.
Avoid putting risky ideas into your baby’s head by using the walk-through gate or opening the gate every time you pass through under their watchful eyes.
Watch which way it swings
Many baby gates include walk-through doorways that can swing both ways. This makes it easy for grownups to seamlessly move from room to room, but it can present a hazard for babies and toddlers—especially if the gate is used by stairs.
Gates placed at the top of the stairs should only swing away from the stairs. Child stair gates that swing out over the stairs can lead to an accidental spill if your little one somehow gets the gate open.
If you have a baby gate with a walk-through door that swings both ways, make sure you can lock it into the appropriate swinging position before placing it atop the staircase.
To be extra safe, only place gates with doors that swing one way at the top of the stairs.
Nothing’s more important than keeping your child safe, but it can be difficult to know which products to trust. That’s why we dug into the top-selling baby safety gates on the market to find the best ones for your family. We picked our top ten baby and safety gates from more than twenty gates initially considered. To make our list, each gate was evaluated for durability, strength, ease of installation, multi-use functions, and price. We also looked at JPMA safety regulations and certifications as well as expert and parent reviews.
18 hours researched
21 products researched
500+ customer reviews
9 coffees consumed
Baby gates FAQ
Before setting up your baby gate, identify a few hazardous areas in your home you want to keep off-limits to your kids or pets.
Baby gates can fit at the top or bottom of stairs, entrances to kitchens, garages, or work areas that could be dangerous. You can also use your baby gate as a playpen to keep kids in an area rather than out of a room.
Yes. Simple pressure mounted gates stay in place by squeezing the side of walls or doorways. These aren’t as sturdy as screw-mounted baby gates, but they’re easy to take with you throughout your house or pack for vacations and visits.
Just like little humans, pets can get into trouble when you aren’t looking. Baby gates work well for pet owners, especially those with small dogs, by keeping them out of dangerous areas like the kitchen or near the fireplace.
Be sure to measure areas in your home for a baby gate that fits the space. For wider areas, you can get a baby gate with extensions.
Safety certifications are also important for ensuring the gate has been tested and will be durable enough to handle years of use. Look for JPMA-certified gates from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association for the best products.
Babies and toddlers are a curious bunch. There are a few things to do before the baby arrives and after your little one starts walking.
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.