Best Baby and Safety Gates

We looked at functionality, strength, and real user reviews to pick the best gates to keep your wee ones safe.

With over 40,000 ratings on Amazon, this Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Baby Gate is 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.

Compare baby gates

Best overall On-the-go pick Baby + pet pickMultiuse pickStyle pick
Product
regalo baby gateRegalo Easy Step Baby Gate
munchkin easy close baby gateMunchkin Easy Close Baby Gate
carson extra wide baby gateCarlson Extra Wide Gate
Regalo Super Wide GateRegalo Super Wide Gate
Summer Infant baby gate product imageSummer Infant Mult-Use Gate
Price
Maximum width (without extension)38.5 in. 35 in.36.5 in.192 in. 48 in.
Extension size6 in.2.75 in.4 in.N/A8.75 and 4.25 (2 included)
Tools required
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Price

*Amazon.com price as of 02/22/2021 at 12:38 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Best baby gate reviews

1. Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate: Best overall

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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Pressure or hardware mount
Pro Bullet Durable steel construction
Pro Bullet Good value for the price
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Narrow gate
Con Bullet 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.

2. Munchkin Easy Close Baby Gate: On-the-go pick

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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Equipped with double lock handle
Pro Bullet Safe for top of stairs
Pro Bullet Sturdy enough for toddlers
Pro Bullet Easy to open with one hand
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Tough on drywall
Con Bullet Too narrow for many spaces, requires extenders
Con Bullet 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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Built-in pet door
Pro Bullet Easy lock latch
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Gaps that smaller pets can get through
Con Bullet 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.

4. Regalo Super Wide Gate: Multiuse pick

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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Perfect for larger play areas
Pro Bullet Easy to set up and take down
Pro Bullet Customizable
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Less stability
Con Bullet 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.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Three extension pieces included
Pro Bullet Auto-close feature
Pro Bullet Tools optional
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Stylish design only available in bronze

Honorable mentions

Evenflo Secure Step Gate

Evenflo Secure Step Gate

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.

North States Easy Swing & Lock Gate

Toddleroo by North States

The Toddleroo from North States is ideal for blocking off wide areas near stairs. It swings completely open, so there’s no tripping hazard, and it locks shut automatically.

Its hardware mounting requires a drill for your wall, so it may not be the right gate for temporary use. But it's a durable gate that keeps babies, toddlers, and pets away from stairs for years.

It also comes in a bronze or linen finish, so it blends in well with most decor.

Safety 1st Natural Bamboo Gate

Safety 1st Natural Bamboo Gate

The Safety 1st Natural Bamboo Gate is a simple no-fuss option for eco-friendly households.

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 Expansion Swing Wide Gate

Evenflo Expansion Swing Wide Gate

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

pressure mounted baby gates

Pressure-mounted

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

Hardware-mounted

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.

walk through baby cribs

Walk-through

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.

pet friendly baby gate

Pet-friendly

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.

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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.

Our approach

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.

Just to name a few, you should add cabinet locks, sliding door locks, and buy a car seat.

Check out our room-by-room guide to baby proofing

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
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.