It literally happens overnight. Our cute baby gets put down on the floor for some quality tummy time while mama goes to start dinner or flips the laundry (or literally does anything with both hands) for two minutes. We come back and —poof!— BB is standing up holding onto the TV stand grinning from ear to ear as our hearts catch in our throat. Time for a baby gate. How the hell did that happen so fast? Mobility happens quickly, so at the first sign of crawling (around seven months) it’s time to put up a baby gate.
When looking for a baby gate online, the options can quickly become overwhelming. Long gone are the days of the woven wooden and plastic gates our parents used. Today, there are a variety of options from pressure mounted to actual hardware-mounted installation, extra tall varies to retractable baby gates. The most important things to consider when selecting a gate is where’s it going to go. (There is a big difference between a gate to keep the dog food secure and a baby gate for the stairs). A pressure mounted gate is perfect for moving from room to room as needs change, whereas a hardware-mounted gate is staying put long term.
We’ve rounded up the best baby gate options for wherever you need to corral your LO from the top of the stairs to outside. Go ahead and flip the laundry or dare we say, make yourself a snack while knowing BB is being kept safe from the most dangerous (aka “fun”) parts of the house.
Extra Wide Baby Gates
This Regalo Baby Gate has over 20,000 Amazon reviews (we know, it’s insane!) but this is hands down our pick for the most universal baby gate. Pressure mounted (meaning it can travel from room to room and is quick to set up) with a walkthrough door, this gem gets the Easy Step Extra Wide Walk Thru name from its ability to fit doorways between 29 and 38.5 inches wide. The durable design has earned this gate certification from both JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) and ASTM.
One mama shared, “I can open it with one hand with some force, but I would prefer two hands. I finally have my kitchen back and my toddler cannot figure out how to open it which is awesome! Took less then 10 minutes to install, and I am very happy with this purchase.”
Baby gates don’t get much wider than this 192-inch Super Wide Adjustable Baby Gate and Play Yard from Regalo. For mamas with an open floor plan, a massive Christmas tree, or the need to give BB room to roam in a contained area, this is THE baby gate. The eight different panels can be configured to stretch across a great room, or to mold into a variety of other shapes for spaces we need covered.
One mama reviewer wrote, “I’m so happy with this purchase. We needed an extra long gate to keep our curious 2 year old and crawling 8 month old away from the Christmas tree and presents, and this works great. The height of the gate is a little shorter than our toddler, but he still can’t climb over it so it gets the job done. The length is very impressive. With our Christmas tree, we didn’t need to use all sections, but we’ll be using it to close off our kitchen later, which no other gate has been long enough to do.
It anchors right into the wall so it’s nice and sturdy. Both of our kids have pulled on it, shaken it, etc and it’s holding up fine. The little entry door is also easy to open and close. To keep our toddler out, we use a zip tie or lock on the latch, which works great. I looked everywhere for a gate this size and this was definitely the best deal.”
Wooden Baby Gates
When we think of baby gates, the classic wooden ones our parents had come to mind. Thankfully the design details have improved over the years and now Summer makes ones we actually want as part of our home decor. The Decorative Wood & Metal Pressure Mounted Baby Gate with a door made of New Zealand pine wood looks as if it can blend in seamlessly with existing design details.
Aside from its good looks, this gate extends from 36” to 60” wide (thanks to the three included extensions — this is rare!) and offers a one handed walk through (perfect for when BB just wants to be held all day!). One reviewer commented, “This was the only gate I could find that was wide enough and versatile enough to fit at the bottom of our stairs. Love the color and the walk through gate! Worth the money!”
Thanks to Joanna Gaines, we’re obsessed with everything farmhouse and the rustic look that makes a house into a home. Enter baby and all of the sudden our living space no longer fits this dream vision. Insert Summer Infant’s Rustic Home Safety Gate. Super cute farmhouse style with the safety and security we need to keep our LO out of harm’s way.
We love the sliding barn door style that makes for a much cooler looking retractable gate that still comes with the ease of pressure mounted installation. Summer also includes the necessary materials to make this safe for stairway installation as well. Stylish enough to go in every room in the house, this gate works for doorways and stairways, ranging from 29-42”. We think this gate will be the envy of every mama (and dog mom) on the block!
Best Baby Gates For Stairs
If you live in a two story house, then a top of stairs baby gate is a must purchase. There is nothing scarier than when BB decides to do the stairs on a whim and has no sense of fear. The Toddleroo Easy Swing and Lock Baby Gate is specifically designed for larger openings, such as stairs, with hardware-mounted for increased stability. Fitting stairways up to 47” wide and as narrow as 28”, this versatile gate also has the added safety feature of a one way door to prevent accidental slips down the stairs.
One reviewer commented on the door and the gate itself by saying, “It just swings closed, and latches perfectly every time. It’s strong and well-made but also lightweight and much less visually obtrusive than the compression gate. It’s a major upgrade, well worth the 45 minutes or so needed to install it, and the screw holes are actually pretty tiny as it turns out.”
The Munchkin Easy Close XL Pressure Mounted Baby Gate for Stairs offers the option for extra hardware for added security upon installation. We love the extended size both the 36” height and the ability to extend (with an extra extension) to up to 54” across. The double locking door is adult friendly but child proof, and the added lock at the bottom ensures the door can be set to swing away from the stairs.
One mama reviewer shared, “I have 3 boys, 3 dogs, and a pet pig. I’ve been through A LOT of baby/pet gates. This one is by far my favorite and the most durable. I own two of them! We have a fairly open floor plan so the fact that this gate can fit just over a 51” wide space right out of the box is even better! It’s fairly easy to assemble and goes up even easier. You can lock it shut at the bottom or latch it so the gate only swings open one direction.”
Extra Tall Baby Gates
Why do you need an extra tall baby gate? It’s not because you have a tall baby. Babies love to climb and those who are really good at it need a little extra insurance that they’re staying put. An extra tall baby gate adds a solid 6 to 12” of height to a standard baby gate, just enough to keep junior where we want him! Regalo, the maker of all things baby gate related, naturally has a fan favorite (to the tune of 8,000+ reviews), the Easy Step Extra Tall Walk Thru Baby Gate.
Standing at 41” tall and extending to just over 36” wide, this durable gate meets the safety standards of both the American Society Testing Materials (ASTM) and Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). The pressure mount design makes the gate installation a breeze, while still allowing for the perfect fit in a doorway, hallway, or the bottom of the stairs.
Sometimes the need for an outdoor baby gate arises to prevent toddling off the deck or down the stairs. Perma Child Safety has developed an extra tall (41” to be exact) and extra wide (stretches to a massive 71”) retractable baby gate that can be used either indoors across large rooms or outdoors for all of our deck safety. This is a hardware mounted baby gate that requires screwing of the mounts into the wall or deck post for added security.
Made of UV-resistant mesh, this is both baby and pet friendly. We love the 2-step design that allows for us to hold BB while maneuvering through the gate. Trying to hold a kiddo and step over the gate while not tripping is no easy feat. Instead, Perma has a twist lock system that can be operated with one hand. The gate slides across easily and locks on to the catches to hold it snuggly closed.
Looking to check more items off the must have baby gear list? Check out all of our mom approved baby recommendations.