The Best Non-Hideous Baby Gates That Will Keep Your Tot Safe Without Ruining Your Aesthetic
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When your little one is on the move, there are certain places and rooms you will need to keep them from entering. Baby gates are your best bet in these situations. But with so many types to choose from, how do you know what to pick and are there any that aren't completely hideous?
How to Choose
Baby gates come in a few different styles, and each one has a purpose. The main styles are pressure-mounted, hardware-installed, and freestanding. How and where you are planning on using them will determine which one you will want to buy.
Pressure-mounted gates are only suitable between rooms and at the bottom of the stairs. They are held in place only by the spring-loaded arms. They are stable, and difficult to knock down, but a toddler going full speed could certainly do it. (As can a rottweiler puppy. Ask me how I know.)
Hardware-installed gates are what you want at the top of the stairs in lieu of a closing door. They work much like a door, as they are permanently installed with screws into the studs. They are the most immovable of the bunch. I like to find hardware-installed gates that are hard to climb, as well. If they're at the top of the stairs, make sure that the door swings onto the landing, not towards the stairs.
Free-standing gates are larger gates that are made for things such as closing off a dining room from a living room, blocking off a hearth area, or even for use on a closed-in porch. This type of gate is also wonderful for staircases with wider bottoms.
An Important Note: Not all baby gates are made alike. Some of them are downright pains in the butt to open and close. I am trying to include only the easiest to open and close, but some of the best-built are the most vexing. I will give you a pro tip from someone who has had far too many of these bad boys: Set it up so that the way you open them is set to your dominant hand if you can.
How We Chose
I live in a 3-story Victorian, and that means a lot of stairs. Baby gates are my BFF. I have installed several myself, and I spoke with other parents about their favorite baby gates in all the categories. These are the very best.
Farmhouse Collection Walk Thru Top-of-Stairs Gate
This is not only one of the best-looking top-of-the-stairs, hardware-mounted baby gates, it's also the easiest to install. Evenflo makes all manner of baby products, so it's no wonder that their gates are wonderful. It is made of stained hardwood, and fits doors from 30 to 48 inches wide. It takes all of ten minutes to install, and while it is definitely not the easiest to open model on this list, it's not impossible.
More: Best Baby Gadgets
Retractable Baby Gates for Doorway
This is technically a hardware mount, but because can be mounted punch-free (without damage to walls), and not suitable for the top of stairs, we're calling it a pressure-mount. That being said, it's an appealing option because not only is it expandable to 71 inches, it's also made of strong mesh, making it one of the hardest gates for baby (or puppy) to yeet themselves over.
Parents told me that this is the gate that they love to use between the playroom or living room and the rest of the house because when it is retracted, it's not that noticeable.
Stairway Angle Baby Gate 27"-41.5", White
A favorite of one of our own here at Best Products, they say that this Cardinal Gate is easy to install and quite sturdy. As it is one of the highest-rated baby gates on Amazon, it makes sense that this would be such a robust gate. Our reviewer did note that you do need to add pads to the bottom of the gate so that it doesn't damage floors, which is really a common issue with all gates.
Barn Door Walk-Thru Gate Farmhouse Collection
There are many reasons to like this gate, but my favorite is because you get to see your little one peeking through the window.
Seriously, though, it's a wood gate that can be pressure mounted or hardware mounted, and the whole thing is so solid in either mount. Once again, Evenflo is knocking it out of the park with this one. I will say that this one can be a bit fiddly in pressure-mount mode, taking a bit of finagling to get at just the right pressure to hold up without taking out a chunk of plaster.
Loft Hardware Mounted Baby Gate for Stairs
This gate is the easiest to open on this list. It doesn't look terrible, either. It's not my favorite to assemble, if we're being honest, but it's a really great gate.
What I love about this gate apart from how easy it is to open, is that you can pull it off any time you want to. Most gates are either there, or they're uninstalled. This has a third option, and likely more attractive to parents that have guests over more frequently.
120-Inch Wide Metal Baby Safety Fence
Every third parent I talked to has this very gate. One reason for that is Amazon pushes this to the front of the list on the results page. Another reason is that it's simple and gets the job done.
This freestanding baby gate is what you'd use in front of the fireplace or at the bottom of a wide staircase. It's not the hardest to outwit for babies, but it does buy you time, because when this falls over, it makes a mighty ruckus.
198" Baby Gate Extra Wide
In spite of the sheer size of this beast, it is hardware mounted. While it's not ideal for the top of the stairs, it is great to block off open areas like kitchens, great rooms, and entryways.
It does sit directly on the floor, so make sure you affix all of the pads onto the bottom of the gate so that it doesn't scratch your floors. The door to the gate is dead center, and opens with one of the lift-style locks that many of us hate, but appreciate for how hard it is for babies to open.
Easy Step 38.5-Inch Wide Walk Thru Baby Gate
Another dual-mount gate, but this one is lighter and easier to open than the Evenflo. The Regalo baby gate is durable and easy to clean. Parents tell me that they're huge fans of how easy it is to deal with. noting it doesn't require much effort at all.
My only issue with this gate is that it is slightly easier to scale than others on the list. The bottom piece rests right on the floor, giving baby a leg up — and they do take it.
Stairway Special Safety Gate
Decks and porches are a wonderful thing to have, but holy wow are they fraught with dangers for your kid. The stairs being one of the biggest. The outdoor version of the other Cardinal baby gate on this list is made to withstand weather and your children's antics. It's a more solid version with weather-treated coating and brackets.
Do you have to drill into your deck to secure it? Absolutely you do, but it gives you so much peace of mind. And maybe get a second freestanding gate to go in front of the barbecue as well.
Crystal Designer Baby Safety Gate
I get it. You want and need a baby gate, but you don't want to see it. Whether it would obstruct a killer view or just mess up your aesthetic, you want something less obvious.
Let me introduce you to Qdos. It's so clear that I've seen babies and adults walk right into it. It's impressively strong as well. Just ask my legs that were assaulted by this gate. (It's me. I'm the adult who walked right into it.)
It's not the easiest to install or to open, but you have to admit, if you can't see something, it must look good, right?
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