The Best Safety Gate

Best Safety Gate

Last updated: January 23, 2017. After researching and reviewing over 20 safety gates, we pick the KidCo Safeway Gate ($43) as the Best Safety Gate.

Scroll down for our picks for Best Pressure Gate, Best Play Yard Gate, Best Fireplace Hearth Gate and Best Window Guard.
New to crib shopping? Read our 7 Things No One Tells You About Buying a Safety Gate for advice and tips.

Stairs—yes, the most obvious place to start baby proofing your home. Gates come in two flavors: pressure and hard-mounted. In our opinion, the safest option is a hard-mounted gate that can’t be pushed over like a pressure-mount gate.

After installing 20+ gates currently on the market, we think the KidCo Safeway Gate is the best safety gate for hard mounting to the top of the stairs or anywhere you want to block baby’s access.

The gate comes in a few different versions: straight ($43 to $45, available in black or white metal) as well as angled to fit all types of stairs. The angled version is a bit more expensive and comes in metal ($53, black or white), wood ($73, three color options) or wood and steel ($73 to $78, three wood colors, black steel bars).

These gates work in openings from 24 3/4″ to 42.5″ wide. If you have an extra wide opening, KidCo also offers extension for angled gates–you can buy a 10″ extension for $26. The gate has one hand operation for adults plus quick release hardware if you need to remove the barrier completely. One key quality feature: a stop pin that prevent the gate from swinging out over the stairs. Plus there is no bottom threshold to trip on (as with many pressure mount gates). The gate can also be easily removed if needed. Check out the video below:

Reader feedback on this gate is very positive, with fans loving the ease of installation and small footprint (when open, it doesn’t restrict the stairway).

Yes, KidCo also makes pressure mount gates of similar quality, which can be used for gate off areas other than stairs.

The Best Safety Gate

KidCo Safeway Top of Stairs Gate

Safeway is the best safety gate for the top of the stairs with its one-hand adult operations, quick release hardware, heavy duty steel construction and ease of installation. At $45, it’s also a great deal.

Best Pressure Gate

 

Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate

Best Pressure Gate. While we prefer hard-mounted gates for areas like stairs, pressure mounts gates do have a purpose—they are best at blocking access to rooms that may have baby hazards (like the laundry room above).

For this, we would recommend the Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate pressure gate.

This gate has a one-hand opening for adults with an additional safety lock and fits in doorways between 29″ and 39″ wide. Made of steel, it comes in white and includes a 6″ extension kit. For added strength, they include additional wall suction cups. The Easy Step is priced at $32 for the 30″ tall version. We judged the build and overall quality of Regalo’s presure gates to be the best on the market.

Other versions are available including an extra tall model (41″). Regalo also sells extensions of 4″, 6″ 12″ and 24″. While the gate is popular, some parents note it’s easy to mis-install it, then wrongly conclude it’s defective. Folks we intereviewed recommend reading the directions carefully before trying to install it. Once they got the hang of the install, readers said they loved the gate.

Also Great: Evenflo’s Soft and Wide Gate ($40) is 20” tall and expands from 38” to 60” wide—perfect for funky openings you need to gate. Mesh lets baby see through the gate. However, this gate isn’t designed to be set-up and removed frequently, in our opinion—it is better to set it up and have the adults walk over it to access the non-baby zone.

Evenflo Soft and Wide Gate

Best Play Yard Gate

 

North States Superyard XT Gate Play Yard

Best Play Yard Gate. This style of gate is designed to keep baby in, not out of an area. Set up in a hexagon (or octagon), play yard gates are best for babies who aren’t walking but in the cute sitting there and crawling phase. Once a baby can stand, they may be able to exert enough pressure to push over a play yard gate.

The North States Superyard XT Gate Play Yard  is our pick as the Best Play Yard Gate. It is an expandable panel system (six, $53; or eight panels, $101) that is 26” high and provides a play area of 18.5 square feet. A two-panel extension kit ($30) provides even more area.

Some readers tell us they use this to protect large Christmas trees from toddlers. Yes, it is all plastic, but it is durable enough to corral babies who are crawling. A few parents say it is hard to open and close the gate (the hinges are tight), but overall, readers give this play yard solution a thumbs up.

Best Fireplace Hearth Gate

 

Kidco Auto Close HearthGate

Best Fireplace Hearth Gate. A fireplace is an obvious place baby doesn’t need to visit—but how do you protect it? KidCo’s Auto Close HearthGate ($136) is pricey but does the trick, in our testing. It is 29.95” tall and works on hearths six feet wide by two feet deep; extensions are available for bigger openings. The HearthGate also includes a walk-through gate that closes automatically.

 

Best Window Guard

 

Guardian Angel Window Guard

Best Window Guard. An often over-looked area of baby proofing, window guards are important if you open windows for fresh air.

Here’s the best window guard we found in our research: Guardian Angel. The company sells affordable metal window guards that fit just about any type of window ($76 for a four-bar gate that can extend from 35-58″). Guardian Angel window gates are hardware mounted.

Yes, these are a must for low windows your toddler can access or if you live in a high-rise condo building. Remember babies can climb furniture and access windows you think are safe— keep them locked or install a window guard.

Also Great: KidCo sells a Mesh Window Guard ($32, below) in case you don’t want metal bars over your windows.

KidCo Mesh Window Guard

Another idea: the Super Stopper from Parent Units ($15, below) is a simple device that suctions on a window, preventing it from opening too far to let a toddler out. Great for travel or grandma’s house.

Super Stopper

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing a multitude of safety items like gates and window guards since 1994. In addition to hands on inspections, we have also visited manufacturer facilities and met with safety regulators—and when we travel, we pay our all of our own expenses. We also evaluate consumer reviews posted on sites like Babies R Us and Amazon, as well as our own message boards. Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews. We’ve been writing and reviewing baby gear since 1994. Yes, that long!

How we picked a winner

 

KidCo Safeway gate

We evaluate safety gates with in-depth inspections, checking models for overall quality and ease of use—for example, checking ease of installation and testing with toddlers who known escape-artists. Yes, we are looking at you, little Susie.

We also gather significant reader feedback (our book, Baby Bargains has over 1 million copies in print), tracking gates on quality and durability. Besides interviewing parents, we also regularly talk with retailers of nursery products to see which brands are most trustworthy and other key quality metrics.

The reliability of manufacturers is another key factor—we meet with key company executives of baby safety companies at least once a year. Since we’ve been doing this since 1994, we have developed detailed profiles of major brands that help guide our recommendations. See below for links.

7 Things No One Tells You About . . .

 

 

7 Things No One Tells You About Buying A Safety Gate and Other Safety Tips!

1. If you’re confused about which type of gate you need, you’re not alone.

In the past, if you wanted to block off a room to keep your baby or a pet out of a room, your had basically one kind of gate: a pressure gate. Pressure gates are sized slightly larger than your opening and then squeezed into the space using a spring to create pressure. Problem is, they can be pushed over, especially by a large toddler or pet. This makes a pressure gate at the top of the stairs a no-no. To solve the stair dilemma, consider hard-mounted gates. These have a frame that is permanently attached to the walls or banisters with screws. Then there is a swinging gate with a parent activated latch so you can get up or down the stairs. Of course, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to safety gates. Options to consider are swinging openings on pressure gates, taller gates, wider gates or extensions for wide openings, and new fabrications such as wood and wood/metal combinations. Yes, all the extras cost money; a basic wood or plastic pressure gate to seal off a dining room sells for as little as $10, while a hard mounted stair gate with stained wood and black metal spindles runs nearly $80. Extra wide gates can be over $100.

Evenflo Wooden Safety Gate

This Evenflo pressure gate (called Position and Lock Wood Gate), is one of the most affordable pressure gate options. It can’t be used on stairs, in our opinion, however.

 

Kidco Safeway Gate Designer Angle Mount

KidCo’s Designer Angle Mount Safety Gate with wood frame and metal spindles runs about $70. They’re trying to appeal to parents who want a more stylish look in their home.

 

Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Gate and Play Yard

This Regalo Super Wide Gate is 192″ long and runs around $100.

 

2. Don’t overlook the BOTTOM of the stairs.

That’s right, you’ll need a gate for the bottom of your stairs too. We recommend you place the bottom gate two steps up from the landing. Why? This way your baby can practice climbing stairs, with little chance of injury.

hard mount baby gate bottom stairs

Here’s a hard mounted gate at the bottom of the stairs. Although it doesn’t show it, we recommend installing it with a couple stairs left open for baby to practice.

 

3. Make sure the hard-mounted gate has a stop pin for safety.

A stop pin keeps the gate from swinging over open stairs. Our choice for best safety gate, the KidCo Safeway, has a stop pin:

KidCo Safeway gate stop pin

The stop pin on this KidCo Safeway Gate is is the the tiny round tab on the left side of the wall mount.

 

4. Gates are for more than stairs.

Gates and barriers are important to keep kids out of fireplaces, pet rooms and laundry rooms, to name a few. And don’t forget window barriers. You can still have fresh air without worrying your baby will fall out the window if you use window gates/guards.   window guard

5. If you’re renting, still use hard mounted gates.

I know what you’re thinking: my landlord is going to kill me if I attach a hard-mounted gate on my stairs. We know how you feel, but it’s for your baby’s safety. Patching walls is actually simple; check out the following videos on how to patch dry wall and wood.   https://youtu.be/E-eBBzWEpwE   https://youtu.be/ZjqWa1hpspI

6. Don’t wait until your baby “almost” does something dangerous before you baby proof your home.

Babies grow up so fast! In the blink of an eye your bundle of joy is calmly sitting in the middle of the living room sucking her fingers (or a toy, whatever). Next thing you know, she is scaling furniture and trying to make a run for it out an open door. Of course, every baby is different, so let’s talk typical milestones. Baby this age can do that: Rolls over: two to 4.5 months. Stands holidng onto something: five to 10 months. Walks holding on to furniture (cruisers): 7.5 to 12.5 months. Walks alone: 11 to 14.5 months Yes, you read correctly: before you know it, your baby is standing, cruising and walking. And Murphy’s Law of baby safety says your baby’s attraction to anything is directly proportional to how dangerous it is. So get down on your hands and knees and crawl through your home just like your baby will. Check for hazards like hanging lamp cords, blind cords, open electrical sockets, easy to climb items, anything you can think of that will attract babies. Then baby proof them all! See #7 for our top safety must haves.

7. Here are our top 11 safety must-haves.

Fire Extinguisher

Fire Extinguishers: Make sure you buy ABC rated extinguishers that can put out any type of fire.

Safety Baby Self-closing Outlet Covers

Outlet covers. We like these self-closing covers from Safety Baby. We aren’t big on the plastic covers you insert into the outlet–they can fall out (or be removed by an intrepid toddler).

Infant Optics DXR-8 video camera

Baby Monitors. Unless your house is very small, you’ll appreciate the peace of mind you get with a baby monitor. You can choose from video or audio-only models.

First Alert Dual Sensor smoke alarm

Smoke alarms. The best smoke alarms have two systems for checking fires like this First Alert Dual Sensor. We recommend a smoke alarm for every bedroom plus main hallways, basement and living rooms.

Kidde Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas, so you’ll want a CO detector in your baby’s room and another in the hallways to detect this deadly gas.

Safety Baby Magnetic door locks

Cabinet and drawer locks. We like Safety Baby’s magnet locks, but there are many different styles at a wide range of prices.

Skip Hop Moby Safety Bath Spout cover

Spout cover for tub. Once baby is ready to use the full size tub, you’ll want to protect that precious cranium from tub spout bumps. Tub spout covers can be whimsical or practical.

 

Bath thermometer or anti-scald device. It's surprisingly easy to miscalculate appropriate bath water temperatures, so do yourself a favor and get a thermometer or anti-scald device.

Bath thermometer or anti-scald device. It’s surprisingly easy to miscalculate appropriate bath water temperatures, so do yourself a favor and get a thermometer or anti-scald device.

 

Toilet seat belt

Toilet lock. Goes without saying you don’t want your little one investigating the toilet. There are a number of toilet lock designs; the Toilet Seat Belt (sounds like a South Park idea) gets high ratings from parents.

 

KidCo Safeway Gate

Baby safety gates. Hard-mounted stair gates at top and bottom are a must for baby safety.

 

Hangman Anti-Tip Kit

Furniture anchor straps. Furniture and TVs can tip over on children, leading to injury and death. For $8 you can purchase anti-tip kits for all your furniture and TVs.

window guard

Window guard. To keep toddlers from climbing up and falling out a window, consider window guards if you want to leave the window open.

Our Top Choice

The Best Safety Gate

KidCo Safeway Top of Stairs Gate

Safeway is the best safety gate for the top of the stairs with its one-hand adult operations, quick release hardware, heavy duty steel construction and ease of installation. At $45, it’s also a great deal.