Best Gate Overall: Regalo Easy Step Extra Tall Walk Thru Baby Gate

We tried out nearly all the popular baby gates on the market today, checking for ease of installation and use. After testing with parents in various places in a house (stairs, doorways and more), we pick Regalo’s Easy Step baby gate as the best of the bunch. Here’s why:

What We Liked

• Expandable! We like the fact this gate can expand to fit openings between 29 and 36.5″ wide. That’s important because doorway widths vary widely from house to house.

• Included extension kit can add another 4″.

• Affordable.

• Can hard mount or pressure mount. If you can, hard mount the gate at the top and bottom of stairs.

• Steel looks nicer than plastic.

• Door can swing open either way. 

What Needs Work

• Have to hit a switch on the bottom of the gate to have the gate swing open both ways. The switch has a bit of a learning curve, as some of our testers said they had problems getting it to work at first.

• No self-close.

• Doesn’t self-lock.

Best Pressure Gate: North States MyPet Paws 40” Portable Pet Gate

Don’t let the name fool you—this safety gate is great for both pets AND babies. We tried out several different pressure gates . . . gates that use pressure against a doorway to hold in place. We though North States’ pet gate was an excellent choice.

What We Liked

 Flexible. Works for openings 26″ to 40″ wide. That extra flexibility is better than other gates we tested.

• Affordable.

• Rubber bumpers protect walls.

• Made in USA.

• No assembly required.

• Easy to install.

What Needs Work

• Not baseboard friendly. If the opening has baseboard at the bottom, this gate isn’t the best choice—it doesn’t work well if the top is wider than the bottom. We’d suggest the Regalo gate recommended above as a better alternative.

• No extensions available.

• Plastic looks, well, plastic-y.

• No swinging door—you have to take it down or climb over it to access the gated off area.

Best Budget-Friendly: Evenflo Position and Lock Farmhouse Pressure Mount Gate

Evenflo’s wood pressure gate is a baby gear classic that is easy on the wallet. We thought it was best bet for a simple solution to gate off a doorway or opening.

What We Liked

• Expandable: works in 36″ to 42″ openings.

• Affordable.

• Sturdy.

• Wood looks nicer than plastic or metal. 

• Easy to install and use.

What Needs Work

• Some strength needed to lock/unlock. This may not be the best bet if you are a caregiver with arthritis. The new plastic lock design doesn’t please some long time users who preferred the previous metal clip.

• Doesn’t work well if bottom of doorway is narrower than top. This is true for all pressure gates, of course.

• Black bumpers can leave marks on walls.

• No swinging gate. You have to remove the entire gate (or climb over it) to access the gated off area.

Best Extra Wide Gate: Safety 1st Wide Doorways Fabric Gate with Pressure-Mounted Fastening

We tried out several gate solutions that promise to gate off a wide opening—and when we say wide, we mean wide. As in 60″ wide! After some testing, we think Safety 1st’s fabric gate is the best bet for most folks.

What We Liked

• Works well even in doorways where the bottom opening is narrower than the top. If you have a doorway with baseboards, the top of the opening is wider than the bottom. Many pressure gates can’t adjust to make this work—this one does. The tension rods can be adjusted to be wider at the top.

• Fits wide openings up to 60″ and as narrow as 36.5.”

• Great for travel. It is easy to pack up for road trips.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• Assembly may require another set of hands. 

• Rubber bumpers can fall off and get lost.

• Doesn’t retract to open—you have to climb over or remove the entire gate.

• Cloth gate material can get dirty.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing baby gear, including safety gates, since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward safety, ease of use and affordability.

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.

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