Table of Contents
- View The Best Baby Gate for Stairs Below
- 1. Summer Deluxe Stairway Wood Gate
- 2. Qdos Crystal Designer Baby Safety Gate
- 3. Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Baby Gate
- 4. North States Toddleroo Swing & Lock Gate
- 5. Evenflo Farmhouse Collection Walk Thru Gate
- 6. Kidco Safeway Top of Stair Gate
- 7. Munchkin Loft Aluminum Baby Gate
- 8. Dreambaby Chelsea Auto Close Security Gate
- 9. Safety 1st Auto-Close Magnetic Latch Gate
- 10. BabyDan Guard Me Foldable Safety Baby Gate
- Baby Gates for Stairs Buyers Guide
Your baby-related worries change with every stage your little one goes through – when they’re newborns, their world is your arms, a bassinet, and maybe a swing. But after the first six months or so, you’ll start getting signs that a new phase is just around the corner – and a whole new world is about to open up. Baby’s going mobile – is your house ready?
Babyproofing: Some experts say the best way to understand the dangers lurking in your household is to get on your own hands and knees and take a tour, upstairs and down. See the house from baby’s eye level, and you’ll understand the need for outlet covers, cabinet and toilet seat locks, and more mischief (and disaster) preventers. These handy little safety devices are relatively inexpensive, which is nice because you’ll need a lot of them! – but a baby gate for your stairway is a crucial investment, and it’s one you’ll want to get right.
The best baby gates for stairs will ensure your little one is safe from stairway spills, a significant source of injury for kids. Pediatrics experts estimate that each year, more than 93,000 children under the age of five are injured from stair-related falls. If your home has even one set of stairs, you need a staircase gate that you can trust. There are hundreds of models out there, and their features vary, so our team studied, sorted, and selected the very best baby gates for stairs. Here are our picks:
View The Best Baby Gate for Stairs Below
1. Summer Deluxe Stairway Wood Gate
You want a secure, sturdy baby gate, but you also want simple installation and an easy-to-open latch that defies baby’s efforts. This stairway gate from Summer Infant provides peace of mind with its straightforward design. It’s easy to install and adapts for openings from 30 to 48 inches, and best of all, latches securely and opens with one hand. The ease of installation, plus the uncomplicated security features, makes this Summer Infant model one of the best extra tall hardware-mounted baby gates we found.
+Install with ease using Summer Infant’s no-measure template
+Latch is easy for adults to use with one hand
+Optional swing-stop function prevents the gate from swinging over stairs
+No bottom bar means less risk of tripping
+Gate is made from wood stained an attractive antique oak shade
Why We Like It – Simple and effective, this 32-inch tall Summer Infant wood baby gate is the best option we found for stairways – we especially appreciated the lack of a bottom bar. The one-hand release handle is easy to operate but will confound your little one. We like Summer Infant’s antique oak stain – the baby gate will blend in with most decor’s.
2. Qdos Crystal Designer Baby Safety Gate
Our number one pick blends into your decor, but the Qdos Crystal baby gate disappears into it. Made of professional-grade acrylic, these luxe stairway gates seamlessly provide the ultimate security while allowing your home’s style to shine through.
For the top of stairs or between rooms, it adjusts from 29.5 to 39.8 inches wide, and operates with a double-action lock. The clear design of this gate allows for an “at-a-glance” indicator, so you know it’s latched properly. Easy to install and open, with an optional banister mounting kit, this hardware-mounted baby gate is our clear high-end winner.
+Preserves your carefully-chosen decor while providing maximum security
+At-a-glance indicator to make sure the gate is locked
+Adaptable to banister-only stairway openings
+Installs in minutes, with no bar at the bottom of the gate
+Made from sturdy, pro-grade acrylic (that’s also easy to clean!)
Why We Like It – You worked hard to design your interior spaces; baby gates often are an unwelcome source of visual clutter. Though this is one of the most expensive baby gates, we considered, its nearly invisible presence, combined with its effectiveness, makes it worth a second look (in fact, you may have to look twice to see it).
3. Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Baby Gate
Adaptable and affordable, this Regalo version is one of the best baby gates out there. It’s designed for either pressure or wall mounting and can accommodate openings from 29 to 34 or 35 to 38.5 inches wide. (Keep in mind that there’s a one-inch gap missing in there, so measure carefully before you decide on this baby gate.)
It will open and close easily for adults and older children, and we appreciated the simple white metal design. Pressure-mounted baby gates are easy to move, so they’re great for busy households – though, at this price, you may want to purchase more than one and give them a permanent home.
+Best baby gate for parents on a budget
+Pressure mount, or mount to the wall
+Easy for older children to open, but will baffle younger kids
+A good choice for families with pets, as the bottom bar eliminates the gap between gate and floor
+Sturdy steel design stands up to daily use
Why We Like It – A good choice for the bottom of the stairs, this gate will open smoothly even with one hand, but the multiple safety features mean that curious fingers won’t stand a chance. We think this is the best baby gate for families on a budget – it’s inexpensive, but the designers didn’t skimp on quality.
4. North States Toddleroo Swing & Lock Gate
This is the baby gate to turn to if you’re looking for models that are both extra tall and extra wide – at 36 inches high, it’ll expand out to a whopping 47.85 inches. (We especially like the width for stairs in open-concept homes!) Hardware mounting ensures that the gate will stay securely in place, and the vertical bars discourage climbing. North States has skipped the threshold on this baby gate, so it’s a good option for the top of the stairs. Despite its expansion capabilities, the North States Toddleroo can still work for stairway openings as narrow as 26 inches.
+ Extra tall – ideal for older children
+Adapts to nearly 48 inches, so it’s extra wide
+Will open easily with one hand
+North States design includes hard to climb vertical bars
+Durable metal construction
Why We Like It – This hardware-mounted baby gate is nearly escape-proof, so if you’re dealing with a wily toddler or preschooler, go for the North States model – it’s super tall and can contain even the most breakout-bent child. Bonus points for the nearly four feet of coverage – it’s perfect for wide stairways and homes with open concept designs.
5. Evenflo Farmhouse Collection Walk Thru Gate
Specially designed for use at the top of the stairs, Evenflo’s walk-through gate is one of the best for openings from 30 to 48 inches. Its extra tall construction, lack of floor bar, and easy installation were part of the appeal for us, but the warm wood tone and black hardware accents sold us – this baby gate looks great in most homes. We also appreciated the gate latch, which is easy to operate with one hand. Set the gate to swing in either direction for additional security, and if you’re dealing with limited space at the top of stairs, keep in mind that this gate is retractable once you open it.
+Retractable width for comfortable pass-through
+Mounts easily and quickly
+Provides extra height for additional security at the top of stairs
+Rustic visual appeal
+One-handed, two-motion release is easy for adults, but not for toddlers
Why We Like It – Its good looks caught our eye, but this top of stairs baby gate is tops for more than aesthetics – it made our top ten best list for its attention to detail. A swing stop, lack of threshold, one-handed release, and a little extra height make all the difference. (And okay, we like its style, too!)
6. Kidco Safeway Top of Stair Gate
Often used at the top of stairs, this Kidco baby gate offers one-hand opening and latching, along with expansion from 24.75 to 43.5 inches wide. Its white metal bars are 30.5 inches high, and like other versions that we prefer for the top of a stairway, the designers have skipped the bottom bar. Mount it with the simple instructions, insert the stop pin to prevent the gate from swinging out over the steps, and you’re in business. This baby gate is available in soft white or basic black.
+Designed for use at the top of stairs
+Quick, easy installation
+Expandable to 43.5 inches wide
+Safety gate features one-handed opening
+Stop pin prevents the gate from opening on the stair side
Why We Like It – The best baby gates meant to be used at the top of stairs will skip the bottom bar, or threshold, as it’s a tripping hazard. We liked the clean design and simplicity of the features on this baby gate, as well as the sturdy metal construction. The expansion width is a nice plus, as well – it spans a wide 43.5 inches.
7. Munchkin Loft Aluminum Baby Gate
Combining the convenient moveability of pressure-mounted baby gates and the security of hardware-mounted baby gates, Munchkin’s Loft Aluminum model can easily be removed from its wall mounts when you don’t need it. The low-profile mounts take up very little space, making this gate a nice choice for narrow, busy stairways, and it’s engineered to assemble easily, with an indexed sizing system. Owners of older homes, take note: this is the best baby gate we found for accomodating uneven, nonlevel walls. (The modern aluminum composition, however, makes this a tempting gate for newer homes, too!)
+Designed for easy, accurate installation
+Double-locks to stymie the most resourceful of toddlers
+Mounts don’t take up much space in narrow openings
+Stylish, with a modern minimalist aesthetic
+Gate is easy to detach when you don’t need it
Why We Like It – At the top or bottom of stairs, this gate will provide security without sacrificing convenience. It’s the best option for households that don’t always need a gate – grandparents will love the easy removal and replacement. We like that this baby gate can be securely installed on uneven walls – it’s your best bet for older homes and apartments.
8. Dreambaby Chelsea Auto Close Security Gate
With an auto-close option, this versatile pressure- or hardware-mounted baby gate has your back – and its sturdy, extra-tall construction will make sure babies and older toddlers stay secure and safe. Extensions are included for this gate model; on its own, it will span openings from 28 to 32 inches wide (use the extensions for up to 42.5-inches). Suitable for use at the bottom of stairs or the top with the included mounting cups. You can disable the auto-close when you don’t need the gate, or just stick to the simple one-hand open latch.
+Measures 39.4 inches, so it’s perfect for older babies and toddlers
+Open it with one hand, or set the stay-open feature
+Pressure mountable, but includes wall hardware for the top of stairs installation
+Includes EZY-check lock indicator for visual confirmation that lock is engaged
+Suitable for installation at top or bottom of stairs
Why We Like It – We were pleased with the included extensions for this baby gate model – if you have a narrow opening, the clean lines of the gate aren’t cluttered with unused extensions. The manufacturers also allow for your choice of pressure or hardware mountings for this gate style (keep in mind you’ll need the hardware at the top of the stairs).
9. Safety 1st Auto-Close Magnetic Latch Gate
Auto-close features on baby gates are nice, but extra-quiet latches that shut automatically are nicer still. We absolutely loved the quiet operation of this pressure-mounted gate, and because it shuts so quietly, they’ve added an indicator, so you know the job is done.
Setup is a snap – no tools needed – and the one-hand open latch is simple for parents, but not for your little ones. You can adjust this 28-inch tall gate to securely fit in bottom stairway openings from 29 to 38 inches. Reviewers noted the tension is more than sufficient to hold up to the baby’s curiosity.
+Automatically shuts behind you
+Magnet latch barely makes a sound
+Gate is super easy to install and remove
+Pressure mounting is strong, but won’t damage woodwork
+Visual indicator to ensure the lock is engaged
Why We Like It – If we were to design a baby gate, we probably wouldn’t have considered the noise one makes when you open and close it. But once you’ve got a sleeping baby in your arms, the quiet operation of this baby gate is a gamechanger. It’s one of the best innovations you never knew you needed, along with the auto shut also featured on this model.
10. BabyDan Guard Me Foldable Safety Baby GateNo products found.
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No bars here: this solid-structure baby gate is made with Danish innovation and provides retractable safety and convenience. The barless construction will fit into narrow openings that many baby gates can’t accommodate – we’re talking spaces as narrow as 21.7 inches here.
(Optional extensions will take you to a wide baby gate of 44.6 inches, so there’s plenty of room to grow.) We were taken with the unique design of this hardware-mounted gate, as it folds to the side when not in use, but make no mistake: it’s sturdy and effective at keeping baby out of trouble.
+Great for tight stairway openings
+Retractable panel allows for easy pass-through
+Easy to install; extensions are available
+Mount outside or inside the door frame
+Compatible with banister-only stair openings
Why We Like It – This extra-narrow or extra-wide baby gate works clears the way with its foldable construction. As a stairs gate, it can be used at the top or bottom, but we especially like the threshold-free design at the top of the stairs. If you’ve got a tight space and are struggling to find a baby gate narrow enough to fit, this is your best choice.
Baby Gates for Stairs Buyers Guide
While you’re scouting for the best baby gate to fit your stairway (and your lifestyle), keep in mind that safety is always paramount – look for baby gates that specifically mention stairway suitability. You’ll find that mounting methods and a variety of features make for the optimal top of the stairs baby gate – read on for a breakdown on installation methods and key features that the best baby gates will offer.
Case in point: Hardware-mounted vs. pressure-mounted baby gates
Look for gates that attach to your walls or banisters with screws and mounting plates if you want to be certain that the model you’ve chosen will be safe for the top of stairways. You may not like the idea of drilling holes in your walls, but hardware-mounted baby gates provide maximum security at the top of the stairs, and you don’t want to skimp on safety.
Pressure-mounted gate models rely on tension to resist weight, which may not be enough to prevent a tumble. If your stairway is open and you’ll be mounting the gate to a railing, make sure the product is compatible with this alternate method; product specifications will tell the tale. Some baby gates offer the best of both worlds, with dual mounting options (see number three on our top ten list for an example of these hybrid baby gates).
These are great for families who’s like to use them elsewhere in the house down the road, so they merit a look. Just make sure that when you’re using a hybrid-mounting baby gate at the stairway’s top, you choose the hardware mounting option!
There is one stairway-related place where a pressure-mounted gate can come in handy, and that’s at the bottom. Most experts recommend that you place a gate here as well as at the head, and a pressure gate is a perfect option; it’ll provide enough of a barrier between your little one and the stairs, and you won’t have to drill more holes for installation.
Pressure-mounted gates are also easy to move from room to room, so you’ll get some use out of this investment when it’s not standing guard at the bottom of the stairs. We like the extra peace of mind of two-gates-one-stairway, and pressure-mounted models can be very affordable, so we recommend this approach.
Over the threshold
Many baby gates designed for use at the head of a staircase skip the threshold – that’s the bar that runs across the bottom of some gate models. While the bar can lend strength to the closed gate, it’s also a tripping hazard – and that’s the absolute last thing you want at the top of a stairway. Ideally, your head-of-the-stairway baby gate will have a door without a fixed bottom bar.
Get into – or out of – the swing
The best top-of-stairway baby gates will have features that control the gate’s swing, for reasons that become obvious when you picture the alternative. You’re looking for gate models that offer one-direction swing settings: once you’ve installed the gate, select the direction that moves the opening gate away from the stairs, and you’re good to go. Some models have a pin or bracket that you insert to limit the direction; others feature a switch. Either way, once you set the direction, the swing will stop short of opening out over the stairs when you unlatch it.
Take a measured approach
Whether you’re looking for a gate to fit between two walls, a wall, and a railing, or two banisters, you’ll need to pay attention to both distance and angle. Do your two anchor points lie flush to one another, or are they offset? If it’s the latter, check product specs to make certain that the gate you choose can accommodate an angled installation. Keep in mind that you cannot use a pressure-mounted baby gate for an angled opening.) You’ll find models that will work for angles up to 30 degrees, which is sufficient for most typical home layouts.
Doorways are typically 32 inches wide, so most baby gate manufacturers start with that measurement in mind. Still, stairways vary wildly in width, especially in older homes (where they may be narrower) and newer houses (where they may be quite wide, or even open altogether).
Measure the distance between the two anchor points and look for a gate model that can accommodate this width. For particularly narrow spaces, seek out gate models that offer slim-profile wall hardware; when every inch counts, you’ll like the space these save. (We particularly like the Danish-made Baby Dan Guard Me model for super-narrow openings; see number 10 on our best baby gates list, above.)
If you’re dealing with an extensive stairway head, look into extra-wide baby gates that offer extensions, either included with the gate or as a separate purchase. We like several wide models that extend beyond 48 inches and still offer top-notch top-of-the-stairs security.
Once you’ve eliminated baby gates that aren’t suitable for the tops of stairways and will work with how wide your stairway is, it’s time to narrow down your choices. Other features and factors to consider when searching out the best baby gates include:
One-hand opening – The latches on baby gates should be tough-to-impossible for little hands to manipulate, but effortless for adults to open. Go through customer reviews and brand descriptions to find models with releases that require two motions – both steps will be simple for adults, but toddlers will have a tough time figuring out the way to escape.
Indicators – Especially important if you’ve chosen a quiet-latching model, a lock indicator will provide visual confirmation that the baby gate is securely latched. Many baby gate lock indicators are a simple red-green display that will let you know at a glance. It’s an underrated safety feature – we like the extra assurance they provide without having to check the gate manually.
Self-closing – “If you open the gate, you close the gate.” Those who grew up on a farm know this rule – and you know it can prevent disaster. Fortunately, many of the best baby gates feature a self-closing mechanism, so even the weariest, most distracted parent has some backup when needed. The self-closing gates latch securely on their own, giving you some peace of mind.
Versatility – Gates for the bottom of a stairway can be pressure- or hardware-mounted, so you’ve got some leeway here. You may like to switch things up on the lower level; if so, a pressure-mounted gate will give you convenient flexibility – just remove the gate and set it up elsewhere when you want to establish a new perimeter for your little one. If you are looking for a baby gate to use in various openings, you might as well find one with wide extension capabilities – the more options you have, the more bang for your buck.
Besides, a few hardware-mounted gates also offer quick removal for households that don’t necessarily need a gate up at all times – these models are especially appreciated by grandparents who want to keep the kids safe. Still, they don’t want to deal with a gate at the bottom of stairs when their company’s gone home.
Style – Just because a baby gate is practical and sturdy doesn’t mean you won’t like the way it looks. You don’t have to trade safety for style here – many brands feature attractive baby gates that will blend in or even complement your home’s decor. From models made of clear acrylic to rustic farmhouse-friendly wood and metal models, the world of baby gates has opened over the years to include fashion-forward designs that will keep baby safe – while keeping you in style.
The long and short of it?
When you’re shopping for a new baby gate, bear in mind that gates for the top of a staircase need specific features to provide the best security. Once you’ve learned the ins and outs of staircase gates, you’ll master the ups and downs, too.