Best Freestanding and Retractable Baby Gates

Review & Comparison, Last Update October 11, 2017
Parents always have tons of baby-related questions, especially when it comes to baby safety and comfort. What is the best way to create a safe environment in a house for your baby? Baby Gates! Hopefully, our review of 5 best baby gates will help you choose the one to secure your kid! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
BEST FOR
FIXATION
HEIGHT
CONSTRUCTION
MATERIAL
WIDTH / PLAYPEN
DOOR
Warranty
 
PROS
It can be used as a play yard if set up with a wall-mounting hardware (included) or as a freestanding barrier. You can easily configure it into various shapes and sizes with the help of detachable panels.
CONS
The whole construction is a bit heavy.
OUR VERDICT
Regalo super wide baby gate with an extremely versatile design. It can be used in any premises for any purposes. Parents can set it up as a playpen, a barrier, a safety gate or even a freestanding barrier for hard-to-secure structures.
detailed parameters
BEST FOR
Between rooms and hallways, Blocking unsafe areas, Gate enclosure for extra wide openings, As indoor play space
FIXATION
Hardware mounting or freestanding
HEIGHT
28"
CONSTRUCTION
Panels with 2.5" space between the bars
MATERIAL
Metal
WIDTH / PLAYPEN
192" (8 x 24-inch detachable panels) / 19 sq. ft.
DOOR
Swing door with one-touch safety lock release lever
Warranty
90 days
PROS
Regalo baby gate is a real space saver. When not in use, it can be easily collapsed into a wall bracket, providing full walk-through space. Its mesh fabric is very durable and nice.
CONS
One-handed use might be a challenge at first.
OUR VERDICT
The combination of soft mesh net and hardware mounting makes this gate ideal for use in hallways no wider than 50". Summer Infant baby gate will leave no chance for your little one to slip away.
detailed parameters
BEST FOR
Between rooms and hallways, At top of stairs
FIXATION
Hardware mounting
HEIGHT
30"
CONSTRUCTION
Net with wall brackets
MATERIAL
Mesh fabric
WIDTH / PLAYPEN
Up to 50"
DOOR
Retractable net with automatic lock
Warranty
1 year
PROS
The lever-style handle with a safety lock provides an easy one touch release. At the same time, it is totally child-resistant. If you need a firmer affix gate, use special wall cups (included).
CONS
Customers report that door is rather narrow.
OUR VERDICT
Walk Thru Baby Gate is a perfect choice for those who are looking for something affordable and simple. It needs no screws for mounting. Best for staircases and doorways with high passability.
detailed parameters
BEST FOR
Between rooms and hallways
FIXATION
Pressure-mounted
HEIGHT
30"
CONSTRUCTION
Panels with 1.25" - 3" space between the bars
MATERIAL
Metal
WIDTH / PLAYPEN
Extends from 29" to 39"
DOOR
Swing door with one-touch safety lock release lever
Warranty
90 days
PROS
It is a pressure-mounted gate with rubber bumpers that don't damage doorways or walls, providing a secure fit. No tools required for installation! A textile base is easily removable and machine washable.
CONS
There is no possibility to install a Walk-Thru door.
OUR VERDICT
The extra-wide gate is suitable for a variety of openings. Evenflo Soft and Wide Baby Gate is a very portable model and once folded it takes little space. So, it is the best for trips and visits to grandma's house.
detailed parameters
BEST FOR
Between rooms and hallways
FIXATION
Pressure-mounted
HEIGHT
27"
CONSTRUCTION
Mesh gate
MATERIAL
Mesh net, Metal panel
WIDTH / PLAYPEN
Extends from 38" to 60"
DOOR
No
Warranty
90 days
PROS
This durable and safe play area is fitted with skid-resistant pads that will never scratch your floors. This gate comes with a convenient carrying handle, which makes transportation very easy.
CONS
Snapping the pieces together is tricky.
OUR VERDICT
Superyard baby gate is very versatile, for it can be used both indoors and outdoors. You can choose between a 6-panel or a 8-panel design of Sand, Colorplay, and Gray colors.
detailed parameters
BEST FOR
Can be used as indoor and outdoor play space
FIXATION
Freestanding
HEIGHT
26"
CONSTRUCTION
Six-panel portable yard
MATERIAL
Plastic
WIDTH / PLAYPEN
192" (6 x 32-inch detachable panels) / 18.5 sq. ft.
DOOR
Play Door can be purchased separately
Warranty
1 year

What is a Baby Gate

Just imagine how dangerous our houses are! Stairs, exterior doors, fireplaces, fragile decorations, glass furniture, etc. Once your baby starts crawling, it’s high time to baby-proof your home. And the best solution is to use baby gates! They are the first line of defense for keeping your curious baby out of places that aren’t baby-safe, preventing your little one from hurting him/herself. That's why more and more parents are installing gates at various areas around the house or apartment. For example, at the top/bottom of stairs, in front of a fireplace, or just in the middle of a room as a play area. Baby gates are also perfect for keeping your toy-gobbling dog away from a baby. Today, the market offers a great variety of safety gates that are better or worse suited for different purposes. It's crucial to get the right gate and that's why we've come with our review of best baby gates! Now making a choice is as easy as pie.

One more must-have purchase for parents whose children are just starting to crawl is baby walkers. They will help your child make his/her first steps joyfully!

A baby bouncer is a lifesaver for all young mothers. You can put your little baby to sleep in it and have some time for yourself!

...Read more ...Read less

What Features to Compare

Before you rush out and buy a safety baby gate, there are several important features you need to take into consideration.

Best for

First of all, you should decide where you plan to use baby gates, and therefore, choose the appropriate type.

Depending on the mounting, there are 3 main types of gates: hardware mounted, pressure-mounted and freestanding models.

  • Hardware-mounted gates. As the name suggests, these baby gates screw directly into the door frame, wall or banister/balustrade. Hardware-mounted gates are the safest option as they’re the most reliable and sturdy, although they require screwing. This type of gates is perfect for installation at the top and bottom of stairs, between any doorway or entryway, as well as other places of the gravest threats.
  • Pressure-mounted gates are the most widespread baby gates. They use the force of pressure that helps keep the safety gate in place. Such gates eliminate the need to drill all those ugly holes for hardware, and their installation is very simple and fast. However, a pressure-mounted gate is not recommended for installation at the top of the stairs. They are ideal for use in many other places such as doorways in halls, kitchens, living rooms, etc.
  • Freestanding models are those that stand upright on its own. They mostly look like playards with six or eight panels. Such barriers require no tools for installation and, as a rule, can be used both indoors and outdoors. Some customers use such gates to temporarily block access to dangerous areas, such as fireplaces, Christmas trees, etc.

Safety

It is vitally important to take the parameters that influence the safety of use into account. Here we include the height, the design, and the material of panels.

The height of the gates should be at least three-quarters of child's height. The distance above the floor must be above 3" so that the child isn't able to slip under it. If the construction includes vertical bars, a space between them needs to be 2"-3" to prevent the kid's head from getting stuck. Choosing a gate with diamond-shaped panels or a square mesh, be careful! The older the child is, the easier he/she climbs it. As for mesh barriers, they are really comfortable, safe and fit perfectly into any interiors.

Note that baby gates should be made of high-quality durable materials. Metal gates are considered to be the most reliable and durable, whereas the wood models are the most environmentally friendly. Concerning plastic gates, they also cope with their task well. In any case, the materials must be strong enough to withstand the pressure of babies and not break under their weight if they suddenly try to climb the gates. At the same time, when choosing a baby gate, you should keep in mind that gates are intended for children aged from 6 to 24 months.

Conveniences

The size of the gates or playards, as well as the presence of a swing door, influence the convenience of use. Also, when choosing a gate, pay particular attention to the possibility of its expansion since the gates must be snugly fixed, especially at the top and bottom of stairs. If you are looking for a playpen, consider its size in the first term; it needs to fit the size of a nursery (or other room where you plan to place it), being comfortable and spacious for your baby.

Another important feature is the presence of a swing door that can be easily opened by parents but no way by a child. Avoid gates with a simple lift-open mechanism or a simple button lock. The best option is a child-proof door with a special Safety Lock, which ensures that the child just will not be able to open a door. Remember that kids learn very quickly, and if it is difficult for your baby to open the door today, it will be a snap tomorrow. We would like to emphasize that most Safety Locks provide a one-hand release and, what's more, some doors are even equipped with a foot pedal which adds to the extra convenience. Carrying the baby? A pie? Talking on your phone? No problem anymore! And, finally, some gates are fitted with swing doors that can be opened in both directions. 

We hope that this information will help you find the ideal gate to suit your situation.

...Read more ...Read less

Regalo Super Wide

Best for

There is a lot to love about the Regalo Super Wide Baby Gate. It is a multifunctional item that will help you protect your baby from the most dangerous areas in your house. Thanks to the hardware mounting, you can install this super wide baby gate as an additional barrier across the room or hall. You can even bend the gate in a U-Shape or an L-shape to restrict access to the fireplace or Christmas tree, top or bottom of the stairs. If you wish, you can transform this 8-panel gate into a free-standing playpen in which your baby will be able to play alone. Moms and dads! With fantastic  Regalo baby gate, you will get an opportunity to devote time for yourself without a fear that your loved one may somehow get out of it.

Review of Regalo Super Wide Baby Gate

Safety

This is truly one of the best baby gates for stairs on the market nowadays. For maximum safety, the manufacturer recommends parents to use Regalo Super Wide Baby Gate if their child is at least 2 years old. According to the height standards, it's best for kids as tall as 38". All panels are made of vertical bars and the gap between them is narrow enough (2.5") so as not to allow the child to slip through. The barrier is made of durable metal which fully meets the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The construction itself is very solid and has a modern look. To sum up, this robust and durable baby gate will allow you to create the safe and secure environment for your child.

Regalo Super Wide Baby Gate in the use

Conveniences

When other baby safety gates are too short, this very model can be expanded to the point it can stretch across the USA. In addition to the huge maximum width (192"), the gate is very versatile thanks to the adjustable width. The Regalo baby gate consists of 8 removable panels and you can make the gate smaller, for example, if you need to install it in a doorway. Or expand it and use as a gate enclosure for extra wide openings. What's more, you will be able to transform it even into a 19 sq. ft. playpen for your baby. This space is surely enough for games and entertainment. A great news for all parents! You can easily walk through this fantastic Super Wide baby gate thanks to the swing door in one of the panels. And a one-touch safety lock release lever will ensure that your baby cannot get through. At the same time, this one-touch lock is simple for adults; the parents can open the door with one hand. Most happy customers of this gate suggest buying two sets of these extra wide baby gates, which will help you create a totally safe environment for your baby. Hurry! Sale ends soon.

Detailed review of Regalo Super Wide Baby Gate

Regalo Super Wide
Regalo Super Wide
 

Summer Infant Retractable

For Kids! For Parents!

Young parents do their best to provide their children with safety, sometimes even to the detriment of their own comfort. Summer Infant Retractable Baby Gate creates a comfortable environment for both children and parents. Summer Infant Retractable Baby Gate meets all safety requirements! Due to hardware installation, you can install it in any doorway up to 50" wide. You can also fix it at the top or bottom of the stairs without a fear that your baby can break the gate and fall. At the same time, soft and durable mesh provides additional comfort and eliminates the possibility of getting stuck between bars. Another advantage is its retractable design. Now parents don't have to step over a gate. They don't even need to demount it if there's no need for a gate at all. You can fold it up and hide for compact storage, freeing enough space in a room. Certainly, Summer Infant Baby Gate will be an excellent choice for any house.

Review of Summer Infant Retractable Baby Gate

Tick-tock, Release and Lock

An attractive look of mesh fabric and silver satin finish with charcoal accents makes Summer Infant baby gate a nice decoration element in any interior. Yet it boasts not only appealing design but also versatility of use. At any time you need with a few motions of hand you can set it up or hide away for storage. The baby gate comes with a safety lock and a timer, which doesn't let extend or snap the net quicker than it's been conditioned by the manufacturer. To open the gate, you only need to press the release button. The system is very simple but may seem a bit tricky for parents who've got Summer Infant baby gate just recently. But what's more important is that it excludes any possibility that your little one might open it by himself/herself and slip away. 

Summer Infant Retractable Baby Gate in the use

More Products to Consider

We advise purchasing Summer Infant Banister to Banister Universal Gate Mounting Kit for a more reliable fixation and child safety locks for an additional security.

Detailed review of Summer Infant Retractable Baby Gate

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Summer Infant Retractable Gate
Summer Infant Retractable
Summer Infant Retractable
 

Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru

Best for

This Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Baby Gate is ideal for openings between 29-39'' wide. Good news! It is extremely simple to install and remove thanks to the pressure mounted construction. It means that you won't need any additional tools to install it. So, you can easily move it from room to room. We would like to stress that this type of baby gates is not recommended for installation around the stairs as the pressure bars may slide under a heavy load. However, Easy Step baby gate is shipped with special wall cups, which makes the fixation more reliable. One of the most popular baby gates for doorways on the market!

Review of Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Child Gate

Safety

Regalo Walk Thru baby gate is our go to response when customers ask us to recommend them the best pressure mounted baby gate. Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Baby Gate is pretty high and suitable for children up to 40" tall. If you plan to install it slightly above the floor, please, note that the maximum gap between the floor and the bottom must not exceed 3". The main material is metal that is known for its durability and safety. Plus! This Regalo baby gate meets all standards set by the American Society of Testing Materials and Juvenile Products Manufactures Association. Don't hesitate any longer. Just buy it!

Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Child Gate in the use

Conveniences

The maximum width of Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Baby Gate is 39 " and the minimum is 29"; you can vary it with the help of 6" extension. Furthermore, if you need a wider enclosure, the manufacturer gives you such an opportunity, offering additional extensions (sold separately) to adjust the width of the gate to meet any doorways up to 60". The Easy Step baby gate is equipped with a swing door with a latch that any adult will be able to open just with one hand. And, of course, this latch is equipped with a safety lock which prevents children from opening the door by themselves. All in all, if you have a wide opening and don’t want to drill your walls, then give this Walk Thru baby gate a go!

Detailed review of Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Child Gate

VIDEO
Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Baby Gate
Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru
Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru
 

Evenflo Soft and Wide

Best for

This great Evenflo baby gate not only looks nice but is also easy to carry around. Evenflo Soft and Wide Baby Gate is a representative of the pressure mounted gates. Rubber bumpers on the edges of the bars, which abut on the wall or doorframe, limit potential damage to surfaces and ensure a snug fit. Our customers report that this gate is a great option for doorways between rooms. Note that thanks to its easy installation, this lightweight gate is considered to be portable.

Review of Evenflo Soft and Wide Baby Gate

Safety

The height of Soft and Wide baby gate is just 27" and, accordingly, it provides the maximum safety for toddlers up to 36" tall. We would like to stress that parents can set it a little higher but they should keep in mind that they will need to go through this mesh baby gate. The metal frame along with a mesh net are strong enough to keep your baby safe and, at the same time, these materials are environmentally friendly. A great benefit is that mesh fabric easily comes off. So, when your little one grimes the baby gate up with his/her sticky fingers (it will definitely happen, just give it time) you can completely remove the mesh fabric for easy cleaning.

Evenflo Soft and Wide Baby Gate in the use

Conveniences

This portable baby gate can be expanded from 38" to 60", which makes it extremely functional. It is self-evident that parents can use it for most types of doorways. The lack of a swing door is somehow inconvenient, but Evenflo baby gate has many other advantages. As we have already mentioned, mesh fabric can be easily removed and even washed in a washing machine. And due to the small weight and compact design, you can take it to a grandparent's house or on a trip. So, if you want to create a safe space for your child everywhere you go, get this baby gate before everybody else does!

Detailed review of Evenflo Soft and Wide Baby Gate

VIDEO
Evenflo soft and wide *pressure mounted* baby gate review
Evenflo Soft and Wide
Evenflo Soft and Wide
 

North States Indoor/Outdoor

Best for

This fantastic North States baby gate is designed for use as a free-stand playpen both indoors and outdoors. No fussing around with a screwdriver, no scratches marking up your door frames and walls. Simply place the North States Superyard baby gate on the right place and you are done. Parents! With this unique kiddy gate, you can easily organize a safe space for your baby just anywhere. A great bonus is that North States baby gate is already preassembled. It also easily folds and unfolds, and can be firmly fixed thanks to a self-locking positioning function. If you need to move it from one place to another, just use a special carry-handle that locks the gate and allows a convenient transportation.

Review of North States Indoor/Outdoor Superyard Baby Gate

Safety

Free-standing baby playpens are suitable for younger kids only. As your baby turns into little Hercules, he or she will be able to move or even climb it. Thus, we would like to draw your attention to the height of North States baby gate - it is just 35". Concerning reliability, durable and weather-resistant plastic will securely hold your baby in a play area. This item is certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) that guarantees a total safety of use in nurseries. Plastic is also very easy to clean with a brush and some warm soapy water. Due to the special non-slip pads, the Superyard baby gate will stand firmly and will not damage your floors.

North States Indoor/Outdoor Superyard Baby Gate in the use

Conveniences

North States Superyard baby gate includes 6 panels that match together like a puzzle. All you have to do for assembly is just lift up one panel while pressing down on the other. The total width is 192", whereas when set up as a Playard, it provides your baby with space for entertainment as large as 18.5 sq. ft. In order to get out of it, adults will need either to cross the gate or to disconnect​ one of the panels. However, the manufacturer provides an opportunity to purchase a special panel door. And if you want to have a larger play area, you can buy an 8-panel gate that will expand a Playard up to 34.4 sq. ft. Note that you can also choose between Sand and Gray colors, as well as the Colorplay model. Be quick about getting this outstanding baby gate!

Detailed review of North States Indoor/Outdoor Superyard Baby Gate

VIDEO
North States Superyard Classic at the Keep Safe Company
North States Indoor/Outdoor
North States Indoor/Outdoor
 

Infographics

Comparison of Freestanding and Retractable Baby Gates

FAQ:

Q: How to install a baby gate at bottom of stairs?

A: Most baby gates are supplied with a hardware in the kit, allowing you to install it to the banister without drilling into it, which is handy if you don’t want the gate to spoil the decor interior of your stairs. So, before you buy the gate, make sure to check its supply package.

Q: How to mount a baby get between a doorway?

A: To fix it permanently between a doorway, first thing first you’ll need to secure the installation by driving screws into the studs on walls. This way the gate will stay sturdy in place without wobbling.

Q: Is there a baby gate that can be easily moved when I don’t want to use it?

A: For those consumers who don’t need a permanent barrier, retractable baby gates can become a great solution. Becoming more and more popular in modern houses, they offer greater flexibility and versatility of use. Usually, they are also more expensive and visually appealing than metalwork baby gates. What makes them so popular is that they can be folded neatly and moved to any place where you’d like to block off some dangerous spaces.

Q: How to open/close baby gates?

A: All baby gates have lock latching systems that allow for immediate opening and closing the gate after you pull or shut it closed. Some of the gates come equipped with foot pedals that open only after you step on it. These pedals aren’t fixed permanently at the bottom of the gate and when your baby becomes more active and mobile, can be re-installed higher to the top.

Q: How to install freestanding baby gates?

A: Freestanding gates are as popular as the retractable ones and suit those consumers who don’t want to mount the thing permanently to walls or mounting equipment. Designed to be portable and mobile, freestanding gates consists of several segments attached to one another that stand upright. Freestanding baby gates can be placed not only indoors but also outdoors while being on travel trips, picnics, in the park, etc. Please note, freestanding gates cannot be installed at the top of the stairs as they aren’t hardware-mounted models. 

Q: What doorways do baby gates work with?

A: Most of the models fit standard 30 inches hallways. If your doorway is wider than that, you can always look for an extra large gate. This is the thing about baby gates, they can be found in many different sizes and most of them can be expanded. You only need to measure the exact distance between your walls so that it fits it well.



Sources:

1. Susan M. Kelly, MD Choosing Safe Baby Products: gates, KidsHealth. September 2013.

2. How to buy safety gates, BabyCenter. April 2016.

3. Safety Gate Buying Guide, Consumer Reports. May 2016.

4. Childproofing Your Home, US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

5. Olivia Howes How to buy the best stair gate, Which?

6. Jennifer Taylor Mom’s Guide 2016: The Safest & Best Baby Gates, MomTricks.

7. Buyer’s guide to safety gates, MadeForMums.

8. Mums' picks 2015: best safety gates and guards, BabyCenter.

Other reviews