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Best Stair and Doorway Baby Gate 2014

Updated on January 9, 2014

Choosing a Baby Gate

Baby gates not only keep your little ones safe from more dangerous areas of the home, they can also give you peace of mind.

That being said I've used quite a few baby gates that over time wear out and become a potential hazard to me, my wife, or my other children. A good baby gate is one that won't wear down over time and works well with the area of concern.

Keep in mind that your baby gate may be up for well over a year. So, spending a little bit more for a good quality gate seems to be the way to go.

Comparison of Common Baby Gate Types:

Even though there are many different gates on the market, there are basically three different types offered: the standard gate that will fit standard doorways, and can adjust around 30"-45".

Then there are extra wide gates for bigger spaces; the style of many new homes seems to incorporate wide doorways than older homes. These gates usually come with extension panels that you can add as needed.

Lastly, there are specialty gates. These are intended for areas around fireplaces, or places that have an irregular shape.

Measure Before Making Your Purchase:

The first thing you are going to want to do is decide where you will be using the gate. You should measure each space beforehand so you know what dimensions you need when purchasing.

You should also decide if you want a gate that you can take down when not needed, or one that is fixed to the wall at all times. If that is case, then you will want a gate with a swinging door. Pressure gates will works by exerting pressure against the wall, like tension rods, and can easily be undone and put away when needed.

Lastly, you should decide what finish you would like your gate to have. There are plastic gates, wood ones, metal and mesh gates and even some contemporary ones.

What to Look For In Terms of Safety for Baby Gates:

Don't get a gate that has slats that are more than 2" apart; your little ones hands and feet can get trapped between the wider spaces.

Second hand gates can be a money saver but if you need a sturdy gate, like one at the top of the stairs, then you might want to buy a new one. This will ensure that you won't have any issues with wear and tear.

If you pick one with mesh panels, make sure the weave is fine; the bigger the holes, the more easily they will tear. For more information on baby safety gates, check out the information on Consumer Reports.

5 stars for Summer Infant Decorative Gate

A Good Mounted Baby Gate

Summer Infant Decorative Gate

The first gate we are reviewing for you here is the Summer Infant Decorative Gate. This gate operates with pressure mounts so you can easily move it from room to room, as needed.

One of the things I like most about this gate is that it comes with a hardware mount option for the top or bottom of stairs. This gate as a very decorative look with two straight topped panels on either side of the curving designed door.

Being able to open this gate with one hand is also something that has been a great feature for me.

You also don't have to worry about other siblings forgetting to close the gate as they travel through it since it was designed to close on its own. Often, parents are carrying an infant when walking through the gates, so this added convenience is a bonus.

This tall gate stands at 46" and will fit openings from 28" to 48". The only thing I noticed that was not a favorite of mine was that the gate opening itself is kind of narrow. You should also be aware of the bar that runs along the floor which requires you to step over it every time.

It takes a bit of getting used to and you won't find a gate like that without that support bar. Overall though, this is a nice gate that will look great in a nice home and is very functional.

Affordable Wide Span Safety Gate

Regalo Gate

Next we are looking at the Regalo Wide Span gate. This gate is a pressure mounted gate only.

In this case, I would recommend that this not be used at the top of stairs. You can use this gate for spaces up to 58 inches. It is made with 100% steel construction and seems very durable because of it. It stands at about 31 inches tall and will fit a minimum space of 29 ½".

This gate also features a one handed opening system with a lever style handle that is not only able to lock to keep younger children from opening it, but is not too hard for an adult. Older children that are allowed access through the gate may need to use two hands, but it still isn't too hard for them to open.

This gate also has a bar that you must walk over when you are going through it. Because of the pressure mounts, this gate is very user friendly when installing.

The gate seems pretty sturdy but if you find you have issues with it, try tightening the panels and other hardware a little, that should help.

As with some others, the opening of the gate does seem a bit smaller, but I'm one who likes lots of room to move. This gate has been a pretty good one to have on hand for all our wide doorways and has held up under two 120 pound dogs putting their paws on it.

Hands-free Toddler / Baby Safety Gate

The First Years Gate

Now check out The First Years Gate. The best feature of this gate is that you can open it without your hands. Yes, I said without your hands.

You simply need to press the pedal with your foot then bump the door open with your knee. It will close itself and give an audible click so you know that it is indeed closed. This is a pressure mounted gate only. I also really like that this gate is designed to swing open from either direction.

It is also made to be easier for adults to open, and harder for younger children. This gate will fit door frames 29" to 34" wide. The extension kit gives you a width of up to 44".

Buyers should be aware that when used at full extension, the gate can feel a bit unsteady; if you find that that happens then you may want to get an extension kit even if it's in a standard sized doorway.

Because of the foot pedal, you won't be able to use this gate in front of a door that you will want closed; the pedal is too big. I love using this gate in the open areas of my home however and find the convenience is great.

Cheap DreamBaby Gate

The DreamBaby Gate is also another highly rated gate that you can consider. This one will fit openings of 28" to 39" with the two extensions it comes with.

It is also a pressure mounted gate and is very easy to install. I like that this door will swing in either direction to make passing through that much easier.

Again, like many others, it can be opened with just one hand for convenience. You can actually buy even larger extensions if you need to. It stands about 29" tall.

I think the price is actually very good since it comes with extensions that many manufacturers make you pay extra for. The clicking of the gate can be a bit loud, especially if you have sleeping baby nearby but it didn't seem to bother my infant much at all.

Again, the 18" opening seems a bit small but apparently it is pretty standard in these types of gates. This gate would be great at the bottom of stairs but because it is pressure mounted, I would not recommend it for the top of stairs.

I love how user friendly this gate was in regards to installation, there are no extra tools needed and the manual is very clear.

Affordable Mounted Baby Safety Gate

Regalo Easy Step

The most affordable gate we are discussing is the Regalo Easy Step. This gate is also made with steel construction and feels very sturdy. It will accommodate spaces from 29 ½" to 40" and stands at 31 inches tall.

It has four pressure mounts that can all be individually adjusted to ensure the best fit possible. You get an extension kit with the purchase of this gate that allows it to stretch to the 40".

It is made with an easy handle release for adults but is harder for little ones to open. Even though it is made with steel construction, I find that it is very lightweight and is easy to transport when we travel.

This gate can be used at the top of stairs with the four wall cups that come included. Yet again, the opening is about 18" and smaller than most people would like but as long as your baby is safe, you might not find this to be an issue.

If you find a problem with the latch not reaching the bar, then tighten up the jam rods and it will close up just fine. This seems to be a common occurrence right out of the box.

Overall, for families on a budget, this makes a great childproofing tool for your home.

Do you use a safety gate?

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Which safety gate do you have at home?

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