If you have stairs in your home and you’re a parent, you already know that kids flock to these things like magnets. It’s like it’s embedded in their DNA or something. However, no parent wants their child to take a fall down a set of stairs. That’s why it’s so important that you have the best baby gate for your staircase.
I found this out the hard way. I lived in an upstairs apartment when my oldest daughter was two years old. We always kept the door locked so Lil Miss couldn’t open the doors. Well, lo and behold, like most kids eventually do, she figured it out. And then decided to explore – right down the stairs! For the record, she wasn’t hurt, but that was the first day I learned about baby gates. In particular, I needed one that could be used at the top of stairs.
Don’t worry, baby gates aren’t eyesores anymore and have come a long way over the past several years. You can now find them to match your staircase or your room decor. Choose from narrow baby gates to extra wide. Some of them even give you an option of black or white, or plastic, steel, or metal baby gates. Find one that opens in only one direction or that comes with an auto-close feature. I kid you not – these products can come with a plethora of options. Find the perfect gate for your family’s needs.
Baby gates are designed to keep your children safe while giving you peace of mind. As long as you install and use it correctly, you won’t have to worry about your baby taking a tumble down the stairs. Hardware-mounted gates are the way to go when you have stairs. By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll understand why.
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Table of Contents
- What Should I Look For in a Baby Gate for Stairs?
- Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Baby Gate for Stairs
- Our Top Picks for the Best Baby Gates for Stairs of 2020
- #1: Evenflo Secure Step Gate (Best Value)
- #2: Munchkin Loft Hardware Mounted Baby Gate for Stairs, Hallways, and Doors (Best Overall)
- #3: Summer Multi-Use Decorative Extra Tall Walk-Thru Baby Gate (Best for Height)
- #4: Toddleroo by North States 47.85" Wide Easy Swing & Lock Baby Gate (Best Under $50)
- #5: Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Baby Gate 27"-41.5" (Best for Angles)
- #6: Toddleroo by North States 72” wide Deluxe Décor Baby Gate" (Best Extra-Wide Gate)
- #7. Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate (Best Retractable Gate)
- #8: Summer Deluxe Stairway Simple to Secure Wood Gate (Best Wooden Gate)
- #9. Regalo 2-in-1 Stairway and Hallway Wall Mounted Baby Gate (Best for Banisters)
- #10. Evenflo Multi-Use Decor Talk Walk-Thru Metal Gate, Black (Best Metal Gate)
- What Baby Gate Is Best for Stairs?
- Are Pressure Mounted Baby Gates Safe for Top of Stairs?
- Do I Need a Baby Gate for the Bottom of Stairs?
- How Are Hardware-Mounted Gates Installed?
- Verdict: Your Best Baby Gate for Stairs
What Should I Look For in a Baby Gate for Stairs?
When it comes to the best baby gates for stairs, you’ll find many come with the same types of features. This is because most of these are designed specifically for the top of the stairs. However, before making your purchase, whether in-store or online, there are a few things you should ask yourself. Consider the following questions before you start your baby gate buying journey.
Criteria #1: What type of staircase do I have?
One of the first things you’ll want to look at is the type of staircase you have. Do you have round or square banisters? Are they odd-shaped? Are they even or tapered? Is there a wall on one or both sides? These are all questions you’ll need to consider before searching for the best baby gates for stairs.
Criteria #2: How wide or narrow is my staircase?
Regardless of where you use your baby gates, you’ll need to measure the area. For example, with staircases, you’ll want to measure both the top of the stairs and the bottom of the stairs. This includes the top of the railing as well as the bottom of the railing by the floor. This is one of the most important steps to ensuring your baby gate fits snuggly and properly in place. Our list contains the best selections for those narrow or extra-wide baby gate needs.
Criteria #3: What type of options do I need?
Believe it or not, there are quite a few options when it comes to baby gates for stairs. Back when I had to get a gate for the top of my stairs, they didn’t have all of these options. In fact, the one we used was barely a hardware-mounted, wooden gate with a wire mesh that my daughter stuck all her toys through. It was horrible. Thank goodness that was about 20 years ago, and things have changed.
Now you can choose from a selection of gates that only open one way (usually away from the stairs) or one that you can open easily one-handed. You can find them with an auto-close feature. You’ll also need to determine if a pressure-mounted or hardware-mounted gate is best for your home. But I’ll say this right now: You should never use a pressure-mounted baby gate at the top of stairs. It’s just too dangerous.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Baby Gate for Stairs
So, you want to know how I’ve determined the best baby gates for stairs. First of all, safety is and always should be everyone’s top priority when it comes to babies and safety gates. I read the reviews and compared the positive reviews to the negative. Second, I factored in available options – width and height, the materials they’re made from, and how they are mounted.
Finally, I asked these questions: How do they open and close? Is it convenient for a parent with their hands full holding onto a baby? What type of locking mechanism does the gate have? These are all important things to consider before making your baby gate purchase.
Our Top Picks for the Best Baby Gates for Stairs of 2020
Without further ado, here are my top 10 picks for the best baby gates for stairs.
#1: Evenflo Secure Step Gate (Best Value)
This extra-tall and the expandable baby gate is made for the top of the stairs. It even comes with a red and green lock indicator so you’re not guessing whether the gate is locked or not. Just in case you’re wondering – red is locked, and green is unlocked. You can have confidence knowing your baby is safe when this gate is up.
It’s Designed Specifically for Stairs
This metal gate is hardware-mounted and designed specifically for use at the top of stairs. It’s 30 inches tall and fits openings from 29 to 42 inches wide.
It’s Ideal for High Traffic Areas
The gate opens in both directions making it ideal for high traffic areas or when entertaining.
There’s No Threshold Bar
The Evenflo Secure Step Gate doesn’t have a threshold bar. This design eliminates concerns about tripping, which is one of the reasons it’s so great for the top of stairs.
Parents agree that this is a sturdy gate that’ll definitely hold a toddler back. It’s easy to install and definitely a great gate for the price.
#2: Munchkin Loft Hardware Mounted Baby Gate for Stairs, Hallways, and Doors (Best Overall)
If you’re in the market for a baby gate for the top of stairs and money is no issue, this is the gate you need. This hardware-mounted gate stands 30.5 inches high and can extend between 26.5 and 40 inches wide. It’s perfect for stairs, hallways, and doors.
It Has an Indexed Sizing System
The Indexed Sizing System is great because it comes with preset positions for quick and easy width adjustments.
It Comes with an Integrated Tuning System
If you thought the Indexed Sizing System was pretty neat, what until I tell you about the Integrated Tuning System. This system allows you to adjust your gate vertically, even when your walls aren’t level. See? Pretty cool, right?
The Gate Has a Quick Release Wall Mount
Not to be outdone by the other awesome features of this baby gate is the quick-release wall mount. You can easily remove the gate when there’s a lot of foot traffic, when you’re trying to unload all the groceries into the house, or when you’re entertaining and don’t want it in the way.
It Features a Double Locking System
Last, but not least, for the Munchkin Loft Hardware Mounted Baby Gate for Stairs, Hallways, and Doors is the double locking system. The locking mechanism is on the handle, making it easy for adults to use but difficult for your child to figure out.
Parents say this product is of excellent quality and is a five-star gate all day long. The only drawback, they say, is that installation can be a bit tricky, so remember to measure your area before you order or purchase it. All good stuff to remember for any gate you are buying.
#3: Summer Multi-Use Decorative Extra Tall Walk-Thru Baby Gate (Best for Height)
Say your baby is turning into a toddler…since they do tend to do that. That toddler is going to get taller and taller. Growth spurts, anyone? Or, if you’re planning on using a baby gate for your stairs for a few years (I still use my baby gate, and my daughter’s almost six years old, so it can be done), choose a taller than the normal gate. This metal gate also has a bronze finish, so it’s sure to look stylish at the top of your stairs.
It’s a Super-Tall Baby Gate
Normal gates average right around 30 inches, give or take an inch. The Summer Multi-Use Decorative Extra Tall Walk-Thru Baby Gate stands a full 36 inches tall, making it the tallest on this list by far. It’ll fit openings between 28.5 and 48 inches wide, so you can use it between doorways as well.
It Has an Auto-Close Function
This gate is great for the top of stairs because it has a hands-free, auto-close feature that closes the door behind you. It also comes with a hold-open feature to keep the gate open. The gate comes with a removable door stopper to keep the gate from swinging open and out over the stairs.
You Have a Choice of Installation Methods
One of the cool things about these gates for babies is that it can be hardware-mounted with the provided gate installation kit, or you can choose the no-drill doorway to mount in-between doorways.
This sturdy gate not only looks nice, but consumers say this nearly-perfect gate is a great buy.
#4: Toddleroo by North States 47.85" Wide Easy Swing & Lock Baby Gate (Best Under $50)
Just because this gate is under $50 doesn’t make it any less in quality or security for your baby. Toddleroo by North States 47.85″ Wide Easy Swing & Lock Baby Gate is a hardware-mounted gate that is perfect for keeping your baby safe around stairways. Like the Evenflo Secure Step Gate, there’s no threshold, and the gate doesn’t swing out over the stairs, so you don’t have to worry about anyone tripping and falling down.
It’s Got a Ton of Convenient Features
Not only does this gate have a matte bronze finish and durable steel construction to complement any home decor, but it’s also loaded with features. You can easily open this gate with one hand. It’ll close and lock with a gentle push. As I mentioned above, the gate only opens in one direction – away from the stairs. Like the Munchkin gate, you can also easily remove it from the hardware mounts when you’re not using it.
It Adjusts to Fit a Variety of Spaces
These gates are 31 inches tall, but they are designed to fit stairway and door openings from 28.68 inches to 47.85 inches wide. When you’re not needing it to safeguard the stairs, use it for your larger walkways where you may need some separation.
This product has pretty decent reviews. The only real complaint is that the directions may not always be crystal-clear. (But are they ever?) Overall, this is the best baby gate at this price point.
#5: Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Baby Gate 27"-41.5" (Best for Angles)
Much like the other gates on this list, this gate is specifically designed with stairs in mind. These baby gates are 29.5 inches tall and fits openings from 27 to 42.5 inches wide. It’s also hardware-mounted with a quick and easy installation.
It Has the Ability to Mount at Angles
This gate for babies has the ability to mount at angles. This makes it a great solution for those odd or uneven staircases.
It Has the Optional Stop Bracket
Similar to the Summer Multi-Use Decorative Extra Tall Walk-Thru Baby Gate, this one comes with an optional stop bracket to prevent the gate from opening over the stairway. This brings much-added safety and security for your baby.
It’s One-Hand Operational
The one-handed operation makes it simple and easy for adults to pass through, but it’ll stump little hands.
It’s Made of Aluminum Materials
Most of the gates on this list are either steel or metal baby gates. However, the Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Baby Gate is made of aluminum. This makes it a great option if you’re looking for something lightweight.
Consumers like that this is a great solution for challenging stairways. It’s sturdy and durable enough to stand up to even the rowdiest of toddlers.
#6: Toddleroo by North States 72” wide Deluxe Décor Baby Gate" (Best Extra-Wide Gate)
Toddleroo by North States has made my list a second time. This time for its extra-wide gate. Like the Evenflo Secure Step Gate, these hardware mounted baby gates stand 30 inches tall.
It’s an Extra-Wide Gate
This baby gate can be used in areas measuring 38.3 to 72 inches wide. If you need a longer gate for the top of your stairs, no worries. You can also purchase up to six additional extensions, expanding the gate up to 162 inches.
It Can Be Angled
Like the Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Baby Gate, one of the great things about this gate is that it can be angled. This makes it a perfect addition to those staircases with odd walls or banisters. You can even use it around fireplaces when it’s not in use at the top of stairs.
It Has a Childproof Locking System
This baby safety gate offers a double-locking, childproof system for added security and peace of mind. It can be easily opened and closed one-handed. If you need to pass through multiple times, like with laundry or toys, simply use the hold-open feature so that it won’t close on you.
Installation can be a bit tricky according to parents, but once it’s installed, this is a fantastic gate at the top of the stairs. The extension and angling options make it great around banisters.
#7. Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate (Best Retractable Gate)
The Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate is one of the best retractable gates for the top of stairs. It measures 34 inches tall and fits openings up to 52 inches wide. The gate installation is quick and easy as well.
It’s Been Certified by the JPMA
This hardware mounted baby gate has been certified by the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA). This means it’s perfectly safe for use at the top of stairs.
The Mesh Is Scratch-Resistant
The see-through fabric is scratch-resistant, tough, and washable. What more could you ask for in a gate used for a child?
One of the best features of this gate is the quiet one-handed operation when opening or closing. So, if you want to do laundry while your child is napping, you can rest easy knowing that you won’t wake that sleeping baby because of the baby gate. As a bonus, it has a childproof lock on top of the gate.
You Can Easily Relocate It
Another feature that makes this gate unique is the ability to easily relocate it with an additional wall bracket kit. Yes, you’ll have to purchase that kit separately, but it’ll make it convenient if you want to use the gate in another location when it’s not being used at the top of the stairs.
Parents like that this gate is simple and easy to install and that it’s sturdy and durable. The mesh fabric is washable, so you don’t have to worry about it keeping it clean.
#8: Summer Deluxe Stairway Simple to Secure Wood Gate (Best Wooden Gate)
The Summer Deluxe Stairway Simple to Secure Wood Gate is 32 inches tall and fits openings from 30 to 48 inches wide. These hardware-mounted baby gates for stairs feature a unique comfort grip handle for quick one-handed release.
It’s a Stylish Wooden Gate
This stylish baby gate is made from wood with a beautiful, antique oak finish. It’s a perfect addition to rustic home decor.
It Has a Precision Fit Template
This template makes it easy to install your baby gate correctly, with no measuring required. While it’s designed for stairs, you can mount it in hallways and doorways as well.
This gate comes highly recommended by parents for the tops of stairs. It’s sturdy, and they don’t fear for their children playing around it, making it a safe and great purchase.
#9. Regalo 2-in-1 Stairway and Hallway Wall Mounted Baby Gate (Best for Banisters)
These baby gates for stairs are 30.5 inches tall and fit openings between 29 and 43 inches wide. They feature a walk-through door with no threshold to have to worry about.
It Comes with Banister Adapters
You don’t have to worry about putting holes in your banister or walls with this gate. It comes with banister adapters including banister corner protectors, square banister adapters, round banister adapters, plastic wall spacers, and wall mounting hardware. The best thing? There’s no drilling required!
It’s Made of Steel
This gate is an all-steel design so it’s durable, even for the most rambunctious little ones. The gate can also be easily removed for easy storage.
Parents love that this gate can be used with a variety of banister configurations. It’s durable, sturdy, and minimalistic, making a great selection for the top of stairs.
#10. Evenflo Multi-Use Decor Talk Walk-Thru Metal Gate, Black (Best Metal Gate)
This sleek, black metal gate is 36 inches tall and will fit openings of 28 to 48 inches wide by adding or removing easy-to-attach expansion pieces.
This metal baby gate is fully versatile, meaning it’s perfect if you’re looking for hardware-mounted gates or pressure-mounted gates. While this gate can be hardware-mounted at the top of the stairs, it can also be pressure-mounted at the bottom of the stairs.
It Has a Red and Green Light Indicator
Operate the gate with one hand. The red and green indicator will let you know if the gate is latched properly. I do have to say that’s a pretty cool feature to have. It also opens in both directions on an auto-close hinge.
Parents say it’s an excellent gate made of quality materials. Many reviewers say they love it and it’s working great for their household. They don’t regret their purchase.
What Baby Gate Is Best for Stairs?
While I have listed the Munchkin Loft Hardware Mounted Baby Gate for Stairs, Hallways, and Doors as the best overall for the top of stairs, really it’s going to boil down to you and your family’s needs. A few things to consider will be the answers to these questions. Do you have walls on both sides of the stairs? Are these walls level and even? Or, do you have banisters on one or both sides of the staircase? Are the banisters round, square, or tapered?
Another thing to factor in is how do you want it to look. Do you want it to match your room’s decor? Are you looking for an aluminum, steel, or metal baby gate? Would you like a black or white color option?
You can find easy close and open gates that you can operate with one hand or extra tall gates to keep up with your ever-growing child. Choose one that only opens one way (away from the stairs) or choose one that opens in both directions with an optional stopper for added security.
So, as you can see, there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer for baby gates, especially when it comes to the top of stairs. Make sure whatever gate you choose, that it’s installed correctly.
Are Pressure Mounted Baby Gates Safe for Top of Stairs?
There’s a simple answer here: Absolutely not! While a baby gate is ideal for the top of stairs to keep your little one safe, pressure-mounted gates aren’t the way to go. Because pressure-mounted gates are just that – pressure-mounted between two walls – they carry the risk of being pushed over or pulled down. Unfortunately, this makes it entirely too easy for your baby or toddler to take a tumble down the staircase.
If you really want to get a pressure-mounted gate (they do keep your walls nice, since there’s no additional hardware), put it at the bottom of the stairs or use it in a doorway or hallway to secure a room. Literally anywhere else is fine. It just shouldn’t be used at the top of the stairs.
Having a baby gate at the bottom of your stairs, though not necessarily required, isn’t a bad idea. This will prevent the little ones from trying to climb up the steps. Gravity can be a bit unforgiving if they don’t make it to the top. And if they do, it may be difficult for them to get back down injury-free. You can use either hardware- or pressure-mounted baby gates at the bottom of the stairs, though. That choice is up to you. Just make sure that you install it correctly and to the manufacturer’s specifications.
How Are Hardware-Mounted Gates Installed?
A hardware-mounted gate is installed by drilling screws into a door frame or stud to attach the gate to walls or banisters. But don’t freak out just yet. Mounting your gate makes it more secure and a more permanent option than its competition, like freestanding and pressure-mounted baby gates. Because of this, it also makes these types of gates ideal for the tops of stairs. A few holes are worth your child’s safety and security. Believe me.
We covered this above a bit, but when using the freestanding and pressure-mounted gates, children can easily knock them over or pull them down. The risk of injury is so much higher when using one of these types of gates at the top of stairs, which is also why it’s not recommended by anyone…ever. Never, ever use a freestanding or pressure-mounted gate at the top of stairs.
Verdict: Your Best Baby Gate for Stairs
Here’s the rundown of our top picks for the best baby gates for stairs.
If you want the best value for your money, pick the Evenflo Secure Step Gate.
If you want the best overall, pick the Munchkin Loft Hardware Mounted Baby Gate for Stairs, Hallways, and Doors.
If you need an extra-tall gate, pick the Summer Multi-Use Decorative Extra Tall Walk-Thru Baby Gate.
If you want to keep the cost under $50, pick the Toddleroo by North States 47.85" Wide Easy Swing & Lock Baby Gate.
If you need a gate for angles, pick the Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Baby Gate 27"-41.5"
If you need an extra-wide gate, pick the Toddleroo by North States 72” wide Deluxe Décor Baby Gate".
If you want a retractable baby gate, pick the Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate.
If you want a wooden gate, pick the Summer Deluxe Stairway Simple to Secure Wood Gate.
If you need a gate for banisters, pick the Regalo 2-in-1 Stairway and Hallway Wall Mounted Baby Gate.
If you want a metal gate, pick the Evenflo Multi-Use Decor Talk Walk-Thru Metal Gate, Black.
Just remember, just because you have a baby gate for the top of stairs, that doesn’t mean you should leave your baby unsupervised. Always keep an eye on them at all times. Babies and toddlers can be sneaky and figure things out when you’re not looking. A baby gate should be for added security, not used as a babysitter. Also, many of these gates can be opened and closed with one hand. That’s great and all, but if you have a baby in your arms, make sure you can open and close the gate safely.
Last, but not least, all of the gates on this list are hardware-mounted, so make sure you have the correct tools on hand when installing, and by all means, follow the manufacturer’s directions. I know I’ve said this several times, but it can’t be reinforced enough. Even the best baby gates can fail if you rush the installation or take shortcuts. It could cause injury to your child, and nobody wants that.