It’s 6 in the morning, late for a night owl like myself, and I can’t sleep. Why? Because I have baby gates on my mind. Gates for stairs, wooden gates, gates for your pet, and of course, retractable gates. The retractable baby gate is becoming the choice pick for baby gates on the market, and for a good reason.
Many parents have toddlers or pets that you don’t want going into a certain room or part of the house. Whether you fear for their safety, or that room’s safety, the baby gate has done a good job separating your little one with the more dangerous parts of your home.
However, these gates can be a hassle to install and maintain. The retractable gate is designed to be safer for your child and less of a headache for you. With that said, what is a retractable gate, why is it a possible contender for the baby gate of your choice, and what are the best gates on the market today?
Let’s take a look.
Table of Contents
- What is a Retractable Gate?
- Some Retractable Gates to Look at
- In Summary
- How I Picked The Gates
- Buyer’s Tips
What is a Retractable Gate?
When you think of a baby gate, you tend to imagine one made from metal. Sometimes, you get a little fancy and try a wooden gate, but the bottom line is that you’re dealing with something with a hard surface, possibly sharp edges, and with many units requiring you to drill a hole in your house.
A retractable baby gate is a barrier, usually made from mesh, that prevents babies and pets from entering, yet it’s less of a pain for you. Here are a few reasons as to why that is.
Easy to Set Up
You don’t need to cover your house in holes or make the assembly a weekend project. Usually, a retractable gate is quite easy to install and maintain. When you have a baby or toddler who is curious, getting that gate up ASAP is always important.
It Doesn’t Hurt
A retractable gate tends to use a mesh barrier, meaning that it’s sturdy and will prevent your baby from hurting themselves. With metal gates, you may have to worry about sharp edges or your baby trying to bite or bang their head against it. Not only that, but you have less to worry about yourself. No waking up in the middle of the night and stubbing your toe.
A retractable gate rolls up when opened, then goes back to its original shape. This makes it easy to store and you don’t have to worry about a gate swinging around whenever it’s opened. With a regular gate, it may be able to fold, but it’s still difficult to store and it may be in the way when you open it.
Great for the Outdoors
Retractable gates also work well for the great outdoors. If there are areas in your backyard or patio that you don’t want your baby accessing, a retractable gate works much better than a normal baby gate. Of course, some gates are specifically designed for the outdoors, with materials that will stand tall against all the elements.
It Looks Great
The gate always has a mesh barrier, and some of those barriers have unique colors or patterns that will suit your house. The aesthetic of a product for some is just a bonus, but there are others who may be more concerned with how a product looks.
There is no shame in adding a little color or unique patterns to your house, even if it just a retractable gate.
Some Retractable Gates to Look at
1. EasyBaby Products Indoor Outdoor Retractable Baby Gate (Best Budget)
Parenting is expensive, but thanks to the online market, you can get quality products for much less. Case in point, EasyBaby Products’s retractable gate. This gate goes for under $40, yet still has quite a bit to offer.
- This gate works well for most areas. Indoors, outdoors, stairways, you name it.
- It’s easy to install. Just have a solid surface to put the gate between, use the included hardware, and you’re good.
- Comes in three colors: black, grey, or white.
- It goes far. It goes up to 33 inches in height and 55” in width.
- It’s easy to open. Many parents can do it with one hand.
- Some reviewers have reported that their baby could open the gate with ease. No gate is foolproof from a tricky toddler, but that still is worth noting.
- On the opposite end, some reviewers claim that it’s difficult to open. So with the gate, I guess it’s subjective.
2. Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate (Best Overall)
Retract-A-Gate is the name brand in retractable gates, and because of that, it’s much more expensive. On Amazon, you can buy it for around $130-$160, meaning that you have to pay quite a bit more. However, it’s worth it if you want to spend more for your baby or pet’s safety.
- Tough mesh. Your toddler can try scratching it all they want to, but that mesh can handle it. Same with Fluffy if she wants to sharpen her claws on it.
- It’s quiet. Want to open the gate while you’re going to use the bathroom in the middle of the night? This gate will ensure that you do so quietly.
- It’s completely washable. If your child or pet makes a mess on it, just follow the instructions and it’s good as new.
- It has a lock that most children will not be able to figure out.
- It has the highest review score on Amazon. Most retractable gates have around 4 stars or lower, meaning that most were satisfied, but a few have issues. Meanwhile, this gate has 4.5 stars. Obviously, you can’t please everyone, but this can give you better peace of mind.
- Some reviewers have had small pets who crawled under the gate.
- You may need to drill holes in your home to install this one.
- As of this post, there is no Amazon Prime option, meaning you won’t be able to get it with fast shipping.
3. Abba Patio Retractable Folding Side Awning Screen Fence (Best Outdoor Gate)
This gate is even more expensive than our last one, going for around $189 for a one panel and $239 for a two panel. However, if you have a patio and want the best retractable gate for that situation, here you go.
- The barrier comes from polyester, meaning that it has the most UV stabilization possible. In other words, the sun won’t damage it as much.
- The poles are rustproof, making it great for the rainiest seasons.
- Strong enough to block the wind.
- It’s a whopping 5.2 feet tall, keeping even the biggest kids and pets out.
- It’s expensive. Cheaper gates may work better if you just need some basic protection. With that said, this gate does work wonders if you need pure outdoor protection.
- Some reviewers claim that the hardware included is inferior, and that buying your own hardware, such as steel screws, is needed to get the most out of the gate. Being an already expensive product, it’s an investment.
4. Queenii Magic Gate (Best for Small Pets)
For those who have pets, there is no stage of a pet’s life where they outgrow the gate. Crafty cats and daring dogs love to get into things they aren’t supposed to. Luckily, Queeni’s gate makes that much less of a risk.
- This gate is cheap and highly rated. It’s only $25 as of this post and has an average of 4.5 stars on Amazon.
- It’s easy for you to install. Just hook both sides of your door and it should be ready to go. This gate doesn’t need any assembly beyond that.
- It’s durable, especially for pets with claws.
- It works well for babies, too.
- This gate is only designed for smaller pets. Bigger dogs will run right through it!
5. The Stair Barrier Baby and Pet Gate (Best for Stairs)
Most of the gates on this post work well for stairs, but the stairs are a concerning part for many. One flaw in the gate, and your baby may hurt themselves. This gate is designed for your staircases. Here are its pros and cons.
- First, the patterns. Most gates come in a single color, or have only a few solid colors to pick from. The Stair Barrier comes in a few solid colors and also patterns. No matter what your home looks like, there’s probably a pattern that fits right at home with it.
- The Stair Barrier has engineering that’s specifically centered around stairs with banisters. If you have these, this gate is a good investment for keeping your child safe.
- It’s easy to install and you can get it custom made to suit your situation.
- It’s expensive. This is another gate that pushes the $200 cost. At least they throw in free shipping. For some parents, a cheaper gate may work just fine.
- It maybe protects your stairs a little too well. Adults who have to go up and down the stairs frequently may be annoyed at the opening process. It’s great for a basement stair or other area that you don’t enter frequently, but if you do, that’s something to keep in mind.
Here are the gates again:
- Best Budget: EasyBaby Products Indoor Outdoor Retractable Baby Gate. This is the best quality budget retractable gate for general use.
- Best Overall: Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate. It’s the name brand in gates and for a good reason. It’s tough and hard for your kid to unlock.
- Best for Outdoors: Abba Patio Retractable Folding Side Awning Screen Fence. This gate withstands the elements and is great for an outdoor area you want to keep your kids and pets out of.
- Best for Small Pets: Queenii Magic Gate. This is an extremely cheap and highly rated gate that keeps tiny dogs and cats out of your room.
- Best for the Stairs: The Stair Barrier Baby and Pet Gate. While most retractable gates will work well for the stairs, this one is designed specifically for them.
How I Picked The Gates
If you want to go into the process of how I picked the baby gates, here are some things I considered when choosing the gates for my post.
What Are the Other People Saying?
Obviously, this isn’t the only article on the Internet about retractable gates. I’ve looked at a few articles about them to get an idea of what people are saying, but also to avoid the list being too similar to those other ones.
What Are the Reviews Saying?
Reading the reviews is always important when picking a product, and I try to avoid listing gates that have under 4 stars on Amazon. No product is perfect; someone is going to get a defective unit, or just isn’t pleased easily, but if it’s under 4 stars, then there’s a problem.
Getting a product that may be flakey with quality, especially something as important as baby safety gates, is never a good move to make?
Making Sure They’re Not too Similar
With retractable baby gates, every one of them is quite similar. They are gates with a mesh barrier. However, many of the gates have a unique theme. From being designed specifically for pets to having a unique pattern to them, there’s a gate out there for everyone. I want my posts to have the most variety as possible in regards to my picks.
If you want to shop around and see if there are other quality gates that I missed, here are some tips to help you out.
- The cheapest gate does not mean it’s the best budget gate. There are plenty of products that are shoddily made and may not serve their purpose well. There are quality gates that are cheap, but if the price seems too good to be true, beware, especially if the product has poor reviews or no reviews.
- While retractable gates are more forgiving with width, make sure it matches the width of what you want the gate to cover.
- When setting up a gate, make sure that it’s sturdy and the parts don’t feel loose or defective. Even a high-quality gate can end up being a dud.
- Make sure the gate has a decent warranty or return policy. Some may come with a protection plan to give you more peace of mind. This works well if you plan on keeping the gate for a long time. Your kid will outgrow it, but maybe you have another on the way or a pet.
- Make sure you don’t need to drill a hole in your home to install it. Obviously, you may not care about this, but for rental houses or homes that you want to keep hole-free, consider this.
- If you care about a consistent theme in your home, perhaps get a gate with a color or pattern that is a good fit for your household. This is one of those tips where some people may not care about this at all, but if you do, that’s another thing to consider.
- How does it open? With any baby gate, you want that balance. You want something that is going to be difficult for your baby to open, but easy for you to. Some gates make the process too complex or user-unfriendly for the adults, and that’s no fun.
- Buy from a reputable seller. If a seller has it used for cheaper, make sure they are highly rated and will accept returns. The last thing that you want is for you to end up buying a broken gate and having no way to return it. This applies to thrift shops as well. Always test the gate if you find it used in a store, or see if that shop has a return policy you can take advantage of.
- Speaking of which, always make sure the product works well if you plan on selling it to another person. You may just want to scrap the gate if it no longer works as well as it should.
Your baby or pet loves to explore, and exploration and curiosity is perfect for a child or furry friend. However, there’s certain places they shouldn’t explore until they’re older, or in the pet’s case, when they’re leashed.
A retractable gate can keep them away while making it easy for you to access the places you need to go. Keeping your kids out of the basement, but allowing you easy access, for example.
So check out these gates and see which ones are a good fit. If you end up buying it, then tell me which one you picked and how well it worked for you.