In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Best Baby Gates of 2020

By Wendy Schmitz ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Wednesday April 8, 2020
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Looking to start baby-proofing your home in 2020? We researched more than 20 baby gates before choosing 8 competitors for extensive side-by-side testing in real homes. We tested each gate for stability, ease of use, and ease of installation. We included a variety of gate styles and types with different mounting methods and sizes using them across hallways, rooms, doorways, and other openings to bring you the details you need to find the best gate for your mobile baby.


1

Best Overall Gate


Cumbor Auto Close Safety Baby Gate


Editors' Choice Award
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$60.00
List Price
See It

Dimensions: 37.8-43.3"W x 30.5"H(Not for 35-37.8")| Mounting Type: Pressure or Hardware
Self-closing
Simple operation
Wide gate opening
Doesn't fit all openings
Trip bar

The Cumbor 43.3" Auto Close Safety Baby Gate is a straightforward, standard gate that is simple to set up and easy to use. It isn't an eyesore, even if it isn't particularly stylish, and it will go with most interior decor. The Cumbor is easy to set up with pressure mounts and features auto-close, lock open, and two-way swing capability. The gate has an easy and secure latch system, and extensions can be purchased to make it wider. The pass-thru gate is fairly wide at 23.6 inches and suitable for most adults to move through without difficulty, which is not true of all competitors. This gate installs using pressure (suitable for non-critical locations) or screwed in place wall cups (for critical safety locations like stairwells).

The Cumbor latch is fairly easy to use with one hand unlike some of the competition that requires hand yoga to master.
The Cumbor latch is fairly easy to use with one hand unlike some of the competition that requires hand yoga to master.

The Cumbo has a trip crossbar at the bottom that is relatively standard on most pressure mount gates. This bar can cause tripping if you don't know it is there or forget to step over it. Tripping can result in injury or the gate dislodging from the opening. While some users report that their gate came missing parts, we didn't experience this, and many retailers like Amazon have easy return policies. This gate is also not suitable for all opening sizes (will not fit 35-37.8") as the sizes of the extension panels limit it. While it may not be perfect for every scenario, this gate is good at what it does, and if it fits your opening, we think you'll find it up to the baby proofing job.

The Cumbor is a sturdy basic gate that is easy to install but we caution it will not fit all openings as the adjustability is based on the extension sizes and the limited widths they will provide. This is the only door in our testerhouse where this gate would fit.
The Cumbor is a sturdy basic gate that is easy to install but we caution it will not fit all openings as the adjustability is based on the extension sizes and the limited widths they will provide. This is the only door in our testerhouse where this gate would fit.

2

Budget-friendly Basic Gate


Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Baby Gate 


Best Value Award
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$37.99
(5% off)
at Amazon
See It

Dimensions: 29-34" or 35-38.5"W x 30"H | Mounting Type: Pressure or Hardware
One hand open
Safety lock
Narrow gate opening
Doesn't fit all openings
Trip bar

The Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Baby Gate gets the job done and includes a certification from both JPMA and ASTM. This gate includes a safety lock to increase toddler-proofing and feels durable and strong with additional extensions available to increase the size. It is lighter weight than some of the competition and easily moves if you use the pressure cups instead of hardware.

To move the Regalo gate you need at least one hand and three steps with a pull back on the gray slide  lift the metal lock and lift the entire gate off the bottom rail to move.
To move the Regalo gate you need at least one hand and three steps with a pull back on the gray slide, lift the metal lock and lift the entire gate off the bottom rail to move.

While some testers feel this gate is easy to assemble, others experienced missing parts and parts that didn't go together smoothly, and in our experience, it is one of the most convoluted in the groups. The walkthrough portion of the gate is surprisingly narrow at only 16" wide, and some adults may not be able to get through without turning sideways, which could be a deal-breaker for some. Also, this gate has a typical trip bar on the bottom, but it is a common design found in most gates, though some report this one is two pieces, and it isn't as stable as one-piece designs. This gate only swings one way, and some users feel the latch is hard to use and can require two hands. While this option has a few issues, we think the price makes it an attractive option for many families, and most issues are obvious upon setup and can quickly be returned if it doesn't meet your expectations.
The Regalo comes with two extensions but the lack of adjustability means the gate won't fit every opening.
The Regalo comes with two extensions but the lack of adjustability means the gate won't fit every opening.

3

Great for Awkward Angles


Toddleroo Deluxe Décor Baby Gate


Toddleroo by North States 72" wide Deluxe Décor Baby Gate
Top Pick Award
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$84.10
(7% off)
at Amazon
See It

Dimensions: 38.3-72"W x 30"H | Mounting Type: Hardware
Stay open feature
Easy to use
Good for fireplaces
Must be hard-mounted
Angles may not fit all openings
Trip bar
The Toddleroo by North States 72" wide Deluxe Décor Gate is a 3-panel straightforward gate the articulates to fit odd or wider openings. This gate can also go around smaller fireplaces or wood stoves to protect little ones from hot surfaces or sharp corners. We like how easy this gate is to use with true one-hand operation and simple button push/lift gate to move. The Toddleroo is lightweight for its size, sturdy, and once hard-mounted, it stays in place well. The gate opening is wide and easy to walk through, and the bottom crossbar is small and easier to cross than some of the competition.
Pushing the button on the Toddleroo is simple and doesn't require a significant amount of pressure to accomplish.
The Toddleroo latch is a push-button operation that is truly one hand but could be figured out by some smarter or older toddlers.

The gate opening on this option only swings one way, and there is no real "lock" to prohibit inquisitive, older toddlers from opening the gate. However, it does require pressing the button to open the gate, which is enough to prevent younger and less gregarious toddlers from getting through. We really like this large gate and everything it has to offer. While you need tools to screw it in place and it won't pressure mount, it does a great job solving the awkward angle or wider opening problem faced in some houses.

The 3-panel design of the Toddleroo makes it ideal for wide or awkward angle spaces that need a barrier.
The 3-panel design of the Toddleroo makes it ideal for wide or awkward angle spaces that need a barrier.

4

Best for Stairways


Summer Deluxe Stairway Wood Gate


Top Pick Award
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$51.85
(32% off)
at Amazon
See It

Dimensions: 30-48"W x 32"H | Mounting Type: Hardware
Opens both ways
Wood
Must be hard-mounted for safety

This warm and inviting stairway gate is easy to use and simple in its straightforward design. This gate mounts to the wall using screws and has an attachment point you mount on the opposite wall or banister. This gate requires hard mounting, but the directions are adequate enough that installation isn't too challenging. We think the latch is easy to operate even though it requires lifting the gate once it is unlocked to move. This gate is very adjustable with two parts sliding against one another for a custom fit as opposed to extensions that can be somewhat lacking. The gate opening is wide, and it swings both ways for easy pass-thru.

The Summer Stairway gate latch/handle is a squeeze and lift operation  but the squeezing requires significant strength to release the latch preventing most children from being able to operate it. If you have any type of hand limitations  this could make using this option more challenging.
The Summer Stairway gate latch/handle is a squeeze and lift operation, but the squeezing requires significant strength to release the latch preventing most children from being able to operate it. If you have any type of hand limitations, this could make using this option more challenging.

Special care should be taken when mounting this gate to limit the space under the gate. Without the dreaded trip bar, little ones could slide under a gate installed too high, which could be dangerous with stairs on the other side. Also, we don't think it is a good idea for a gate to open out and over stairs as this could accidentally happen if a baby places enough on the gate. However, the majority of stairway gates share this design, and we like the look and feel of the finished wood gate and the easy latch that comes with it.

The assembly and installation of the stairway gate are more convoluted than the competition which shouldn't be a surprise given that it needs extra stability and safety when used at the top of stairways.
The assembly and installation of the stairway gate are more convoluted than the competition which shouldn't be a surprise given that it needs extra stability and safety when used at the top of stairways.

5

Best Tall Gate


Summer Infant Extra Tall Gate


Top Pick Award
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$65.98
(24% off)
at Amazon
See It

Dimensions: 28-48"W x 36"H | Mounting Type: Pressure or Hardware
Good for Houdini
Easy to use
Nicer looking
Narrow gate opening
Trip bar

The Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate is a nice looking taller gate to prevent little ones from trying to go over. It can be pressure mounted in place or installed with hard mount screws. The gate is easy to install, easy to use, and sturdy using either installation method. We like how straightforward this option is and the fancier curved top that makes it somewhat more pleasing to the eye than a traditional gate you typically find at the big box stores.

The Summer Infant Extra Tall Gate has a slide latch you can operate with one hand and the gate only swings one way.
The Summer Infant Extra Tall Gate has a slide latch you can operate with one hand and the gate only swings one way.

This gate has a fairly narrow opening, which could be challenging for larger adults. It also has the standard trip bar along the bottom that is common in almost every modern baby gate. This gate only swings one way, and it has a top and bottom latch that require a thumb shift and lift up to operate, but it isn't hard to accomplish once you get a few turns under your belt. While this gate may not be perfect, it is a good looking, easy to use option that can be the problem solver for escape artist toddlers or larger pets you're trying to keep from your baby.
The Summer Infant Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate is a nice looking gate tall enough to keep avid climbers where they belong.
The Summer Infant Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate is a nice looking gate tall enough to keep avid climbers where they belong.

6

Excellent Stylish Alternative


Summer Decorative Wood & Metal Safety Baby Gate


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$100.00
See It

Dimensions: 36-60"W x 32"H | Mounting Type: Pressure
Stylish design
Easy to use
Wider gate opening
Extensions make it less stable
Trip bar

This stained wood and metal gate has a more stylish look than most of the competition fitting in with home decor better than traditional metal or plastic gate might. It installs easily with pressure mounts and includes a small wrench to help turn the adjustment knobs on the mounting circles. The gate is relatively stable once installed, and the door opens both ways with one hand. It has a child lock you shift with your thumb to release the gate and then lifts up and off the floor crossbar to swing in the direction of your choice. This gate feels durable and was tested in one home for over two years with giant dogs proving it can withstand the typical toddler without much trouble.

The latch/lock on the Decorative Wood & Metal Baby Gate works with one hand but the bottom does rest over the top of the bottom rail requiring more attention to the precision placement and operation which is not found in the competition.
The latch/lock on the Decorative Wood & Metal Baby Gate works with one hand but the bottom does rest over the top of the bottom rail requiring more attention to the precision placement and operation which is not found in the competition.

This gate has a relatively standard floor crossbar that can cause tripping if you aren't used to it. However, this design is standard on all pressure mount gates and many hardware mount gates as well. It also can get somewhat unstable the more extensions you use, so for wider openings, it might be easier for a hearty or active toddler to coax it out of the opening. Overall, we like the way this gate looks and its ability to stand the test of time with useful features like a one-handed child-lock and swinging both ways. We think most families will find much to love with this high-end option.

We like the look of the Summer Decorative Wood & Metal Gate that looks more like a piece of furniture than a baby-proofing device.
We like the look of the Summer Decorative Wood & Metal Gate that looks more like a piece of furniture than a baby-proofing device.

7

Perfect for Super Wide Openings


Regalo Super Wide Baby Gate and Play Yard


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$87.99
(27% off)
at Amazon
See It

Dimensions: 192"W x 28"H | Mounting Type: Hardware/Self-connect
Versatile
Very Wide
Narrow Opening
Heavy & Cumbersome
Trip bar

This versatile gate can be hard-mounted to the wall across a wide opening up to 192 inches wide, or it can be set up as a play yard. The multi-panel gate system can be rotated and moved as needed but it only comes with one set of hard mounting plastic brackets and screws if you plan to set it up in one location. If you have a wide opening as often found in homes with open floor plans, this could be one of the few baby-centric options that aren't colorful or intended for pets. The opening on this gate swings both ways and there is a lock on the gate that can be operated with one hand and some practice. There are also bottom turn-style safety locks on the bottom to help dissuade toddlers who figure out the top latch.

While you can operate this Regalo Super Wide with one hand  it is easier with two as the metal lock can fall back in place before you get a chance to open the gate.
While you can operate this Regalo Super Wide with one hand, it is easier with two as the metal lock can fall back in place before you get a chance to open the gate.

This wide opening barrier has a very narrow walk-through gate, which many adults may find too small to pass through naturally. Even a tester of only 120 lbs and 5'7" tall had to turn sideways to avoid bumping the edges when walking through. As a play yard, this product is somewhat small, and only stationary children or babies just learning to crawl will find the size suitable; older toddlers will be frustrated by the limited real estate it creates and the lack of space for multiple toys. While this gate has a smaller opening and is better as a barrier than play yard, we think it is one of the best options going to cover a wider distance and parents with this problem will like what it has to offer.
The narrow opening on the Super Wide will make it challenging for users to walk through without turning sideways (tester shown is 5'7"  130 lbs).
When arranged as a play yard  the Regalo Super Wide is fairly small with not much real estate for little ones to play in.

8

Best Portable Gate


Mesh Magic Gate


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$19.98
at Amazon
See It

Dimensions: 72"W x 29"H | Mounting Type: Sticky hooks
Inexpensive
Portable
Not stable
Two hand operation

This foldable mesh gate is super small and can stuff into a diaper bag with ease. If you use a removable sticky wall mount like a Command Strip, it can be easily set up and taken down in new locations without much hassle. It is somewhat stable, and depending on the situation, it can fit much smaller openings than its full size if there is room to mount the corner further down a wall. The Magic Mesh also works without permanent holes or potential damage to walls if used correctly. It also has the lowest price in the group, making it a useful, cost-effective solution for many situations.

The Magic Mesh attaches to the wall using stick-on hooks and you need to remove the elastic hook from the plastic hook to move through the gate.
The Magic Mesh attaches to the wall using stick-on hooks and you need to remove the elastic hook from the plastic hook to move through the gate.

This gate takes some time to set up with some assembly required. It is also not the best at keeping Houdinis inside and is best used when a parent is nearby to monitor the situation or if it's blocking a non-dangerous space. While not perfect for all situations or openings and we wouldn't suggest you use it near stairs, we do think it can be useful for temporary blocking areas when away from home.
Installing the Magic Mesh isn't tricky  but it also isn't overly sturdy and probably shouldn't be used above stairways or to block your baby from dangerous areas. We recommend supervision with this gate.
Installing the Magic Mesh isn't tricky, but it also isn't overly sturdy and probably shouldn't be used above stairways or to block your baby from dangerous areas. We recommend supervision with this gate.

Some of the gates we purchased  installed and tested for our comprehensive baby gate review.
Some of the gates we purchased, installed and tested for our comprehensive baby gate review.

Why You Should Trust Us


We've been testing all kinds of baby gear for over 7 years, buying and testing each item hands-on and with real families and little ones. We bring you the details and information you need to make the right buying decision for you and your family with an unbiased analysis. Each gate in this review was assembled and used by Wendy Schmitz, mother of two and Senior Review editor for BabyGearLab since 2014. The gates were tested side-by-side for stability, ease of use, and installation before being used in-situ for an extended time with kids and pets alike.

The Regalo Easy Step requires some assembly and includes screwing two halves together with the supplied hardware and Allen wrench.
Many of the gates  like this Summer Decorative Gate  Come with a gap where the gate closes that will self-resolve after the gate is installed.

Analysis and Test Results


We performed a variety of tests for ease of use, stability, and installation rating each gate compared to the competition for everyday use to give you an idea of how well the gates perform in the real world under normal circumstances.

With enough determination  bigger toddlers or mischievous little ones will likely be able to master the escape with the Magic Mesh as it isn't the sturdiest of options.
With enough determination, bigger toddlers or mischievous little ones will likely be able to master the escape with the Magic Mesh as it isn't the sturdiest of options.

Stability


Stability encompasses how well a gate stays in place and whether or not little ones can manage to knock it over or potentially injure themselves, trying to knock it over.

The Magic Mesh Gate is arguably the least stable of the group, and it can potentially be breached by a hearty toddler with determination to push it down or slip through the sides. Also, many of the pressure mounted gates can become unstable the more extensions you add; depending on the strength or determination of your child, the gate can be pushed out of place, which is why we don't recommend them for stair protection. The most stable gates are those that use screws to attach to the door frame, stud, or the wall (drywall anchors). The Toddleroo Deluxe Décor Baby Gate is stable when installed correctly, though the three-panel design can create the opportunity for the gate to shift as you walk through it. Still, it will stay connected to the mounting points. The following additional gates can be mounted using some kind of hardware making them more stable than pressure cup use alone: Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Baby Gate, Summer Deluxe Stairway Wood Gate, Summer Infant Extra Tall Gate, Cumbor Auto Close Safety Baby Gate, and Regalo Super Wide Baby Gate and Play Yard.

Not all of the gates have truly easy to use latches and the Regalo options were some of the least user-friendly in the group.
Not all of the gates have truly easy to use latches and the Regalo options were some of the least user-friendly in the group.

Ease of Use


Ease of use testing includes how easy the gate is to use going through it, unlatching it, locking it closed, or locking it open. Some of the latches can be operated one-handed, and others cannot. Some have narrow gates difficult to pass through while others have gate openings wide enough for dads carrying toddlers to pass with ease.

The Cumbo and Toddleroo gates are some of the easiest in the group to use with a wider opening to walk through, one-handed latches, and relatively quick setups. The Summer Deluxe Stairway Simple to Secure Wood Gate is also easy to use for a stairway gate, as those tend to be more challenging thanks to stronger safety concerns. The Summer Decorative Wood & Metal 5 Foot Pressure Mounted Baby Gate and the Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate are somewhat more challenging as you need to unlock the gate and lift it up to move it; however, neither is difficult.
The Regalo Easy Step has a very narrow opening and we worry most adults will have difficulty moving through the gate without bumping the sides (tester here is 5'7 and 130lbs).
The Regalo Easy Step has a very narrow opening and we worry most adults will have difficulty moving through the gate without bumping the sides (tester here is 5'7 and 130lbs).
The Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Baby Gate is one of the harder options to use with a clumsy assembly and a lock/latch that claims to be one-handed but is far easier with two. The narrow gate on this model makes it challenging to walk through for the average adult and near impossible or impossible for larger parents. It definitely isn't going to work if you are carrying something that hangs down low. Also, because the gate comes in multiple pieces you assemble, it has a rickety feeling not shared by the competition.

The Regalo is the only traditional gate in the review to come in multiple pieces and require assembly prior to installation. While not difficult  it seems unnecessary as the competition found alternatives to making parents build their own.
The Regalo is the only traditional gate in the review to come in multiple pieces and require assembly prior to installation. While not difficult, it seems unnecessary as the competition found alternatives to making parents build their own.

Ease of Installation


How easy a gate is to install varies from gate to gate and seems to be a primary reason that parents return gates to retailers. While none of the gates is impossible to install, and many manufacturers offer videos to help users, some still require a little bit of patience or tools to finalize the proper installation. The gates are either pressure mounted or hard mounted using screws that come with the gate, and the Magic Mesh uses stick in place hooks. Pressure mounting can cause damage to paint and walls over time, but hard mounting means putting permanent holes in the wall. What type you need and what kind of impact it has on your home will be up to you and the gate you choose. For stairways and entrances into potentially dangerous areas, we believe hard mounting is safer as pressure mounted gates are more likely to fail under the weight of pushy toddlers. However, the occasional failure might be acceptable in areas where little ones are being monitored and can't get hurt by anything on the opposite side of the gate.


Wide Gaps?
Many of the gates come with odd wide gaps in the top that makes the gate appear to be broken. This design is intentional and fixes itself when you install the gate properly. While disconcerting at first, it is not a flaw, and there is no need to return the product.

It is important to follow all instructions that come with the gate or installation can be more challenging than it needs to be.
The Magic Mesh gate comes in an easy to transport size you can take on travel and set up is quick and easy.

Pressure mounted gates like the Cumbor or the Summer Decorative Wood Gate are quick to set up and use and relatively stable depending on the location. Wider gates and gates at the top of stairwells require hard mounting to function safely. The Summer Deluxe Stairway Gate and the Toddleroo by North States both mount into the wall with screws and are relatively easy, but you will need some tools and be somewhat handy to get the job done. The Magic Mesh Gate is the most convoluted installation as it requires more assembly than the competition. Still, its portability makes it unique in this lineup, and the installation is something you'll just have to tolerate if you need something for travel. The Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Baby Gate is also challenging to install as it is the only traditional gate that requires "building" before the setup with at least five parts you need to assemble before you try to mount it in place.

We purchased and tested each gate hands-on in real life.
We purchased and tested each gate hands-on in real life.

Conclusion


Finding a useful and functional baby gate is often a necessity for families with babies on the move. Whether you need to stop little ones heading down the stairs or prevent them from exploring your kitchen, it is often easier to block off a complete room instead of locking every cabinet or danger zone. However, not all gates are created equal, and finding the right gate for your needs can be more challenging than you think. Once you identify your needs and the size of your opening, you're well on your way to finding the right gate with this lineup of top options.


Wendy Schmitz