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When you have a baby, their safety will always be your top priority, not an easy task, especially when they begin crawling and exploring. Research shows that over 3 million babies and toddlers have accidental injuries at home resulting from falls, burns from steam and boiling liquids, and poisoning. So as a parent, you will want to keep your baby from certain places like the kitchen, bathroom, stairs, etc, and one effective way is by using baby gates to section off these places as soon as your baby starts crawling or even before.

In this article, we will be looking at which gates are the best for stairs with banisters. But before then, let us look at some of the things you need to know to help you make an informed choice.

What types of gates are best for stairs with banisters?

The first thing to know is that there are only two types of gates:

Hardware mounted baby gates

These gates are screwed into the frame behind the wall or fastened onto a banister, making them very sturdy and secure. Avoid screwing the mounting hardware directly into the plaster wall because it won’t be stable. If you have to drill into drywall, use drywall anchors.

These gates are the best for stairways as the risk of toppling over even when a toddler leans on them is very minimal.

Pressure mounted baby gates

These gates use an expandable spring system to create pressure to secure the gate into place by squeezing it between two surfaces or walls. Pressure-mounted gates are not suitable for stairs because they are just not secure or sturdy enough and can easily topple over. But, they work great for flat areas such as hallways or doorways and are easy to relocate.

How to tell that a baby gate is safe?

  • Check for JMPA certification: this certifies that there are no openings where little fingers and toes can be pinched. They also ensure the slats are not so wide that small bodies can wiggle and slip through and that the gates sit close to the floor to prevent slipping from underneath.

All our recommended baby gates below are JMPA and ASTM certified.

  • It should not have a threshold bar on the bottom which can cause tripping accidents.
  • It should have vertical slats to prevent active toddlers from climbing. 
  • The gate should be designed for children and not pets.

Reviews of the Best Baby Gates For Stairs With Banisters

1. Toddleroo By North State, Wide Easy Swing & Lock Baby Gate

Height: 31 inches

Width: 28- 48 inches

Color: matte, bronze, white

The Toddleroo Wide Easy Swing & Lock is one of the top-rated gates for stairs because it is easy to use, functional, and affordably priced(less than $50). Made from sturdy steel, it has superior quality and is durable.

This hardware mountable gate doesn’t swing out over the stairs or have a threshold bar one can trip over, making it safe to use at the top of the stairs. Unlike other gates that have a narrow center door, this gate swings wide open for easier passage. Better still, you can also leave it open against the wall, which is super convenient if you have your hands full with stuff you want to take up or down the stairs. It is also JMPA and ASTM certified.

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Provides wide opening
  • Has a one-handed operated latch
  • Doesn’t have a threshold trip bar
  • Swings open away from the stairs
  • Can stay open for easy passage

Cons 

  • Difficult installation with unclear instructions

2. Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate

Height: 29.5 inches

Width: 27- 42.5 inches

Color: white, black

This gate is more expensive than others, but the all-metal construction makes it a very sturdy and durable product. It is hardware mountable, making it a secure option for use on top of the stairs. Unlike most other gates that can only be installed perpendicularly, Stairway special gate can install at an odd angle up to 30 degrees, making it a more versatile option that is more forgiving.

The gate opens fully like a door with no trip bar along the floor. It has a simple latch mechanism that requires an adult to use only one hand, yet baffling to a toddler. It opens both ways, but it has a swing stop to keep it from opening over the stairway for more excellent safety at the top of the stairs.

We also love that it is made from lightweight aluminum coated in a black or white finish, making it very attractive. It is also customizable to cover larger areas, with extension pieces of 10.5 inches or 21.75 inches also being sold.

Pros

  • Solid and durable
  • Installs on two flat areas with odd angles of up to 30 degrees
  • One-handed latching mechanism
  • Swing stop bracket to keep from opening out over stairs
  • Very easy to install
  • Doesn’t have a trip bar

Cons 

  • Can be noisy and clunky when opening and closing
  • Some reviewers had difficulties operating the latch
  • Expensive

3. KidCo Safeway Gate

Height: 30.5 inches

Width: 24-43.5 inches

Color: white 

KidCo Safeway is one of the best gates for stairs with banisters. This model is specifically designed for installing at the top of the stairs, and heavy-duty steel construction and hardware mounting make it very sturdy and safe.

The opening and closing mechanism are simple and easy for an adult on one hand, and the gate swings fully open with no trip bar running across. It also has a directional stop feature to keep it from swinging out over the stairs for better safety.

Other great features we loved include the ability to be installed at an angle (like the Cardinal model above) and quick-release hardware that helps to uninstall the gate when it is not needed.

Pros

  • Solid gate with heavy duty steel construction
  • Can be mounted on an angle
  • One-handed latch mechanism
  • Directional stop keeps the gate from swinging out over stairs
  • No threshold bar along the floor
  • Wide opening

Cons 

  • Lengthy installation
  • Some reviewers complained that the directional stoppers were not functional
  • Mounting brackets are made from cheap flimsy plastic that pops with continued use.

4. Evenflo Secure Step Gate

Height: 30 inches

Width: 29- 42 inches 

Color: white, beige

Evenflo Secure Step is a hardware mountable baby gate that can be used both at the top or bottom of the stairs. It is a great option for those looking for a gate that swings both ways for high-traffic areas. A stopper bracket keeps it from opening over the stairs when being used from the top of the stairs.

It has a lock indicator letting you know if the gate is securely closed- red means it’s locked, and green is unlocked. Note that it’s not self-locking. It also doesn’t have a floor bar, so no worries about tripping.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Very sturdy
  • Red/green locking indicator
  • Opens both directions, allowing easy passage
  • Has a swing stop
  • Easy to install
  • One-handed operation

Cons 

  • The plastic hardware is easily stripped
  • Adjustment clips for gate width get loose with time

5. Safety 1st Ready To Install Baby Gate

Height: 30 inches

Width: 29 -42 inches

Color: white

As you may already have noted, many gates have lengthy and complicated installation, even for those with some handy skills. Well, Safety 1 st realized this issue and decided to sell their gate already pre-assembled to give you a fast and hassle-free installation.

The gate is hardware mountable, making it ideal for stairways, and is extendable to fit stairways ranging from 29 to 42 inches. We also love that it has an optional one-directional stop so that you can have it just one way or both- important to note when installing on stairways due to safety. 

It requires two movements that are easy for an adult to do on one hand, but hard for toddlers to manage. The door swings wide open and has no trip bar along the floor, hence safe for the top of stairs placement. It is also super easy to close, with just a gentle push.

Pros

  • Comes fully assembled
  • One-handed installation
  • No threshold trip bar
  • Quick installation in just 15 minutes with only a screwdriver
  • Opens both ways
  • Swing stop prevents swinging out over the stairs

Cons 

  • Some reviewers have had latching problems after using it for sometime
  • It is expensive in comparison to other similar gates

6. Munchkin Loft Aluminium Hardware Mount Baby Gate For Stairs

Height: 30 inches

Width: 26.5 -40 inches

Color: Silver

This Aluminium baby gate is arguably one of the most stylish in silver-tone finish fitting in a contemporary home design. The 30.5 inches tall gate fits on stairways measuring from 26.5 to 40 inches wide and opens both ways. A double locking system enables parents to operate on one hand, and it locks automatically after you with an audible click.

It also features a quick-release wall mount, enabling you to remove the gate and install it quickly and conveniently when needed. Even better, getting the right fit with uneven walls is not a problem thanks to the Integrated Tuning System.

Pros

  • Modern and stylish
  • No trip bar along the floor
  • Opens both directions
  • Can be held open
  • One-handed operation
  • Quick release wall mount for easier and faster removal

Cons 

  • Reviewers complain that installation is a pain
  • Hinges wear out with time, causing the door to sag and open way too easily
  • Expensive

7. Cardinal Gate Auto-Lock Gate

Height: 29.5 inches

Weight: 26.5-40.5 inches

Color: white, black

This model is similar to the sister on number two. It is made of lightweight aluminum metal, making it very strong and durable.

It is one of the easiest gates to use- it opens on one hand and auto-locks when you push it shut. Yes, no need to worry if your kids have locked the gate properly. Like most other gates for the top of the stairs, it doesn’t have a trip bar, and there is a one-way bracket to keep it from opening over the stairs.

Pros

  • Attractive
  • High quality
  • Sturdy
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to use
  • Doesn’t have a bottom bar to trip over

Cons 

  • It is really loud when it closes
  • Screws that go into the wall very short

8. Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate 

Height: 38 inches

Width: 52 inch, 72 inch

Colors: white, cafe, black

These retractable mesh baby gates may be expensive, but they are incredibly durable and functional, not to mention discrete. Whether you are using them to keep out the pets or for your toddler, the gates are extra tall and wide and reliable. Better still; the mesh lets you see what your little one is up to when you are across the room. Many parents rave about its automatic retractability.

The gate is hardware mountable and can be used for both top and bottom of stairs. It has a child-proof lock which is easy for parents to operate (with spacers, bought separately). It opens really wide and there is no trip bar along the floor. It can also be easily removed when not needed.

Pros

  • Low profile
  • Tough and durable mesh
  • Very sturdy
  • Retracts automatically
  • Works for top or bottom of stairs
  • Easy to relocate without using any tools
  • Washable

Cons 

  • Doesn’t lock in place automatically
  • Spacers and anchors come at an extra cost
  • Pricey

9. Regalo widespan extra wide baby gate

Height: 30 inches

Width: 29-56 inches

Color: white

For the bottom of your stairs, we recommend this extra wide gate from Regalo. It is pressure mountable, but there is also a hardware option. It is an excellent option because the gate extends from 29 inches to a whopping 56 inches- there aren’t many gate options with this size range.

The opening mechanism is easy for the adults to do on one hand but impossible for toddlers to figure out. Note that it doesn’t close the door automatically; you will have to push and close the handle to lock it in place.

Pros

  • Solid and sturdy
  • Great for extra wide space
  • Easy to install
  • One-handed operation
  • Can be pushed up or down (if pressure mounted)

Cons 

  • The doorway is narrow and feels restrictive, especially when carrying stuff

10. Summer Infant Deluxe Stairway

Height: 32 inches

Width: 30-48 inches

Color: oak 

You don’t have to go with the typical white, black, or painted metal baby gates; this wooden gate in oak finishing is another great option to childproof your home in style. It is hardware mountable and can be used for the stairway both at the top or bottom. Do note that reviewers report that it’s difficult to install on banisters that are 3 inches thick and above or if you have base boards.

One of its best features is the unique Precision Fit Template, allowing easy installation without measuring. Comfort grip handles make it easy for adults to open and close on one hand. It also opens wide and doesn’t have a trip bar along the floor. A directional stop feature prevents it from swinging out over the stairs.

Pros

  • Very sturdy
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • High quality and durable
  • One-handed operation

Cons 

  • Included drywall screws are cheap quality and unreliable
  • Difficult installation
  • Some find the latch difficult to open and to close

Tips to install, use and care for your baby gate for stairs with banisters

The first thing to do before you install your baby gate is to measure the opening. Next, read the manual instruction that comes with the gate or even watch some installation videos from the manufacturer to learn the process. Also, check to see if you have all the tools and pieces that you will need and lay them all out.

Installation for hardware gates can be difficult and lengthy. It is a good idea to have a helping hand. Also, start by measuring and marking the wall before you drill or install the brackets.

Like earlier mentioned, you need a hardware mountable gate for your stairs, especially for the top. That means you will install the brackets with screws for a permanent fixture. Depending on your stair design, you will install the gate either banister to wall or banister to the banister.

If the opening has a wooden frame, you will drill a pilot hole using an electric screw gun before screwing the brackets into place. If you are drilling into drywall, make sure to use drywall anchors to ensure the screws are properly secured.

For banisters, spindles, newel posts, or other square or round posts, you will need to install a mounting adaptor kit to have a good surface to install your gate. Mostly the kit is usually a separate purchase, so take note to order with the gate.

Keep in mind that mounting kits take up several inches on both sides of the opening, and install them first before you measure out the size of the gate that you think will fit the opening. This will keep you from ordering the wrong size.

Finally, to keep the gates clean, a simple wipe with soapy water will suffice from time to time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs?

Yes, stairs are one of the riskiest places at home for babies and toddlers. Having a gate at the top keeps the baby from accessing the stairs where they may fall and get seriously injured. The bottom one prevents them from climbing up only for them to come back down tumbling.

When should I start using baby gates for stairs?

The best time to put the gates before your baby begins to crawl is usually at about 5 months of age. As soon as you see they are learning to scoot or crawl, it should be the sign to tell you it’s about time.

When can I remove the stair gates?

This will depend on your child’s capabilities rather than a certain age. For instance, if they can bend over the gate, climb over, or are able to unlatch, it is probably time to remove it because it’s not much use anyway.

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