As a parent, it’s really exciting once your baby begins to move about. Unfortunately, it also means there are a lot of ways they can get in trouble. The stairs remain one of the most dangerous places that your child can get injured in at home, and thus you must do everything possible to keep them off this area. The most effective way to do that is to ensure you get a suitable gate. And by suitable, we mean gates designed specifically for top and bottom of stair use. Luckily for you, we will be reviewing the best baby gates for stairs in the market to save you all the hassle of having to do the research yourself.
After researching and comparing numerous gates and reviews from users, we choose the Cardinal Gate Stairway Special Gate as the best baby gate for stairs. It was its high-quality build, ability to mount an angle, easy installation, and safety features, along with rave reviews that convinced us that this gate was the best for stairs and would work for any home. But to give you a variety of choices, we also reviewed several other great options.
We did not consider pressure-mounted gates because we feel they are not very secure, to begin with, and can be dislodged by a child. Second, because they have a threshold bar that creates a trip hazard. So in this article, we only featured hardware-mounted gates as they are the only recommended option by experts for their strength and sturdiness.
Reviews of the Best Baby Gates for Stairs 2022
The Cardinal Gates Stairway Special is one of the best-rated baby gates by parents and reviewers alike. It’s perfect especially for the top of the stairs, although it can also be used at the bottom.
Like earlier mentioned, this gate has a sturdy, all-metal build with a portable lightweight aluminum frame, the latch, and all other hardware. Most gates use plastic hardware and latches that wear or break over time, so the Cardinal Gate is the best choice if considering a durable gate.
It measures 29.5 inches tall and adjusts to fit openings from 27 to 42.5 inches. For even wider openings, you can buy 10.5 inches or 21.75-inch extensions to fit.
One of the best things about this gate is that it can be mounted at angles up to 30 degrees, so it works for almost all homes, even those with imperfect stairways or unique angles between railings and adjacent walls. With only four screws and clear instructions, the Cardinal Gate is one of the easiest gates to install. No other gates use fewer screws; most require more, even ten.
It uses a unique locking mechanism that usually takes adults a few tries to master, but after that, it’s easily unlocked on one hand. That also means it’s too complicated for kids to open.
For safety, it has an optional stop bracket that prevents it from opening over the stairs and doesn’t have a step-over bar along the floor that you can trip on. It’s important to note also that it doesn’t automatically close.
The company sells clamps that work with this gate for round, square, wrought iron, and spindle banisters for people who do not want to drill into their banisters.
It is available in white and black finish options.
- Durable all-metal build
- Installs in areas with up to 30 degree angle
- Optional stop bracket to keep it from swinging open over the stairs (very important for the top of stair use)
- Easy to install, there is a step by step video and clear instructions
- No trip bar along the floor
- Optional extensions are available
- It is relatively more expensive than its competitors
- May be challenging to align the latch correctly when the gate is installed at an angle
- A bit noisy because of the metal latch and hinges
The Toddleroo is another fantastic option for both top and bottom of stairs use. It packs quite a number of great features that you will love.
First, it has a solid all-metal gate for sturdiness and will likely serve you for a good couple of years. Second, it fits from narrow to extra-wide openings extending from 29 inches to 48 inches and stands a good height at 31 inches tall.
Todderloo is easy to install; many have found instructions clear and helpful. The opening mechanism is also easy to operate- simply press down on the latch button using your thumb while you lift the gate and swing it open. It’s easy to do on one hand but hard for toddlers.
The other impressive aspect about this gate is that it opens wide to allow easy passage even when carrying your child, laundry, or groceries, and there is a threshold bar to trip on. Plus, it’s designed to open only one way-towards the landing.
Lastly, the gate comes in matte bronze, which blends seamlessly with any home décor. Pricing is fantastic as well.
Having considered the simplicity, style, and safety features of this baby gate and pricing, we felt that the Toddleroo deserved the second position on our list of the best baby gates for stairs in the market.
- Durable construction
- One handed operation
- Easy to install
- No threshold trip bar along the floor
- Open only away from the stairs
- Self locks when you swing shut
- Budget friendly pricing
- Plastic connectors may not last
KidCo Safeway is well-rated, has many great features, and budget friendly pricing.
It features a heavy-duty steel frame and a permanent hardware mounting system for sturdiness. You can choose either a black or white finish to suit your home style.
One of the things we liked is the ability to be installed at an angle ( like the Cardinal Gate) using the included hinge mount and a quick-release hardware that allows you to remove it easily when not needed. We also liked that it works for a wide range of openings without extensions from 24.75 inches to 42.5 inches and is 30.5 inches tall. There are few gates that fit narrow openings.
The locking mechanism should be easy on one hand and is basically like the Toddleroo we looked at earlier, which involves pulling up the gate on one hand and using your thumb to push down on the lever. To close, all it takes is a gentle push.
It swings open fully, with no trip bar running along the floor to allow easy and safe passage. Plus, it has a unidirectional stop to prevent it from swinging open over the stairs.
Because of the sturdy construction, ability to mount an angle, safety, ease of disassembly, and great pricing, KidCo remains one of the best gates for stairs in the market.
- Sturdy and durable
- Hinge side can be mounted at an angle
- One handed opening mechanism
- No trip bar along the floor
- Swings open away from the stairway
- Quick release mechanism to remove the gate when is no longer needed
- Provided screws are a bit short; you may need to buy others to achieve stronger hold
- Lengthy and difficult installation due to confusing instructions
Usually, the process of mounting hardware gates is often involving and lengthy, couple that with poor instructions and a lack of handy skill, it can be a pain. But with Safety1 st baby gate, you can avoid all the hassle because it comes fully assembled, and all you have to do is to attach it to your banisters or wall. There is no measuring, marking, or need to level, and instructions are easy to follow. The entire process can take you just 15 minutes using just a screwdriver.
This gate is perfect for the top or bottom of the stairs since it’s a permanent mount gate and doesn’t have a trip bar along the floor. It is adjustable to fit staircases or doorways from 29 to 42 inches wide and rises to 30 inches high.
The opening mechanism involves two steps but is easy for adults to do on one hand and impossible for toddlers. And with a gentle push, you can easily swing the gate shut and be on your way. The door opens both ways but has an optional stop bracket you can install to prevent it from swinging out over the stairs (which we recommend for the top of stair use).
This is one of the fastest, simplest gates to install and one of the best for stairs.
- Comes fully assembled and
- Installs in 15 minutes using just a screwdriver
- One handed operation
- Has one directional stop to prevent it from opening over the stairs
- Can be removed from wall brackets for storage between uses
- Some mentioned the latch kept getting stuck sometimes
- More expensive than other similar gates
This is one of the best baby gates for stairs and an excellent option if you are looking for a wooden gate. The stained wood finishing looks very attractive. Besides the classic look, the Summer Infant Deluxe Stairway Gate is well-rated because of its quality build, safety, and functionality.
It is designed to be used at the top or bottom of the stairs. It stands at 32 inches tall and goes from 30 inches to 48 to cover narrow and wider openings. The wood feels very sturdy and not likely to break under the impact, making the gate an ideal choice for top of stairs use.
The gate has a unique comfort grip handle and one-handed opening and closing. Plus, it features a removable swing stop to keep the gate from swinging out over the stairs (again very important when using the gate at the top of the stairs).
The only downside with this gate is installation. It’s a pain, especially with baseboards. Some users had to modify their banisters, while others made additional purchases for things like drywall mounting screws and other items. But once you get it installed, it works flawlessly.
- Sturdy and durable construction
- One handed operation
- Has a removable swing stopper for safety
- Stylish design
- Unique grip handle
- Great pricing
- You can just swing it shut, like some of its competitors
- Installation can be challenging depending on your home design and skill
If you are considering having a retractable gate that will stay discrete when not in use, we recommend the Retract-A-Gate. It’s the only retractable gate certified by the JMPA for use at the top and bottom of stairs and is said to withstand a 200 pound push out force.
The Retract-A-Gate is made of tough mesh fabric that is easily pulled to cover your opening and retracts back to a small roll on one side when not needed so that one wouldn’t even tell there is a gate. The mesh fabric looks nice, especially since it comes in black, white, or brown options to suit homes with different styles. It’s also washable with soapy water and is clear enough to let you see your child on the other side when it’s up.
This gate is perfect for stairs because it opens completely out of the way and has no threshold bar running along the floor that you can trip on. Thanks to the design, there is no concern about the gate opening out over the stairs like other types of gates.
Like all the other gates we have recommended, the Retract-A-Gate is hardware mounted and comes with a mounting kit. However, the company sells banister adapter kits separately to mount the gate without drilling holes into your banisters, spindles, or wrought iron rails. Each adapter kit is only for one banister or spindle so if your stairs have two; you need two adapter kits. Also, they sell drywall anchor kits separately if you need to mount the gate on drywall.
The other benefit of this gate is that it’s a versatile gate that works indoors and outdoors. The materials used are high quality, designed to withstand all weather conditions. This makes the Retractable gate a valuable purchase that you can use in various settings even after your baby is grown to keep your furry friends where you want them to be.
This gate is also a great choice for homes with extra-wide staircases since it stretches to 52 inches wide, and there is also a model that goes up to 72 inches. Its height is 34 inches, so it’s one of the tallest baby gates on this list.
Many parents love that they are able to open and close the gate on one hand even when carrying the baby on the other. It’s truly one of the easiest baby gates to use.
- Suitable for both indoor and outdoor stairs and openings. You can use it safety in outdoor decks.
- Great for extra wide openings
- One handed, smooth and quiet operation
- Opens out of the way, no trip bar or going over the stairs
- Can be rolled to one side when not in use
- Attractive design
- Most of the accessories needed to install are sold separately
Made with professional-grade acrylic, this modern baby gate can only enhance the beauty and elegance of your home. It’s one of the best baby gates, not just for beauty but also for safety and functionality. It is the only baby gate that meets European, US, and Canadian safety standards.
It can be used both for the top or bottom of the stairs. FastMount rails serve as a guide where to put the screws, which makes the QDOS gate one of the easiest gates to install by eliminating guesswork. It also allows the gate to be mounted to open at an angle.
If you do not want to drill into your wooden banisters or spindles when installing the gate on your stairs, QDOS also sells the optional stair mounting kit that you need at an extra cost. Baseboard adapters are also included.
In terms of dimensions, this is an extra tall gate up to 34 inches to deter your child from climbing or pets that like jumping and extends to cover openings from 30 to 40 inches wide. Also, note it doesn’t work with extensions.
The opening mechanism is rather unique and takes adults a good amount of effort to lift up out of the lower lock, but it becomes easy to open and close once you get the hang of it. This also means kids are not able to open, so your child will be safe at all times. An indicator on the handle changes to green when the gate is locked and red when unlocked, which is a nice touch and promotes greater safety.
If you love the stylish look and are willing to invest, the QDOS Crystal gate is a great gate for stairs with the top safety features you need along with a high-quality build that will last for years.
- Attractive modern design
- Flexible gate, can be mounted to open at an angle
- Has a magnetic lock with color changing indicator
- Hardware to install without drilling is available for sale
- Opens wide and no trip bar
- Doesn’t work with extensions
- Instructions are not clear, but you can easily find help on Youtube videos
If you need an extra tall and wide gate, the Munchkin Extending XL Tall and Wide baby gate is a great choice. It stands 36 inches tall and extends from 33 inches to 56 inches wide. This gate is perfect for the top and bottom of stairs and anywhere else you need a wide gate. It is made of heavy-duty steel frame and a modern design that will look good in any home décor.
It attaches to the walls and doesn’t have a threshold trip bar along the floor, making it very safe to use for stairs. Moreover, it opens only one way when installed to be used on the stairs, although it can be set to open both ways if using it in doorways.
It is designed to release quickly whenever you don’t need it and uses a unique tilting hinge that places less stress on your wall to minimize damage once you remove it.
Although it’s advertised to have a one-handed opening mechanism, many users report it’s hard, especially when carrying your baby or other things in your arms. Most say you need both hands.
Also, it seems challenging to install even though it includes a guiding template. You might need someone to lend you a hand or hire someone handy.
- Sturdy and strong
- Great for extra wide openings
- Extra tall
- No trip bar along the floor
- Can open one way or two way
- Has a quick release for easy removal
- The plastic hinges break off from the extra weight and width; you may need to buy metal hinges.
- Latch may be difficult to operate on one hand
The Regalo baby gate is one of the few gates on the market that install without having to drill holes in your rails and banisters. It uses Velcro straps instead, making for very easy installation while ensuring no damage to your stairs. It comes with all the hardware for banisters to the banister, wall to the banister, and wall to wall installation.
It’s solid with an all-steel build that will provide enough resistance at the top of the stairs. It swings wide open quietly and smoothly to allow easy passage, and there is no threshold bar along the floor that you can trip on. However, you need both hands to open and close, which means it will be impossible for your kids, which is a good thing but an inconvenience for busy parents. Still, we thought it’s perfect for stairs given that you don’t need to drill and it has met all safety thresholds.
It’s also adjustable to fit openings from 29 to 43 inches wide and stands at 30.5 inches tall, which is standard for most baby gates.
- Sturdy steel frame
- Smooth and quiet when opening and closing
- No drill design, comes with adapters
- Doesn’t have a threshold bar along the floor to trip on
- Budget friendly pricing
- Not one handed operation
- Latch can be difficult even for adults
- Substandard plastic hinges easily snaps
I am Ashley Davis, a mom of three kids and the editor here at Motherhood HQ (formerly 10BabyGear). I have been a parent since 2011 and have been doing full-time consulting as a baby sleep expert since 2019. When I am not researching or testing the next baby gear hitting the market, you’ll find me teaching my toddlers a trick or two – especially over the last few months with the lockdown. I hope you’ll find my guides and reviews helpful as you make your next purchase decision. If you have any questions, you can reach me at email@example.com.