Top 10 Best Safety Gates for Stairs

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Once your baby can no longer be contained in a playpen (check out our top 10 best playpens for babies) or a high chair (check out our top 10 best high chairs for babies & toddlers), you’ll need to start baby-proofing your home. Choosing a safety gate for the top of your stairs may be the most important piece of baby-proofing you do. (But getting those heavy flat-screen TVs mounted is pretty important, too!) Although there are many options out there in the way of safety gates, keep in mind you will want to use a hardware-mounted gate at the top of your stairs instead of a pressure-mounted gate. This is because, with enough pushing, a pressure-mounted gate is susceptible to coming unsecured, which is obviously a safety hazard at the top of stairs. Luckily, there are plenty of hardware-mounted options out there that are safe for use on stairs—some even have the option of being pressure mounted or hardware mounted. Because we have a metal staircase railing, we ended up purchasing a metal gate and building our own custom wood frame to hold it in place. If you have standard wood banisters, or if you’re lucky and your staircase abuts two walls at the top, you can use pretty much any standard hardware-mounted set to secure your safety gate to the top of your stairs. And after doing research for this post, I realized they make banister-mounting kits that probably would have worked just fine on our metal stairs.

I’ve put together a guide to the best and most highly rated top-of-stairs baby gates available to meet your needs. Check them out below!


1. Summer Infant Deluxe Stairway Simple to Secure Wood Gate

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(Summer Infant)

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The Summer Infant Deluxe Stairway Simple to Secure Wood Gate has a beautiful antique oak finish, which can match many different decor styles (and definitely looks better than plastic gates!). This gate is 32 inches tall and fits openings 30 to 48 inches wide; it is not meant for extra wide openings. This products comes with a precision fit template that provides precise measurements for hardware mounting, so you don’t have to do any tricky measurements yourself. If you need to mount your gate to a banister, you will also need to purchase the Summer Infant Banister-to-Banister Universal Mounting Kit. See the below video for more details on how to install this gate. This gate has a removable swing-stop mechanism that makes sure the gate does not swing over the stairs. It has a comfort grip handle for one-handed release, although some consumers complain that it does not slide open and closed easily. (But this may be a good thing if you’re worried about your kid getting it open.)

Price: $43.18 (38 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Summer Infant Deluxe Stairway Simple to Secure Wood Gate here.



Pros:

  • Beautiful antique oak finish
  • 32-inch tall gate fits openings 30 to 48 inches wide
  • Precision fit template provides precise measurements for hardware mounting, no measuring required
  • Removable swing-stop mechanism doesn’t allow gate to swing over stairs

Cons:

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  • Not for use in wide openings
  • No auto-close door
  • Does not come with banister-mounting kit
  • Does not slide open and closed easily

Find more Summer Infant Deluxe Stairway Simple to Secure Wood Gate information and reviews here.


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2. Kidco Angle Mount Safeway Pet Gate

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(Kidco)

The Kidco Angle Mount Safeway Pet Gate is another hardware-mounted safety gate that can be used at the top of stairs. Don’t let the name fool you—it is not just for pets and can safely keep kids off the stairs. This gate is made from heavy-duty steel, and it comes with hinge and latch side hardware that allows the gate to be mounted on an angled surface. If you have banisters that the gate will need to attach to, you will need to also purchase the KidCo Stairway Gate Installation Kit. This gate has an easy one-hand adult operation. Its hardware is designed with quick release, so you can easily remove the gate when it is not needed. This gate is designed for openings from 28 to 42.5 inches wide; however, some consumers have noted that it adjusts in 2.5-inch increments, so there may be some openings it doesn’t fit within that range. Additionally, some consumers complain that the instructions for installation are hard to follow and contain errors. Check out the video below for installation help.

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Price: $85.90

Buy the Kidco Angle Mount Safeway Pet Gate here.



Pros:

  • Hinge and latch side hardware can be mounted on an angled surface
  • Easy one-hand adult operation
  • Quick-release hardware allows gate to be easily removed when not needed
  • Heavy-duty steel construction

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • If you have a banister that it needs to attach to, will need to purchase KidCo Stairway Gate Installation Kit
  • Adjusts in 2.5-inch increments, so there may be some openings that it doesn’t fit within the given range
  • Some consumers complain installation instructions are insufficient

Find more Kidco Angle Mount Safeway Pet Gate information and reviews here.


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3. Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate

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(Retract-a-Gate)

The Retract-a-Gate Safety Gate is a unique mesh retractable gate that is simple for adults to open and close as they need to access the gate. Certified for use at the top and bottom of stairs by the JPMA, this gate is made from tough, washable, see-through fabric that comes in three colors: beige, white and black. It also comes in two sizes: 52 inches and 72 inches. However, keep in mind that those measurements include the sides and hardware, so you should subtract a few inches from how wide of an opening they will actually cover. The Retract-a-Gate contains a childproof lock on top to prevent kids from opening the gate. Reviews are mixed as to whether this gate is perfect at keeping children out. Some parents say their kids can’t get through it, while others say their kids have figured out how to push up the mesh and crawl underneath the gate. Due to being made of mesh, this gate is obviously not as sturdy as a steel gate. If you need to mount this gate to a banister, you will want to pick up the Retract-a-Gate Stair Banister Kit.

Price: $134.50

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Buy the Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate here.



Pros:

  • Certified for use at the top and bottom of stairs by the JPMA
  • Tough, washable, see-through fabric
  • Childproof lock on top prevents it from opening
  • Comes in two sizes and three neutral colors

Cons:

  • Some kids can crawl under gate
  • Expensive
  • May need to purchase separate banister kit if you need to attach it to a banister
  • Not as sturdy as other gates

Find more Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate information and reviews here.


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4. Evenflo Top of Stair Plus Gate

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(Evenflo)

The Evenflo Top of Stairs Plus Gate is a wood, hardware-mounted gate that can safely be installed at the top of stairs in order to keep children off the stairs. It is inexpensive at just $39.57, and it an extra tall gate. It comes equipped with a removable swing control for the gate mechanism. You may need to purchase a banister installation kit if you are installing it to banisters. Some consumers report that the installation of this gate is somewhat difficult and that if you don’t get it lined up just so, it will make the gate harder to open and close. This product is not meant for installation on walls with baseboards. This gate is meant for openings 30 to 48 inches wide. Some consumers report the wood is not as sturdy as other brands of safety gates.

Price: $39.57

Buy the Evenflo Top of Stair Plus Gate here.


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Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Extra tall (32 inches)
  • Removable swing control
  • Hardware mounted and sturdy wood product

Cons:

  • Somewhat difficult to install
  • Must get installation perfect or gate will be sticky when opening/closing
  • Not as sturdy as some other products
  • Not for installation on walls with baseboards

Find more Evenflo Top of Stair Plus Gate information and reviews here.


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5. Regalo Top of Stairs Expandable Metal Gate (With Mounting Kit)

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(Regalo)

The Regalo Top of Stairs Expandable Metal Gate (With Mounting Kit) is a sturdy steel-framed gate that comes with a wall- and banister-mounting kit. (But keep in mind if you have two banisters you need to mount it to, you will need to purchase an additional banister-mounting kit for the other banister). This gate is designed for openings 28 to 42 inches wide and claims to fit 99% of stairways. This inexpensive gate comes with a lever-style handle for one-handed operation for adults. Consumers complain that the locking mechanism is somewhat difficult to use as you have to line up both top and bottom pins. Some consumers complain that installation is somewhat difficult and that the instruction booklet isn’t helpful—however, you can get the original instructions for installation on their website, or just search YouTube for instructional videos. Finally, some consumers recommend purchasing your own drywall anchors and/or sturdier screws instead of using the hardware that comes with the gate.

Price: $45

Buy the Regalo Top of Stairs Expandable Metal Gate (With Mounting Kit) here.



Pros:

  • Price includes wall- and banister-mounting kit
  • Lever-style handle with one-hand operation
  • Sturdy steel construction
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Locking mechanism somewhat difficult to use
  • If you have banisters on both sides, will need to purchase an additional banister-mounting kit
  • Installation is somewhat difficult
  • May need to purchase drywall anchors or sturdier screws

Find more Regalo Top of Stairs Expandable Metal Gate (With Mounting Kit) information and reviews here.


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6. North States Supergate Tall Easy Swing & Lock Gate

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(North States)

The North States Supergate Tall Easy Swing Lock Gate is a tall metal gate meant for installation at the top of stairs. It includes all of the hardware needed for mounting, as well as an installation template. Some consumers have expressed that the installation is somewhat tricky. This gate easily swings to self-lock, and it swings out of the way when not in use. The latch is secure and safe and designed for easy one-hand operation for adults. This product does not have a threshold that adults can trip on, and it is designed not to swing over steps. The linen color pictured is pricier than the bronze version, so if you want to save money you can choose the more inexpensive color. Consumers report that both colors are attractive. This gate is adjustable for openings from 28.68 inches to an extra-wide 47.85 inches. It is 36 inches tall. If you need to mount this to a banister, you may need to purchase this additional kit from Summer Infant.

Price: $54.99

Buy the North States Supergate Tall Easy Swing & Lock Gate here.



Pros:

  • No threshold to step over; will not swing over steps
  • Easily swings to self-lock, swings out of the way when not in use
  • Secure safety latch design with easy one-hand operation
  • Comes complete with all hardware needed for mounting

Cons:

  • Linen color (pictured) is more expensive than matte bronze
  • Installation is somewhat difficult
  • Adjustable but only expands in increments the size of the space between the rungs
  • Some consumers express concern with sturdiness of metals bars

Find more North States Supergate Tall Easy Swing & Lock Gate information and reviews here.


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7. Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate

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(Cardinal Gates)

The Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate is a metal safety gate designed specifically for use at the top of stairs. A very lightweight gate (just three pounds), it comes equipped with an optional stop bracket to prevent the gate opening over your stairway, for additional safety. Most consumers report this gate is fairly simple to install; see the instructional video below for an in-depth tutorial. This gate will mount at angles up to 30 degrees. This gate has a one-hand latch system for adults to use that prevents even the most inquisitive toddlers from getting through it. However, some consumers say that it is even difficult for them to use! The latch does tend to make a lot of noise when opening and closing. There are some consumer complaints that the screws included are not long enough to be used to mount the gate into studs, which is the optimal method if you don’t want to damage your drywall or risk the gate coming unseated. Keep in mind if you are mounting this gate to your banisters, you will need to purchase an additional banister-mounting kit.

Price: $59.55 (34 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate here.



Pros:

  • One-hand latch system for adults that toddlers can’t get into
  • Has an optional stop bracket that prevents opening over a stairway for greater safety
  • Will mount at angles up to 30 degrees with quick and simple installation
  • Very lightweight at just three pounds

Cons:

  • Makes a lot of noise when opening and closing
  • Need to purchase an extra banister-installation kit if you’ll be installing onto banisters
  • Latch mechanism can be tricky for some adults to open and close
  • Some complaints that screws included are not sufficient for mounting to studs

Find more Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Gate information and reviews here.


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8. Evenflo Easy Walk Thru Top of Stairs Gate

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(Evenflo)

The Evenflo Easy Walk Thru Top of Stairs Gate is a metal safety gate meant to be installed at the top of stairs and can be used in openings between 29 and 42 inches. This product has a removable swing stop to prevent the gate from swinging out over the stairs. It has a one-hand release handle that is easy for parents to open (in theory—some consumers complain it is somewhat difficult) but too difficult for children to get into. There is no threshold bar to trip over. The Evenflo Easy Walk Thru Top of Stairs Gate also has a red/green lock indicator to let you know when the gate is properly locked, which is a cool feature many other gates don’t have. This gate is on the heavy side at 15 pounds, which can make installation more difficult—you may want to have an extra pair of hands when you are mounting this gate. As with other gates, you will need a banister-mounting kit if you plan on mounting this gate to a banister. Some consumers have complained that the individual posts of the gate do not feel very sturdy, as well as that the plastic hex-lock screws don’t hold up well over time and repeated use.

Price: $48.93 (18 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Evenflo Easy Walk Thru Top of Stairs Gate here.



Pros:

  • Removable swing stop prevents gate from swinging out over stairs
  • Red/green lock indicator shows if gate is properly locked
  • One-hand release handle that is easy for parents but too difficult for children
  • No threshold bar to trip over

Cons:

  • Individual posts are not very sturdy
  • Latch is a little tricky to open and close
  • Gate is on the heavy side at 15 pounds
  • Some consumers have complained that the plastic hex-lock screws do not hold up well over time

Find more Evenflo Easy Walk Thru Top of Stairs Gate information and reviews here.


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9. Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate

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(Summer Infant)

The Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate is a unique safety gate that can either be pressure mounted or hardware mounted. If you are using it at the top of your stairs, you will need to make sure you use the hardware to mount it. And if you are mounting to a banister, you will need to purchase a banister-mounting kit. This gate is dual-locking and has an auto-close feature; however, some consumers have reported that if you don’t line it up perfectly upon installation, the auto-close feature does not work. This gate has a stylish decor design in a pretty bronze color, so it should look nice and high quality in your home. It’s extra tall at 36 inches high. This gate is not meant for use in wide openings, and some consumers complain that the gate portion is too narrow, at around 16.5 inches. Finally, some consumers report that removing the gate is cumbersome and somewhat difficult, so this may not be a great option if you plan on using the gate sometimes and putting it away at other times.

Price: $61.99

Buy the Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate here.



Pros:

  • Pressure mounted or hardware mounted for use in multiple spaces, including top of stairs
  • Dual-locking, auto-close gate
  • Stylish, deco design in pretty bronze color
  • Extra tall 36-inch gate

Cons:

  • Not for use in wide openings
  • Gate door is narrow
  • Gate must be perfectly installed in order for auto-latch feature to work properly
  • Removing when you don’t need it is somewhat difficult

Find more Summer Infant Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate information and reviews here.


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10. Kidco Safeway Gate Top of Stairs Gate

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(Kidco)

The Kidco Safeway Gate Top of Stairs Gate is a sturdy steel-framed top-of-stairs gate that fits openings up to about 42 inches wide. This gate comes with hinge side hardware that can be mounted on an angled surface. Keep in mind you will need to purchase a separate banister-mounting kit if you are planning on attaching this to your stair banister. The Kidco Safeway Gate has easy one-hand adult operation that kids cannot open. Another cool feature is the quick-release hardware that allows the gate to be easily removed when not needed; it only weights two pounds, so that helps make it easier to handle and move back and forth as well. Some consumers have complained about the plastic screws and joints that are part of the gate—they are not sturdy like the steel frame and can wear over time. This product has no auto-close feature, and overall the design is pretty basic. It also tends to make a lot of noise when opening and closing the latch.

Price: $42.95

Buy the Kidco Safeway Gate Top of Stairs Gate here.



Pros:

  • Easy one-hand adult operation
  • Heavy-duty steel construction
  • Hinge side hardware can be mounted on an angled surface
  • Quick-release hardware allows gate to be easily removed when not needed

Cons:

  • Design is basic
  • Plastic joints are not sturdy enough for the long haul
  • Makes a lot of noise when opening and closing
  • No auto-close feature

Find more Kidco Safeway Gate Top of Stairs Gate information and reviews here.


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