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The Best Baby Gate

Updated Dec 10, 2022
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After talking to four childproofing professionals and then installing and testing 20 baby gates, we have determined that the best one for most situations is the Cardinal Gates SS-30 Stairway Special. (And it's the best for dogs as well.) We have additional suggestions for wide openings, retractable gates, and freestanding enclosures—but we don’t recommend pressure-fit gates, a popular option that is less secure than our picks, not much easier to install, and actually likely to do more damage to your walls.

Cardinal Gates SS-30 Stairway Special, the best baby gate

Cardinal Gates SS-30 Stairway Special

The best baby gate
With the most durable frame and latch we tested, this all-metal gate isn’t the cheapest of its kind—but it’s the best value. Opening it is easy for adults, and it’s easier to securely install (in more situations) than its competitors.
We recommend
North States Easy Swing & Lock Gate, good quality, less expensive

North States Easy Swing & Lock Gate

Good quality, less expensive
The North States gate is easy to use and install. It’s less expensive than our main pick, but it has a lot of plastic in the locking mechanism and can’t be set up at an angle.
Another good choice
Smart Retract Retract-A-Gate, the best retractable gate

Smart Retract Retract-A-Gate

The best retractable gate
The costliest type of gate we recommend uses a sheet of fabric (rather than a swinging gate), so it is good for tight spaces and has a nicer handle and easier latch than other retractable gates.
Another good choice
North States Deluxe Decor Gate, best for wide openings

North States Deluxe Decor Gate

Best for wide openings
The Deluxe Decor can fit in an opening up to 6 feet wide and has a larger opening than similar models and a manageable latch.
Another good choice
North States Metal Superyard, to enclose an area

North States Metal Superyard

To enclose an area
For closing off a larger area like a fireplace hearth, the six-panel North States Metal Superyard offers a nice latch and an easy installation. It can also be configured into a small stand-alone play yard.
Another good choice

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