Parents that are looking for retractable baby gates would like to have an easy to use, safe and stylish looking gate. However, there is a lot more to look at when you would like to buy the perfect suitable baby gate for your child and yourself. Our goal is to help you find out what the best retractable baby gate is for you and your baby. And, also we pick out our favorite retractable baby gate, which is applicable to every possible (household) case.
Finding an ideal retractable baby gate looks easier than it is in practice. You have to make sure the gate is wide enough to fit the opening you want it in. Also, if it has the appropriate brackets, screws and mounting condition to fit your needs. Taken into account all these considerations, we have made a (section 2) how to choose a baby gate chapter and a (section 3) review list of the best seller retractable baby gates. We hope this article will help you find the right baby gate for your home.
2) How to choose the right retractable baby gate
There is a large variety of retractable baby gates on the market. The question is what are the important features when you choose the best retractable baby gate. After conducting our research the important baby gate features are: easy to use/install, appealing design, the use of brackets to install, no needed drilling, the max. width, robust material, high safety level, installable everywhere indoors and weather resistant for outdoor conditions.
After you look at the important features you can compare the pros and cons of every product. After the features, cons and pros analysis you can pick your favorite retractable baby gate. Also, take into account the size of your baby, because some retractable gates are specifically designed for specific ages.
An important feature to discuss is the size (width) you would like to section off with a baby safety gate. Measure the size you would like to section off accurately because there is nothing worse than purchasing a baby gate to find out later that the gate is too short. Also important, measure your baby too because a baby gate should be at least three-quarters of your child’s height. Even an adventurous baby should not be able to pull himself over the baby gate, because of the height. Be careful, that once your baby is taller than 36″ or heavier than 30 pounds, you should not rely on the safety of the baby gate anymore to restrain your baby. The height of 36″ and weight of 30 pounds is usually reached around the age of 2 years.
2.1) What are the advantages of different retractable gate types
In general, there are two types of retractable gate types:
- Pressure mounted gates
- Hardware mounted gates (brackets/screw needed).
Pressure mounted gates are the easiest to install. Screw mounted gates are less easy to install and can only be handy when it is needed to install the baby gate at a specific place. However, most of the time the baby gate includes brackets so you can install the gates on multiple places in your house.
Let’s first discuss the pressure mounted baby gates. The pressure mounted baby gates are the most available baby gates. The mechanic of the pressure mounted construction works the same as a tension shower curtain rod. The baby gate is held in place by pressure Another advantage of the pressure gate is that you can easily relocate your baby gate. A major complaint of parents is that the pressure mounted baby gate keeps falling over. Therefore it is crucial that you carefully follow the instruction manual on how to install the baby gate. Advantages of pressure mounted baby are:
- Easy to set up and easy to relocate
- Larger variety in styles
- In general, cheaper than hardware-mounted baby gates
- You don’t have to screw the baby gate into the walls or banister
- The disadvantages of a pressure mounted baby gate are:
- That meant to section off the stairs
- The baby gate can slip and fall over under the baby’s weight if not installed correctly
- Won’t hold up to a charging pet/animal
- Not suitable areas with height differences, like stairs or stoops
- It is not possible to mount the baby gate between walls that sit at angles
- Can possibly leave rubber marks on the wall
- An illustration of a pressure mounted baby gate
The hardware mounted gates require permanent installation at a place in your house. The benefit of hardware mounted gates is that it provides extra security, which can be necessary at the top-of-the-stairs. An important note it that hardware mounted gates should never be screwed into a drywall or a plaster alone. Also, a great advantage of the hardware mounted gates is that it can hold up more force when a pet/animal runs into the baby gate.
2.2) Controversy in the field of baby gates
Baby gates are meant to protect young children. However, the manufacturer claims that a baby gate is safe under specific conditions, while in practice this is not always true. This can lead to the controversy between the producers of the baby gates and the parents. This is all said because every year 1800 toddlers are hospitalized after accidents from a baby gate as injuries quadruple over 25 years. Each year, nearly 2000 children are treated in the emergency room, due to baby gate-related injuries. Also, a new study finds that baby gates can cause home hazards instead of preventing it if used incorrectly. Besides reading the instructions, you should take into account that you must thoroughly inspect and test your installed baby gate because they aren’t always safe.
2.3) Prerequisites to using baby gates & safety
In general, when you follow the instruction manual and use the additional parts that are included in the kit, nothing can go wrong. Also if you install the product near a stair, don’t place it too close to the stair but use the required distance that is needed according to the instruction manual.
To avoid entrapment (fingers, neck, head) there are strict standards to secure the safety of a baby gate installation. Gates that are JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) certified will follow the ASTM F1004. This standard is for young children, ages 6 months to 2 years. Some gate instructions will follow the European gate standard (EN 1930). It is important, to follow the standard, that the openings should not allow the passage of the ASTM F1004 Small Torso Template A (3 inches x 5.5 inches). In the pictures below you can see two main risks if you don’t follow the ASTM F1004 standard. Space between wall and 1st vertical rail is over 3 inches. Most manufacturers design pressure pads so they can’t be extended this far.
This example (a hardware mounted baby gate) would not follow spacing requirements in F1004, tested with the Small Torso Template 3” x 5.5”.
Also, in this example (pressure mounted baby gate) the space between the wall and 1st vertical rail is over 3 inches.
3) Retractable baby gate reviews
In this section, we will review Amazon’s bestseller retractable baby gates. In total, we review 7 products with a 4 stars rating and higher to find the best retractable baby gate.
3.1) Review 4.7 stars: Stair Barrier Banister To Banister Signature Gate
The Stair Barrier is a new brand on the market, specially designed as a safety gate for the bottom stairs. The Stair Barrier keeps your child off the stairs. You can use this retractable baby gate inside and outside. The dimensions of the Stair Barrier are 0.2″ D X 32″ H x 42″-52″ W. The safety gate is designed to fit openings the following openings: 32” H x 36-43” W.
This product weighs 4.9 pounds. All Stair Barriers are manufactured in the USA.
- The best feature of this product is that it rolls to the side, just like a retractable gate
- Designed specifically for the safety of the bottom-of-the stairs
- Made with high-quality materials: class 1 upholstery grade fabric, dual-sided release buckles, heavy duty
- polypropylene webbing and internal rigid plastic struts
- Easy to use the gate, when installed
- Can also be used as safety gate outside the house, due to the weather and mildew resistant canvas fabric
- This product is only designed for the stairs, which makes the use around the house limited.
- There is some drilling needed on the side of the wall to install the safety gate. The installation kit is included.
3.2) Review 5 stars: The StairBarrier – Wall-to-Bannister Indoor/Outdoor Baby
This specifically designed for the bottom-of-the stair product is, also like the previous Stair Barrier, highly rated as a baby safety gate. This product is slightly different than the previous baby safety gate, because of the wall-to-banister feature. The dimensions are 3″ D X 33″ H x 43″ W. Designed to fit openings of 32” H x 36-43” W.
This product weighs 5.8 pounds. One of the customers said about this product “safety never looked so good”.
- The attractive design complements your house
- It is very easy to use as a retractable safety gate for your child
- The both indoor as outdoor capabilities of the safety gate, due to the weather resistant fabric
- Designed specifically for the bottom-of-the stairs
- This product is only designed for the stairs, which makes the use around the house limited.
- There is some drilling needed on the side of the wall to install the safety gate. The installation kit it is included.
3.3) Review 4 stars: Dreambaby – Retractable Gate with Spacers
The well knows brand Dreambaby has produced an award-winning retractable baby gate. This versatile product can be used both indoors as outdoors. Two sets of the mounting brackets are included, so this product can be placed anywhere inside and outside your house, which makes it very easy to use.
This product can be unclipped from one set of brackets to another set of, which makes it very easy to relocate the safety gate to the other set of brackets. The dimensions are 1″ D X 34.8″ H x 43″ W. Designed to fit openings up to 55” W. The weight of this product is 4.2 pounds. The Dreambaby brand is JPMA certified and exceeds the USA standards.
- Can be used both indoors as outdoors, due to UV treated durable mesh to keep it from fading in the sun
- One-handed opening system, very easy to use
- This kit includes Spacers
- Help keep your children out of areas where they may come to harm and enjoy the added peace of mind
- There is no drilling needed
- From a comment in the customer review section states that the safety gate rolls back wrong, sometimes.
3.4) Review 5 stars: Evenflo Soft and Wide Gate
The next product we take a look at is the 5 stars Evenflo Soft & Wide Gate. This product is designed as an all-rounder on the safety gate market. This can be used everywhere in the house, with an extra wide gate for use in doorways, the bottom of stairs, kitchens, hallways, laundry rooms, playrooms, and bedrooms.
This product uses a pressure mounted gate, which makes it easy to install. The safety gate will not damage your home, because of the rubber bumpers that are used in the design. The dimensions are 2.5″ D X 35.4″ H x 36″ W. Designed to fit openings of 32” H x 36-60” W. This product weights 6.8 pounds. This portable gate is perfect for traveling to grandma’s house, for example.
- Extra wide safety gate, wider than other safety gates on the market, to fit a variety of openings
- Lightweight and portable – for on the go
- No tools required for installation – no drilling needed
- Assembled for immediate use
- Rubber bumpers to prevent damage to your house
- Neutral styling design, which complements a variety of house decors
- Machine washable product
- Not for the top of stairs
- Claimed as a lightweight product by the producer. However, this safety-gate is heavier than the other safety gates on the market.
3.5) review 4.9 stars: Gaterol Active Lite-White, Retractable Safety-Gate – Super Safe
The innovative design of the Gaterol Active Lite provides both safety and functionality. The height of the safety gate is 36.6″. This is because taller is safer, according to the producer. The dimensions are 3.4” x 37.8” x 18”. The gate fits narrow & wide openings from 18″ to 55″.
This product weighs 3.1 pounds. The safety-gates are approved for babies from the stage of crawling up to 2-year-old children. This product clearly complies with ASTM F1004. Also, this product can only be used inside your house, according to the safety warning list for the product. The 2 sets of the mounting brackets allow the use of the safety gate at 2 different locations.
- Super Safe – taller is safer
- Fits narrow & wide openings
- Risk-of tripping has been eliminated, when the safety gate is open
- Can be installed everywhere in the house
- Can be easily operated with one hand.
- Mesh is much scratch resistant
- Shake resistant. Shaking the gate won’t knock it over, because it is much securely fastened with screws
- The child’s fingers can’t be pinched or jammed
- A warning sound alerts you if the gate opens unintentionally
- Not meant to use the safety gate outside the house, according to the safety warning list of the product
3.6) Review 4.2 stars: Retract-A-Gate
Another safety gate is the Retract-A-Gate. This product is certified for the use at-the-top and bottom of stairs, by the JPMA. Also, the gate retracts automatically, so no manual winding required. This product is washable and see-through fabric. This baby safety gate has a childproof lock on the top to prevent it from opening.
This product has the ability to quickly relocate with an-additional wall bracket kid. This gate includes one retractable gate, four clear mounting brackets an screws and finishing washers. This product weighs 4.1 pounds. And, the dimensions are 3.2″ D x 39.4″ H 52″ W. Depending on the model, the max. width is 72″.
- Certified to use at-the-top and bottom of stairs
- Mesh is much scratch resistant
- Quiet one hand operation when opening or closing
- Washable, tough and see-through fabric
- Childproof lock on top prevents it from opening
- Flat surface mounting with brackets, otherwise, screws are needed
3.7) Review 4 stars: Lascal KiddyGuard Avant Retractable Baby Safety Gate
Make your house safe with the KiddyGuard Avant Retractable Baby Safety Gate by Lascal. The KiddyGuard Avant features a strong and flexible construction with a square aluminum gate housing. This elegant Swedish design will fit into modern or traditional households. Also, a handy feature is included, like a red indicator warns when the gate is unlocked.
The easy to use lock mechanism can be easily operated with one hand, which makes it convenient for high traffic areas in your house.
The safety gate can be used at-the-top of stairs, at the bottom of stairs, on walls with or without baseboards and also on banisters with the help of available accessories. The Avant is JPMA certified and has been tested by SGS to the U.S. Safety Standard ASTM F1004-15, and meets the U.S. Safety Standard ASTM F1004-15 and also the strict EN European Standard.
This product weighs 7.1 pounds. And, the dimensions are 4.5″ D x 39.8″ H (up to) 48″ W.
- Swedish elegant design
- Fully retractable gate, gate disappears when not in use
- No trip hazard
- One-handed operation
- Safe for use at top of the stairs
- Easy to install
- One of the heaviest product on the market
- Bad comments about the screws that are included
4) And the winner is
We hope our overview, of these retractable baby gates, has helped you to make your baby gate pick. We found the very best retractable baby gate after analyzing the best sellers reviews. Prices were lesser of an issue because they can vary a lot in time and don’t specifically act as an indicator of quality. That is why our priority is quality. To make sure our favorite pick can cover the need of the most demanding parent, we picked the baby gate that can be used in any case as the best retractable baby gate. This includes that there is only one baby gate that has all the features mentioned in section 2: easy to use/install, appealing design, the use of brackets to install, no needed drilling, the max. width (for most cases), robust material, high safety level, installable everywhere indoors and weather resistant for outdoor conditions.
Therefore our pick for the best retractable baby gate is the award-winning Dreambaby – Retractable Gate with Spacers.
We can conclude, that the Dreambaby can be used everywhere indoors and outdoors. The Stair Barrier Banister To Banister and The Stair Barrier Wall-To-Bannister are limited in use because they are specifically designed for stairs, so they are not suitable to be the best pick and installable in any case.
The Evenflo Soft is much heavier than the Dreambaby gate, which makes it less pleasant to travel than the Dreambaby gate. And, also the pressure mounted gate of the Evenflo Soft is not suitable for stairs, which is mentioned in section 2.1. So, it makes the Evenflo Soft less versatile than our favorite pick. Further on, the Gaterol Active, which is a lightweight baby gate is not meant to be used outdoors. However, it is a close call between the Gaterol Active and the Dreambaby because they have a lot of the same features like to max. the width of 55″.
The Retract-A-Gate needs when there is not a flat service, screws which make this baby gate not that easy to install anymore compared to the other baby gates in the review.
The KiddyGuard Avant has a beautiful Swedish design, but features a smaller width the most of the baby gates in the review, including the Dreambaby. The feature width is important for a baby gate to be applicable in any (or the most) cases. We hope this article helped you to find the best baby gate for your household situation.