It's one of the most exciting times in parenthood when your little one starts moving around by themselves for the first time. Exciting, but also slightly terrifying!


We've tested the best stair gates for you and your baby, to make the transition as smooth as possible.

When your baby becomes a fully mobile crawler or toddler, you need to know they're safe to explore the world around them. Our list brings you the best wooden, mesh, retractable and pressure-fit stair gates available, as well as options that are tall, extra wide or ideal for travel.

Stair gates stop children from getting where they're not supposed to, and are a must-have if you have a multilevel house or even just areas you'd like to keep your child away from. But not all stair gates are created equal. Trying to choose which one will most suit the style of your home, the size of your stairs and doorways is key. You also need to consider the ease of removal and, of course, the safety for your child. There is also the option of purchasing a playpen which can be used as a stair gate. Take a look at the best playpens for babies and toddlers.

The choice can be enough to make your head spin. Luckily, we have tested a wide range of stair gates so you don't have to. Here, we have rounded up the best stair gates on the market to suit all requirements.

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Best stair gates at a glance

What to consider when buying a stair gate

Location: Where is your baby stair gate going to go? Are you going to use it at the top or bottom of the stairs, or both? Will you put a gate in any other locations, such as the kitchen or living room doorway to keep your baby away from an oven or a hot fire? Before choosing your stair gate, make a list of the places you want to have one, as each location might need a different style of gate.

Size: The size of stair gates differs greatly. Make sure you measure up the location of your space accurately so you can choose a gate that will fit securely without any gaps or other issues. You may think your stairway is a "standard" size but you could be surprised.

Width and height: Will a standard size fit the space you're trying to fill or do you need a narrow or extra-wide option? Some gates are extendable, which can help with wider spaces. Thinking about your child's height is also a big consideration. Although they might be just crawling now, once they are standing and a few months older, will your stair gate still be tall enough for them? There are gates available that suit taller children.

Fixtures: You need to think about the fixture of your gate. Pressure-mounted gates are the easiest to install and can be moved to different locations as you don’t fix them to a wall. And, bonus, they won't damage your woodwork. They come in 2 types: U-pressure fit gates which have a walk-through section, and safety barriers, which are solid and designed for occasional use. At the other end of the spectrum are hardware-fixed gates which are fixed to the wall. These are the ones recommended for long-term use and for the top of staircases (see our safety notes below).

Portability or travel: If you only want to invest in a single stair gate then portability is a big factor. Pressure gates and travel barriers can be easily moved around, without the need for tools or fixtures. These types of gates also provide the option to take the gate with you when you travel away from home.

Pets: If you are trying to keep your little one safe but also have a dog or cat running around, then you need to think about a stair gate that will still allow your furry friend to have their freedom. If they are too big to squeeze through the bars, then you might want to consider a gate with a pet door. Don't be tempted to fit your gate a few inches higher up the wall to allow a pet to squeeze underneath: this could be unsafe for the child.

Aesthetics: Although you might not think this is an important factor, your stair gate will become a part of your home. As such, how it looks can make a big difference. There are stair gates available in all different colours, styles, and materials. So you are sure to find one that suits your taste and your safety needs.

Opening: There are several different opening options to choose from, including gates that can be opened with one hand, gates that swing open both ways, stay-open gates, 3-action opening gates, gates that close automatically, and manual close gates.

Swing or retractable: Retractable gates are compact and work in a similar way to a roller blind. They're great for smaller spaces and can blend into a door frame when not in use. They are hardware mounted, while swing gates can be either hardware mounted or pressure fit.

Trip hazards: Some gates, such as pressure-mounted gates, have a horizontal bar running along the bottom. This bar has pressure points on either side to make the gate secure. However, this also creates a trip hazard. Because of that, it is not recommended to have one at the top of the stairs.

How to fit a stair gate

Measure carefully: For an accurate fit, you want to measure the distance between the 2 doorframes or the 2 walls that you will be securing the baby gate against. Double-check your gate is the right size for the space and that you don't need to add any extendable sections – these sometimes come with the gate or may need to be purchased separately. Remember to measure the space at the top and bottom of the gate to ensure the width is the same.

Watch out for irregular-sized gaps and skirting boards: In some houses, particularly older buildings, you might find the width between the two walls at the top of the gate is significantly different to the width at the bottom of the gate. This will also be the case if you have skirting boards. The safest way to fit the gate is to use spacers – these additional plastic fixtures, supplied by the manufacturer, fill out the wider part of the opening so the fixtures can be attached at the same width. Fitting the gate above a skirting board can be unsafe if there's space for your baby or toddler to become trapped underneath.

Read the manufacturer's instructions: It might be tempting to dive into the assembly, but following the manufacturer's instructions is essential to make sure you fit the stair gate safely. Be aware that every gate is different. The instructions might also highlight details you're not aware of. Some pressure-mounted stair gates require the suction cups to be screwed into the wall, for example. The instructions may also specify how far from a stairwell the manufacturer recommends installing the gate.

Check the gate often: Once your gate is in place, perform regular checks and maintenance to ensure the gate is still fitted securely. You might need to tighten screws or replace the sticky pads on the suction pads of some pressure-mounted gates.

Here’s our pick of the best stair gates

1. BabyDan No Trip Stair Gate, £42.99

– Best wooden stair gate

BabyDan No Trip Wooden stair gate

Main material: Wood | Type: Screw-fix | Extendable: No | Dimensions: H67.5cm x W71.5-78.5cm

The best thing about this wooden gate is that it's a regular stair gate but it doesn't have a bar at the bottom, making it perfect for the top of a staircase. Parent tester Emma uses the stair gate for that reason, "I love it because there's no bottom bar, meaning you don't trip or stub your toes," she says.

The gate is made from FSC-certified wood, meaning it is sourced and manufactured in the most sustainable way possible. The gate has a 2-way opening with a double locking system to ensure children can't open it. There's also a manual closing system and it allows one-handed opening and locking.

The screw-fix mechanism provides peace of mind. Parent tester Sophie likes how "it drills securely into the wall" so she doesn't have to worry about her toddler pushing and climbing on it.

Pros: Made from FSC-certified wood, stylish, no trip hazard bar at the bottom, sturdy, secure, one-handed opening, affordable
Cons: Not extendable, have to screw into wall to install

Available from: Amazon

2. Cuggl Wall Fix Safety Gate, £20

– Best manual closing budget stair gate

Cuggl Wall Fix Safety Gate

Main material: Metal | Type: Screw-fix | Extendable: No | Dimensions: H73cm x W76-81cm

This sleek and simple safety gate is from Argos's own affordable baby brand and, with such a low price point, it should suit most budgets.

But just because the cost is low, it doesn't mean the list of safety features is small. The first big plus for us is that it is step-free, so no potentially dangerous trip hazards. Another tick is the one-handed opening – something you don't always see with less expensive stair gates.

The screw-fix safety gate also has a double-locking system and 2-way opening, making it safe and easy to access (for an adult) from both sides. Parent tester Katie praised it for being great value and confirmed it "does the job!" adding she's had "no issues with it" since installing.

The only slight niggle is the width of the gate. It fits frames measuring 76cm-81cm, making it slightly less versatile. However, there is an extendable version of the gate available.

Pros: Affordable, one-handed opening, double locking, step-free, sturdy
Cons: Only fits widths 76cm-81cm, doesn’t come with extenders, very basic design

Available from: Argos

3. baby plus Baby Safety Gate, £29.99 £19.99

– Best auto-closing budget stair gate

baby plus Baby Safety Stair Gate

Main material: Metal | Type: Pressure-fit | Extendable: No | Dimensions: H79cm x W76-80cm

If you’re on a budget, but don’t want to comprise on safety features, the baby plus Baby Safety Gate is a decent option.

It features a strong double lock, as well as a self-closing mechanism. Once you let go of the door it automatically closes itself, so you won’t have to worry about accidentally leaving the gate open when in a hurry.

The gate can be fixed with a 2 way or 1 way opening, however you will need to watch out for the bar along the bottom wherever the stair gate is installed.

While the gate is adjustable in width, its range is limited compared to many others in our round-up, started at 76cm and extending to 81cm.

Pros: Affordable, double locking, automatic closing system
Cons: Only fits widths 76cm-80cm, doesn’t come with extenders, basic design, pressure-fixed making it unsuitable for use at the top of a staircase, bar along bottom

Available from: Ebebek and Amazon

4. BabyDan Guard Me Auto Retractable Safety Guard, from £69.99 £62.99

– Best retractable stair gate

BabyDan Guard Me Auto Retractable Safety Guard being tested

Main materials: PVC free plastic | Type: Screw-fix | Extendable: Yes | Dimensions: H69cm x W55-89.5cm x D4cm

Retractable safety gates are great because they offer all of the safety features you need while having the added benefit of being able to fold away when not in use. This option by BabyDan is one of the best we've tested. Parent tester Elouise uses this stair gate in her narrow corridor (pictured above) and said, "Due to us having a very narrow corridor, we struggled to get an ordinary safety gate and love that this one collapses into a small bundle."

Not only does it blend into doorways when not in use, but it is auto-foldable. There isn't a fiddly clasp to open, instead, you just press a button, and the gate retracts. We also love how it can be folded on the inside or the outside of a doorframe. And, because there is no trip hazard, you can have it at the top or bottom of your stairs. Parent tester Ruth loved this feature, saying she chose a BabyDan gate for that exact reason: "I didn't want the floor bar as a trip hazard, so I wanted a gate without that feature."

Alex, also a parent home tester, said "I like that, when we’re not using them, they fold back against the wall."

The stylish gate is made from PVC free plastic, and it is easy to clean after little sticky fingers have been unleashed on it. This is a versatile option for wider door frames (extending up to 89.5cm width) and you can purchase an extension kit to take it up to 113.5cm.

The only niggle we have is it can be difficult to install if you have high skirting boards. The manufacturer sells spacers for this purpose.

Pros: Retracts neatly when not in use, one-handed open with a button, can be extended further, can be installed at the top and bottom of the stairs
Cons: Awkward to install if you have skirting boards

Available from: Argos, Amazon and John Lewis

5. BabyDan Perfect Close Safety Gate, £59.90

– Best extra wide stair gate

BabyDan Perfect Close Safety Gate

Main material: Metal | Type: Pressure-fit | Extendable: Yes (sold separately) | Dimensions: H73cm x W77.3-83.5cm

This pressure-fit stair gate has some helpful safety features. Its slam-shut function means you can close it safely in a hurry. If you slam the gate, it will lock behind you, with no need to faff around with a mechanism. And you don't have to worry about disturbing anyone, either, as it clicks shut without making any loud sounds.

The gate can be opened both ways with just one hand. Parent tester Nicole uses several of these stair gates in her home, saying, "It's easy to fit and use one-handed too."

Pros: Slam-shut function, no loud clicking sound, opens both ways, one-handed opening
Cons: Quite pricey, extenders sold separately, pressure-fixed making it unsuitable for use at the top of a staircase

Available from: Amazon

6. BabyDan 106cm Extra Tall Pressure Fit Gate, £66.90 £59.95

– Best tall stair gate

BabyDan 106cm Extra Tall Pressure Fit Gate

Main material: Metal| Type: Pressure-fit | Extendable: Yes (bought separately) | Dimensions: H106cm x W73-80cm

If you have a toddler who likes to climb, or a large dog that you want to keep away from your baby, a tall stair gate is what you need. This model by BabyDan has the option to buy additional extensions to make it fit openings up to 120cm wide and it can be fitted without wall cups.

The stair gate has a visible indicator to show you that the gate is fitted safely and securely. It has a 2-way, one-hand opening with a double locking system.

It is available in black or white, so you can choose the colour that best suits your taste. Parent tester Chloe uses this stair gate: "Due to having a dog who can jump the normal size gates, we really like this black tall one, especially as it matches our décor better too."

Pros: Tall, stylish design, can buy extensions, indicator to ensure safety, 2-way opening, one-hand opening, choice of colours
Cons: Extenders have to be bought separately, pressure-fixed making it unsuitable for use at the top of a staircase

Available from: Amazon

7. Lindam Sure Shut Axis Pressure Fit Safety Gate (76-82cm), £29.99

– Best pressure-fit stair gate that is perfect for travel

Lindam Sure Shut Axis Pressure Fit Safety Gate (76-82cm) being tested

Main material: Metal | Type: Pressure-fit | Extendable: Yes (extenders can be purchased separately) | Dimensions: H75cm x W76cm-82cm

When you want to steer clear of drills and tools, a pressure-fit safety gate is for you. The Sure Shut Axis from Lindam has the benefit of additional locking features.

The design is simple with no bells and whistles and it provides an unobtrusive presence in the home. It has a U-shaped frame with 4 pressure points that hold snugly against the walls. Because no drilling is required, it is quick and easy to install, taking just a few minutes. You can set the gate to open 2 ways or just 1, making it ideal for the bottom of a staircase.

Parent tester Dani said, "We have the Lindam pressure-fit gates in our house and they are still going strong since my son was born 10 years ago. They are easy to open one-handed and have an extra safety feature at the bottom for added protection."

The stair gate opens using an easy squeeze-and-lift handle, and as our tester pointed out, it has a double lock feature to make sure even the trickiest of escape artists stay put. Parent tester Ann said, "We have the Lindam ones throughout our house, including some extensions, and they have been great. They have moved house with us and still stand the test of a 2 and a half year old shaking the gate as hard as they can!" The portability also makes this a great model to consider if you want to take your stair gate with you when you stay away from home.

We especially like that the gate comes with a pressure indicator, which lets you know that it is installed properly. It also has a wide walkway, which is helpful when more than one little one wants to charge through!

Parent tester Claire is also a fan of the Lindam safety gate and uses it at the bottom of her stairs (pictured above). "We have 3 different stair gates but my favourite one is the Lindam one. It was super easy to fit and you can open it with one hand nice and easily! You can also purchase extensions for it if you need to fit a bigger space. I love that it has an additional lock on the bottom if required, too."

Pros: Quick and easy to install, one-handed opening, comes already assembled, no drill required, extensions are available separately to fit openings up to 117cm, open in either direction, double-lock, suitable for travel
Cons: Has a bar at the bottom causing a potential trip hazard, pressure-fixed making it unsuitable for use at the top of a staircase, extenders only allow the main gate to open

Available from: Amazon

8. Fred Pressure-Fit Clear-View Stair Gate, £180

– Best premium stair gate

Fred baby safety gate

Main material: Acrylic | Type: Pressure-fit (but also comes with screws) | Extendable: Yes | Dimensions: H77.8cm x W86.4cm (can fit openings up to 96cm wide) x D8.5cm

This premium stair gate is the most expensive on our list, but as well as being stylish it comes with additional safety features.

Unlike any of the other stair gates in our list, this chic style from Fred features a clear acrylic panel, allowing unrestricted visibility and a contemporary finish. It's perfect for keeping your little one contained, while not taking anything away from the elegance of your home.

This stair gate doesn't just deliver on aesthetics, it delivers on safety too. It features a colour indicator that alerts you if the gate is left unlocked, and additional indicators to show you that the gate has been installed correctly.

The two-way magnetic locking system makes closing the gate easy, and you can choose to have the gate open one way or both ways. It extends to 96cm, and you can purchase additional extenders to fit openings up to 124cm wide.

We love the little extra details, such as the glow strip on the bottom rail, ensuring you can spot it and avoid tripping even in the dark. As this is a pressure-fix gate, it is easy to install and remove without tools. Just make sure you use the wall cups and adhesive provided. It also comes with 4 screws for additional security.

Pros: Fairly simple to install, extra safety features, fits around skirting boards, crystal clear window, one-handed opening, slam-shut closing, stylish and elegant, gate opens both ways
Cons: Bottom bar can present a trip hazard, pressure-fixed making it unsuitable for use at the top of a staircase, can look dirty from fingerprints (but very easy to clean)

Available from: Amazon, John Lewis and Fred Safety

9. Momcozy Retractable Stair Gate, £44.24

– Best mesh stair gate

Momcozy retractable stair gate being tested

Main material: Nylon (fabric) | Type: Screw-fix | Extendable: Yes | Dimensions: H86cm x W140cm

This retractable mesh stair gate hides away almost completely when not in use, making it the ideal choice for smaller homes, high-traffic areas, or for those who simply want a minimalist option. The gate fits any gap up to 140cm, inside or outside, although it's not suitable for use at the top of the stairs.

Parent tester Amy uses this retractable stair gate at the bottom of her odd-shaped stairs. "It was really easy to install and I love that it hides away fully so there's no bar at the bottom. It's also easy to operate with one hand and, in my opinion, is less unsightly than the regular white metal gates."

The safety gate has a stay open/close catch with childproof locking mechanisms and can be operated with just one hand. It includes 2 hardware fittings, meaning it can be installed and moved around between 2 different locations, if necessary.

Pros: Subtle, easy to install, hides away fully, no trip hazard, one-hand operation
Cons: Not as sturdy as a metal gate, can't be used at the top of the stairs

Available from: Amazon

10. BabyDan Super Flexi Fit Extending Safety Gate, £40

— Best stair gate for awkward spaces

Babydan super flexi fit baby gate

Main materials: Metal | Type: Screw-fix | Extendable: Yes | Dimensions: H73cm x W67-105.5cm x D5cm

This sturdy gate by BabyDan can be easily adjusted to fit a wide range of openings, from 67-105.5cm. The design of the gate makes it possible to be fitted inside, outside, or even diagonally across an opening, making it a versatile option for your home. Parent tester Louisa uses these gates for her wide doorways, and describes them as "good quality, easy to use, not noisy and [they] look great."

We like how the gate opens in both directions and can be opened easily with one hand.

Parent tester Alysia has this gate at the top of her stairs (pictured above) and said, "I love the fact this gate can be fitted on a slight angle as we were struggling to get a gate to fit."

Pros: Great for awkward spaces, no bar across the bottom, can be installed at the top and bottom of stairs, one-handed opening
Cons: A little fiddly to build, instructions could use improvement, takes a bit longer to build than estimated

Available from: Argos

11. Lindam Easy Fit Plus Deluxe Tall Safety Gate, £42.99

– Best stair gate for easy installation

Lindam tall baby gate

Main materials: Metal | Type: Pressure-fit | Extendable: Yes | Dimensions: H91.4cm x W76-82cm

If you are looking for a baby gate that is easy to install, this Lindam option is for you.

It is called the Easy Fit because that is exactly what it is. The stair gate comes assembled and ready to install, and installation can take as little as 5 minutes. As this is a pressure-fit stair gate, you don't need tools or a drill to install it. Instead, everything you need is provided in the box. There is also a pressure indicator that gives visual assurance that the gate is installed correctly.

The gate can be opened with 1 hand, although it does take a little practice to get the knack of this.

A couple of other features we like about this gate include the extra safety lock at the bottom of the gate and the additional extensions. You can purchase separate extensions to fit openings up to 117cm, and it's worth opting for the tall version for extra longevity and reassurance.

Pros: Wide walkthrough section, easy and quick to fit, comes fully assembled, 2-way opening for doorways, one-way opening for use at the bottom of the stairs, double locking, one-handed opening, easy to move around the house, can be extended
Cons: Bar can pose a trip hazard, pressure-fixed making it unsuitable for use at the top of a staircase, opening the gate can take a little time to perfect with one hand

Available from: Amazon and Munchkin

How did we choose our 11 of the Best?

When testing and selecting the best stair gates we considered, safety, ease of installation, suitability, fit and value.

Our 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. Each year thousands of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.

Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-11, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don't just tell you what is best, we help you discover what is best for your family.

How to choose a safe stair gate

Choosing the right stair gate depends entirely on where you want to fit it. Although pressure-fitted stair gates are convenient (particularly if you live in rented accommodation) they can be unsafe if not fitted properly. Pressure-fix safety gates are not recommended for fitting against a bannister or stair post, rather than a solid wall. The bottom bar on pressure-fixed models present a trip hazard, making these gates unsafe to be installed at the top of a staircase. For optimal safety, choose a hardware-mounted gate, especially if it's going at the top of a flight of stairs. This will mean drilling into your wall or post, but it will ensure your child can't push the gate out with force. Look for the safety standard BS EN 1930:2011 while shopping.

Tips on how to use a stair gate safely

To help ensure you use your stair gate in the safest way possible, we asked The Baby Products Association for their best safety tips:

  • Ensure you read and follow the manufacturer's instructions thoroughly.
  • Make sure that the safety gate properly fits the opening and that there is no 'play' in it when closed.
  • Always close the gate properly when you leave the room but never leave your baby unattended.
  • Never climb or step over the gate, especially when holding your baby.
  • Do not affix any toys or decoration to the safety gate. These can attract your baby to it, or very close to it.
  • Never use more than one safety gate in an opening, especially one on top of the other, and only use widening extensions designed to fit your particular gate.

Read more…


Claire is mum to 3 children; Elijah, Teddy, and Lottie. She has worked as a journalist and writer for almost 10 years. She has written product reviews and articles for MadeForMums since becoming a mum for the first time in 2013, as well as parenting articles and other content (from fashion to wellness to sustainability) for newspapers, websites, and blogs.