It can be quite a complicated ask to purchase the best stair gate for your home with so many options around. To assist you in making a smart choice, we have decided to come up with this detailed guide to the disparate types of stair gates available on the market with an effort to discuss the benefits and drawbacks. Including the pressure fitted gates, screw fitted gates, retractable gates and the gates for dogs, we will discuss the key features of each of these gates to help you make an informed decision.

Whenever you plan to baby proof your home, stair gates are considered as the most critical baby safety items. Despite the name “stair gates”, a number of people living in houses without stairs, install safety gates in doorways and hallways to keep their infants and toddlers safe from the risks inherent to kitchens and bathrooms and to furnish a baby-friendly environment. External doors can be blocked with safety gates to ensure that toddlers and pets do not make their way to the outside and the doors are kept open during warm and humid weather. Safety gates are a flexible option that offer a safe atmosphere for the little babies at home.

When to buy a stair gate?

One of the first measures taken by most of the parents around the world, in a bid to baby-proof their homes, is to install safety gates at the doorways and staircases as soon as their child begins crawling or shuffling. It is prudent to get the stair gates installed well before the baby is able to crawl as once he or she starts slithering on the floor, it will be a matter of a few days before he gains sufficient speed and before he makes his way towards every nook and corner of the house. It is round about the 8th month when babies begin to crawl but there could be exceptions to this age. When your baby becomes five months old, conduct a survey in your home to figure out the spots where safety gates need to be installed.


There are different kinds and sizes of stair gates available and the prices tend to vary for different versions. You can come across mesh gates, black metal gates, white metal gates and wooden gates along with a blend of wooden and metal gates in accordance with your home’s interior design. These gates can cost very low, while the more expensive options can be priced around $1,000 with advanced security features and large size. Here is our versatile Safetots Stairgate finder to discover the wide array of safety gates available on the market.

Types of stair gates

It can be quite a daunting experience to purchase a good quality stair gate but this guide has been compiled to make this seemingly complicated decision with minimum possible fuss. There are different styles and sizes of stair gates available on the market with different features and more often than not, purchasing an expensive stair gate does not guarantee an ideal stair gate.

Bettacare, BabyDan, Dreambaby, Lindam and Safetots are some of the entrenched market leaders. It is important to remember that different types of stair gates are suitable for different areas of a house.

For instance, screw fit stair gates can be installed at the top of the staircase since they come without any trip bar while the screw fit instills added stability. To ensure additional safety, care ought to be taken that the gate opens towards you if installed at the top of the staircase.

When it comes to saving room, foldable or retractable gates are a nice option which can be installed in different areas of a house. They can be folded into a fraction of their original size and prove to be extremely effective. They are made of premium quality mesh but they are unable to provide the ultimate safety as that offered by metal and wooden safety gates. Retractable gates are suitable for baby-proofing an area where you do not need a gate to be installed on permanent basis.

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You need to take into account how the gate opens and closes. The gates that open in both the directions are the most effective ones but they may not be ideal for all kinds of spaces. Automatic closing gates close down as soon as someone walks through them which is a great option for those kids who have siblings who tend to forget to close the door every now and then. Manual closing gates, as the name suggests, have to be closed down manually and are typically equipped with a slide and lift mechanism.

Screw Fit Stair Gates

As discussed above, suitable to be installed at the top of a staircase, the screw fit stair gates are solid and come without any trip bar. Each corner of the gate has wall mounting brackets and the gates can be installed by drilling into walls or bannisters.


Screw fit stair gates are the strongest obstacle since they are fitted after drilling screws into a wall. Since they are not loaded with a trip bar, so they are the safest option for the top of a staircase.

The BabyDan Configure Gate and Safetots Flex Gate are the two popular screw fitted stair gates available on the market and are made of separate panels that vary in size; thereby allowing a user to forge a gate setup in accordance with one’s unique area.


The screw fitted stair gates are screwed into a wall. So, when the screws are removed, holes are left behind in the wall but these can be filled in with the appropriate materials.

You won’t find extensions for a large number of screw fitted stair gates so it is important that you figure out the accurate measurements before purchasing them. Any skirting board should be taken into account since it can be different to the wall to wall measurement.

Pressure Fit Stair Gates

The versatile and flexible pressure fit stair gates can be moved from one doorway to another with ease. This is accomplished by releasing the pressure at the four spindles and then reinstalling at the next doorway or staircase. Pressure fitted stair gates do not carry out any permanent damage to any wall or bannister since they are installed using pressure and no drilling or screwing is involved.


As mentioned above, the pressure fitted stair gates are installed by applying pressure with the four spindles and wall cups and so no permanent damage is caused to the wall and bannister. Their mobility is a piece of cake as they can be moved from one place to another with comfort. Most of the pressure fitted gates come with extensions in a wide range of sizes; thereby allowing a parent to create a gate configuration in accordance with one’s needs.


The pressure fitted stair gates are designed within a U shaped frame; the base of the frame forms a bar which can easily trip someone over. Therefore, pressure fitted stair gates are not suitable to be installed at the top of a staircase and should be installed at the base of a staircase or doorways.

Retractable Gates

Foldable or retractable gates are made of strong fabric which is mesh in most of the cases and tends to retract back into the frame when not in use. These gates are installed with the help of wall mounting brackets which are then screwed into place. They can also be fitted to the external wall around the entrance of a door as well as within the frame of a door.

These gates can baby-proof as well as pet-proof the kind of kids and pets that need to be monitored all the time. Having said that, they are not as sturdy as the permanent fixed stair gates such as the wooden or metal stair gates.


The retractable gates can be folded fully into the wall mounted bracket when not in use. These are suitable for cramp up spaces as they can be installed inside or outside door frames. In addition, these gates, made of mesh offer versatility and can also divide a certain space as and when required. Since there is no base bar included, so the risk of tripping is minimum. Parents prefer to use the mesh gates on external doorways as the gate brackets can be installed anywhere.


Retractable gates are not suggested to be used with dogs. If your dog is in the knack of chewing, the fabric of the gate could be ruined. Moreover, these gates are not as sturdy as the metal or wooden gates and create a temporary divide. These gates are not at all suitable for wide and open places.

Best stair gate for dog

The size and breed of your dog will determine the type of a stair gate that can prevent your pet from intruding into different rooms of your house.

Aspects to be taken into account when choosing a stair gate for your dog

An extra tall screw fit stair gate is a decent option if you own a strong dog that is large in size. A screw fitted stair gate is a better option in contrast to the pressure fitted stair gates as it can retain a pet that is larger in size.

Screw fitted gates or pressure fitted gates are ideal for small sized pets. A metal stair gate is a better option if your dog is in the knack of chewing.

Pet gates that are equipped with a cat flap are great for those who own a cat as well. Zones are created for dogs with a pet gate and still allows a cat to enter or exit areas of a house that are not meant for the dogs. Dog gates that come with a cat flap are slightly large in size that conventional gates which renders them suitable for dogs as well as cats.

Where can I find the best stair gate?

Check out the Safetots Stair Gate Finder to find a stair gate for your doorway or staircase. You simply have to enter your doorway measurements and a list of supported stair gates, pressure fitted, screw fitted and retractable are displayed. You can also apply filters to narrow down your search to a certain type of stair gate while giving you the option to choose the brand and color.

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