Stairs and babies can be a dangerous combination and all baby gates are not made equal so it’s important to do your research. We’ve looked closely at safety features and parents’ reviews to put together our list of the best baby gates for the top of the stairs – as well as showing you what to look out for.
Buying Baby Gates for the Top of the Stairs
Anywhere else in the home a baby gate is keeps baby in one place and out of another while keeping her safe in the process. A gate at the top of the stairs has to work a whole lot harder! It needs to be robust enough to stand the knocks, barges and pulls delivered by our little ones to protect them from potentially serious injury.
Here are the main things to look out for:
There are many types of baby gates available but usually the ones that screw into the wall are best suited for use at the top of the stairs – but there are exceptions! That doesn’t mean that you’re restricted to swing gates alone – we even found a super strong pressure gate that’s up to the job! (See our buyer’s guide for more information.)
If you buy a swing gate for the top of the stairs it’s important that it can be adjusted to swing one way – away from the stairs. A gate that opens onto the stairs can quickly become a hazard; reaching out for a gate that is over the stairs can make us unbalanced.
Ease of use
Most baby gate manufacturers understand that busy parents with young children rarely have two hands free, so most gates have a one-handed operation. Although they do vary from gate to gate.
Size of space
No two houses are the same so most gates have some degree of flexibility in terms of width – either built into the operation of the gate or by using extension kits.
No two people are the same either, and there’s a whole range of colours and materials to choose from – although black and white are the most common.
Here’s our pick of the best baby gate stairs (skip to the bottom for a comparison chart).
1. Evenflo Easy Walk Thru Top Of Stairs Gate
Width: 29 to 42″
This metal swing gate has a four point hardware mount that makes it a reliable choice for anywhere in the home, including the top of the stairs. The gate can be adjusted to swing in one direction so no loss of balance over the stairs to worry about and it boasts a one-handed Lever Loc mechanism for when you have your hands full.
The gate includes an useful indicator so you can quickly see whether the gate is locked securely (green) or not (red).
We say: This is a very robust gate and importantly has a one-way swing operation – you don’t want anyone losing their balance over the stairs. We love that it’s available in three colours – including ever-stylish grey.
Available in white or grey metal and wood.
2. Regalo Extra Tall Top Of Stairs Gate
Width: 34 – 53 inches (with extension kit)
Height: 35 inches
This is a universal stair gate that the will fit 99% of stairways and is extra tall, standing at 35 inches high – great if you have a child who is particularly good at climbing, or very tall!. Its great for pets too.
The safety gate is manufactured from steel so it’s incredibly durable and opens easily by squeezing the latch handle thanks to its ‘Smooth Glide’ technology.
One drawback of many baby gates for the top of stairs is that they often have to be fixed into the wall using screws – not this one. The gate comes with a hard rubber banister mounting kit which is very easy to set up and makes the gate more portable (it lifts out of the banister mount for storage).
We say: A great solution for the top or bottom of the stairs, and provides extra protection and peace of mind with the extra height. Some customers with unusual spindles or baseboards/skirting boards have found it a little tricky to install while others have said it’s a breeze, but to our knowledge it’s as universal as Regalo claims!
Available in white metal.
3. Kidco Safeway Gate
Width: 24.75 – 43.5”
This is a great adjustable baby gate for the top of the stairs – or anywhere else in the house. Because it’s a traditional swing gate it’s made of durable steel and is fixed onto brackets that mount onto the wall. This has the added advantage of being able to mount onto an angled wall. Of course being a top of stairs gate there is no threshold to trip over.
It measures in at a maximum of 43.5 inches so it’s great if you have a wide stairway or hall and has a very straightforward one-handed operation. Simply push down on the locking latch and lift the gate. The locking mechanism also includes a stopper to prevent the gate from swinging out over the stairs, which could be a potential safety hazard.
While hardware mounted gates tend not to be very portable, this gate has is cleverly designed to allow the gate to be lifted out of the brackets when it’s not needed (the hardware mounts stay in place).
We say: A super sturdy and easy to use gate which is pleasing to the eye (in either the white or black). Kidco have left no stone unturned when it comes to safety.
Available in white or black metal.
4. Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate
Width: 29″ – 60″ (with extension kit)
This is a rarity – a pressure gate that is recommended for use at the top of a staircase, provided it’s used with the wall cups supplied. It’s made from durable steel and has a walk through function. It’s great for wider spaces as it comes fully equipped with an extension kit – taking the maximum width to 39 inches (further extensions can be bought to take the gate to a maximum width of 60 inches). The Regalo Easy Step is one of the taller gates at 31 inches high.
This is a great gate for anyone who needs a stair gate that can be moved around quickly and easily without damaging your door frame or banister. Its metal construction and height make it a great pet gate too. It has a lever style handle for a simple one touch release.
We say: This is a great top of stairs baby gate for anyone who needs a wide stair gate that is portable or a wants a baby gate for stairs without drilling into the walls.
5. Evenflo Extra Tall Top-of-Stair Gate (Wood)
Width: 30 – 48 inches
Height: 32 – 35 inches
The Evenflo Extra Tall is a hardware mounted stair gate with a four point hardware system for maximum security. The gate can be expanded very easily to get a perfect fit for your stairway. There is a one-hand release system for easy access through the gate, and if you need to remove it simply slides off the hardware mounts.
The no-trip gate has a two-way swing action but can be restricted so that it doesn’t open onto your staircase to avoid toppling down the stairs. Fans of this gate are evangelical about everything from installation to robustness.
We say: We love the ease of this super durable gate’s function, from opening operation to width adjustment (no extension kit needed). It looks great too!
Available in light brown wood.