9 Best Retractable Baby Gates Review and Buyer’s guide

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Everyone has a few places in their home where babies shouldn’t roam. That’s why choosing the right baby gate is so important. There are lots of different styles and types of baby gates on the market, but they don’t always work for every parent’s needs. 

A lot of baby gates fit standard doorways only. If you’ve got a larger, smaller, or irregularly shaped space, it can be a struggle to find something that fits. That’s where retractable baby gates come in. They can adapt to most spaces easily. 

So if you have a tricky area you want to block off in your home, read on. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about retractable baby gates. 

We’ll cover why you need a baby gate, some important safety aspects of this style of gate, as well as where to put them. We’ll also discuss what things you need to consider before you choose the best model for you. Then, we’ll give you a rundown of the very best retractable baby gates on the market in 2020. 

What Is a Retractable Baby Gate?

The main difference between a retractable baby gate and a traditional swing gate is that retractable models don’t block the space when they’re not needed. They neatly roll or fold up to the side so the area is open and free to use. They are the antidote to the bulky, stationary plastic gates that clutter up many parent’s homes.

Retractable baby gates are also easier to open and close, which is handy when you’re juggling a baby or small toddler. 

Most retractable baby gates on the market today are made from a semi-transparent mesh material. That being said, there are some concertina style baby gates made from wood or plastic too.

Since they pull out, retractable baby gates can be adapted to fit a wide variety of spaces, both narrow and wide. Some models can pull out to fit widths of up to 72 inches!

Because of all these benefits, they are fast becoming the most popular type of baby gate on the market. 

Are Retractable Baby Gates Safe?

Absolutely! As long as you pick a model that has been certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), you can be sure that it’s safe to use. Some other certifying bodies can also issue safety certifications in the USA, so double-check with the manufacturer to see who they are accredited by.

Is Mesh Strong Enough?

Some parents worry that mesh style retractable gates can tear, but in fact, they’re pretty durable. They are designed to withstand forces of over 100lbs, so there’s little chance that your baby or toddler will be able to push their way through!

Are They Safe To Use on Stairs?

Yes, but only if it’s approved for stair use and has been properly installed. Some retractable baby gates aren’t designed for stair use, so you need to make sure you check the manufacturer’s specifications. Any that are specifically designed for stairs will have been rigorously tested for safety. 

Always make sure that you use the correct mounting hardware and give the gate a vigorous ‘shove test’ to make sure it will keep your little one safe.

Where Should Baby Gates Go in My Home?

Baby gates block your little one from wandering where they shouldn’t. If your baby can’t be in a particular room or area without your constant supervision, it’s best to install a baby gate.

Best Retractable Baby Gates

Pay particular attention to rooms like the kitchen or the bathroom, where there are generally more hazards. 

It’s also important to block off stairs from a crawling baby or toddler. Make sure you have a baby gate at both the top and the bottom of the stairs. Always choose a model that has been certified as stair safe. 

All that being said, you don’t necessarily have to block off every single doorway in your home. Consider making a ‘baby safe zone’, such as the living room, and install a baby gate over the threshold so they can play safely in that area. 

Reasons You Need a Baby Gate

Baby gates are considered an essential piece of parenting kit in the modern age. Here are a few reasons why you should have baby gates in your home.

Stair Danger

Babies and toddlers love stairs. They seem like an adventure playground for your little one. But they are obviously a huge danger, so blocking them off is essential.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the most common injuries to children come from falling down the stairs. 

Children are Curious

As much as we want to encourage curiosity in our little ones, we don’t want them wandering into areas that might be dangerous. As soon as they start to crawl, they want to explore. That’s why installing baby gates in your home to create safe zones and block off danger is so important.

Peace of Mind

All good parents keep a close eye on their children. But we all know that in day to day life, it’s impossible to watch them every moment of the day. Baby gates can give you that little extra peace of mind that your child is safe as you do chores around your home. 

Don’t Forget the Pets!

Baby gates are designed primarily for babies, but they also work great for pets too. Do you have a pooch who loves to bound around from room to room? Perhaps they go crazy every time the doorbell rings, and you need to keep them contained to the back yard and the kitchen. 

Baby gates can work wonders for keeping your furry friends where they should be. 

Things to Consider Before Buying Retractable Baby Gates

How Wide Does it Reach?

Even though most retractable baby gates can adapt to a range of spaces, it’s still important to measure first. Check the manufacturer’s specifications to make sure the area isn’t too narrow or too wide for the model of your choice. 

How Tall Is It?

As parents, we all know how curious kids can be. If somewhere is out of bounds, they will usually want to explore. If your little one is particularly adventurous, they may try and climb over the baby gate to access the other side. 

That’s why it’s important to make sure you pick a baby gate that’s tall enough. The top of the gate should be at least as high as your baby or toddler’s shoulder. Most baby gates are at least 30cm tall, and many models are taller than this. 

Does it Need to Be Portable?

Most retractable baby gates will be permanently attached once they’re installed. You are not able to move them from doorway to doorway without a lot of fussing about with a screwdriver. 

That being said, there are a couple of manufacturers who have created portable retractable baby gates. These could be well worth it to look at if you want to use it around different areas of your house. 

How Much Space Does It Take Up?

If you have a particularly narrow doorway, this is always worth thinking about. 

Retractable baby gates tend to be the most compact and take up the least amount of space when they’re not in use. That being said, check the dimensions of the wall fittings and brackets when retracted to make sure it’ll still work for your space.

Does it Have a Lock?

Your little one is smarter than you might think. Many toddlers have surprised their parent’s in their ability to open baby gates by themselves. If you think your little one is likely to figure it out, make sure you choose a retractable baby gate with a kid-proof lock.

Is it JPMA Approved?

As we mentioned in the safety section of this article, it’s important to choose a retractable baby gate that is certified by the JPMA or another reputable governing body. These products have gone through robust testing so you can rest assured that they will keep your child safe and secure. 

The 10 Best Retractable Baby Gates on the Market in 2020

#1 Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate

Best Retractable Baby Gates
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Features

  • Safe for use at the top and bottom of stairs 
  • Durable, scratch-resistant, transparent mesh
  • Built in child lock
  • Washable mesh fabric
  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Fits spaces up to 52 inches or 72 inches wide

Things We Love About It!

Retract-A-Gate has two width capacity options; up to 52 inches or 72 inches, so you can block off even the widest of spaces. 

The gate itself is made from tough and durable fabric mesh. It’s scratch-resistant so it’s also an ideal option for pets. The transparent nature of the fabric allows light to travel through and helps to keep your home feeling open and spacious. 

The retracting mechanism is super simple to use and can be done with just one hand. We particularly love how quiet it is when opening and closing. There’s no chance of accidentally waking a sleeping baby as you move from room to room.

This model also features a childproof lock on the top of the gate. The press and turn mechanism will keep even the most Houdini-like kids firmly where they should be. 

Unlike a lot of retractable baby gates on the market, this one comes with an additional wall bracket kit. Simply fix it to the wall, and you can quickly and easily switch this gate between two locations in your home. 

The Retract-A-Gate comes in three color options; Black, white, and coffee.

Pros

  • Fits both narrow and wide spaces
  • Easy to open and close with one hand
  • Locking mechanism for safety

Cons

  • More expensive than other retractable baby gates on our list
  • Some very small dogs can crawl underneath this model

Overall Thoughts

This gate is one of the most expensive on our list, but we think it’s worth the higher price tag. It’s durable, washable, and can be used one-handed. It also has a quality safety lock and can be moved between two different locations in your home

#2 Babepai Baby Gate Retractable

Best Retractable Baby Gates
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Features

  • Safe for use at the top and bottom of stairs 
  • Extends to fit any space up to 54 inches wide
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Built-in safety lock
  • Durable mesh fabric
  • Easy, one-hand operation

Things We Love About It!

The Babepai features a dual locking mechanism to keep your child safely where they should be. Just like the Retract-A-Gate, this durable mesh-style model is also super easy to operate. When you’re carrying your baby, the laundry, toys, or other items, you can quickly open, close, and lock this gate with just one hand.

It’s certified for use both indoors and outdoors, so it can be used to block off areas on the porch or patio. The Babepai extends up to 54 inches wide so it’s great for wide areas as well as tight cramped spaces. The 360-degree closing direction means it works for odd-shaped spaces too. 

When it’s not in use, this gate rolls up into a tight, small roll, leaving plenty of space for passing traffic through the doorway.

Pros

  • Easy to open, close and lock with one hand
  • Rolls up small when not in use
  • Works in odd-shaped spaces

Cons

  • Can’t be used closer than 6 inches from the top of the stairs

Overall Thoughts

This is a much more affordable option that still gives you all the basic features you need in a good retractable baby gate. It’s especially great in tight spaces and any non-standard doorways and thresholds. 

#3 BabyDan Guard Me Retractable Safety Gate

Best Retractable Baby Gates
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Features

  • Fits areas between 25.4 and 36 inches
  • Safe to use at the top and bottom of stairs
  • Concertina folding mechanism 
  • Non-trip design
  • Built in safety latch
  • Can be opened, closed and locked with one hand

Things We Love About It!

The BabyDan Guard Me uses an innovative concertina design. It automatically folds back on itself like an accordion when opened. Once it’s folded, it takes up minimal space and allows you to get the most out of smaller areas of your home. 

Like most other retractable baby gates on our list, this one can be easily opened and closed with just one hand.

This model can be safely used at the top and bottom of stairs, and any doorway inside your home. If you have a doorway or hallway wider than the maximum 36 inches, you can purchase an extension from the manufacturer. This gives you almost 10 extra inches to play with, so it can be adapted for wider spaces too. 

Although this model is plastic instead of mesh, it still looks pretty stylish, for a baby gate. The overall look should suit most home decor. 

Pros

  • Easy to open, close and lock with one hand
  • Perfect for tight spaces
  • Accordion design

Cons

  • Doesn’t fit wider spaces without the extension

Overall Thoughts

We love the accordion-style of this baby gate. It looks lovely in most doorways. It’s also easy to use, suitable for stairs and has a secure locking mechanism. The BabyDan Guard Me checks all the boxes!

#4 Perma Child Safety Outdoor Retractable Baby Gate

Best Retractable Baby Gates
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Features

  • Extends up to 71 inches wide
  • Safe for use at the top and bottom of stairs
  • Built-in double-locking feature
  • Easy to open and close with one hand
  • Designed for outdoor use
  • Easy to install
  • Works for children and pets up to 40lbs

Things We Love About It!

The Perma Child is the only retractable baby gate on our list that is made specifically for use outdoors. It’s perfect for porches, back yards, stairs to a deck or terrace, or any other outdoor area. It extends to a maximum width of 71 inches, so it can fit most spaces, narrow and wide.

This model is also one of the taller gates on the market. At almost 40 inches high, there’s no way your little one is getting over this. It’s also great for bouncy dogs under 40lbs when you need to keep them in or out of an outdoor area.

Multitasking moms and dads will love the easy to open and close mechanism since it only needs one hand. The dual-action locking mechanism is super secure too, so there’s no chance of anyone making an unwanted escape. 

The Perma Child Outdoor is completely weather resistant. The durable mesh and rustproof fixtures can be kept outside permanently, with no need to bring them in when it rains or snows.

There are 4 colors to choose from, so you’ll easily find something that works with the exterior of your home. 

Pros

  • Fits extra wide spaces
  • Weather resistant; Designed to be fixed permanently outdoors
  • 4 color options to choose from

Cons

  • Not as durable as some more expensive gates on our list

Overall Thoughts

The Perma Child is a great choice if you’re looking for a baby gate to be used exclusively outside. The weatherproof materials mean it can withstand sun, rain, and snow. It’s also taller than most models and is particularly good for use with hyperactive pets. 

#5 Gaterol Active Lite Retractable Baby Gate

Best Retractable Baby Gates
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Features

  • Fits openings from 18 inches to 55 inches
  • Safe for use at the top and bottom of stairs
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • 2nd set of mounting brackets for use in two different locations
  • Easy to open and close with one hand

Things We Love About It!

The Gaterol Active is a great choice if you want to get the most out of a tight space. It’s designed to be fixed on the room side of the doorframe, rather than the passage side. This gives you full use of the space and keeps moms and dads from painful hip bruises that some baby gates can cause. 

This model is taller than most on the market. It’s almost 37 inches high, so your baby would have to pull some Spiderman moves to get over it. It’s tall stature also makes it a good option for pets who are prone to leaping over smaller baby gates. 

This model can be used indoors and outdoors, but its best to bring in the removable mesh each time after use to preserve the quality. 

This is one of the few retractable baby gates that comes in vibrant colors, as well as neutrals. You can add a splash of color to your interior or exterior with the blue and pink options. Or opt for more neutral shades of black, white, and grey. 

Pros

  • Perfect for narrow spaces
  • Comes in various colors including bold hues
  • Taller than most retractable baby gates

Cons

  • The open mechanism is quite loud and could wake a sleeping baby. 
  • It’s not suitable for very wide spaces

Overall Thoughts

The Gaterol Active is a good all-rounder retractable baby gate that’s especially suited to small spaces. It’s also tall enough to keep even the most active toddlers where they should be.

#6 Evenflo Expansion Swing Wide Gate

Best Retractable Baby Gates

Features

  • Wooden criss-cross design
  • Fits openings from 24 inches to 60 inches
  • Easy to open and close with one hand
  • Built in safety latch
  • Retracts and swings to open from both sides
  • Easy to install

Things We Love About It!

The Evenflo has the unique feature of being able to both retract and swing open like a regular baby gate. You can easily switch between both modes, and the swinging mechanism is designed to work for both directions of traffic. 

This model fits in a variety of spaces. It can be adapted to use in doorways as narrow as 24 inches and as wide as 60 inches. 

There’s also a built in childproof safety latch so your little one won’t be able to go where they shouldn’t be.

What really stands out about the Evenflo is its classic wooden diamond shape design. This model is our overall favorite when it comes to looks. The bare wood looks natural and compliments any home, no matter your style. 

At under $35, it’s also the most affordable retractable gate on our list.

Pros

  • Super affordable
  • Can be used as both a retracting and swinging gate
  • Attractive wooden design

Cons

  • Not safe for use on stairs

Overall Thoughts

The Evenflo is a fraction of the price of many baby gates out there. It doesn’t work for stairs, but for regular rooms throughout your house, this is an excellent, pocket-friendly choice. It also looks great too!

#7 EasyBaby Extra Wide Retractable Baby Gate

Best Retractable Baby Gates
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Features

  • Fits doorways up to 71 inches wide
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Easy to open and close with one hand
  • Built in turning lock mechanism
  • 33 inches tall
  • Easy to install
  • Safe for use at the top and bottom of stairs

Things We Love About It!

The EasyBaby Extra Wide is great for bigger doorways; it fits any opening up to 71 inches wide. It’s also pretty tall with a height of 33 inches, so it’s high enough to stop both boisterous toddlers and excitable pets.

When the gate is retracted, it rolls up neatly to one side and you have full use of the space in your doorway, hallway, or wherever you choose to install it. This model can also be used inside and outside. It’s great for porches and patios, and the mesh material is durable enough that it doesn’t need to be brought in each night. 

The EasyBaby also comes with an additional set of mounting brackets, so you can easily move this retractable gate between two locations. 

This model comes with a built-in push and turn lock. It’s also easy enough to open and close with just one hand. 

Pros

  • Great for extra wide spaces
  • Can be used inside and outside
  • Comes with an additional set of mounting brackets
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Small dogs can fit underneath this gate
  • Not sturdy enough for larger toddlers or bigger pets

Overall Thoughts

At less than $50, the Easy Baby Extra Wide is a great option if you’re looking to block off a wide space without breaking the bank. It’s not quite as sturdy as some of the more expensive models on our list, but it does the job for small toddlers and pets. 

#8 PRObebi Three-Direction Retractable Safety Gate

Best Retractable Baby Gates

Features

  • Three direction rotated openings
  • Fits doorways from 0 inches to 71 inches wide
  • Built in childproof double locking system
  • Easy to open and close with one hand
  • Soft yet durable transparent mesh
  • Strong but lightweight aluminum frame
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Attractive color scheme

Things We Love About It!

The PROBebi is another extra wide retractable baby gate that works great for wider hallways and doorways. The three direction rotated openings mean it also works in awkward spots and oddly shaped areas in your home, such as spiral staircases. 

Like all the retractable baby gates on our list, you can open this with just one hand. In fact, parents say this is by far the easiest open and close mechanism they’ve come across. It’s great for when you’re juggling the kids, laundry and other chores and only have one hand to spare. 

Rather than plastic like most retractable gates, the PROBebi’s frame is made from lightweight but strong aluminum. This gives it more durability. The soft mesh fabric is also scratch-resistant and durable too. This makes this model tough enough for use both indoors and outdoors. 

We especially love how this baby gate looks. The mesh is 80% grey with a 20% subtle pink hue, which adds a little softness and color to your home. The frame comes in a champagne grey, and the brackets are a lovely pastel dusty pink color. Who said baby gates can’t be stylish?!

Best Retractable Baby Gates

Pros

  • Perfect for extra wide spaces
  • Super easy to open and close
  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Some parents report that it arrived with the wrong shaped screws

Overall Thoughts

This is the most stylish looking baby gate on our list! It’s not just a pretty face though; it checks all the boxes for a great retractable baby gate. It’s especially great if you have an extra-wide space or awkwardly shaped area to block off. 

#9 Little Llama Retractable Safety Gate 

Best Retractable Baby Gates
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Features

  • Fits doorways up to 54 inches
  • Safe for use at the top and bottom of stairs
  • Movable, detachable design
  • Built in twist dial locking mechanism
  • Easy to open and close with one hand
  • Durable transparent woven mesh
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use

Things We Love About It!

The Little Lame retractable safety gate fits any area up to 54 inches wide. When the gate is open, it retracts tightly into itself, taking up hardly any excess space at all. This makes it great for narrow halls and doorways. It’s also safe for use at the top and the bottom of the stairs. 

The stand out feature on the Little Lama is how easy it is to move. Usually, retractable baby gates are pretty stationary, but this model is easily detached from the gate mount. You can purchase additional mounting brackets, and move the gate around your home easily. 

The woven mesh material is semi-transparent and super durable. It will withstand whatever your baby or pet throws at it!  It’s so tough that you can use this gate both inside and outside your home. 

Pros

  • Great for small spaces
  • Can be easily moved around
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use

Cons

  • Not suitable for wider spaces

Overall Thoughts

The Little Lama is a good option for tight spaces. It’s also one of the few retractable gates that can be easily moved from place to place. The icing on the cake is it’s affordable too. 

There you have it, the 9 best retractable baby gates. What do you look for in a baby gate? Share in the comments!

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