Ultimate Guide to Best Retractable Baby Gate 2021: Full Reviews & Buying Guide

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Are you looking for the best retractable baby gate? Here is your complete guide to baby gates available in 2021. Scroll through to read retractable baby gate reviews and compare the best baby gates on the market.”

Babies are curious by design. And they have a tendency to venture where they could easily get into trouble. As parents, it is our relentless duty to keep our kids safe from any harm. So, we are constantly searching for anything that will ensure our kids’ well-being.

When my son was little we had so much baby-proofing to do. With a two-story house and a big dog, we needed to make sure my child didn’t go up or down the stairs, and that the dog had space away from my curious little one. So a baby gate at the top of the stairs, the bottom of the stairs, the back door, the list goes on. We needed so many baby gates to keep my kiddo safe.

Putting retractable baby gates to keep young children from reaching the stairs, or from going into an area with dangerous items is a good solution. Mechanical safety gates cab be bit of a hassle to set up, and they’re famous for tripping the adults of the house. They can also be noisy and clunky when you are coming and going. And I have definitely cursed my husband more than few times for accidentally slamming the baby gate and waking my sleeping cherub.

Retractable baby gates are a far better option, as you only need to install them once, they’re not in the way, they take very little space and they are silent. One of my favorite things about retractable baby gates is that when you aren’t using them, they roll up and sit neatly out of the way.

There are some baby safety issues to take into account when choosing a retractable safety gate, especially when it comes to putting a gate at the top of the stairs or with older children and we’ll cover those too.

You can read on to see the reviews and comparison table below, or jump straight to Amazon to see our top pick here.

Here’s a roundup of the best retractable baby gates, plus a full guide on how to choose the right one.

baby on stairs

The 7 Best Retractable Baby Gates 2021

Here is a helpful reference list of the best retractable baby gates – see all full retractable baby safety gate reviews below!

  • EasyBaby Indoor/Outdoor Retractable Baby Gate
  • PermaChildSafety Extra Wide Retractable Baby Gate
  • Babepai Retractable Baby Safety Gate
  • Summer Retractable Baby Gate Wooden
  • BabyDan Guard Me Retractable Safety Gate
  • Retract-a-gate Safety Gate 52″ and 72″
  • OTTOLives Baby Gate

Best Retractable Baby Gates Comparison Table

     MaterialSizeOur Rating (10)
EasyBaby Indoor/Outdoor Retractable Baby GateMesh33″ x 55″8.8
PermaChildSafety Extra Wide Retractable Baby GateMesh33″ x 71″8.2
Babepai Retractable Baby Safety GateMesh34″ x 54″8
Summer Deluxe Baby Gate WoodenWood32″ x 48″9
BabyDan Guard Me Retractable Safety GatePlastic35″ x 28″8.8
Retract-a-gate Safety Gate 52″ and 72″Mesh34″ x 72″9.2
OTTOLives Baby GateMesh34″ x 54″8.8

Retractable Baby Gate Reviews

Installing a retractable baby gate takes under an hour, and then, you can stop worrying about the bottom of stairs, doors, or hallways your child might wander around. You’d still keep a close vigilance at all times, naturally, but childproofing your house is a necessity. 

These retractable gates are all premium quality. The list includes a wide variety of styles, sizes, materials, and price points.

EasyBaby Indoor/Outdoor Retractable Baby Gate

The EasyBaby Retractable baby gate is a lightweight mesh retractable baby gate that’s easy to set up, provides good visibility, and keeps the little ones where they should be. It extends to 55 inches wide, with approximately 33 inches tall.

This size is perfect for corridors, room doorways, stairs, and porch gates. According to the manufacturer, it’s designed for 6 months to 2-year-olds. Unfortunately, when they get bigger, they can often push it aside or climb over it!

Until then, the push and turn locking mechanism keeps the Easybaby safety gate secured in place. You can operate it with one hand, which is handy if you’re carrying your baby in the other arm.

It’s made from a strong mesh fabric, that you can also install outdoors. Outdoor retractable baby gates are designed to take the weather effects in stride, and you can use it for seasons to come. Some parents prefer the lightness and translucency of mesh over solid barred gates. If you share that sentiment, then you should go for this one.

The price is fair, and the customer support EasyBaby offer is also remarkable. If anything goes wrong, they’ll try to handle it to your satisfaction.

What We Like

  • Perfect for corridors, stairs, and porches
  • One handed operation
  • Push & turn locking mechanism
  • Easy to install
  • Available in three colors
  • Moderately priced

What Can Be Better

  • Suitable for younger babies only
  • Installation hardware isn’t too strong, you might need to buy mounting hardware

Perma Indoor/Outdoor Extra Wide Retractable Baby Gate

If the Easybaby mesh retractable gate is good in all aspects except the width, then you should check out the Perma gate. It’s extra wide and extra tall to secure a larger area. This retractable gate easily spans up to 71 inches wide with a 41 inches tall.

Despite the large size, you should still use the Perma retractable baby gate for the rated age only. Mesh fabric gates can sometimes be too flimsy for kids over 2 years of age. And speaking of baby safety regulations, the Perma gate is certified by ASTM and EN with the highest safety standards, which is an important consideration for child safety.

Made from durable mesh fabric, it’s also strong enough for outdoor usage, especially with its larger dimensions. So once your kids outgrow it, you can still use it for a little pet.

What We Like

  • Big size
  • Easy installation
  • Easy to open twist and release
  • Single-hand operation
  • Comes in three neutral colors
  • ASTM and EN certified 
  • One-year warranty
  • Mesh fabric
  • Extra wide

What Can Be Better

  • The quality of the hardware set isn’t too reliable
  • Some users find it a bit difficult to operate with one hand

Babepai Retractable Baby Gate

The Babepai retractable baby safety gate is a premium-quality gate that’s super versatile. It’s a large 54 inches wide x 34 inches tall retractable mesh gate that you can use anywhere inside or outside the house. You can install its mounting hardware in two different locations, and you can extend it sideways, left or right.

The outdoor aspect of the Babepai gate is especially appealing. This retractable baby gate can wether the exposure to the elements so well, as it’s designed to take the sun, rain, and humidity in stride. It’s waterproof and rust-proof, in addition to being so easy to clean, which makes it a perfect outdoor retractable baby gate.

As for the house; you can use it in room entrances, between walls, and beside hallways. Or, you can set it up at the bottom of the stairs. It’s wide enough to keep your kids in their play areas away from mischief or trouble. 

What We Like

  • Versatile placement
  • 3-way rotation
  • Double-locking mechanism
  • 2-location installation sets
  • Scratch-resistant durable mesh
  • UV-resistant, rust-proof, and waterproof
  • can be used outdoors
  • easy one hand operation
  • high quality

What Can Be Better

  • It’s a bit pricey

Summer Deluxe Stairway Wood Gate

This stylish 48 inches wide by 32 inches tall baby safety gate by Summer Deluxe adds a decorative touch to your house while keeping your child safely protected. The wooden finish is aesthetically pleasing, and an item that all your family would like.

Another great feature in this retractable safety gate is its sturdiness. Mesh gates are rated for younger children as it would be rather flimsy for an energetic older child. The Summer Deluxe Stairway Wooden baby gate, on the other hand, provides a firm presence that can’t be shaken off easily. It’s kind of a cross between a traditional swing gate and a retractable gate.

This gate is wide enough that it can block almost any opening. It doesn’t come too cheap, though, but we think it’s worth the extra spend.

What We Like

  • Extra strong gate
  • Decorative and aesthetically pleasing
  • Quick-and-easy installation
  • Comfort grip handle

What Can Be Better

  • Indoor installation only
  • Limited to homes with a matching decorative style

BabyDan Guard Me Retractable Safety Gate

The BabyDan gate is more of a foldable gate than a retractable gate like the Perma baby gate, and unfortunately it is not as large as the previous retractable baby gates. It’s made to fit a width between 21.7 to 35.2 inches, and it has a total height of 28 inches. But you could increase this span by choosing the larger BabyDan Guard Me Extend A Guard Extension Kit.

This gate too is a nice looking piece, and unlike the Summer Deluxe Wooden retractable baby gate, it can fit with any decorative style. it’s perfect for tight spaces, and in addition, you can install inside or outside the door. 

A great feature of this gate is that it automatically retracts and folds itself up at the press of a button, and it is easy to operate one handed with a handle and click-safe lock.

This gate is made in Denmark, which is famed for its brilliant designs and distinguished craftsmanship. It follows the highest safety regulations and is fully compliant with both European and American standards.

What We Like

  • Good-looking design
  • Sturdy gate
  • Automatically folds back
  • Inside and outside mounting options
  • 100% PVC-free
  • Made in Denmark
  • Compliant with safety standards

What Can Be Better

  • It’s rather small
  • No visibility through the gate
  • The most expensive item on the list!

Retract-a-gate Safety Gate Review

The retract-a-gate safety gate is a well loved and extremely popular gate, and for good reason. Not only is it made in the USA but it is also certified as safe to use at the bottom or top of the stairs.

A childproof locking mechanism at the top of the gate prevents it from being opened by a curious toddler and the retractable mesh is tough, washable and scratch resistant. It can be installed indoors or out and used for babies or pets. The JPMA Certification testing has rated the retract-a-gate to withstand a force of 200 pounds! This is why the Retract-a-gate is the only retractable gate certified to block the top of stairs.

Retract-a-gate also offers a 72 inch safety gate. If you have an extra large area that needs to be blocked, then this would be your top choice. At a massive 72 inches it is the widest retractable baby gate on our list.

What we like

  • Certified for use at the top and bottom of stairs by the JPMA
  • Easy one hand open and close
  • Tough, washable, and durable mesh
  • Childproof lock on top prevents it from opening
  • Made in the USA
  • Approved for use at top of stairs
  • up to 72 inches wide

Ottolives Mesh Safety Gate Review

The OTTOLIVES Mesh Safety Gate is one of the largest retractable safety gates that we could find. It measures 34 inches tall and up to a massive 54 inches wide. So this is a great feature if you have a wide hallway or doorway that you need to be made baby safe

The mesh gate itself is simple to use with an easy to use locking mechanism to open and close, it can be operated with one hand.

It is only recommended for use up to 24 months of age, so once your baby becomes a toddler it will be time to consider upgrading to a different type of gate.

What we like:

  • large measurements
  • easy to operate with one hand
  • quick installation
  • Mesh is strong and durable

How to Choose the Right Retractable Baby Gate?

Here are a few points to consider before committing to a purchase. Think about this as a checklist to make sure that you’re picking a gate that matches your requirements.

Age Appropriate

Mesh screens are often designed for children from 6-24 months. As the kids grow older, this material would barely deter them. Also, the gates themselves could cause injuries as the kids try to climb over them.

As an alternative, there are sliding or folding gates that perform the same function, but provide higher strength. They also come with locking mechanisms that aren’t easy for a child to figure out. Toddlers would be much better off with one of these gates on the doorway.

Toddler boy standing in a dishwasher
Little toddler boy standing on the dishwasher door. Domestic accident. Dangerous situation at home. Child safety concept.

Compliant with Safety Standards

Products made for children should be certified by trusted organizations. Many manufacturers go the extra mile and get their products certified by American and European boards, like the ASTM, EN and JPMA.

This seal of approval is always good to see, even when the products come with higher prices. Our kids’ well-being is certainly worth the extra cash. 

Suitable Height and Width

There are various sizes you can get, ranging from the ones designed for narrow spaces to a much larger type of mesh screen gate. Heights vary as well, so you can choose the configuration that fits your spaces well.

A typical doorway in most American homes is around 36 inches wide, so keep that in mind while you are choosing a retractable gate. If the area that you need to block is extra wide, you have the choice to use an extension kit or buy an extra wide gate. There are 2 gates listed about which go over 70 inches. Another option is to block a little further back where your gate fits.

Easy to Install

These gates are all easy to install, and they normally don’t need a specialist to attach them. Some models are rather demanding though, or they don’t come with the right hardware and accessories. Try to find a gate that can be installed with just a drill.

If you don’t want to drill into your banisters, there are no-drill banister kits available from Amazon, which will save your woodwork from drilling.

baby crawling
Adorable crawling baby girl at the floor

One hand operation

Learning to do everything one handed is like a rite of passage for mothers! Using a retractable baby gate is no exception. It’s quite likely that you will be opening your gate with a sleeping baby in the other hand so choosing a gate that has easy one handed operation is a must.

Sturdy and Durable

The gate should stay in place, despite the kids’ attempts to push it or scratch it. Thus, if a mesh gate looks flimsy, then it shouldn’t be in your house. The gate should also be easy to clean. If a little water spoils it, skip that product.

Age appropriateness should be considered here too as many gates are only recommended until 2 years old. It’s quite likely that you will actually need it to last until 3 years, so choose a retractable gate that will last as long as you need it.

Outdoor Use

If your retractable baby gate is going to be installed at the end of an outdoor staircase, on a patio, or facing a balcony, then that’s an outdoor installation. In such cases, the gate should be able to take in the sun, a bit of mold, and occasional rain, without its material falling apart.

FAQs about Rectractable Baby Gates

What are the drawbacks of retractable baby gates?

Retractable baby gates are a great way to keep your baby safe, but like with any baby safety item there are pros and cons.

The main drawback of retractable baby gates is that they need to be shut by hand, whereas mechanical baby gates will usually have a spring loaded operation so they will shut automatically.

Due to the way the gates work, they need to be drilled to the wall or use an adaptor for banisters, unlike traditional baby gates which can be spring loaded and use a wall protector.

And finally, as your child gets bigger they may be able to damage or break the mesh, which is generally not possible with a metal/barred gate. I say not possible but I do know of one very strong toddler who broke the bars on a gate before the age of 2!

In general though, retractable baby gates are a great alternative with many benefits.

What are the benefits of retractable baby gates?

Retractable baby gates have a number of benefits. They can stay up permanently, and are safe. Most retractable baby gates feature a strong mesh fabric which can be used indoors and outdoors and has no bars, which makes it harder for small children to try to climb over or push. Like other gates, they can stay up permanently. Another great feature is one handed operation, which makes opening them a breeze while carrying a baby. They can also stay open or closed and leave no chance of tripping over them.

Are retractable baby gates safe?

Retractable baby gates are safe when used in the manner in which they are intended, and installed correctly.

According to Permachildsafety, from 1990-2010 there were more than 37,000 baby-gate related injuries in children under 7. The majority were the result of baby gates being left open or collapsing.

If you are unable or unwilling to install your retractable baby gate into the wood in your house, you should instead choose a pressure mounted gate.

At the top of the stairs is a crucial safety concern, and the only gate mounted at the top of the stairs should be one that is rated, tested and certified safe for use at top of stairs.

And even then, we recommend regularly checking and ensuring your child is not pushing or attempting to climb the gate.

Children can also get cuts and bruises from attempting to climb gates, which is why retractable gates can be preferable, as there are no bars to grab and pull up on to, which discourages climbing.

staircase from above
staircases can be dangerous for crawling and walking babies

Can I use a retractable baby gate for stairs?

Yes! There are a couple of brands that have been tested and certified for use at the top and bottom of stairs. The top brands are PermaChild Safety and Retract-a-gate.

It’s important that your retractable baby gate is installed correctly and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure to never let your child attempt to climb the retractable gate.

With those things in mind though, retractable gates can be great in all locations because there is nothing for the child to grab onto or trip over, just a strong barrier stopping them from going where you don’t want them to go.

When do you stop using baby gates?

Baby gates are generally used from crawling age to around 2 years. Of course, every child is different and some parents choose to remove their gates sooner or later.

My son is 3 now and I still have a baby gate at the bottom of our staircase, just to stop him from running up. However, we have removed the gate at the top because he was able to push it over which became dangerous quickly!

If your child is able to climb over your safety gate, or can open it or push it over, then it is time to remove the gate and teach your child about that area of the house.

If you still don’t want them going into certain areas unsupervised, try using child locks placed out of their reach to stop them from opening doors.

Where can I put a retractable baby gate?

Retractable baby gates can be used in just about any area of your home. Take a moment to think about the areas of your house that you need to keep your child away from. Some typical areas are:

  • Kitchen
  • Walk-in pantry
  • Laundry
  • Nursery
  • Porch or verandah
  • Top of stairs
  • Bottom of stairs
  • Fireplace
  • Bathrooms

We ended up adding 3 retractable gates. One at the top of the stairs, to stop accidental falls, one at the bottom of the stairs to prevent unsupervised stair climbing, and one on our walk in pantry. For the other rooms and cabinets, we used child safety locks and magnetic cabinet locks.

What is the best retractable baby gate?

It’s hard to choose a single product as the best retractable baby gate, however, the best retractable baby gates are the Perma safety baby gate and the Retract A Gate. These are the only two gates with safety certifications from international child safety organisations. My favorite is the Permababy Safety Gate. Permababy is an international brand, it has all the right certifications, it’s made from highly durable materials, and most importantly, it will keep your baby safe.

Pin it for later

I hope you enjoyed this guide to the best retractable baby gates 2021. Here is a pin so that you can refer back here later!

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