Best stair gates
Feeling stair-gate confused? While they might not be the most exciting of purchases, they can help to keep toddlers out of places they shouldn't be. We put 11 of the UK's top stair gates under rigorous testing, and our standout success was the Lindam Sure Shut Deco.
Stair gates or safety gates are barriers that keep toddlers out of places they shouldn't be. They're not the most exciting of purchases, but can bring you a little peace of mind if you have a roaming toddler on your hands. Broadly speaking, they come in three main types:
1. Pressure-fit gates: Use the pressure of the frame to ‘stick’ the gate to the doorway
2. Screw-fit gates: Have mounting brackets screwed into the wall
3. Travel gates: Function as temporary barriers, and need to be entirely removed each time you want to step through
Within these varieties, there are also retractable stair gates, extendable gates and ones for wider or non-standard spaces. Indeed the extra-tall ones can prove essential if you are looking for something that doubles as a baby safety gate and a dog gate for stairs.
After researching the stair gates that come most highly recommended by Mumsnet users and other review sites, we tested the top 11 stair gates in a family home for five months.
Our tester and journalist, Rachel Jeffcoate, put each stair gate through its paces. With the help of her three children (including a one year old) and husband, they pushed, shoved, shook, hooked, clipped and unclipped each stair gate, scoring them on stability, safety and ease of use. After months of testing the results are in.
Here are the best stair gates for 2019
Best Stair Gate 2019
Lindam Sure Shut Deco
As stair gates go (and for this price), this gate is as attractive as they come – a sleek and on-trend combo of polished birch wood and dark painted metal. As well as that, it's versatile and very simple to assemble and use.
The Lindam Sure Shut Deco can be used in doorways, at the bottom of stairs and even adapted for spindle banister (using a fixing kit sold separately). It also features an extremely easy-to-use open-and-close mechanism, with a swing-shut function.
- Pressure-fit gate with 10-minute, no-tool assembly
- Can switch between one-way and two-way opening – or lock shut completely
- Wipe-clean metal and plastic-protected hinges
- Can’t be used at the top of stairs or in extra-narrow or uneven openings
- Wooden gate is more pliable and less robust than a metal equivalent
- Extensions sold separately
Best Budget Stair Gate
Lindam Easy Fit Plus Deluxe
If you're looking for an easily-assembled all-purpose gate at a budget-friendly price, then the Easy Fit could be for you.
The Lindam Easy Fit Plus Deluxe is designed to fit doorways and the bottom of stairs. The gate can be fully assembled using wall clips and sticky pads very quickly and once in place, it’s almost immovable.
- Pressure-fitted metal gate with white and blue plastic fittings
- Quick to install and leaves no marks when removed
- Not suitable for the top of stairs, extra-narrow openings or uneven walls
Best Stair Gate For Pet Owners
Bettacare Child and Pet Gate
If you're looking for something that will keep toddlers at bay as well as any stray (or, your own) dogs, the Bettacare gate is a great option – with a elegant look and a matte black finish that is impervious to finger (and paw) prints.
The Bettacare Child and Pet Gate can be bought as a standard gate as well as a pre-packed gate with the correct extensions for your doorway, making installation that bit easier. They also offer another version (slightly more expensive) that comes with a built-in cat flap, for even more flexibility.
- Extra-tall, pressure-fit metal gate, suitable for doorways, the bottom of stairs, and also the top of stairs (when using extra screws)
- Can be used with spindle banisters when Bettacare Y-Spindle pack is added (sold separately)
Best Retractable Stair Gate
Safetots Advanced Retractable gate
If you're after a retractable stair gate, the well-designed, clever Advanced Retractable gate is a great choice – with surprisingly easy assembly required for a screw-fit model.
The Safetots Advanced Retractable Gate (£49 on Amazon) proved much sturdier than its retractable competitors. Its mounting brackets use an innovative tightening ratchet on a timer, which means the gate can be opened briefly without having to retract it – really useful in high-traffic areas. In case of any issues, Safetots also has a reputation for excellent customer service that was appreciated by our tester.
- Retractable screw-fit stair gate with white plastic fittings and mesh sheeting
- Can be made to fit with skirting boards using Safetots Retractable Gate Spacers (sold separately)
- No minimum width; maximum width: 120cm
Best Stair Gate For Wider Spaces
Baby Dan Flexi Fit
In terms of flexibility in a stair gate, the Flexi Fit covered all bases. The screw-fit extendable gate can be used at the top and/or bottom of stairs, in doorways, most spindle banisters and uneven spaces, making it very good value for a family that needs a gate to adapt to their lifestyle.
The Baby Dan Flexi Fit does however take time and effort to assemble.
Once up, can also be opened and closed easily by an adult or older child, and also actually removed and replaced very easily.
- Can be fitted almost anywhere, including on a diagonal
- Small, unobtrusive mountings designed to fit either inside or outside the door frame
- Gate can be removed and replaced with quick-release mechanism