Best Retractable Baby Gate

Introduction

When toddler proofing your house, you’ll need to put baby gates to cordon off certain areas of the home.

Since they’re temporary, the best gates for this are relatively small and easy to bypass for adults, which is why we’ve written this article about some of our favorite retractable baby gates.

We’ve reviewed five of them below, each gate having its own entry where you’ll find their pros and cons. This is handy for seeing the advantages and disadvantages of each gate at a glance.

At the bottom of this page is also a buyers’ guide where you can see how we’ve ranked these gates, and what you should look for when buying your own.

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In a hurry? This is our winner!

Our rating:

Retract-A-Gate Safety gate 72" White
  • JPMA certified for top and bottom of the stairs
  • Proven for use with cats and dogs; mesh is scratch resistant
  • Allows you to walk through without completely opening
  • Easy, one-hand operation
  • Childproof lock on top prevents it from opening

If you’ve got a little one on the way and need to grab a baby gate ASAP, let us suggest our favorite model right here. That’d be the Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate, a popular option with so many features that make it a durable and versatile option that can accommodate anybody’s child. Here are some of their features, see what you think:

This gate meets you with some great first impressions. It stands at 34-inches tall, taller than most other baby gates, so it’s the best security option for both children and pets. It’s also JPMA certified, so it has accolades to back up the positive reviews that this gate has.

The gate is made of very few parts, simplifying the setup process. The gate is mainly strong fabric mesh that’s also resistant to ultraviolet rays and mildew, so it can be set up indoors and, to an extent, outdoors. It also has a variable width so it can be used for narrow openings.

You open the gate with a push-and-turn childproof lock located at the top of the gate. This is easy to open for adults but not children. The gate can even be opened with just one hand, at which point the gate will automatically and conveniently retract.

 

Best Retractable Baby Gate – Comparison Table

Best Retractable Baby Gate – Reviews

Our Pick

Retract-A-Gate Safety gate 72' White

Our rating:

Consistently rated the highest among other baby gates, our favorite retractable baby gate is the Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate. It’s a versatile yet durable gate that’s certified by the JPMA for use at the top and the bottom of your stairs.

They’re much more effectively used at the bottom, which is the most common placement of baby gates. At thirty-four inches tall, these are an example of taller baby gates that provide maximum security for both your children and any pets that may try leaping at the gate.

The gates are made with a strong mesh that’s woven from the same fabrics that are used for haulage, like cargo trucks. This means that the mesh isn’t just physically strong but is specially designed to hold up against environmental pressures, too, like ultraviolet rays and mildew buildup, so it can be installed in different areas.

It’s washable, too, so even if it does get messy it’s easy to clean.

A baby gate is only as good as its locking mechanism, however, and we can say that the lock on the Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate does its job well. It’s a push-and-turn mechanism located at the top of the gate and, even if it can be reached by a child, it’s very secure and isn’t likely to be undone by one.

The locking component is necessary whenever closing the gate, too, which can seem like a hassle for some but it’s only to guarantee the absolute safety of your child.

Opening the gate, however, is pretty easy and convenient. The retractable function can be triggered with just one hand, so you can open it when you’re carrying your child in one arm or otherwise don’t have full access to your other hand. When opened, it’ll automatically roll up instead of needing manual rolling.

During installation, you’ll notice that you have a choice with what width the Retract-A-Gate can be set as. If you have a narrow pathway that needs blocking, this is the gate that’ll have you covered.

Pros
  • JPMA certified for safe use in the home.
  • A taller baby gate at 34-inches tall.
  • Fabric mesh is strong and resistant to UV rays and mildew.
  • A childproof lock on top of the gate keeps it secure.
  • The gate can be opened with just one hand.
  • Variable width makes it perfect for narrow openings.
Cons
  • Doesn’t work well for smaller dogs.

BabyDan Guard Me 25.4-35 Inch Doorway Auto Foldable Safety Baby Gate & Extend A Extension, White

Our rating:

The second gate on our list is what we would call the budget option, but that doesn’t mean it lacks the standard features that impress when searching for a baby gate.

We’re talking about the BabyDan Guard Me Retractable Safety Baby Gate, a twenty-eight-inch high gate that has a more unique opening method than a lot of others on the market. That’s the so-called accordion fold that this gate has when opening, segmenting, and folding in on itself to be as compact as possible.

The word that comes to mind when looking at the BabyDan Guard Me is sturdiness and that ridged, accordion fold design only makes it sturdier. It’s also barely noticeable when it has been opened.

The installation process is fairly simple despite how solid this gate is when compared to our number one option, and it can be installed either inside the doorway or outside of the door jamb.

During installation, it should be kept in mind that these gates reach a maximum of thirty-five inches across. A lot of doorways reach thirty-six inches across, so you may need an extension if that one inch is too much to properly install the gate. If this is a worry, we’d advise you just to measure the doorways you’re planning on fitting this gate in.

The minimum reach that these gates have is twenty-one inches when installed inside the doorframe or twenty-five inches outside of the doorframe. Like our number one option, this means that the BabyDan Guard Me gate can be installed in narrower doorways.

When installed, this model also lacks a bar at the bottom, reducing the potential for accidents since there’s nothing to trip over.

Opening the gate is easy thanks to the latch that can be undone with just one hand, much like our number one option, and once undone the gate will automatically fold away so that you don’t need to use your hands for anything else. Sharing these features with our number one option, the BabyDan Guard Me is a great option for those who need security at a budget.

Pros
  • A 28-inch high gate with a unique accordion-fold when being opened.
  • Can be installed inside or outside of a doorway, adding to your setup options.
  • Fits minimum openings of 21.77 to 25.4 inches for narrower installations.
  • No underbar to minimize the chances of tripping and other accidents.
  • One-handed latch opening is easy to use.
Cons
  • Fits a maximum of 35.2” doorways, so may need an extension if your doorway is larger.

Gaterol Active Lite White - Retractable Safety Gate - Super Safe 36.6' Tall and Opens up to 55'

Our rating:

Next up is another mesh-based option with the Gaterol Active Lite Retractable Safety Gate. The last entry highlighted a potential problem with the widths of these gates, so we thought we’d include this option that can achieve as wide a coverage as fifty-five inches.

This is the maximum opening capacity of this gate, with the minimum being eighteen inches, and the gate reaches thirty-two inches high.

Coming with this large mesh gate are two sets of mounting brackets to accommodate the different doorways that this gate can be set up at. Being simultaneously the narrowest and one of the widest gates on this list, there’s a wide variety of doorways that this gate can be installed at and these mounting brackets are designed to accommodate them all.

Once you do have it mounted, you open it via a push-and-turn mechanism that can be operated with one hand. This is a popular feature amongst baby gates that adds to their ease of use, especially if you’re holding your child in your other hand. Once open, there’s also no threshold at the bottom so you can’t trip.

This model is available in five colors, neutral black, white, and grey to fit into any environment and then blue and pink, gendered colors for those who want to place their gates in more colorful areas.

Pros
  • Very wide opening capacity between 18 and 55 inches.
  • Comes with two sets of mounting brackets for alternate setup options.
  • Can easily be operated with just one hand.
  • Lacks a threshold to avoid tripping.
  • Available in five colors, both neutral and gender-specific.
Cons
  • Makes a lot of noise when being retracted.

Babepai Retractable Baby Gate Door Grey, Extra Wide Baby Safety Gate and Pet Gate for Stairs, Doors, and More, Fabric Baby Gate Mesh Safety Gate 52' Wide Indoor/Outdoor, Grey

Our rating:

At our fourth spot, we have the Babepai Retractable Baby Gate, a strong yet soft mesh gate that comes with the requisite hardware to be installed into door frames, at which point it stands at thirty-four inches and can be opened out to as much as fifty-four inches.

It’s a lot like the previous entry in that it’s a cheaper option that can cover a very large area if needed.

Hardware is found at either side of the mesh gate, with one side having a convenient handle and the other side has a double locking mechanism that’s difficult for children to open, adding to the security that this gate provides.

It also has an “open mode” that allows you to open the gate even easier for when security is less of a concern. Either way, once opened the mesh automatically rolls away seamlessly.

That mesh is strong but soft, so it shouldn’t hurt the soft hands or paws of whatever you’re keeping behind it. Once opened, this mesh rolls up to be compact and discreet, allowing this gate to be used in places where the gate isn’t complementary to the décor of your room.

When mounted, the Babepai retractable baby gate is capable of rotating in three directions, making it useful when mounted at a junction of doors since you can then easily switch between them as needed. You can get more compatible mounting brackets to tackle doorway junctions with more than two doorways, too.

Pros
  • A wide 54-inch gate that stands at 34-inches tall.
  • Uses a double locking mechanism for maximum security.
  • Strong but soft mesh rolls away easily for compact and discreet use.
  • The three-directional opening ability makes it perfect for doorway junctions.
Cons
  • Can be difficult to install over baseboards.

Evenflo Expansion Walk Thru Room Divider Gate

Our rating:

The last baby gate we have is one that’s different from the rest of the gates we’ve featured, the Evenflo Expansion Walk Thru Room Divider Gate. That isn’t a reason to count it out, however, and it’s also the cheapest room-dividing gate here, so you should definitely consider it.

One of the main reasons this model is at the bottom of our list is because it’s technically not a retracting gate but a telescoping one, but this is functionally identical and it’s still useful as a baby gate.

The gate is thirty-two inches tall and measures sixty inches across, making it the widest gate covered on this list, so you know which one to pick if you have a wider doorway that needs child-proofing.

The gate is made of latticed wood that’s suitably lightweight and protects your fingers thanks to a safety rail that’s included. It’s a simple but reliable design for a fraction of the price that a lot of mesh gates will cost you.

Once set up, you can open it by either using its telescoping function or by swinging it open, depending on which one is more convenient for your surroundings. The swinging function can go both ways, too.

Pros
  • The most budget-friendly baby gate featured on this list.
  • Stands at 32-inches tall and 60-inches wide.
  • Simple latticed wooden design that protects your fingers.
  • Can be opened by telescoping or swinging it open.
Cons
  • Not approved for use at the top of stairs or outdoors.

Best Retractable Baby Gate – Buyers Guide

How to get the best retractable baby gate

When searching for anything for your child, you want the best and safest products available, and baby gates are certainly no exception.

Their use is specifically to keep your children safe, so buying the best baby gate for your home is important, and this only gets more complicated when you want a retractable gate that’s also safe.

We’ve written this buyers’ guide to help with that. Here you’ll see some of our rationale for the above product list through subheadings that review individual parts and features of baby gates, describing what you should be looking for when you buy yours.

Type of Gate

Baby gates are divided into two main features, the material used to make the gates and their method of opening. You need to decide whether you want a compact and easy-to-store mesh gate or a more solid gate like our number two option, which is made of plastic paneling.

It’s a tradeoff between a more durable and sturdier gate versus a bulky gate that may be more troublesome if placed in narrower spaces. Some gates, like the last on our list, may also be made of wood, but they’re functionally similar to those made from plastic paneling.

In terms of the way they open, mesh and plastic-panel gates retract either by rolling or folding in on themselves like an accordion, with the latter being less compact. However, in our list above we’ve included a gate that can also swing open, which is great for large doorways, and telescopes to open, which is no different than retracting and is often more space-efficient than plastic panels folding in on themselves.

We’d advise you to learn your space and know which ones will work best before choosing the type of gate that you prefer. Remember that you’ll need your gate for approximately twenty-four months per child.

Height and Width Measurements

When fitting any furniture or hardware in your home, it’s wise to know the dimensions of the product you’re buying, especially when that product is a gate that’s supposed to fit into a doorway with specific measurements.

Firstly, you must consider the height. Generally, the higher the baby gate, the better at keeping hyperactive children or even pets at bay. A good range to aim for is thirty-two to thirty-six inches high as this should keep your children squarely behind it.

As for width, you’ll want retractable gates if you’re dealing with narrower doorways. That’s one of the main benefits of getting gates that are retractable, they can often cover both narrow and wider doorways, so always pay attention to the minimum and maximum width ranges that a gate offers.

Locking Mechanism

A baby gate is only as good as how well it keeps children out. This is usually achieved through a top-mounted locking mechanism that requires two movements to open. The fact a lot of these mechanisms are top-mounted means that smaller children cannot reach the lock, especially on those taller gates.

Even then, we’d recommend getting locks with push-and-turn locking mechanisms since a child is less likely to get them open.

Threshold

When we say thresholds, more often than not you should look for a lack of thresholds in your baby gates.

The thresholds of the baby gate you pick should either be nonexistent or, if present, flat enough that they pose minimal risk of tripping people up as they walk through it. All of the gates we’ve chosen above don’t have thresholds because that’s the safer option.

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