The Best Retractable Baby Gates Review in 2020

 (An Ultimate Buying Guide)

Many people are familiar with the old-fashioned baby gates. These were generally clunky pieces that relied on pressure against the doorway or walls to stay in place. They were so awkward to use that you either stepped over it instead of removing it or put the baby down to move it.

The first was dangerous if you were holding the child or stepping onto a staircase. The most popular alternatives were expensive wooden or metal baby gates that opened like doors. They were generally an eyesore. The solution is the retractable baby gate.

Retractable baby gates replace large, clunky baby gates that resemble traffic barriers. The best retractable baby gate fits anywhere, slides away to stay out of the way when not needed but keeps your child safely behind it when necessary.

Let’s learn more about retractable baby gates before we share our list of the top retractable baby gates on the market.

Top 3  best retractable baby gates from 13 Choices - Comparisons

Here are The Top 13  best retractable baby gates Full Review

Let’s look at some of the best retractable baby gates on the market today.

01. Perma Brand Outdoor Retractable Baby Gate, 33 Inches Tall

Editor Rating: 4.7/5

The best retractable baby gate reviews give you critical information you need to find the right baby gate for your family.

We included the Perma brand baby gate for several reasons. First, it can extend up to 71 inches wide.

This allows you to block off wide doorways or hallways. It can be attached to drywall, but it should be attached to wooden studs in the wall.

This baby gate also gets points for being suitable for outdoor use. At 33 inches tall, it is suitable for containing both children and pets.

One downside with the flexible mesh is that it is flexible. It will not contain older children. If they climb on it and pull on the top of the mesh, they could pull it down and detach it from the wall.

The retractable mesh doesn’t always roll up out of the way. A different issue is the wide setting versus the standard setting. You have to twist a knob on the left side of the screen before it will retraction, and you need to use your right hand to unhook it. The problem is that this child-proofing measure makes it nearly impossible for someone to open and close by themselves.

Pros
  • One of the widest retractable baby gates on the market
  • Can be used outdoors
Cons
  • Not always an effective barrier
  • Hard to open and close at its widest

02. BabyDan Brand Guard Me Retractable Safety Gate

Editor Rating: 4.6/5

This 28 inch tall baby gate covers a standard three foot wide doorway. It is unusual for fitting spaces as narrow as 22 inches.

It is actually ideal for narrow spaces, because the frame takes up very little space. It can be extended up to ten more inches, but you have to buy a separate branded guard extension.

Note that it only covers a 35 inch wide space, so you cannot use it without an extender if your hallway is 36 inches wide.

There is no trip bar, so the baby gate can be installed at any height or angle.

One issue with this baby gate is the fact that the instructions are terrible. They are poorly written. That creates problems when you’re drilling holes into the walls in the wrong places. It is also difficult to attach the extension pieces if the hallway is 35 to 46 inches wide.

The gate is controlled with a push button. You need a significant amount of strength to push it down and get the gate to open. Otherwise, it can be opened and closed one handed. We don’t recommend this baby gate if you have arthritis.

Many people buy baby gates to keep their children and pets away from stairs. The manufacturer says don’t install it near stairs.

Pros
  • Can work in narrow hallways
  • Designed for one-handed operation
Cons
  • Terrible instructions
  •  Not intended for use by stairs

03. Evenflo Brand Expansion Walk Thru Room Divider Gate

Editor Rating: 4.5/5

This is a traditional accordion style wooden baby gate. That makes it lightweight. It also creates a pinch hazard for little fingers, if the gate is closed by a child.

On the other hand, the gate is literally flexible. It can be used to block off openings 24 to 60 inches across.

Furthermore, it can be opened and closed from either side. Most baby gates only swing in one direction like a hinged door.

The open lattice design means you can see what is happening on the other side of the baby gate. The design also maximizes airflow.

One downside of the wooden frame is that it is not very strong. If you have pets jumping on it or children climbing on it, they can break the wood pieces. The eye hooks that hold the gate closed can be broken if someone leans too hard on the gate, too.

It will contain puppies and toddlers, but a 50 pound child or dog climbing on it will break it. This wooden baby gate will be destroyed if you have a dog that likes to chew on wooden things.

Pros
  • Flexible and versatile
  •  Lightweight
Cons
  • Not durable

04. Babepai Brand Retractable Baby Gate

Editor Rating: 4.4/5

This cloth-like retractable baby gate by Babepai has a number of advantages. The study material won’t rip, and it can’t pinch little fingers.

It stretches out to be as long as 52 inches. The gate itself is 34 inches tall. That’s a fairly standard height.

It is easy to lock and unlock one handed. Note that many other baby gates take two hands to put back in place.

It does not swing open like some conventional baby gates. Instead, it slides in and out like a curtain.

This can be a useful space saver, such as when you want to install a baby gate on a stairway landing.

The locking mechanism can jam after a few months of heavy use. Don’t expect it to last a couple of years.

The gate material rolls up, but it doesn’t always retract smoothly. This is more of a cosmetic issue than a functional one.

A different issue is the fact that the material is so flexible that young children and animals can crawl under it unless you mount it so there’s no space between the floor and the gate. Mounting it can be a challenge, because of the minimal instructions. It generally has all of the hardware you need in the box.

The brackets are moderately strong. They won’t break if a toddler is leaning on the baby gate, but they may break if a heavy dog is pushing against it or the gate itself. Other baby gates will break if two children or animals lean against it.

It won’t fall down if the child is climbing over the top of it. It cannot handle a heavy load, including when a parent tries to step over it or a large dog trips trying to jump over it.

Pros
  • One handed operation
  • Takes up little space
  • Flexible
Cons
  • Must be careful mounting it so children can’t slide under it
  • Can’t withstand heavy loads

05. EasyBaby Brand Extra Wide Retractable Baby Gate

Editor Rating: 4.3/5

This baby gate is 33 inches tall. That’s a fairly standard size. It is notable for extending up to 71 inches or nearly six feet across without an extender.

(The manufacturer makes narrower baby gates, as well.) Note that this is 71 inches across including the hubs. 

We’d recommend this retractable baby gate for doorways and halls 70 inches across or less. Don’t use it on narrow doorways.

It won’t be tight enough to prevent pets and children from going under it. And that’s the very reason why you get baby gates.

The clean white sheet fits into any décor, and it won’t pinch little fingers. It fits almost anywhere, but you do need the EasyBaby banister adapter to mount it on your stairs. The material isn’t scratch or stain resistant.

It opens smoothly. It takes two hands to extend it, but only one hand to open it. It sometimes locks up as you try to retract it. In general, it takes a while to fully retract if it is extended the full 70 inches.

This is another retractable baby gate where it is hard to put together. Their instructions are minimal.

Pros
  • Very wide
  • Creates a solid barrier
Cons
  • Difficult to assemble
  • Requires two hands to extend it

06. Retract-A-Gate Brand Safety Gate, 72 Inches

Editor Rating: 4.2/5

We are specifically recommending the 72 inch baby gate by Retract-a-Gate because they make a narrower 52 inch version.

It is advertised as 39 inches high but it is closer to 36 inches tall. The 39 inch height is assuming you mount it two to three inches above the floor.

The manufacturer offers a wide range of accessories. For example, they have both a banister kit and a wall spacer set.

You can mount it anywhere, as long as you buy the necessary add-ons. The screws that come with it can only be screwed into drywall or wood. 

Be careful when you try to mount it into wall studs or thick baseboards. You need spacers to mount it to thick wood panels or baseboards.

One interesting aspect of the white mesh is that it is see through. You can tell what’s happening on the other side of the barrier.

This is the best retractable baby gate for stairs for families that need to contain toddlers and larger pets. Small dogs can push up the mesh net and crawl under it. Unfortunately, the connections to the banisters will scratch up the wood if your pets often lean against it. The mesh barrier is itself is scratch-resistant.

Pros
  •  Flexible and versatile product set
  • Pet-resistant
Cons
  • Small dogs can get under it
  • Need additional hardware to mount to anything but drywall

07. The Stair Barrier Brand Baby and Pet Gate, Wide Version

Editor Rating: 4.1/5

The Stair Barrier is available in 36 to 42 inch and 42 to 52 inch wide versions. We’re recommending the wide or 42 to 52 inch wide version.

This is the best retractable baby gate for those who want to block off stairwells with banisters. It is literally made for that.

More importantly, you don’t have to drill holes into the walls or buy separate banister attachment kits to make it work. It is held to the banister by several belts.

The barrier is moderately strong. It will hold back a casually curious toddler. It will not hold back a dog over 50 pounds leaning on it. Do not use this baby gate barrier if your dog will chew on the straps. Very small dogs might be able to fit between the banister and the gate. We’ll say this is more of a baby gate than a pet gate.

The baby gate is retractable, but opening and closing it can be frustrating. You have to undo three different clips to open it, and they all have to be re-connected to close the barrier again. This makes it child-resistant, but it means this baby gate is not a good choice for those who regularly climb up and down the stairs.

Pros
  • Easy to install
  • Available in a variety of sizes
Cons
  • Takes time and effort to open and close

08. Momcozy Brand Retractable Baby Gate

Editor Rating: 4/5

This retractable baby gate is designed for doorways from 33 to 55 inches wide. The gate itself is 33 inches tall. It is available in both black and white.

The mesh material is relatively attractive, and it certainly looks better than a wooden gate.

More importantly, the baby gate is designed to work both indoors and out. It shouldn’t fade or foster mold growth if located on a porch or fence line.

This baby gate needs to be installed straight up and down. It cannot stay securely in place if it is even slightly angled.

On the other hand, it is very easy to install, if you’re only installing one connection point. That’s in sharp contrast to other baby gates on our list.

The MomCozy baby gate is the only one on our list that comes with the hardware to let you set up two different connection points. 

For example, you could alternately block off the stairs or the hallway. Note that its anchors are on the outside wall. It won’t fit in a doorway with a small frame. It generally has to be attached to drywall if you don’t have a sturdy door frame.

This gate has the same problem as many other retractable mesh barriers in that a small pet can slide underneath. It will bend if a child climbs on it. It may contain a walking toddler but not a climbing preschooler.

These baby gates have a shorter than average functional life. They wear out quickly. For example, the material stretches out. Then the gate becomes harder to retract. It can be hard to unclip from the mounting bracket, too. This gets worse with time, as well.

Pros
  • Easy to install
  • Fits a relatively wide range of doorways
Cons
  • Succumbs to wear and tear fast

09. Gaterol Brand Retractable Safety Gate

Editor Rating: 3.9/5

This baby gate can stretch from 18 to 55 inches. This is one of the few baby gates on our list that could fit in a two foot wide opening.

The unit has two different mounting brackets, so you can choose where and how high it will be mounted. It is rated for both indoor and outdoor use.

One point in favor of the Gaterol retractable baby gate is that it is easy to install. However, you will need spacers if you want to install the gate into baseboards.

This isn’t an issue if you’re mounting it into a door frame or drywall. Or you could buy one of their accessory kits with the necessary hardware.

The gate requires a strong grip to lock and unlock it. While this prevents children from releasing the baby gate, it also means that people with a weak grip can’t use it. Some people need to use two hands to expand and secure it, and that defeats the point of most baby gates if you’re often carrying the child as you pass through.

A work-around is drilling a screw into the lock mechanism, but that can cause other problems. A lesser issue is how noisy it is when it retracts, though it retracts smoothly. Some people argue that makes this a better pet gate than baby gate. The material will fall apart if your dogs will chew on it or scratch at it.

Pros
  • Easy to install
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors
  • Can fit in very narrow openings
Cons
  • Hard to open and close
  • Makes ratcheting noises when opened

10. Dreambaby Brand Retractable Gate, Model L820

Editor Rating: 3.8/5

This basic white baby gate has a maximum width of 55 inches, if it is installed inside of the doorframe. If you mount it in the hallway, the width is roughly 51 inches.

If you need a few extra inches, the manufacturer sells compatible spacers. Those are also necessary to mount the baby gate to baseboards.

This baby gate retracts tightly into the roller bar. This means it opens up the hallway when you want to carry furniture or push a stroller through.

This baby gate is unusual in being equally functional if installed laterally or at an angle. It does need to be mounted at least six inches back from the top of the stairs.

You need special banister adapters, if you want to mount it on the banisters themselves. These are sold separately. It doesn’t even come with spacers, if that’s necessary.

This baby gate has two different sets of mounting hardware. You can move the baby gate from your main hallway to an outside gate, while the mounting hardware stays in place. The baby gate is designed for both inside and outside use. It is unusual in being resistant to fading on exposure to sunlight.

One issue with this baby gate is how loud the baby gate is when it retracts. It will loudly snap into place. Another issue is the gap under the baby gate once it is mounted. Even if you mount it as low as it can go (lowest screws on the baseboards by the floor), there will be a three inch gap large enough for small dogs to pass through.

If you mount it on the top of the baseboards or on the drywall above the baseboards, your children may be able to crawl under it. That defeats the entire purpose of the baby gate.

Pros
  • Can be located almost anywhere
  • Can use the same gate in two different locations
  • Won’t fade on exposure to sunlight
Cons
  • Noisy when retracted
  • Need to be careful in how and where you mount it

What is the Best Retractable Baby Gate?

There is no single retractable baby gate that works for every situation. The best retractable baby gate for stairs will never tip over, and they’re generally taller than over baby gates due to the danger posed by a child climbing or falling over the top of it.

The best cheap retractable baby gate blocks entry to a bathroom or living area, but it may not be as reliable as the one you install in front of the stairway. The best mesh gate for baby and puppy alike will let you see what is going on through the mesh.

Then you know when you need to intervene and when you can let them just play. Furthermore, not every baby gate is pet friendly.

How Does the Best Retractable Baby Gate Work?

The retractable baby gate rolls up or folds up into the supporting frame. This frame is generally mounted to the wall to help hold the baby gate in place. The baby gate moves it out of the way when you want to pass through or hide it when company is coming.

The best baby gates don’t require two handed operation, so you don’t have to put the child down to open it. You certainly don’t have to step over the baby gate to get through, but the child isn’t able to slide it aside or climb over it.

Final Verdict

The best retractable baby gate for your family will help you protect your children and/or pets from whatever hazards they need to be protected against. Whether this is preventing them from falling down a flight of stairs or ensuring they stay out of the utility room, you need the best rated retractable baby gate for your particular application.

Start by knowing how wide the doorway or hallway is. Determine whether or not you want to have the gate be able to reach across a different hallway. Decide whether ease of access or ease of installation matters more to you. Then you can determine which baby gate on our list is right for containing kids and pets.

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