We all have a spot in our house that we don’t want baby to venture into.
Gone are the old-school pop-out baby gates that we’ve all busted a shin on, and retractable baby gates have taken over.
Unlike many modern baby products, retractable baby gates are utilitarian in nature, which can make it even harder to select the best product.
I’ve researched retractable baby gates and selected the top 6 products for usability, durability, and safety. The top pick for best retractable baby gate is the Retract-A-Gate.
In addition to the Retract-A-Gate option, review the other best retractable baby gate selections to determine which product meets your specific needs.
|The Best Retractable Baby Gates||Why It's Best||Mom Rating|
|Smart Retract Retract-A-Gate||Versatile, Durable, One-hand Operation, Variable Widths||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Babepai Baby Gate Retractable Indoor/Outdoor Safety Gate Product 52" Wide.||Dual Locking, Durable, Easy Installation||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Gaterol Active Lite Retractable Safety Gate||No Threshold, Fits Narrow Widths||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Perma Child Safety Outdoor Retractable Baby Gate||Designed for Outdoor Use||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Lascal KiddyGuard Avant, Retractable Baby Safety Gate||Sleek, Modern Look||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Evenflo Expansion Walk Thru Room Divider Gate||Simple, Safe||♥♥♥♥♥|
The 6 Best Retractable Baby Gates
Retract-A-Gate by Smart Retract – Best All Around Retractable Baby Gate
I selected the Retract-A-Gate retractable baby gate as the top choice for parents. This gate is the most versatile and durable product I found in the retractable baby gate product category.
How is the Retract-A-Gate versatile? It is JPMA certified for use at both the top and bottom of the stairs. Many retractable baby gate products don’t recommend using for the top of the stairs.
Also, it’s been tested for use both indoors and outdoors. The mesh fabric is the same fabric used on cargo trucks and is designed to resist UV rays and mildew. In other words, this product was built to hold up and keep your baby safe in a variety of settings.
When compared to other retractable baby gates, the Retract-A-Gate’s features offer the same or better benefits. This baby safety gate is washable and one of the tallest available at 34 inches tall. It also has strong mesh, a dual locking mechanism, and one handed operation.
In addition, it’s available in two widths to fit your home specifications. Plus, the Retract-A-Gate works for pets and even has scratch-resistant mesh.
Overall, the Retract-A-Gate retractable baby gate is a smart option for parents. You can trust this product is safe and works great once mounted.
Also, it’s built to last. It is important to note that most baby gates are only recommended for use up to 24 months. After that time period, your baby is too smart to stay behind the gate. Our little sweethearts figure out how to easily open most gates into those late toddler and early preschool years.
- Durable and strong mesh material
- Works for indoors and outdoors
- Certified for both top and bottom of the stairs
- Fits narrow spaces
- Quiet operation
- 2 width options and 3 color options: black, white, and tan
- Extra wall mounting and stair banister mounting kits available
- One hand operation
- Made in the USA
- Must place 6-inches from top of stairs for safety, making installation trickier
- Pet approved, but doesn’t work well for small dogs
- Must close and lock the gate for proper operation
The Perma Child Safety Outdoor retractable baby gate stands out for its specific outdoor design. This product is a good option for deck stairs for your peace of mind and your child’s safety.
Not only is the Perma retractable gate designed for outdoors, but it fits extra large opening unto to 71 inches wide. The 39 inch tall fabric is scratch and weather resistant for outdoor durability and the metal parts are coated for safety and no rust. Also, it’s protected by a one-year limited warranty.
The only reason I’d buy the Perma gate over the Retract-A-Gate for outdoor use is budget considerations. Otherwise, the Retract-A-Gate is the superior product.
However, the Perma Child Safety Gate should fit most family’s needs to easily block outdoor openings.
- Designed specifically for outdoor use
- Extra-wide opening up to 71 inches
- Weather resistant
- Dual-action locking mechanism
- Available in 3 color options
- Retractable features reported to fail sometimes, but product includes 1-year limited warranty
- Mounting hardware not reliable quality
- Not as durable as other brands
The Lascal Kiddy Guard Avant offers a sleek and modern look that other retractable baby gates don’t have. Like the Retract-A-Gate, the Lascal is JPMA certified for use at the top of the stairs.
However, the Lascal only fits opening up to 48 inches. This product isn’t designed for wide openings in the home. It is 32.3 inches tall.
For the price, the better option is the Retract-A-Gate, but if style is your priority, the Lascal Kiddy Guard is the choice. Like the Gaterol, the Lascal doesn’t have a threshold when opened. It hides completely behind the opening. This is also good to avoid tripping or bumping into the edge of the gate.
The Lascal Kiddy Guard is also not designed for outdoor use. This is best used for narrow, indoor openings.
- Style, sleek and modern
- Quiet operation
- JPMA certified
- Easy to operate with one hand
- Better product options for the price
- Narrow opening of only 48 inches
- Wall mounting hardware could be improved
The Gaterol Active Lite retractable baby gate is a solid alternative to the Retract-A-Gate. However, it is not without risks.
Let’s start with the benefits. The Gaterol Active offers installation where there is no overhang of the baby gate when the gate is open. This means, when installed correctly, the opening is clear.
The Gaterol model also works in very narrow spaces, as small as 18 inches. However, the maximum width is only 55 inches. It comes in at just over 36 inches tall. This is a good option for small spaces, but choose a different model if you need to block larger openings.
The product listing isn’t entirely clear as to the suitability for outdoor use. However, in communication with the manufacturer we’ve found that it is made to be used outdoors and indoors.
- Fits narrow spaces
- No threshold when open
- One-handed operation
- Budget-friendly option
- Negative reviews about difficulty to open and staying latched
- Maximum width 55 inches
- Noisy when retracting
Okay, so technically the Evenflo Expansion Swing Wide Gate is more telescoping than retracting. That is if we classify retractable as retracting by rolling up into a compartment. But, I’d be remiss not to tell you about this option.
The 32 inch tall Evenflo Expansion Gate offers the option to either retract or swing open. It’s a wooden gate with an old-school feel. The simple design is durable and reliable. When compared to other retractable gates, it stands up as a solid option at a lower price point.
If budget restraints were an issue, I’d just buy this Evenflo model. Sometimes simple products get the job done for less.
- Wide opening up to 60 inches
- Simple wooden design
- Affordable for most budgets
- Option to retract or swing open
- Not approved for outdoor use
- Not for use at the top of the stairs
The Babepai Retractable Baby Gate is a close second to the Retract-A-Gate. The only real differences are the JPMA certification, two width options and the fabric is less durable.
One benefit of the Babepai baby gate is the lower price point. However, you may experience lower quality in return.
The product description states this product can be used outdoors, but the mesh material doesn’t offer the same mildew and UV ray protection of the Retract-A-Gate. If used outdoors, I recommend bringing the mesh portion inside after each use to ensure lasting quality.
The best features of the Babepai retractable baby gate are the easy wall installation and automatic roll-up of the mesh when unlocked. Plus, it’s 34 inches tall.
Also, this product has a dual locking mechanism where you close the gate and then lock. Some people don’t prefer the second step, but it’s how the mesh stays taut and keeps your little one from opening the gate. It can still be done with one hand.
Overall, this is a solid purchase for your home, especially if you are on a tighter budget. The Retract-A-Gate has a 6-inch set back from the top stair. This is because that’s what the JPMA certification states.
The Babepai doesn’t offer the same recommendation because it’s not certified, but I do. You don’t want your baby to slip through and fall down the stairs.
- Recommended but not certified for top and bottom of stairs
- Automatic roll-up when unlocked
- Easy to open latch system
- Durable mesh fabric
- Easy installation
- Not certified for safety
- Would not recommend for closer than 6-inches to the top of the stairs
- Not weather resistant for outdoor use
- Only available in 52-inch width but is adjustable
Retractable Baby Gate Buying Considerations
If you’ve narrowed your baby gate search to the retractable category, you probably have a tough to fit space or don’t want a bulky baby gate. Unfortunately, many of the retractable baby gates available aren’t that great for durability or top of stairs use.
Most retractable gates use mesh so that the gate can roll up. However, mesh stretches and expands. Over time, the integrity of the product can become compromised. This is why I like the Retract-A-Gate. It uses a higher grade of mesh and is certified for the top of the stairs.
When selecting a retractable baby gate consider the following factors: dimension of opening, budget and location. Don’t use an un-certified baby gate at the top of the stairs. And, always leave a 6-inch gap between the top stair and the gate.
Before you buy, look at the ease of use, installation process, quality of the wall mounts, and indoor/outdoor options.
FAQs for Retractable Baby Gates
Is a retractable stair gate safe?
Yes, as long as it is approved for stair use and it has been installed properly. If the correct mounting hardware has been used and the gate is closed, give it a little push test to make sure it stays secured.
If it can withstand you testing it, then it should be able to keep baby safe.
Where should I put baby gates?
You’ll want to put baby gates up to help keep baby in safe areas and out of dangerous areas.
A good rule of thumb is that if baby can’t be in the room without supervision, a baby gate needs to be placed in front of that doorway.
If that would mean that every doorway would need a gate, then consider making one baby safe room, such as a living or family room, and putting a baby gate up to keep baby in that safe area.
Typical doorways that need securing from a closed door or baby gate include kitchen and bathroom doors. No one wants baby splashing in the toilet or reaching for a hot oven!
Stairs also need to be blocked off for a crawling baby. You should put a baby gate at the top and bottom of the stairs. Only purchase baby gates that have been approved for use on the stairs and install them correctly for the best protection.
Will a mesh retractable gate rip if baby pushes on it?
Mesh gates are created to be pretty durable. Many retractable mesh gates can withstand a push force of 100 to 200 pounds, which is more force than your 20 pound baby could ever exert!
If baby pulls himself up to standing on the baby gate, it shouldn’t rip or tear if it’s high quality. It’s not like a screen door that will rip if you just look at it too hard.
That being said, don’t let a hyper child run into it like it’s a finish line ribbon. That will probably be enough force to compromise it in one way or another.
Can you DIY a retractable baby gate?
You can make your own fabric or roller baby gate, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
I’m all for making your own things for baby, but when it comes to safety, I would suggest that you stick with products that have been created and tested and approved by experts for keeping your baby safe.
Final Thoughts on Retractable Baby Gates
My recommendation is to only select a retractable gate if absolutely necessary due to your space. Other baby gates are more reliable, durable and safe. The Regalo baby gate brand we’ve previously reviewed offers a good alternative with many different types of baby safety gate options.
The entire point of a child safety gate is to restrict access to certain areas for your child. Even the best retractable baby gate is only recommended for up to 24 months of age. Plus, even top quality retractable gates experience stretching of the mesh over time.
If you are determined to invest in a retractable baby gate, go with the Retract-A-Gate for safety and durability.