If you’re looking for a baby gate for an unusually-sized opening, or for tight spaces, you might want a retractable baby gate. A retractable baby gate is a mesh gate that extends from one side to the other. When not in use, it retracts back to the wall. There are both benefits and drawbacks to retractable baby gates, but for many specific scenarios they could be the best possible option.
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Why Would You Want a Retractable Baby Gate?
Retractable baby gates are affordable and space-saving. There are many ways in which these gates are better than traditional, swinging bar gates, but there are also some downsides. Here are some of the most important benefits:
- Cost. A retractable baby gate can range in price, but they’re generally close to half the cost of a swinging baby gate.
- Versatility. Retractable baby gates can fit very narrow or very large openings, because they are completely adjustable to your needs.
- Space. Retractable gates don’t need to swing open in either direction, making them perfect for spaces where there isn’t any room.
- Appearance. A retractable gate will virtually disappear altogether when it’s retracted, making it extremely unobtrusive.
At the same time, there are downsides, too. Retractable gates aren’t always as secure as other gates. If they’re allowed to sag, they can be climbed. They also require hardware mounting, rather than tension mounting, so not every parent will be able to install them in their home. And if they don’t have enough tension, they can allow babies and pets alike to climb underneath.
How Can You Make a Retractable Baby Gate Safer?
When you install a retractable baby gate, you need to be especially certain that it has enough tension. If it sags at all, it’s going to be a problem. Pay special attention to the mountain hardware and make sure that it has been mounted into studs, where possible, so that it won’t collapse if someone tries to climb it or lean on it. Keep the gate either fully open or fully retracted at all times; half-retracted gates could be tripping hazards, and could stretch out the material over time. Inspect the gate at intervals for any fraying fabric or broken parts; being held under tension could potentially cause it to start to unravel.
With all that to consider, here are some of the top baby gates available today.
An extra-wide, retractable baby gate, the PRObebi has every feature that you want to see. It’s available in a white, non-disruptive design, has one-handed operation, and can be installed with two different types of hardware. This gate can be expanded up to 59 inches, making it one of the most versatile gates you’ll see on the market. The gate can also be latched in any directions with its 360 degree design, and it has a two year warranty just in case you need to return it.
You can lock or unlock the retraction, which makes the gate easier to use. When fully retracted, the gate sits close to the door in a cylinder. When fully extended, it’s a fine mesh that cannot be easily climbed and will not sag. This gate can also be used either indoor or outdoors depending on your needs, so you can use it to enclose a porch if desired. Its latch supports one-handed operation, and its aluminum case is durable enough to last you throughout your child’s infancy.
- 360 degree design.
- Special locking system.
- Indoor/outdoor usability.
- Only about 30″ high.
- A little more expensive than average.
This gate is unique in that it doesn’t use mesh. Instead, it divides the room through an expanding and contracting wooden gate. Evenflo is one of the most trusted brands in baby and pet gates, and this room divider is one of the most affordable options. That being said it has both pros and cons.
The upside to this gate (apart from cost) is that it’s attractive and simple. It has a telescoping design that lets it retract into itself, though it will still stick out a little from the wall. It can be expanded anywhere from 24″ to 60″, which is incredibly impressive. And because it’s wooden, it’s very sturdy.
But the moving wood design of it does mean that it could pinch little hands, and it is very climbable because it is a wood lattice. While you should never use a baby gate without watching your child regardless, your child may need to be watched more closely with this gate.
- Easy to use.
- Doesn’t fully retract.
- May be easier to climb than other options.
With a lockable, retractable design, the Babepai Retractable Safety Gate is one of the best options. Cheaper than the PROBebi with a lot of the same features, the Babepei does merit some comparison. It can be extended up to 52″ wide and more importantly stands at 34″ tall, which is taller than many other gates, and perfect for children who are natural climbers. It has a double-locking design: twisting clockwise locks, twisting counter-clockwise unlocks. And it rolls up completely, making it a great space saver.
This gate can be used both indoors and outdoors, and it has a special installation sheet that helps you line it up and install it (with its hardware mounts) with ease. It’s an easy-to-use, one-handed design, with the major downside being that it only comes in gray (which won’t fit into every home), and it can only move left to right, which could be difficult in some situations.
- Opens up to 52″ wide.
- Stands 34 tall, which is taller than average.
- Can be used inside and outside.
- Opens only in a single direction.
- Only comes in gray.
Available in white, gray, and black, the EasyBaby looks, in every respect, like any other gate.But it’s hiding a surprising amount of utility under its unassuming form. Let’s take a look at what makes this one special. First of all, the fact that it’s 71″ wide makes it perfect for virtually any opening, and it’s 33″ tall, too. It’ll hide away when it’s not in use, and it’s one of the best options for those who need to shut off particularly large openings.
It has a complete installation kit, which includes spacers and a guide template, all of which makes it easy to install. It’s also sturdy and durable, and it’s easy for people to open and close. As long as it’s installed correctly, it’s going to be a great choice for nearly everyone. It does require that pilot holes be drilled if it’s being installed directly in wood, which means that you should have a drill to complete the installation.
That being said, even though it holds tension, there are some problems. Because it’s so wide, it’s possible for there to be enough slack that a determined child or pet can go under it, rather than over it. Some people can also find it hard to open.
- Extra wide and tall.
- Easy to install.
- Sturdy and durable.
- May have slack that allows babies to go under it.
- Can be a little difficult to open.
Unlike the cloth retractable gates, the BabyDan is made out of a foldable plastic. It can fit anywhere from 25.4″ wide to 36″ wide, which is usually ideal for a small to large doorframe. This gate has an extraordinary number of positive reviews, and a creative design. Because it’s made out of plastic, it’s more secure than many other designs. It’s also slippery enough that it’s not going to let a child climb it.
Since it folds against the wall, it’s great for smaller spaces where a traditional gate wouldn’t fit. And there isn’t a trip bar at the bottom like many traditional gates, which makes it so that you won’t trip when going in and out. This gate can mount either inside or outside the door, and even has extension pieces for easier use. Altogether, it’s a great gate that does have some minor flaws.
Above all, the fact that it can’t go beyond 36″ wide means it’s unsuitable to some spaces. It can also be a little harder to install, and the moving hard pieces does mean that there’s some pinch risk.
- Stable and durable.
- Can be installed in smaller spaces.
- Can be installed nearly invisibly.
- Can’t go beyond 36″ wide.
- A little difficult to install.
- May become a pinch risk.
A retractable gate doesn’t have to be unattractive. Summer specializes in making gates that are both attractive and durable. In this case, the Summer Infant Retractable Gate has a beautiful, black pattern on its durable mesh, and can fit openings up to 50″ wide. However, it’s only 30″ tall, which isn’t as tall as some of the other gates on this list. There’s also a special baseboard kit which makes it easier to install around baseboards.
This gate can be used anywhere, including at the top of stairs. It retracts close to the walls, which makes it ideal for smaller spaces. When you don’t want it to be there, it virtually won’t be. This is perfect for if you need gates some of the time, but would like the freedom to take the gates down when you no longer need them. The lever can lock to prevent inquisitive children from getting past, and the silver satin finish fits into any decor.
- Attractive decorative design.
- Able to fit openings up to 50″ wide.
- Has baseboard hardware for easier installation.
- Sometimes pulls out unevenly.
- Fabric may start to fray.
Available in black, blue, gray, pink, and white, this is one of the most versatile gates available in terms of sheer appearance. If you have a design that you want this gate to fit into, this is perfect for you. Not only that, but this gate is 36.6″ tall, which makes it one of the tallest gates available. It can fit narrow openings of 18″ and wide openings of 55″, altogether making it one of the most versatile gates on the market. With all that in mind, it’s difficult to list a gate that would be more ideal than this one.
This gate is approved for both indoor and outdoor use, and when it’s not in operation, it’ll roll up and tuck in securely around the walls. It’s ideal for doorways but can also be used for halls and entryways. The mesh is also scratch resistant, which means that it can be used for families that have pets, too. And because it’s hardware mounted and very durable, shaking it and trying to rip it apart won’t work. Furthermore, there’s a special warning sound that sounds if the gate is opened unintentionally.
Nothing’s perfect. Some gates have flaws that mean that they don’t lock as tightly as they should. It does have some points of failure and you should be particularly careful when you install it, and you should take a look at it regularly to see if it’s starting to weaken.
- An ultra tall gate.
- Comes with multiple color options.
- Adjustable width.
- Can fall apart if not installed correctly.
- May not lock properly.
This baby gate is approved for children up to 24 months old and pets up to 40 pounds, which makes it an excellent choice for families that have both children and pets. The Aurho retractable baby gate is 33 inches tall and up to 48 inches wide, which unfortunately does mean that the gate isn’t going to be as effective as gates that can open wider. On the other hand, a smaller opening size generally makes these types of gates more durable.
This gate is easy to install and once installed, it can be retracted to be extremely unobtrusive. It does have to be installed with screws to be mounted most effectively, and therefore requires some hardware knowledge. But a big problem is that some children may be able to climb under the gate. Otherwise, it’s a very durable gate, and an excellent choice for someone who wants a simple gate that can do a lot.
- Easy to install.
- Only opens to 48″.
- Can be climbed under.
Some people have extremely wide openings that they need to protect, and for them there’s the GMI Keepsafe. The GMI Keepsafe is a retractable wooden gate that can retract to 25.5″. Because of that, it’s really only suitable to particularly large spaces. It’s never going to retract smaller than that. Cheap and available to be installed in spaces that have uneven openings, the GMI Keepsafe is great for open floor plans and large halls.
Because this isn’t a traditional retractable gate, it isn’t going to be as unobtrusive as most. It’s also possible a small child may be able to climb it, if you aren’t watching your child closely. It’s often recommended for people who have babies and pets, as pets generally won’t try to jump over this gate. This is because there isn’t an actual bar at the top of the gate, and they can see they won’t have any purchase.
One of the only gates available that can open to 108″ this gate is great to keep in mind. It has great reviews, but keep in mind that children could potentially be injured by moving parts when the gate is opened and closed, so they are going to need to stand well clear of it. This may not be the best for children who are nearing 24 months and starting to become extremely inquisitive.
- Extremely large gate that opens to 108″.
- Easy to open.
- Easy to install.
- May pose a pinch hazard.
- Only closes to 25.5″.
An aluminum alloy and mesh gate, the Costzon is one of the most affordable gates available. It’s recommended for both pets and children, particularly toddlers. It can be adjusted up to 51″ and there’s one-handed operations. It also has the ability to easily lock and unlock. It’s easy to install and use, even though there are a lot of small parts that will need to be manipulated in order to install it.
This gate can be used at the top of stairs, large hallways, and more. It’s also discreet and will hide away when it’s not in use. It’s one of the most highly rated gates, but it’s also fairly generic. When it is in use, it’s not very attractive. But it can also be used indoor and outdoor. At 35″ tall, the gate makes it very difficult to be climbed, and its thin but durable mesh fabric can be seen through to make it less obtrusive altogether.
- Can be used indoors and outdoors.
- Expands up to 51″ wide.
- Installs easily.
- Not very attractive.
- Can start to sag after installation.
How Can You Find Safe Baby Gates?
For a safe retractable baby gate, look at reviews. You want a gate that isn’t climbable: a tall gate that will provide enough tension and support that your child won’t be able to climb the mesh door. Other than that, retractable gates can actually be safer than other options, because they don’t have any hard, metal parts, and aren’t as likely to be climbed by an intrepid toddler.
Last updated on May 5th, 2020 at 12:44 pm