We carry out all tests ourselves and test all products in real conditions. Our tests of safety gates have been ongoing for a year, with gates installed in the homes of several different families with small children – in doorways and on staircases. The families have thus been able to use the gates in their everyday lives, and after the test period we have evaluated the gates.
Installation: Was the gate easy to install, is it flexible in terms of area of use and were the instructions clear and easy to follow?
Use: Is the gate easy to open and close, can it be done with one hand and is the gate unobtrusive when open?
Wear: How well does the gate wear after a period of intensive use, what does the gate look like at the end of that period, and what does it sound like?
Our test families' impressions of the safety gates were compiled and compared with the price of the product. Based on the gates’ scores, we then selected a test winner.
Easy-to-use child safety gate, which is self-closing and has convenient one-handed opening
Price class: Budget One-handed opening: Yes Minimum width: 73 cm Maximum width: 80 cm – extensions can be bought separately Type of gate: Metal Height: 72 cm
The Safety 1st Auto-Close is an easy-to-use child safety gate with some well-thought-out functions. Installation is simple. The gate has four separate brackets that are either screwed to the wall or attached directly with a self-adhesive surface. The gate is mounted in a door opening up to 80 cm wide, but there are also extensions that allow the Safety 1st Auto-Close to be up to an extra 28 cm in width. The appearance of the gate is classic, in painted metal. The gate has a transverse bar at the bottom, which means it’s not suitable for placing at the top of a staircase. There’s a risk of tripping over the lower edge of the gate when going through it. But in all other types of door openings, the Safety 1st Auto-Close is an incredibly practical gate.
As the name suggests, Auto-Close is a self-closing gate. Only one hand is required to open it, but unlocking takes place in two steps for that little extra safety. A latch and a button must be pressed in at the same time, then the gate can be opened. Once you let go of the gate, it automatically swings shut again and locks. This function is particularly convenient if you often carry a child when going through the gate, or even if you're just worried about bigger siblings going through but forgetting to close the gate behind them. The Safety 1st Auto-Close can be set so that it can be opened in both directions or just in one direction. After frequent use, the Auto-Close was still trouble free, and the gate never feels stiff – but nor is it too easy to open either. As long as it’s not used on a staircase, the Safety 1st Auto-Close is one of the most convenient child safety gates on the market, and is thus our choice for best in test.
High-quality child gate with flexible mounting options and secure closing
Price class: Premium Type of gate: Textile One-handed opening: Yes Minimum width: No minimum Maximum width: 120 cm Height: 79 cm
The Lascal KiddyGuard Avant is a premium-class child gate, and that quality is evident throughout. The gate is very flexible in terms of mounting, and is one of the few that works even in the most complicated door openings or stairs. When the gate is open, it’s barely visible and not at all intrusive against your other furnishings. To use the gate, you must turn a knob with one hand, pull out the fabric with the other hand and hook the gate into the brackets. Bigger siblings of school age will understand how the gate works and be able to open it, but their arms will be too short to close it. After a few months of use, the fabric in the gate is a bit slacker after the children have hung on it, but not very much and it doesn’t really affect how well the gate works.
The only function that’s really lacking is the ability to open the gate conveniently with one hand, as it’s best done with two hands. One-handed opening is possible in theory, but it does require you to quickly first turn the latch and then, equally quickly, unhook the gate from the wall bracket. All of which is a bit difficult to do with a child on your arm, and it’d be much better if it could be done more conveniently. The advantage, of course, is that two-step opening means an additional degree of safety and makes it that bit harder for small children to accidentally open the gate. In summary, the Lascal KiddyGuard Avant feels like a very safe purchase. Flexible enough to be attached almost anywhere, more or less invisible when not in use and really safe and durable when closed and in place. The price tag is high but the functions are so good that the Lascal Kiddyguard Avant is still our choice as the best premium gate.
Tall, flexible child gate that can also function as a room divider
Price class: Medium Type of gate: Metal One-handed opening: Yes Minimum width: Not known Maximum width: 278 cm – extensions can be bought separately Height: 71 cm
Baby Dan’s FLEX Large child gate has more uses than just being attached in a doorway. The FLEX includes a gate and two side pieces, which are mounted together and can be angled as needed. If you buy additional panels, you can arrange the FLEX to become a kind of mini fence. In this way you can surround a stove or screen off one half of a room. The FLEX also works very well as a gate in a double door, as most other gates are too narrow to fit in such wide openings. Despite the fact that the gate consists of so many parts, it feels stable and sturdy. The gate itself can be opened one-handed, but it isn’t easy to grasp how to do that. With practice, it’s easy, but for occasional guests the gate is perceived as cumbersome and they prefer to step over it.
The FLEX Large has a crossbar at the bottom, which means it’s not suitable to be mounted at the top of a staircase as the risk of tripping is too great. On the other hand, you can always construct the gate in an arch in front of the first step. The gate itself can be opened in both directions. It has no automatic closing, so you must ensure that the gate is locked after you have passed through it. Closing the gate is a bit more difficult than opening it, as you have to fit the locking mechanism perfectly. The Baby Dan FLEX Large would have been even better with automatic closure or if it had locked itself after you shoved it shut behind you. If you need to block off something larger than a standard doorway, however, the Baby Dan FLEX Grind Large is the best option on the market.
Child safety gate with practical and secure self-closing, equipped with convenient one-handed opening
Price class: Budget Type of gate: Metal One-handed opening: Yes Minimum width: 73.5 cm Maximum width: 79.6 cm – extensions can be bought separately Height: 73 cm
Baby Dan's Two-Way Auto-Close is a metal gate that can be mounted in a doorway without the need for screws. The gate is clamped in position and the four washers for the brackets are held in the correct position with double-sided adhesive tape. After a long period of use, the gate still looks very nice and the joints haven’t yet started to squeak. The best feature of the Two-Way Auto-Close gate is the automatic closing, which means you never have to be afraid of forgetting to close the gate behind you. This is also very useful if you have forgetful older siblings in your home. The gate is opened with a simple one-handed grip. Opening is simple enough for older children to be able to perform, but too difficult for a small child. So the gate feels very safe and secure.
Assembly of the gate isn’t completely straightforward, as you need tools to tighten the nuts so the brackets are completely stable. Once the gate is mounted, it’s not easy to move either, so it’s really best suited for long-term use. This gate isn’t suitable for mounting at the top of a staircase, as it has a crossbar at the bottom that you might trip on. Otherwise the gate worked very well. The Baby Dan Two-Way Auto-Close can, as the name suggests, open in both directions. If placed in a doorway where it doesn’t always need to be in use, we’d have liked a function that made it possible to fold the gate away. When the kids aren’t at home, the gate does sometimes feel in the way. After testing the Baby Dan Two-Way Auto-Close, we believe it offers a good quality gate at a fair price.
Child safety gate that opens automatically after unlocking and is unobtrusive when not in use
Price class: Budget Type of gate: Plastic panel One-handed opening: Yes Minimum width: 64.5 cm inside door frame, 55 cm outside door frame Maximum width: 89 cm – extensions can be bought separately Height: 66 cm
The Baby Dan Guard Me is a plastic panel gate that folds away like a fan or accordion when it’s opened. This makes it very unobtrusive, keeps it out of the way when not in use and allows it to fit well in doorways or stairs whilst open. The Guard Me fits in doorways up to 79 cm wide, but you can also buy extensions separately. The gate can be attached both inside and outside the door frame so the gate sits in front of the door opening. As it has no crossbar at the bottom – which you can easily stumble on – the Baby Dan Guard Me can also be used at the top of a staircase. Mounting is simple, but it does require screwing the brackets to the wall. After that the panels are put in place.
You can open and close the Guard Me with one hand. But when the gate is new, our testers found the buttons to be stiff, and it took some time before they really worked properly. This makes the gate difficult at first to both open and close. But the more the gate is used, the easier it becomes. On the other hand, because it is a bit stiff, the Baby Dan Guard Me is very child-safe. There’s no chance that a small child will be able to open it. One big plus is that the gate folds up automatically against the wall when you open it, and then takes up very little space. The Baby Dan Guard Me is stylish, the gate is unobtrusive and the functions are intelligent – so overall this is a well-designed child safety gate.
Safety gates can be used in several different ways and are available in many different models. All of them are intended to prevent access, for example through a door or down a staircase, so that children or pets can’t get through. Securing your home with a gate is recommended when your children have reached the age where they start moving around by themselves. But it’s a good idea to have a gate in place before that, even before your child starts crawling. How long you then use a gate for depends on your circumstances. If your child starts to climb over the gate, it’s actually safer to remove it and teach them how to use the stairs safely.
Safety gates can be made of wood, fabric or metal. Wooden gates are made of different types of wood, such as oak and birch, and can also be painted so the gate blends in better with the rest of your decor. Gates made of fabric often look like a kind of net. This type of child safety gate works according to the same principle as a roller blind, with the fabric on a pull-out roller you attach to the other side of the door opening.
There are several different models of gate, and they often suit different situations. Multi-panel gates, which can be extended and sometimes even connected together to create a free-standing fence, are often the best choice if you want to protect children from a fireplace or enclose a stove. There are also good, cheap travel gates that are collapsible and easy to store, as well as gates that are better suited for outdoor use, for example on a staircase leading to a terrace. Some gates don’t open at all, but are mounted in place in their brackets and then removed completely when not in use. This type of gate sometimes has a mounting without screws and without any need to drill. You clamp the gate in place in its own brackets, which are often self-adhesive.
Gates that can be opened can sometimes be set so they only open outwards or inwards. There are also self-closing gates. When the gate is opened and you let go of it after passing through, the gate shuts again thanks to the automatic closing. This type of gate is a good idea if you have children of several different ages and are afraid that older siblings will forget to close the gate. If you want a gate that’s unobtrusive when it's open, either a gate made of textile or an accordion gate that folds up to the door frame when not in use is recommended.
The most important thing when choosing a gate is to make sure it fits in the doorway or on the stairs where you plan to use it. Be sure to measure the distance between the walls or posts the gate is to be attached to. Some gates are extra wide, and sometimes you can buy extensions. If you’re looking for a very narrow gate, it’s important to compare the different minimum dimensions for the gate width. Gates to be used for stairs, especially at the top of a staircase, shouldn’t have a crossbar at the bottom that you risk tripping on. If the gate is to be attached to a double door or spiral staircase, it’s often better to use one of the more flexible textile gates. These can be mounted at an angle, but they do also require mounting with screws.
The height of a gate can also be relevant. Most gates aren’t height adjustable, so if you want an extra high gate, you must make sure you choose one from the outset. The height of a gate varies. Often there are also instructions on how much space there needs to be between the floor and the lower edge of the gate, so the child can’t squeeze underneath. Which safety gate is best depends partly on where and how the gate is to be used, and partly on how well the different models fit your needs.
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