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Which mesh baby gates are best?

Every parent wants to keep their child safe, and that means considering hazards both inside and outside of the home. Baby gates are an effective tool to keep children safely contained near you.

While there is no doubt that swinging baby gates work well, they can be problematic to install in small spaces. They can also get in the way at times. Retractable mesh gates don’t suffer from these issues. Some, such as the Smart Retract Store Retract-A-Gate, are even suitable for use at the top of stairs.

What to know before you buy a mesh baby gate

Like any product where there are multiple types, mesh baby gates offer some pros and cons versus other styles. It is important to have a good understanding of both their benefits and drawbacks before purchasing one to make sure it is the proper choice for your house and family.

Pros of mesh baby gates

Mesh baby gates have a retractable design that is ideal for small homes and passageways. Unlike traditional baby gates, mesh baby gates don’t require any additional space in front of or behind them to swing open. They also feature an internal spring that automatically retracts them when released from the clip, hook or latch on the opposite side. This can be very convenient. Once these gates are opened, you don’t have to worry about them unexpectedly closing and getting in the way, as can happen with swinging gates.

Unlike traditional solid baby gates, which may not be adjustable, mesh baby gates can be installed in any size opening as long as it is narrower than their maximum length. This makes them highly customizable. They can be installed at an angle, which many solid models can’t.

Many parents may appreciate the soft material of mesh baby gates too because it won’t present a hazard if a child falls against it or crawls into it and bumps their head.

Cons of mesh baby gates

Despite the many benefits of mesh baby gates, there are also some cons. For example, the internal spring that automatically rewinds them can potentially be a hazard if they have a lot of tension and an adult accidentally releases the gate when it is still far away from the winding mechanism.

Also, the mesh material can get stained from messy fingers and is more difficult to clean than the plastic or aluminum bars that solid, nonretractable models are made from. This is especially an issue if you also have pets in the house. There is also the potential for the mesh material to rip or tear — an issue that you won’t have with solid baby gates. That said, if you purchase a high-quality model, it is rare for this to happen.

What to look for in a quality mesh baby gate


Pay attention to both the width and height of a mesh baby gate when choosing one. Most are between 28-33 inches tall. Either is generally fine for a baby, but if you plan on continuing to use the gate into your kid’s toddler years, it is best to choose a taller model as there is less chance of a determined child climbing over it.

The width determines in which openings and passageways a particular mesh baby gate can be installed. Standard interior doorways measure between 24-36 inches and hallways between 42-60 inches.

Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association certification

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, which is often referred to as the JPMA, is an organization that independently tests baby and child products for safety. You can rest assured that any JPMA-certified baby gate meets stringent requirements for durability and reliability to keep your child safe. Though it can be difficult to find JPMA-certified mesh baby gates, there are some available. Most experts recommend choosing one of these if it fits your needs. 


Mesh baby gates can be hardware mounted or pressure mounted. Because baby gates are designed to prevent a child from entering or exiting an area, you should choose a model that offers the most security and stability. This often means hardware-mounted models. Though installation is more complicated and time-consuming, the safety benefits outweigh any potential hassles.

One-handed operation

Ideally, any baby gate should be easy to operate with a single hand. This allows you to open and close the gate with your child, groceries or anything else in the other hand without a lot of frustration and fumbling around.


Many mesh baby gates come in multiple colors so you can choose the option that blends in best with your home. This prevents them from being an eyesore while they keep your baby safe.

How much can you expect to spend on a mesh baby gate

Most mesh baby gates cost between $50-$200.

Mesh baby gate FAQ

Can I use a mesh baby gate at the top of the stairs?

A. This depends on the gate in question. Some models are certified or recommended for the top of stairs, while others are not. This information can usually be found in the product listing or the product manual. If it does not explicitly state that it is safe for use at the top of the stairs, you should assume that it is not. 

Can I use a mesh baby gate as a pet gate?

A. Many mesh baby gates are perfectly suitable for use as pet gates, too. Like with those intended for babies, hardware-mounted models are going to be the most effective barriers. You should also consider your pet’s behavior. If they tend to scratch at things a lot, a mesh gate may not hold up as well as a wood, plastic or metal model.

What are the best mesh baby gates to buy?

Top mesh baby gate

Smart Retract Store Retract-A-Gate

Smart Retract Store Retract-A-Gate

What you need to know: The Retract-A-Gate is one of the few JPMA-certified mesh baby gates and is suitable for use at the top and bottom of stairs.

What you’ll love: It spools and unspools smoothly, and its large hooks make it easy to secure in place without fumbling around.

What you should consider: It is more expensive than most others and some find the aesthetics lacking.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top mesh baby gate for the money

Perma Child Safety Retractable Baby Gate

Perma Child Safety Retractable Baby Gate

What you need to know: This retractable gate holds up well to a lot of use and abuse, and it is suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications.

What you’ll love: The frame is rustproof, and the mesh is UV resistant. Also, it looks more attractive than many other models and comes in two heights, one of which is 41 inches tall.

What you should consider: Some find the latching and unlatching process awkward. The installation can also be a bit tricky due to poor instructions.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Skip Hop Retractable Mesh Baby Gate

Skip Hop Retractable Mesh Baby Gate

What you need to know: The Skip Hop Mesh Baby Gate is a standout for aesthetics but is nearly impossible to operate with a single hand.

What you’ll love: It comes in a neutral color that blends in well with most homes. Plus, it can be customized to work with and without baseboards.

What you should consider: The mesh material is a bit flimsy.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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