What are the Different Types of Stair Gates?

G. Wiesen

There are many different types of stair gates available from a number of different manufacturers, though in general they are typically either mounted or unmounted gates. Mounted gates are physically installed into an area, either in part or entirely, on two sides of a walkway that will be blocked by the gate. There are quite a few different types of mounted gates, including walk-through gates and retractable gates. Unmounted stair gates do not install into a particular area, therefore they do not require the installation of hardware on either side of the gateway and are easily moved from one space to another.

Stair gaits may be used to prevent a child's access to stairs.
Stair gaits may be used to prevent a child's access to stairs.

Stair gates are blockades used to prevent access to stairs. They are typically fairly small in size, usually low enough for an adult to carefully step over, but high enough to prevent small children and animals from accessing the stairs. Such gates are often used as safety devices to prevent infants and other young children from reaching stairs, usually before they are ready to navigate them without adult assistance or supervision. Stair gates are available in a number of different designs and materials, including plastic, metal, and wood, and are typically either mounted or unmounted by design.

Stair gates help protect curious toddlers from taking a tumble.
Stair gates help protect curious toddlers from taking a tumble.

Mounted stair gates are placed in a particular area, usually the top or bottom of stairs, and at least partially installed into the area. Retractable gates, for example, often require that a piece of hardware be mounted at each side of the walkway that is to be blocked. A strong mesh screen can then be pulled across the walkway and connected to each piece, creating a protective barrier that can easily be retracted when not in use. Walk-through stair gates are also commonly mounted and feature a hinged doorway that can be opened for passage through the gate, typically using a lock that cannot easily be opened by an infant.

Unmounted stair gates are designed to be more easily moved from location to location and do not require physical installation for use. These gates often use pressure to secure the gate in place to each side of the walkway. Such unmounted gates are often made from plastic, usually with rubber feet that keep them in place without damaging the surfaces they are using for support. Some of these stair gates are made using clear plastic, allowing easy supervision of children through the gates. Some models can be designed to function as either unmounted or mounted gates using additional hardware.

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