Do you need to restrict your dog to a certain part of the house - perhaps for his own safety? If so, a gate can be a great way to keep him out of trouble. In this article, we've reviewed seven of the best dog gates to help you make the right choice for your home and pet.
The Bottom Line...
- If you need a dog gate for a small dog, the Richell Pet Sitter is a fantastic choice. It has a stylish wooden frame, lockable door and is short enough to step over.
- For larger dogs that need a taller gate, the Regalo Easy Step Extra Tall is a great choice. It's 41" high and has a walk-through design.
- For outdoor use, the Cardinal Gates Outdoor Safety Gate is my top pick. It's weatherproof, highly durable and easy to install.
Companionship is one of the main reasons we love dogs so much. There are few things better than being greeted by a wagging tail and excited licks - even if you've only left the house for a few minutes!
That doesn't mean a dog should have free-run of the house though. Sometimes you may want to keep your dog away from certain rooms with delicate items. Or perhaps you need to separate your pet from visitors or children.
For these reasons, a dog gate can be a useful tool for any owner. A high-quality gate can keep your dog safe, provide "pet-free" zones and keep your dog away from potential mischief. Most gates are also easy to install and move around the house.
There are lots of indoor and outdoor dog gates on the market though, so it can be difficult to choose the right option for your home. That's why I've put together this list of seven of the best dog gates available at the moment.
Why Buy an Indoor or Outdoor Dog Gate?
Indoor dog gates can restrict your pet from accessing certain areas of the house. You may, for example, want to keep your dog away from temptations in the kitchen. Or you might want to stop him going upstairs so your bedroom remains free from hair and pet dander. It can also be useful to confine your dog when you're out during the day, and you can even watch him with a dog camera.
While some people think this isn't fair on the dog, the reality is that most dogs don't mind being restricted to certain parts of the house. Gating off a room or two also still provides more space than a crate. It's more important that your dog gets lots of attention, love and mental stimulation than it is to give him free access to the entire house.
An indoor gate (or two) is particularly important if you have a young puppy. Puppies are naturally inquisitive, but they don't have the experience to avoid common dangers. They are also more likely to chew your furniture and may not be fully house trained. For this reason, make sure your puppy is safely confined when you can't supervise him.
I also often recommend people install a dog gate between the entrance hallway and the rest of the house. Some dogs are prone to making a quick dart for freedom when you answer the door. Preventing your dog getting access to the front door can also be useful if he shows aggressive behaviour towards the person delivering the post!
Outdoor dog gates can be used for a similar purpose. The most common reason to buy an outdoor gate is to stop your pet escaping up an alleyway or onto patios, which is essential for his safety. You can also use an outdoor gate to keep your dog away from certain sections of a garden - especially if he has a habit of trampling your flowers.
How to Choose a Pet Gate
Choosing a pet gate isn't difficult, but it's important to get the right one for your home. Some of the most common considerations include:
- Type of Gate. There are several different types of gate available. Freestanding pet gates are handy if you want to move the barrier regularly, although they aren't as sturdy as more permanent options. Walk-through gates have a built-in doorway for humans to use, while adjustable-tension gates can be quickly installed on door frames.
- Height. The height of a gate is another important consideration. If you have a large dog, you might need a tall dog gate to keep him confined. Lower gates can often be stepped over, so are great for smaller breeds.
- Indoors or Outdoors. An outdoor gate is subjected to a variety of weather conditions, so it needs to be tough and weather-proof. Indoor gates don't need to survive rain, wind and snow - but they still need to be durable (especially if your pet is a chewer).
- Size. It sounds obvious, but the dimensions of a dog gate should fit the door frame or stairs where you're going to use it. Many gates are adjustable, but they have a fixed minimum and maximum width. For large entrances there are "super wide" gates.
- Material. Gates are made from a number of materials. The most expensive are wooden dog gates, which are usually heavy and durable - although they won't withstand a determined chewer. Metal gates are often lighter and can withstand chewing, but they aren't as attractive.
- Security. The size of your dog affects the type that you need. A big and strong breed, such as a Siberian Husky, needs a larger and more secure gate. You don't want a gate that can be easily destroyed by your pet.
- Small Pet Doors. Some larger doors have a smaller pet door within the frame. This is useful if you want your cat to have the freedom to walk through the door, but need your dog to be restricted.
The right dog gate for your home depends on your requirements. While a small step-over gate might be suitable for keeping a pug in your living room, it won't do much good if you have an excitable Labrador. Also, make sure you know where you want to use the gate before you buy.
7 Best Dog Gates for Stairs, Indoors and Outdoors
Listed below are seven of the best dog gates available at the moment. Each is durable, easy to install and provides great value. I've included a mixture of outdoor and indoor dog gates, so there should be an option for everyone.
Best Indoor Dog Gate
1. Summer Infant Multi-Use Walk-Through
One of the best dog gates for indoors is the Summer Infant. While it's designed as a baby gate, it's a stylish option that's just as suitable for larger pets as it is for humans. I only recommend it for medium or large dogs though - and certainly not puppies! (more on this in a minute).
What makes it stand out from the rest? Firstly, it features an attractive design with bronze finish and arched door. While it's probably not as stylish as wooden gates, it's more durable due to its metal design.
It's also a relatively tall gate (36") that fits a range of entrances. The extendable design is suitable for openings of up to 48", which is wider than most gates.
A useful feature of the Summer Infant is that it automatically closes after you walk through. This reduces the chance of accidentally giving your dog access to the kitchen or hallway. A door stopper is also included, which allows you stop the door opening in one direction (such as at the top of stairs).
Like most gates, the Summer Infant uses a pressure mounted system. It feels solid once installed and is clearly made to a high standard. There's also the option of a hardware mount if you want greater security.
There aren't many drawbacks to the Summer Infant, as it's an excellent all-round dog gate. The bottom bar might be a tripping hazard though - especially at the top of stairs. The metal design also means it makes a noise when shutting.
The biggest issue is that this gate is a potential choking hazard for small dogs or puppies. The squares at the bottom of the gate, in particular, are a perfect fit for a small dog's head. Larger dogs shouldn't have this issue, but the gate should NOT be used to confine dogs with a head that's a similar size to any of the segments of the gate.
With that said, it's a great choice for larger dogs. For smaller dogs, choose one of the other options on this list (such as the Richell Pet Sitter).
Quick Summary: The Summer Infant is a stylish dog gate that durable and easy to install. It has a number of useful features, such as an automatically closing door and the option of hardware installation. It is NOT suitable for small breeds or puppies though, as the bars are too far apart which could allow a dog's head to get stuck.
- Extra Features: Auto-closing door, Optional Hardware Mounts
- Material: Metal with Bronze Finish
- Height: 36 inches
- Price Range: $$$
- Stylish design and durable construction
- Simple to install with the pressure mounts
- Door automatically shuts
- Bars may be a choking hazard for smaller dogs
Best Outdoor Dog Gate
2. Cardinal Gates Outdoor Safety Gate
Outdoor dog gates need to be durable and weatherproof. For this reason, my top recommendation is the Cardinal Gates Black Outdoor Safety Gate. It's a tough gate that's fully weatherproof and a great choice for decks or patios.
The Cardinal Gates is adjustable and easy to install. If it's too small, you can also buy separate extensions (up to 21.75" in size). These are relatively expensive, but make it a more versatile option.
The gate has a swing door that can be operated with one hand. It can open in either direction, which is a useful feature when you're carrying a glass of wine or burger!
A minor downside is that the latch isn't the easiest to open. It can still be opened with one hand, but I would have preferred a less awkward alternative.
Despite this issue, the Cardinal Gates is one of the best outdoor safety gates available. The durable design means it'll last a long time - plus it's easy to install and looks great.
Quick Summary: The Cardinal Gates is a great choice for blocking off a patio or deck entrance. It's simple to install, has a swing door opening and is built with an adjustable design. The weatherproof coating also means it's built to last.
- Extra Features: Weatherproof
- Material: Stainless Steel & Aluminum
- Height: 29.5 inches
- Price Range: $$$
- Weatherproof design
- Swing door opening
- Simple to install
- Awkward latch
Best Large Dog Gate
3. Regalo Easy Step Extra Tall Gate
For larger breeds, one of the best tall dog gates is the Regalo Easy Step Extra Tall. It's 41" in height and made from durable steel, so it'll last a long time. The Regalo also has a walk-through design and a limited 90-day warranty.
One of the best features of the Regalo is that it has a one-hand safety lock. This makes it easy to open or lock the gate, even if you're carrying something else.
It has an expandable design, which makes it suitable for entrances ranging from 29" to 39". The pressure mount system is also simple to install, so you can move it around the house as needed.
There are a few minor drawbacks to this gate though. The doorway is relatively narrow, which might be an issue for larger people. The door also only opens one way (unlike many of the other gates on this list).
Even so, if you need a sturdy door gate for a large dog, then the Regalo is one of the best options. It's durable, simple to install and has a child-proof handle. The expandable design also means it fits a range of entrance sizes.
Quick Summary: The Regalo Easy Step Extra Tall is a great option if you have a big dog, such as a Labrador or Great Dane. The tall 41" design means even big breeds can't get over it, while the walk-through design and one-hand lock makes it convenient to have in the home. It's also available for a great price.
- Extra Features: Extra-Tall Design, 6" Extension
- Material: Steel
- Height: 41 inches
- Price Range: $$
- Tall design (41")
- Simple to install
- Expandable up to 39"
- Narrow opening for humans
- Door only opens one way
Best Small Dog Gate
4. Richell Pet Sitter
If you have a small dog, such as a Jack Russell or Dachshund, you probably don't need a tall gate. Instead, you can buy one that's low enough for you to step over, yet still tall enough to keep your dog confined. One of the best examples of this is the Richell Pet Sitter.
The Pet Sitter is an adjustable gate that's great for small dogs. It's only 21" high, so it's not tall enough to confine larger breeds. It can fit doorways from 28.3 - 41.2 inches wide though, and has an attractive hardwood frame. Mounting it is easy, as it uses an adjustable tension system to get a tight fit on a door frame.
A useful feature of the Pet Sitter is the lockable dog door. You can unlock this without needing to detach the entire gate, so it's great for giving your dog temporary access. It also comes with rubber stoppers to prevent damage to walls, a rubber bottom to protect your floor and a gate that opens both ways.
As I mentioned, the biggest drawback to this door is that it isn't suitable for larger breeds. Richell only recommends it for dogs weighing up to 17.5lbs, so larger dogs will need a bigger door. If it's suitable for your dog, however, the Pet Sitter is one of the best dog gates on the market. It's also more decorative than many gates.
Quick Summary: The Richell Pet Sitter is one of the best dog gates for small dogs. It's an attractive gate made with high-quality materials, so it won't ruin your home's interior design. The lockable door is useful if you want to give your dog more freedom at certain times without needing to dismantle the door. It's a short gate though, so larger dogs will be able to jump over it.
- Extra Features: Small Lockable Door, Rubber Bottom
- Material: Polished Wood + Metal
- Height: 21 inches
- Price Range: $$$
- Attractive hardwood frame
- Lockable door
- Step-over design
- Not suitable for medium or large dogs
- Indoor use only
Best Freestanding Dog Gate
5. Richell Freestanding Pet Gate
If you want a portable gate, a freestanding model is the best choice. My top pick in this category is the Richell Wood Freestanding, as it features an extendable design and attractive hardwood frame. It's only suitable for dogs up to 17.5lbs though, as it's a relatively short gate.
Aside from its beautiful appearance, the Richell is a sturdy gate that doesn't require installation. It features a sliding design, so it's suitable for openings between 26.4" and 40.2" (you'll need to adjust screws to change the width though). I like how the side panels fold inwards, as this makes it easy to store or travel with.
One thing to note about the Richell is that it's only 20" tall. This is fine for small breeds and allows you to step over it without needing to open a door. Larger dogs will simply jump (or walk) over it though. Other features include rubber feet to protect your floor and an easy-to-assemble design.
Freestanding pet gates are never going to match pressure or hardware mounted alternative for sturdiness, but the Richell does a great job of keeping smaller breeds confined. The collapsible design also makes it a convenient gate to have in the house.
Quick Summary: The Richell Freestanding is a convenient choice if you often need to change where your dog is confined. It features an attractive wooden frame, easily adjustable design and is short enough to step over. It's only suitable for small breeds though.
- Extra Features: Freestanding
- Material: Wood with Matte Finish
- Height: 20 inches
- Price Range: $$$
- Easily assembled and convenient to adjust
- Rubber feet for floor protection
- Great for small dogs
- Too short for medium or large breeds
Best Pet Gate With Small Door
6. Carlson Extra-Wide Walk-Thru Gate
If you need an indoor dog gate for a space that's larger than a typical door frame, the Carlson is a good option. It's an expandable gate that can fit entrances up to 37.5" wide. The all-steel construction also means it's durable and designed to last a long time.
As you can see from the photo, the Carlson is a walk-through dog gate with a 1-touch handle for quick release. It's simple to setup - and even has a smaller pet door for cats. If you don't need the smaller door, there's a spring-bolt to latch it.
A useful feature of the gate is that the human door swings both ways. This is a small point, but makes the door more convenient to use. It's also easy to install, so you should have it fitted a minute or two after opening.
One thing to note is that the bars aren't as closely spaced as other options. This is fine for most dogs, but the smallest breeds might have a chance of slipping through the gaps. The human door also isn't spring-loaded, so you'll need to shut it manually.
The Carlson is a great choice if you have a medium or large dog. The small pet door can be latched, but I wouldn't want to take the risk of a smaller breed somehow getting through. The steel design makes it suitable for chewers though.
Quick Summary: The Carlson is an excellent dog gate for medium or large breeds. The steel design means it's durable and is capable of withstanding even determined chewers, while the small pet door is a handy bonus if you have cats.
- Extra Features: Small Pet Door, One-Touch Handle
- Material: Steel
- Height: 30 inches
- Price Range: $$
- Sturdy and durable steel construction
- Expandable design to fit a range of openings
- Small pet door is great for cats
- Bars may be too wide for the smallest breeds
Best Budget Dog Gate
7. Carlson Metal Expandable Pet Gate
My top recommendation for a budget indoor dog gate is the excellent Carlson Expandable. It's a relatively simple and inexpensive gate, but it looks great and is simple to install. It's also a bargain at its current price.
As the name suggests, the Carlson features an expandable design. This allows it to fit openings ranging from 26" to 42", which is a wider range than many gates. It's mounted via a pressure system, so it can quickly be installed or removed depending on the circumstances. I like that the mounts have soft rubber ends to protect your walls too.
The Carlson is made from an all-steel frame. This is lead-free, so it's not toxic for your pet. The gate is also chew-proof, so it's a good choice if your dog is likely to try and destroy it!
A bonus is that the gate comes with a small pet door. This is useful if you have smaller pets that need access, such as cats or house rabbits. Be careful with this though - some dogs have a talent for fitting through small spaces.
One of the downsides is that it's only 24" high. While this is suitable for medium-size dogs, larger dogs are likely to jump over it without much trouble. Clever dogs may also be able to work out how to unlock the smaller pet door. This is only an issue for the smallest breeds though.
Keep in mind that this isn't a walk-through gate. While the small door is great for very small breeds, most dogs will need to be lifted over it. If you want the option of allowing your dog access at certain times, choose one of the other doors with a walk-through design. The Carlson Extra-Wide is a good example of this.
In summary, the Carlson Metal Expandable is an outstanding indoor dog gate for small or medium-size breeds. It's easy to install, doesn't mark your walls and is available for a great price. I highly recommend it.
Quick Summary: The Carlson Expandable dog gate is an excellent choice for small or medium breeds. It's low enough to step over, yet not so small that it's easy for your dog to jump. The Carlson is also durable, easy to install and provides great value. It's not a walk-through gate though, so if you want to allow your dog access at certain times choose a gate with a hinged door.
- Extra Features: Rubber Bumpers for Walls, Small Pet Door
- Material: Steel
- Height: 24 inches
- Price Range: $$
- Great value considering the durable design
- Metal frame for extra durability
- Small pet door for cats
- No door to allow your dog through at certain times
- Not suitable for larger breeds
Keeping your dog confined to certain rooms can sometimes be necessary for his safety (and your sanity!) A high-quality dog gate makes it safe and easy to do this - often without requiring permanent installation.
If you have a small dog, the Richell Pet Sitter is my top recommendation. It's a stylish model with a step-over design and handy small door. For larger dogs, the Carlson Extra-Wide is a great alternative.
Do you have any questions about choosing the best dog gate for your home? Or have I missed a gate you think should be on this list? Let me know in the comments section!