The Best Dog Gates

A dog gate can help enforce boundaries and ensure the safety of rambunctious pets. Keep precious pooches out of trouble with the best dog gates ahead.

Best Overall

The Best Dog Gates Option: Safety 1st Easy Install Tall & Wide Walk Thru Gate

Safety 1st Easy Install Tall & Wide Walk Thru Gate

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Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Dog Gates Option: Safety 1st Eco-Friendly Nature Next Bamboo Gate

Safety 1st Eco-Friendly Nature Next Bamboo Gate

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Best Freestanding

The Best Dog Gates Option: Arf Pets Free Standing Wood Dog Gate

Arf Pets Free Standing Wood Dog Gate

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In homes with dogs, a reliable dog gate is a valuable tool for control and safety. These simple but practical gates are used to block off certain zones, like rooms, stairways, and unsafe areas. A good dog gate is sturdy, durable, and, above all, effective.

Since needs differ from one home to another, the ideal dog gate for each will have various features depending on the pup. Dog gates offer differing levels of protection, from basic low gates for calm pooches to taller, sturdier gates for four-legged escape artists. This list includes a mix of dog gate types to suit a range of pets. Read on for the best dog gates to keep Fido safe and contained.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Safety 1st Easy Install Tall & Wide Walk Thru Gate
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Safety 1st Eco-Friendly Nature Next Bamboo Gate
  3. BEST FREESTANDING: Arf Pets Free Standing Wood Dog Gate
  4. BEST FOR STAIRS: Regalo Top of Stairs Baby Gate
  5. BEST FOLDABLE: Primetime Petz 360 Configurable Dog Gate With Door
  6. BEST FOR SMALL DOGS: Unipaws Freestanding Wooden Dog Gate
  7. BEST FOR LARGE DOGS: Carlson Extra Tall Walk Through Pet Gate With Door
  8. BEST RETRACTABLE: EasyBaby Retractable Baby Gate
  9. BEST OUTDOOR: Carlson Pet Products Outdoor Pet Pen and Gate

How We Chose the Best Dog Gates

The Best Dog Gates Options
Photo: amazon.com

Since dogs come in all sizes and temperaments, we selected a range of dog gate products in hopes that there’s a gate on this list for any home. Across all the products we looked at, we considered a few key criteria: sturdiness, durability, ease of use, and style.

Sturdiness was the main factor we considered: The dog gate needs to stay solidly in place, or it’s not useful. In some households, dog gates take a beating, so we also kept durability in mind. This list includes several picks made of metal or wood since these options are less likely to break under pressure.

Through extensive product research, we included dog gates that are easy to install and operate, since the best dog gates aren’t a big hassle to use. Lastly, a dog gate doesn’t need to be an eyesore, so we paid attention to aesthetics as well.

Our Top Picks

With options for small dogs, big dogs, and everything in between, these are the best dog gates for keeping four-legged friends in line.

Best Overall

Safety 1st Easy Install Tall u0026 Wide Walk Thru Gate

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A modern design and a range of user-friendly features makes the Safety 1st Easy Install Tall & Wide Walk Thru Gate our top pick. This pressure-mounted gate is easy to install and even easier to use. Measuring 36 inches tall, the gate has a decent height, so it can work in homes with larger dogs. It has an adjustable width that spans from 29 to 47 inches wide to fit different doorways.

A walk-through door means people can bypass the gate when needed. Made with both babies and pets in mind, this gate has a child-resistant handle to keep little fingers (or paws) from opening the latch.

To make sure the gate stays well and truly in place, this gate has Safety 1st’s SecureTech pressure-indicator feature. An indicator on the gate turns red when the gate pressure is lacking to prompt users to adjust the pressure mount and make sure it stays secure.

Product Specs

  • Type: Pressure mounted
  • Materials: Metal
  • Dimensions: 36 inches tall by 47 inches wide by 2 inches deep

Pros

  • Attractive look
  • Child-resistant latch
  • Pressure-indicator feature

Cons

  • Dogs could stick paws or noses through spire spaces

Get the Safety 1st Easy Install dog gate at Amazon, The Home Depot, Target, or Wayfair.

Best Bang For The Buck

Safety 1st Eco-Friendly Nature Next Bamboo Gate

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The Safety 1st Eco-Friendly Nature Next Bamboo Gate is an affordable option, plus it’s an eco-friendly pick. This gate is made from durable bamboo and 100 percent recycled-plastic mesh paneling. Besides being more sustainable than some gates, the contrast between the natural bamboo frame and black mesh also looks contemporary and fresh.

This gate is pressure mounted for straightforward and tool-free installation. Nonmarring bumpers prevent damage to wall and door frames. The gate measures 24 inches tall and can extend from 28 to 42 inches wide. When not in use, the lightweight sliding dog gate has panels that fit together to make a compact, easy-to-store package.

Product Specs

  • Type: Pressure mounted
  • Materials: Bamboo and recycled plastic
  • Dimensions: 24 inches tall by 28 to 42 inches wide

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Eco-friendly materials
  • Small mesh gaps ensure pets can’t sneak through

Cons

  • Lacks walk-through gate Stubborn dogs might try to climb the mesh

Get the Safety 1st bamboo dog gate at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or The Home Depot.

Best Freestanding

Arf Pets Free Standing Wood Dog Gate

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With its appealing wood build and large size, the Arf Pets Free Standing Wood Dog Gate is an excellent freestanding dog-gate option. This gate measures 31.5 inches tall and up to 80 inches wide, but since it has four panels on hinges, pet owners can adjust it to fit much smaller doorways. Two wide stabilizing feet keep the gate in place, and users can purchase additional feet as needed.

Unlike some simpler freestanding gates, this one has a walk-through door to make it hassle-free to bypass. It’s a multiuse gate, too; it can be configured into a small four-sided pen, and it includes two extra connector rods to seal the pen closed. Users can even buy extension panels to create a larger gate or enclosure. Bone-shaped cutouts along the top give this gate a bit of charm and double as carrying handles when it’s time to move the gate around.

Product Specs

  • Type: Freestanding
  • Materials: Wood
  • Dimensions: 31.5 inches tall by up to 80 inches wide by 2 inches deep

Pros

  • Attractive dark wood look
  • Flexible configurations
  • Carrying handle

Cons

  • Includes only 2 support feet; is studier with 4

Get the Arf Pets dog gate at Amazon or Target.

Best For Stairs

Regalo Top of Stairs Baby Gate

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When it comes to a dog or baby gate for stairs, it’s important to find a very secure gate with no bottom lip that could be a tripping hazard. The Regalo Top of Stairs Baby Gate goes above and beyond this criteria. Suitable for either the top or bottom of stairs, this gate also has a main draw: installation flexibility.

The Regalo gate comes with a universal banister mount kit that should fit most stairways. The banister mount wraps around the stair banister, which negates the need for holes and screws. It also includes wall-mounting hardware for the other side. Made of sturdy metal, this gate is a durable choice.

This gate is expandable from 29 to 43 inches wide to cover even large staircases. Since it’s 30.5 inches tall, it’s suitable for most dogs. Like most stair gates, this one has a walk-through door with a locking latch to prevent it from opening unintentionally.

Product Specs

  • Type: Hardware mounted
  • Materials: Metal
  • Dimensions: 30.5 inches tall by 29 to 43 inches wide by 1 inch deep

Pros

  • Hardware mounted for better security
  • Includes banister mount kit
  • Good adjustable width range

Cons

  • The latch can be finicky

Get the Regalo dog gate at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Target.

Best Foldable

Primetime Petz 360 Configurable Dog Gate With Door

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A freestanding foldable dog gate is ideal for homes that need only a temporary dog gate, like for when family and friends are over. The Primetime Petz 360 Configurable Dog Gate With Door is a practical and attractive choice, both for occasional and everyday use.

This dog gate is made from solid wood and finished in a rich walnut color. The four panels are joined by hinges that move in either direction to allow the gate to fold together or create flexible layouts. Since it’s relatively lightweight for a wooden gate, it’s also an easy one to move around or tuck away.

The gate measures 30 inches tall by 72 inches wide at its maximum span. To take advantage of the full width, shoppers may need to buy extra support feet (not included). Nonslip pads help keep the gate in place, but people can easily enter the walk-through door with its one-handed latching mechanism.

Product Specs

  • Type: Freestanding
  • Materials: Wood
  • Dimensions: 30 inches tall by up to 72 inches wide by 0.8 inches deep

Pros

  • Solid wood construction
  • One-handed latch operation
  • Nonslip padding

Cons

  • Support feet for extra stability are a separate purchase

Get the Primetime Petz dog gate at Amazon or Target.

Best For Small Dogs

Unipaws Freestanding Wooden Dog Gate

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Due to their size, small dogs generally need a less imposing gate. A sturdy freestanding gate like the Unipaws Freestanding Wooden Dog Gate is nearly always good enough to stop little dogs. This gate is made of wood, with three panels that together can reach up to 60 inches across. Since it measures 36 inches tall, there’s very little chance of small dogs scaling this gate. The design also doesn’t have any mesh, which prevents pups from climbing.

Support feet keep the gate in place even if small dogs choose to jump or scratch. The panels can fold either way, so users can configure the gate into a U- or Z-shape design. This gate is also foldable for storage. Narrow gaps between the gate spires ensure that small dogs and puppies can’t squeeze their way through.

Product Specs

  • Type: Freestanding
  • Materials: Wood
  • Dimensions: 36 inches tall by up to 60 inches wide by 0.71 inch deep

Pros

  • Tall, mesh-free design prevents small dogs from scaling
  • Narrow gaps
  • Sturdy support feet

Cons

  • Lacks walk-through door

Get the Unipaws dog gate at Amazon or Unipaws.

Best For Large Dogs

Carlson Extra Tall Walk Through Pet Gate With Door

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It can be tough to contain large dogs, but the Carlson Extra Tall Walk Through Pet Gate With Door is up to the task. This extra-tall dog gate stands 36 inches high and features a durable all-steel frame that is chew-proof and holds up to big dogs. To fit most doorways and halls, this gate expands to fit openings between 29 and 36.5 inches wide. The gate can be pressure mounted or hardware mounted (and includes the hardware for each option), depending on household needs.

This gate is designed to keep medium to large dogs in check while still letting others through. It has a walk-through design and a small lockable 8-inch-long by 8-inch-wide door for cats and little dogs to roam freely.

Product Specs

  • Type: Pressure or hardware mounting
  • Materials: Metal
  • Dimensions: 36 inches tall by 29 to 36.5 inches wide

Pros

  • Includes pressure or hardware mounting
  • All-metal construction
  • Good for multipet households

Cons

  • Lacks a mechanism to keep small door open

Get the Carlson extra tall dog gate at Amazon or Chewy.

Best Retractable

EasyBaby Retractable Baby Gate

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Well-behaved dogs may just need a gentle reminder to stay out of certain areas. In these cases, the EasyBaby Retractable Baby Gate is a good pick. When not in use, the soft door retracts fully to keep the gate out of the way without the need to store it. Dog owners can open and close the gate with one hand, making it even more user-friendly.

This retractable dog gate is suitable for extra-wide doorways. The retracting mechanism mounts to the wall on one side of the opening, and users can pull out the door to reach up to 55 inches across. Since it measures 33 inches tall, this gate can also work for larger dogs (as long as they aren’t big jumpers or scratchers).

Product Specs

  • Type: Retractable (hardware mounting)
  • Materials: Not specified
  • Dimensions: 33 inches tall by up to 55 inches wide

Pros

  • Retracts neatly when not in use
  • 1-handed operation
  • Fits openings up to 55 inches

Cons

  • Dogs can push underneath the gate fabric

Get the EasyBaby dog gate at Amazon.

Best Outdoor

Carlson Pet Products Outdoor Pet Pen and Gate

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When it’s necessary to block off the deck, patio, or lawn, choose an outdoor dog gate. With a weatherproof construction and versatile design, the Carlson Pet Products Outdoor Pet Pen and Gate is a worthy pick. To weather the outdoors, this gate is made completely from chew-proof steel, so it’s durable against dogs as well as the elements.

This product is both a dog pen and a gate, measuring 36 inches tall and spanning up to 144 inches wide with its six included panels and four ground stakes. The panels can stretch across an opening as a gate or all join together to form a pen. A walk-through door and a small 9-inch-long by 8-inch-wide pet door both add to its convenience.

Product Specs

  • Type: Freestanding or hardware mounted
  • Materials: Metal
  • Dimensions: 36 inches tall by up to 144 inches wide

Pros

  • Suitable for indoor or outdoor use
  • Weather-resistant, all-metal design
  • Works as a gate or pen
  • Small pet door

Cons

  • Some dogs might climb up wide mesh sides

Get the Carlson Pet Products outdoor dog gate at Amazon or Chewy.

Or, DIY Your Own Dog Gate

One of the benefits of making your own dog gate is the ability to customize the gate’s size, shape, and look. It gives crafty dog owners the chance to make a one-of-a-kind gate that fits perfectly in the space. Wood is the easiest material to use when DIYing a dog gate, and that’s also the material we recommend in our DIY baby gate. This detailed tutorial makes a baby gate that easily doubles as an option for dog use.

In terms of materials, this gate requires five 8-inch-long pieces of 1×2 lumber (adjust as needed to make a larger gate). Necessary tools include a handsaw, palm sander, and drill to assemble the gate pieces, and it comes together with wood glue and screws. The finished product is a modern-style gate that can be stained or painted.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Dog Gate

There’s more to choosing a dog gate than just picking a suitable size. Several other factors come into play that can contribute to the effectiveness, longevity, user-friendliness, and look of the pet gate. Since dog gates should last several years, it’s worthwhile to shop around for the right one. When choosing a new dog gate, consider the gate type, material, intended location, size, ease of use, and aesthetics.

Types of Dog Gates

Dog gates come in a few different types, explained here:

  • Freestanding dog gates: As their name suggests, freestanding dog gates don’t attach to the wall or doorway. They’re the easiest to install and move around, so they are excellent choices for temporary use. While they’re designed to stay up on their own, freestanding gates are generally easier to knock down than pressure-mounted or hardware-mounted gates. They also tend to be less sturdy, so these gates aren’t usually ideal for rambunctious dogs.
  • Pressure-mounted dog gates: Pressure-mounted dog gates have a mounting mechanism that pushes against surfaces to hold the gate in place. These gates are generally adjustable for width and are very easy to install. Pressure-mounted gates tend to be more secure than freestanding gates but less secure than hardware-mounted options. Since they don’t require any hardware to put them up, they’re still relatively easy to remove and move around. Keep in mind that while they’re not supposed to, pressure-mounted gates can leave marks or dents on doorways and walls.
  • Hardware-mounted gates: Hardware-mounted dog gates use hardware like screws to attach them to a door frame or wall. These mountable dog gates take more effort to install (and will also leave a couple of holes), so they’re a more permanent option. But since the gates are properly attached, they’re the sturdiest choice.
  • Foldable dog gates: Foldable dog gates have hinges so the gate can fold up for storage. These options are great for households that need a lighter-duty dog gate for occasional use. Often freestanding, extra-wide folding dog gate options are also available, which are great for large or irregularly shaped openings.
  • Walk-through gates: A walk-through pet gate is essentially a dog gate with door access. The gate has a built-in door so owners can walk through without needing to hop over or take down the gate.
  • Retractable gates: Retractable gates are made of soft fabric and retract into a casing so they can be kept out of sight when they’re not in use. These are more of a barrier than a gate. While they still set a physical boundary, dogs can bypass them easily if they try, so they only really work for calm, well-trained dogs.

Materials 

Dog gates can be made of plastic, metal, wood, fabric, or a combination of these materials. The material can influence the gate’s durability and aesthetics.

Generally, plastic gates are affordable. They typically aren’t the most stylish, but they’re easy to find and often budget-friendly.

Metal and wood pet gates are usually sturdier and more durable than their plastic counterparts. For dogs with a habit of chewing, a metal gate is the best pick. Wood gates don’t make the best puppy gates for this same reason, since puppies can be mouthy. As a bonus, metal and wood also tend to have a more elevated look, so they’re good choices for a functional and stylish dog gate.

Retractable gates have a fabric door instead of hard material. These are usually the least durable, so they’re only well suited to boundary-respecting dogs.

Size and Location

One of the first steps in deciding on the best dog gate is to consider the intended location. Make sure to measure the width of the doorway, hallway, or other areas where the dog gate will be installed. A range of sizes are available, from narrow to extra-wide dog gates. Choose a dog gate that will fit in the area, keeping in mind that an expandable dog gate provides more versatility for installation.

The height of the dog gate is just as important as the width. Some dogs will require a higher gate, while others will do just fine with a short gate. Keep in mind the height of the dogs in the household, but also consider how high the dogs can jump. Dog gates come in various heights to keep all types of breeds contained.

Many dog gates for house use are designed for indoor use. However, outdoor dog gates are also available. These weatherproof options are made to withstand outdoor use without deteriorating or rusting.

Ease of Installation and Operation

Broadly speaking, ease of installation depends on the gate type. Freestanding gates can be placed essentially anywhere and are the easiest to install. Pressure-mounted gates can install into any suitable doorway or hallway and don’t call for any extra tools. Hardware-mounted gates are the most difficult to install, requiring the most effort and a few tools.

Dog gates can include several features that make them more pleasant to use. The first and most common is a walk-through door that allows people to pass without removing the gate (or having to step over it, which is a tripping risk). When shopping for a walk-through gate, consider the latching mechanism. Some shoppers might want a latch that’s easy for anyone to open, while others might prefer a childproof latch.

To cater to homes with cats, some dog gates include a small cat door that allows feline friends to pass through while keeping dogs out. Anyone with a dog that likes to get into the litter box can see the benefit of this feature.

Aesthetics

The most important feature of a dog gate is that it’s effective, but it really doesn’t hurt for it to look good either. It’s hard to miss the presence of a dog gate in a room, so it’s nice to have an aesthetically pleasing option. Luckily, there are several dog-gate options that are designed to be both attractive and practical.

Material can play a big role in aesthetics. A well-crafted wooden dog gate can look quite appealing, especially in rooms with wood furniture. However, for dogs that like to chew, wood isn’t ideal (and the look will be quickly ruined if there are bite marks). Metal gates can also look stylish, and some come with decorative accents. Due to their material, plastic gates can look a bit cheap, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t attractive options available. Across all materials, dog gates usually come in neutral colors.

FAQs 

We’ve given you a lot to think about while searching for a dog gate to best suit your household’s needs. You might still have some questions; read below to find answers to some of the most common questions shoppers ask about dog gates.

Q. What size dog gate should you get?

Measure the space where you plan to use the dog gate and choose an appropriate size. If the gate will be used in a few different locations, look for an adjustable dog gate that fits the largest entrance.

Q. Are dog gates easy to install?

Generally, yes, most dog gates are designed for easy installation. The installation process varies from gate to gate; freestanding dog gates are the easiest to set up, while hardware-mounted dog gates require a bit more installation work. For a less stressful process, read all the directions before installing a pet gate or door.

Q. What else can you use as a dog gate?

Other items like room dividers and baby gates can be used to dissuade a dog from entering an area indoors. Keep in mind that these other options might not be as effective as a good dog gate. For outdoor areas, consider one of the top invisible dog fences or these great fences for dogs.

Q. What’s the difference between a dog gate and a baby gate?

Dog gates and baby gates are designed with their respective target audience in mind. Dog gates tend to have a more heavy-duty build than lightweight baby gates. They’re often stronger to withstand all the little things dogs throw at them, like jumping, scratching, and biting. Generally, to control more rambunctious dogs, it’s better to opt for a dog gate. A baby gate may be suitable for calmer dogs.

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Jasmine Harding

Contributing Writer

Jasmine Harding is a freelance writer specializing in home products. She started writing for BobVila.com in 2020 and covers a range of product-related topics, from the best household appliances and tools to the latest gadgets and tech for the home.

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