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Don't Buy stair gates

Which? Don't Buy stair gate and safety barriers are potentially unsafe, difficult to install and fiddly to use. Discover which models to avoid. 

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Which? has reviewed stair gate and safety barriers from big-name brands such as BabyDan, Hauck, John Lewis and Lindam, and our rigorous stair gate tests reveal the best stair gates, as well as the ones you should avoid.

We test these stair gates thoroughly, checking that they meet the criteria for the relevant safety standard for stair gates and safety barriers (EN1930:2011). If a gate fails to comply with any part of the standard, we carry out a risk assessment to decide whether it should be logged as a Don't Buy stair gate.

Buying a Don't Buy stair gate versus one that's a Best Buy could mean the difference between keeping your child safe or not.

Our testing weights safety – the key aim of a stair gate – highest. This means that any gates or barriers that have safety failures are penalised heavily and, depending on the failure, could be made a 0% Don't Buy and issued with a Which? safety alert.

Safety alert Don't Buy stair gates

Each of the stair gates below has been made a Don't Buy with a safety alert. Follow the links below to go to the review for more information on why each of these gates has scored low enough to be a Don't Buy stair gate.

Mothercare Essential Wooden Wall-Fix Safety Gate

Lindam Sure Shut Orto

Dreambaby Liberty Security Gate with Smart Stay Open Feature

Dreambaby Chelsea Auto-Close

Cuggl Wooden Extending Gate

Cuggl Autoclose Metal Gate

Baby Dan Perfect Close

Baby Dan Premier True Pressure

Dreambaby Retractable Gate review

Lindam Easy Fit Plus Deluxe Safety Gate review

Safetots Self-Closing Gate review

How we uncover the worst stair gates

Which? reviews combine our uncompromising safety tests with our lab experts' ease-of-use assessments, as well as telling you whether you're going to struggle to get the gate installed in the first place.

  • Every stair gate review is based on safety and durability tests, including pushing and pulling the gate back and forth with 140N force for 10,000 cycles. This test is part of the safety standard. The very best gates will pass with flying colours, but the worst gates will come loose before reaching 10,000 cycles, and we'll make the gate a Don't Buy.
  • Our lab experts look out for anywhere that little fingers can get stuck, any sharp corners and even the safety messages you'll find in the instruction manual.
  • The tests also investigate ease of installation, including how long it takes to set up the stair gate, what (if any) tools you'll need, and whether it will be tricky to remove.
  • We find out how easy each gate is to use regularly, including whether you can open the gate one-handed (while you carry your baby in the other), or if you're likely to trip over the bottom U-bar of the gate.

Why you can trust Which? testing

Our independent stair gate testing, which is carried out at an accredited lab, will help you find the safest, sturdiest and easiest-to-use stair gates, and help you avoid the safety barriers that could put your child in danger. 

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