The Top 5 Styles of Pet Gates and Information to Help You Decide What You Should Buy

Too many choices can drive you crazy. It doesn’t matter what you’re buying, whether it’s something simple like a candy bar or a serious purchase like a car. When you start to see all the shapes, styles, colors, sizes and manufacturers how do you decide what one is right for you? It’s no different when you’re buying a pet gate.

Why are there so many different pet gates to choose from these days? This is a great question and one we can answer for you right here. Although there are numerous gates available for the purpose of keeping your pet out of certain areas each style of gate does serve a different purpose.

In the older days homes predominantly had certain width openings as defined by local building codes. Doorways were a method to define a border between rooms and the original style pet gates were designed to fit within these door frames. That is still true today but with more flexibility in home design these openings are no longer just a minor design concern.

People have double-wide arched openings. Rooms flow from one to the next. Having a cavernous open area is now the normal home concept. Creating a confined area within these “open space” areas is a little more of a challenge. Since you will probably have this gate for years to come, knowing what to buy should be important to you.

In total there are about 12 different styles of gates to choose from. They are; the standard size, extension gate, extra wide gate, free standing gate, plastic, pressure mount, Gated stairway, swing, tall, walk through, wide opening and wooden gates. Each type of gate offers a different set of features. Most are self explanatory but there are 5 types of gates that we’ll concentrate on here.

#1 Extension Pet Gates

The first gate to discuss is the extension gate. Extension Gates are necessary when you have a situation when the opening that you are trying to cordon off from you pet is larger than a standard size gate. But what does that mean? These gates are specifically designed so that “extensions” to the main part of the gate can be added in increments to fill in the desired opening you want to close off.

Some gates for example will tell you that the “basic gate” is designed to fit openings 28″ – 42″ wide. What if your opening is 47″ wide? Since this is an “extension gate” you can buy an extension panel to fill the extra space. Depending on the manufacturer and style of gate these extensions come in various widths and number of panels. Typically a panel extension will be a 6″, 7″, 10.5″, 12″, or 24″ wide and will accommodate any particular need.

#2 Free Standing Pet Gates

Free Standing Pet Gates are designed so that they do not need to be kept in position either by using pressure or by using installation hardware that might attach to a wall or doorway. They use “feet” that are perpendicular to the main gate and the gates can be assembled in minutes. They are also the quickest pet gates to set up or move when needed. Although the width can be changed easily, once you set them up they may need to be re-assembled if you wanted to change the width to another size.

There are numerous holes along the top and bottom rails of a free standing gate into which bolts are screwed in to make the gate a single unit. We use these in our home all the time. They are easily picked up and relocated when necessary even if we don’t change the size. The wood grain looks great anywhere in the house and keeps our Min Pins where we want them to stay. The feet also have rubber pads that prevent them from moving on or scratching a wooden floor. Free Standing Gates are adjustable and typically designed for openings from 36″ – 70″.

#3 Pressure Mount Pet Gates

Pressure Mounted Pet Gates use exactly what the name implies. There is some form of pressure being used to hold the gate in position. There are two commonly used methods to achieve this pressure. The first uses an adjustable lever or locking handle that when adjusted to the proper opening width and the lever is pushed into the locked position outward pressure is created against whatever you are closing off. This could be a doorway or wall. Never use a pressure mounted gate at a staircase location.

The best part of the installation is the fact that these gates do not require any tools, drilling, permanent hardware, screws or brackets before you use the Pressure Mounted Pet Gate. The second type and now the most common uses hand adjustment knobs to achieve the same pressure as the lever action described above. They typically have 4 adjusters that once in the gate is in the position you want, pay4d are turned to create pressure to hold the gate in place. These are known to be the easiest and most versatile Pet Gates to use in the house because they are so quickly set up or removed.

#4 Stairway Gates

Stairways can be dangerous especially with young children or pets around. Gates used in this area need to be specifically designed to be used at a staircase. Once it is locked in position it becomes very secure. This particular gate generally offers one hand operation and will swing out of the way when not in use. Also, this gate will not swing out over stairway! They are typically used in openings 26″ to 41″ wide and is 26″ tall. These special gates are ideal for the top or bottom of stairs.

#5 Walk-Thru Gates

When you have a pet gate they do a great job of keeping your pets where you want them. But they also aren’t very people friendly when you need to get to where you want to go. Sure you can climb over the gate or take the time to move it out of the way. There is a better way to get around a gate that is there for the purpose of keeping your pets contained and not you.

A Walk-Thru Gate may better serve your needs. They look great, fit a multitude of different openings, offer one hand operation and best of all you don’t need to climb over them to get where you’re going. These are especially useful for elderly people that can neither climb nor move the gates easily. They are quickly becoming the gate of choice because of the added freedom it offers over other styles of gates.


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