1. Parenting

Munchkin LOFT Baby Gate Review

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Munchkin Loft Baby Gate
Photo courtesy of Pricegrabber.com.
The LOFT baby gate from Munchkin is a sleek, modern-looking gate that permanently attaches to the wall. It is available in dark wood and aluminum or all-aluminum versions. This gate can fit openings from 26.5 inches to 40 inches, and it is about 30 inches high. You can swing the gate open in either direction, and it latches as soon as you push it closed. To open, you press the buttons on the top and bottom of the top rail. The Munchkin LOFT baby gate costs about $100.

What I Like About This Baby Gate

I've never liked the way most baby gates seem to stand out glaringly in the home. The LOFT baby gate from Munchkin blends in really well in the modern home, so it almost looks like it was built right in to the house. This gate has an aluminum outer frame, and one version has dark wood slats and extenders, while the other version repeats the sleek aluminum on those parts. Both versions are attractive.

I love the installation method of this gate. The parts that actually install against the walls are just narrow beveled strips that don't stick out very far from the wall. Once you've installed those strips, you just slide the rest of the gate down into the grooves on those strips, and it locks into place. If you don't need the gate for a while, you can just slide the whole thing back out again. Since the mounting pieces don't take up that much space, you get a wider walkway through the gate. It's also nice that you can still move large objects like play yards through the doorway without completely uninstalling the gate.

You can adjust the width of the gate by sliding the top and bottom rails and then locking it into the appropriate spot. Two side extenders are used for the widest openings. I like how this gate looks the same at any width - you don't have those long screws and adjuster knobs that are used to make other gates fit various size doorways.

While the gate itself is about 30 inches high, you can install it slightly higher if you want, which gives space for your toes to fit under as you're standing there opening the gate. The mounting strips sit up toward the top of the gate, so you don't have to adjust installation for baseboards.

The LOFT gate is lightweight, so it doesn't bang into the wall with a slam when you open it, but it's durable enough that my 25-pound son can stand on it and try to move it, but it doesn't budge. Opening and closing the gate is simple. Squeeze the two buttons above and below the top rail at the same time, and swing the gate open. When you push the gate closed, it gives you an audible click, so you know it's really shut and secure. That made it easy for me to teach my other kids how to be sure they closed the gate on our stairs. If you don't hear it click, you didn't close it!

What I Don't Like About This Gate

The adjustable width selections aren't infinite. You have to choose from set widths that are kind of far apart when you think about the many doorway widths in the world. There are lots of ways to adjust the gate to fit, and I don't think most people will have a big problem with fit. However, I'd really like to see the ability to just slide to any position and lock the rails. When we installed the gate on our stairs, we discovered that our half-wall is very slightly uneven. To make the gate work, we have to lock the bottom rail only and leave the top rail in a between-widths position. That means every once in a while, one of the kids accidentally pulls it so the gate is too wide and we have to unlock it and start over on width adjustment. Again, probably not a big issue for most homes, but potentially a problem if you have uneven walls.

If you're installing on a half wall with a decorative top, or any other wall with an overhang, you may run into trouble. Installing the strips was no problem on our half wall, but when it was time to drop the whole gate in, we realized the overhang of the wooden decorative top was in the way. My husband had to remove the top of the half wall in order to get the gate in. That means we can't easily remove the gate. Luckily, the gate has a wide enough opening that this isn't a big inconvenience for us.

Consider where you'll install the gate before you buy. As long as there aren't any obstructions or overhangs, and you've got relatively even walls, the Munchkin LOFT gate will make a sturdy and attractive addition to your childproofing efforts.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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