Every Sunday we host from 1 to 12 guests at our house for board games and hamburgers. We have three dogs in the house, and as more and more people mull about in the kitchen while food cooks the more and more the dogs get underfoot.
We tried shooing them out of the kitchen but that request wasn’t consistent enough for them to understand when it was okay to be in the kitchen and when it wasn’t.
We barricade our upstairs floor with a baby gate, and figured it would be worthwhile to do so with the kitchen doorway.
We use an Evenflo Summit tension baby gate and I was eager to buy another one. Unfortunately it’s either out of production or Amazon doesn’t carry it, because the price was almost 50% higher than when I bought it in 2011.
I bought the Regalo gate for $32 delivered from Amazon Prime, just a little less than what I paid for the Evenflo Summit. Unlike the Summit, the Regalo arrived undamaged and in one piece. The overall construction and packaging is better than the Evenflo. I feel like the extension piece on the Regalo is slightly more sturdy, although neither one of them are particularly robust.
The concept is exactly the same: you center the gate as best as you can and then extend rubberized feet into your door frame / door way. A retention ring holds the feet in place and you screw the feet tight against whatever you’re using for support.
The Regalo opens 16″ compared to the Evenflo Summit’s 16.5″. This isn’t a dealbreaker for most, but when we used the Regalo to block off the kitchen we bumped into the frame more than once.
The big disappointment with the Regalo is its locking system. In an age where we attempt to protect our children from everything, the double-locking handle of the Regalo is overkill, especially for our usage.
You open the Regalo by lifting upwards on the big plastic white lever. Seems straightforward, yes?
You can lock the white lever with a spring-loaded red lock.
The problem with the Regalo is that if you put the lever down far enough the red lock automatically engages.
You have to pull the red lock back about an inch before it will release the white lever. You have to hold the red lock in place while lifting the white level.
This turned out to be a big problem for guests who were unfamiliar with this particular gate even though some of them had children and/or had been around baby gates before. It sucked a special kind of ass for when we were carrying food or refreshments to our guests and had both hands full.
The gate latch turned out to be such a pain we took the old Evenflo Summit out of the stairwell and put it in the kitchen. The Regalo now guards the stairs, and we very rarely close it all the way. The dogs think the gate’s closed at this point and rarely come up unless we “sleep in” on Saturdays and miss their breakfast time.
If you have real children you might like the double latch auto-locking feature, but I guess it depends on where you draw the line between safety and annoyance. Other than the latch and the slightly smaller opening, the Regalo does a fine job for about $30.