Blog Page 13

Outdoor Baby Gate Review: Stairway Special

Stairway Special Outdoor Gate in 3 different colors

As many of you probably know, Cardinal Gates produces some of the best gates for indoor use. The Stairway Special is one of the premier products on the market today. The gate that we are taking a look at in this review is the outdoor baby gate version of the Stairway Special.

So what is the difference between the two?

Can we expect this model to be as good as the indoor model?

Actually, the gate design is exactly the same. Comparing the two, we can quickly conclude that the only difference is that the “weatherproof” parts for outdoor use. According to Cardinal Gates, the gate should be able to withstand both rainy days and cold weather without breaking down.



Weatherproof Outdoor Baby Gate

“The best gate on the marked for outdoor use, period”. A bold statement made from Cardinal gates. But is it a reasonable claim? The main reason for the claim is the “weatherproofing” of this gate, that withstands all kinds of external wear and tear. It is not complicated to make a maintenance free gate for outdoor use. All you have to do is choose materials with the right properties. Cardinal has chosen to use an aluminum frame for this gate. Without going in too much detail, aluminum does corrode but not in the way that iron or steel does. Actually the corrosion creates a layer that somewhat protects the rest of the aluminum from corroding. This combined with a protective powder coated finish makes it ideal as a frame material.

There are some parts that, for strength reasons, are made from steel. Basically we are talking about screws and washers. If you buy the outdoor version of the Stairway Special, these parts are stainless steel and are included with the gate. It should also be mentioned here that it is only these parts that is the difference between the outdoor and indoor versions. If you have bought the indoor version but want to use it outside, you can buy a set that replaces the regular screws with screws in stainless steel.

For another approach check out the Dreambaby Retractable Gate.


Few things are more annoying than buying a gate that simply does not fit the opening that you want to secure. It is not unusual for gates to be both too wide and too narrow. With the Cardinal Stairway Special, this is very rarely a problem. Out of the box it is adjustable between 27” and 42 ½” which covers all normal doorways. If, however, you have a doorway that is wider than this, you can get additional extensions. Two different extension-kits can be bought separately.

  • Kit 1: model BX1 adjusts from 42 ½” to 53”
  • Kit 2: model BX2 adjusts from 48 ¾” to 64”

The video below shows just how easy it is to install the Stairway Special.


Available Colors

Although not the most important thing for a baby gate, colors do matter. Currently you can get this gate in Black, White and Brown. These basic colors covers most of the needs. Remember, we are talking about an outdoor gate and these colors will fit nicely in on almost any deck, wooden stairs or patio. For those of you who wants to blend the gate in with the rest of you deck, a brown Stairway Special should be a great choice!

That said, it probably would not be a bad thing if they could deliver a few exotic colors as well. Gates with bright colors do have the advantage of being easier to see against the background, so that you don’t have to get up from your chair to see if it is closed or not.

Features and Specifications

  • Installs very easy
  • Made especially for outdoor use, but can just as well use it indoor
  • Stainless steel and lightweight aluminum

    Gate mounted at bottom of stairs
    Can be used at top and bottom of stairs
  • Great for outside areas like decks and patios
  • Mounted with only 4 screws
  • Easy to clean
  • Available in Black, White and Brown
  • Additional width extensions available (sold separately)
  • Mounts at up to 30 degrees angle
  • Fits almost any opening
  • “Counter-intuitive” one handed opening latch
  • Easy to temporary remove without touching any screws


  • Width adjustable from 27” to 42 ½”
  • Height: 29 ½”
  • Bar Spacing: 2 ½”

Customer Feedback

Overall customer feedback is very positive on all major sites. It seems that users are generally very pleased with this gate. When writing this review, the gate has achieved a total of 4.4 stars out of 5 at Amazon which is a great score. The feedback focuses on easy installation, clear instructions and sturdiness among other things.


There have been some reports about rust on the gate after a relatively short time in use. Although this is not a problem that seems to be very frequent, it is serious enough to address it here. We do expect that a gate for outdoor use does not corrode in any serious manner. Judging by the number of reviewers complaining about it though, we can guess that the few people who has encountered a corrosion-problem has been unlucky. We would advise them to contact customer support to sort the problem out. Once in a while, every manufacturer (of any kind of product) delivers a batch that is not as good as expected. This opinion has support in the fact that most of the reviewers are satisfied with the weatherproofing system.

Another thing that is mentioned about the gate is that the “non-intuitive” gate opener is a bit hard to figure out. Usually people get used to details like this after using the product a number of times. An open latch for a gate should be no exception. In our opinion, this problem is more than overshadowed by the fact that the open latch system makes it hard for small children and babies to open the gate. And that is the most important thing.


Verdict on Stairway Special Outdoor

In summary, I have no concerns with recommending Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Outdoor Gate to anyone. It is sturdy, easy to use and easy to install. When it also can boast about being weatherproof it should be an obvious option if you are looking for a new outdoor safety gate for your child or pet.

Recommended reading: Best Baby Gates of 2017 – The Ultimate Guide