When our younger son was born, we decided to buy a gate to keep his older brother out of the nursery during nap time.
But we couldn’t get just any gate. Our oldest is a big, strong toddler who ranks in the 90th percentile for both height and weight.
We needed a gate that could keep Godzilla at bay.
After doing some comparison shopping, we settled on the Munchkin Auto Close Gate, available for around $59 on Amazon.
The Munchkin Auto Close Gate is made of sturdy steel tubing, and it feels solid. It doesn’t bend when our 3-year-old grabs it and flexes his muscles, and I’ve never once worried that he would be able to break it.
After nearly 18 months of use and abuse, it’s held up well.
Although I was impressed by the quality when the gate arrived, getting it installed was a bit of an ordeal. The gate requires a fair bit of assembly, and the instructions left a lot to be desired. I’m a handy guy who has, among other things, remodeled our kitchen and bathrooms. But it took some fiddling to figure out how to put the Munchkin gate together. The main problem was that some of the pieces I was working with looked different than what was shown in the assembly guide.
Even after I had the gate put together, mounting it in the doorway was tricky. The gate is a pressure-mount style, with four individually adjustable feet that hold it in place. Each threaded foot needs to be tightened separately, first by hand, then using a wrench once they’re too tight for your fingers to turn.
Not too bad, right?
Yeah, except there’s nothing holding the feet in place, and while I tightened one the others kept falling out. I needed a couple more hands to hold everything together while I worked.
But once I got the gate installed, it was rock sold. The doorways in our home are an in-between measurement, and the traditional wooden gates with pre-set notches are completely useless. Our toddler would calmly walk up to the gate and yank it out of the doorway in one fluid motion.
By contrast, the individually adjustable feet on the Munchkin Auto Close Gate let me find a perfect fit. Now our 3-year-old can rattle the gate and throw his weight into it to his heart’s content and the gate doesn’t budge.
The Munchkin fits doorways from 29.5″ to up to 38″ wide using the included extenders.
The gate’s swinging, auto-closing door was the main reason we purchased it. While many gates force you to climb over them, the Munchkin gate allows you to just unlatch it and walk through–perfect for when you’re clutching an infant and don’t want to risk a precarious climb.
The door works as advertised. It swings smoothly in both directions, closes quickly and latches securely. It provides some peace of mind to not have to worry whether you remembered to close the gate.
Unlatching the gate is a little awkward: You have to slide a button with your thumb, then lift the door a fraction of an inch before pushing it open. That same awkwardness makes it virtually impossible for a child to open, though.
The only downside to the auto-closing mechanism is that the gate slams shut loudly if you don’t make an effort to slow it down. Not ideal at nap time.
We’re happy with our Munchkin Auto Close Gate and would purchase it again without hesitation. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a sturdy, reliable gate and don’t need to be able to remove it frequently. The auto-closing feature is a life-saver when you’re carrying a baby while fending off a hulking 3-year-old.