We are full-time baby gate users in our house. My husband and I and our dogs, Lefty and Mama Dog; plus whatever foster dog we have at the time; plus our house cat, Bubba Love, all live in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house, and the only place we have to keep Bubba’s food safe from the dogs (and his litter box, too, for that embarrassing matter) is in our bedroom. Believe me, we’d love to have just about any other solution, but ours is the only room big enough for a litter box, save our guest bedroom (which would just be rude to guests).
So we live with a baby gate permanently wedged into our bedroom doorway. We step over it about a dozen times a day, including — as you can imagine — during darkened trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Is it a pain in the butt? You bet it is! But we learn to live with things like this for our beloved pets. After a while you almost stop noticing. Almost.
But then we heard about Fusion Gates. And got the chance to test one. And — this is not an understatement — our lives have been changed. I don’t even know where to start with this one.
I guess the first thing you need to know about Fusion Gates is the most life-changing feature. They are walk-through gates. WALK THROUGH. In the middle of the night, when you have to pee. Or at 6 a.m., when you lovingly bring your husband a mug of molten-hot coffee in bed. WALK THROUGH. You just lift up a little ring to open the latch, swing the door in either direction, and push it closed behind you. No calisthenics required!
The next thing you should know is that the sturdy, steel-constructed gates are SUPER flexible in sizing, starting at 32 inches wide and extendable through multiple, add-on configuration options to 67 inches. While they look like fancy, permanently installed gates, they are actually pressure-fitted and easily moved and adjusted. And at 36 inches high, they keep even tall, jumpy dogs out, but are still easily topped by Bubba, who, at a weight somewhere near 18 pounds, is not exactly a feline athlete.
The third thing you should know (which might be the first for people who haven’t been hurdling a baby gate every day for the last several years) is that the door in the gate is customizable with your choice of many stained-glass-like art screens. These gates are pretty, y’all. They actually enhance your decor, rather than straight-up ruining it like our awful, cheapo baby gates. The designs — which you can change easily and as often as you like — are mostly contemporary, but there are a couple more traditional screens, too. Or you can use it without an art screen and just go with the frosted plexiglass insert it comes with. Though, honestly, picking a design is the most fun part of this.
The gate and art screen come packaged separately and with all of the tools and instructions you need to install them. They are amazingly, thoughtfully designed. Installation is easy, and the high degree of fit and adjustability means they even work in wonky old, off-square houses like ours. It took only a few minutes to get ours in and just a few more to take it out and flip it 180 degrees, after I realized that it and the real door were swinging in opposite directions. (Oops!)
The one slight issue we had was alignment with the existing doorknob. We are using the gate for a room that we sometimes still want to close the door to, and the hallway doorknob is mostly behind the screen after installation. We alleviated this somewhat by placing the Fusion Gate all the way to the front of the door jamb. And since we usually only want the door closed when we are inside the bedroom, that won’t be an issue. My guess is that a lot of people use these gates in doorways with no actual door, which would also make this a non-issue.
Our only other “difficulty” was that while installation is straightforward and only takes one person, changing the screens is easier with two sets of hands, to help keep everything lined up while the frame is unscrewed. These are MINOR quibbles. The gate is so well designed.
I adore the Modern Lines screen we got, and the functionality of this gate is, as I said, life changing for us. The black wrought-iron frame is a little heavy for our mid-century modern decor, but it is still leaps and bounds better than our crummy old baby gates. And, generally, my eyes go to the screen, rather than the frame. Still, if they ever decide to make a lighter-colored frame, I would be all over it. All in all, I am utterly, stupidly in love with this gate. The dogs? Well, I can’t say they love it. It is just one more tool in their oppression when it comes to foraging for cat-box treats. Sorry, dogs.
Quality: The gate is so well thought out and engineered. It really is obvious where your money goes.
Style: I don’t think you’ll find a more stylish pet gate out there. The art screens really do make these gates special.
Function: YOU CAN WALK THROUGH! Did I say this already? Because, man! That’s so great! Also, this fits snugly in a doorway. Many of the “designer gates” on the market are freestanding. So more of a screen than a gate, which, hello — no impediment to a determined dog.
Creativity: The interchangeable art screens make this such a great piece. You can change screens as often as you change your decor. You can even design your own insert to sandwich between the clear/frosted door panes. There are so many fun options.
Value: The basic 32-inch-to-36-inch gate comes in at $299.99. Price goes up for larger doorway configurations. Fusion Gates are not cheap, but if you use pet gates with any frequency, I think these are worth every penny.
Between the ease of assembly and use, the sturdy tension-fit design, and the designer art panels, the Fusion Gate doesn’t just meet our needs, it goes way beyond.
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About the author: Lisa Seger (who goes by Blue Heron Farm on most social media platforms) is a former office drone turned dairy farmer and cheesemaker. She found that cubicle jobs just didn’t allow for enough quality animal time and so made animals her work instead. Like all dairy farmers, she has virtually NO free time, but what little she gets is generally spent in pursuit of rescuing, fostering, and placing homeless dogs. Or being a smart-alec on the interwebs. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.