We have two kids that are 19 mos apart in age. Our oldest is 2.5 and she has always been very cautious. We never needed to do all that child-proofing with her when we moved in our new house because we knew she just wouldn't try it. Our youngest child will be 1 on May 17. She is another story.
When she was 8mos old and just really getting good at pulling up to standing on furniture, my husband was home with the kids by himself. I had warned him to keep an eye on her because she'd been getting curious about the stairs. He heard that statement and quickly dismissed it. What does the wife know anyway?
I got home after being gone for about 2 hours and he tells me we HAVE to go and get a gate for the bottom of the stairs. Haven't I been saying this? He says we need to go immediately! Apparently our 8 mo old had climbed halfway up the stairs when he looked away for 2 sec (keep in mind - his 2 sec are not the same as the rest of the world, and are in fact, considerably longer). So, we go. I wasn't about to lose this opportunity to not only have his approval for a gate, but to have help with the kids while I pick one out! We went to Target - our favorite store - and took a look at what they had. He had measured the wall and he wanted pressure-mounted as the hardware mounted was more annoying and left marks.
We saw the Evenflo Pressure mounted metal gate. It had an extender that would make it wide enough to fit at the bottom of our stairs and a swing out gate in the center of it that could be opened one handed. This allowed the gate to function like a hardward mounted gate with permanent mounting and ease of use, but without the muss and fuss. We bought it and went home.
Being the foolish woman that I am, I expected him to mount it. When I got up the next morning and it was still in the box, I figured I had better just do it myself and count my blessings that he agreed to the purchase. It was really easy to install. The extender slid onto the gate and the four "legs" slid onto the four ends. I just had to turn the ends of the screws on the "legs" to tighten it to the wall. It was up and ready to keep my youngest daughter downstairs when I didn't want to chase her up the stairs.
I have been very satisfied with this gate. My oldest has leaned on it, the youngest has climbed it, the dogs have run full speed into it, and it has done its job. My oldest would rather not have it there as she misses being able to go up and down the stairs as she pleases, but she's gotten pretty good at asking me to open it for her. It is really easy to open, there are two buttons, one on each side that you squeeze with your thumb and forefinger and then you push back on the gate and it opens right up. I have even done this while carrying both girls. Yet, it is hard enough that my oldest hasn't been able to do it yet.
My only complaint is that due to the fact that the walls next to the stairs end at the bottom stair, so I had to mount it so that the bottom rail is basically resting on that bottom step. This means we are stepping on it and over time I've noticed the gate slowly sliding downwards so I think soon I will need to remove it and reposition it, but since it has been up for almost 3 mos, that's not a big problem.