Skip to Content

11 Fence Gate Latch Styles

This guide will assist you in selecting the best device for keeping your gate closed and securing your property, family, or animals.

Buying a Fence Gate Latch

When you’re looking for a means to secure your fence, you have a lot of possibilities. First, you’ll need to learn about the many types of latches and how each one works.

The next step is to select a material that complements your current fence while still providing the level of security you require.

Finally, the project’s installation and budget are factors to consider.

Here, we’ll go over all of the details you need to know about finding the correct type for your access point.

Fence Gate Latches Categories

There are three primary gate locks to choose from, each of which is distinguished by its design. Let’s take a closer look at the gravity, spring-loaded, and bolt alternatives and see how they function.

1. Gravity

HILLMASTER Heavy Duty Self-Locking Gate Latch for Wooden Fence, Post Mount Automatic Gate Lock Gravity Door Latch Hardware for Secure Pool, Outdoor Garden, Metal Gates Vinyl Fence, Black Finish

Click image for more info

The latch is named after the mechanism that operates it, and it closes the catch using gravity. It works by using the force of the swing to push the latch arm past the strike plate, allowing the arm to fall into the catch as the barricade closes. This is a desirable option since it can be self-latching, which means that if the door is caught in the wind and closes, the arm should fall into place without the need for outside assistance.

Because the arm must fall into the strike in order to operate, gravity-based models are always two-sided. You can open a wooden barricade from either side of the door.

While simple to use, the basic concept does not provide much security.

If you want to make the barrier impenetrable, look for lockable designs or add a second deadbeat or slide bolt.

Most designs with locking options have a hole where a padlock can be inserted. You’ll need to memorize a combination or carry a key to use this feature.

Double-sided gravity designs are typically combined with an in-swinging alternative in terms of installation. However, if you want to use it with an out-swinging door, you can reverse the installation and put the arm on the street side.

It can be a simple job or it might take more time and effort, depending on which gravity model you choose and how many installation changes you want to make. Gravity-based designs are generally simple to install as a do-it-yourself installation.

2. Spring Loaded

Nuvo Iron LCWSLBLK Spring Loaded Latch & Catch w/Adjustable Cable Gate Latch, Black

Click image for more info

Spring-loaded versions differ from gravity-loaded variants in that they use a spring to aid in the closing process. Spring types are typically more expensive than gravity ones, but they provide a smoother motion on the handle while opening or closing the barrier. The latch arm snaps into position when pressure is applied to the spring that holds the arm in place.

Spring-loaded options will always be two-sided. The door on these two-way models can be opened from either side, and there are lockable versions available. Spring-loaded latches, like gravity types, are normally used on in-swinging gates, although you can reverse the installation for an out-swinging gate if necessary. Installation difficulties vary depending on the style and manufacturer you choose. It can range from basic to complex.

3. Bolt

National Mfg N165506 Slide/Sliding Bolt Door/Gate Latch, Satin Black

Click image for more info

Many people think of a bolt latch when securing their fence. The typical deadbolt design works by securing the door which is done by inserting the rod into the securing bolt.

Because it’s a one-sided latch that can only be locked from the inside, it’s the easiest and least time-consuming choice to install. They can be installed on both in-swinging and out-swinging fences and locked with a padlock.

These are the most cost-effective models, and they are available in various sizes and materials.

Fence Latch Material

Durability is an important factor to consider when choosing a gate latch. The most popular materials used to make them are high-quality metals that perform well in the outdoors and can withstand the environment. There is a price difference between each of the materials, and we’ll go over the advantages and disadvantages of iron, aluminum, bronze, stainless steel, and brass designs.

Iron

Tibres - Barn Door Latch - Gate Hook - Barn Door Lock - Hook Latch for Sliding Door Shed Garage - Wrought Iron Heavy Duty Hook and Eye Latch - Black

Click image for more info

Iron is one of the most popular latch materials, and it may be made in a variety of styles such as Old World, Antique, Colonial, and traditional. Manufacturers use cast iron and wrought iron because they have a weighty, majestic appearance that contrasts well with the fencing.

The metal is usually given a powder-black coating to protect it from the environment, but if you live in an area with many corrosive elements, it might not be the best choice. The salt in the air and water may cause the mechanism to corrode prematurely, so beachfront or seaside residents may wish to look for a different material.

In normal circumstances, iron lasts long and provides good value for money. Regular maintenance is required, such as using steel wool to remove any rust spots and regularly retouching with a protectant spray to keep it looking new.

Iron alternatives range in price from $20 to $100, depending on the design’s size, shape, and complexity. Handles and fixtures are included in some packages to complete your outdoor border design aesthetic.

Aluminum

NATIONAL MFG CO N342-691 N342691 Alum Heavy GATE Latch, 0, Aluminum

Click image for more info

Aluminum may be the best material for you if you’re concerned about wear and tear or corrosion. It is lightweight and resilient, and it has a natural resistance to corrosive substances, making it suitable for usage in almost any environment.

Because aluminum is more brittle than iron, you might want to invest in a gate stop to stop the daily movement from putting any stress on the latch arm, which could lead to breaking over time.

While designs are available in the conventional shining silver color of the metal, they are frequently powder coated to match other fence hardware in more rustic hues such as black. This coating may chip off with time due to regular use, but you may re-paint it using Rustoleum to keep it looking new.

Aluminum is the least expensive of the materials, but that doesn’t limit your aesthetic options. The metal is both elegant and useful, and it is crafted into the old world, antique, classic, and modern designs.

An aluminum design can cost as low as $5 or as much as $20, depending on the style and functionality you desire. The most expensive types are lockable, and some of them require a separate combination lock or padlock to function.

Bronze

Alise SUS304 Stainless Steel Gate Latches Pet Door Latch Bolt Lock Heavy Duty Flip Latch 2.5mm-Thick,MS9500-Q Bronze

Click image for more info

Bronze is one of the most expensive materials in the group, but it’s a hefty substance that holds up well over time. Because it appears lovely and feels substantial to the touch, it’s a popular choice for folks with high-end design tastes.

Most bronze designs are handcrafted and include traditional, contemporary, and old-world aspects. The metal ages well and doesn’t require a powder coat finish, so there’s no fear of chipping or the need to refinish it down the road.

If you let the metal age naturally, it will darken to a dark copper penny hue before fading to a faded green. If you want to keep the metal from turning green, apply a coat of wax once a year to protect it and extend its life.

Copper designs can be found for approximately $25, but expect to pay closer to $75 on average for something made of this metal. The craftsmanship that is particularly complex or elaborate may cost as much as $500.

Stainless Steel

Hillman Hardware Essentials 853340 Universal Gate Latch Stainless Steel, 1 Piece

Click image for more info

Aluminum is a distant cousin of stainless steel. Stainless steel, while similar in appearance, is a heavier metal that is more resistant to denting, warping, and bending under pressure or temperature. Although it is more expensive, it is good for a long-lasting fence catch. It’s exceedingly corrosion-resistant, and you’ll frequently see it in its raw silver form in modern and contemporary designs.

Powder-coated variants are available, which add an extra layer of protection if you live near the seaside or in a corrosive climate. To keep the coating looking new, you may need to retouch it over time.

It’s also crucial to keep the metal in good condition if you want it to last as long as possible. Using a lubricating oil on it once a month will add another layer of protection from the elements and eliminate any bothersome squeaking while in use.

Expect to pay somewhere between $30 and $75 for a high-quality product.

Of course, you could pay a lot more for more elaborate embellishments and design, but this is a budget-friendly choice.

Brass

National Hardware N239-004 V800 Sliding Door Latch in Brass,2-1/2 Inch

Click image for more info

Brass is one of the less common materials used in outdoor gate catches, but it’s a terrific choice if you want a traditional or colonial aesthetic. It’s a thick metal that feels substantial in your hand and provides a stylish touch to your closure.

The most significant disadvantage of brass is that it tarnishes over time.

While you may like the worn appearance, it’s critical to keep the surface clean to extend the life of the mechanism. You should clean it using a brass cleaner and add a clear coating of UV-resistant urethane to the metal regularly to keep it appearing shiny and fresh and also protect the lock’s integrity.

You should expect to pay between $20 and $50 for a product in this category.

Types of Gate Latches

You can choose from four different fence gate latch styles. Each of these forms can be manufactured from various materials indicated above and can employ one or more of the locking methods mentioned.

We’ll explain how they function and which fence kinds are appropriate for you, as well as the installation requirements and restrictions of each.

1. Thumb

National Hardware N109-040 V1390 Thumb Latch in Black

Click image for more info

Only if you have an in-swinging gate can you use the thumb style.

You can purchase a locking mechanism, always placed as a double-sided mechanism. The thumb depressor positioned on the ornamental plate on the door’s exterior activates this model. When you press down, the latch arm on the inside lifts, allowing you to open the gate.

As the door closes, the arm strikes the strike, which rises and falls on its own onto the catch. It’s a gravity latch, based on how this model works.

2. Ring

Antique Look Ring Latch Designed for Gates and Doors - Black

Click image for more info

The ring option is a two-sided gate that can be operated from either side.

A backplate with a ring will be installed on the street side, and on the yard side, the backplate and ring will be installed, but the ring will be attached to a latch arm. The arm of the catch is lifted out of the catch when you crank the ring on either side, allowing the door to swing open.

This variant can be spring-loaded or gravity-assisted, and it can be used on both in-swinging and out-swinging gates. Make that the latch-arm is installed on the side that the gate swings toward when it opens.

3. Lever

Self-Locking Gate Latch - Post Mount Automatic Gravity Lever Wood Fence Gate Latches with Fasteners/4.7 Inch Black Finish Steel Gate Latch to Secure Pool

Click image for more info

Lever barriers work in a similar way to ring barriers, except instead of a ring on each side of the barrier, they have a lever handle. They can be installed on both in-swinging and out-swinging gates, and they can work with either gravity or spring-loaded technology.

Some levers are lockable, whereas others are not.

4. Bolt

JQK Sliding Bolt Gate Latch, 6 Inch Thickening Stainless Steel Barrel Bolt with Padlock Hole, Interior Door Latches Brushed Finish

Click image for more info

Bolt designs are one-way alternatives that are both classic and a little old-fashioned. You won’t be able to get in from the opposite end unless you can reach up and over to disengage the lock if the bolt is locked on one side. There are aesthetically beautiful solutions available, despite the fact that they are based on an ancient design. They work by sliding a bolt into a catch, and some options include a padlock slot for added security.

Considerations for Fence Gate Latch

Woman hands opening latch on fence.

Now that you’ve learned about the various lock types, materials, and how they function, there are a few more questions to consider before making your purchase.

There are gate catches that may be a better fit for you if you’re looking for an extra degree of security or have a fence that serves a specific purpose.

1. Safety and Security

You are the only one who can decide how much extra security you want to put into your clamp. Some homeowners use their barrier for privacy or keep animals in, while others like the added level of security it provides.

Remember that adding a lock to your boundary will add another step between entering and exiting, but it may be worth it.

Purchasing a gate catch that locks is the most frequent technique to increase security. You have the choice of using a key or incorporating a combination lock or padlock into the design.

The lock’s safer side should be on the yard side of the door, towards your house, and away from the street. This way, you’ll be able to open it if you have visitors or family over, but no one will be able to open it from the street.

2. Door Hardware

Although it may be tempting to utilize regular door hardware on your outside gate, professionals advise against it. It’s not only not built to allow seasonal wood movement, but it’s also not confined to operating on standard-thickness doors.

Let us explain how seasonal wood migration works if you’re unfamiliar.

Outdoor wooden gates will expand and contract as the seasons change throughout the year. If you install a traditional door during the dry summer months, you may find that the gate swells significantly and no longer catches effectively during the wet winter months.

If you installed the wood during a period when it was expanding, it may pose problems when it shrinks back down. These issues could cause the mechanism to fail to catch properly and close properly during the dry, hot summer months.

The heat, weather, and moisture in the air will not affect your front door or the internal doors in your home in the same way. As a result, typical door hardware isn’t built to address these issues.

To avoid problems that may emerge from using the improper tools for the project, use materials that are suitable for outside use. To allow for seasonal movement, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use hardware made specifically for the material on your outdoor gate. Please keep in mind that wood has different installation requirements than metals such as aluminum, iron, or steel.

3. Sliding or Double Gates

If your enclosure includes two moving doors, you’ll need to make a few more design choices to ensure that your latch is both functional and attractive.

More noticeable hardware is often required for larger openings of 10 feet or more to best compliment the design. Pick a latch with a complimentary dummy handle on the fixed side to achieve symmetry.

Installing a gate stop, which we go over in greater depth below, will also help your locking mechanism last longer. Double and sliding doors are renowned for slamming against each other, putting unnecessary pressure and stress on metal and materials, leading to a malfunction or failure if not treated appropriately.

4. Gate Stops

It’s exactly what it sounds like: a gate stop. It’s a device that you place to keep your door from swinging too far and harming your hinges or latch arm. The stopper establishes a boundary that your door cannot cross.

This protects the fence from harm on a windy day when the power of the breeze may drive it further than it was planned to go, causing damage.

It can also keep two double or rolling gates from colliding when they close. The arm on your closing mechanism may bend, break, or damage the hinges by ripping them entirely out of the post as a result of these jarring movements.

This low-cost upgrade can cost as little as $20, but it’s a wise investment if you want to avoid costly repairs down the road.

If your door’s hinges or latch arms are broken, you’ll have to replace the entire hardware set to get it working again.

Additional Information

Man hands installing latch on exterior door.

When you’re looking for the appropriate latch for your yard, there are a few more things to consider. Make sure you do your homework to figure out how these questions might affect your ultimate purchase decision.

Installation

You should be able to manage the installation of your new mechanism on your own if you can follow instructions and have access to basic tools. Before drilling any holes in your wood, you’ll want to follow the carpenter’s golden rule of “measure twice, cut once,” but the project should be simple.

If you prefer to pay a handyman to complete the task, it should take no more than 30 minutes and cost no more than $100 for a simple undertaking.

Budget

Unlike some more complicated landscape or home design projects, budgeting for this aesthetic or security improvement should be straightforward. You’ll need to account for the price of the latch as well as any other equipment or materials required for installation.

Furthermore, if you upgrade your catch mechanism, you may want handles and hinges that match the new finish. If you prefer all of your hardware to match, keep that in mind and leave room to update your other materials as well.

Where Can I Purchase Fence Gate Latches on the Internet?

Online hardware stores are the greatest sites to browse for ideas for finishing your fencing project. These are a few of our favorites, all of which provide reasonably priced options in various styles.

  • Lowe’s
  • Hardware Hut
  • Hoover Fence Co.
  • True Value