An Extensive Guide to Different Gate Latch Types

Securing your property, animals, or loved ones is important. If you are looking for a great device to fasten the door, luck is yours. Browse through our complete guide showcasing various gate latch types.

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When it comes to securing a fence, there are certainly different models on the market. First of all, you need to know the various kinds of gate latches available. Understanding how each type works is crucial as well.

Besides comprehending different gate latch categories, you should opt for the material. Make sure it works nicely with the existing fence. Picking the item that offers the desired level of security is vital too.

Moreover, put a budget as well as installation for your project into consideration. Here are all the specifics you should know. Keep reading to find the model that perfectly suits the existing access point.

Categories of Gate Latches

Gate latches can be divided into three categories. They are classified by their designs. To help you choose the right one, have a look at these bolts, spring-loaded, and gravity models. Then, we’ll discuss how each option operates.

Bolt Gate Latch

When people mention a way of securing fence gates, the bolt latch springs to your mind. The classic deadbolt model is easy to operate. Just slide the rod into the socket. It will hold the gate closed.

Speaking of installation, this is probably the simplest one. The unit is also the least involved model since it is a single-sided gate latch. Moreover, you can only secure the item from the inside.

These gate latch types can be installed on out-swinging or in-swinging fences. Some people padlock them for additional security.

Compared to other gate latch types, these are typically the most low-cost option. Furthermore, they are available in various materials as well as sizes.


This gate latch got its name due to its operation mechanism. It relies on gravity to make the catch drop.

The unit functions as the barricade is getting closed with the swing’s force to push its arm past the metal plate. This will let the arm completely snap into the latch catch.

Gravity latch is such an appealing model since it is self-latching. That means if the wind captures the door, the unit certainly gets closed. Moreover, the arm will quickly go down into the catch by itself without any intervention.

These gravity-based gate latch types are always double-sided since the arm has to fall into the catcher to work. Moreover, you can unlatch the unit from either door side.

This two-way gate latch is easy to use. However, the basic option does not offer much security. Furthermore, you can search for locking designs. Add a second slide bolt or deadbeat to the barrier to make it impenetrable.

Most gravity latch models with lockable options will boast a hole. It allows you to insert a padlock. Bring along a key or remember the combination before using this feature.

Installation wise, these two-sided gravity varieties are normally added to the in-swinging doors. However, reversing the installation and placing the arm on the gate’s street-side is possible. This lets you utilize it with the out-swinging fence.

Depending on the gravity option as well as how many modifications you’re going to make, the installation takes more effort and time or it can be a simple job. Normally, these gate latch types are easy to install for DIYers.

Spring Loaded

Spring-loaded models are different from the gravity ones. As the name implies, they use a spring to ease the closing operation.

Furthermore, these are more costly than their gravity cousins. However, they offer a smoother maneuver on their handles when you close or open the barriers.

The spring mechanism functions when the arm of the latch falls into place. Of course, you have to put pressure on it to secure the arm.

Moreover, these models are always double-sided. In addition, two-way varieties let you open the door from either side.

Do you need extra security? If yes, we suggest purchasing double-sided lockable gate latch models.

Like gravity-based varieties, the spring-loaded gate latch types are usually installed on the in-swinging fences. If necessary, do not hesitate to reverse the installation. That way, you can use it on the out-swinging door.

Moreover, the installation difficulty greatly depends on the manufacturer you buy from and latch style. It ranges from complex to simple and straightforward.

The Material of Gate Latch

You should take the durability factor into account when shopping for gate latch types. Most of them are made from great quality metals. That’s why they do nicely outdoors as well as can withstand outside elements.

Furthermore, you will notice the price difference between those different designs. Here, we are going to show the cons as well as pros of stainless steel, aluminum, brass, bronze, and iron varieties.


Bronze is certainly the most expensive gate latch material. Moreover, it ages well. If you have a high-end personal design taste, then choose this one. The metal does not only feel dense in your hand but also looks gorgeous.

Most bronze gate latch types are beautifully crafted with the artistic element. They usually have an old-world, traditional, and contemporary elements too.

Furthermore, bronze ages nicely and does not need a powder coating. This will remove the chipping risk or the requirement to refinish it over the years.

When left, bronze gate latch types age naturally. Moreover, the metal will get darker over time to a deep copper penny shade. Then, it eventually will turn into a faded green.

You can prevent the unwanted green tinge by applying a wax coat yearly. It will preserve the metal as well as increase its lifespan.

Furthermore, you could get a copper model for about $25. However, these bronze gate latch types cost around $75. Additionally, anticipate paying $500 for the elaborate or intricate craftsmanship.


This metal is one of the most popular gate latch materials. It is also crafted in various styles such as traditional, antique, old-world, and colonial.

Furthermore, manufacturers use wrought or cast iron because it offers a heavy, majestic appearance. The metal looks excellent against the fence.

Iron normally gets a black powder coating. This will protect the metal from the outside elements. However, it is probably not a good option especially if you live in a corrosion-prone area.

If you are a seaside or beachfront homeowner, we recommend buying another material. Bear in mind that the salt in the water as well as air could make it rust prematurely.

The iron is normally durable and provides a great value for the price. You will have to maintain it diligently. We suggest getting rid of rust spots with steel wool. Additionally, the protectant spray will keep the metal looking fresh.

From a price standpoint, iron varieties range from $20 to $100. This depends on the intricacy of the model, shape, and size. Moreover, some bundles will come with fixtures and handles to round out your closure design.


Brass is certainly one of the least common materials for outdoor gate latches. However, if you love the appearance of the colonial or traditional design, give this metal a try.

Moreover, brass is undoubtedly a heavy metal. It does not only feel hefty to the touch but also lends your outdoor boundary an excellent design element.

Perhaps, the biggest drawback of the brass gate latch types is they’ll rust over the years. Although you like the aged look, we suggest caring for the metal’s surface regularly. This will enhance the life of the operation mechanism.

By using the UV resistant urethane and cleaning your brass diligently with a special cleaner, the metal will always look new as well as shiny. This also preserves the lock’s integrity.


If you worry about corrosion or wear and tear, then this metal is a safe bet. The aluminum gate latch types are not only long-lasting and lightweight but also naturally resist corrosive elements. They do well in any environment too.

Compared to iron, aluminum is more brittle. We suggest investing in the fence gate stopper. It keeps daily action from giving undue stress to the latch arm. Keep in mind that this could break the unit over time.

You definitely can buy models in the classic shiny silver metal color. Moreover, they’re usually powder coated. That way, the units go well with other hardware of the fence in more rustic shades like black.

Bear in mind that aluminum may come off over the years due to repeated use. That’s the reason you should repaint this metal with Rustoleum. It’ll keep the item looking fresh.

Normally, aluminum gate latch types are the cheapest model. However, that won’t necessarily limit your design choices. They come in modern, antique, old-world, and traditional styles. All of them are functional and captivating.

People normally spend about $5 on an aluminum gate latch. Expect to pay around $20 depending on the features and design you need.

Lockable options are the most expensive ones. Some will need a combination or separate padlock to work.

Stainless Steel

In terms of appearance, stainless steel is similar to aluminum. This metal is stronger and heavier than its cousin. Moreover, it does not bend, dent, or warp easily under temperature or pressure.

Even though stainless steel is slightly more costly, this metal is such a good option for a long-lasting fence catch. Furthermore, it’s typically featured in contemporary and modern designs.

The stainless steel gate latch types really can resist rust. In addition, you will normally find them in their raw silver form.

There are also powdered coated options. They aren’t only perfect for homes by the beach, but also give these gate latch types an additional layer of protection. Don’t forget to retouch the powder coating to freshen yours up.

Moreover, it’s crucial to care for the metal. This helps maintain its longevity. We suggest using a lubricating oil to rub your stainless-steel gate latch every month. This will provide an extra level of protection and remove any squeaking.

Price-wise, you should invest around $30-$75 into the great quality stainless-steel gate latch. The models with ornate designs and details are more expensive for sure. However, in terms of cost, they are mid-level options.

Gate Latch Types

There are four fence gate latch types to select from. Each of them can be crafted from several materials we explained above. The unit may utilize one or several locking mechanisms too.

Here, we will show you the details of how these models work. This also includes what fence gate kinds are best provided for the requirements of the installation. It also covers the limitations of each type.


These gate latch types are slightly old-fashioned and traditional. They are usually single-sided models. Remember, if the bolt gets locked on the one side, certainly you can’t go in from another without disengaging the lock.

Although bolt gate latches typically have an old design, you’ll find visually pleasing models on the market. To operate them, slide the bolt into the catcher. Some options feature room for the padlock which helps secure your fence.

Thumb Gate Latch

The thumb gate latch types are ideal for in-swinging gates. Moreover, they are installed as a two-sided operation mechanism. We suggest buying the lockable one for additional security.

These usually feature the depressor of the thumb hung on the ornamental plate on the door’s outer part. When pushed down, the arm of the latch on the inside instantly rises and lets you open the fence gate.

As the door of the gate closes, the latch arm quickly contacts the strike. After that, it lifts and drops onto the catcher by itself. Depending on the way the model operates, this is a gravity one.


This type is a double-sided model. You must operate it from either gate’s side. Furthermore, the ring and backplate are usually attached to the fence’s outer part.

The yard side features the same things. However, the ring normally will be fixed to the arm of the latch.

When turned on either side, the ring will rises the latch arm out of the catcher. Then, it lets the door swing open.

These gate latch types are either spring-loaded or gravity-based. You can use them on out and in-swinging fence gates.

Be sure you install the arm of the latch the right way. It must be mounted on the side that the fence gate will swing toward as the unit opens.

Lever Gate Latch

The ring designs boast a ring on each barrier side. These models work similarly to them. However, the units feature a lever handle.

Furthermore, these gate latch types are mounted on out and in-swinging fence gates. They may utilize a spring-loaded mechanism or gravity assistance to function. Some lever models are lockable, while others aren’t.

Considerations In Selecting Fence Gate Latches

After understanding various lock materials, kinds, and how each of them operates, there are a few other things to consider before buying a gate latch.

Maybe, you’re searching for models that provide an extra security level or have a fence that has a special purpose. If that’s the case, here are gate latch types. There must be one that suits your need.

Door Hardware

When it comes to a wooden gate, the experts don’t recommend using traditional door hardware. Remember, the unit cannot combat seasonal wood movement.

For instance, when installed during summer months, the traditional hardware can make the fence gate swells. It doesn’t properly catch too. That’s why you must opt for materials that do nicely outdoors.

Gate Stops

This mechanism keeps the door from swinging swiftly and causing damage to latching arm or hinges. The gate stop sets a boundary to prevent it from traveling beyond too.

When closing, the stopper protects your gate from hitting another. The clashing movements cause the latch arm to break the hinges. We suggest investing in a gate stop. It is affordable yet functional.


Determine how much extra security you’re going to add to the clamp. We recommend installing a lock or having a barrier.

The most popular way of adding security is buying lockable gate latch types. You can purchase a model with a padlock or a key.

Sliding or Double Gates

For enclosure with two doors, it’s important to mak the double gate latch visually pleasing and functional. Installing a stopper will help increase the locking mechanism’s longevity.


Budgeting for security upgrade is easy. Just take the cost of the fence gate latch and other materials into account.


Certainly, you can install the locking mechanism yourself. Just measure everything thoroughly before drilling holes. Some people choose to call a handyman. It usually costs under $100 and takes about 30 minutes.

You’re aware of different gate latch types after reading our guide. We recommend purchasing them online. There are great hardware retailers like Lowes, True Value, and Hoover Fence Co that provide affordable options.