9 Different Gate Latch Types: Which is Best?

It’s important to choose a durable, high-quality gate latch when building a new gate or replacing an old one.

A good latch adds convenience, protects your property and animals, and also adds to the aesthetic value of your gate.

The type of fence you have and how you use your gate will determine which type of gate latch is best for you.

In this post, we’ll walk through the different types of latches available and what factors to consider when choosing a new one for your own property.

Traditional gravity gate latch

The traditional gravity gate latch is the most common type of gate latch and is also one of the easiest to install.

A simple lift of the handle raises the latch in order to open your gate, while gravity drops it back down once you have finished with it.

Additionally, this type of latch will self-close if your gate swings shut, unlike a bolt-latch.

Another benefit to these latches is their price point, you can usually pick up a decent quality one for around $10.

This type of latch can sometimes be locked shut with a padlock, depending on its design.

Slide bolt latch

A slide bolt latch is a simple latch that is easy to install. It’s a good choice for a gate that is used infrequently, and it can be installed on either the inside or outside of your gate.

Slide bolt latches are also the most affordable option available, which makes them ideal if you don’t want to invest in expensive hardware for your gate.

The slide bolt latch consists of two parts: a lock body and its corresponding strike plate (which secures into place with screws).

Depending on the design, some bolt latches can be secured with a padlock.

Side pull latch

A side pull latch is a modern variant of the traditional bolt latch. Like a bolt latch, it consists of a bolt that slides from one side of the gate into a housing on the other side.

However, unlike with a bolt latch, the mechanism of this type is fully enclosed within its housing. This means they can offer additional features and added security.

Side pull latches will often be self-latching for convenience and security; once closed, they shut automatically.

T- latch

Another common type of gate latch is the T-latch. This style is a toggle-style latch and can be padlock-able. The latch rod is usually made of steel, just like most latches.

Most T-latches include a set screw that allows you to adjust the height of the latch bolt. This is an easy way to make sure the latch will fit your gate no matter how much it sags over time.

Because it’s not spring-loaded, the T-latch works well with gates that sag slightly over time.

Spring-powered latch

A spring-powered latch is a mechanism that uses a coiled spring to hold the bolt in place.

It can be attached to only one side of your gate or have an additional traditional gravity latch on the other side.

Ring latch

Ring latches are an aesthetically pleasing option that is best for garden gates that need to be accessed regularly. They’re often used as the main entrance to a property, and can be locked from either side of the gate.

The handle is smooth and attractive, made from steel, iron, or brass.

The ring can be turned in either direction so you can open or close your gate without having to fiddle with bolts or locks.

Two-way latch

A two-way latch is a latch that allows a gate to swing in both directions. This type of latch makes it easier to open gates for a range of purposes.

Also known as a butterfly latch, this style of latch is commonly used on commercial and residential gates with medium-to-heavy traffic flow.

Two-sided thumb latch

A two-sided thumb latch is similar to the ring latch in that it allows the gate to be opened from either side and works well at the main entrance to a property.

The downside of this option is that installation may be more difficult than other types.

If you do decide on a two-sided thumb latch for your new gate installation, keep in mind that not all models are lockable.

RELATED: The Best Outdoor Security Systems

Pool latch

As the name suggests, a pool latch is used in gates that are near water. It’s a safety device that prevents children from opening the gate.

The pin to open a pool gate is usually located on the very top, so it is out of reach of children.

What to consider when choosing a gate latch

  • Safety – It’s important to install a latch that will stay closed when you need it to, especially if you have children or animals on your property.
  • Security – If you have valuables on your property, or simply want extra peace of mind, choose a latch that can be locked.
  • Ease of use – Consider how often the gate will be used and by whom. If it’s a high-traffic area, look for a model that is easy to open and close.
  • Installation – Some latches will require a professional to install, while others can simply be screwed into place.
  • Materials – The most common materials for gate latches are steel and aluminium, but you can also find models made of plastic.

Gate Latch FAQ

What is a gate hasp?

A hasp and staple is a type of latch used to lock a door or gate securely. A hasp is a plate with a slot in it that fits over a loop, and the pin goes through the loop to hold the hasp in place.

How do I choose a gate latch?

The best latch for your needs will depend on what you intend to use it for. If the latch will be on your main entrance gate, you may want to choose a latch that is easy to use and looks attractive on your gate. For other people, security may be the main concern and they will be best with a secure latch that can be locked.

What is a butterfly gate latch?

A butterfly gate latch is a two-way that allows a gate to swing in both directions.

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Steve Kropp

Based in Melbourne, Steve's passion is vegetable gardening, and he’s been writing about it for almost 5 years. He also loves all things DIY and is always looking for a new project. When not working on his own garden projects or blogging, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, cooking meals with produce harvested from his garden, and coaching his son’s footy team.


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