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Doors provide security against theft and unauthorized trespassing. Even if a door looks simple, it is also a system that needs the right parts to fulfill its purpose. A door latch is a vital part of the door system. Different types of door latches work for different purposes. If you want to know what door latch is best to buy, we have created a curated list for your reference.
Door latches are installed on the edge of doors. The latches keep the door closed without using a lock. The latches differ in size and usage. Door latches can range from one-piece flat springs or multi-point cam latches. The common types of door latches include the following:
- Deadbolt Latch
- Spring Latch
- Slam Latch
- Cam Latch
- Norfolk Latch
- Suffolk Latch
- Cabin Hook
- Toggle Latch
- Mortise Latch
Choosing the type of door latch depends on the size of your door and your security needs. With the right door latch, you can add security for home, office, industrial, or commercial use. Read further to find out more about the types of door latches that suit your needs.
What Are Door Latches?
A door latch is attached to the edge of the door, which keeps it closed. It fastens the door with other surfaces like walls. With a door latch, you cannot easily push a door open. Door latches add security by allowing a controlled opening and closing of the door.
Listed below are the types of door latches:
1. Deadbolt Latch
Deadbolt latches are more secure compared to other types of latches. This type of latch is best for external doors. A deadbolt latch is separate from the doorknob. The name itself has "dead" because when it is properly installed, it won't move. This type of door latch resists physical attacks.
Deadbolt latches have a unique locking feature called a plunger. The plunger will not allow a knife, screwdriver, or credit card to open the door. When installing the deadbolt latch, manually engage the plunger on the strike plate to keep the latch bolt in place. Forgetting the plunger defeats the purpose of the latch mechanism.
2. Spring Latch
The spring latch is like a deadbolt latch, but the spring latch allows easy detachment due to its quick-release mechanism. The spring-latch mechanism is like launching a pinball. A spring latch is a bolt held in place with a spring clip. When pulling the bolt, the spring compresses and disengages the bolt from the surface. When the bolt releases, the spring decompresses and locks in its position.
3. Slam Latch
Another door latch that uses a spring is a slam latch. The spring of the slam latch triggers during the shutting or slamming of the door. Hence, you just need to push the door to lock it. Even with the strong slamming of the door, there is no damage to the latch. The slam latch is ideal for industrial, construction, and agriculture purposes due to its durability.
4. Cam Latch
Another type of door latch is a cam latch. This type of latch is usually seen in mailboxes, lockers, and security boxes. The cam latch consists of a base and a cam that rotates when you need to open or close the door. The keyhole is similar to a padlock. To rotate the cam, you can turn it manually or use a key or a shaped pin.
If you do not like anything manual, you can also use electronic cam latches. Using an electronic cam latch provides more security than mechanical cam locks. This latch makes use of an electronic key, wherein it stores all user access and information. The electronic key also takes note of the date and time of unlocking the door. In this way, you can be sure that only authorized persons can open your door.
5. Norfolk Latch
The Norfolk latch is a latch with a thumb-operated lever. This latch has a handle that fits with a backplate, which is separate from the lever. This type of door latch adds a contemporary vibe to your wooden gates or doors.
6. Suffolk Latch
The Suffolk latch dates back to the 16th century, while the Norfolk latch was from the 19th century. Even centuries apart, the Suffolk latch is similar to the Norfolk latch. The only difference is that the Suffolk latch has no backplate. This type of latch is usually installed in garden gates or sheds.
A crossbar is also a common type of door latch. In the older times, it is simply using a large plank or a beam mounted on the side of the door. You only need to slide the plank past the frame of the door to unlock it.
In modern times, the crossbar has evolved in its design and size. You can even customize it to suit your needs. Modern crossbars add extra security alongside locks, locking cylinders, and other security fittings.
8. Cabin Hook
The cabin hook comes with an eye-catch and screws. Large cabin hooks are ideal for keeping gates or patio doors. Placing cabin hooks prevents the banging of the door to other surfaces. Even though you can use this type for doors, it does not add security. There is no lock with this type of door latch.
9. Toggle Latch
A toggle latch is a handy and secure way to fasten and close doors. Toggle latches are user-friendly because the latch releases quickly with a single flip. The quick-release mechanism is due to the built-in spring-loaded lever. Toggle latches guarantee a sturdy lock when the door is fully closed. This type can even withstand strong forces, especially for industrially-rated toggle latches.
10. Mortise Latch
Mortise, or tubular latches, are best for commercial, apartment, or entry glass doors. This type requires a mortise, which is a lock that fits in the edge of a door. Mortise locks also have a lever lock mechanism, which prevents the levers from moving while locked in place. People prefer mortise locks for their doors due to their versatility and reliable security it offers.
Are All Door Latches The Same Size?
The quick answer is no. The size of door latches varies because of different door sizes and needs. If you are doubtful of the door latch to purchase, you can always refer to your contractor to guide you in choosing the right products.
How Do You Measure For Door Latch Replacement?
If you plan to purchase a door latch, you must know how to measure it. Door latches come in different sizes and finding the right one is not easy. To make things simple, you need to consider the following:
Case Depth and Height
The overall depth of the latch or the "case" is a critical measurement. The depth of cases for internal doors ranges from 3 to 4 inches. The door size also helps determine the measurement for your door latch. Consider any door panel or stile present when measuring. Aside from the case depth, you also must measure the height of the lock body.
Aside from the case, you also need to measure the backset. The measurement is the distance from the spindle mechanism on the latch to the edge of the door. Backset measurements range from 1.70 to 2.60 inches. For case depths with a minimum of 3 inches, a backset that measures 2.25 inches will fit well.
A faceplate holds the latch securely on the door. The standard measurement for a faceplate is 2.25 inches long and 1 inch wide. You can choose between rounded or squared faceplates. If you opt for rounded faceplates, it has a radius of 0.125 inches. Also, squared corners are easier to chisel than rounded ones.
When replacing door latches, get the same measurements as the old latch. Taking the previous measurements of existing fittings prevents the filling or plunge routing on the doors. You can remove the latch and get its exact measurements. If you do not want to remove it, take a ruler and measure from the center of the spindle hole to the edge of the door.
Door latches add some security features for doors. With the variety of door latches in the market, finding the right one can be tricky. It is best to research different types of door latches that fit your needs and budget. It is a must to measure the correct dimensions of the door latch for installation. Take your time in choosing the perfect latch to get the best for your door improvement needs.