How Does A Gate Latch Work?

Different gate latches have been designed with mechanisms that work in specific ways. Some are easier to open, with minor movement required, but some are more complex and harder to figure out – ideal for those with young children or pets if there’s a particular area of your garden you don’t want them accessing!

Here’s a quick guide to the basic mechanics of some of the most common gate latch styles...

  • Thumb Latches - aptly named, thumb latches are built with a thumb depressor. When this is pushed in, the arm on the latch lifts and removes itself from its catch, which allows the gate to open. Once released, the latch arm will fall and fit back into the catch again, creating a form of lock.
  • Ring Latches - ring latches work similarly, but instead of a thumb depressor, the latch arm is moved by lifting and turning a ring located on either side of the gate. This lifts and replaces the latch arm in and out of its catch.
  • Lever Latches – these operate practically the same way as a ring latch, but instead of a turning ring, the gate is opened by a lever you will need to lift.
  • Bolt Latches – bolts latches work by attaching a looped ring to one side of the gate post or the adjoining fence, and a bar directly onto gate. Once this bar is slid through the ring, it creates a join between the gate and the fence/gate post, preventing the gate from opening.

How to Adjust a Gate Latch

Most gate latches are easily adjustable, but the exact changes you make may depend on the style. For example, ring latches may just need their catch moving up slightly if a satisfactory join is not made, whereas a Suffolk gate latch may require considerable changes due to the wide range of components that make up the finished latch. For help with installing and adjusting these specific gate latches, check out our handy guide.

How to Padlock a Gate Latch

The overall aim of padlocking a gate latch is to prevent the mechanism from working and the latch (and therefore gate) being opened. Much like installation and adjustment, attaching a padlock to a gate latch is not a ‘one-size-fits-all' solution – in fact, some latches (like ring latches) can’t really be affected by a padlock at all.

One of the best gate latches to use alongside a padlock is a sliding bolt latch. When the bolt is secured in the catch, you can place a padlock above the ring used to manoeuvre the latch – this will prevent the bolt from being able to slide out of the catch and will keep your gate secure.

How to Adjust a Gate Spring

Installing a gate spring is trial and error – it's unlikely you’ll get the required tension perfect the first time. The good news, however, is that gate springs are designed with this in mind, and are easy enough to adjust, ensuring you get the safe and secure automatic close your gate needs.

To adjust your gate spring, remove the peg that is located in the mounting bracket, and find the tension device on your gate fitting – this is typically located in the top of the springs.

Your gate spring kit should include a tension rod – you can insert this into the springs and turn clockwise to tighten, or anticlockwise to loosen the tension in the spring.

Once you have reached your desired level of tension, you should remove the tension rod and insert the peg back into the mounting bracket to secure the spring and its tension in place.

For more information on our range of gate latches, get in touch with our expert team, or for installation advice, check out our handy guides and tips!