Door latches are locking mechanisms that are installed to prevent a closed door from opening. Latches must be manually unhooked or unlocked for a door to open, making them more secure than door catches, which can be opened with just a little force. Doors that separate rooms, cabinet doors, or any type of door which need to be securely shut always include some type of door latch to hold the closed door into place.
Door latches are, however, different from locks as they do not require a key to open. That said, they are comparable in that they serve the same function as locks since they secure a door into place and need to be manually undone for the door to open. Further, some latches do come with a space or hole big enough to snake a padlock through for extra security.
Because door latches are so ubiquitous around the home, office, or industrial facility, RS Components stocks dozens of different sizes and styles of latch, as well as door latches made from different materials, such as a stainless steel latch.
There are many different types of door latches that are categorized by how they are opened and closed. Choosing the right door latch depends on the type of door you are looking to secure as well as how tightly secure you want the closed door to be.
Different models of door latch secure doors to varying degrees. The strength of the tension provided by the door latch is measured in Newtons, where the higher the tension, the more secure the door will be.
For example, you may have a door at your home that you want to keep close but still want to be able to open easily, such as a gate in an outdoor fence. In this scenario, you would want a door latch with a low tension rating, such as a gate latch. Gate latches are types of latches that consist of two main parts, a rod, attached to the gate, and a clip-in unit that accepts the rod and secures it into place. Many gate latches have a small hole where a latch lock can be threaded through to lock the latch closed for extra security.
On the opposite end, a door that needs to create an air-tight seal when closed would require a higher tension toggle latch. Toggle latches utilize a simple hook and pull system to prevent doors from opening. A free-moving metal hook attached to the base of the latch hooks on a catch fixed to a door. A human must then close the toggle latch by pressing down on the hammer. This, in turn, pulls on the hook until the hammer snaps into place on the base of the latch and locks in the tension.
Toggle latches release the tension in different ways depending on their design. On some traditional toggle latches, a human must lift up on the hammer and disengage the tension pulling the metal hook on the door catch. In other designs, you can press a button to release the tension.
Toggle latches have a wide range of uses both in the home and in the workplace. You may find toggle latches on domestic items like storage cabinets or vanity boxes. The greater the tension of the latch, the sturdier the build material needs to be. For low-tension latches, simple plastic or lightweight metal can do the trick. But for high-tension latches that are used to create an air-tight seal, your best bet is to use a stainless steel latch.