Gate locks are available in various styles and types for different functionality. According to Hardware Source, each type of gate lock is ideal for different situations and purposes. The most common types include key lockable latches, slide bolt latches and spring latches.
Key lockable gate latches allow for maximum security. The key lockable latch requires a key to open the gate from the exterior while opening without a key from the interior. Most key lockable latches lock automatically upon closing the gate for security reasons. The key lockable gate latch is most commonly used on metal gates though it is used on all types.
The slide bolt latch functions by manually sliding a bolt into place to lock the gate. Slide bolt latches are positioned on the interior of the gate, inaccessible from the exterior. However, if the gate is short enough, it is possible to reach over and unlock the gate from outside. The slide bolt is typically used for short-term security when used on interior gates. The slide bolt latch is most commonly used on wooden gates.
The spring gate latch functions by means of a tightly-coiled spring which latches two components together. The spring latch usually allows the gate to open and close from either side, snapping down over itself to hold the gate in place. Rather than using it for security, the spring latch allows for ease of access while keeping the gate closed when desired. Some spring latches have a switch or lever which operates from the inside to prevent the latch from opening until it is disengaged. This security mechanism allows for security within the interior of the fence. Spring latches are commonly used on both wood and metal gates.