Gate locks for wooden gates and garage doors; a guide.

You’ve quite a choice of gate locks for wooden gates and garage doors, ranging from the simple to fit, to the more secure but harder to fit locks. So in this blog post, we round up the best of what is around and give you the pros and cons of each.

* All mentions of locks for garage doors refer to locks for side hinged, timber garage doors only!

Brenton padbolt

The Brenton padbolt, more commonly known as simply a padbolt, is probably the simplest lock to fit to a gate. No real challenges should present themselves as it simply fits to the front or rear face of the gates or garage door and it attaches using a combination of screws and bolts

The padbolt locks using a padlock, which you’ll have to buy separately, and the main downside is you can only lock or unlock it from the side of the gate to which it is fitted, unless you fit it very near the top of a gate and can reach over to use the thing; obviously for a garage door, this is not an option!

Brenton padbolt, the simplest lock for a timber gate

A Padbolt or Brenton padbolt is the easiest gate or door lock to fit

Brenton padbolts can be found under Locks, Bolts & Latches in our Ironmongery Shop.

    Padbolt pros:

  • Simple to fit
  • Inexpensive compared to other locks
  • As secure, if not more secure, than a long throw gate lock
  • Can be fitted to all types of gates (i.e. ledged and braced gates, framed ledged and braced gates) or garage door. See our guide on How to fit a padbolt to a wooden gate.
    Padbolt cons:

  • Can only really be used from the side of the gate or door it is fitted to
  • Not the most secure

Rim locks

A rimlock is really a very simple lock for a gate or door, so called because it sits on the rim (edge) of a gate or door. Commonly, it is found on the inside of shed doors and on ledged and braced gates; these are not really the most secure as they are really a bit flimsy, weak and not all that secure, as in most cases, if you could get enough leverage to pull the gate open, then the lock bolt can actually snap.

Rimlocks come in two variaties: you’ve the simple lock (pictured right) on its own (opened from either side of the gate with a key) or a lock and latch version, which once unlocked, you have to twist the handles to open – imagine a poorer version of a sashlock and you get the picture!

Basic version of a rimlock fixed to a gate

A simple version of a Rimlock, without a latch

    Rimlock pros:

  • Simple to fit
  • Inexpensive compared to other locks
  • Can be operated from either side of the gates or garage door
  • Can be fitted on a ledged and braced gate or as a lock for a fence type gate
    Rimlock cons:

  • Not the most secure
  • Cheap and nasty!
  • Not really suitable for a framed, ledged and braced gate

Nightlatches

Traditionally, these were known as rim locks, though they shouldn’t be confused with the modern day rimlock mentioned above as a Nightlatch lock (more commonly referred to as a ‘Yale lock’, though other brands are available!) is a lot more secure.

I, personally, wouldn’t refer to a Nightlatch as a gate lock but I’ve mentioned it here as we get lots of requests for ‘Yale type locks for gates’. A Nightlatch is fitted to an external door, on the inside face. On the inside face of the lock, you have a little lever handle and usually a snib (this is used to either keep the lock from engaging or to prevent anyone with a key opening the door) now this side is the internal side of the lock and not suitable for being exposed to whatever this great British climate of ours can throw at it and the lock won’t weather at all well.

These are suitable for a pair of garage doors, however, if you’ve got doors with rebated meeting stiles (i.e. that overlap when closed) and the doors open out, then you will struggle to get a Nightlatch lock to work properly as they are not made for doors with rebated meeting stiles that open out. Having said that, you can get them to work, but it’s a bit of a ‘bodge’.

A Nightlatch commonly referred to as a Yale type lock

A Nightlatch, more commonly referred to
as a Yale lock (other makes are available!)

    Nightlatch pros (as a gate lock):

  • Erm, nothing really as it’s a gate lock!
  • Can be fitted to garage doors (without rebated meeting stiles)
    Nightlatch cons (as a gate lock):

  • Not a gate lock!
  • Cannot be easily fitted to doors with rebated meeting stiles
  • Not the most secure lock, for example, on a front or back door of your home for insurance purposes, even if you’ve got a Nightlatch fitted, then most insurance companies insist on a 5 Lever Insurance Deadlock being fitted as well.

Long throw gate locks

Perrys, Cays and Gatemate produce two versions (well, four if you include the different sizing options of 50mm and 70mm versions of the locks!) of a long throw gate lock; the ‘throw’ is by how much the locking bar protrudes from the body of the lock; a double-locking option (key lockable from both sides) and a single-locking option (with a simple spring latch on the rear of the lock and a keyhole on the front).

From the front of the gates or doors, all that you’ll see of the long throw lock is the cylinder of the lock protruding through the face of the gates/doors

Long throw gate lock front view

Long throw gate lock front view

Looking for a single locking Perrys gate or door lock? Look no further as you can find them within our shop here!

Despite its name, the long throw gate lock can also be fitted to a garage door; simply select the correct size option; for doors or gates up to 50mm, then select the 50mm lock option and for doors or gates up to 70mm thick, then select the 70mm lock option (the size options refer to the length of the cylinder that fits through the doors or gates).

The double-locking long throw gate lock has the advantage over the padbolt as it can be locked and unlocked from either side of the gate, so no more trying to reach over the gate to unlock the thing; however, in our opinion, assuming somebody has access to the rear of the gate or door then it is not quite as secure as a correctly fitted padbolt (with padlock added)- and at least a padbolt is supplied with bolts to secure it through the gate rather than just screws that the long throw gate locks come with, though there is nothing stopping you from adding some of your own bolts, however.

You can get your Perrys double locking long throw gate locks in our shop here!

A double locking long throw gate lock

Rear view of the double locking long throw
gate lock (key operated each side)

Long throw gate lock with spring latch

Rear of the long throw gate lock with spring latch.
Key operation from the front only

Long throw gate locks can be found under Locks, Bolts & Latches in our Ironmongery Shop.

Fitting is simple enough as there is a handy guide supplied with all the locks; the main part of fitting involves drilling a 28mm hole (instructions that are supplied with the long throw locks mention a 26mm hole, however both Perrys and Gatemate supply 28mm spade bits specifically for these locks as a 26mm hole is quite tight to get the barrel of the lock into) through the gate or door to take the actual cylinder of the lock. Once this is done, the lock just actually screws onto the rear of the gate and here, in our opinion, is what lets this lock down, as anybody who wants to overcome the lock can simply screw it off; a correctly fitted padbolt has two bolts that must be removed; again, these bolts are simple enough to undo, however, it takes a bit more time to do this.

    Longthrow gate lock pros:

  • Better looking than a padbolt (wolf whistle!)
  • Double-locking option gives the ability to unlock from either side of the gate
  • Single locking option is handy if you don’t want the hassle of unlocking (from the rear only) with a key
  • Cheaper than a mortice lock
  • Can be fitted to a gate or door
    Longthrow gate lock cons:

  • Not really any more secure than a Brenton padbolt
  • Far less secure than a mortice deadlock
  • More expensive than a Brenton Padbolt
  • Cannot be fitted anywhere on the gate or door (See below)

Mortice deadlocks

If security is your thing, then a mortice deadlock is the way to go. You’ll see these as being commonly 3 or 5 levers (the levers being part of the mechanism within the lock, the more levers it has, the more secure it is). For insurance purposes, at least a 5 lever lock is a must (hence the name 5 lever insurance lock!). This doesn’t fit to the gate or door,it fits inside it, meaning it cannot simply be unscrewed and removed; to get it out you’ve got to get the doors open!

A mortice deadlock gives you the ability to unlock or lock the gates/doors from either side, as once fitted you’ve a keyhole on either side.

These security gate locks can be fitted to garage doors – however, if you’ve got doors that have rebated meeting stiles (i.e. they overlap when closed) then a ‘rebate kit’ must also be purchased that fits the lock; you cannot fit the lock without the rebate kit otherwise. For example, you cannot use a Union mortice lock and expect any old rebate kit to fit it, it must be made for the lock and most lock manufacturers also manufacture rebate kits for their range of locks.

Also be aware, that as these sit within the door or gate, then there is a minimum thickness of door which it can be securely fitted into, usually this is 44mm but does vary from lock to lock.

A good mortice deadlock will also meet certain British Standards (look out for the Kitemark) as well as being CE marked and, in some cases, will also be ‘Police Preferred, secured by design’. The deadlocks we supply meet all three criteria.

Mortice deadlock fitted to a gate

A mortice deadlock fits within the gate or door

Mortice deadlocks can be found under Locks, Bolts & Latches in our Ironmongery Shop.

    Mortice deadlock pros:

  • More secure than any other gate lock on the market
  • Key lockable from both sides
  • Usually guaranteed
  • Available as a 5 lever insurance deadlock
  • Can be fitted to both gates and doors
    Mortice deadlock cons:

  • Slightly more difficult to fit as you need to cut into the edge of the gate
  • Cannot be fitted to ledged and braced gates/doors
  • More expensive than a Brenton Padbolt and long throw gate lock
  • Cannot be fitted anywhere on the gate (see below)
  • For doors with rebated meeting stiles then a rebate kit must also be used

Mortice Sashlocks

These are like a mortice deadlock in almost every way but with one exception; a sashlock needs a pair of handles fitted to it. The sashlock gives you the option of leaving the doors unlocked but still held closed by way of the latch within the lock; you need to physically pull the handle down to release the latch and open the door.

Again, mortice sashlocks are usually 3 or 5 lever and the more levers the lock has, the more secure it is; again, look for a lock that is ‘Police Preferred, secured by design’, that has a British standard kitemark and also CE markings.

A mortice sashlock fitted to a garage door

A mortice sashlock requires a pair of handles

Mortice sashlocks can be found under Locks, Bolts & Latches in our Ironmongery Shop.

    Mortice sashlock pros:

  • More secure than any other gate/door lock on the market
  • Key-lockable from both sides
  • Has a latch as well as a lock
  • Usually guaranteed
  • Available as a 5 lever insurance deadlock
  • Can be fitted to doors
    Mortice sashlock cons:

  • Slightly more difficult to fit as you need to cut into the edge of the gate
  • Cannot be fitted to ledged and braced gates/doors
  • More expensive than a Brenton Padbolt and long throw gate lock
  • Cannot be fitted anywhere on the door (see below)
  • For doors with rebated meeting stiles, then a rebate kit must also be used
  • A pair of lever latch handles are required
  • Not really a gate lock

Lockable dropbolts

Not technically a lock in itself but still lockable as the name implies is the lockable dropbolt. This is ideal as a driveway gate lock. Used in place of a standard non-locking dropbolt, the lockable version is fitted on a pair of gates and locks one of the gates to the ground using a padlock.

    Lockable dropbolt pros:

  • Can be used alone, giving pedestrian access through a pair of gates (one gate can still be opened),
  • Can be combined with another lock such as a padbolt, long throw lock or deadlock for more security
  • Simple to fit, though a lock block may have to be added to your gates
  • Fairly inexpensive to purchase
  • Can be fitted to both gates and garage doors
Lockable dropbolt fitted to a pair of gates

A lockable dropbolt can add extra security

Lockable dropbolts can be found under Locks, Bolts & Latches in our Ironmongery Shop.

    Lockable dropbolt cons:

  • Can only be unlocked from the side of the gate it is fitted to
  • For more security, it needs combining with either a padbolt, long throw gate lock or deadlock

Where can I fit a mortice sashlock/deadlock or long throw gate lock?

The longthrow locks (both versions) and deadlocks cannot be fitted anywhere on the gates; on a framed ledged and braced gate, if you fit on a horizontal rail (or near the horizontal rail for a deadlock), then you will undermine the joint between the stile (vertical upright, main frame of gate) and horizontal rail, as the majority of the joint is cut away to take the locks. To maintain the integrity of the joint, it is always recommended that a lock block or dummy rail is fitted to take the gate lock.

Further reading – Secured by Design
Locks, Bolts & Latches in our Ironmongery Shop

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