Different Types of Door Lock Latches and How They Work

Different Types of Door Lock Latches and How They Work

One of the most overlooked aspects of home security is the type of door latch you use knob lock on. Most of us use whatever was already installed in our homes, never giving it a second thought. But if you’re like us—always on the hunt for the best ways to secure your home—then you’re in the right place!

Let’s break down the different types of front door locks and lock latches and how they work so you can make an informed decision.

Deadbolt Latch

Deadbolt door lock latches

First up, we’ve got the tried-and-true deadbolt. This is the Superman of latches—strong, reliable, and almost invincible against forced entry. Deadbolts come in single and double-cylinder versions. Single cylinders need a key from the outside but can be opened with a thumb turn on the inside. Double cylinders require keys on both sides, which can be extra secure but sometimes inconvenient.

Spring Latch

Spring loaded latches are the most common type of latch

Spring latches are more like your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man—quick and easy but not as strong as the deadbolt. These latches are spring-loaded and can often be opened with a credit card if not installed correctly. However, they’re super convenient and generally less expensive. These are most commonly found in interior doors.

Mortise Latch

Mortise latches are also known as sliding bolt latches

Think of the Mortise latch as your Iron Man—high-tech and versatile. These door locks are often found in commercial buildings but can also provide excellent security for homes. The mortise lock is actually a latch and deadbolt combo installed into the door itself, rather than just sliding the bolt down on the surface.

Cam Latch

Cam locks have a cam latch

The cam lock is your Black Widow—small but mighty. These are often used in filing cabinets and mailboxes rather than doors. A rotating cam is what engages the lock, and they’re often operated with a simple key.

Electronic and Smart Lock Latches

Welcome to the future! These are like your Avengers team-up, combining the powers of traditional door locks with smart features. Use your smartphone, a fob, or even facial recognition to unlock your door, it is the perfect option for keyless entry. The latches can be any knob locks of any type, but the unlocking mechanisms are high-tech.

How do I know what size door latch I need?

Knowing the right size for your door latch can be a real game-changer for both the installation process and the overall security of your door. Getting the size wrong could mean a wobbly fit or, worse, an insecure door. So let’s dive right in on how you can measure up like a pro.

Measurements You’ll Need:

1. Backset

The backset is the distance from the edge of the door to the center of the knob, the hole where the latch will be installed. Common backset measurements are either 2 3/8 or 2 3/4 inches. Some door locks come with an adjustable backset, so you have a bit of wiggle room.

2. Door Thickness

Standard exterior doors usually have a thickness of 1 3/4 inches, while interior doors are generally 1 3/8 inches thick. Always measure to make sure, especially if you have custom doors. Most modern door latches are designed to fit these standard door thicknesses.

Measurements You'll Need to install a new door lock

3. Latch Length

This is particularly important for lock types and deadbolts. A longer latch offers more security, making it difficult for intruders to tamper with the lock. Common lengths range from 1 inch to 2 inches.

4. Hole Diameter

Different types of door locks and latches may require different hole diameters, so you’ll want to measure this or check the manufacturer’s requirements. For most residential uses, the hole diameter is usually around 2 1/8 inches.

How to Measure for the perfect door lock

How to Measure:


Use a tape measure or ruler to measure from the edge of the door frame to the center of the hole.

Door Thickness

Close the door and measure its thickness using a ruler or calipers.

Latch Length

This may be provided in the product specifications if you’re looking at a new lock. Otherwise, you can measure it directly if replacing an existing bolt or latch.

Hole Diameter

This will be in the instructions for the lock you purchase for new installations. If you’re replacing a latch, measure the diameter of the existing access hole.


  • Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific measurements.
  • When in doubt, consulting a professional is always a good idea. We at Okey Locksmith are just a call away!

By having accurate measurements, you’ll save time and stress during the installation process and ensure your front door hardware is as secure as possible.

Measure your door hardware

Importance of choosing the right door lock for your property

We’ve all been there—standing in the hardware aisle, staring at a wall of door locks, overwhelmed by the choices. We get it, it’s not just a lock; it’s the guardian of your sanctuary, your fortress, your home, or your business. Let’s talk about why picking the right one is crucial.


First and foremost, the right lock provides optimum security. A weak or poorly installed lock on sliding doors is like rolling out the red carpet for intruders. This is why deadbolts are often recommended for external doors. They’re harder to pick and withstand force better than other types of door locks.


Yes, security is critical, but so is your day-to-day experience with electronic locks. Do you want a lock that can be controlled remotely? How about one that automatically locks when you leave the house? Smart locks can do these things and more. However, if you’re a fan of the classics, a traditional lock and key might be more your speed.

Aesthetic Appeal

Believe it or not, the look of your lock matters. A lock that matches the design of your door and your property’s overall aesthetic is bound to leave a better impression. Whether you prefer a vintage look or a sleek modern design, there’s a door lock out there for you.


Let’s face it, replacing door locks can be a hassle and an unexpected expense. Choosing a high-quality lock from the get-go ensures durability, potentially saving you money and headaches in the long run.


Do you need a lock for an interior door or an exterior one? Are you looking for a lock for a residential or commercial property? Different settings have different requirements, and certain door locks are designed to meet those specific needs. Mortise locks, for example, are often recommended for commercial properties due to their durability and additional, locking mechanism functions.

There are lots of unique locking mechanism choices

Insurance Requirements

Your choice of lock can even affect your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Some insurance policies require a certain level of security, so picking a lock that meets or exceeds these requirements can potentially save you money on premiums.

Peace of Mind

Last but certainly not least, the right lock brings peace of mind. You can sleep better, go on vacation, or focus on your work, knowing that your property is securely protected.

Choosing the right lock is a blend of practicality and personal preference, and that’s where the experts (that’s us!) come in. At Okey Locksmith, we can help you navigate these choices and find the perfect lock for your property. So why leave it to chance? Reach out to the best OKC locksmith today, and let’s ensure you’re as secure as possible.

Stay locked and safe, Oklahoma!