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Night Latches – A Simple Guide to Yale Locks + Most Secure Night Latch

Night Latches - A Simple Guide

Our Night Latch guide covers what night latch door locks are, the advantages/disadvantages of each nightlatch type & what the best night latch to secure your home is.

We will also tell you what lock standards to look out for each nightlatch type.

What is a Night Latch (commonly referred to as a “Yale Lock)

A Night Latch (Yale Lock) is a lock commonly found on home front doors; they are mounted to doors that open inwards and mounted to the inner surface of the door.  When the door is closed the night latch automatically latches the door shut.  

The door can be kept from latching closed by keeping the door ‘on the latch’, a phrase you may have heard of.

Night Latches are very simple security they are very easy to use, open the door with a key and shut the door behind you.

Also known as: you may also find a Night latch sometimes referred to as a ‘Yale Lock’ or ‘Rim lock’.

For a guide about house locks please see our types of door lock page here we cover the pros and cons of each lock.

Night Latch Questions

What is the most secure Night Latch to use?

The best night latch to keep your home secure would be an auto dead locking night latch that is approved to British Standard 3621,  this would automatically deadlock the door when it is closed.   Popular brands who make this high-security night latch lock would be Yale, ERA, Union.

How much does a Night Latch cost?

The price of a basic night latch could start from around £30, with a British Standard BS3621 approved night latch being more expensive starting from £95.

Night latches are relatively inexpensive as a whole, even replacement cylinders only cost from around £12.

For prices please see our locksmith price guide for changing locks or we have a put together a estimated price list of locks.

What are popular brands of Night Latch?

Popular brands of Night Latch include Yale, ERA, Ingersoll, Union etc.. with finishes ranging from Chrome, Brass, White, Grey.

What are the sizes of Night Latches?

Night latches are available to purchase in two sizes, which are 40mm backset and a 60mm backset.

What size lock you require will depend on the type of door you have.

What is the backset on a Night Latch?

The backset on a night latch is the distance from the centre of the keyhole to the edge of your door, you will find most night latches will have a 60mm backset.

What is the Best Rim Cylinder for a NightLatch?

Please read our best rim cylinder guide here we also tell you what rim cylinders are and how much a replacement will cost.

Types of Night Latch/Yale Lock we will cover:

On this page we will cover everything you need to know about the below types of Nightlatch:

  1. Standard Night Latch ( Non-deadlocking )
  2. Deadlocking Night Latch
  3. Auto Deadlocking Night Latch
  4. Double Locking Night Latch

The first and most important security issue you will want to know is…

Is a NightLatch Secure?

Secure – A nightlatch is only truly secure if it is BS3621 Approved OR is fitted alongside a 5 lever Mortice Deadlock that conforms to BS3621.

Not Secure – A nightlatch is NOT secure if you are using a standard Nightlatch (NON-BS3621) as the ONLY lock on your front door.

Door Types Suitable For:

Night latches are commonly found on Wooden/Timber & Glass panelled doors in domestics homes and also communal entrance doors.

Before Reading Our NightLatch Guide

Here are a few terms to know regarding Night Latch/Yale Locks that are mentioned quite a lot throughout this page, and what you might hear a locksmith mention should decide to change and fit a new Yale lock for your door.

1. Deadlocking – What it means

Deadlocking means once the door is shut, the lock can only be opened with a key.   If a burglar was to break into a home they would not be able to exit without the key.

2. Approved to BS Standard – What it means

This means the lock has been tested to a particular British Standard ( product will probably have a Kitemark on ) – having locks approved to British Standard is sometimes a security requirement by some home insurance providers.

For how to tell you have a BS3621 lock click here our guide covers everything you need to know about this popular standard of lock.

If you are thinking of changing your door locks this simple guide should help.

Night Latch Types

The below are the common types of night latches found on front doors.

1. Standard Night Latch ( Non Deadlocking )

Yale standard Night latch Non Deadlocking

A Standard nightlatch is a simple ‘Yale’ type lock. This lock will have a basic design, with a basic cylinder. Non deadlocking means that you cannot ‘double lock’ the latch from outside with the key, stopping you from being able to open the lock from inside by the handle.

This is ideal on a property with multiple occupants or on a communal door. You do not want someone to be able to double lock the door when someone is IN the building.

Door Types Suitable For:

A standard Night Latch is most commonly used as the entrance lock on timber doors. It’s possible to find/use on other types of doors though not as familiar.

For security a basic night latch should not be the only lock used on a door.


  • Night latches are simple security that has been around a long time, so are proven effective.


  • Standard night latches do not offer high levels of security so require a secondary lock to meet insurance requirements (like a BS3621 deadlock)

Lock Standard for Basic Night Latch:

Standard night latches are not approved to British Standard (BS).

Security Note:  Basic night latches (non BS 3621) should always be used with a BS 3621 deadlock for security as night latches are not usually very secure.

How the lock is operated:

From outside, the lock is operated by the use of a standard cylinder key (in most cases).

From inside the lock is operated by a handle that you will with pull down or twist to open the door.

Most have a snib feature that allows you to lock the latch.   Either locked closed (you can’t open the door by key or handle) or to hold the latch in the open position so the door will not lock shut.

Useful for doing something like taking the bins out but the door won’t close behind you.

Snib – Most Important part of a Night Latch

The snib is one of the most essential parts of a night latch, as it stops you from being locked out.  A snib is a button or slider on the nightlatch, this prevents the door from “slamming shut” and allows for the latch to be held.

Yale Night Latch Snib

Where the Snib on a nightlatch is

If the snib is broken or damaged you could find yourself locked out of the house.

2. Deadlocking Night Latch

ERA Deadlock Night Latch

A deadlocking night latch is the same as a basic night latch, except you can turn the key on the outside one full turn (opposite to opening) that will then lock the latch in the closed position.

You will not be able to open the lock from the inside as the handle will be disabled.

Door Types Suitable For:

Commonly used on Wooden/Timber doors for homes for entrance access.

For security a deadlocking night latch should not be the only lock used on a door.


  • You can lock or disable the handle from working inside, this is useful if nobody is in the property.
  • If someone smashes the glass (if it has glass) they can’t unlock the door.
  • It also prevents the latch from being slipped.


  • If someone is in the property you could lock them inside.

Lock Standard for Deadlocking Night Latch:

Deadlocking night latches are not approved to British Standard (BS).

Security Note: A deadlocking night latch (non BS 3621) should always be used with a BS 3621 5 lever mortice deadlock for security.

How the lock is operated:

Again, a deadlocking night latch acts the same as a basic latch but with the extra feature of locking the latch with a key.

3. Auto Deadlocking Night latch

Yale Auto Deadlocking Night Latch

Auto dead locking night latches are deadlocked when the door is shut, which means any thieves trying to use a credit card to open your door will have no success.  Once deadlocked a key is required to open the door.

They also have the additional feature of an anti-thrust latch. As the door is shut, the anti-thrust is pressed in. This stops the latch being slipped open.

The security is starting to increase with these night latches.

Door Types Suitable For:

Commonly used on Wooden/Timber doors for homes as entrance access.


  • The security starts to get much higher.
  • The lock cannot be slipped open when it auto deadlocks.
  • Usually, these are higher quality locks.


  • As the door automatically deadlocks, this means you could easily lock yourself out if the door shuts behind you.

Lock Standard for Auto deadlocking night latch:

Auto deadlocking night latches can be approved to British Standard BS3621.

4. Double Locking Night latch

ERA Double Locking Night Latch

Double locking latches have the addition of a key on the inside to be able to lock the handle, these are one of the most secure night latches you can use for your door.

Door Types Suitable For:

Again these are suitable for wooden/timber doors on domestic homes, and also glass panelled door.


  • Perfect for glass panelled doors
  • If a burglar smashes your glass door they would be unable to open the door without having the key.


  • Still possible to lock someone inside, If you double lock the handle inside with a key.
  • If any person inside doesn’t have a key they will be unable to open the door.

Lock Standard for double locking night latch:

Double locking night latches are approved British Standard BS3621 & BS8621.

How the lock is operated:

Similar to the auto & deadlocking night latch, you can still open the door from inside if you lock the handle from inside with a key.

To unlock the door just use the key to unlock unlike the standard deadlocking which you cannot unlock.

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