What is a Nightlatch? Everything you need to know

Updated February 7th, 2023

Written by Jeff Seymour

Locksmith Direct JefF Seymour

A nightlatch is a type of locking mechanism primarily used on external wooden doors and is prevalent throughout the UK. A nightlatch automatically locks when you close the door. A key must be used from the outside to gain entry but not the inside. Here, as a qualified locksmith, I will explain the different types of nightlatch found in the UK.

What is a Standard Nightlatch?

A standard nightlatch uses a key to gain entry. Then, from the inside, you turn a knob or use a lever to pull the latch in and open the door. When the door is closed, the latch locates into a keep which is fixed to the door frame. In addition, most standard nightlatches have a button on the body that deadlocks the latch if used. This prevents the common entry method criminals use, known as "slipping the latch".

It is common practice in the UK when using a standard nightlatch also to have fitted a five-lever British Standard deadlock to the door that is insurance approved.

Standard Nightlatch
Standard Nightlatch

What is an Auto Deadlocking Nightlatch?

Auto deadlocking nightlatchs are common around the UK. They are typically used on wooden doors when a deadlock is not used. They provide added security because when the door is closed, they automatically deadlock the latch, preventing the term "slipping the latch." Many Auto Nightlatches have a British Kitemark, meaning they have been tested to a certain level of security, making them insurance approved.

The handle on the body of the nightlatch can be locked for added security, which is especially useful if one is fitted to a glass panel wooden door. However, this does mean when the handle is locked, you will need a key to open the door from the inside, making this a fire risk if not used correctly. Always consult a certified locksmith if your thinking about fitting one of these types of nightlatch.

Auto Deadlocking Nightlatch
Auto Deadlocking Nightlatch

What is a Keyless Escape Nightlatch?

A keyless escape nightlatch that meets the British Standard regulation can also be supplied. These are typically used where high security is needed, but you want to avoid locking yourself or anyone else inside.

Keyless Escape Nightlatch
Keyless Escape Nightlatch

What is a Yale Roller Bolt Nightlatch?

Yale roller bolt nightlatch. These look the same as a Yale nightlatch, but instead of a latch, they use a bolt. These are typically used on flat doors. They prevent you from getting locked out, as you will always need to lock the door using a key when you leave. Using the key throws the bolt into the keep, thus securing the door. The bolt is always in a deadlock position when the door is closed. Therefore, you can open the door without using a key.

What Finshes do Nightlatches have?

All the above types of nightlatches use a rim cylinder that can be seen on the outside of the door. They typically come in two finishes, brass or chrome. The one below has extra security and is also kite-marked approved.

Nightlatch rim cylinder with a brass finish
Nightlatch rim cylinder with a brass finish

What is an Electronic Nightlatch?

Electronic nightlatchs are helpful when using a keyless entry system, such as communal doors. A visitor would buzz the apartment, and the occupant would press a button on the phone entry system to let you in. Always consult a qualified locksmith before considering having one of these types of nightlatches fitted.

Electronic Nightlatch
Electronic Nightlatch
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About the Author

Jeffrey Seymour

Jeffrey Seymour is a renowned locksmith known for his exceptional skills in the field of locksmithing and security. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, he has a passion for helping people secure their homes and businesses, and his knowledge and expertise in the latest security technologies and techniques have made him a sought-after expert in the industry. Jeffrey's attention to detail and commitment to providing high-quality service has earned him a reputation as one of the best locksmiths in the business. He continues to educate himself on the latest advancements in the field and is dedicated to providing his clients with the best possible service and protection.

Updated February 7th, 2023

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