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Draw Latches: A Complete Guide

A draw latch is a piece of hardware that functions like an ordinary hinge that can be pulled open by hand. Draw latches are most commonly used on closed positions and enclosures to allow them to swing open without the need for any additional hardware or tools. The name "draw" is derived from the fact that these types of latches pull inwards towards themselves.

Draw latches are used to hold two components firmly together temporarily until they are pushed apart by a wedge, wing nut, or by hand. Draw latches can be adjusted to fit on any door, and some models include hinges, so you don't have to install two separate devices.

There are many benefits to using draw latches, including their strength and ease when it comes to installation. Below, we detail how draw latches work, along with the varying types that are available for your specific needs.

In this article we will take a closer look at:

1. What is a Draw Latch?
2. How does a Draw Latch Work?
3. What are some Other Uses for Draw Latches? 
     > HVAC Systems
     > Trailers and Cargo Containers
     > Machinery
     > Storage Compartments and Lids
     > Exhibits and Displays
     > Lawn and Garden Equipment
     > Agricultural Equipment

4. Types of Draw Latches
     > Under-Center Draw Latches
     > Over-Center Draw Latches
     > Lever-Assisted Draw Lathces
     > Pull Draw Latches
     > Fixed Grid Draw Latches
     > Flexible Draw Latches
     > Concealed Draw Latch

5. Summary

What Is a Draw Latch?

A draw latch uses tension to keep two objects tightly joined together. They are used to secure enclosures, doors, and lids. Draw latches have a push-pull function that can be opened with minimal effort, but still hold tightly when not held by the user.

Draw latch designs vary greatly depending on their intended use; however, all draw latches are installed similar to hinges.

These latches come in different formats, shapes, load capacities, and finishes. Draw latches are easier to install than other types of door hardware, as they don’t require any additional tools or fixtures, making them a popular choice for DIY projects.

They are also known as "over-center fasteners" or "toggle clamps" for the way they function. They also come in various shapes and sizes depending on their intended use; however, all draw latches share a few design features that make them simple to install without the need for additional tools.

How Does a Draw Latch Work?

A draw latch is a type of lock that uses the force from the lever to hold the latch bolt in place. The locking mechanism can be found inside or outside, depending on your needs and design preferences. Draw latches are similar to deadbolts, but they can be opened from either side of the door because there is no keyhole on one side.

The main components of a draw latch are the hinge, the keeper, and the blade. The housing is an optional component that can be used for security purposes or make your design more aesthetically pleasing. Draw latches provide extra security because they can be locked or unlocked with a simple pull of the handle.

When designing DIY draw latches, you have to remember that the bolt should be at least half an inch longer than the thickness of your door or gate. You can use a hacksaw for this purpose, as it’s inexpensive and easy to find in most hardware stores.

Draw latches are commonly used for both home and industrial purposes. They can be found on front doors, outdoor sheds, warehouses, or any other type of door that needs extra security. They can also be used to secure gates and other doors from intruders, like a front door or an outdoor shed.

To close a draw latch, simply pull towards you on both sides of the handle at once; this allows for minimal effort while keeping the door tightly closed. Draw latches are extremely easy to install, and they come in various shapes, sizes, finishes, and load capacities.

Draw latches are more secure than other types of door hardware, since they exert a great amount of tension to hold the objects tightly joined together, making them ideal for enclosures or any place you want your items kept safe.

What Are Some Other Uses for Draw Latches?

Draw latches have many uses that include their most common function of holding doors shut. They are also used to secure enclosures, prevent tampering on trailers and HVAC systems, hold together different pieces of machinery, lock storage compartments in place, and secure lids on containers such as tool boxes or ammo boxes.

HVAC Systems

Draw latches are commonly used on HVAC systems to attach major components such as the furnace, compressor, and condenser. Draw latches can also be attached to a cabinet that houses controls or other electrical equipment where they prevent tampering of wiring by unauthorized persons while still allowing easy access when needed.

Trailers and Cargo Containers

Draw latches and gaskets are frequently used on trailers and cargo containers for a variety of applications. Draw latches can be attached to the corners or along one side, depending on how much tension needs to be applied to hold them shut.


Draw latches can be used to secure components within machines such as the locking mechanism for an engine's camshaft, hold electronic circuit boards in place during manufacturing, and attach heavy equipment pieces like gears or power takeoffs to their shafts. They are also perfect for locking machinery made of zinc alloy and bright chromate.

Storage Compartments and Lids

Draw latches can secure storage compartments or lids onto other containers such as toolboxes and ammo boxes. Draw latches can come in the form of a hook, flat metal pin, or locking mechanism attached underneath the lid, which is screwed into place overtop.

Draw latch designs vary depending on their intended purpose; however, all draw latches work by pulling themselves towards each other through a pushing motion. Draw latches can also come with two hinges attached which allows them to be used on doors that slide open and shut rather than swing freely, making them even more versatile depending on their application.

Exhibits and Displays

Draw latches can be used for various exhibits and displays, including securing the backing panels to furniture pieces. Draw latches are commonly found in museums where they attach hardboard or foam cores together, providing both support and protection while also preventing tampering of wiring that's already been laid out within them.

Lawn and Garden Equipment

Draw latches are also used on lawn and garden equipment, such as their most common use for securing enclosures. Draw latches can be attached to the corners of greenhouses and various other structures that house animals or plants.

Agricultural Equipment

Draw latches are also used on various types of agricultural equipment for a variety of uses. Draw latch designs can be attached to the corners or along one side, depending on how much tension needs to be applied in order to hold them shut properly.

Types of Draw Latches

There are several different types of draw latches, including hook and flat metal pin designs. Hook type draw latches can be found in many agricultural settings, such as on greenhouses or animal shelters, where they attach various panels together to create a secure enclosure for crops or livestock. The flat metal pin design is often used with containers meant to be opened and closed frequently. This type of latch can also vary in size depending on how much tension needs to be applied, with the most common being two inches long while others are available in large sizes.

Under-Center Draw Latches

Under-center draw latches are commonly used where latching occurs out-of-plane. Its hook keeper can be used to prevent the gate from opening unintentionally. The keeper is secured at all times by either welding, riveting, or bolting it in place after the latch has been placed into position on its hinge.

The latch center can be drawn to the side using a pull handle and rotated around the bottom hinge pin. The latch center will not open unless its keeper is disengaged from one or both sides; it can only be opened with full rotation in either direction.

Over-Center Draw Latches

An over-center latch draw latch is commonly used where latching occurs in-plane. A pull handle is attached to the center of this type of draw latch, which allows it to be opened while still keeping its gate secure and closed while not in use.

The hinge pin is placed on the top of each side and can be welded in place after installation. Over-center draw latches are commonly used for gates that need to open perpendicular to their hinges while still preventing tampering by unauthorized persons when necessary.

Adjustable Draw Latches

Adjustable draw latches allow for changes in tension depending on what they're being used for. The arm of this type of draw latch is designed to be rotated around its hinge pin and then locked into place by a bolt or screw that allows for easy access when necessary.

Lever-Assisted Draw Latches

Lever-assisted draw latches work in similar ways to adjustable and over-center types of pull handles. This type of latch allows for tension applied to it to be changed depending on what they're being used for, but the hinge pin is placed at the bottom rather than along its arm.

The keeper is attached directly to the arm of this type of draw latch and can be detached from it by bending its tab until it's disengaged. This allows for quick access without having to remove a bolt or screw to open it, which is why lever-assisted draw latches are commonly used on gates that need to stay securely closed.

Pull Draw Latches

A pull draw latch is commonly used where latching occurs out-of-plane. The arm of this type of draw latch can be easily lifted into place by a handle that's attached on its end and then latched using a hook keeper on the other side, which prevents it from opening unintentionally.

Fixed Grid Draw Latches

This one has its keeper permanently attached to one arm and can be latched or unlatched by rotating it around the hinge pin.

Flexible Draw Latches

This type of draw latch has a flexible metal band that is easily stretched over the hook keeper on each side. When tension is applied to this style of draw latch, it will securely lock into place. The gate can only be opened by disengaging both hooks simultaneously with one hand while pulling outwards until they're completely unlocked and then lifted manually.

Concealed Draw Latch

This type of draw latch is commonly used when a design requires that the latching mechanism be hidden from sight. It has a metal hook on one side and a rotating arm with an enclosed center that can be pulled outwards through its pull handle, allowing for easy access. The hook keeper prevents the arm from being pulled out too far and accidentally unlatched.

It can be installed on a door or panel which swings in-plane by placing the hinge pin horizontally so that it rotates up and down instead of back and forth, preventing its gate from opening when not in use.


Draw latches allow doors, gates, and shutters to be temporarily held open. They can also be used to create a gate latch that operates from one side only, which is useful when the operating handle's location is difficult or inconvenient, such as on sliding door tracks.

Reid Supply has long been a trusted supplier of draw latches.
With a wide variety of latches available, it's possible to find one that will complement your situation while meeting your needs for security and style.

The draw latches we carry at
Reid Supply come in different styles, sizes, and materials (some zinc plated while others made of stainless steel) that suit any need. We can help you find the right latch and knobs for your application. With our world-class customer service and over 50 years of experience as a key supplier to builders across North America, you are sure to get high-quality products at great prices when you work with us.

Contact us today if you
have any questions about our lock latch or any of our new products in our portfolio.