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Latches, Hinges, and Handles, Oh My!

Jul 15, 2020 | Our Products | 0 comments

At Sierra Pacific Engineering and Products, we offer a huge variety of latches, hinges and handles. However, we find that many buyers turn to the same familiar products repeatedly. This is unsurprising because, with so many options, it is hard to know what each one is, let alone the variety of uses. Read on to learn more about everything from slam latches to paddle handles.

Slam Latches

This type of latch holds a door closed using spring tension. The spring presses the latch out so that it will catch, holding the door in position. The name is derived from the robustness of the design. Thanks to its rugged manufacturing requirements, this type of latch won’t be damaged if a door is slammed shut.

It is ideal for industrial applications in which a door needs to be latched conveniently. For example, an access panel that may need to be closed and latched easily could benefit from a slam latch. However, it is less ideal for high-security applications as the spring-loaded latch can be easily be shimmed.

Draw Latches

A draw latch is a two-part latch with a hook and an arm. The arm mechanism can clasp onto the hook and be pulled tight to bring the two pieces closer together. Typically, the arm portion can be pushed down into a secure state and sometimes can be locked by an external lock such as a padlock.

Draw latches are ideal for toolboxes, crates, windows and other openings that need a simple but secure latching mechanism. This design is very effective and easy to use.

Magnetic Latches

As the name implies, this type of latch uses magnets to hold the door closed. There are typically two pieces: a magnet assembly and a metal plate. The magnet(s) hold themselves to the metal plate. This is usually achieved with permanent magnets and only requires minimal force from a user to open the latch.

This is a great design for convenient applications such as residential or office cabinets. Magnetic latches can help hold doors shut but they are not intended for security purposes because they are designed for anyone to be able to open them with minimal effort.

Lift-Off Hinges

Conventionally, hinges have a locking pin that keeps them together. This is normally preferred because the door is intended to always stay attached to its doorway. However, there are some circumstances in which being able to separate the door and the frame is necessary. In these cases, lift-off hinges offer significant benefits over traditional pin-style hinges.

This may be useful for a doorway that is typically used as a door but may need to be made completely open for convenient access. It can also be helpful for any entryway that needs to be broken down. Shipping crates or cases are examples of products that can benefit from the use of lift-off hinges.

Continuous Hinges

In most applications, doors have two or more hinges at even intervals. This helps distribute the weight of the door and offers simple and easy movement. However, in some cases, a single, continuous hinge is necessary. One of the most common places you see continuous hinges is on piano lids. In fact, they are sometimes referred to as piano hinges.

These are ideal for hold heavy doors such as barn, warehouse or blast doors. For an application in which multiple, spaced hinges would be under too much stress, a continuous hinge is ideal.


L-handles are fairly self-explanatory: they are door handles in the shape of an L. They are easy to use, especially for people who have trouble with twisting their wrists. They can also be opened relatively easily without using your hands.

They generally take up more space than some other handles and need additional moving area, but they are simple to use and nearly all can be locked. At Sierra Pacific Engineering and Products, we have L-handles with both key locks and padlocks.


These handles are similar in many ways to their L-shaped counterparts. They have protrusions that make them easy to turn and they can often be locked with a key or padlock.

Although T-handles require less operating space, they are harder to open hands-free. Additionally, they require more of a twisting motion, which may not be ideal, but can potentially increase the strength of the latch.

Some of these T-shaped handles can fold down when not in use for a more compact space. They are popular for use on lockers and access panels.

Paddle Handles

Paddle handles have a flat piece of metal or plastic that pulls out allowing users to open the latch. One of the advantages of the paddle design is that the handle can lay close to flush with its casing. That makes it ideal for occasional-use applications.

We have paddle designs that can access a key lock. These are great for doors that are exposed to the elements frequently and need a sturdier latch.

Making the Most of Your Hardware

Understanding the pros and cons of different hardware can help you select the right options for your needs. We are happy to help you find the best products at any time. Whether you need slam latches for convenience or continuous hinges for handling heavy loads, we have what you need at Sierra Pacific Engineering and Products.