The Staycation Boom: Find the winning combination gate lock

As national lockdowns were removed, ‘staycations’ became increasingly popular in the UK. Airbnb’s boomed and many found a way to use that old shed or annex as a source of income. It also meant that combination gate locks found a new purpose: securing the main garden gate entrance.

softwood timber garden gate with digital keypad lock. In front is a paved path and plant with purple flowers

When you think of a garden gate, you probably imagine a softwood timber gate, dressed in semi-rusted gate hinges with a small latch. Perhaps it even has a spring gate closer.

Such a gate is a common sight; it does the job for daily and private use. But with the staycation boom of 2020 and 2021, garden gates became the first frontier of the rentable garden hut accommodations across the country. Making a good first impression suddenly became a must; as did security and convenience of use.

Restricting access

A key consideration when renting out your garden Airbnb is restricting access to it through a side gate. One if the first methods that usually pops up is the trusty old padlock. Often used to lock the latch handle on the inside as seen below, the padlock is easy to source, simple to use, and low-cost. A seemingly convenient choice, but it might not be as user-friendly as you think.

padlock on locking latch. Installed on old wooden gate/door
Image credit: Mick Haubt, Unsplash

When the padlock won’t cut it

For the part-time Airbnb renter, the padlock can cause some grievances for the guests:

  • Padlocks are easy to lose – unless a padlock is secured to the gate every time it’s opened, it can be easily lost or stolen
  • Inconvenient process – you have to take the padlock off, store it safely, and refit it every time
  • Forgotten keys – it’s easy to lock a padlock and forget the key was still on the kitchen counter
  • Missing keys – when a guest checks out, they might forget to hand over the key again, meaning you have to go out and replace it (again…)
  • Vulnerable – low-cost padlocks are easily snapped, and combination padlocks are vulnerable to picking

And then there is the question about first impressions. Imagine you have been driving all day to reach that nice little outbuilding you rented only to find it’s behind a locked gate with no other access. It is evening and you haven’t got a clue where the key is hidden. Not exactly the best start to your relaxing weekend away…

What’s the alternative then?

All is not lost though as there are other more convenient solutions to a padlock of wooden gates. One of those is a keyless combination gate lock, a concept we explain a bit more in depth in this article.

Market research suggests combination gate locks for timber gates are popular due to the convenience of not having a key to operate it. You can often get digital combination locks that doesn’t require power at your local hardware store at a reasonable price.

The downside to these is the way they are installed.

The digital keypad is normally attached to a tubular insert latch like the one in the below image. This sort of set-up requires chiselling into the body of the gate, and when the gate absorbs moisture during the winter, it will pinch the insides of the latch, preventing operation.

When your softwood timber gate has had a chance to retract in the summer heat, you’ll then find a gap between the latch and the receiving strike plate making the lock almost useless.

Tubular mortice latch
Tubular insert latch

The solution

If you shouldn’t use a padlock nor a tubular insert latch, what options do you have? That was exactly the question we asked ourselves. Determined to engineer the perfect solution, which offers the benefits of a combination gate lock, without the installation headache or weather-caused annoyances, we are happy to show our new lock for wooden gates: The Superlatch.

Digital combination gate lock on wooden gate
The Superlatch

The winning combination

Designed to work for both metal and wooden gate, the Superlatch is a keyless combination gate lock with a latch handle and integrated shroud on the inside.

Easy to install, great for outdoor use and perfect to work with any slight movements in the timber gate or post.

The Superlatch with the integrated shroud
A keypad access is a neat and secure solution for your wooden garden gate

By simply drilling two 3/16″ holes and one 1/2″ hole straight through the face of the gate, the marine grade keypad and stainless-steel latch body fix to the gate effortlessly, thus preventing the need for a locksmith, a carpenter, or chiselling away your Sunday afternoon. You can see the full installation instructions here or watch our installation video on YouTube.

Experience the benefits of the Gatemaster Superlatch today and see just how easily you can adapt to the Airbnb boom!

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