Rim or Mortice?

When our customers are considering which door knobs or handles to choose for their home they sometimes ask what is the difference between a Rim Lock and a Mortise Lock? Here we outline the difference between the two.

Rim Locks and Latches

A rim lock or latch is a traditional style lock designed to sit on the surface of an internal door (e.g. a bedroom door). Serving a basic security function, it is often used for decorative purposes and is particularly suited to period properties - for example our Large Brass Rim Lock as shown above would have traditionally been found on Victorian doors.
A rim lock comes with a key to lock the mechanism whereas a rim latch comes with a thumb lock. Designed for bathrooms, the rim latch can only be opened from one side but a steel key which goes through the door connects an emergency release cap which is operated with a coin. Below shows our Regency Style Cast Iron Rim Latch.
The majority of rim locks and latches require a set of door knobs to be fitted in order to operate the lever. The door knob which is mounted onto the lock or latch will have its back plate or rose removed whilst the knob on the other side of the door will retain it's back plate. Rim locks may be dual handed to fit both left and right opening doors but some will be designed specifically for left or right handed use. We have a range of door knobs which work with our rim locks and latches which feature removable backplates, these include our best selling Brass Beehive Door Knobs, Nickel Regency Bloxwich Door Knobs  and Cottage Bun Door Knobs.

Mortice Locks and Latches


Beehive door knob on door with mortice latch

With mortice locks and latches the lock/latch is set within the body of the door as opposed to being surface mounted. These require a pocket to be cut into the door (usually wooden) where the lock/latch will sit.
A mortice latch is the bolt that holds the door in it's closed position and is operated by a spindle which passes through the door and is in turn operated by a pair of door knobs or handles. The latch contains the spring which enables the door knobs/handles to return to their original position.
All of the door knobs and handles at Willow & Stone are sold as pairs and come complete with the appropriate spindle to work with a mortice lock latch. Our traditional style door knobs are unsprung and therefore require a heavily sprung mortice latch to work correctly.
View our range of Latches, Locks and Bolts here and our range of door knobs here. Details of suitability for mortise or rim is listed under the product detail.