Quicklist: Different Types of Door Knobs
- Concealed Screws
- Single or Half Dummy
- Double Dummy
- Interior Mortise
- Push Lock
- Oil-Rubbed Bronze
Parts of a Door Knob
Our front door lock is on the fritz. It’s almost impossible to open the deadbolt. The cause is our two-year-old who loves to slam doors and tug on the knobs, but now that he’s moving past that stage, we’ve hired a locksmith to repair it.
It’s not easy choosing door knobs for both exterior and interior doors because there are so many different options. You’re faced with a variety of features, styles, locking mechanisms, finishes and functions. Below, we set out many of the options you’ll come across when looking for a new knob and lock system.
Related: Types of Garage Doors | Types of Keys | Front Door Dimensions | Full vs Half Dummy Door Knob | Interior Door Dimensions | Pocket Door Dimensions | Sliding Door Dimensions | French Door Dimensions | Types of Window Locks | Best Color Knobs for White Cabinets | Pivot Doors
Door Knobs Classified by Features
Before I get rolling, you should know I distinguish “door knobs” and “door handles.” They are different, although they do pretty much the same thing. We talk about door handles in another post.
1. Mounting Hardware Included
Homeowners installing new door knobs are better off buying models with all of the necessary mounting hardware included. This will streamline the installation process, as the hardware will be specifically chosen to operate with the door knob.
Being able to key a lock on your own is a gamechanger. Locks that are rekeyable can usually be changed in less than 30 seconds and the mechanism doesn’t have to be removed from the door to complete the process.
Some exterior doors benefit from extra security and you may want to invest in a door knob that has an electronic keypad. This is another extra layer of security designed to keep you as safe as possible and to make it difficult for someone to break into your home.
A keyless entry remote system automatically unlocks your door for you. Instead of fumbling around with keys, you simply push a button to gain access to your home. Many keyless entry models are designed to easily replace traditional door knob set-ups.
5. Concealed Screws
While concealed screws can make installation a little trickier, the door knobs look great and provide homeowners with additional security.
Door Knob Functions
Passage door knobs have no locking mechanism. They are ideal for closets and other rooms where security or privacy is not a concern.
Both bedrooms and bathrooms benefit from privacy door knobs. While there isn’t a key, privacy knobs are locked using a turn-piece or a button from the inside of the room.
The design usually includes an entry hole that will allow outside access in case of an emergency — usually by sliding a slim, stiff item into the hole to depress a button that will unlock and open the door.
3. Single or Half Dummy
These models only come with one knob and nothing on the other side of the door. Ideal for closets, they are simply a single knob that can be installed on a door to allow it to be opened and closed.
4. Double Dummy
Otherwise known as “full dummy,” double dummy door knobs are full-size decorative knobs that don’t have a latch mechanism. They are screwed right onto the outside of the door without a hole for a latch as they do not have a latch in them.
They are great for utility space rooms, double doors, pantries, and closets that are large enough for a person to enter and shut the door behind them.
5. Interior Mortise
Mortise locks have the operating mechanism of the lock set into a recess that is cut into the side of the door. The knob slides the latch bolt away from the door frame to allow the door to open.
The design helps to increase the security of your property, but this type of lock usually requires a professional to complete the installation properly.
Popular for exterior doors on a home, keyed locks aren’t commonly used for interior doors due to the inconvenience of needing a key to get into a locked room.
Electronic door knobs can either be opened and closed with a key, as well, or they rely on a keypad for entry and exit. Some homeowners are wary of installing keyless entry systems, due to the possibility of someone learning the access code but overall they are thought to be very secure.
Door Knob Lock Types
1. Push Lock
Push locks involve pressing a button on the door knob from the inside of the room you want locked. They are easy to operate, but this also means that they are not childproof — most can be unlocked from the outside via an entry hole.
These door knobs have a small piece on the end that has to be turned to lock the door. Locking a thumbturn is usually more intentional than accidentally locking one with a push button. Just like a push lock, thumbturn door knobs usually include an entry hole for outside access.
Door Knob Styles
Contemporary door knobs come in a variety of shapes, styles, and finishes but all will instantly elevate the room and fit in perfectly with the décor.
Perfect in the home of an artist or stylist, eclectic knobs allow the homeowner to express his or her personality and style through the door knobs. Ideal for people who see all areas of the home as a way to showcase their style, these door knobs come in bright colors, with intricate designs, and interesting shapes.
Modern door knobs are similar to eclectic models but the lines are smoother and more refined.
If you are looking for a knob that will stand the test of time and appeal to most people, then a traditional door knob is a great choice.
Doorknobs that exude style and function, while looking strong and dependable, are often Craftsman designs. They are characterized by strong lines, large plates, and open key holes.
Perfect for a farmhouse out in the country, these knobs often come with decorative touches. Antique brass, weathered chrome and floral designs all help create a rustic, traditional look.
Bold and strong, industrial knobs stand out with their deep colors and heavy appearance. They are often very minimal and don’t have a lot of design features on them but are reliable and built to last.
For a Mediterranean look, opt for a door knob that is intricately carved and carefully buffed to show the detail in the design — gorgeous and functional.
These door knobs are characterized by function, smooth edges, and elongated design that makes them very visually appealing. They look great in almost any home but will especially complement mid-century design and furniture.
Typically bronze or oil-rubbed bronze, rustic door knobs are attractive and often come with fun decorations on them.
For the ultimate feeling of escaping on a vacation while still at home, a tropical door knob in the shape of a pineapple will allow you to feel as if you are at the beach. They’re fun and funky and work well with informal surroundings.
Door Knob Finishes
While brass will patina over the years with use, this just adds to the beauty of the door knob and most homeowners will love the way that it looks.
While some homeowners want all of the doorknobs in their homes to match, others are okay with differences in the finish. In this case, nickel, due to the color, looks amazing in light spaces such as bathrooms.
Bronze door knobs are beautiful and come in a number of styles. The finish works well in darker rooms or homes that have been decorated with deep, rich colors and heavy fabrics.
Clear knobs are attractive, don’t smudge easily, and add visual interest to a door instead of allowing the knob to simply fade into the background of the room.
5. Oil-Rubbed Bronze
An update to typical bronze door knobs, oil-rubbed bronze adds a little more depth and color to them. They look great in any home and are outstanding when paired with light, airy rooms.
Door Knob Shapes
Round door knobs work well on both interior and exterior doors. This is a typical doorknob shape and they come in a variety of finishes, making it easy to find the perfect one for your décor.
Octagonal door knobs are a great way to update the appearance of a room. They often come in interesting finishes and many times can be found with clear glass, making them heavy to hold and easy to turn.
Egg door knobs are easy to grab on to, which makes them ideal for a home that has small children or adults who are losing their strength.
These doorknobs are large spheres and can work well on almost any door in your home. Available in a variety of finishes, they can easily match the hinges on the door and are easy to swap out if you want to update the look.
Tulip door knobs are easy to hold and to turn and come in many finishes and styles. The corner on the door knob is not so sharp or harsh that you have to worry about anyone getting injured when trying to operate the door.
Square door knobs look modern and sleek and are incredibly interesting when used as part of a design element in a home. Their corners ensure that they don’t slip out of the hand, making them fun and easy to use.
Best Type of Door Knobs for Various Needs
1. Door Knob for Thick Doors
When choosing a door knob for a thick door, you should consider a few factors.
- The width of the door
- The thickness of the door
- The weight of the door
If you have a thick door, you should choose a door knob that is wide enough to fit comfortably in your hand and one that is heavy-duty enough to support the weight of the door.
The best door knobs for this include:
- Lever door knobs
- Keyless entry door knobs
- Knob and lever door knobs
- T-shaped handle door knobs
2. Door Knob for Front Doors
There are a few things to consider when choosing a front door knob.
The first is security. You want to choose a type that is strong and durable so that it can’t be easily forced open.
The second is convenience. You want to choose a door knob that is easy to use so that you don’t have to fiddle with it when you’re trying to enter or exit your home.
The third is style. You want to choose one that compliments the style of your home so that it looks like it belongs there.
3. Most Secure Door Knob
There are a few things to consider when choosing a secure door knob.
The first is the material. You want to choose one that is made from a strong and durable material, such as brass or steel.
The second is the locking mechanism. You want to choose a door knob that has a strong and secure locking mechanism so that it can’t be easily picked, or tampered with.
The third is the installation. You want to choose one that is properly installed so that it can’t be easily removed.
When choosing a door knob for your front door, we recommend a brass or steel model with a secure locking mechanism.
The best door knobs for this include:
- Deadbolt door knobs
- Knob and deadbolt door knobs
- Keyed-entry door knobs
4. Door Knob for Closet Doors
The best type of door knob for a closet door is one with a simple design. You want to choose a door knob that is easy to use so that you can open and close the door without fumbling with it.
The best option for this is a passage door knob because it has a simple design and it is easy to use.
5. Door Knob for Bathroom Doors
Generally, the best kind of door knob for a bathroom door is a privacy doorknob. Why? Well, first and foremost, privacy doorknobs offer just that — privacy. They have a locking mechanism that can be engaged when you need privacy, such as when you’re taking a shower or using the toilet.
Second, privacy doorknobs are typically made from waterproof materials, so they won’t rust or corrode over time.
And third, privacy door knobs are usually easy to use, so you won’t have to fiddle with them when you’re trying to enter or exit the bathroom.
6. Door Knob for Sliding Doors
Generally, sliding doors use a different type of hardware than traditional doors, so the best kind of door knob for a sliding door is flush pulls or recessed handles.
A flush pull is a type of handle that is mounted flush with the surface of the door, while a recessed handle is a type of door handle that is mounted into the surface of the door. These are typically used on sliding doors because it is easy to use and it doesn’t protrude from the door.
7. Door Knob for Thin Doors
If you have a thin door, you should choose a door knob that is proportional in size to the door. You also want to choose a door knob that is easy to use so that you don’t have to fiddle with it when you’re trying to enter or exit your home.
The best options for this are:
- Round door knobs
- Oval door knobs
- Lever door knobs
8. Child Safe Door Knobs
The best type of door knob for a child’s room is a model with a simple design. You want to choose a door knob that is easy to use and the right size for their hands to cater to their fine motor skill development. This means choosing something with an easy shape and good grip. We recommend:
- Round door knobs
- Oval door knobs
- Lever door knobs
9. Door Knobs for Elderly Person’s Room
The best type of door knob for an elderly person’s room is a lever model. Lever door knobs are easy to use and they don’t require a lot of grip strength to operate. They are also a good choice for people with arthritis or other conditions that affect their hands.
Additional Tips for Choosing the right door knob
When choosing a door knob for your home, there are many important considerations that come into play. Not only do you need to think about the functionality of the door knob, but there are also décor, residents, and other considerations regarding the room that need to be factored into your decision.
We have compiled a list of tips to help you choose the best doorknob for your needs:
1. Consider the Function of the Door
The first thing you need to consider is what the door is used for. Is it an exterior door that needs to be secure? Is it a closet door that just needs to be functional? Knowing the purpose of the door will help you choose the right type of door knob.
2. Consider the Décor of the Room
The next thing you need to consider is the décor of the room. If you have a modern home, you’ll want to choose a door knob that has a sleek and simple design. If you have a traditional home, you might want to choose one with more intricate details.
3. Consider the Residents of the Home
Another thing to think about is who will be using the door. If you have small children in the home, you’ll want to choose a door knob that is easy for them to use. If you have elderly residents in the home, you’ll want to choose one that is easy for them to grip.
4. Consider the Size of the Door
When choosing a door knob, you also need to think about the size of the door. If you have a small door, you’ll want to choose a proportional model. If you have a large door, you might want to choose one that is a bit more substantial in size.
1. Kwikset Pismo
Kwikset is one of the most reliable, trusted door knob brands. The Pismo is an affordable option that adds a simple, clean, and modern look to any door and home. This knob comes in a range of stylish finishes and is available as a passage, privacy or dummy knob.
You can also get the Pismo from Kwikset as an exterior keyed-entry knob so everything is cohesive throughout your space. Look for other options available for the Pismo, like your choice of a round or circular rosette, too. This is the backplate that’s mounted onto the door, so you get a completely customized look that suits your specific interior design style.
2. Probrico Interior Door Knob Set
This attractive door knob set comes in various quantities, including a set of one all the way up to a 10-pack, depending on your needs. The sleek design features a classic yet modern satin nickel finish and a contemporary look.
The simple, rounded knob works well with a range of interior design styles and it includes a thumb-turn switch, so you can easily lock the door in a bathroom, bedroom, and anywhere else you want some extra privacy.
A hole on the opposite side of the knob lets you open it with a pin key to prevent accidental lockouts. Each of these door knobs from Probrico is made entirely of metal with brass cylinders in the locking mechanism for durability.
This is an excellent option if you want to upgrade the door knobs in your bathroom or bedroom.
3. Knobwell Octagon Glass Door Knob Set
If you love the appearance of antique glass door knobs, then this set by Knobwell is designed just for you. Each knob is elevated with a glass handle and a bronze finish that lends a vintage element to your home.
A diamond design etched into the glass is adorned with a beautiful Victorian-inspired rosette. The knobs are double-sided so you can enjoy its beauty on both sides of the door, and they’re compatible with left- and right-handed doors.
You can find these sleek knob sets in dummy and privacy styles and they can be purchased individually, or you can find them in multiple pack sizes from two to 10. The passage knobs don’t include locks, so they’re perfect for smaller areas like a hallway or closet.
4. Copper Creek Colonial Knob
If you’re looking for a simple, classic door knob, then the Colonial model from Copper Creek is an excellent choice. It features beveled edges around the rosette and a polished nickel finish, although it’s also available in other finishes like Tuscan bronze, satin stainless, black and more.
The door knob works well in a range of homes, including rustic, industrial and traditional spaces. It features durable steel components and nickel-plated bolts that give it excellent durability for heavy use.
This door knob from Copper Creek fits most standard doors and comes in passage, privacy, and dummy versions for your home’s interior.
5. Signature Hardware Hubbard Brass Door Knob
The Hubbard door knob from Signature Hardware is a simple option, but the elongated metal backplate lends it a sophisticated, high-end look.
While the brass finish looks elegant in a range of homes, it also comes in other finishes, including black nickel and brushed bronze for a warm, inviting aesthetic.
The durable knob set is constructed from brass for durability, and you can install it for both left and right-hand configurations. Not only is this door knob stunning to look at, but it also includes Signature Hardware’s 10-year limited warranty, too.
6. Schlage Brookshire Collection Georgian Passage Door Knob
The Georgian Passage door knob by Schlage lends an intricately ornate element to any room of the home. With homage to the Georgian era, this door knob is punctuated with a stylized rosette adorned with curved scrolls, decorative roses, and a range of gorgeous finishes.
Look for the aged-bronze finish for a warm look, or try the brand’s matte black or satin nickel finishes if you prefer a more modern aesthetic. The large rosette fits door holes larger than the standard 2 1/8 inches, making it extremely versatile.
Whether your home is classic or contemporary, there’s no doubt that this beautiful door knob by the trusted brand Schlage is a smart addition to any room.
There are many other options to choose from within the Brookshire Collection featuring a wide array of shapes and styles if the Georgian motif is not your preference.
Where to Buy Door Knobs Online
There are many places where you can buy door knobs online. Some of the most popular places include:
Amazon sells a wide variety of major brand door knobs, including Schlage and Kwikset.
Lowe’s sells a variety of door knobs, including Schlage, Kwikset and Baldwin.
3. Home Depot
Home Depot is another retailer that sells door knobs, including entry door knob handlesets and combo packs.
4. Door Hardware USA
Door Hardware USA is a great online resource for finding door hardware. They offer a wide variety of branded products, including door knobs.
Build.com is an online retailer that specializes in home improvement products.
Directdoorhardware is another great online retailer for finding door hardware. They offer a wide variety of branded products, including door knobs.
7. Cabinet Parts
Cabinetparts.com is a great online retailer for finding cabinet hardware. They offer a wide variety of branded products, including door knobs.
8. Knob Depot
KnobDepot.com is an online retailer that specializes in door hardware.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the standard height for door knobs?
The standard height for a door knob is 36 inches (91.4 centimeters). However, it is not unusual to encounter doors with different door knob heights.
Forty inches is not uncommon for mobile homes, as that measurement is perfectly centered on a standard 80-inch door and can, therefore, be used more flexibly by the builder. A door with a vertically centered door knob at 40 inches can be flipped upside down and hinged at the other side, if needed.
Other deviations from the standard height are possible. If a home already has door knobs at a non-standard height, new door knobs should usually be positioned to match the other doors in the home. And some doors, such as those leading to pools, have higher door knobs to prevent small children from accessing the space unaccompanied.
Are door knobs standard size? If so, what are the standard sizes?
Door knobs come in many sizes to suit a variety of doors and functions. For most door knob applications, three measurements are important: The backset, or distance from the center of the knob to the edge of the door; the thickness of the door; and the diameter of the latch borehole, which is the hole drilled in the edge of the door to accommodate the latch.
Standard backsets are either two and three-eighths or two and three-quarter inches. This will be the length of the latch. Conveniently, some door knob brands feature adjustable latches that work for both sizes.
You may also come across some less common backset measurements, such as five inches, two and a half inches, and rarely, two inches.
The thickness of the door is typically determined by whether the door is interior or exterior, with standard exterior doors measuring in at one and three-quarter inches thick and interior doors at one and three-eighths inches thick. Many door knobs can fit a range of door thicknesses.
The standard latch bore diameter is one inch.
Can door knobs be painted?
Yes, and painting a door knob can be a cost-effective alternative to replacement. Painting metal does require some preparation, however, to ensure that the paint sticks over the long term.
To repaint a knob, it must be carefully removed from the door, cleaned, sanded and primed with an appropriate metal primer spray paint. After the primer has dried fully, metallic spray paint can be used to give the knob a makeover.
Can door knobs be rekeyed?
Yes, they can. Rekeying is usually handled by a locksmith or hardware store, but it is also possible to rekey your own locks with a rekeying kit. The expense and difficulty of rekeying, whether done by a locksmith or with a do-it-yourself kit, will depend on the complexity, brand and type of lock.
Can door knobs be reversed?
Yes. Reversing a door knob is a relatively simple process that can be accomplished in a few minutes with a screwdriver.
Many times, homeowners or renters choose to reverse a knob in order to place the lock in the more expected position (for example, inside the bathroom rather than on the outside) or to move a lock to the outside of a room as a safety measure to prevent young children from locking themselves in.
Can door knobs be recycled? If so, how?
Yes. door knobs are typically made of metal, a highly recyclable material. Both the knob itself and the lock inside can usually be recycled. Most door knobs are yellow brass, but you may also find ones made from copper, aluminum, steel and iron.
To recycle door knobs, first unscrew and remove the locks. Next, you may opt to sort the locks by type of metal. Presorting your metals this way can raise the price you can get from a scrap metal buyer.
To sort your door locks, simply touch each lock to a magnet and sort according to whether the magnet sticks. Magnets only stick to ferrous metal locks; the locks that don’t stick to the magnet are made from non-ferrous metals.
Once sorted, bring your knobs and locks to a recycling center or a scrap metal buyer. Check with recycling centers before bringing metals to ensure that they are equipped to recycle the types you want to drop off.
Can used door knobs be resold?
Yes, there is a market for used door knobs. Many used door knob buyers are contractors and institutions looking for commercial-grade door hardware.
However, there are also homeowners who are either bargain hunting or looking for special, difficult-to-find, or antique knobs. For example, antique glass knobs are often sought by homeowners to add the perfect classic look to a doorway.
Door knobs are sold widely online and can be found in abundance on eBay, specialty hardware websites, and home salvage stores.
Are door knobs wheels?
Believe it or not, parts of door knobs are wheels in terms of how they function. The knob is the wheel, and the center shaft that goes through the door is called the axle. Both parts work together, so when you turn the knob, it opens the door.
How do door knobs work?
Door knobs work via a mechanical fastener that connects the latch to the doorframe. A bolt that’s installed in the center of the door and the center of the knob keeps the door closed.
When you turn a door knob, it moves a spindle and a cylinder that turns it to the open position. When the cylinder moves, it pushes the bolt forward and allows the door to be opened or closed.
Are door knobs universal?
No, door knobs are not universal. They come in various sizes, but the standard door knob measures either 2 3/8 or 2 ¾ inches. If you buy a standard door knob, it should fit doors between 1 3/8 and 1 ¾ inches thick.
Why are door knobs positioned so high in Australia and England?
Door knobs are installed higher in Australia and England to make rooms with high ceilings look cozier. The door knobs create an optical illusion that makes the ceiling height look shorter than it really is. Installing door knobs at a taller height in relation to the door creates a warmer, more inviting space in these types of rooms.
Does spray painting door knobs last?
Spray painting door knobs will last if you sand them first, apply a primer, use the right type of paint, and apply a clear coat or sealant. Adding a clearcoat will help to preserve the spray paint and keep it from rubbing off or chipping over time.
Can you mix door knobs and levers?
Yes, you can mix traditional round door knobs with lever-style door handles. However, try to use the same door knob and lever that are in a similar style and finish so that everything looks similar and doesn’t clash. Installing different designs or finishes won’t make your home look coordinated and could create an unattractive look.
Do door knobs have to match hinges?
Door knobs and hinges don’t necessarily need to match, and you probably won’t notice them or be bothered too much if they don’t. However, if you’re planning to sell your home or you’re concerned about creating a cohesive look, then it’s best to make sure that the door hinge and doorknob finishes are the same.
Do door knobs come with keys?
Not all door knobs include keys, but storeroom, keyed entry, and privacy door knobs typically do. Passage and “half dummy” door knobs don’t traditionally include keys. In general, front and back door knobs will include a few keys, while interior door knobs don’t unless you specifically purchase them.