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35 Different Types of Doorknobs (Plus FAQ)


Our 2-year-old loves slamming doors but now he's broken our front door deadbolt locking system. We had to hire a locksmith to fix it and we'll probably get a new doorknob as well. There are many types of doorknobs to choose from - this article explains all the different options.

Close up photo of an elegant door knob

Our front door lock is on the fritz.  It’s almost impossible to open the deadbolt.  The cause is our 2 year old who loves to slam doors, but now that he’s moving past that stage, we’ve hire a local locksmith to fix it.

It’s not easy choosing doorknobs for both exterior doors and interior doors because there are so many different types of doorknobs.  You have different features, styles, locking mechanism, finish and various functions.  Below we set out many doorknob options organized in different classifications and categories so you can figure out exactly what you want if in the same boat as us getting a new knob and lock system.

Features

Mounting Hardware Included

Mediterranean doorknobs

Source: Houzz

Any homeowner who is going to be installing new doorknobs at his or her home will likely be better off buying a doorknob that already comes with all of the necessary mounting hardware with it. This ensures that the homeowner doesn’t have to run to the store to try to buy the correct hardware as this will often result in buying the wrong thing. In addition, this makes installation fast and easy since all of the included hardware will be specially chosen to work perfectly with the doorknob, making it easy to switch it out in a hurry. Look for doorknobs with the mounting hardware included if you aren’t sure that you could choose the right hardware or are worried about getting the doorknob changed quickly.

SmartKey

Contemporary doorknob

Source: Houzz

Being able to easily and quickly key your lock on your own without the help of a professional locksmith makes changing your locks and knowing that your home and family will be safe very easy. Locks that are rekeyable can usually be changed in less than 30 seconds and the lock doesn’t have to be removed from the door to be able to complete this process.

Keypad

Electronic keypad door knob

Source: Home Depot

Some exterior doors benefit from extra security and if you want to make sure that your home is as safe as possible when you are out for the day, then you may want to invest in a doorknob that has a keypad. This is just 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. If you are prone to dropping your keys or are worried about someone being able to pick the lock on your door, then you will benefit from the peace of mind that comes with installing a doorknob complete with an electronic keypad.

Remote

Keyless electronic door knob with remote.

Source: Wayfair

Keyless entry has never been easier than now with a remote that will automatically unlock your door for you when you get home. Instead of fumbling around with keys, which can be frustrating and leave you out in the cold and rain, with a remote doorknob, you’ll simply push a button and gain access to your home. They come with a keyed entry as well but being able to add as well as delete access codes as you desire makes it easy to allow guests entry to your home and to keep out people you don’t want stopping by. Most of these doorknobs will easily replace current knobs without any problems.

Concealed Screws

Remote control keyless electronic door knob.

Source: Wayfair

If you are worried about the appearance of your door and don’t want to have any visible screws, then opt for a doorknob that has concealed screws. While this can make installation a little trickier, these doorknobs look great and are very safe as nobody can easily unscrew them and pop them out to get into your home or your room. They come in a variety of styles and finishes and look great in any home. This seamless look appeals to a lot of people but the added benefit of extra security should not be overlooked.

Knob Function

Passage

Passage door knob.

Source: Wayfair

These doorknobs do not have any ability to lock at all, which means that that they should never be used on a door that you want to be able to lock. They are ideal for closets since they offer the ability to easily open and close the door as well as on rooms where you aren’t worried about being able to have any privacy. One example would be the kitchen as most homes use it as the heart of the family and want everyone to be able to come in and out as they please. If there is a door to the kitchen, however, putting a passage doorknob on it ensures that the door is completely functional but that nobody will be locked out of the room.

Privacy

Georgian door knob

Source: Wayfair

Both bedrooms as well as bathrooms benefit from privacy doorknobs so that the person inside the room can quickly and easily lock the door so that he or she can be alone and nobody else can get inside the room. While there isn’t a key on privacy doorknobs, they are locked using a turn-piece or a button on the inside of the room. Worried parents can make sure that they can get into the locked room in an emergency by choosing privacy doorknobs that have an entry hole that allows access in an emergency. This is usually operated by sliding a slim, stiff item into the hole to depress a button that will unlock the lock and open the door.

Single or Half Dummy

Andover knob

Source: Wayfair

These doorknobs only come with one knob but nothing to go on the other side of the door. It’s impossible to tell just by looking at these doorknobs that they aren’t completely functional but they do not have any of the internal hardware that comes with most doorknobs to allow them to be used. Rather, they are simply a single knob that can be installed on a door to allow it to be opened and closed. It’s a pull knob that is screwed onto the door and is ideal for closets such as a linen closet or small pantry where there is no need for a knob on the other side of the door as nobody will ever go into the space to shut the door.

Double Dummy

Double dummy door knob.

Source: Wayfair

Otherwise known as “full dummy,” double dummy doorknobs are full-size knobs that don’t have the latch mechanism to make them a functioning doorknob. 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 decorative but it’s generally impossible to tell that they are not functioning doorknobs unless you open the door and look for a mortise and latch. This is ideal for homeowners who want the doorknobs in their homes to all match and don’t want to have to worry about some doorknobs sticking out from the others that they have chosen. 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.

Interior Mortise

Mortise door knob.

Source: Wayfair

Mortise locks have the operating parts of the lock set into a mortise that is cut in the side of the door. They operate with a knob as well as a latch and the knob will slide the latch bolt away from the door frame to allow the door to open. They are great for protecting a home against intruders and work very well to increase the security of your property. Installation is difficult and requires the help of a qualified carpenter to complete the job so that the door shutter isn’t broken. This means that most homeowners can’t replace their current doorknobs with this style of knob without hiring an expert to come and complete the work for them.

Keyed

Schlage Georgian knob.

Source: Wayfair

doorknobs that require a key to operate them are keyed. If the key happens to ever be lost, then the doorknob will either need to be completely replaced or rekeyed to ensure that it continues to work properly. These are popular for exterior doors but aren’t very commonly used for interior doors in a home as it makes it very difficult to get into a room when they have been locked.

Electronic

Double keypad mechanical keyless door lock

Source: Wayfair

Electronic doorknobs will either come with the ability to be opened and closed with a key as well or simply rely on a keypad for entry and exit. While they are incredibly secure, some homeowners are wary of installing them at their homes as they are worried about someone being able to figure out the code and break into the home. While this is always a concern, the chances of it happening are very low as these types of doorknobs are thought to be very secure.

Lock Types

Push Lock

Plymouth knob

Source: Wayfair

These knobs are easily locked by pressing in a button on the knob that is inside the room that you want to have locked. While this has the benefit of making them very easy to lock and to operate, this means that they can be locked easily by small children. Unlocking the door from the inside is easy as it only takes turning the handle and most can be carefully unlocked from the outside via a small emergency entry hole.

Thumbturn

Thumbturn door knob (stainless steel)

Source: Home Depot

These doorknobs have a small piece on the end of the knob that has to be turned to lock the door. This means that locking a thumbturn doorknob is usually more intentional than accidentally locking one with a push button. Just as you can usually unlock a push-button doorknob from the outside with the emergency entry hole that is included on most doorknobs, you can do the same thing with a thumbturn doorknob. These knobs are ideal for bedrooms and bathrooms where someone wants a little more privacy.

Style

Contemporary

Source: Houzz

Contemporary doorknobs can come in a variety of shapes, styles, and finishes but all will instantly elevate the room and fit in perfectly with contemporary style.

Eclectic

Modern door knob

Source: Houzz

Perfect in the home of an artist or stylist, eclectic knobs allow the homeowner to express his or her personality and style through the doorknobs. Ideal for people who see all areas of the home as a way to showcase their style, these doorknobs come in bright colors, with intricate designs, and even in interesting shapes. From rocks to skulls, it’s easy to find eclectic doorknobs that will instantly update a room.

Modern

Crystal glass door knob

Source: Houzz

These doorknobs often have bright colors the way that eclectic ones do but the lines are going to be smoother and more refined.

Traditional

Traditional door knob.

Source: Houzz

If you are looking for a knob that will stand the test of time and appeal to most people, then a traditional doorknob is a great choice. No matter if you are going to live in your home for years or are getting ready to sell, these knobs looks great and are timeless.

Craftsman

Craftsman door knob.

Source: Houzz

doorknobs that exude style and function while looking very strong and dependable are often Craftsman-style. They are characterized by strong lines, large plates, and open key holes.

Farmhouse

Farmhouse door knob.

Source: Houzz

Perfect for a farmhouse out in the country, these knobs often come with decorations or painting on them. Look for floral designs to help the whole house flow and bright, light decoration on the knob itself.

Industrial

 

Transitional door knob

Source: Houzz

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.

Mediterranean

Mediterranean door knob.

Source: Houzz

For a Mediterranean look and feel at your home, opt for a doorknob that is intricately carved and carefully buffed to show the detail in the doorknob. They are as gorgeous as they are functional

Mid-Century

Mid-century door knob.

Source: Houzz

These doorknobs are characterized by function, smooth edges, and long design that makes them very visually appealing. They look great in almost any home but will complement mid-century design and furniture.

Rustic

Rustic door knob.

Source: Houzz

Rustic doorknobs are attractive, are easy to use, and often come with fun decorations on them. They are typically bronze or oil-rubbed bronze and it’s easy to find doorknobs with a bear or moose on them.

Tropical

Tropical door knob

Source: Houzz

For the ultimate feeling of escaping on a vacation while still at home, a tropical doorknob 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 in carefully curated homes.

Finish

Brass

Brass door knob.

Source: Houzz

Brass is a gorgeous choice for doorknobs for most any home and will instantly update the space. While it will patina over years of use, this just adds to the beauty of the doorknob and most homeowners love the way that it looks. When new, brass knobs are bright and shiny.

Nickel

Nickel door knob.

Source: Houzz

These doorknobs are bright and can appear almost white because of how shiny they are. 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 looks amazing in light spaces such as bathrooms due to the color.

Bronze

Bronze door knob

Bronze doorknobs are beautiful and come in a number of styles. The bronze color is deep and many people find it to be very attractive, although it is not particularly shiny or bright. They look great in darker rooms or homes that have been decorated with deep, rich colors and heavy fabrics.

Transparent

Transparent door knob.

Source: Houzz

Clear knobs are very popular and will instantly make a home look classier. They can easily be bought in big box stores or online but antique knobs will cost significantly more. They 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.

Oil-Rubbed Bronze

Oil-rubbed-bronze door knob

Source: Houzz

An update to typical bronze doorknobs, oil-rubbed bronze choices have a little more depth and color to them. They look great in any home and are outstanding when paired with light, airy rooms as they offer a dark color that is very grounding on the door.

Knob Shape

Round

Round door knob.

 

Source: Wayfair

Round doorknobs are very popular and work well on both interior and exterior doors. This is a typical doorknob shape and if you want a round doorknob, you will generally be able to find one very easily either online or at a local big box store without too much effort. They come in a variety of finishes, making it easy to find the perfect one for your décor.

Octagonal

Octagonal door knob.

Source: Wayfair

Homeowners who want their doorknobs to be a little fancier will love octagonal doorknobs. They are just as functional as any other type but add a little beauty and interest to the door. Since they are functional, they are a great way to update the appearance of a room or a door without worrying about whether or not it will be easy to get through the door. 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

Egg door knob

Source: Houzz

Egg doorknobs are more of an oval shape as they do not have a smaller and larger side the way that real eggs actually do. They are easy for even small hands to hold and to operate, which makes them ideal in a home that has small children or adults who are losing their strength. Due to their shape, most people can grip them easily without the frustration of a round doorknob that sometimes will easily slip out of the hand while it is being turned.

Ball

Ball style privacy door knob

Source: Home Depot

These doorknobs are large spheres and do not have flat surfaces or corners to help you hang on to the doorknob while you turn them. They are often used in bathrooms and closets but can work well in most any door in your home as long as you and your family members don’t struggle to open the door due to the shape of the knob. Available in a variety of finishes, they can easily match the hinges on the door and are easy to change out if you want to update your home.

Tulip

Tulip door knob.

Source: Wayfair

Tulip doorknobs are almost as common as round ones and their shape works well in most any home, no matter the décor choices that the homeowner has made. They are easy to hold and to turn and come in many finishes and styles. The corner on the doorknob is not so sharp or harsh that you have to worry about anyone getting injured when trying to operate the door.

Square

Square door knob

Source: Houzz

Even though square doorknobs are not very common and therefore a little harder to find in a store, they are very modern and sleek and incredibly interesting when used as part of a design element in a home. If you are going to opt for square doorknobs at your house, then you will want to consider a color such as white, which will only serve to make the doorknob seem more modern. While they are available in other colors such as bronze, opting for white will ensure that the knob is seen as a bold décor choice that will greatly update the overall appearance of the room and home. Their corners ensure that they don’t slip out of the hand of the person trying to open the door, making them fun and easy to use.

Doorknob Frequently Asked Questions

What is the standard height for doorknobs?

The standard height for a doorknob is 36 inches (91.4 cm). However, it is not unusual to encounter doors with different doorknob 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 doorknob 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 doorknobs at a non-standard height, new doorknobs should usually be positioned to match the other doors in the home. And some doors, such as those leading to pools, have higher doorknobs to prevent small children from accessing the space unaccompanied.

Are doorknobs standard size? If so, what are the standard sizes?

Doorknobs come in many sizes to suit a variety of doors and functions. For most doorknob 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 doorknob 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 doorknobs can fit a range of door thicknesses.

The standard latch bore diameter is one inch.

Can doorknobs be painted?

Yes, and painting a doorknob 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 doorknobs 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 doorknobs be reversed?

Yes. Reversing a doorknob 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 doorknobs be recycled? If so, how?

Yes. doorknobs are typically made of metal, a highly recyclable material. Both the knob itself and the lock inside can usually be recycled. Most doorknobs are yellow brass, but you may also find doorknobs made from copper, aluminum, steel and iron.

To recycle doorknobs, 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 doorknobs be resold?

Yes, there is a market for used doorknobs. Many used doorknob 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.

doorknobs are sold widely online and can be found in abundance on eBay, specialty hardware websites, and home salvage stores.

Next: Diagrams showing the different parts of a door and doorknob

Tags: | Categories: Home Improvement


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