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Buying Door Handles – Things You Need To Know

March 11, 2015

Brass Reeded Door Handles
written by Vicki Bale
Brass Reeded Door Handles

Brass Reeded Door Handles


If you are thinking of buying door handles, here are a few things you need to know and consider before you buy.

What you get

Door handles are designed to be pushed downwards, as opposed to door knobs which are designed to turn. They are sold in pairs with a connecting spindle which passes through the lock or latch mechanism. We also supply the screw fixings which are required to attach them to the face of the door.

Door Handles or Door Knobs

This is difficult to advise on and is really down to personal preference. The differences are, the look and also the functionality of the push down v turn movement. You may not have the choice if you are replacing existing door knobs or handles, as generally you need to replace with the same – see below.

The Lock or Latch Mechanism

Door handles need to work in conjunction with a lock or latch. So, one of the first things you need to decide is, do you want your door to lock or just to latch? If you have existing locks or latches it may be simple if you just want to replace existing handles. If you want the door to lock, you then need to consider the type of lock, which is a complicated subject on its own! If you need insurance grade security for a front door, you may want a 5 lever sash lock, a Euro lock or you may have an espagnolette or multi point lock. There are locks for internal doors and for bathroom doors which incorporate an emergency turn and release set. Once you know the functionality you want, then you can start to consider the handle and the backplate type required.

Backset of Latch/Lock

Door knobs require a deeper backset than door handles. This is the distance from the edge of the door to the centre of the hole in the latch/lock which the spindle passes through. The standard distance on locks and latches for door handles is 44 or 56mm.  For door knobs you use a deeper backset of 81 or 106mm. This is where, if you have existing locks and latches, you need to take care. As a general rule, if you have door handles which you want to replace, you can replace them with door handles. This is because you do not have enough room for door knobs. If you have door knobs you should replace with door knobs because the backset distance will set door handles too far from the edge of the door. Fitting new latches and locks can be sometimes be done, but this may be fraught with difficulty and you will need to consult a carpenter.

Sprung v Unsprung Door Handles

Springs are required to get door handles to return to the horizontal after they have been pushed down. The spring can be located in the handles and or in the latch/lock. Most early handles were unsprung and most modern handles have springing. You can tell if handles are sprung because they will return to the horizontal without being connected to the latch/lock. If you select unsprung handles then you need to make sure your lock/latch has a heavy duty spring, as this spring has to do all the work.

Door Handle Types

There are many different options to choose. You can see these by viewing our Mix and Match range and the images below.

Deep Backplates – door handles can be set into deep backplates which can incorporate covering the lock hole, thus saving the need for an escutcheon or key hole cover. We find these to be the most popular type of door handles as they have an elegant and tidy look. There are different options on the backplates for different key types and distances. For a bathroom, you can have the emergency turn and release set into a deep backplate.

Small Backplates – these work in a similar way to door knobs. The backplate could be round or square and is decorative. A separate escutcheon would be required to cover the lock hole.

Material and Finish

Door handles have been made over the years in different materials and finishes. Your decision should be determined by the period of the property and style of door e.g. Cottage, Ledged and braced doors would have had black iron finish and panelled doors would have brass or plated brass. Other factors to consider are your interiors and of course personal preference.

Our Range

We have a wide range of traditionally designed and made door handles, finishes include back iron, pewter patina, brass and plated brass finishes such as nickel and chrome. We cover lots of ¬†styles from Gothic and Tudor to Regency and Art Deco door handles. Backplate types include, locks, latches, Euro Locks and Espagnolette or Multi point handles, Bathroom Locks, long and short, round and square backplates. Our ‘Mix and Match’ range includes fourteen different backplate types and four handle designs. You can mix your choice of backplate with the handle design of your choice. This range is made in England to order and is available in other finishes too.

Door Knobs Which Are Not Required To Turn

Door handles can also be made as door pulls. This means they do not pass through a lock or latch and simply screw to the face of a door. These come in a variety of sizes to be used on full size doors down to small cupboard doors and drawers. We have a similar range of finishes as per our door handles and some lovely traditional designs, with some a bit more unusual too!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you need further assistance you can call us on 01746 712450 and view our ranges here.

Please see a selection of images below which show some of the many types of door handles we have in our range.

Leave a comment


    Charmaine McLeod says:

    Can I change a square door handle to round?

    Vicki Bale says:

    I don’t know all the circumstances and product specifics, but you should be able to.

    Dennis says:

    Very nice doorhandle designs. Where can I find more like this?

    Vicki Bale says:

    Please go to our website http://www.priorsrec.co.uk

    Dennis says:

    Great article you have here. It gives me some good ideas in how to produce content for our own website. Thanks a lot for the inspiration.

    Mike Hesson says:

    Nice post with good specifications…

    Kate says:

    Some really cool designs here!

    Dennis says:

    Great article. I am always happy to be inspired with new kind of door handles.

    Damian says:

    Hi, nice post, very well explained.