Types of Door Handles

Types of DoorAs long as people have had doors, they’ve needed a way to open them—but there are a surprising number of ways to do that. From simple knobs to modern panic bars, door hardware comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, each with their own use.

Basic Handles

The least secure type of door is one with nothing more than a simple handle. It can either be a vertical bar or dummy knob that doesn’t turn; these contain no locking or latching mechanism and are simply used to give people somewhere to grab when opening the door. The door is held shut by its own weight or with a door closer instead of by the handle mechanism. Usually you can see them when the door is merely there as a divider or for aesthetics, such as on closets.


Door knobs are the most traditional kind of handle, and are common for residential interiors. These have a variety of different lock configurations. Doorknobs without locks, or passage handles, help hold the door closed, but can be opened from either side. They can be found in closets, common areas, or children’s bedrooms (to avoid locking them out). Privacy doorknobs are often found in bedrooms and bathrooms, with a lock on only one side of the door. Often they can be opened with a generic emergency key, although sometimes they have keyed cylinders. Entrance locks used on exterior doors are stronger, more durable, and can sometimes be locked from either side for extra security.

Lever Handles

Lever doors handles, where a rotating bar opens the door, are becoming more and more popular in public settings because they are easier for adults with disabilities, children, and the elderly. Unlike a doorknob, they do not require a strong grip to operate. These typically come with the same variety of locking mechanisms that doorknobs do.


A handleset is something like a cross between a plain handle and a lever. The person grips the handle and depresses a small lever above it with their thumb to open the door. These are often used on exterior doors and residences because of their smooth and elegant appearance.

Panic Bars

Finally, a panic bar is a large bar running across the width of the door. When pushed, the door springs open. Panic bars were invented for emergency exits, so that people could get out quickly without causing a stampede, but they’ve also expanded to many other everyday doors. Usually a door only has a panic bar on one side, creating a one-way exit.

You should consider the use, purpose, and location of a door when deciding what kind of handle to get. With all these options, you’re sure to find one that fits at RBM Lock & Key.

Posted on June 3, 2014
RBM Lock & Key
RBM Lock & Key
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Ontario , CA , 91764 USA