"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
Home Page
About Us
Fireplace/Wood Stove
Heating and Cooling
Windows and Doors
Door handles. Door knobs

What types of door handles to use where
These door handles are typically used on exterior doors, and include keyed cylinders.
Privacy sets:
Typically used for bathrooms. They can can be locked from the inside by means of a small twist knob in the center of the door handle or door knob and, in case of an emergency, unlocked from the outside by a pin like tool that is inserted into a small opening. Privacy sets should never be used on bedroom doors as there is the possibility to panic in the event of fire or medical emergency.
Passage sets:
Passage door handle sets are used for all interior doors that do not require a lock.

It is never a good idea to lock a bedroom door. In case of an emergency some people may panic and may have trouble unlocking the door.
If parents or teenagers need privacy a simple hook and eye lock may be sufficient.

Door handles.
Door knobs

Door Handles and Door Knobs
Need more information? Use our search box

Door handles. Door knobs
A door handle or door knob is used to open or close a door. A door handle is a lever operated device while a door knob usually is shaped like a globe or, in some older homes, an oval. Though different in appearance they both have the same function, namely to engage or disengage the latch bolt from the striker plate located in the door jamb.
The center of the door handle is normally 2 3/8" or 2 3/4" away from the door edge. This is referred to as the backset. This backset is either fixed or can be adjusted to either size.
The greater the backset the better because it provides more space for turning the door knob. I have seen a good number of older doors which had a backsets of six inches (150 mm).
Lets have a look at some of the differences between door handles and door knobs so it is easier for you to determine which is a better choice for your needs.
Door knobs
It requires a good grip to operate and turn the knob which may present a problem for children as well as the elderly. Not having enough grip to open a door could present a potential hazard in case of an emergency
Door handles
A tight grip is not required to operate a door handle. The elderly only have to apply a light downward pressure on the lever to open the door. It also makes it easier for children to open doors but if you are concerned about them entering certain rooms you can install a temporarily out of reach simple hook and eye lock.
A door handle makes it easier to leave a room in case of an emergency. Door handles also come in handy when both hands are needed to move things from room to room. You just lean with your elbow on the lever to open the door.
For ease of operation, especially in case of an emergency, a set of door handles should be your first choice. If there are no elderly persons in your home, and having a tight grip is not an issue, you may want to opt for a nice set of door knobs. There is an endless variety of styles and finishes available to match any decor. Door knobs may be made of modern composite materials as well as the more traditional glass, bronze and porcelain

Decorative porcelain door knob

Easy to operate door handle

Privacy door knob set for bathrooms

Back to Top