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An Introductory Guide to Hardware

Different types of appliances serve a multitude of different purposes. When picking out a knob or handle, it’s important to consider the location and intention for each set of hardware. While they may seem like a small purchase, they not only significantly vary in prices, but they can function as an element of decor and regulate the level of security within your home. Whatever your needs and preferences are, having a clear understanding of what you’re looking for beginning your search will reduce your stress in half. Below is a guide to the different types of knobs, handles, and hardware accessories to improve your search. 

Types of Door Knobs: 

There are two general types of door knobs – interior and exterior. Within both subcategories are various types of knobs to consider in your search. Understanding which knobs are meant for indoors and which are outdoor knobs will help you narrow down your search tremendously. 


Interior knobs are made to be used within a home, this includes bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, and utility rooms. What an individual wants in a bathroom knob versus a laundry room knob often varies, which is why different knobs satisfy different preferences.

Privacy knobs – Privacy knobs are lockable from one side but do not contain a key, they simply have a lock on the knob itself. This is typically best suited for bedrooms or bathrooms in order to keep family members or guests from walking into a room at ill-timing. While they provide a degree of security, they are not suitable for exterior doors. 

Passage Knobs – Passage knobs are your basic hardware for rooms such as green rooms, laundry rooms, closets, and any other space in which privacy may not be priority. They contain no locks, simply twist for basic entry. 

Dummy Knobs – Dummy knobs often resemble passage knobs, but do not require any turning for use. Dummy knobs are simply for cabinets or appliances that don’t latch, but having a handle is convenient or decorative. 


Exterior knobs main purpose is to prevent access into the home from any unwanted intruders. An exterior knob needs to provide maximum security and reliability. 

Keyed entry Knobs: The most common exterior knob, these knobs have a unique key made that fit the keyhole. The only way to access entry into the home is with a copy of the unique key. They can be locked from the inside or outside, but typically only require a key on the exterior side of the door. 

Keyless entry knobs: Gaining popularity, keyless knobs require a set numerical code or smart technology is used in order to gain access into the home. These are often convenient for individuals who travel often and have people outside of residency within their home frequently. 

Factors to consider when purchasing: 

Privacy – When choosing an interior or exterior door, consider the amount of privacy you want within your space. You want to feel as safe and comfortable within your home as possible. In order to avoid embarrassing or unnecessary intrusions in the bedroom, bathroom, or other rooms, make sure you pick locks that you have control over your privacy. 

Security – Your exterior knob is what guards you from any unwanted outside forces, so be sure you’re confident in your decision. The last thing you want is to settle for a handle that has you anxious leaving valuable items, pets, or children at home. Most exterior knobs are tested and graded on their level of security, be sure to look for this when making your selection. 

Cost – Knobs can easily range from $10-$500+ depending on the materials and grade of the knob. You don’t have to sell an arm and leg for a nice knob. Many durable and nice locksets can range from $10-$100. Evaluate your priorities when purchasing, whether its material, aesthetic, or safety, know there are plenty of options for any price range. 

Cabinet Knobs: 

When selecting cabinet knobs, it’s beneficial to understand the different options available to you. No matter the style or budget, there are a variety of choices that will compliment your space and budget. Keep in mind that the price of hardware can vary greatly depending on material, color, and intricacy, but all styles can be found at an affordable price point. Below are the most common hardware options and their purposes. 

Passage Knobs – Often referred to as hall knobs or closet knobs, these knobs are commonly seen on cabinets located within a kitchen. Often devoid of a key, can typically be locked from both sides of the door. This is sometimes why they are used for low-security areas such as children’s bedrooms, playrooms, or storage rooms. 

Replica Knobs – Replica knobs are typically used purely for decorative purposes. They often aren’t turnable, and are essentially an aesthetic enhancer. These knobs are typically installed for wardrobes or cupboards and add a very pleasing symmetrical touch. 

Keyed Entrance – A key is necessary when using these knobs to unlock from the outside. They are used largely for exterior cabinet doors, such as terraces. They can also be installed in private bedrooms or office spaces. 

Towel Bars:

There are other basic hardware choices to consider outside of knobs and handles. Towel bars and toilet paper holders can also have unique specifications to consider during the selection process. Below are a few basic tips to consider when making your selection. 

Easy Access – When washing your hands or getting out of the shower, chances are you don’t want to have to walk to the other side of the room dripping with water. Consider your placement when you’re deciding on the type of towel bar you want. This may impact the style, size, and number amount you need in one room. 

Bar, Ring, or Hook – If you have a lot of empty wall space, a towel bar is often a great choice to fill that gap. They also allow more breathing space for towels to dry quicker. However, hooks may better accommodate smaller bathrooms. If multiple people use one bathroom space, hooks can be a great way to separate individuals towels. Hooks can be great for hand towels in bathrooms with minimal counter space or can simply be a visual enhancement. 

Size – Consider the size of your space when making your selection. While all hardware comes in a vast range of sizes, it’s important to best utilize your space. If a towel bar won’t fit comfortably on a wall, consider a shelf that fits over a toilet or where you could hang a hook. Get creative and use empty spaces, such as behind the door, if necessary. 

Toilet Paper Holders: 

A seemingly small detail can make all the difference in day-to-day convenience. There are inexhaustible options when it comes to selecting a toilet paper holder, which is why it’s important to narrow your top priorities in your selection. Considering details such as the placement, installation style, and overall design will help you in making your final decision. 

Placement – Deciding on the placement of your holder is the single most important factor. Clearly this comes down to convenience and overall preference, but once you’ve established where you want your holder to be, you can decide on an installation style. 

Installation Style – The top installation choices are the wall mounted, suction cup, and floor standing. If you have minimum space, a wall mounted option is going to be best suited for your space. Where if your toilet area is isolated, a standing option may fill the space and be a more accessible option. Consider your surroundings to decide which option is best suited for your bathroom. 

Design – If you have a contemporary space, it would be advised to pick a subtle and minimal designed holder. Where as a more industrial or vintage style may envoke reasoning for a bit larger or detailed designs. Keep in mind how prominent of an element you really want your holder to be, and how much you’re willing to pay. Toilet paper holders can be relatively inexpensive to very pricey depending on the material and style. When selecting your design, consider how much of a priority your holder really is to your bathroom. 


While a seemingly miniscule detail, knobs can be much more complex and trialing than perceived. Be very conscious of your priorities, budget, and concerns when making your selections. Knobs come in a wide variety of designs, colors, materials, and prices, which can make decision making difficult without proper evaluation. 

Keep these tips in mind when making your selection and you’re bound to find the perfect fit. If you’re still struggling or have questions, feel free to reach out to a professional or New Life Homes to assist in your selection.