Should I Use Knobs or Pulls on Kitchen Cabinets?

Categories Household CarePosted on
Should I Use Knobs or Pulls on Kitchen Cabinets?

My friend Laurie has lived in her home for over 20 years.  She has installed new windows, painted many walls, installed new blinds and other window décors.  Oddly enough, she loves her two-decades-old little kitchen just the way it is except for one thing.  The kitchen cabinets need some overhaul.

Laurie is conscientious about the environment.  According to the Mother Nature Network, re-using is recycling, an activity Laurie pursues with zeal.  Being the avid recycler she is, the cabinet doors came off, hinges were replaced, and a new, protective coating was applied. Laurie stumbled when it came time to install new handles on the kitchen cabinets and drawers.  This daunting task is a common one faced by those building a home or renovating one, according to San Diego Kitchen Renovation, a business that handles kitchen remodel in San Diego.  Should I use knobs or pulls on my kitchen cabinets?  Although it sounds trivial, the problem is more complicated than it seems it should be.

The plethora of kitchen cabinet hardware available to you is mind-boggling but don’t let it overwhelm you.  The primary guide to choosing knobs or pulls involves your own aesthetic and what you decide looks good with your décor, serves the functionality you need, and meets your budget.


What are Knobs and Pulls Made Of?

Knobs and pulls are available in many different materials and finishes.  Cliffside Industries lists metals such as steel, aluminum, brass, pewter, and bronze.  Other materials are polyester, marble, zinc, glass, wood, and crystal.

Most are available in different colors and finishes.  Some finishes are natural like wood, stone, and bronze.  Many metals are antiqued and some are polished like stainless steel.  Solid color knobs and pulls, such as black, do not clash and match most décor.  A complete list of Cliffside’s finishes can be viewed at this link.


Knobs, Pulls, and Practical Considerations

The Spruce offers some useful ways to think about knobs and pulls.  Before deciding to go with all knobs, you might want to think about how you work in your kitchen.  For instance, if your kitchen has a trash compartment or base pantry, these items will need pulls.

You might find it more comfortable to install pulls on your drawers too, particularly if the drawers will be filled with heavy kitchenware like pots and pans.  In these cases, both knobs and pulls, or pulls alone can be installed with the pulls mounted vertically on the cabinets and horizontally on the drawers.

Older style kitchens without these conveniences would be candidates for using all knobs.  Unlike pulls, knobs usually require only one screw, making them easier to install in existing holes.  Knobs are less expensive as well and will never be installed crooked!


Hardware Considerations Before Buying

The place to start shopping will most likely be a paper or online catalog.  When shopping for knobs or pulls, some things can be considered beforehand while browsing the possibilities:

  • Do you want knobs or pulls or both?
  • Do you want round or square knobs?
  • Does the style enhance or detract from the lines of your décor?
  • Does the finish/color clash with the surroundings?
  • Is the finish durable and long-lasting?
  • Will it be easy to clean?
  • Does the hardware require any special care like oxidation care, polishing, or the removal of tarnish?
  • Is the hardware compatible for installation with the material of your cabinets and drawers?
  • Where will the knob or pull be located?
  • If re-using cabinets, will you need to create new mounting holes?
  • Will the hardware be mounted horizontally or vertically?
  • What factors might be limited by this choice of hardware?


One More Thing to Think About

Think about how the knobs and pulls will affect kitchen activity.  Will you be comfortable using this particular hardware?  This consideration deserves special attention because what looks great and perfect in every way could become a disappointment.

Does the knob or handle hurt or poke your hand to use it?  Sharp edges, pointed parts, or bulging ridges could be harmful, as could hardware that is too small for your fingers.  DC Drawers asks this most important question – will the hardware catch on your clothes?  Piping hot food and snagged clothing are not a good combination!

One way to avoid such instances is to try the hardware first.  If the store does not have a working sample on the floor, many will sell you one or two pieces to try out at home first.

Here is a popular YouTube Video you might find interesting, particularly if you are recycling your cabinets. My friend Laurie is very pleased with her kitchen.

She used mostly knobs but had four drawers that needed pulls.  She bought a style she liked that accommodated the old holes.  The knobs have an oil- rubbed bronze distressed mushroom knob finish.  That sounds almost good enough to eat!