Kristen Hicks on March 28, 2017 8 Comments Table of Contents Types of Door Knobs Factors to Consider When Buying Popular Brands to Consider They’re a small purchase, but door knobs play a key role in keeping your home safe (pun intended) and securing your privacy throughout the house. If you want, they can also enhance the décor of a room in addition to being functional. Whatever you want from a door knob, finding the right one for your needs and preferences will be easier if you have a clear idea of what to look for going in. Our buyer’s guide below will help you find the best type of handle, lever or knob for your doors. Types of Door Knobs Different door knobs are useful for different purposes and, as such, one of the first things you should determine in your search for a door handle is the type you’ll need. There are two main categories of door knobs: those made for doors inside a house, and those made for doors on the outside of a house. Within each category, there are a number of subtypes of knobs to consider as well. Interior Door Knobs Interior door knobs are designed to be used in doors found inside of a house. That’s still a pretty broad category, as it includes all bedrooms, bathrooms, utility rooms and closets. What your average consumer wants in a door knob for a closet versus a bathroom will often vary, so the different interior door knob categories can each satisfy different preferences. Privacy Knobs: Any door in your house that you’d like a lock for should have a privacy knob. These are most commonly used in bedrooms and bathrooms to keep roommates or family members from accidentally walking in at inopportune moments. They don’t include a key, merely a lock on the knob itself. These locks are not secure enough to keep potential home invaders out though, so they should not be used for exterior doors. Passage Knobs: Passage knobs are commonly used in any room where privacy isn’t important, such as closets or hallways. There’s no lock on these, but you do still turn the handle to open the door like you would most door knobs. Dummy Knobs: Dummy knobs might resemble passage knobs, but these are knobs you don’t actually need to turn to use. They’re often used on cabinets or appliances that don’t need a latch to open, but where having something to hold onto when opening them adds some convenience. These should only be used in cases where a door knob isn’t strictly required, but having one is either decorative or adds some slight convenience. Exterior Door Knobs Exterior door knobs have a much bigger job to do than interior ones. They’re the main barrier in most homes between the house and anyone who hasn’t been welcomed into it. An exterior door knob needs to be strong, reliable, and have a lock that works well. There are two main options within this category. Keyed Entry Knobs: The most common option for exterior door knobs is keyed entry knobs. With this type of door knob, keys are made for each resident that fit within the unique lock, thus keeping out anybody that doesn’t have the proper key. Keyed entry knobs can be locked from the inside or outside. They typically require a key to lock from outside, but usually not from the inside. Some keyed entry door knobs come in locksets that include a deadbolt as well for extra security. Keyless Entry: A more modern option that’s growing in popularity is keyless entry. These include a secure lock, but instead of using a key to lock and unlock them, either a numerical code that’s been set up in advance or smart technology will do the trick. These are handy for anyone prone to forgetting their keys or who want to make it easier to let more friends and family come in without making a lot of extra keys. Factors to Consider When Buying a Door Knob In addition to figuring out the type of door knob you need, you have a number of other important factors you should consider to ensure you settle on the right door knob for you. Security One of the most important considerations for exterior door knobs is security. Your entry door knob’s lock is the main thing standing between your home and a potential intruder, so you have to be confident it will do its job. Most entry door knobs are tested by the third party organization American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and provided a grade to help you determine how tough they are on security. Grade 1 is the highest level available and commonly used for commercial purposes. You can trust a grade-one door knob to keep you secure. Grade 2 means the door knob still performed decently well and is probably okay for most residential uses, while Grade 3 means it only provides a basic level of security and should probably only be used for internal door knobs. If you’re concerned about the possibility of break-ins, looking for a grade-one or two door knob can provide peace of mind. Privacy While external door knobs have the crucial responsibility of providing security to your home, many internal door knobs will have the job of ensuring privacy amongst the residents of the home itself. The ability to lock the door when you’re in the bathroom or getting changed in the morning can save family members or roommates from the embarrassment or discomfort of unintended walk-ins. While the stakes of room privacy within the home aren’t quite as high as those of keeping intruders out, getting the right door knobs to provide the level of privacy you need can ensure a happier, more harmonious living environment. Cost Door knobs can range anywhere in cost from under $5 for fairly simple interior locks, to over $500 for high-quality exterior locksets made from especially nice materials. Most customers are likely to opt for something in the $10-$100 range and even within that range, you have plenty of options. If you’re hoping to find a door knob that will work for your needs without spending too much money, you shouldn’t have much of a problem. But if you want something known to be especially high quality or a door knob in just the right style, you should be prepared to pay more. Locking Mechanism We already discussed the two main types of locking mechanisms for exterior door knobs in the types section: keyed and keyless. Interior door knobs with locks are occasionally keyed, but more often they offer either a push button or a thumbturn to lock. The locking mechanism doesn’t usually make much of a difference to how well the door knob locks, it’s just a matter of personal preference. For interior door knobs, you do always want to look for a door knob with an emergency release so you have a way to open the door if it gets stuck. Measurements If you’re replacing a door knob on an existing door then it’s important that you make all the required measurements before you make a purchase. The main measurements you should determine are: Backset — The distance from the edge of the door to the center of the knob. Usually this will be either 2 3/8 inches or 2 ¾ inches. Cross Bore — The hold along the edge of the door frame. This is often about 2 1/8 inches. Door Thickness — This usually ranges from 1 ¼ inches to 3”, with exterior doors frequently being thicker than interior ones. A lot of door knobs will be able to work with a range of measurements, but even so, taking all your measurements before you start your search in earnest will save you time and effort in advance by allowing you to narrow your search to just the knobs that fit your door. Ease of Installation Door knobs are relatively simple to install, so most customers with even basic DIY skills will likely have little issue with installation. Nonetheless, if you’re an amateur handyman, you don’t want to make the job any harder for yourself than it has to be. Online reviews are often quick to comment on how difficult an installation process is and how good (or not) the instructions that come with the door knob are. If you’re concerned about your ability to install a particular door knob, then check out what other people have to say before you make your purchase. Ease of Use For the most part, door knobs don’t pose many ease of use issues, but there are a few concerns worth keeping in mind. People with arthritis will likely struggle with having to turn a knob, so going with handles instead will make life easier. For entry doors, some people will have an easier time remembering a code than carrying a key with them, while others will prefer the key over having to memorize something. It all depends on what works best for you. Other than that, most door knobs should be pretty simple to figure out and use for just about anybody. Style & Shape Door knobs come in a wide array of styles. For those mostly focused on function over form, you can find plenty of affordable basic door knobs that won’t attract much attention. But for anyone who wants something a little flashier, or that will fit in with the particular style of the room around it, you can find door knobs in all sorts designs and styles – from contemporary to modern to classic to rustic, and beyond. You’ll also find a number of different options when it comes to knob shape, including round, egg, tulip, and octagonal, just to name a few. If finding the a door knob with the right aesthetic is important to you, spend some time browsing to get a clear picture of what’s out there before settling on any one item. There’s a wide range of options available and there’s a good chance you can find one that’s just right for your needs. Color & Finish In addition to the wide range of styles, you also have a good selection of colors to choose from. While most door knobs come in more neutral colors like black, brown, silver, and grey; a number of door knobs are available that break out of the normal and include reds, blues, floral designs – you name it. If you want a door knob that brings a little extra color into the space, don’t think you have to settle for one that’s neutral. Popular Door Knob Brands Door knobs have an important function and you want to make sure you buy one that can get the job done. One final consideration you should therefore take into account is brand reputation. To help you figure out which brands have the best reputation in the space, we looked at customer reviews for door knobs sold by a number of key brands. Here’s what people have to say. Acorn Acorn sells stylish iron door knobs that customers say are a great quality and look good, but can be a bit difficult to install. Their door knobs are a bit pricy, but if the style’s just what you want, they’ll be worth it. Baldwin Baldwin makes door knobs in a wide variety of styles and colors. Most of their door knobs earn strong reviews from customers that say the door knobs are well made, sturdy, and look good. Several reviewers mention being loyal Baldwin customers who have bought multiple door knobs from the company over the years with consistently impressive results. If you go with Baldwin, there’s a good chance you’ll be satisfied. Design House Design House offers a number of different door knobs and door sets that customers are generally happy with. People say the knobs are of a good quality, come at a good price, and fulfill their needs. Reviews point toward Design House’s door knobs being a reliable choice. Emtek Emtek sells a wide range of stylish door knobs that customers love the look of. Reviews consistently praise the door knobs for being well made and of a high quality in addition to looking good. For a door knob that adds something to the décor, they’re a brand worth checking out. EZ-Set EZ-Set’s affordable door knob sets are generally well reviewed for working well, being a good value, and being easy to install. There are a few complaints mixed in amongst the positive reviews saying the knobs dent or scratch easily, but most people are satisfied with the quality for the price. Fusion Fusion’s high-end door knobs come in unique, attractive styles. Reviewers consistently praise their Fusion door knobs for looking great and offering solid construction. If you want a door with a unique aesthetic, a Fusion door knob could be just right. Grandeur Grandeur’s another high-end brand with happy customers. Their reviews are consistently positive with customers saying the door knobs are well made, have a nice substantial feel to them, and look great. If you’re willing to spend a little more for your door knob, Grandeur is a good choice. Kwikset Kwikset’s affordable door knobs earn great reviews from customers. They say the door knobs work great, are easy to install, and look good. Almost all of their reviews online are from customers saying how happy they are. Their door knobs are affordable and well liked across the board. Miseno Miseno sells attractive door knobs for mid-range prices that customers are generally satisfied with. Reviews say the door knobs are heavy duty, well made, and gorgeous. If you’re not quite prepared to pay the prices for the more high-end brands on the list, but want something sturdy and stylish, Miseno may be the brand for you. Nostalgic Warehouse Nostalgic Warehouse makes door knobs in a classic style that get high marks from customers. Reviewers say the knobs are beautiful, classy, and of a high quality. A few customers found the installation complicated, but other than that the reviews all point toward total satisfaction. Schlage Schlage is a popular door knob brand with lots of positive reviews to back up that popularity. Customers have a lot of praise to give their Schlage door knobs: they look good, they have sturdy construction, the value for the price is great, and the knobs are easy to install. Many reviewers are repeat customers who return to the brand any time they have cause to buy a new door knob. Their selection is extensive and their reputation is stellar, so going with Schlage is a smart choice. Weiser Weiser’s affordable door knobs come in classic styles for those who aren’t looking for anything too flashy. Customers are routinely satisfied with their Weiser locks, saying they’re easy to install, work well, and last a long time. They’re another brand on our list that you can count on being a good buy. Weslock Most Weslock customers are happy with their door knobs, saying they’re well made, easy to install, look elegant, and come at a great value for the price. A few customers have issues though and complain about problems ranging from the knobs denting, the finish coming off, or the door knob locking accidentally. The majority of customers are satisfied, but a few suggest you may have problems going with Weslock. Conclusion Door knobs are a fairly simple part of life. The door knob you buy may not be something you actively think about every day, yet finding the right one is still important. A good door knob can make your home more secure, ensure everyone in the house gets the proper level of privacy, and add some extra style to your rooms.