What is a Door Knob?

What is a Door Knob?

A door knob is a rounded handle that is typically used to open or close a door. Found on almost all types of doors, from homes to commercial buildings, door knobs play an essential role in ensuring privacy, security, and ease of access.

How Do Door Knobs Work?

Door knobs operate by using a simple mechanism. When the knob is turned, it engages a latch mechanism which either retracts or extends a bolt or latch into a striker plate, which in turn locks, unlocks, opens, or closes the door. Most door knobs are paired with a locking mechanism that can either be located in the knob itself or as a separate deadbolt on the door, these are called either sash locks or mortice locks. Please see our blog on 'What is a sash lock?' for more information.

Are Door Knobs Directional?

Typically, door knobs are not directional, which means they can be turned in either direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise) to operate. However, the actual direction may depend on the design and the region. Some European designs, for instance, may differ from American designs in terms of operational direction. this can also be said about the mechanism that the door knobs are operating. For example, a sash lock that contains a latch and lock can only be turned away from the door architrave, compared to one of our tubular latches which has the ability turn both ways.

Are Door Knobs ADA Compliant?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) sets guidelines for door hardware to ensure that doors are easily usable by people with disabilities a similar act we have in the UK is called the Equality Act. Traditional round door knobs are not generally ADA-compliant because they require tight grasping and twisting to operate, which can be difficult for people with certain disabilities. Lever handles, push bars, and other "operable parts" are preferred under ADA as they can be operated with one hand and don't require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting.

What is the Door Knob Backset?

The backset refers to the distance from the edge of the door to the centre of the door knob or lock. It’s a crucial measurement when replacing or installing a new door knob. The video below helps explain what a backset is.


What Size is a Standard Backset?

There are two standard backset measurements for most residential door knobs: 2 3/8 inches and 2 3/4 inches. However, some commercial doors may have a 5-inch backset. Always measure the backset before purchasing a new knob to ensure a proper fit.

Are Door Knobs Universal?

While door knobs come in various styles, designs, and mechanisms, many are designed with a degree of standardisation for easier replacement and installation. However, it's essential to note that not all door knobs will fit every door, especially if there are unique measurements or non-standard features involved. Always check the specifications before making a purchase. We recommend using our PDF and DWG drawings on all our product listings to help with what door knob to buy which ensure you get the correct sizing and fittings for your installation.

What Material is a Door Knob Made Out Of?

Door knobs can be made from a variety of materials, including:

  • Brass: A popular choice due to its durability and aesthetic appeal.
  • Stainless Steel: Known for its rust resistance and modern look.
  • Bronze: Offers a rustic appearance and solid durability.

Are Door Knobs Reversible?

Many modern door knobs are designed to be reversible, allowing installation on either left-handed or right-handed doors. This feature is especially useful for homeowners and contractors as it reduces the need to buy specific knobs for different door orientations. Always check the manufacturer's instructions or packaging to determine if a door knob is reversible.

Why Are Door Knobs Brass?

Brass has been a preferred material for door knobs for several reasons:

  • Durability: Brass is resistant to corrosion and can last for many years.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Brass offers a clean and classic look that can fit various architectural styles.
  • Antimicrobial Properties: Brass has natural antimicrobial properties, which can reduce the spread of germs and stop germs and destroy bacteria growth, however, you should clean your ironmongery regularly to help enhance these effects.


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