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Door knobs, aluminum door white background.

Home builders and contractors are well aware of the significant role that door hardware can play in creating a good first impression for homeowners and their guests. This important but often overlooked detail can help establish a certain look and feel for your projects by demonstrating acute attention to detail and an emphasis on quality. Without a doubt, there are several different styles of door hardware to choose from, and with the countless choices available, it can be difficult to nail down exactly what you’re looking for.

Below is a “quick and dirty” guide to illustrate some of the most popular types of door hardware available, so that you can make a more informed decision about what will make sense for your project.


  • Doorknob – The simple doorknob is used on practically every kind of door imaginable, from interior and exterior doors to furniture and cabinetry, and is available in a vast array of styles and finishes. Although round doorknobs are the most common type found in homes, other shapes such as square and octagonal doorknobs are quite popular as well. There are four different types of doorknobs: Keyed entrance, passage, privacy, and dummy knobs (i.e., knobs with no working parts).
  • Lever Handle – Doors with lever handles are typically easier to open than those with doorknobs, because all that’s required to gain entry is to give the handle a quick push down (or up in some cases). Lever handles are also easier to grip and hold, making them an ideal choice for homes with children or the elderly. You can find a lever handle to match practically any type of aesthetic you’re looking to achieve, as they’re available in an expansive range of styles, finishes and materials.
  • Pull Handle – As the name implies, pull handles are primarily used for doors that pull open, such as bi-fold doors, accordion doors and cabinet door fronts. Pull handles also come in a wide variety of styles to fit all kinds of different visual themes.
  • Door Knockers – These handy devices are a great way to spruce up the appearance of a front door while offering an important function as well. They’re available in a seemingly endless amount of styles designs, and are commonly made from classic materials such as bronze, iron or brass. When choosing a door knocker, it’s best to go with one that’s visually consistent with the other hardware elements you’ve selected for the door.
  • Deadbolt Locks – Most front doors feature a deadbolt lock, which is utilized to secure the door by way of a large, thick throwbolt inserted into the door jamb. The two most common types of deadbolts are single cylinder (i.e., keyed on one side with a thumb turn latch on the other side) and double cylinder (i.e., keyed cylinders on both sides).
  • Handleset – These typically offer a fancier look for front doors, where the handle is primary decorative and a matching deadbolt is used to actually secure the door.
  • Hinges – Often overlooked but vital to door performance, hinges should be chosen and positioned to provide optimal functionality for the size and weight of the door. Most exterior doors will feature three or four hinges because of their heavier weight, versus interior doors that often require only two or three hinges.
  • Doorstops – These handy devices can be installed on the floor, baseboard or the actual door itself in order to prevent swinging doors from damaging nearby walls. As with the hinges, doorstops should be chosen to accommodate the weight and size of the door in order to avoid unnecessary damage.
  • Kickplates – A kickplate is a metal plate that’s fastened to the bottom of a door, and it’s commonly installed to protect doors that are subject to very frequent use. Kickplates can be magnetic (which only work on metal doors), or they can be mounted using screws or adhesive. They help protect the bottom of the door from various scuff marks, dents and nicks that can come from being in an area where there’s high foot traffic.