When to Use a Door Knob Versus a Door Lever?

When to choose a door knob versus a door lever? When it comes to truly custom hardware where a design is being created for a specific project then the choice between a door lever and door knob is largely a question of taste and budget and less a question of function. If the door knob or lever is being created from the drawing board on-wards then some of the limitations off each can be overcome by a creative design.

Door knobs by nature are a handles that can be turned either clockwise or anti-clockwise to release the door latch. By comparison a door lever unless it is operating a multi-point lock has to be depressed to release the latch. This can be an important issue when designing for the kitchen or other wet areas and when designing for the disabled. A lever has the upper hand so to speak when your hands are wet or full of shopping as it can be depressed with ones elbow or possibly with one’s foot! Clearly for those with limited gripping strength, a door lever has clear advantages.

The textured tree canopy is a good gripping surface

The textured tree canopy is a good gripping surface

Door levers are also directional with the lever pointing away from the latch towards the hinge and this can be an important consideration when working with a narrow stile. In this case when you grip a knob your knuckles may come too close to the door jamb especially when the door is being pulled closed .  By comparison the area of a door lever that is gripped is typically at midpoint along the lever and a safe distance from the door jamb.

A symmetrical aesthetic inspired by Netsuke

A symmetrical aesthetic inspired by Netsuke

So why do we ever use door knobs? Well they are inherently more self- contained and less obtrusive than there lever counterparts and they arguably  make a more symmetrical  aesthetic statement. In the world of custom door hardware as knobs are not usually directional one knob pattern and mold will be needed unlike a custom door lever which frequently requires a left and right pattern and corresponding molds.