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Door Knobs Buying Guide

There is a wide variety of door furniture, doorknobs or locksets currently available on the market. It is, therefore, important to clearly understand the differences between the various types to choose the ones that perfectly suit your needs. While a doorknob may seem like an effortless item to buy, there are several mistakes and things that you need to know and 

Besides their functional purposes, hinges, doorknobs, and other related door hardware components also play an aesthetic role. There is a wide range of door hardware and finishes to choose from, from ornate brass hinges and locksets to stylish brushed-chrome knobs. Provided below is a guide to help you choose door hardware components that suit your needs and taste. 

Door knobs designed to turn usually come in pairs and have a connecting spindle, and also the screw fixings required to secure them to the face of the door. 

The Lock or Latch Mechanism

Doorknobs require a latch or lock mechanism to turn. These components are usually bought separately to fit the doorknobs, but you might already have them in your doors. Door lock mechanisms are of two main types. The mortice latch or lock mechanism is the most common type of mechanism. It is usually fitted into the edge of the door. The rim lock or latch mechanism is the other conventional option. It is a surface mounted box, and it is mainly decorative. 

Mortice Mushroom Knob Rim Knobs or Mortice Knobs

In case your door is fitted with a mortise lock or latch, then any of our doorknobs will be able to fit. But if you are dealing with a rim latch/lock, only certain rim knobs will be able to fit. We have provided information regarding the functionality of each in the product description available on our website. Considering that only one backplate is normally used on the non-rim lock side of the door, rim knobs need loose backplates. 

Mortice only knobs come with backplates attached to the doorknob, and they are normally mounted on the face of the door using fixing screws.

The Setback of Latch/Lock

Doorknobs generally have a deeper setback than door handles. Setback refers to the distance from the door’s edge to the center of the hole in the lock/latch where the connecting spindle passes through. You need to make sure that there is adequate space to fit half of the knob’s diameter, and also space for finger room, when the door is closed into the rebate. Tight spacing (in addition to injured fingers) is an issue that should be avoided as these are signs of poor building work. 

If you are investing in a new /latch lock, then getting this right should be easy. In case you have existing spindle holes, consider cutting out a paper template of the doorknob diameter,  and placing it on the door to check the diameter. Since door handles need smaller setback, it is often impossible to replace door handles with doorknobs without having to change the mechanism and everything it entails.

Reeded Door Knob Spindles

The spindle bar is fitted on the back of one doorknob, goes through the mechanism, and connects to the other knob. Spindles, particularly rim knobs, come in different designs. Modern or post metric spindles are a standard 8mm square section bar, and this type fits through any standard lock or latch. Old locks or latches often come with an imperial spindle size. This can cause an issue since the metric size is slightly bigger, and the spindle is too big to pass through the hole.

One easy way around this problem (without having to replace all the old mechanisms) is filing around the spindle hole in the lock/latch until it fits. This is a common problem, and this offers the best and simplest solution. When purchasing reclaimed door knobs, imperial/metric sizing will often be an issue since holes and spindles at the back of the knob won’t fit modern metric standards.

Sprung/Unsprung Door Knobs

There is a string within the latch mechanism which the doorknob relies on to return position after turning. In some modern doorknobs, the spring is found in the knob’s backplate, and these are referred to as sprung doorknobs. All our doorknobs rely on the spring in the latch performing the job and are then unsprung. This means that the latch must be heavy duty. If you are looking to buy cheap latches from a DIY shed, then make sure that it is labeled Heavy Duty,  as most aren’t sturdy enough to do the work. 

DoorKnob Size

We offer a wide range of door knob sizes. A doorknob with a 50mm diameter will fit just right on a modern standard door (1980 x 760mm). For larger external and internal doors, you can consider larger diameters of up to 75mm.

The right size for your door will depend on the size of the door and how much space you want the knob to occupy. It is beneficial to cut out a paper template to help figure this out. In case you aren’t sure, then you can buy samples.


Tewkesbury Square Knobs. We offer many different period styles. You have to consider whether you want to keep your house in the period, or maybe you want to buy the ones you most prefer. In case you have a Georgian property, then Octagonal and Bloxwich styles can work well. If you have a Victorian property, then the beehive is the conventional choice. For Edwardian, consider the Classic Oval and Classic round or any wooden doorknobs. 

While it is recommended to have matching door knobs throughout the house, you shouldn’t be afraid to try out different styles for the upstairs and downstairs. Considering that downstairs doors are often larger, and visitors will easily see and use the doorknobs, this type of arrangement is feasible.

Material and Finish

Over the years, doorknobs have been made using various materials, including brass, chrome, nickel, wood, iron, glass, etc. Your choice of material can be based on your interior scheme, the period of your property, or personal taste. If you are looking to add color, then porcelain and glass are great choices. 

If your house’s period is your top consideration, then wooden doorknobs were the most preferred choice in Edwardian properties, brass was preferred in Victorian properties, and Art Deco, nickel, or chrome was the most popular choice. However, brass is currently the most preferred material. 

DoorKnobs that aren’t required to turn

If you aren’t looking for a turning doorknob and just want it as a pull, then there are a number of options available. For large external doors, there are big-sized doors door knob pulls that are usually sold singly and are usually fixed with a bolt from the back. When it comes to cupboard doors, there are cupboard knobs, which are also fixed from the back. The other common option is to go for a 1/2 pair of mortice door knobs – the ones that have backplates attached to the doorknobs. You just need to screw them to the face of the door and do away with the spindle. 

This is really helpful in case you are looking to have the same look on your cupboard doors as on your main doors. There is likely to be some bit of play in this considering that they are really made to turn, but with some few tricks, they can be fixed firmly.


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