Different Types of Kitchen Cabinet Handles & Finishes  

In any kitchen upgrade or renovation project, it’s necessary to deal with various types of drawer handles. Sure, they all have the same purpose—easy access to the contents of any storage solution. Wouldn’t it make life easier if it comes in just one shape, color, and design?

Au contraire, the different types of handles for kitchen cabinets allow expert designers and DIY enthusiasts to personalize the space. Whether it’s matching colors or harmonizing finishes, the right hardware can serve as the signature look to any layout. Before starting the journey to creating a dream kitchen, this quick guide is a must-read for you.

Different types of handles for kitchen cabinets

The best handle for kitchen cabinets is one that matches the style and aesthetic of the room. It should have the right size, material, and finish to complement larger design elements. The cabinet fitting needs to conform with the desired placement for better access. Otherwise, the hardware may not fulfill its purpose: to allow easy opening and closing of the door panels.

With these factors to consider, it’s quite daunting to decide which way to go. Should the color be prioritized first? Would it be better to focus on the cabinet handle material? Here’s a pro tip: it’s good to start by learning the different types of kitchen handles.

T bar kitchen handles

Iron T Handle Bar Maxave
Source: Maxave

Perhaps the most common of the lot are T-bar kitchen handles. Typically, this type of fitting consists of a long tube-shaped bar supported by two shorter bars. These petite sections serve as points of attachment to the door or drawer.

Bar handles have a minimalistic look and are one of the most practical options in the market. It is also comfortable to grip and easy to match with other elements in the design. In fact, it’s a versatile piece that has a wide range of styles that tie with modern or traditional themes.

Bar handles with ornate detailing and an iron composition are traditional in every way. Still, today’s advanced technologies ensure that the hardware has a modern construction. For contemporary kitchens, a bar handle with a sleek chrome finish is a go-to design standard.

Bow kitchen handles

Bow Kitchen Handle Design
Source: Amazon

The distinctive curvature of a bow kitchen handle is the perfect mix of practical and elegant. Like the T-bar, it allows a better grip since the whole hand can hold it to open or close the panel. It’s an ideal fitting for smaller kitchen spaces because clothing cannot get caught in it, unlike the bar handles.

The rounded profile of the bow handle softens the look of the hardware, allowing the cabinetry to shine. It’s acceptable to choose a bold material for this type. For instance, brass or copper adds warmth to the space and provides a trendy accent to the furniture.

Bow handles go together with vintage themes and country-style pantries. Its simple yet elegant hardware delivers a classic and homey feel to a newly renovated kitchen.

Kitchen cabinet knobs

Kitchen Cabinet Knobs
Source: Amazon

Nothing screams vintage more than kitchen cabinet knobs. These fittings are spherical and mounted at a fixed point, usually at the opening corner of the door panel. Knobs are much easier to install compared to pulls because they only require a single screw attachment. They can be as simple as a circular shape or elaborate with animal or flower designs.

In some ways, a cabinet knob is ornamental since it adds a decorative accent to the furniture. As a rule of thumb, experts use knobs for cabinet doors and not on drawers. Since it has a limited area for gripping, knobs are not suitable for people with mobility issues or disabilities.

With knobs, one needs to remember to inspect the attachment at regular intervals. Cabinet knob handles can get loose over time, especially if it gets used daily.

Cup cabinet pulls

Cabinet Cup Pulls
Source: IKEA

Cup pull handles are another traditional option for cabinet hardware. As with the name, the shape is an upside-down cup that features a grip from underneath. Its form provides a stable grasp when opening or closing a cabinet.

Metal looks best for cup handle styles because they boost the antiquated effect of the hardware. Materials like brass or pewter with an aged finish can match farmhouse kitchens. It’s also a lovely addition to industrial kitchens. For this application, going for a mixed metal construction gives the handle an extra oomph.

Recessed cabinet handles

Sliding Reccessed Pull Handle
Source: AliExpress

A recessed pull handle does not protrude like other types of drawer handles. Instead, it has an inwards grip concealed in a housing unit. Also called a flush handle, this style sinks into the product and creates a flat exterior. It does not have bars or levers; rather, it is typically a rectangular-shaped handle that takes up less space for installation.

However, not all furniture can support a recessed handle. For example, it’s not easy to swap a bar or bow-type handle for a flush pull. In short, the furniture must accommodate the sunken unit, which entails cutting a section of the panel.

Drop handle drawer pulls

Pull Drop Swing
Source: Amazon

Large statement drawers can up their aesthetic value with classic drop handle drawer pulls. This style is a popular design piece in the 18th century, adding it to the list of elegant vintage pull handles. It looks like a standard pull except for its proximity to the cabinet panel. When not in use, the drop pull lies flush on the surface.

As an old-fashioned handle, drop pulls need to be moved upward before opening or closing the cabinet. It has a formal appearance that matches transitional designs. This type is one of the more decorative choices and is available in unique styles like the ring pull.

Arch cabinet pulls

Nickel Beaded Arch Cabinet Pulls
Source: Overstock

Arch cabinet pull handles are often sold as novelty pieces because manufacturers can fashion an elaborate design on its surface. The arch handle has a delicate curve that softens the features of the cabinet.

As with other drawer pulls, the arch cabinet handle is easy to grip and less prone to snagging clothing articles. It delivers a traditional look that accentuates farm country kitchens. However, you need to ensure precise center-to-center measurement to avoid crooked-looking arch handles.

C-type cabinet handle

Stainless Steel C Type Handle
Source: Ebay

C-type pulls are some of the most modern styles today. It is a grab handle that often has an aluminum construction, providing a streamlined aesthetic to the furniture. Rather than the usual front-facing installation, C-type handles attach to the edge of the door panel. It gives the illusion that the drawer or cabinet does not have any handles installed.

The C-type handle is easy to install and is one of the most long-lasting styles in the market. It is suitable for cabinet doors and offers a great way to protect the furniture’s finish.

Handleless cabinets

Handleless Cabinets
Source: iStock

Ultra-modern cabinets boast a handleless feature, which incorporates innovative push-to-open technologies. By far, it is the most comfortable design for cupboards, drawers, and cabinets. Any kitchen will have a more streamlined appearance with a handle-less mechanism in place.

Different furniture handles based on materials

The cabinet handle material is another deciding factor when shopping for cabinet hardware. The construction impacts the overall appearance of the kitchen. Therefore, it’s crucial to pick a material that doesn’t clash with larger design elements like appliances and cabinetry.

Metal cabinet handle

Metal Handle for Kitchen Cabinet
Source: iStock

Metal hardware is a kitchen staple because it is durable and can handle a demanding environment. For instance, some metals like stainless steel have corrosion-resistant finishes. This feature is important since handles are subject to liquid splashes and heat exposure.

In general, most metal types do not come cheap, but there are affordable alternatives like alloys and aluminum. These metals are not as strong but can fulfill their purpose like any other materials.

Wood cabinet handle

Wooden Handle for Kitchen Cabinet
Source: iStock

Most traditional and transitional layouts rely on wood accents on kitchen cabinet hardware. Wooden pulls and knobs are relatively more affordable and provide a comfortable grip to the user. It goes well with farmhouse kitchens and other vintage themes.

Wood handles look stunning when made with a natural stain. The drawback is that it is prone to scratches or stains. The paint and finish can wear off faster than other materials too. Also, wood cannot resist water damage, which is why most wooden handles need a sealant applied to them.

Glass cabinet handle

Glass Hnadle for Cabinet
Source: Amazon

Glass is an elegant material for pulls and knobs. It highlights other details of the furniture and allows the cabinet itself to stand out. This type of material is available in a translucent or frosted design. Either way, the nearly transparent aesthetic brings plenty of light to the space.

The novelty of glass handles is a huge reason why some people choose this material. However, it falls short in durability and is not recommendable for families with children or pets. It is also one of the pricier types of hardware in the market.

Plastic cabinet handle

Plastic Handle for Cabinet
Source: Amazon

Resin designs are made of thermoplastic and are a trendy cabinet handle option today. There are various styles, colors, and textures to choose from, making kitchen customization a breeze. Plastic knobs or pulls are inexpensive and are great for owners who frequently change the design of their kitchen.

Nylon is another widely used plastic that offers collision resistance. However, it readily absorbs moisture which may affect its shape and stability over time.

Different cabinet handle finishes

As soon as you pick the style and material, you will have to decide on the finish for the cabinet handles (Learn: Cabinet Handle Colors and Finishes Trends in 2023). This protective layer determines how the pull or knob can last and how often you should clean them. The cabinet hardware finish is an outer coating that has an impact on the feel or ambiance of the product.

Here is some cabinet handle finishes that you need to consider when deciding on the best handle for kitchen cabinets.

Polished cabinet pulls

Polished Pulls for Cabinet
Source: The Home Depot

Polished finishes are reflective and have an eye-catching sheen that makes the room livelier. This type of finish counters the cold tone of metal appliances and plain cabinetry, making the kitchen more welcoming. This 80’s inspired style offers a retro effect without aging the hardware.

Polished gold or brass hardware can make any furniture or space cheerful. However, this type of finish also shows fingerprints more easily.

Brushed cabinet pulls

Brushed Pull for Cabinet
Source: Amazon

A brushed finish for pulls is the opposite of polished handles. The color is muted and has a matte luster, but it does not mean that it lacks brightness. If anything, the subdued effect of brushed hardware creates a smoother look for the furniture.

A brushed finish on metals like nickel or brass gives the material a warmer tone. This type of coating hides fingerprints, watermarks, and oil marks, keeping it clean-looking every time.

Weathered cabinet knobs

Weathered Knob for Cabinet
Source: Amazon

The vintage appearance of the weathered knob finish creates muted colors for the hardware without dampening its liveliness. For brass application, weathering provides a matte appearance to the material. The result is exquisite and tailored, matching the vibes of a country-style kitchen.

With a weathered finish, the handle color continuously changes over time. It creates a different look as the weathering process continues.

Antique cabinet pulls

Antique Pulls for Cabinet
Source: Amazon

Antiquated pulls are the epitome of traditional cabinet hardware. You can find this style in many textures and colors, adding a unique personality to furniture. This aged design is perfect for vintage kitchens and transitional layouts.


Creating various combinations of different types of handles for kitchen cabinets is the key to personalizing any kitchen (Knowledge: How to Install Kitchen Cabinet Handles). Playing with various colors and finishes shouldn’t spook anyone because that’s how to find the most suitable styles for the room.

If you are still undecided about the type of cabinet handle to buy, let a professional aid you. Our consultants at Maxave Group can provide recommendations and product suggestions from our portfolio. Whichever style and design you need, we’re confident that we have it in the store. Talk to us today!

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