How to Choose Knobs or Pulls on Kitchen Cabinets  

Knobs or Pulls for Kitchen Cabinets
Source iStock

Part of building or renovating a kitchen is deciding on pulls vs knobs for cabinet handles. These fittings are the icing on the cake when doing room makeovers. They may seem tiny, but they provide that much-needed detail that completes any kitchen layout.

Knobs and pulls may look entirely different, but they offer the same thing: convenient access to the cabinet’s contents. According to experts, function and size are top considerations to make when buying cabinet hardware (Knowledge: How to Choose the Right Size of Cabinet Handles).

Still, it’s overwhelming to select a hardware solution given the numerous options in the market. Whether you are a furniture designer, homebuilder, or retailer, learning to differentiate knobs or pulls on kitchen cabinets is crucial (Learn: Kitchen Cabinet Design Trends In 2023). This article provides useful information on selecting the right hardware.

Kitchen cabinet pull handles

Pull handles for Kitchen Cabinets
Source iSotck

There are no hard rules when choosing knobs or pulls for cabinets. However, most people find it easy to assign pulls for every drawer in the kitchen. If the room has large doors, trash pull-outs, or base pantries, a pull is a go-to for these fixtures. This hardware is mounted at two points of the cabinet and is much wider compared to a knob.

Why do drawers need pull fittings? It’s not unusual for kitchen drawers to carry heavy loads for storage. With a pull, one can use the whole hand instead of only the fingers to open the drawer. Some people get a better grasp with this handle, providing more leverage to open the door or drawer easily.

Pros of pull custom cabinet handles

Sleek design

When it comes to kitchen knobs vs pulls, the latter is the better option if a sleeker handle is preferred. It sits flush to the surface, unlike knobs that stick out. Pulls are ideal for smaller spaces because there’s less chance of catching on to the hardware as you move around.

Great choice for doors

Aside from a comfortable grip, pull handles can also provide a cohesive look for any cabinet. It’s flexible; it can have a horizontal or vertical installation, depending on what matches the style. Plus, pulls provide a modern flair to the furniture.

Variety of styles

Every cabinet pull handles factory can produce various designs (Learn: Best 20 Cabinet Handle Designs in 2023) such as an arch, bar, or a drop handle. These styles deliver a different effect depending on the application. Pull handles offer a contemporary finish that allows you to play with bold colors and a unique aesthetic (Learn: Cabinet Handle Colors and Finishes Trends in 2023).

Cons of pull cabinet handles

Require the more precise measurement

Pulls have two or more attachments to the surface using screws to keep them in place. One of the strictest requirements is to precisely measure the center-to-center distance. This length spans one screw hole to another, indicating the exact drilling points. If done incorrectly, the pull handle will look lopsided and may diminish its effectiveness.

Kitchen cabinet knobs

Pull Knobs for Kitchen Cabinets
Source iStock

Between pulls or knobs on cabinets, knob handles are the more traditional option. Classic kitchen furniture styles often use this type of hardware, especially with small cabinet doors. Some designers also prefer this handle for smaller drawers.

A knob is one of the most common hardware items you can find in and out of the kitchen. Typically, it is a small and spherical fitting with a single mounting point. Rather than visual appeal, knob handles often focus on functionality, allowing easy opening and closing of the cabinet.

Pros of knob handles

Slightly more affordable

Based on pulls vs knobs cost, knobs are generally the cheaper alternative. There are plenty of economical designs in the market, which may look simple yet do not lose out on quality. However, specialty knobs are also available, which are more expensive but enable a more creative application.

Easy to install

Knob handles are uber easy to attach since they usually need only one screw for installation. It’s simple to change an old knob without having to worry about getting precise measurements. That said, this option only takes a few minutes to install.

Cons of knob handles

Hard to grab

Some people find knob custom cabinet handles more difficult to grasp since it’s not big enough to grab with the whole hand. In some cases, it makes cabinets inaccessible for persons with a disability or mobility issues.

Clothing may catch on the handle

Knobs often protrude and are located where items of clothing can catch. For example, if a chef is maneuvering in a small pantry with knob handle cabinets, their uniform or apron can get caught on the material and cause unwanted accidents.

Kitchen knobs vs pulls: the difference

Knobs vs Pulls
Source: Maxave

Cabinet hardware exists to make it easier to access the stuff inside cabinets and drawers. Although they have the same function, these fittings vary in several ways. For instance, their appearance is entirely different. A knob is typically spherical, while a pull handle is often a rod or bar.

The way they function is also different. For knobs, one needs to use the thumb and fingers to hold the handle. On the other hand, a pull works by grasping it with four or all fingers and the palm of the hand. In general, pull handles are more comfortable to grip.

Key considerations for buyers

Now comes the most difficult part: choosing between knobs or pulls for cabinets. What are the important considerations before choosing pulls or knobs on cabinets? Here’s a quick guide that may help.

Kitchen cabinet design

Kitchen Cabinets Design
Source iStock

Experts recommend choosing cabinet handles that match furniture and other design elements found in the kitchen (Learn: Different Types of Kitchen Cabinet Handles & Finishes). For example, a shaker cabinet possesses simple lines and a contemporary look, and pulls fit that description. Classic cabinets like the raised panel or beadboard designs will look better with knob handles.


It’s ideal to choose cabinet hardware that matches the faucet. A good example is bronze or satin brass for brushed stainless or brushed nickel taps. Chrome faucets match with clear glass, dark bronze, white, pewter, or a black finish.

User habits

A user’s comfort should always matter when building or upgrading any furniture. If the cabinet gets opened several times a day, it’s crucial to choose a fitting that fits the hand just right. It should feel comfortable to touch, which means no sharp or biting edges should protrude.


The cost is a huge factor in any purchase, cabinet handles included. For furniture designers, one money saving tactic is to buy kitchen cabinet handles wholesale (Knowledge: How to Install Kitchen Cabinet Handles). The good news is that there are so many available designs in the market that can match any budget.

Combination of knobs and pulls

Kitchen carbinet with knobs and pulls
Source: Unsplash

While all-knob or all-pull creates a cohesive look for the kitchen, why should the buyer settle for one or the other? It’s possible to build a design that uses a combination of knobs and pulls, too. One concrete example is putting pull handles on drawers while attaching knobs on cabinet doors. The secret to making them look harmonious: choose one finish for every piece of hardware!

Closing thoughts

Whether choosing knobs or pulls for kitchen cabinets, this guide is useful for simple kitchen upgrades or overhauls. If you are ready to shop, browse through Maxave Group’s top-quality cabinet handles and other hardware solutions. Get in touch with one of our customer representatives and discover how our team can help you today!

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