How to Choose the Right Size of Cabinet Handles  

One of the most common hurdles in home building or renovation is knowing how to choose the right size cabinet pulls. Most people find it puzzling to pick the right pull that matches the cabinetry’s style. Too often, those who don’t have enough knowledge end up buying handles that are too big or too small. They end up doing trial and error, consuming time and effort.

Now, there’s a way around this dilemma—reading everything there is to know about drawer pull sizes! This guide is the ticket to selecting the best cabinet hardware (Learn: A Complete Guide To Types of Cabinet Hardware) for different cabinetry styles. It also includes suggestions on where and how to place them. Let’s start!

Cabinet hardware placement

Attaching Handle Bar
Source: iStock 

Generally, there are two basic kinds of cabinet fittings, which are knobs and pulls. Spherical knobs are easy to install and choosing the best knob size is not too difficult. Pulls are trickier in this aspect since they come in different designs and lengths.

Here’s the thing about pull handles: this hardware comes in different lengths and styles, allowing personalized designs. Some people want to express their creativity by mixing and matching different handle types and placing them by feel. However, it breeds another sort of issue, such as making the drawers look put-together in the end.

Before delving deeper into this topic, here are a few relevant terms one should understand regarding cabinet fittings:

  • Center-to-center. This terminology is crucial in learning how to measure cabinet pulls. Center-to-center is the distance between the center of one screw hole to the center of another. Since pull handles have more than one screw attachment, this measurement requires precision to avoid installing crooked pulls.
  • Overall length. A drawer pull’s overall length is the distance between both edges of the hardware. Generally, this measurement is greater than center-to-center.
  • Projection. Typically, there’s a space between the drawer pull and the surface, which allows an easy grasp of the hardware. This space is called projection.

There are many ways to place cabinet fittings, such as all knobs or all pulls. Furniture manufacturers or end-users can use either option to create a uniform look for the area. However, it may not appear as cohesive if applied to a room with varying design elements.

Some designers go for the pulls on drawers, and knobs on doors standard. Incorporating both fittings into the layout ensures that the purpose of each cabinet handle type is fully maximized(Learn: Best 20 Cabinet Handle Designs in 2023)

In some applications, furniture designers use knobs on uppers and pulls on lowers. This arrangement creates harmony despite the remarkable visual difference between the pull and knob.

How to choose the right size cabinet pulls

It’s easy to get lost in the sea of cabinet hardware because there is no definite set of rules for it. However, a basic way to start is by applying the “rule of thirds” to the selection. Some cabinet hardware size guide experts recommend this principle to buyers.

To apply the rule of thirds, the pull handle has to measure one-third the length of the surface. For example, if the drawer is 17.7 inches (45 cm) in length, the pull should be around 5.9 inches (15cm). This length will look proportionate while also keeping its functionality intact.

Of course, the one-third rule isn’t the only thing to consider. For bigger pantry doors or drawers, it’s ideal to select a handle that has enough projection and diameter. Doing so ensures that the hardware does not give out due to the weight of the material.

Cabinet hardware pull lengths

Wide Pull Bar for Cabinet
Source: iStock

The length of the handle depends on its purpose. Standard drawer pulls sizes include an inch for tiny bar pulls and finger pulls. Most appliance handles can span over 20 inches and are thicker in diameter. In short, pull sizing is somewhat tricky because there’s a great variety of lengths and configurations available in the market.

When ordering drawer pulls, one of the priorities is to get the correct center-to-center measurement that fits the cabinet. Some manufacturers can also customize pull hardware to make it match the furniture perfectly. In any case, drawer pulls are available in these standard lengths:

  • 3 inches (76.2mm)
  • 3.77 inches (96mm)
  • 5.03 inches (128mm)
  • 6.30 inches (160mm)
  • 10.07 inches (256mm)

Take note, the longer pulls are mostly available in metric measurements. An online converter is useful in determining the length in inches.

How to match pull hardware with the furniture? Here’s a quick roundup of some known industry practices.

For standard-size cabinets

(Up to 34” tall for doors and 30” wide for drawers)

Referring to a cabinet hardware size guide, there are common suggestions to follow for fittings. Experts recommend a pull hardware of about 3-5 inches for standard-sized cabinet doors. This size range is modest and only enhances the look of the furniture without stealing its shine.

For large cabinet drawers

(Over 34” tall for doors and over 30” wide for drawers)

Single pull handles about 5-12 inches long will look proportional to large pantry drawers and doors. However, it’s acceptable to opt for smaller pulls to keep a clean and simple profile for the handle. Remember, the hardware should have enough thickness to offer a better carrying capacity.

For smaller appliances

(Fridge drawers, dishwashers)

A size guide cabinet pulls size chart often emphasizes that longer drawers need longer pull lengths. Such is the case for smaller appliances, which require sturdy cabinet hardware. For this application, pulls around 12 inches long are ideal.

For large appliances

(Refrigerators, freezer)

Huge appliances will naturally need bigger pull handles because they demand more in terms of space. For this reason, a proportionate size for pulls in this application is about 18 inches or longer.

Summing up

Cabinet hardware may seem inconsequential, but this small item can make a huge impact on cabinetry! The best practice on how to choose the right size cabinet pulls (Learn: How to Choose Knobs or Pulls on Kitchen Cabinets) is to strongly consider proportion and style. If you need a professional’s insight on the best sizing for pull handles, our experts at Maxave Group are available to help. Contact us right away!

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