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5 Types of Handles and What They’re Used For

A handle is used as an attachment to manipulate or grip an object or machinery, such as opening or closing a door.

There are several types of handles for use in homes to production lines, and choosing the right one is crucial in any setting. Given that there is a wide array of handles to choose from, knowing which is used for specific applications will help make your decision that much easier.

This guide has all the information you need to get started.

In this article we will take a closer look at:

1. What are Main Types of Handles?
   > Pull Handles
   > Twist Handles
   > Lever Handles
   > Door Handles
   > Window Handles

2. Summary

What Are the Main Types of Handles?

Typically, we think of handles as tools for opening or closing windows or doors. However, they can also be used as components of larger industrial hardware to help with manipulating fixtures and other pieces on the equipment.

When looking for a handle, consider the applications you are using it for. Let’s check out these five main types of handles that are present in any industry:

  • Pull handles
  • Twist handles
  • Lever handles
  • Door handles
  • Window handles

Pull Handles

A pull handle allows you to open, close, or lift an object through a pulling motion. They come in various handle shapes and designs; however, they are usually arched in shape to allow for a more ergonomic grip. The simplest example for many is a handle on a refrigerator.

There are several other pull handle variations to choose from, such as a pull handle on a backplate or a keypad, ideal for an entry door. These handles feature a grip attached to a metallic plane, usually made from brass or stainless steel, with the option of having the backplate handle engraved.

Back-to-back pull handles are found mostly on restaurant and office doors. However, in industrial settings, these handles are used on the internal doors where they can be attached to glass, wood, or metal materials.

Drawer handles are found on cabinets and other types of furniture. While they are there for the functionality of opening the doors, they can be ornately designed and come in a wide selection of materials. Industrial cabinets, for instance, have heavy-duty handles; that way, the machineries drawers can be pulled with ease in quick production situations. 

While pull handles come in a variety of ergonomic designs, there are many ornamental options as well. For a more stylish look, use pull handles on a rose. These work well for executive offices, reception areas, and staff lounges. They are usually attached to wooden doors, but they also go well with glass.

Twist Handles

Twist handles feature a mechanism that is operated by using a twisting action. Unlike pull handles, these handles require rotating your hand to manipulate the objects to which they are attached. Most door designs feature a twist handle. However, the locking mechanism varies from one industry to another.

You can find these on doors with complicated mechanisms for closing and opening. For example, in commercial airlines, a certain style of twist handle is used on service doors and emergency doors. They require a rotating action between the thumb and the outermost fingers, eliminating the need to move the whole hand.

Lever Handles

Found mostly in residential homes and commercial applications, lever handles or door levers are ideal for heavy-duty industrial doors. These feature an arm that disengages a locking mechanism when it is raised or lowered.

Lever handles are made from a variety of materials with many operating mechanisms to choose from. Apart from the traditional lever handle on a backplate, you also have the option for a lever handle on a rose.

For securing rooms, opt for a handle with a keyhole. These handles are often found on external doors with mortise locks, but they can be installed on internal room and storage doors. A lever lock also guaranteed extra security.

For extra privacy, opt for a lever handle on a bathroom or bedroom door. To lock or unlock the mechanism, you will need to turn the snib from the inside. Other variations feature a cam lock which allows you to lock or unlock a door from the outside using a key.

A lever latch would be the best option for rooms or areas that don’t need to be secured. You can simply push the lever down to release the latch and open a door.

Door Handles

When installing a door, it’s essential to choose the right door hardware. Choose a door handle set that allows for an ergonomic grip yet with a reliable locking mechanism. Door handles do more than make going in and out of a room easier. They can also secure valuable assets from outside elements and trespassers.

It’s only a matter of choosing a door handle that fulfills your needs. For entrances and exits, you can look towards door handles with built-in bolts. These are great for a passage door or a security door.

Likewise, private areas such as bedrooms and bathrooms require door handles that can be bolted in for extra security. In contrast, closets need a particular type of door handle that can be bolted in rather than locked for easy access.

Door handles can also function as home decor. If you are in the process of remodeling your home, consider a handle that matches the design motif of your home. For modern residences, simple handles are usually sought after. Ornate door handles, on the other hand, add a touch of elegance to luxury living spaces.

Window Handles

Just like door handles, window handles help to secure premises. Moreover, they also come in a variety of operating mechanisms and styles. It all depends on the size and location of a window.

Roadside windows, for instance, usually have low-profile window handles. These allow for ease of use without sacrificing security. They are also found in kitchens where you need to keep the area clean from debris.

Windows with latching systems are needed to prevent dust and other particles from entering from the outside. Handles are also important for quickly opening windows when you need to prevent the buildup of gas in the kitchen.

Seeing as bedrooms are a prime entry point for burglars, you will need handles with intricate locking systems. 


Handles provide added layers of security and functionality to homes and commercial buildings. These simple tools are also crucial for industrial applications and can help optimize production lines. Industrial operators opt for clamp handles, adjustable handles, or folding handles for these industrial situations.

Reid Supply stocks a wide array of industrial handles and supplies for all your commercial and industrial needs. Contact us today!