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What is a Recessed Pull Handle?

If you are buying furniture such as a kitchen cabinet, the sales attendant may ask if you prefer one with a recessed pull handle. At this point, you begin to wonder, “What is a recessed pull handle?”

To put it simply, recessed pull handles can be found almost anywhere, but they are most common in office storage equipment. Unlike knobs and standard handles, recessed pull handles are concealed. As a result, they can make for ideal cabinet handles for filing cabinets.

A recessed pull handle is also an important piece of door hardware. Due to their construction, they are normally mounted on sliding doors.

There is so much more to learn about recessed pull handles. So, if you are looking for one for your job site, read on.

In this article we will take a closer look at:

1. Flush or Recessed: What is the difference?
   > What is a Flush Handle?
   > What is a Recessed Pull Handle?

2. Types of Recessed Pull Handles
   > Standard
   > Folding
   > Chest
   > Recessed Pulls
   > Recessed Finger Pulls

3. Materials used for Recessed Pull Handles
   > Stainless Steel
   > Porcelain
   > Aluminum

4. Summary

Flush or Recessed: What is the difference?

Let’s address the confusion between two types of door handles that use a pulling action: flush and recessed. Although they look similar, these handles differ in terms of design.

What Is a Flush Handle?

Most commonly found on sliding doors, flush pull handles appear sleek and simple. They are usually constructed from stainless steel, solid brass, or brushed chrome. Much like a recessed handle, a rectangular flush pull sinks into the frame of a door panel. This allows for one panel to slide in front of the other.

There are numerous styles and dimensions available for flush handles. You just need to look for one that allows for an ergonomic grip across different hand sizes. 


What Is a Recessed Pull Handle?

It’s easy to see how these two handles differ from each other. While flush handles are mounted specifically on sliding doors, recessed pull handles have a different functionality. They are usually concealed within a housing unit or a product.

Either screwed or welded in place, recessed pull handles are ideal for a number of applications; for example, you can find them on storage boxes that require grips for easy lifting. They are also found on drawers and closet doors, making them important pieces of cabinet hardware.

Compared to other types of handles, recessed handles are safer to handle due to them lacking a protruding component, the risk of tripping or injury is minimized. In addition, these handles are effective space-savers. You can stack them side by side with no problem. 

Understanding the difference between recessed handles and flush handles is not enough. You will also need to identify the types of recessed pull handles to use for specific applications.

Types of Recessed Pull Handles

Recessed handles come in a variety of styles. Each type offers specific benefits, so it’s important to choose one that matches the right hardware.


As the name suggests, standard recessed pull handles have a straightforward two-piece construction consisting of a backplate and a frame. The rectangular grip is also assembled as a single unit. Standard pull handles usually come with mounting bolts for easy installation. A good example of this type of pull handle is a regular cabinet pull.


Folding pull handles have a unique design. Also known as collapsible handles, they are ideal for furniture and storage equipment. They consist of pull bars that can be raised 90 degrees from the backplate. With that being said, these handles optimize storage space and allow for a firmer grip. In addtion, you can choose different sizes and finishings, from satin chrome to polished nickel.


Along with folding handles, chest handles are ideal for carrying irregular-shaped items. Normally, they are found on trunks, equipment cases, and chests. Also consisting of collapsible 90-degree pull bars, they are ideal for applications that require heavy lifting and come in a wide selection of materials. For comfortable carrying over long distances, steel chest handles are worth considering.

Recessed Pulls

Mounted mostly on drawers, recessed pulls are easy to install by yourself. They come as single pieces that are attached using mount screws. They are also perfect for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. The recessed design also makes them ideal as sliding door handles.

You can choose between a square flush pull or a round flush pull. Then again, one style to consider is the pocket door pull handle—manufacturers such as Sugatsune which specializes in this variation which serves as a space-saving alternative to bulky knobs.

Recessed Finger Pulls

Recessed finger pulls function the same way as folding pull handles. The only difference is that the handles take the form of rings. These can be lifted from the recessed backplate using one finger.

Materials Used for Recessed Pull Handles

Apart from the design of a recessed pull handle, you will also need to look for one made from the right materials. This will depend on the workload and task you are required to accomplish.

Stainless Steel

It’s easy to find stainless steel just about anywhere. It is a reliable materials perfect for rigid and long-lasting components. Pull handles with stainless steel finishings are ideal for heavy lifting applications. They can withstand corrosion and regular wear-and-tear. For a sleeker and more modern look, you have the option of a matte black stainless steel finish.


Porcelain lacks the sturdiness and functionality of industrial handles. However, their elegant construction makes them an ideal aesthetic choice for luxurious interiors. They come in different colors and shapes. Plus, they are low maintenance, so it doesn't take much to maintain their polished look. Just make sure you look for a manufacturer that makes high-quality porcelain products.


Things such as a shopping cart and utensils are made from aluminum. So, it's not surprising to find handles made from this element.

Although not as strong as stainless steel, aluminum door handles provide a more comfortable grip. Due to being lightweight, these types of handles are easy to install. They are also resistant to heat or corrosion, which makes them perfect for industrial settings.


Recessed pull handles are simple components yet make life easier. Under industrial environments, they can help operators undertake tasks easily and with a lesser risk of injury. It’s just a matter of finding the right handle assemblies that match your requirements.

If you are looking for recessed pull handles for specific applications, Reid Supply is the best place to start. We carry a wide collection of pull handles sourced from the world's leading manufacturers of replacement parts.