What are the Different Types of Doorknobs?

Sherry Holetzky

Who knew that there are so many different types of doorknobs? Most of us don't give them much thought. Doorknobs are things that we tend to take for granted, at least until we need new ones.

Doorknobs come in a variety of styles and materials.
Doorknobs come in a variety of styles and materials.

There are four main types of doorknobs, and each category has a specific purpose. Some are merely decorative, some are functional, and others are used as security measures. They are "dummy" knobs, keyed entrance, passage and privacy doorknobs.

Antique hinges can complement the appearance of antique doorknobs.
Antique hinges can complement the appearance of antique doorknobs.

Yes, they are really called dummy knobs! These doorknobs are generally used where two doors close into each other, and only one door is opened and closed regularly. The dummy knob is just for aesthetics. It isn't really necessary, but it creates a more balanced look. It can also be used on any other type of door that does not require a functioning doorknob.

Keyed entrance doorknobs are just what they sound like. They require a key to unlock the door from outside. Some styles of keyed entrance doorknobs are used throughout a building, allowing all doors to be unlocked with the same key. Others have individual locks and require separate keys.

Passage doorknobs are also just what their name suggests. One can obtain passage without using a key. These doorknobs generally do not lock on either side of the door and are therefore well suited to playrooms and children's bedrooms, or any other space that should not necessarily be locked. Privacy doorknobs keep spaces private by denying access from the outside. They only lock and can only be unlocked from the inside, which makes them perfect for bathrooms, adult bedrooms, guest rooms, and any other area that sometimes requires privacy.

Most of the above types also come in a variety of styles and finishes. Good function does not require you to sacrifice good looks. You can choose from glass to wooden doorknobs, as well as many metallic finishes, such as pewter, polished brass, antique brass, chrome and bronze. They also come in varied shapes, from round to oval to rosette, and you can select from an array of doorplates, from old-fashioned elongated styles to the most contemporary.

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Discussion Comments


I love going to the store and looking at the many types of doorknobs, especially the antique doorknobs. They are beautiful and they can alter the appearance of a door so much. I think I would replace doorknobs in my home every week if I could get someone else to do the actual work part.


Drentel - I hope you have become a better repair man with age. However, in my experience, I have found that not every door handle and every door lock are created equal. Depending on the type of entry door knob you choose, fastening it to the door could be easy or difficult. However, the average person will probably be able to figure it out with time and patience and persistence.


I was surprised how easy it was to install door hardware on an entry door I have at my house. I tried to do it once when I was younger at my parents house and had to let someone else take over when the job got too complicated.

I don't know, maybe I've gotten smarter and handier since then, but, either way, I was able to get the job done in a couple hours this time around, and the lock works smoothly.

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