The Best Door Knobs of 2021

Updating your door knobs can make a significant impact on interior design.

By Tony Carrick | Updated Aug 20, 2021 7:32 AM

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The Best Door Knobs Option

Photo: amazon.com

Though it’s one of the most used items in a home, door knobs are often overlooked when it comes to interior decor. Bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, and hallways are accessed by doors with knobs. While these fixtures often have a subtle visual statement, door knobs can still accentuate home decor and add style to entryways.

Door knobs are available in numerous designs, ranging from modern to vintage, in such finishes as brushed nickel, chrome, and brass. Door knobs also vary in function; a standard passage knob provides a means for opening a door, while privacy knobs feature simple locks suitable for bedrooms and bathrooms.

This guide will discuss the different types of interior door knobs, factors to consider while shopping, and showcase some of the best models available for inside your home.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Probrico Interior Privacy Handles Door Lockset 6 Pack
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Knobonly 6 Pack Keyless Door Knob Set
  3. BEST GLASS: KNOBWELL Providence Octagon Glass Door Knob Set
  4. BEST TRADITIONAL: Copper Creek CK2020SS Colonial Knob, Satin Stainless
  5. BEST VINTAGE: Schlage Brookshire Collection Georgian Passage Knob
  6. BEST RUSTIC: Amazon Basics Bedroom/Bathroom Door Knob With Lock
The Best Door Knobs Option

Photo: depositphotos.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Door Knobs 

When shopping for door knobs, it’s essential to know the measurements that determine which knobs are compatible with your doors. Choosing a suitable knob type and an appropriate style and finish also are crucial parts of the decision-making process.

Type 

There are three main types of interior door knobs: privacy, dummy, and passage. Each type serves a different purpose and is more suitable for particular rooms.

  • Privacy door knobs feature a twist or button lock on one side of the knob. The locking feature makes this type of knob suitable for bedrooms and bathroom doors. These locks offer minimal security and typically feature a small hole on the opposite end, allowing the user to unlock the door with a universal key.
  • Dummy door knobs are one-sided knobs that don’t include any internal working parts. They essentially serve as a means for pushing or pulling open the door. Some dummy knobs come in pairs for use on double doors. They work well for small pantries, bedroom closets, or one side of a french door.
  • Passage door knobs operate a latch assembly, but typically include no locking mechanism. They are good options for interior closets, hallways, and other rooms that don’t require privacy locks.

Measurements 

There are three important measurements to establish before selecting a new door knob: cross bore, backset, and door thickness.

  • Cross bore refers to the large round hole where the door knob is mounted. A standard cross bore hole is 2⅛ inches in diameter. The cross bore hole must be smaller than the diameter of the door knob’s backplate to fit.
  • The backset is the distance between the center of the cross bore to the edge of the door. There are two standard backset measurements: 2⅜ inches and 2¾ inches. The backset of the door knob must match the backset of the door, or it won’t fit.
  • The thickness of interior residential doors can vary, which also impacts whether a door knob will fit. Older homes tend to have thinner doors of 1⅜ inches, while newer homes have thicker 1¾-inch-thick doors. Most knobs can work with a range of door thicknesses.

Material

Like door handles, interior door knobs come in a variety of materials. Door knobs comprise a knob and a backplate, also called a rosette, which may be constructed of the same or different materials. Modern door knobs most commonly feature metal, though glass and ceramic options are also available.

Cut class and crystal door knobs provide unique decorative accents to entryways. These knobs were popular in the mid-19th to early 20th century, and many available today have a similar antique look. Faceted, octagonal, diamond, fluted, and bubbled are among various designs that can add a charming old-world aesthetic to your space.

Ceramic door knobs are often painted for decorative purposes. Most feature patterns and colors that add eye-catching visuals to doorways. Knobs containing ceramic are most often made of porcelain, which is denser and more durable than other types of ceramic.

Most door knobs with metal exteriors are made of brass, with more high-end options featuring chrome or stainless steel. Metal knobs are the most durable options and can vary in aesthetic from modern to vintage. The internal parts of high-quality door knobs consist of steel, which can withstand heavy use, treated with a nickel plating to resist corrosion.

Style

The variety of door knobs available are intended to accentuate different home decor styles. Door knobs featuring clean lines and sleek finishes work well with minimalist and modern decor. These knobs can also work well for industrial-style homes, whereas metal knobs with an aged or distressed look complement vintage industrial decor.

Antique-looking metal accents and finishes can also pair well with rustic, farmhouse, and traditional decor. Historical homes and traditional interiors with Victorian-era decor can benefit from glass door knobs for a period aesthetic. For interiors such as bohemian, transitional, and eclectic, glass or colored knobs can add brightness and originality to the home.

Door knobs come in numerous colors and finishes to suit these different decor styles. Metal finishes include brass, pewter, chrome, black, bronze, copper, and polished nickel. Glass door knobs feature clear or colored designs, while ceramic options tend to feature one or more colors.

Installation 

Installing a door knob is an easy DIY project that can usually be completed with a Phillips-head screwdriver. Most knobs include detailed installation instructions to walk users through the process. Only some door knobs come with the required hardware, so check product details to determine whether or not these parts are included.

Since they don’t have latch assemblies that hold the door to the door frame, dummy door knobs are naturally the easiest to install. Passageway and privacy door knobs are a little more complicated but are still very manageable, even for those who lack DIY experience.

Our Top Picks

The recommendations below are among the best door knobs available in their respective categories. These models feature durable all-metal construction and simple installation, with many offered in an array of finishes and colors.

Best Overall

The Best Door Knobs Options: Probrico Interior Privacy Handles Door Lockset 6 Pack
Photo: amazon.com

This handsome set of privacy door knobs has a satin nickel finish and streamlined look with a simple rounded knob that complements various interior designs. A thumb-turn switch allows locking for doors in bathrooms, bedrooms, and other rooms requiring a privacy lock. A hole on the opposite side allows the lock to be opened with a universal pin key, preventing lockouts.

The knobs feature all-metal construction with brass cylinders in the locking mechanism, ensuring they’ll endure many turns. These knobs fit door thicknesses between 1⅜ inches and 1¾ inches. The backplates are 2½ inches in diameter and fit standard 2⅛-inch cross bore holes. This neutral yet sleek six-piece set is an excellent option for upgrading bathroom and bedroom door knobs.

Pros

  • Comes with a lock
  • Fits several decor styles
  • Designed to prevent lockouts

Cons

  • Will not fit on doors much thicker or thinner than the standard size

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Door Knobs Options: Knobonly 6 Pack Keyless Door Knob Set
Photo: amazon.com

Those looking to affordably replace the knobs throughout a home can make it happen with this set of passage door knobs from Knobonly. This set is also available in 1, 2, 5, 10, or 15 packs. The door knobs feature a flattened ball-shape and attractive nickel finish with decorative trim around the rosette plate and knob, making them a lovely addition to many door designs.

Brass and nickel-plated construction mean these knobs can last for a long time. Their lockless design makes them suitable for closets, hallways, and other rooms that don’t require privacy locks. These knobs also are reversible, allowing them to fit both left- and right-handed doors. An adjustable backset that ranges from 2 3/8 inches to 2 3/4 inches enables them to fit 1 ⅜-inch and 1 ¾-inch door thicknesses. The rosette fits a standard 2 1/8-inch hole.

Pros

  • Durable stainless steel construction
  • Fits both left- and right-handed doors
  • Affordable for when buying in bulk

Cons

  • Can feel flimsy when not screwed in tightly

Best Glass

The Best Door Knobs Options: KNOBWELL Providence Octagon Glass Door Knob Set
Photo: amazon.com

With beautiful glass knobs and a bronze finish, this three-pack adds a vintage look and period elegance to traditional decor. The diamond design in the glass is accentuated by a Victorian-style rosette with a rubbed oil bronze finish. These knobs are double-sided and compatible with both left- and right-handed doors. Like standard door knobs, this set fits 1⅜-inch to 1¾-inch door widths. The rosette is 2½ inches wide, suitable for doors with standard 2⅛-inch cross bore holes.

These attractive glass knobs are also available in dummy and privacy versions. The model can be purchased individually or in packs of 2, 3, 5, 6, and 10. These passage knobs do not contain locks, making them great for closets or hallway doors.

Pros

  • Stylish and eye-catching design
  • Double-sided for both sides of the door
  • Made from robust materials

Cons

  • Pricey

Best Traditional

The Best Door Knobs Options: Copper Creek CK2020SS Colonial Knob, Satin Stainless
Photo: amazon.com

The beveled edge around the knob’s rosette, coupled with a polished nickel finish, will suit a range of decor styles—from rustic to farmhouse to traditional. This knob comes in several finishes, including satin stainless, brass, black, antique nickel, and bronze, with options to suit a variety of tastes.

Steel internal components and nickel-plated bolts add exceptional durability. Its 2½-inch rosette plate is compatible with 2⅛-inch holes. It will fit standard door widths of 1⅜ inches to 1¾ inches. This colonial-style knob is available in passage, privacy, and dummy interior versions.

Pros

  • Suits a range of decor styles
  • Several finishes to choose from
  • Made to last

Cons

  • No lock option

Best Vintage

The Best Door Knobs Options: Schlage Brookshire Collection Georgian Passage Knob
Photo: amazon.com

This door knob suggests the Georgian era with a stylized rosette that features curving scrolls, decorative roses, and an aged bronze look. With its vintage look, this knob is a great option for restoring the period look of older homes or adding vintage flair to contemporary interiors.

With its lockless design, this passage knob is suited for interior closet and hallway doors. It’s also available in matte black and satin nickel. The large 2¾-inch rosette will fit door holes larger than the standard 2⅛ inches. This knob fits backset depths ranging from 2⅜ inches to 2¾ inches and door thicknesses of 1⅜ inches to 1¾ inches.

Pros

  • More ornate (and timeless) scrolling design
  • Feels and looks like quality
  • Multiple finishes available

Cons

  • Single-sided only
  • Pricey

Best Rustic

The Best Door Knobs Options: Amazon Basics Bedroom/Bathroom Door Knob with Lock
Photo: amazon.com

With its oil-rubbed bronze finish, this door knob from Amazon Basics is suitable for the popular rustic and farmhouse looks. A thumb lock adds privacy, while a brass body with steel construction ensures this door knob will hold up to the high traffic that bathrooms and bedrooms doors face.

This knob also comes in other finishes, including polished brass, satin nickel, matte black, and antique brass, to suit a range of style preferences. At 2.7 inches in diameter, this knob’s rosette is large enough to fit standard 2⅛-inch door holes and larger. For homes going for a uniform look to interior doors, this knob is also available as a passage model.

Pros

  • Stands up to high traffic
  • Popular farmhouse style
  • Matching lockless options available

Cons

  • Key can feel flimsy to unlock

Our Verdict

If looking to replace several door handles in the home while maintaining a uniform look, the Probrico Interior Privacy Handles are one of the best choices thanks to their versatile design. For a more unique statement, consider investing in the clear glass KNOBWELL Glass Door Knobs.

How We Chose the Best Door Knobs

This group of door knob recommendations aims to cover the range of styles and features that most shoppers are looking for—from the classic, no-frills style used to swap out in a rental property to more thought-provoking statement pieces for adding individual flair. We focused on products that are easy to install and made from materials that stand up to heavy use (they are door handles, after all!).

We are also aware of the varying requirements that a door handle is expected to fulfill for a given area: Some doors need to be locked, while others just need to be pulled open and pushed closed. Therefore, our favorite products span this range to provide a suitable option for each required use. Most of our recommended products are also available in privacy, dummy, and passage configurations, too.

FAQs 

If you still have questions about the door knob style to install in your home or want to know more about door knob durability, read on for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Q: What is the most popular color for door knobs?

Although color preferences vary, brushed nickel (also known as satin nickel) is the most popular finish for door knobs.

Q: Should all my door knobs match?

While all the hardware in a home does not need to match, matching all of the interior door knobs will help achieve a cohesive look. On the other hand, if the home features a style such as bohemian or eclectic, mismatched door knobs could accentuate the decor.

Q: Do knobs get broken often?

Door knobs can last a surprisingly long time when made from quality components. As with many mechanical items in the home, door knobs that feature locking mechanisms tend to wear out more quickly. Passage knobs, which have fewer moving parts, or dummy knobs, which have no internal moving parts, will last longer by comparison.

Q: Is there any maintenance needed for door knobs?

Wipe down a door knob with a mild soap and water solution or metal polish to prevent corrosion. For privacy knobs, spray lubricant such as WD-40 into the hole to lubricate the knob’s internal parts.

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Tony Carrick is a freelance writer specializing in home improvement, landscaping, and design. A recipient of a degree in journalism and a Master of Arts in English, he spent ten years writing for a variety of local newspapers and business publications before becoming an English teacher. Mr. Carrick now works as a freelance writer from his home in North Carolina. When he isn’t furiously typing away on his laptop or working on his latest home improvement project, he enjoys spending time with his family and cycling through the beautiful North Carolina countryside.