The Complete No-Nonsense Guide to Choosing Kitchen Knobs vs Pulls

Upgrading your kitchen cabinet hardware can make a dramatic impact on the look and feel of your space. But should you go with knobs or pulls? There are pros and cons to both options.

We’ll compare the two styles, outline the benefits and downsides, and provide tips to select the best hardware for your kitchen.

Knobs Overview

Kitchen cabinet knobs are round or square handles designed to be grasped by several fingers. They typically protrude a few inches from the cabinet door or drawer.

Types of Kitchen Cabinet Knobs

There are two main types of cabinet knobs:

  • Hollow knobs: Lighter weight and easier to install but less durable
  • Solid knobs: Heavier and more expensive but have a superior quality feel

Benefits of Choosing Knobs

Some benefits of using knobs include:

  • Classic, timeless look especially for traditional kitchens
  • Come in endless styles to suit any taste
  • Less expensive than pulls
  • Easy to clean around

Drawbacks of Knobs

Some downsides to consider about knobs:

  • Not as ergonomic – require grasping to open cabinets
  • Multiple knobs can look busy on some cabinet styles
  • Less grip and control than pulls

Pulls Overview

Kitchen cabinet pulls provide room to place your whole hand for easy opening. They offer a solid gripping surface.

kitchen knobs vs pulls

Types of Cabinet Pulls

Popular options for cabinet pulls include:

  • Finger pulls: J-shaped handle mounted horizontally
  • Cup pulls: Upside down cup-shaped grip
  • Bar pulls: Narrow horizontal rail style
  • Bail pulls: Hinged handles that fold flush

Benefits of Choosing Pulls

Benefits of using pulls include:

  • Sleek modern look, especially on minimalist cabinets
  • Ergonomic – easy to grasp and open
  • Allow access for those with strength or dexterity issues
  • Create a unified, seamless aesthetic

Drawbacks of Pulls

Some potential cons of pulls:

  • Generally more expensive than knobs
  • Only one or two pull styles to choose from
  • Can leave marks or scratches on cabinet fronts
  • Might snag clothing or jewelry

Making the Decision: Knobs vs Pulls

Choosing between cabinet knobs and pulls ultimately comes down to personal preference. But here are some key factors to help guide your decision:

Style and Design

The overall aesthetic you want will impact your hardware choice. For modern kitchens, pulls often work best. Traditional styles tend to look better with knobs. Mixing knobs and pulls is also an option for those seeking an eclectic, mismatched look.

Ease of Use

Since pulls allow you to use your whole hand, they tend to be more ergonomic and senior/disabled friendly. But some prefer the classic pinching motion for knobs.

Durability and Maintenance

Both knobs and pulls come in a variety of durable materials like brass, stainless steel, nickel and more. Pulls can be slightly easier to clean as they have less corners and crevices.

Installation Process

While knobs and pulls can generally be installed with basic tools, pulls require more careful measurement and alignment. Consider hiring a handyman if you’re uncomfortable doing it yourself.

Budget and Pricing

Knobs range from $2 – $10 per knob while pulls run $10 – $100+ apiece depending on materials. Going for a mid-priced option allows quality hardware on a reasonable budget.

Additional Selection Criteria

Finish and Color Options

Available in a spectrum of metal finishes like brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze, as well as painted colors to coordinate with your cabinets.

Ordering the Right Quantities

Measure your cabinets to determine how many knobs/pulls you need. Having some extra on hand is helpful for future repairs or additions.

Coordinating Other Hardware

For a cohesive look, choose knobs/pulls that match or complement handles on drawers, appliances etc.

Extra Features

Consider soft-close mechanisms to prevent slamming. Child safety locks are also an option.

Key Takeaways

No single style is inherently better – knobs and pulls both have pros and cons. Consider your kitchen’s overall aesthetic, functionality needs and budget to make the best choice.

Review Decision Factors

Assess your priorities in terms of design, ease of use for your household, installation complexity, durability and pricing to determine the best fit.

When thoughtfully selected, new knobs or pulls can elevate your whole kitchen. Have fun with the process and choose hardware that makes you smile each time you see it!

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