How Long Is A Typical Door Handle?

Shopping for a door handle at the hardware store is more complicated than you might think. For starters, what size of door handle should you buy? Is there a standard size at all? We consulted the door experts, and here's what they say.

Door handles often have a diameter of either 2 3/8" or 2 3/4" which will fit doors that usually have a thickness of 1 3/8" for interior and 1 3/4" for exterior doors. But older doors are thinner while newer doors are thicker, so you still have to get the exact measurements for your door to be sure that you get the right fit.

If you still have some questions about door handle size, don't worry. In this post, we'll tell you more about why door handles don't come in a standard size. We'll also discuss how to determine the correct measurements when buying handles for your own doors so that they will fit your door perfectly.

shiny chrome plated handles on light brown doors. How Long Is A Typical Door Handle

What Is The Standard Size Of A Door Handle?

When it comes to door handles, you can't just buy whatever you see on the market. They come in different sizes, and you have to make sure that they will fit your door. The design or finish of the door handle won't matter at all if it won't fit, right?

The thing is, door handles do not come in a standard size although they typically come in either 2 3/8" or 2 3/4" in diameter. These door knobs or handles will fit doors with a thickness of around 1 3/8" to 1 3/4".

While 1 3/4" is the usual thickness for exterior doors, it is 1 3/8" for interior doors. So, it is important to know if the particular door handle that you're buying is for your front door or for other doors inside the house.

Aside from this information, you also have to take note that older houses may have doors that are thinner than the typical thickness that we're now used to. On the other hand, modern homes may use doors that are thicker than the standard size.

When it comes down to it, door handles are not a one size fits all hardware which is why you have to know the exact measurements of the door where you're supposed to have them installed before buying. This will ensure that you get that perfect fit.

Two forged metal door handles

Are Front Door Handles Standard Size?

As mentioned above, front doors often come with a thickness of 1 3/4". Most door hardware manufacturers make door handles that fit this standard size.

However, you can contact your local hardware store should you need a different size since some doors have a different thickness. Older doors are usually thinner while modern doors are thicker.

How Do You Measure A Front Door Handle?

When buying a new door handle, you need to know the right size of the handle that you need to buy. Otherwise, it won't fit in your door, and what good would that be?

That's why it is important to know how to get the right measurements that will help you get the perfect fit for your door. You cannot just assume that door handles come in a standard size or universal fit since some doors have different thicknesses, bore holes, and backsets.

You need to be familiar with these terms and how to take the required measurements. Have your measuring tape on hand.

Thickness Of The Door

You need to know how thick the door is. Residential doors usually have a thickness of 1 3/8" to 1 3/4". However, it would also depend on how old the door is. New doors are thicker while the older ones are thinner.

Bore Holes

There are different measurements that you need to get here. First is the bore hole. This is the big hole where the handle is installed. The standard size is 2 1/8".

Next is the cross bore. This is the smaller hole at the edge of your door. This is where the latch is first inserted. The standard size for the cross bore is 1".

But again, you have to double-check if yours are the same. If not, you can ask your local hardware store.


This refers to the distance from the door's edge to the bore hole's center or the large hole intended for your door handle.

Open the door to be able to take the measurements properly. Backsets usually have a length of 2 3/8" or 2 3/4". Many door handles have adjustable backsets but some aren't flexible so you have to be aware of this as well.

You need to be armed with the precise measurements of your door's thickness, backset, and bore holes when shopping for a door handle to be able to get the right one for your front door.

What Is The Correct Height For A Door Handle?

To facilitate ease of opening and closing the door, the door handle should be installed at a proper height. If your door doesn't come with a pre-drilled hole, you need to know where you should install your new door handle.

Experts say that door handles should have a height of at least 34" from the finished floor. Take note that the measurement is always done from the floor up. The operative word here also is finished floor, meaning you've accounted for the measurement of your flooring as well.

This is in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirement for the height of door handles to be anywhere between 34" and 48". Door handles cannot be installed below 34" and above 48" because they would be too inconvenient to use at that height level.

However, there are exceptions to this height requirement. Doors or gates that are located near the swimming pool, hot tubs, spas, and those that have access to water features are allowed to install their door handles higher.

The recommended height for them is from 48" to 54". At this level, it is difficult for children to reach the handles. This will prevent them from getting inside these premises without supervision and minimize the risk of accidents.

Where Should Closet Door Handles Be Placed?

When installing knobs or pulls on your closet doors, it is still important to know their proper placement to optimize their functionality.

For taller cabinets, experts recommend that you place the door handles at the opposite side of the door hinges right at the vertical center of the door panel. If your closet has smaller cabinets, the knobs could be located 1" to 4" from the bottom or top of the door.

So for some closet doors with a height of 80", the door handle could be 40" from your flooring. This means that the door handle is conveniently within your reach. This also gives the impression that the closet door has no top or bottom.   

In reality, everything is really a matter of personal preference—where you want to place the handles and depending on your reach so that they're easier to grab as you're opening or closing the door. Just remember that they should always be functional for you no matter where you place them.


Final Thoughts

A typical door handle should be as long as 2 3/8" or 2 3/4". The bottom line is that it is important to get the precise measurement based on the specific door where you will be using the particular door handle. This is the key to ensuring that you get the perfect fit for your door.

For some related reading regarding door handles, you can visit the following posts:

Do Door Handles Come With Latches?

Do Doors Come With Holes For Handles?

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