Which is better – door knobs or levers?


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Which is better – door knobs or levers?

By emily.bailey

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Door knobs or levers? | Schlage

Should you choose door knobs or levers? They’re such a small thing and yet they make such a big impact on your everyday life.



Should you choose door knobs or levers? They’re such a small thing and yet they make such a big impact on your everyday life. You need them to work right every time. And you need them to be a good fit for your home and lifestyle. So which is better – door knobs or levers? Well, that depends.
Photos of Schlage door knob and Schlage lever with title 'Which is better - door knobs or levers?

Find the right look

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to style. To each their own. It’s no different when you’re choosing door knobs and levers. That being said, the overall style of your home can sometimes tip the scales toward door knobs instead of levers, and vice versa.


Door knobs themselves have been around longer, so they tend to look more traditional. If you have a Colonial or Arts and Crafts-style home, a door knob might be the better choice. The Schlage Custom™ Alexandria glass knob, for example, was inspired by classic Victorian architecture. The Georgian door knob and Siena are also strong contenders for a traditional home.


At the same time, however, you can also find more contemporary door knobs. The Bowery and glass Schlage Custom™ Hobson knobs, for example, can feel very modern. Sometimes the finish you choose – think Matte Black – can put them even more in that category.


You can find traditional-style levers, such as the Birmingham or Schlage Custom™ Whitney lever. However, it is more common to see levers on homes with more contemporary and European architecture. Levers with streamlined designs and straighter edges lend themselves to minimalist décor and styles like Scandinese. The Latitude and Manhattan levers might be just the modern touch you’re looking for.


As you can see, there are door knobs and door levers for every style and taste. If you aren’t sure which is right for you, try the Schlage Style Selector.

Schlage Bowery door knob in polished nickel finish

Get a grip

It’s not just about looking good, though. You need to be able to trust that your door hardware, regardless of whether it’s a knob or a lever, will work perfectly for you and your family. Ask yourself who will be using the knob or lever most often. This will sometimes reveal the best choice.

  • Kids

Parents of inquisitive young children often prefer door knobs because they’re harder for tiny hands to turn. If your kiddos are constantly getting into places they shouldn’t, a door knob might be your winner. However, if you can trust your little angel and need them to be able to open the door easily, you might opt for a lever.

  • Elderly

Levers are popular for those who plan to age in place or who are prone to arthritis and other grip problems. If you or someone you love has trouble with grip strength or fine motor skills, choosing a lever can reduce a lot of frustration and make them feel more at home.

  • People with disabilities

For many of the same reasons people prefer levers for arthritic hands, people with disabilities often opt for levers. Consider levers if you have a concern about motor skills, perhaps a hand or arm lost to amputation, or ease of operating the door when using crutches, walkers or other mobility assistance. Some municipalities even mandate the use of levers over knobs for accessibility compliance.

  • Mischievous pets

    They don’t have thumbs, so how much trouble can they get into? Turns out, plenty. Some pet owners are dismayed when their cat or dog figures out how to work a lever. If you don’t want your furry friend letting themselves into forbidden rooms, opt for a door knob.

  • Service animals

    While you don’t want mischievous pets using a lever, that might be exactly what your service animal needs. Levers can make it easier for service dogs to complete regular tasks or go for help when needed.

A lever might also be your solution when you frequently have dry hands – if you have extreme winters, you know what we mean – or wet hands like when washing up or coming in from the pool. Those conditions can make turning door knobs tricky.
Farmhouse kitchen with Schlage Custom Whitney lever in Aged Bronze finish.

Lever myths

As you do your research, you’ll probably see a common complaint that levers require more maintenance than door knobs because of the internal spring mechanisms. That’s not necessarily the case, especially if you choose quality door hardware. Schlage levers are tested to the highest industry standards and our Best rating from the BHMA includes top marks in durability. With Schlage Custom™ levers, there’s no drooping or sagging with time. Because of the construction of the innovative chassis in Schlage Custom Door Hardware, you know the lever will stay beautiful and continue working properly.


As for other maintenance, you won’t see much difference regardless of whether you choose a Schlage door knob or lever. Regular cleaning with a mild soap and water will help to keep the finish looking sharp and your family healthy. There are some special considerations based on the type of finish, though, so be sure to check out our full guide for how to clean electronic locks and door hardware.

The help doesn’t end here. Try our interactive Product Selector tool or see our full list of door knob and lever styles at Schlage.com.