Kitchen cabinet knobs vs pulls [2023]

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Kitchen hardware is generally termed ‘kitchen jewelry’ because it enhances the appearance of a kitchen. You can transform this area into the most welcoming corner of your home by creating minimal changes. So, what to go for kitchen cabinet knobs vs pulls?

kitchen cabinet knobs vs pulls option

We will help you to decide the better choice between knobs and pullsThe key points to consider when deciding between knobs and pulls for your kitchen cabinets:

  • Cost: A basic knob can cost anywhere from $2 to $10, while a pull can cost $5 to $15 or more, depending on the material and finish.
  • Functionality: Pulls are generally easier to use and more convenient for opening larger drawers and cabinets.
  • Style: Knobs tend to be more traditional, while pulls are more modern.
  • Finish: Both knobs and pulls are available in various finishes. Choose a finish that complements the other hardware and appliances in your kitchen.
  • Number needed: You will need one knob or pull for each cabinet door and drawer. Keep this in mind when budgeting for your hardware, as the cost can add up quickly.

Knobs and pulls both have their own benefits and drawbacks. Knobs are generally less expensive, while pulls are easier to use and more modern.

Types of Cabinet Hardware

Cabinet hardware is anything from cabinet pulls to knobs on cabinet doors. It may occur to you as the only two options. However, there’s a lot of versatility when you focus on details.

There’s no need to stick to all knobs or all pulls. Rather than creating harmonization with one hardware, you can mix knobs and pulls to add value to the kitchen.

Recommended Usage: Where to use knobs and where to use pulls

Location in Kitchen Recommended: Knobs Recommended: Pulls
Upper Cabinets ✓ (Easier to reach, less strain on wrist)
Lower Cabinets ✓ (Easier to pull open, better leverage)
Drawers ✓ (Easier to pull, supports weight)
Pantry Doors ✓ (Easier to open with a twist)
Lazy Susan ✓ (Requires less force, easier to use)
Trash Pull-outs ✓ (Easier to pull, supports weight)
Pots and Pans Drawers ✓ (Easier to pull, supports weight)
Spice Racks ✓ (Simple twist to open)

What Is a Pull?

Pulls are large pieces of hardware typically mounted at two ends. They are much wider than knobs, having room inside them to wrap the whole hand around for operation.

Cabinet Knobs vs. Pulls

Whether your kitchen cabinet hardware is a knob or a pull, it’s meant to open or close any kitchen cabinet or drawer easily. In addition, it helps protect cabinet fronts from receiving grease from your hands.

kitchen cabinet knobs vs pulls easily

People still argue about which is more functional to install on cabinet doors and drawers. Following the trend, pulls are often found on base cabinets, pull-outs, and drawers. In comparison, upper cabinets have knobs at their corners.

Cabinet knobs tend to be smaller, round, cheaper, and open by using one or two fingers with a thumb. In contrast, the pulls need you to have two screw holes for mounting and draw them with three to four fingers for operation.

How to Select Cabinet Knobs and Pulls

There are several factors to consider when deciding between a knob and a pull. Their placement, material, design, and finish have a sheer role.

kitchen cabinet knobs vs pulls design

Though many of us love traditional and antique hardware, they may have sharp edges making your fingers suffer during day-to-day operations.

Regarding the right hardware, I’ve summarized everything below.

What Size Should My Knobs and Pulls Be?

The general rule says that a pull’s length should be one-third of the drawer or cabinet width. However, cabinets and drawers are of variable dimensions, and so is the hardware. Therefore, the measurements may slightly vary from the given chart.

Knob vs. Pull Costs

Usually, knobs are slightly cheaper because of their less intricate design. However, larger pulls offer more design options in terms of square and curved contours.

  • The average price range for ordinary round or square shape knobs is $6 to $10.
  • Similarly, simple designs can be available at a cost between $7 to $12.

You can even get drawer pulls and knobs at the minimum price of $2. In contrast, tailor-made hardware may cost you up to $20.

All rates are exclusive of installation costs. You may save the labor cost, up to $35 to $70 per hour, by installing the knobs or pulls yourself.

Should I Get Pulls?

All information I share is based on the trends generally followed by the public. Therefore, getting pulls or not has nothing to do with it.

You need to consider your house design, kitchen interior, and what you feel is your preference and most comfortable to use.

Advantages of Cabinet Hardware Pulls

Cabinet pulls are the most sought-after among all types of cabinet hardware. And there are solid reasons for them being coveted by homeowners.

  • Whether you want to give a luxury, sleek, or modern touch, no other cabinet hardware can beat the novelty of a “pull” on kitchen cabinets.
  • It allows you to grab it from the center, facilitating weight distribution.
  • Since base cabinets and pull-outs contain pots, pans, and other heavy items, you can easily open and close them.
  • For people with immobility issues, these are more accessible and convenient when installed on lower cabinets.

Figure Out if You Want Square or Curved

Fine lines, ridges, curved lines, and rounded edges all play a role in selecting the hardware type. Therefore, look for these detailed elements in your kitchen before finding the right hardware.

kitchen cabinet knobs vs pulls coveted

A square shape pull will be ideal if you have shaker style or flat panel cabinets. To be precise, bar pulls appear more aesthetic on modern cabinetry.

However, if you have raised panels or pillow-top doors, you will be doting over knobs and pulls with soft edges and contours because they can create a perfect illusion of space.

Choose a Finish for Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Cabinet hardware is tiny metal pieces, though they can create the visual impact you are dreaming of. That’s why choosing a finish that matches or goes well with different faucet styles is of crucial importance.

Having a chrome faucet limits your choices to clear glass, dark bronze, gloss black, and white finishes. But in the case of brushed nickel, you get the privilege of pairing it up with several finishes, including oil-rubbed bronze, matte black, satin brass, aluminum, antique pewter, and rust.

Should I Use Knobs or Pulls on Kitchen Cabinet Doors?

The rule of thumb says to use knobs on the doors and pulls on the drawers. But before you go further in your planning, I have some key elements to help you decide.

Choosing the type of kitchen hardware is entirely personal, whether you’re looking for vintage-style kitchen cabinets or want to set up a more contemporary look.

In traditional-style kitchens, people used to install knobs on drawers and cabinets. Whereas today, pulls tend to present a contemporary appeal.

Moreover, your cabinetry style determines which type of hardware will be more suitable. You can pick a shape, design, and finish that complements your taste.

What Finishes Can I Choose From?

The variety of finishes for cabinet hardware is endless. Despite having so many options, you can’t choose one just because you are inspired to have it for its smooth texture and appeal.

It would help if you looked at various factors in detail before making a decision.

The popular finishes of today are matte black and dark bronze for contemporary kitchens. Sleek bar pulls on a drawer or a cabinet door in dark tones add meaning to your space.

Can I Mix and Match Knobs and Pulls?

There’s nothing wrong if you like mixing knobs with pulls on kitchen cabinets. In fact, you’ll often find a combination of the two in a modern house.

kitchen cabinet knobs vs pulls modern

It’s because some homeowners prefer functionality over aesthetics. At the same time, some have both curvatures and lines in their kitchen cabinetry, which leads them to opt for both types.

Can I Use Just Knobs or Just Pulls?

My mother is obsessed with a homogeneous look. Therefore, we’ve only installed pulls on the cabinet doors and the drawer fronts.

But you can go for whatever you think would be best. You only need to know whether a particular hardware will be able to pull off your cabinetry or not.

Think About the Comfort

Ultimately, your final decision will be highly influenced by the comfort level you have using any hardware. You will grab and pull it more than a hundred times daily; therefore, it must not feel sharp or penetrating.


Both cabinet pulls and drawer knobs have different pros and cons, making them unique. Furthermore, the variety of designs lets you play around with your kitchen cabinet hardware to make a statement, so you are free to prioritize whether aesthetics or functionality is best when choosing one.

Ariel Path

With over three decades of experience in food manufacturing and kitchen design, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. My expertise spans across various aspects of the culinary world, from kitchen appliances to cooking techniques, food selection, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. My ultimate goal is to educate and inspire you in creating your dream kitchen, where functionality meets aesthetics. As a trusted source, I strive to provide valuable insights and guidance to make your kitchen remodel an enjoyable and successful experience. Together, let's transform your space into a culinary haven that reflects your unique style and meets your specific needs. See more details here.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Avatar photo
    Jennifer White

    I have found that kitchen cabinet knobs are easier for me to grip and use due to my hand mobility issues. Knobs are smaller and require less force to open and close cabinets and drawers, while pulls may be more difficult to grip and use. In my experience, knobs are more comfortable and convenient for me to use. It’s important to consider the functionality and ease of use of cabinet hardware when deciding between knobs and pulls. Knobs may be a better choice for those who need a more user-friendly option.

    1. cropped ariel path
      Ariel Path

      Thank you for sharing your experience with kitchen cabinet knobs versus pulls! It’s great to hear that you have found knobs to be more user-friendly. Another lesser known fact is that the placement and size of cabinet hardware can have a significant impact on the overall look and function of the cabinets. The average size of cabinet hardware is 1.5 inches for pulls and 1 inch for knobs. Thanks for your comment!

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