Cabinet Handle Sizes and Guidelines (with Drawings)

Cabinet handle sizes

If you’re looking at investing in new cabinet handles, then the size of them is going to be one of the factors you need to consider. The size is going to affect the overall look of the cabinets, and it can also affect functionality.

Unfortunately, there is no standard size of cabinet handle, which can make choosing a handle feel like a tricky task due to the sheer volume of different sizes available.

There are common size choices for cabinet handles, including: 

  • 3 to 4 inches overall length
  • 6 to 9 inches overall length
  • 16 to 18 inches overall length
  • 24 to 30 inches overall length

Here we look at the common sizes available and explain handle terminology.

Understanding Handle Terminology

When you set out on your hunt for the perfect cabinet handles for your kitchen cabinets, then you are going to find a lot of terminology that you may not be familiar with. In order to understand exactly what the sizing of the handle is, then you’re going to need to get to grips with what certain terms in the cabinetry and kitchen industry mean.

Here we look at some words that are widely used to describe the size of handles.

Center-to-center

This measurement tells you how far apart the screws are that will be used to fix the handle to the cabinet door or drawer. The term comes from the fact that the measurement will be taken from the center of one screw to the center of the other screw, hence ‘center-to-center.’

This is not the total length of the handle because the handle will always extend further than the screws, even if it is only by a very marginal amount. The center-to-center measurement is important because it lets you know exactly where the pilot holes will need to be drilled into your cabinetry.

If you are replacing handles on your existing cabinets, then you might want to make your job easier by finding handles that have the same center-to-center measurement. This will mean you can screw the new handles right into the holes left by the old handles for a flawless look.

The alternative would be to fill the old holes with wood filler and re-paint your cabinet doors; then, you could choose new handles with any center-to-center measurements and create new holes for the screws to fix into.

Projection

The projection of a handle is used to explain how much a handle is going to protrude out from the cabinet when it is fixed in place. The measurement will be taken from the surface of the cabinet door to the furthest point of the handle that sticks out. This is an important measurement to consider so that your handles don’t stick out too far into your kitchen.

Generally speaking, the kitchen will look best when the cabinet handles do not project any further into the kitchen than the overhang of the countertop.

If your handles do stick out further than your countertop overhang, then it can create a clumsy look that seems proportionally incorrect.

Overall Length

The overall length measurement of a handle is self-explanatory. It is the total distance from the end of a handle to the opposite end. This is the measurement that most people are interested in when shopping for handles because it is the measurement that is going to make the most aesthetic impact on the kitchen as a whole.

The look you are going for is going to affect the size of handle you choose. For example, traditional handles tend to be more modest in overall length, whereas more modern or industrial style handles can extend to almost the full length of the cabinet itself.

When deciding on the overall length of a handle, you should consider both the aesthetic and functional suitability of it. Smaller handles can be harder to grip, especially if there are people in your household with large hands.

The size of your cabinets will also be a factor in deciding that is the best overall length of the handles for your kitchens. Small cabinets may look overwhelmed by oversized handles, while petite handles will get lost on a large cabinet door.

Most people have a range of cabinet sizes in their kitchen, so it’s a good idea to choose a size that is going to work for all of the cabinets to create a sense of continuity.

Diameter

The diameter of a handle is a measurement that is given when the handle takes the shape of a knob. Cabinet knobs typically offer a more traditional look than handles, but it is down to a matter of preference. Some people will opt for handles on their cabinet doors and knobs on their cabinet drawers.

The diameter measurement of a cabinet knob is taken across the widest point of the knob, which is usually the face of it. The measurement will go from one front edge of the knob to the opposite front edge, cutting directly across the center point of the knobs face.

Common Cabinet Handle Sizes

Common cabinet handle sizes

3 to 4 inches overall length

This is a small size of handle, with 3 inches in length being the shortest handle you are likely to find. Handles any smaller than this would be difficult for adult hands to get a good grip of to open the cabinets.

Handles of this size are popular due to the fact that they are usually the cheapest available since they use less material. They can look good if you are going for a minimalist look or you want an unassuming style that doesn’t attract attention. This size of handle also works well for traditional-style kitchens.

6 to 9 inches overall length

These are medium-sized cabinet handles that offer a good compromise between a more prominent stylish look and an affordable price.

16 to 18 inches overall length

These handles are getting to the larger end of the bracket and are popular in industrial-style settings since they tend to have a very contemporary look.

24 to 30 inches overall length

These are the largest handles that you are likely to find for kitchen cabinets. They make a bold visual impact but tend to be expensive.