Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide

Whether you have new cabinetry or you’re updating an old look, there are many cabinet hardware options to choose from. Hinges, knobs and pulls are available for every budget, so our buying guide serves as a starting point for finding the cabinet hardware that’s a great fit for your home.

Table of Contents

Before You Begin

Changing your cabinet’s knobs and pulls is a fast and inexpensive way to give your kitchen a new look. Before you begin shopping for new cabinetry hardware, be aware of your project timeline. Some Special Order pieces require several days for delivery.

If you’re choosing new cabinetry, take a sample of your finish directly to the hardware department, and select new knobs or pulls on the same day. This allows plenty of time in your schedule to get the hardware you really want.

Choosing the Right Cabinet Hardware

Silver pulls on white shaker kitchen cabinets.

Replacing your cabinet hardware is an affordable way to upgrade your kitchen, bathroom or living space. With numerous shapes, styles and finishes, you can customize your look on a budget and in a short amount of time.

Knobs are handles mounted to the exterior of doors and drawers with a single screw or bolt. Some knobs have screws built in and are easier to install than ones with separate screws. Knobs look great when used with a back plate or alone. You can find knobs in many different shapes:

  • Round, globe or oval
  • Mushroom
  • Square or rectangular
  • Octangular
  • Novelty

Pulls serve the same function as knobs but occupy more space, which means more impact on the appearance of the cabinet. Pulls are available:

  • Arched
  • Ring
  • Bar
  • Cup (with a recess to place your fingers)
  • Bail (hinged on the sides)
  • Rectangular, square or other shapes
  • Novelty

Screw length could vary upon installation due to the width of a cabinet drawer box and drawer front. Be sure to account for this, and measure properly so you get the correct fit.

Style and Finish

Polished nickel cabinet pulls on kitchen cabinets.

Style is the most common characteristic to consider when shopping for hardware. You’ll want to pick a style you like that works with the rest of your décor. Here are the most common types:

  • Traditional: Traditional hardware has a more ornate and classic look. Ranging anywhere from farmhouse to antique to rustic cabinet hardware, this style is more detailed and has more embellishments.
  • Contemporary: With clean lines and a sharp, minimalistic look, contemporary (or modern) cabinet hardware is simple and understated. When using a contemporary look, stainless steel is the most common finish.
  • Transitional: Combining traditional and modern cabinet hardware, transitional allows you to mix elements of both styles for a personalized look.
  • Eclectic: If you’re seeking a more informal and fun look, these unique cabinet knobs and hardware allow you the most personalization.

Once you’ve found your style and shape, you can choose a finish. When selecting a finish, consider that you’ll want them to be cohesive with rest of the area, so consider other appliances and pieces of furniture. The most common finishes are:

  • Gold, brass, copper, nickel or bronze
  • Stainless steel
  • Distressed
  • Chrome
  • Black
  • Brown, white, blue or other colors

When choosing the finish for your hardware, think about what style will look best in your home. If your style is traditional, brushed finishes, polished brass, nickel or pewter will complement your décor. If you have a more contemporary décor, choose finishes with an enameled or high-gloss-metal shine. For extra flair, you can also find select hardware made with acrylic, glass, ceramic, wood, etc.

Cabinet Back Plates

A back plate is a piece of finished metal that rests between the door and hardware. Back plates help protect the cabinet’s surface, cover existing holes in the cabinetry or enhance decorative hardware.

Cabinet Door Catches and Latches

Cabinet door catches are meant for doors without self-closing hinges to keep cabinet doors secure against the frame, usually with a magnet or roller. There are two types:

  • Magnetic catches are the most widely used catch and work with a metal plate mounted on the cabinet door that adheres to a magnet mounted on the frame.
  • Spring roller catches (pictured) traditionally have one or two rollers set close together on the cabinet frame and a catch mounted on the door, closing when the rollers hook on the strike plate.

Cabinet door latches hold a cabinet or door closed until the latch is released and are a great option for families with pets or children.


Person attaching a hinge to a cabinet.

Hinges attach the cabinet door to the frame. The number of hinges you need depends on the height and weight of the door.

  • Use two hinges for doors less than 40 inches high and less than 11 pounds.
  • Use three hinges for doors 40 to 60 inches high and 13 to 20 pounds.
  • Use four hinges for doors 60 to 80 inches high and 29 to 33 pounds.
  • Use five hinges for doors 80 to 85 inches high and 40 to 48 pounds.

Two types of hinge installations are available:

  • Concealed (Mortise) Hinges: Permanent installation hinges that are attached inside the cabinet door and frame, best used for inset doors.
  • Decorative (Nonmortise) Hinge: Don’t require placement into the cabinetry and simply fasten with screws.

There are a few other features to consider when selecting hinges.

  • Adjustable hinges allow for different overlay closure.
  • Self-closing hinges include a spring that pulls the door closed when the door is close to the cabinet, which ensures cabinet doors stay closed. 
  • Soft-close hinges are available on some concealed hinges where a built-in mechanism softly closes the cabinet door, making a kitchen quieter by preventing the slamming of cabinet doors.
  • Hinges are specified for use on left- or right-hand doors. Some are specified for use with framed or frameless cabinetry. If you’re not sure what you have, snap several pictures, or take a sample with you for shopping accuracy.

Hinge Construction

A hinge construction diagram.

Hinges are composed of four parts:

  • A frame wing attaches to the frame.
  • A door wing attaches to the door.
  • A knuckle connects the frame wing and door wing.
  • A pin holds the hinge together.

Types of Hinges

Bronze, brass and stainless steel hinges.

European or Frameless Hinges (pictured):

  • The most popular choice for full-overlay and inset doors, although they’re usable on face-frame cabinets as well.
  • Offer ease of installation and can easily support heavier doors.
  • Adjust to align and level cabinet doors.

Face Frame Hinges:

  • Variable overlay hinges work on doors that completely overlay the frame and don’t have a cutout on the back.
  • Partial wraparound hinges have a large surface area that improves stability on flush, inset or overlay doors.
  • 3/8-inch inset hinges work on doors that overlay the frame and have a cutout on the back edge.
  • H-style hinges look like the letter “H.” One side attaches to the frame, and the other attaches to the flush-mount door.

3/8-Inch Offset Hinges:

  • Provide support and smooth operation for offset doors.

Butterfly Hinges

  • For use on flush doors.
  • Each wing mounts to the outside surfaces of the cabinet door and frame.

T-Style Hinges:

  • Look like the letter “T” with the vertical piece attaching to the door frame and the horizontal piece attaching to the door.

Full-Inset Pin Hinges (Butt Hinges):

  • For doors completely flush with the face of the cabinet.
  • Mount recessed or work-surface-mounted on face frame cabinets.


Take a sample of your current knobs, pulls and hinges to the store when shopping for replacements. This will ensure you find the perfect fit.

Drawer Slides

Drawer slides are available in light, medium and heavy designations, depending on the weight of your drawer. Keep in mind that side-mount hardware is more durable than a monorail or center-bottom-mount slide. Bearings and rollers create a smoother motion, while full-extension slides are perfect for providing access to every inch of the drawer. Before shopping for drawer slides, you must know the slide length and drawer length needed.

Types of drawer slides include:

  • Mini-ball-bearing drawer slides, which may require a ¼-inch mortise in the drawer side for installation.
  • European-style, self-closing, side-mount drawer slides, which have a stop to prevent drawers from sliding out completely.
  • Full-extension, self-closing drawer slides, which use the maximum length of your drawer.
  • Basic side-mount drawer slides, which use surface installation on face frame cabinets.

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