Door Handle Compatibility: Will Any Handle Fit Any Door?

If you want to fit a new handle, you must ensure it is compatible with your door. Not all handles will fit all doors. 

The purpose of this article is to help you find the correct handle type for your existing door, with a minimum of additional boring or drilling. 

Basics of Door Handle Compatibility

Door handle compatibility indicates whether a specific door handle will fit a door and function well when installed. Consequently, choosing compatible products is essential. 

Various factors influence door compatibility, including door thickness, lock type and spindle size. Trying to fit incompatible locks may result in door failure or locking mechanisms that don’t work. 

It is essential to consider the backset of the lock – the distance from the edge of the door to the central latch hole. These come in various sizes, determining the lock types you can fit. 

You also want to take the cross bore into consideration. It is the diameter of the hole in the door the latch passes through. Manufacturers usually make this a specific size depending on the door’s material properties. 

Types of Door Handles and Their Specific Requirements

Various door handle types are available and have specific compatibility requirements. 

  1. Lever handles.

These operate by pushing down a lever. People use this handle type for its ergonomic benefits.

Door Handle Compatibility

Burlington Fitzrovia Bedroom Door Handle on Rose in Antique Brass

2.Door Knobs.


These work by turning a knob that links to a mechanism that retracts the latch from the door frame. These door handles can be more traditional than lever varieties and are prevalent in homes with classical décor and architecture. You also see more functional versions on business premises. 

Brass Door Knobs

Burlington Berkeley Mortice Door Knob in Antique Brass

3. Pull handles.

These operate by pulling on a bar or handle. People install them on sliding and interior doors, often for decoration. 

Brass Pulley Handles

Belgrave Brass Door Pull Handles

Each door handle type has specific compatibility requirements. For example, lever handles come in various backset sizes. This length must match the distance from the door’s edge to the latch hole’s centre.

In addition, the cross-bore should be the same size as the hole the latch mechanism passes through, usually 2⅛ inches, though this can vary. Finally, the edge distance from the edge of the door to the centre of the handle hole should be around 2⅜ inches for lever handles. 

Knob handles have similar requirements. The backset should match the distance between the centre of the latch hole and the edge of the door. The cross bore needs to be approximately 2⅛ inches, and the edge distance should be between 2 ⅜ and 2¾ inches, based on the product you want to install. 

Finally, pull handles have some special compatibility requirements. If the borehole size doesn’t match, you may need to drill a wider hole. (Check the door material first. Don’t drill into plastic). Pull handles have various mounting styles and may require a recessed mount to function suitably. 

Table: Door handle compatibility

Handle type

Backset (inches)

Cross bore (inches)

Edge distance (inches)


2⅜ to 5




2⅜ to 5


2 ⅜ to 2 ¾ 





Measuring for Compatibility

Measuring door a door handle for compatibility is straightforward. You will need a measuring tape and a pencil. Here’s what to do: 

  1. Measure the backset. Check the distance from the door’s edge to the centre of the latch hole. 
  2. Measure the cross-bore. Use the measuring tape to measure the cross-bore hole’s diameter. 
  3. Measure the edge distance. Measure the distance from the door’s edge to the centre of the handlehole. 
  4. Write down your measurements for reference. 

Making accurate measurements is essential to ensure proper fit and function. Getting it right helps your door and handle last longer and work more reliably. 

Common Issues and Solutions

Choosing a compatible door handle isn’t always straightforward. Here are the issues people encounter and how to avoid them: 

  • Problem: The handle’s backset doesn’t match the door.
    • Solution: Carefully measure the door’s existing backset.
  • Problem: The cross-bore is the wrong size. 
    • Solution: Using a cross-bore measurement, choose a handle that fits the door’s specifications.
  • Problem: The door’s edge distance doesn’t match the handle.
    • Solution: Choose a handle that matches the edge distance.


Reading this article, you learned that various door handle types exist and have different door compatibility requirements. You also learned how to choose a door handle that fits your door to avoid a mismatch. 

Not all handles fit all doors. But with the right knowledge and research, finding handles that fit your doors can be a straightforward process.

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