Lever Door Handle Explained: Types and Uses

You might not have thought much about lever door handles in the past, but we’re here to tell you - you use them a lot more than you realise! Lever handles play an important part in our everyday lives, helping to provide seamless entry and exit to different spaces. Over the years, they’ve evolved from traditional designs to more fitting with more modern interior design trends.

Read on to explore the world of lever door handles, their different types, mechanics, and how to pick the best one for your needs.

Lever door handle: Types and Uses

What is a lever door handle?

Put simply, a lever door handle is a device that is used to open and close doors. They are a great alternative to more traditional knob handles, as they provide a better ergonomic and user-friendly experience. They are engineered to be easy to use, and work by either pushing down or lifting the lever to release the latch mechanism, which then allows the door to either swing open or close securely. 

Types of lever door handles

There are several types of lever door handles, each one has a specific use and purpose. Understanding the differences between each type can help you make the right choice when choosing the right handle for your doors.

Privacy levers

Privacy levers are designed for interior doors and are ideal for use in bedrooms and bathrooms. These types of lever handles have a locking mechanism designed to provide privacy. 

The main feature of a privacy lever is a privacy pin. When you push down on the lever, the privacy pin engages the latch on the inside of the rosette, locking it when it’s in its default position. Some privacy levers have an emergency release feature, which allows them to be opened from the outside in case of an emergency.

Passage levers

Passage levers are typically used for hallways and wardrobes. They do not feature an internal locking system. They work by simply turning the handle, which will open or close the door. They’re suitable for use for any door that doesn’t require a locking mechanism.

Dummy levers

As the name suggests, a dummy lever is a non-functional lever that’s simply for decorative purposes. These types of handles are usually found on either wardrobe doors or double doors where a handle is needed, but no latch.

A dummy handle can be placed anywhere on a door, as it doesn’t need to connect to a mechanism. 

Keyed levers

A keyed lever combines the functionality of a lever handle with a key lock. These provide additional security, making them ideal for use with exterior doors, as well as any interior doors that may require it. 

Keyed levers include a keyed cylinder containing pins and springs that align with the grooves and notches of a specific key when inserted into the cylinder. 

Choosing the right lever door handle

Now that you know a little more about the different types of door handles, you can set about choosing the right one for your needs. Some things to consider include:

The type of door

Different door types require different types of lever handles. Exterior doors typically need more enhanced security features, and will therefore require a keyed lever. For internal doors you may need to balance aesthetics and privacy when choosing the right lever door handle for your needs.

Door material

The material of your door can also influence your type of lever handle. A wooden door will work well with traditional finishes like brass or antique bronze, while modern doors may complement contemporary designs like stainless steel or matte black.

Security and functionality

What is your door being used for? A privacy lever will be beneficial for bedrooms and bathrooms, and you should choose one with a suitable locking mechanism for your needs. External doors will almost certainly need a keyed lever to provide extra security and privacy. 

Your taste and preferences

Aesthetics are another key consideration for your chosen door handle. You should choose styles that match your home’s interior. Traditional homes may benefit from classic designs, while contemporary spaces will benefit from sleeker, minimalist lever handles. You should also think about your preferred finish for your handles.

Durability and construction

Choose handles that are made from durable materials such as stainless steel or solid brass to ensure long-lasting performance. Lever handles should be well-constructed, with reinforced mechanisms for extra stability. 


Consider who will be using the handle. The right ergonomic design will ensure the handle is easy to use, and appealing to users with varying hand strengths. 

Installation and maintenance

Installing a lever door handle is a straightforward process, but requires attention to detail. The handle must be orientated correctly, following the manufacturer’s instructions for a secure fit. 

Maintaining your lever handle is simple. Regular cleaning with a mild solution will help maintain the appearance of your handles while lubricating the moving parts frequently will help keep them in good working order.

Lever door handles in interior design

Lever door handles may be functional, but they can also enhance the aesthetic of your space. Different styles can complement different themes, including both classic and contemporary interior design. 

Classic interior themes work well with brass and brushed metal styles to complement traditional design elements.

Modern interior themes can suit a range of styles, with stainless steel and matte details proving particularly effective. Consider gold, rose gold and black styles to complement your modern interior. 

Safety and Accessibility

Lever door handles are designed to be accessible. They are easy to operate, which makes them ideal for those with limited hand strength and disabilities. They operate quickly, making them ideal in an emergency. 

As you can see, there’s a lot more to lever door handles than meets the eye. They blend functionality with aesthetic appeal, becoming a vital element within your home. By understanding the different types of lever handles and the styles available, you can choose the right one for your needs to help you open doors effortlessly, and elevate the design of your living space.

Is it time to give your lever door handles a refresh? Take a look at our collection of handles and other products and find suitable solutions for your home. 

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