Handles vs Handleless Kitchen Cabinets (Which Is Better?)

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Last updated on April 28th, 2023 at 12:52 pm

Pros & Cons Of Handles On Kitchen Cabinets

Wondering whether handles on your kitchen cabinets or handleless kitchen cabinets are better? Well, look no further because I have your answer!

Handles on cabinets are best when you want to protect the face of the cabinets and drawers from dirt and fingerprints and when you want a timeless kitchen look. Handleless cabinets are best when a handle might hit a wall or other item while in use or if you want a minimalist or ultra-modern kitchen look.

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s break into the details further so you can easily decide whether to put handles on your kitchen cabinets or not.

Let’s dive in!

Quick Navigation: Handles Or No Handles On Kitchen Cabinets

  1. Handles Vs Handleless Kitchen Cabinets: What’s The Difference?
  2. Benefits of Using Handles On Kitchen Cabinets
  3. Benefits Of Using Touch Latches On Handleless Kitchen Cabinets
  4. When To Use Handles On Kitchen Cabinets
  5. When To Use Handleless Push Latches On Kitchen Cabinets
  6. Other FAQs About Kitchen Cabinet Handles
  7. Final Thoughts
  8. Related Kitchen Cabinet Articles

Handles Vs Handleless Kitchen Cabinets: What’s The Difference?

First, let’s discuss the difference between handles and handleless kitchen cabinets.

(Note: When I refer to kitchen handles in this article, I’m referring to kitchen knobs and pulls.)

Kitchen cabinets with handles are screwed into the cabinet door or drawer and require you to pull on the handle to open the cabinet door. The handle is visible and used on the outside of the cabinet door or drawer.

Handleless kitchen cabinets (also known as touch latches or push latches) have magnetic latches on the inside of the door or drawer that, when the face of the door/drawer is pushed on, pop open the door or drawer for use. The latch is not visible from the outside giving the cabinet a “handleless” appearance.

Benefits of Using Handles On Kitchen Cabinets

There are several benefits to using handles on kitchen cabinets. These include:

  • For decorative purposes
  • To protect the finish on the cabinets
  • Longer lasting
  • Cheaper
  • Easier to shut

Benefit One: Cabinet Handles Are Decorative

The first benefit of installing handles on cabinets is that the handles are decorative.

Handles (knobs or pulls) are like jewelry for kitchen cabinets. They are another way to add style, design, and color to your kitchen. You can get them in various sizes, shapes, and colors to fit every kitchen design style, and the handles can be mixed and matched to add a level of grandeur to your home.

Because of all of these design benefits, you can get as creative and unique or as simple and elegant as you want.

Since nothing is visible with handleless cabinet touch latches, the only design element they bring is a “minimalistic” one. This design style looks fantastic on flat-faced, ultra-modern-looking cabinets, but can be hard to pull off on more traditional or older-style kitchen cabinets.

If you like the extra design element that handles bring, then choosing to install them on your cabinets can be a great way to bring extra texture and color to your kitchen.


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Benefit Two: Cabinet Handles Protect The Finish On The Cabinets

The next benefit of installing handles on cabinets is that they protect the finish of the cabinets.

Cabinet handles are designed to limit the number of times you have to touch the face of the cabinet.

Over time, the oil, dirt, and food residue from your hands will wear down the finish on your cabinets. This will shorten the life expectancy of the cabinets and will require them to be refinished sooner than cabinets with handles.

With cabinet handles installed, it’s significantly easier to keep your hands from regularly touching the face of the cabinet doors and drawers. This will help your cabinets stay looking newer and last significantly longer.

For handleless cabinets with and without touch latches installed, you constantly have to touch the face of your cabinets and drawers to push them open and closed.

Because of the nature of how handleless cabinets are supposed to be used, you’ll have to clean your cabinet faces more often and the finish will be quicker to wear down.

If you want to prevent the face of your cabinets from being touched often, then choosing to install handles on your cabinets can be a great way to extend the life of your kitchen cabinets.

Benefit Three: Cabinet Handles Don’t Have A Mechanism That Can Break

The next benefit of installing handles on cabinets is that cabinet handles last longer than cabinet touch latches.

Since simple screws hold cabinet handles in place, there aren’t any mechanical pieces that can fail over time. The only problem that tends to occur is that the screws start to come loose and the handle can start to jiggle a little bit, but that can be fixed by simply retightening the screws with a screwdriver to make them good as new.

On the other hand, cabinet touch latches have a magnet and a push mechanism that can break down over time or fail. If this happens, then the only thing you can do is replace the entire touch latch.

(The touch latches should last for years before this can ever be an issue, but I have to throw it out there as a potential problem since you won’t have this issue with regular cabinet handles.)

Since there isn’t a mechanism or magnet that can break down or fail in regular cabinet handles, they will likely last decades longer than handleless touch latches.

If you don’t want a cabinet handle solution that will last longer than you’ll likely own your home, then choosing to install handles on your cabinets can be a great way to get the best value for your money.

Benefit Four: Cabinet Handles Are Cheaper

The next benefit of installing handles on cabinets is that cabinet handles are cheaper than cabinet touch latches.

You can purchase 25 of these beautiful 5-1/6 inch T-bar stainless steel handles found at Amazon we put throughout our kitchen for a similar price as 12 of these handleless touch latches found at Amazon.

If you wanted to go for a handle solution that’s even less money than that, you could opt for all knobs throughout your kitchen.

The price for touch latches isn’t a ridiculous amount for the cool “touchless” feature you’d be getting. But knowing that regular handles are less expensive and should last longer than touch latches made me opt for a regular cabinet handle in our kitchen.

If you are on a budget or want the best value for your money, then choosing to install handles on your cabinets can be a great way to get a beautiful look on your cabinets for an inexpensive price.

Benefit Five: Cabinet Handles Shut With Less Effort

The final benefit of installing handles on cabinets is that cabinet handles are easier to shut.

With regular cabinet handles, you pull them open then you can swing them shut and walk away while the cabinet hinges do the rest of the work. Handleless touch latches require you to “push” on them to close the cabinet door fully. This is a minor extra step, but one that would end up driving me nuts.

Ultimately, I’d end up leaving a bunch of the cabinet doors “shut, but not pushed closed” because I’d be too impatient to wait for them to fully shut before I walked away.

Also, if you have any loved ones in your home that tend to forget to shut cabinet doors already, they probably won’t take the extra effort to shut the touch latches either.

I know that’s a minor problem, but it’s one that would annoy me over time and make me regret my purchase.

If you don’t want an extra step involved to close your cabinet doors, then choosing to install handles on your cabinets can be a great way to avoid this issue entirely.

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of regular cabinet handles, let’s discuss some reasons why you might WANT the handleless cabinet touch latches anyway.

Benefits Of Using Touch Latches On Handleless Kitchen Cabinets

There are also several benefits to using handleless touch latches on kitchen cabinets. These include:

  • For a minimalist look
  • For hands-free opening and closing
  • Nothing sticking out from the cabinet to get snagged on

Benefit One: Touch Latches Make Handleless Cabinets Look More Minimalistic & Modern

The first benefit of installing handleless touch latches on cabinets is it’s a minimalistic and modern look.

No hardware on cabinets is very minimalist. This look works really well on more modern-looking cabinets that are inset into the frame or completely flush on the outside so you can’t see the frame.

However, if you have more traditional-looking cabinets that show part of the frame as we do, then they can look unfinished without handles.

My recommendation is to leave your cabinets handleless for a few weeks and see if you like the look of the cabinets without them. If you do, then touch latches can be a great option to make opening and closing the cabinets easier than skipping the hardware altogether.

If you want a minimalist look, then choosing to install touch latches on your cabinets can be a great way to get a beautiful, minimalistic design while adding more functionality to your kitchen.

Benefit Two: You Can Use Your Foot Or Elbow To Open Touch Latches On Handleless Cabinets

The next benefit of installing handleless touch latches on cabinets is you can open and close them hands-free.

We’ve all been there where we need to get into the cabinets or a drawer to grab something, but our hands are wet or dirty from the food we are cooking.

Instead of having to rinse your hands to pull on the cabinet handle, you could simply use your elbow or foot to push open a touch latch and access the item that you need.

That would be an awesome perk to have that regular handles can’t offer!

If you often find your hands full when you need to get into your cabinets, then choosing to install touch latches on your cabinets can be a great way to add even more functionality to your kitchen.

Benefit Three: Nothing Sticks Out On Handleless Cabinets To Get Damaged

The final benefit of installing handleless touch latches on cabinets is that no handles stick off of the cabinets to potentially get snagged on.

If you have handles that are a T design like mine, you might have the same problem I do when you walk by. If I have sweatpants with baggy pockets on or if I’m wearing my headphones, I get caught on the handles when I walk by and accidentally yank the face of the cabinet drawer sideways.

Or maybe you have kids that hang on everything and sometimes that includes the handles on your cabinets. Or maybe your cabinet door opens up into a wall where the handle would damage the drywall every time it was opened all the way.

All of these reasons would make a handleless cabinet nicer because nothing would stick out from the cabinet to potentially cause damage.

Handleless cabinets do have the push part on the latch that sticks out on the inside of the cabinets, and you might also catch a sleeve on that at times. Though, the more conscious you are of either of these scenarios, the less of a problem it will be for you.

If you have a situation where having handles on the cabinets is causing damage to your kitchen, then choosing to install touch latches on your cabinets can be a great way to prevent this type of damage from occurring.

When To Use Handles On Kitchen Cabinets

There are a couple of situations when it’s best to use regular handles on kitchen cabinets over handleless touch latches:

  • When you want to protect the face of the cabinets & drawers from the damage that occurs from the oil, dirt, and/or food residue on your fingers
  • When you want a timeless look in your kitchen

If either of these situations is the most important to you, I recommend installing regular handles on your kitchen cabinets.

When To Use Handleless Push Latches On Kitchen Cabinets

There are also a couple of situations when it’s best to use touch/push latches on kitchen cabinets over regular handles:

  • When a handle is hitting a wall or other item while the cabinet is open
  • When you want a minimalist or modern look

If either of these situations is the most important to you, I recommend installing these handleless touch latches found at Amazon on your kitchen cabinets.

Other FAQs About Kitchen Cabinet Handles

Here are some other frequently asked questions about kitchen cabinet handles to help you decide which route is better for your style and use.

Can You Put Handles On Handleless Kitchen Cabinets?

Handles can be installed on handleless kitchen cabinets, but doing so defeats the purpose of the “handleless look” that is often desired when choosing handleless cabinets.

Also, the touch latch can be damaged if someone doesn’t know they should push on the handle to open it instead of pulling on the handle as a traditional cabinet would be opened if the touch latch doesn’t work that way.

Final Thoughts On Kitchen Cabinet Handles

There you have it!

There are tons of benefits to using handles or touch latches on kitchen cabinets. If you like the looks and functionality of handleless cabinets, then choose those for your kitchen. Or if you like the looks of regular handles on cabinets, then choose those.

You can’t go wrong either way!

Hopefully, this guide helped you decide when cabinet handle solution is best for your home.

Catch you in my next post!

The Best Kitchen Tools & Products I’ve Used

Ravinte Cabinet Handle Installation Template (For Doors & Drawers)

This is my all-time favorite handle installation template because it has two templates (one for drawers and one for doors) with multiple pull sizes & knob placements! These templates make installing cabinet handles a breeze because you always know your handles will be installed in the same spot on all of your drawers and doors. The kit also comes with a drill bit so you can guarantee you’re using the correct size. I used this template on my entire kitchen and both bathrooms to cut the installation time in half. You can find this hardware template here on Amazon.

Franklin Brass 5-1/16 Inch (128mm) Center Bar Pull (Stainless Steel)

If you want to immediately modernize your kitchen island, then these cabinet pulls are a must. They are heavy-duty feeling, durable, easy to install, and are a large size for a great price. We put these pulls on all of our kitchen and island doors and drawers along with our bathroom doors and drawers. You can find these gorgeous cabinet pulls here on Amazon.

P.S. Use the hardware installation template I mentioned above to install these new pulls in record time!

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Handles vs Handleless Kitchen Cabinets (Which Is Better?)

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