What is an appliance pull? What is the difference between an appliance handle and a standard drawer pull?

Have you ever wondered why some items are labeled as an appliance pull and what is the difference between an appliance handle and a standard drawer pull? 

Because we know it tends to be confusing, we're here to explain. First and foremost, see the following picture where you can see the first obvious difference between the two items, the thickness of the bar. 

 

 

The top thicker handle shown in the photo is the appliance handle, which has a diameter (in this particular collection) of 3/4". By comparison, the drawer pull above has a diameter of 1/2". In most cases, appliance handles tend to be thicker as shown on this photo because they are intended to be used with paneled appliances which tend to have larger doors and a standard drawer pull, even a long one, tends to look too thin when used on a fridge door. While some appliance handles tend to be shorter than some long drawer pulls, the appliance handle will still be more appealing on a fridge door due to its thickness.
Forge Hardware Trande Brass Appliance Handle

 

Aside from the thickness, there's another important feature present in many appliance handles-the mounting hardware. This might not be true 100% of the time, but in our experience and with respect to the appliance handles we sell, the mounting hardware (the screws) that come with the item tend to be thicker than the screws that come with standard drawer pulls. The purpose being that opening a fridge door requires more force and the thicker screws can make the appliance handle stay in place despite the force being applied to open the door. The standard cabinet hardware screws that come with drawer pulls might not suffice for that purpose after repeated use. 
Luxe appliance handle forge hardware

 

Now, we're not saying every appliance requires an appliance handle and we know the price of appliance handles often seems high compared to standard drawer pulls. For example, you can often get away with using a standard drawer pull on dishwashers and they might even be more appropriate looks wise. However, for paneled refrigerators it is often recommended that you do use an appliance handle both for its appearance and for its functionality. 
Sometimes appliance handles look so stunning that looking at them alone might drive your decision to use one! Just look at the Fisher and Paykel fridge on the photo below by our client at https://www.instagram.com/meadowsmithhouse/ featuring our Transitional collection.

 

Fisher and Paykel Appliance Handles

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should appliance pulls be?

The rule of thumb is that pulls should not exceed 1/3 of the length of a cabinet door, or drawer width. However, this is only a starting point and you can certainly deviate depending on your design vision.

Should the finish for my cabinet hardware and my appliance hardware match?

Generally speaking it looks better to have an appliance handle that matches the rest of the cabinet hardware. However, in many instances, matching the finish of the cabinet hardware is sufficient and using a different appliance pull from the rest of the collection can be a design choice that makes the appliances stand out.

Can you use a regular pull for appliances?

As a general matter we do not recommended it because cabinet hardware tends to be thinner at times and intended to be proportionate to a smaller door. However, that's only for larger doors such as a fridge door. For a dishwasher we do recommend using a standard drawer pull in a size from 7" to 14" long. 

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