Q: I’m looking to convert one of my home’s most-touched surfaces — the doorknob — to a more hands-free approach. Are there any options that get rid of the twist but still keep things secure?
A: You’re not alone! There’s strong interest in DIY projects that can change existing high-touch surfaces to lower touch, and the doorknob is a great place to start. A relatively new type of door handle called a Push Pull Rotate handle can be swapped with your traditional doorknob so you can open doors with a push of your elbow or bump of your hip. This provides a way to keep your hands clear of frequently touched surfaces.
Depending on your preferences, Push Pull Rotate handles, knobs and levers can be used traditionally by turning or rotating, or by pushing in or pulling out on the knob or lever to release the door latch.
Push Pull Rotate handles work on most residential doors that opens inward, and provide a new level of versatility and convenience, whether you’re working to minimize contact or simply have your hands full with kids, bags, pets, groceries or laundry.
Initially produced for the building trades for use in custom homes, Push Pull Rotate door locks are now available for do-it-yourselfers to purchase in retail stores and online. The levers and handles comply with federal Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and they have security features to deter thieves, including pick and drill resistance and anti-pry shields.
Installation is simple and straightforward, and only requires a Phillips screwdriver, making this an easy project for virtually all skill levels. Uninstall your existing knob, insert the new latch, then adjust the lock body for your door thickness. Insert the lock body and screw on the mounting plate. Attach the inside knob and you’re set.
One thing to consider in replacing your front-door hardware is its design compatibility with what’s already on your home. While Push Pull Rotate is an innovative product, it avoids the sterile design seen in many tech products by offering multiple styles and finishes. For home interior use, consider locking privacy models for bedrooms and bathrooms, and non-locking passage locks for laundry rooms, pantries, children’s rooms and closets. There are even matching dummy knobs and levers available for closets and French doors.
You can take your smart-home system to the next level by choosing a connected hands-free lock with geolocation abilities. With this feature enabled on your connected lock, you can set up a routine in which the smart deadbolt will unlock with a tap on your phone as you approach — just hip-check your Push Pull Rotate handle to enter. After you’re inside, you can lock the deadbolt via a command using your home’s voice assistant.
Julie Ernest is a senior director at Hampton Products International, a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS). If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of MBAKS’s more than 2,700 members, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.