So you’re installing a new lever set in your home? Great! After deciding on which style, finish, and function you want, there is one final detail you need to figure out before you place your order: handing.

Handing Defined:

But first, what is handing? To put it simply, handing refers to the direction that the lever should point to once installed on the door – right hand or left hand. When it comes to installing a lever set on a door, you want to make sure that the lever is pointing in the correct direction so that it doesn’t end up colliding with the door frame and possibly cause damage to either the frame or the hardware itself.

Door Hardware vs. Carpentry Handing

It is important to note that determining handing for door hardware is different than determining the handing for carpentry (ordering and hanging doors). If you follow the standard carpentry rules for handing door hardware, instead of following the guide above, there is a good chance you may end up with a lock that is handed incorrectly.

Determining Handing:

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, we can get right down to it – How to determine handing. First, you’re going to stand facing the exterior side of the door in question. If this door leads to outside the home then you’re going to stand outside the home facing the door. If the door leads to a bedroom, you’ll need to stand in the hallway, etc.

Next, you’re going to take note of which side of the door the hinges are on. If the hinges are on the left hand side, then the door is left handed and the door hardware will need to be left handed as well. If the hinges are on the right, then the door is right handed and the hardware will be right handed. Pretty straight forward!

The most important part is that you face the door from the correct side (the exterior side!) and the rest only takes a quick glance.

When is Handing Needed?

Handing is required for all items expect for the following:

  • Lever Sets with Round Rosettes: Dummy Function
  • Keyed Lever Sets with Sideplates: Dummy Function
  • Entry Sets with Inside Knob
  • Knob Sets: Any Function


Here are some examples of differently handed doors for the visual learners :)

Image Credit: @banyanbridges on Instagram. Features Emtek's Myles Lever paired with EMPowered Motorized Touchscreen Keypad Deadbolt in Flat Black.

The door featured above is a RIGHT HANDED door! As you can see, the hinges are on the right hand side of the door, therefore the lever is pointing towards the right as to avoid colliding with the door frame.

Image Credit: @blankslatereno on Instagram. Features Emtek's Brisbane Mortise Entry Set paired with the Spencer Lever in Satin Brass.

This next door is LEFT HANDED! When facing the exterior side of the door, the hinges are on the left meaning that the hardware will be left handed.

There you have it! If you have any remaining doubts, feel free to reach out to Emtek Customer Service at 800-356-2741 for further explanation. To find a dealer near you please visit