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A Comprehensive Guide to Window Handles

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Jan 23, 2024
8 minutes read
  • Available types of window handle
  • Replacement handles
  • The importance of energy efficient windows

Window handles are more than just a functioning piece of equipment. They can make a statement and complement other forms of ironmongery within your home. When you purchase new windows, you might just receive the most simple design available unless you make your preferences known. Before you replace uPVC window handles, have a think about what else you could use instead.

This article will explore the different types of double glazing window handles available. It will explain the importance of choosing the right sort of handle and how this can affect your window’s efficiency. From uPVC, and aluminium windows to sash and timber options, you can find a window handle to suit you.

Looking for new windows? After finding the right handles, why not use our quote comparison tool to see how much you’d pay? It only takes a minute to complete.

Casement windows with aluminium handles on the interior

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What Types of Window Handles Are There?

There are many different types of handle available and these can complement the style of window you choose, whether you’re looking for new or replacement window handles. The most common types are:

  • Sash window lifts and handles

  • Cockspur handles

  • Espagnolette handles

  • Tilt and turn handles

  • Casement fasteners

  • Slimline window handles

  • Venetian handles

Sash Window Lifts and Handles

Victorian and Georgian sash windows work well with these lifts and hooks. Looking like ergonomic finger grips, they allow you to lift up the bottom sash from its closed position. Finger grips can also be fitted. These are metal loops that can be operated with a single finger.

Bars and handles can be used instead, which give you greater control over the opening of the window. Alternatively, flush handles can be embedded into the frame.

Sash window handles and ironmongery come in stainless steel, brass, bronze, matte black and nickel, giving you plenty of options for choosing the right colour scheme.

Cockspur Handles

Cockspur Handle

Cockspur window handles look like a standard handle but with a nose pointing out to the side. The operation happens on the outside of the lock and either closes onto a wedge or into the frame. These are one of the oldest types of lock available and are slim in design.

Cockspur handles come in white uPVC, chrome, brass, grey and matte black. As they’re suitable for uPVC, aluminium and timber windows, you can find one to match.

Espagnolette Handles

These are the modern day equivalent of the cockspur window handle and have the closing mechanism on the inside. A multi-point locking system around the window frame is connected to the espagnolette handle, which makes them the most secure option.

Espagnolette window handles come in stainless steel, matte black, chrome and brass. You can customise interior ironmongery to fit in with this.

Spade or Blade Handles

These are the typical espagnolette handles you’d see with uPVC or aluminium windows. They engage or disengage the locking mechanism inside the window frame as the handles are turned.

Tilt and Turn Handles

A little more advanced than other types, tilt and turn window handles for double glazing were one of the first options available. Designed to lock the opening mechanism in place at two different points, these handles are often bulky and strong.

These handles come in either tilt before turn or turn before tilt. Every 90° turn of the handle either locks or unlocks a different mechanism of the window. This is one of the reasons why they are so bulky.

Tilt and turn handles are available in stainless steel, chrome, brass, matte black and white uPVC. They can work with all window materials.

Casement Fasteners

Casement Fastener Design

Smaller, more traditional windows might need casement fasteners to make them usable. Gusts of wind could end up closing an open window, so casement fasteners keep the window locked in any position you need it to be.

Casement fasteners tend to come in black, but can also come in pewter or brass as well. They also come in three styles: monkey tail, peardrop and shepherd’s crook. These are classic 19th century designs for ironmongery. The end of the handle curves round to suit one of these shapes.

The colours available for casement fasteners are brass, black, chrome, nickel, pewter and white.

Slimline Window Handles

If big window handles will not be suitable in certain areas, slimline options could prove more useful. Blinds and shutters, for example, could get in the way, so a narrower window handle, from 20–30mm could work wonders for space saving. This does depend on the type of window you have.

The standard spindle size for double glazing window handles is usually 8mm, but a 7mm spindle is possible with slimline versions, as space reduction is key.

Slimline handles can come in white uPVC, black, brass, chrome and stainless steel. They can suit any ironmongery you have on the inside or outside.

Venetian Handles

A kind of slimline window handle, Venetian handles are similar to espagnolette types but don’t poke out as much from the frame. This leaves you with more room for blinds.

You can see how all of these window handles compare below.

How to Choose the Right Window Handles

There are several things to consider when choosing which handles would work best for you. You should think about how often these handles will be used and look at functionality as well as style. It’s also worth checking which handedness you’d need. There’s no use buying all left handed types and realising you need several right handed ones.

Brass Window Handle

Similarly, the quality of the materials you choose should give you an indication of how useful these replacement window handles will be. No one wants a handle to break part way through its operation, and they should stand the test of time if they’re going to be used every single day. Not only this, but the measurements should be correct, especially the spindle.

Different materials can cost you more, but it also depends if you’re trying to match the ironmongery in your rooms. New windows look great with white uPVC handles, but if your doors and furniture have brass or chrome finishes, they will look out of place. Similarly, a home with traditional wood can work well with black or brass double glazing window handles.

Lastly, think about the style you are after. While something may appeal to you more than your original thought, it might not prove to be practical and you’ll end up hating it. All window types can operate with several different handle options, so consider your choices carefully.

Before you settle on your double glazed window handles, think about:

  • Measurements

  • Handedness

  • Quality

  • Material

  • Frequency of use

  • Functionality

The Importance of Window Handles and Energy Efficiency

A warm home is an energy efficient home, and this leads to lower energy bills. When it comes to windows, they can account for around 10% of a home’s lost heat. Any frame or window that’s been compromised will be even worse. Without proper fixings on a window, excess draughts can become a problem.

You can see how much of a problem different areas of the window are for heat loss in the interactive graph below.

Double glazing window handles that don’t close the frame properly are virtually useless. Similarly, any loose fixings can present more gaps for air leakage. When replacing windows, trickle vents need to be fitted, which give enough background ventilation without compromising comfort.

You can improve the energy efficiency of your window handles by following the below advice.

  • Check for dirt

  • Check the temperature

  • Check the weatherstripping

  • Check the locks

  • Check the glazing

Grime and dirt can get into the operating mechanism of the window. Dirt build-up in the corners, jambs and cills can prevent an effective seal from being formed, which creates more opportunities for air leakage.

Chrome and Brass Window Handles

For temperature, a laser thermometer can give you accurate readings from the window handles to the pane itself. If there are big differences in temperature readings, your window could be leaking. Bear in mind that some materials will hold temperature better than others.

The weatherstripping can fail over time and become less effective. This can lead to air and water ingress, which can cause more issues. The frame might then shift, which will leave your window handles useless and not able to operate properly. If your weatherstripping is old and damaged, consider replacing it.

Your window locks need to be operating effectively, otherwise your window could become worthless at keeping out the cold. Any subsidence or settling of the materials can cause handles and locks to not secure properly.

Finally, make sure the glazing is working properly. Accounting for the most amount of heat lost through a window, your glazing should be at least double to provide a sufficient level of insulation and heat protection.

Window Handles and Interior Design

Chrome and Black Window Handles

Choosing the right ironmongery for your home cannot be rushed. Modern homes often go for the brushed chrome look to complement the greys of aluminium windows. Chrome handles can work for white uPVC windows, whereas pure white could prove to be a bit jarring. Older properties tend to work best with older window handle designs, such as casement fasteners or sash handles and hooks.

Whether you opt for brass, nickel, black, white, chrome, stainless steel or matte black replacement window handles, you should be considerate of your home’s décor and choose the design that will match most. Fortunately, there aren’t many options you can’t have for your windows. You can easily replace uPVC window handles with something a little more exciting.

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