When I ask customers if they would prefer a Handleless kitchen or a Handleless effect kitchen, very few realise that two different styles exist. Therefore, it may be useful to explain the differences between the two.
A true handleless kitchen with continuous rail
For a kitchen to be called truly handleless, the doors must have no handles. To open the doors, a continuous rail is fitted into the cabinet. The rail enables your fingers to slide over the top of the door & open it from behind. This is pictured below.
The other type of true handleless kitchen uses push to open catches to allow the door to be opened. This style is pictured directly below.
Although handleless kitchens with push to open catches look stunning, they aren’t particularly practical. Firstly, this type of system can’t be used with an integrated dishwasher or fridge freezer. Secondly, the push to open mechanism’s usually start failing after just a few years. Thirdly the doors can often open just by you brushing past them. This is why I generally recommend clients choose an alternative type of handleless kitchen instead.
A handleless effect kitchen
In recent years, handleless effect kitchens have become as popular as true handleless kitchens. Handleless effect kitchens have an integrated handle at the top of each door to enable opening. two examples can be seen below.
Their are two types of integrated handle style handleless kitchens on the market. Their are the low quality PVC, PET, foil or vinyl wrapped type & there’s the high quality painted & lacquered type.
If you buy the low quality wrapped type, it can be difficult to open the doors. This is particularly the case with doors attached to integrated dishwashers, fridges, freezers & fridge freezers. The reason for this is that the groove at the top of the door is extremely shallow. Because it’s so shallow, it can be very hard to get the necessary grip required to pull open the door. This is less of a problem with the higher quality painted & lacquered type doors as the groove is much deeper.
It’s mainly the big chains & trade only suppliers that sell the low quality wrapped type handleless kitchen doors. The majority of integrated handle type handleless kitchen doors sold by local kitchen showrooms are the high quality painted & lacquered type.
The pictures below show you the difference in the depth of the groove between a PVC, PET, foil or vinyl wrapped door & a lacquered door. The image on the left is a high quality painted & lacquered type, the one on the right a low quality wrapped type. It’s easy to see from the picture on the right why opening doors on integrated dishwashers, fridges, freezers & fridge freezers is so problematic with the wrapped type.
The other problem with wrapped type doors is they’re prone to de-laminating. De-laminating is where the surface peels away from the MDF base. The first signs of de-lamination is bubbling around the edges of the doors. You don’t get this problem with the higher quality painted & lacquered type.
Another type of handleless effect kitchen has a metal handle/grip ledge attached to the top of the door to give the look of true handleless kitchen. This style of handleless kitchen is pictured directly below.
Some brands have taken this a step further and offer a coloured metal handle/grip ledge which can be used to make a real statement. This can be seen in the kitchen below which has a kiwi green handle/grip ledge:
The advantage of having a coloured metal handle/grip ledge is two fold. Firstly, if you want to change the colour of the metal handle/grip ledge a few years down the line, its quick, easy & cheap to do. Secondly it can serve the same purpose as a coloured glass splashback. This means you could potentially save a lot of money as there’s no need to buy expensive glass splashbacks.
A subtle handle across the top
If you like the look of a handleless kitchen, but also like the practicality of having a handle, why not go for a kitchen with a subtle handle across the top of the door? although this isn’t technically a handleless kitchen, it gives a similar look. Below are a few examples of these.
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