How to Remove a Doorknob

doorknob on baby blue door

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Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 15 - 30 mins
  • Yield: Removed doorknob
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0

The process to remove a doorknob yourself can be done in a matter of minutes, making projects like updating your doorknob's look, replacing a broken or stuck doorknob, and changing your locks quick and easy. Odds are the hardest part of removing your doorknob will be locating the screws, as many doorknobs feature hidden screws.

Follow along to learn all the tips and tricks for removing any type of doorknob, with or without visible screws.

Before You Begin

The steps for removing your doorknob may vary slightly depending on the type of doorknob you have. Standard doorknobs can be broken into four categories:

  • Entrance doorknobs: Entrance doorknobs feature keyed locks on the outside.
  • Privacy doorknobs: Privacy doorknobs are used for interior use and feature a locking mechanism on one side, with a safety release mechanism on the other side.
  • Passage doorknobs: Passage doorknobs are for interior purposes like closet or hallway doors, which don't require a lock.
  • Dummy doorknobs: Dummy knobs look like passage doorknobs but feature no internal mechanics. They simply act as a fixed knob to pull open a door.

Each of the four knobs is removed in a similar way, with some slight variation depending on the manufacturer and model. The knob will feature screws holding the two sides together, which may be hidden. In the case of the dummy knob, the screws will be going directly into the door or into a bracket that is in turn screwed to the door.

Tips for Buying the Right Replacement Doorknob

Once your doorknob is removed, you'll need a proper replacement doorknob. Use the tips below to buy the right replacement doorknob, making replacements quick and painless.

  • Determine the Doorknob Type: Determine whether your doorknob is an entrance, privacy, passage, or dummy knob referencing the list above.
  • Measure the Borehole: Measure the borehole by placing a measuring tape over the widest point.
  • Measure the Backset: Measure the distance from the door's edge to the center of the borehole.
  • Measure the Door's Thickness: Measure the thickness of the door itself close to the knob.
  • Note the Escutcheon Shape: The escutcheon shape doesn't have to be the same, but buying the same shape and size will make it easier to avoid paint touchups.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

Doorknob With Visible Screws

  • Flat screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver

Doorknob Without Visible Screws

  • Flat screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Small screwdriver (optional)
  • Small Allen wrench (optional)


How to Remove a Doorknob

The steps below outline how to remove a doorknob with visible screws.

  1. Locate the Screws

    Look around and behind the doorknob for screws. Sometimes they'll be obvious, but they're often hidden, as door manufacturer's prefer them to not detract from the knob's design once installed.

  2. Remove the Screws

    Remove the screws using the appropriate screwdriver (usually a Phillips head).


    Before you start removing components on a doorknob, ensure the door is in the open position to prevent accidentally locking yourself in or out.

  3. Remove the Knobs

    If the knobs don't fall away once the screws are loosened, pull each knob outward until they pull away.

  4. Remove the Cylinder

    To remove the cylinder, unscrew the screws holding the plate onto the door, then pull the cylinder directly out of the hole.

How to Remove a Doorknob With No Visible Screws

Doorknob manufacturers like to hide screws to improve the doorknob's aesthetic. Follow these steps to remove a doorknob with no visible screws.

  1. Locate the Pin or Set Screw

    Locate the pin or set screw that is holding the knob onto the shaft. It will likely be hidden on the underside of the knob.

  2. Depress Pin or Remove Set Screw

    If a set screw with a head is present, unscrew it. The head is likely a small Phillips screwdriver or a small Allen wrench. If it's a spring-loaded pin with no head, depress the pin with a small screwdriver and pull the knob outward. Remove the knobs from the shaft.


    If you can't seem to find a tool small enough to depress the spring-loaded pin, simply unfold a paper clip and use the exposed end.

  3. Remove the Rose or Escutcheon

    If the rose or escutcheon is still present on the door after the knobs have been removed, look for a small slot and put the head of a small flat screwdriver in the slot. Pry the rose or escutcheon outward until it comes off.

  4. Remove the Shaft and Base

    Loosen the screws and remove the remaining shaft and base from the door.

  • Why won't my doorknob come off?

    More than likely, if your doorknob won't come off, there is still a screw or fastener holding it to either the door or the opposite side of the knob assembly. If this isn't the case, the knob assembly could be adhered to the door due to dried paint or another substance.

  • How do I know what doorknob I have?

    Determining the type of doorknob you have is easy. First, note your doorknob's use case and buy the appropriate replacement. Obtain proper measurements to buy the right doorknob configuration. Lastly, look for any branding or model numbers to buy direct replacements.

  • What is the difference between a doorknob and a door handle?

    The terms "doorknobs" and "door handles" are often used interchangeably, but there is some differentiation. Doorknobs refer to door hardware with a rounded grip (typically a circle or oval), while door handles refer to door hardware with a protruding lever. This is why door handles are often referred to as "lever-style doorknobs."