Handleless Kitchens: Everything You Need To Know

Contemporary and elegant, the handleless kitchen has become one of the most popular kitchen styles in the UK. Considering this style for your home? Brush up on your knowledge before you buy with our expert guide to handleless kitchens.

Dave White
Dave White
May 8, 2019
Quality Kitchens

What is a handleless kitchen?

A handleless kitchen is defined by its lack of door mounted handles. Instead, the doors on  handleless kitchen units are reduced in height by around 30mm, creating a gap through which to access a continuous handle profile that sits behind them. This handle profile comes in both an L and a C shape, and is what creates the iconic “unbroken line” aesthetic that handleless kitchens are famed for.

Take a look at our side-on pictures of these L and C shape handle profiles below:

L Shape Handle Profile
L Shape Handle Profile

C Shape Handle Profile
C Shape Handle Profile

What is a TRUE handleless kitchen (push-to-open)?

A true handleless kitchen has no handles whatsoever - think normal kitchen units, but with the handle completely removed. As there is no L or C shape profile behind the doors either, the doors on true handless kitchens don’t need to be reduced in height. True handleless kitchens are therefore operated entirely by "push-to-open" mechanisms that come in a range of varieties (and costs!). They are popular for their modular, minimalist look but beware that the costs of achieving this can quickly add up, particularly where integrated appliances are concerned.

Are handleless kitchens more expensive than regular kitchens?

A common misconception is that as they are more design-oriented, handleless kitchen units will cost significantly more than normal kitchen units. While this may vary in truth from manufacturer to manufacturer, the extra items you would need to make a normal kitchen into a handleless one really shouldn't justify a huge cost increase. At GKS, our selection of German Handleless Kitchens are available at the same price as our regular units.

Curious about costs? Check out our kitchen price examples.

Will a handleless kitchen work with my appliances?

Absolutely! If an appliance can be integrated (hidden within a kitchen unit or behind a door) there'll be a solution available to make it work in a handleless design. Certain dishwasher models can sometimes cause issues when integrating due to their heights, however if you've got a handleless kitchen in mind then a good designer should be able to guide you during the planning process to help avoid technical pitfalls like this.

Fully Integrated Dishwasher in a Handleless Kitchen
Fully Integrated Dishwasher in a Handleless Kitchen

Looking for guidance on your new kitchen design? Our expert design team is always on hand to offer advice if you need it, whether you're buying a kitchen from us or not.

What are the advantages of a handleless kitchen?

Unlike regular kitchen units, the handleless style offers an almost re-invented approach to traditional planning solutions - deliciously presented in a distinctive contemporary style. Our German Handleless Kitchens are built to incremental raster systems, meaning equal divisions of door heights across unit runs are possible for a thoroughly balanced aesthetic –no more unsightly mismatched drawer lines! Unique accessories are also available, such as grip ledge lights to illuminate your L profile handle.

Are there any disadvantages to a handleless kitchen?

Generally speaking, no. The price of a handleless kitchen should be just as reasonable as that of a regular kitchen, and there are only a small number of extra planning nuances that your designer will need to consider when working through your wishlist. They require little to no extra cleaning, and come in a huge variety of colours and styles. Handleless kitchens are just as accessible and ergonomic as regular kitchens, with the added bonus of transforming your home into a stunning modern space.

Is “J profile” the same as handleless?

Not all manufacturers offer a handleless kitchen option and as such, often defer to a “J Profile” handle as their equivalent style. Unlike on a handleless kitchen where the door is kept separate to the handle profile behind it, “J profile” kitchens have the handle profile cut into the door itself, simply giving the illusion of being handleless:

J Profile Handle
J Profile Handle

“J Profile” kitchens are infamous among design circles for being a poor visual substitution for a real handleless kitchen, and also awkward to operate. As the "J Profile" handle is usually quite small, heavy appliance doors such as dishwashers & fridges become difficult to open and anyone with long fingernails will struggle to to grip the profile properly too. They are also unhygienic, being natural dirt collectors which means an increased chance of spreading germs & bacteria throughout your kitchen if not cleaned regularly.

What are the design features of handleless kitchens?

Opting for a handleless kitchen opens up a whole new world of design possibilities that handled kitchens can't achieve. The contemporary themes they employ (like the “unbroken line” feature) are bursting with modern flavour, and consequently have inspired a selection of unique design elements exclusive to handleless kitchens such as wrap-around end panels, grip ledge lights, vertical handle profiles and many more.

Check out our gallery of German Handleless Kitchens for more design inspiration and ideas, or contact a designer for a no-obligation quote and professional advice on how to make a handleless kitchen work in your home. Want to know how much your new kitchen could cost? Take a look at our Price Examples before you get in touch.

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