changing refrigerator door handles

newskilzFebruary 23, 2013

Hi -

We are currently renovating our kitchen from studs, floors, cabinets & even windows. And the almighty ALL new appliances! I can't wait to get in there. We purchased the LG french door counter depth refrigerator. (I love it) except for two things. The curved handles and the SS smudges. We also purchased the Electrolux double wall oven and I LOVE the style of those handles. (straight and sleek) I know you can switch refrigerator handles, but I have yet to find something suitable that is a match both in size & style. The LG refrigerator size from Hole to Hole = 26inches for the fridge & 26.5inches for the freezer (which has a curve to it but I can manage something with that if all goes well. I have researched so many options that nothing seems to work. Many of the handles are not the right look or size. Or they come with no sizing information at all. The customer service also has no info on the product as well. (frustrating to say the least)

I purchased handles from Sears that are Electrolux french door handles (gorgeous) but they are too long. I thought I measured correctly and had the right sizing. I would like to alter the SS handles somehow.

My Questions are:
1)Has anyone altered SS door handles to fit their refrigerator, is there a trick to separating the top portion of the handle & the bar that makes the handle or do I need to see a welder to cut the handles down to size?

2) More importantly does ANYONE know of a match that I am looking for?

I called LG and they do not have a different style handle. And many of the on line places have no information on sizing. Top Knobs etc do not have size or correct style.

HELP ME PLEASE, I've spent waaaay too much time on this already.

Thanks so much. Leslie

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I'll be interested to watch this thread. I have a big issue with the "bow" handles too. I ordered KA appliances & I was able to get the pro line handles on all appliances except my refrigerator. I called KA to see about ordering the handles that come on the counter depth refrigerator but like what you are finding out the holes don't match. I was exhausted with trying to find a solution that I just gave up & said the "heck w/ it." My refrigerator will have "bow" handles. I couldn't match the pricing w/ other brands that had the pro line handle to the price I was getting w/ the KA refrigerator.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 8:14AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Handles are manufacturer, and even model specific for spacing You can always get a local metal artist to custom make new ones for you, but you'll be spending the cost of the refrigerator all over again.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 8:32AM
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Probably something you should have researched beforehand. I wouldn't just assume that another manufacturer's handles would work. You're going to have to go custom, which as has been said is very expensive. Are you able to return the fridge?

Off topic, which LG fridge did you get? I am considering one, but don't care about the bow handles.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:07AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We were able to change our fridge door handles, but that was because we got the cabinet facing on them so the carpenter drilled the holes for the new handles rather than the manufacturer's ones.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:32AM
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Telling the OP she should have thought of this beforehand adds no value to the discussion. I'm thinking this frig has all the features she wants, and ones with the "better" handles didn't.

OP, perhaps expand your search to include large/appliance pulls on cabinet hardware sites. I've been checking this out as well, since my top frig contenders also have the bowed handles I don't like.

Good luck, and let us know if you are successful!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 1:45PM
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I feel your pain! Bow handles make me crazy. I paid mega bucks for my built-in KA fridge, but the dang thing has bow handles!! On an expensive built-in?! Why?! Those silly bow handles sit just a few feet away from my lovely, straight, calming Wolf oven handles. This doesn't bother me on a daily basis anymore as I enjoy each appliance for the function and value they bring to me, and I would not choose differently if I had to do it again. But when I sit at the island like I am right now and stare at the handles.....argggghhhh!

When I was researching fridges and lamenting this very fact on the forum, someone posted to tell me that fridge handles can be changed. I did look around a bit hoping that I could swap the bow for the KA pro-line straight handles, but the measurements didn't look right. I was too mired down in the rest of the house reno so I gave up at the time thinking I could revisit the issue later.

I'm sorry to hear that KA wasn't any help, Kgoldby. Thats what I was afraid would happen.

I'm very curious why bow handles are so popular with manufacturers. Are they cheaper to make?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 2:02PM
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Thank you everyone so far for responding. It seems I am not the only one with this problem. A special shout out thanks to KBspider for sticking up for me. You are right - I love the fridge that I choose and there are so many other things I need to deal with that the handles are still mid level anxiety. lol So far I think I will find a metal smith who can cut down the handle to the correct size and also make the arc on the freezer handle where it attaches.

Breezygirl - it sounds like you have a lovely kitchen. We also have a wolf 4burner & grill. Too many things with different pulls is a visual thing. It's all great and wonderful but I guess we all want a magazine kitchen. That we live in. :) It's funny I kept wondering why all manufacturers just didn't make straight gorgeous handles and flat fronts. Who needs it to curve out and the bow is ..... well we all know. Not contemporary or stylish imo.

I have looked for long cabinet pulls but there seems to be nothing available. There is another idea I have for the handles where I can use separate handle pieces that attach the doors themselves and then add a rod as the handle. The rod can be wood or lucite or even metal. So it would be more decorative. I still want the electrolux door handles, - I will post what ever information I find. and PICTURES of course.

good luck to all - if there is anyone else please feel free.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 3:07PM
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Newskilz~I don't know if you've come across this site, but I thought it may be helpful. They have a lot of handles from refrigerator manufacturing companies. There is also a box under each item for you to type in your fridge number to see if it's compatible. They also have a forum although I don't know how helpful it is since I haven't used it.

I also just did a search for 'appliance pulls' and came up with a lot of very nice 'designer' like looking stuff. So you may try that before you go to a metal shop. Although I'm going to learn how to weld pretty soon so maybe this can be how I get into the market!

Here is another link for very decorative pulls since you mentioned that in your last post:

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Appliance Part Pros

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 3:58PM
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You're very welcome, Newskilz! IowaCommute, I am bookmarking your link so I can use it when I'm closer to buying - thanks!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 5:29PM
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Thanks Iowa - I have used a few of those types of websites. It's very difficult as the customer support isn't really great with solid information as far as center to center holes etc. They just say count the grid squares to see how long the handles are. So far at repair clinic it was the wrong size to what I wanted and what I got. (too long)

I may try to find someone to alter the ones I ordered from searsparts.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:21PM
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Stainless welding requires a TIG welder for best results. And it's very very difficult to do correctly without discoloring the stainless. Most appliance handles would be better produced with a CNC milling machine from solid stock or cast rather than welded. Machinery like that costs quite a bit, and it takes a very skilled individual to run it. You might check with a local metal machining shop for a quote, but expect to provide them with measured shop drawings for what you want, and expect it to cost north of 1K for a welded product and 2K for a milled or cast product.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:58PM
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UUUUGHHHHH - green design that makes me sad. But thank you so much for the information. I'm an artist and I know all too well that jimmying with anything takes a special skill set. i think an actual set of handles is out there for me. I just have to keep searching. :)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:27PM
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I too feel your pain. Searching now for something to make the double ovens(electroluxICON and the refrigerator Electrolux regular depth or Samsung regular depth to match???

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 12:50PM
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I can absolutely sympathize regarding ending up with some appliances handles you don't love. I chose a DW with a beautiful straight handle. Love the performance, love the look. I chose a range and refrigerator for their function, size, and price, but they have the undesirable (to me) bow handles. I wish I could replace them. I'll definitely check out the link that IowaCommute provided. Thanks! I agree that it's harsh to criticize the OP. Sometimes it's not feasible to get every single thing you want within a budget. Just because you purchase an appliance based on function and price does not mean you can't investigate options to improve the aesthetics.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:55AM
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Holly- Kay

We were going with the Euro style (bow handles) on our appliances. At the last minute I changed to the pro style. I am anxiously awaiting appliance delivery and I am glad I chose the pro style.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 12:44PM
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Oh, the irony! The handles on the Liebherr CS2062 I purchased off Craigslist sound like what you need!

Unfortunately, I want a more vintage look to match my Wedgewood stove. Enough that I'm going to try applying gloss white auto vinyl to the doors so they match the stove. I thought for a second about having the handles chrome plated, but a good job is so pricey.

I scoured ebay for vintage auto and appliance handles I could use, but, as you've found, none are really the right size. And it's such a sturdy, well-made machine that it would be foolish to damage it with any modifications.

In any case, opposite problem, but I feel your pain nonetheless!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 2:09PM
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Thanks Pricklypearcactus. I miss being able to help people find answers everyday. I was a librarian and then archivist. Now I'm a SAHM. I guess this forum is how I get my kicks. ;)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 1:27PM
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Thank goodness for you IowaCommute. And everyone else who gave advice on this subject. Its not easy buying appliances that look good, function they way you want/need them to and have all the bells and whistles you can afford. Not everyone has $100,000 to buy top of the line everything. I ordered handles on line via sears with a serial # i thought would correspond with my model. (this is basically blindfold searching) I was close but off by an inch or so for the hole to hole. The handles themselves were perfect and not expensive either. Im still looking but on a pause for now.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 5:44PM
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