Types of Window Handles

There are several types of window handles but some are specific to the type of windows they’re fitted to. 

The two main types of window handles that are fitted onto double glazed windows are, Espag handles and Cockspur handles. Then you have tilt and turn handles, spade or blade handles and monkey tail handles. Below, we’ll look at these different types of window handles, how they work and why they’re used.

Types of Window Handles for Double Glazing

Below are the types of window handles you’ll need if you have UPVC double glazed windows.

  • Venetian window handles – these are typically fixed by two bolts, similar to the Espag handle (below). However, in contrast to the Espag handle, Venetian window handles have a low projection from the frame. This is beneficial because the handle won’t poke through the blinds, a common problem with other types of window handles. This is a fantastic window handle if you’re looking for something flush to merge neatly with your UPVC windows. Our pear drop handles offer the same fine design and build qualities.
  • Espag window handles – arguably the most recognised type of window handle on UPVC windows. The Espag handle adopts the same design as the cranked handle and has a mental spindle on the back which is attached to the window frame, driving the window mechanism. The spindle is always fixed in position to allow for a firm and secure fixture.
  • Cockspur window handles – unlike Venetian window handles, Cockspur handles are typically fixed by three or four screws which are installed directly into the window’s opening. Cockspur windows are usually found on older properties with older windows that don’t have an internal mechanism. Cockspurs are also found on windows that are designed with a slimmer frame.
  • Tilt and turn handle – this type of handle can be found on both windows and sliding patio doors. This type of window handle is commonly used in high rise flats, as their design makes them easy to clean from the inside. 
  • Monkey tail window handle – ad the name suggests, this type of window handle is shaped like a monkey’s tail, long and with a curve at the bottom. Monkey tail designs work on Espag style windows and are certainly one of the most eye-catching and decorative windows handle designs. Take a look at our monkey tail handles.
  • Spade handles – also known as blade handles, this type of window handle is typically made from aluminium or UPVC depending on the design and material of your windows. These handles also use the two-peg locking mechanism.

Things You’ll Need to Consider When Buying Different Types of Window Handles

Spindle length

Spindle length has a few meanings, it can either mean how much the spindle noses out from the handle base or how far in the spinel goes into the window frame.

If one of your handles breaks or you’re in need of a replacement handle, measure the difference on the same window to get the correct spindle length.

Be aware that some timber windows might have an 8mm cross-section as opposed to the standard 7mm found on UPVC. If this is the case for your window, you can always use spindle sleeves to negate this issue.


You may find that some UPVC window handles are “handed by virtue of their cranked design”. This basically means the handle can only be installed vertically or horizontally on the window frame. Some simple rules to follow if you’re installing UPVC window handles are:

  • Make sure the handles that open anti-clockwise are right-handed
  • Handles that open clockwise are left-handed

You may not even have to consider handing if you’re buying a window handle that doesn’t require it. In this case, you can use the handles to operate in any direction. 

Step Height

Step height is the distance beneath the nose of the handle to the frame where the handle is installed. You need to address step height to ensure the window when closed, is tight and secure.

If you have older UPVC windows, it’s likely they’ll have cockspur handles. To replace them, you’ll need to measure the step height of the handle required. Alternatively, if you’re having your windows replaced by a professional, there’s no need to worry!

The thing with step heights is that various measurements have been used over the years, with some being more common than others. For example, 21mm is more common for a UPVC window and 9mm is commonly used in aluminium windows. 

Fixing Positions

For UPVC windows, you always need to take into account the screw fixing hole positions. If you don’t, when you go to install the replacement handle, you’ll find it extremely difficult to do so. Below, we’ve outlined the types of window handles and their specific fixing instructions:

  • Espag – espag window handles are always 43mm centres, with two fixings.
  • Tilt and turn – again, always the same at 43mm with two fixings
  • Cockspur – on UPVC windows, cockspur handles may change slightly on the outer size from 58 to 62mm

Blade Length

The blade length is the distance from underneath the handle to the tip of the blade. You might find blades on some older UPVC windows. While there are bespoke window handles, blades rarely exist in them. Blades are most commonly seen in Cadenza window handles and some Everest window handles.

Looking to Buy Window Handles?

If you’re in the market for stunning window handles to match with your sash or UPVC windows, we have a fantastic selection to choose from. Take a look at our stock today to see which designs suit your windows. 

If you need any help with selecting a design or you’re not sure what type of window handles will go with your windows, we’d be more than happy to help.


How do you identify a UPVC window handle?

In-line UPVC window handles are always straight and will either turn left or right. They’re sometimes called universal window handles because of this. Cranked handles also come in left and right variations.

Can window handles be replaced?

Of course! In most cases, it’s possible to replace a broken handle and lock with an exact replica. Some people buy extra sets of handles and locks in the event that a handle and/or lock breaks. If you do not have a direct replacement, there are other window handles and locks that should fit your window design.

What is a backset on a window handle?

This is the distance from the underside of the handle’s nose to the bottom of the screw plate.

Do windows need restrictors fitted to them?

Not necessarily. Window restrictors are commonly used in high rise flats and commercial properties for safety reasons, but for residential homes, restrictors are by no means compulsory.