I have a Honeywell door handle with keypad. To open the door I lift the handle up instead of the intuitive pushing it down. I asked the person who installed it to fix that and they checked and told me that is the way it's supposed to work.

Not believing them I asked my handyman to check and he too told me that's how it should operate.

I still don't believe that is how it should work. Before I open it up and fiddle with it myself I'd liked to be armed with the knowledge of what I should be looking for or how this might be happening.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Just to confirm - it only opens by turning the handle so the free end moves upward, and not pushing it down? Or does it open either direction you turn the handle?
    – Criggie
    Mar 20, 2023 at 1:59
  • 1
    It must be an extra security feature. (Even if one forgets to lock the door, thieves will still think that it is locked :-). Mar 20, 2023 at 2:32
  • Proves nothing, but, I've been at a hotel where this was the case. (I think it was a keycard device). Mar 20, 2023 at 11:07
  • Hmm, most handles like this I've seen can go both up and down. Guess it varies by brand. Mar 20, 2023 at 13:47

3 Answers 3


This is more than just "what is intuitive". It is an important convenience issue if you are trying to enter if the door is unlocked but closed and you have your hands full - elbows work great for pushing a handle down but not for pushing a handle up. It is also an accessibility issue - in fact the switch from knobs to handles has been great in general for accessibility and this would be a step backwards. And most importantly, this is a safety issue - if you are inside and need to get out quickly due to a fire, you should be able to rely on muscle memory to push a handle down just like all the other door handles.

My hunch is that this is a left vs. right issue. This lock is currently set to open on the left side. With the handle facing the right, it should turn clockwise to open and instead it is turning counter-clockwise. If the lock were to open on the right and the handle facing the left then counter-clockwise is the way it should turn to open so that it opens by pushing down.

It is possible to design a lock to work both ways. It is also possible to design a lock so that there is one model for "open on the left" and a different model for "open on the right". One possibility is that the opening direction is set in the handle itself, since you will normally want one handle (inside or outside) to open clockwise and the other to open counter-clockwise. In fact, this very similar if not identical model available from Home Depot Pro has installation instructions which include directions for reversing the handles. The pictures are a little confusing because they imply that you initially installed them to have the handles sticking out in the opening direction, which would never make sense, and want to switch to stick out in the other direction. But my hunch is that if you have them "upside down" this would switch the turn direction as well.

  • 2
    The handles are correct. Possibly the locking key cylinder goes in in two different ways 180 deg apart. I am surprised the OP's key slot is parallel to the handle. On my locks the key slots are vertical and perpendicular to the handle.. Mar 19, 2023 at 5:18
  • This answer doesn't cover the actual problem. It seems superficially correct, so it's getting vote-blasted.
    – isherwood
    Mar 23, 2023 at 13:09

Unfortunately your installer did not install it correctly.

You can reverse the handles following this simple instructions.


fig 12

from: Honeywell Models 8734001, 8734101, 8734301, 8734401

  • 10
    I am not sure that will work. If the handle was turned around 180 deg, it would interfere with the closing of the door. Mar 19, 2023 at 10:48
  • 3
    @RohitGupta Agreed, note the orientation of the keyway. Mar 19, 2023 at 12:40
  • 4
    Which is why I put the full manual link in my answer and not the picture. With the next page, this page makes sense. Without it, this picture (and answer) seems strange. Mar 19, 2023 at 13:13
  • 5
    Then why didn't you post the next picture? (I.e. fig. 12) It's rotating the lock cylinder 180 deg that determines which way the handle turns. Mar 19, 2023 at 14:26
  • 4
    It seems to me the first and most prominent item in the instructions should be to address the question of fittment for a left-opening or a right-opening door. The instructions should state that to switch to the other door opening direction in addtion to switching the handles, the lock cylinder must be pulled out, rotated 180 deg and reinserted, and reference Fig 12. Mar 19, 2023 at 15:46

The handles are installed correctly. The issue is that your "tailpiece" was not installed correctly.

Check to verify that your lock's tailpiece was installed vertically.

If installed Horizontally then your lock will not function correctly.


enter image description here

  • Are these instructions for the Honneywell lock of the OP? Mar 23, 2023 at 1:20
  • 2
    This is the correct answer. I've installed hundreds of such locksets, and if the actuator bar is 90 or 180 degrees out of position this is the result.
    – isherwood
    Mar 23, 2023 at 13:06
  • Model 8734401 is the Oil Rubbed Bronze version of the Honeywell door handle with keypad that the OP asked about. The ASIN identifier on Amazon is B01N4WCYQO.
    – Earl
    Mar 24, 2023 at 17:52

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