Best Cabinet Hardware Jig

Guide to the Best Cabinet Hardware Jig [Hands on Review]

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Anyone who’s drilled a hole in a cabinet door or drawer has hesitated. How do I layout holes accurately? Should I use a cabinet jig for just a dozen holes? How do I drill holes for long handle bars? What is the best cabinet hardware jig? In this guide we’ll show you a range of jigs – from the best for pros to the best for a smaller DIY project.

Unfortunately jigs range from $10 up to $300. 

And there are dozens of them from $25-50.

Which makes deciding which one to use a bit of a maze.

While some jigs are designed in a T-shape, others are clamp on and still others are fixed hole cabinet hardware templates. Trying to decide what is best for your project can be difficult.

In this guide, though, we’ll share the differences and, based on dozens of hours of research and hands on use of these jigs show you what’s best for your project.

In a rush? Here’s our recommended jigs: 

  • Editor’s & Professionals Choice: True Position Tools TPT-1934  is a professional grade jig for all knobs and handles. Due to all metal design, industry 
  • Best For Small Jobs: TOURACE Cabinet Jig  is an economical jig I own and have in my toolbox for small projects.
Tips to Install Cabinet Hardware With Jig - Infographic

What is a Cabinet Hardware Jig?

A cabinet hardware jig is an adjustable tool designed to allow accurate, repeated drilling of cabinet handle and knob holes. A jig is commonly designed in a “T” shape with two intersecting rulers that allow for fast and infinite hole layouts on doors and drawers. These jigs feature steel guide bushings and locking screws for ease of use and durability.

Alternatively, cabinet hardware templates are plastic molded guides that are used for small projects. Due to a plastic design they do not work best for repeated, large projects. 

Cabinet Hardware Jig Reviews

NameRatingFeaturesShop
True Position TP-1934
5.0Accurate, all metal construction perfect for large DIY kitchen projects.Check Price
True Position TP-19354.8All the features of the TP-1934 plus a 38″ bar for long handled cabinet hardwareCheck Price
Tourace
4.4Best DIY cabinet hardware jig for small projects with a few handles.Check Price
Kreg KHI-Pull4.1Quality jig great for small projects.Check Price

Editors Choice
The Original Cabinet Hardware Jig – Adjustable Drill Guide for Fast and Accurate Installation of Door and Drawer Front Knobs, Pulls and Handles – Professional Template – True Position Tools – TP-1934
Best Value Jig
TOURACE Cabinet Hardware Jig for Handles and Knobs Aluminum Alloy Drill Guide Sleeve Drawer Pull Wood Drilling Dowelling Tools Set Drawer Knob Pull Drilling Templates Jig Tool
Economy Template
Amerock TMPMULTI Cabinet Door/Drawer Hardware Installation Template Combo Pack
The Original Cabinet Hardware Jig - Adjustable Drill Guide for Fast and Accurate Installation of Door and Drawer Front Knobs, Pulls and Handles - Professional Template - True Position Tools - TP-1934
TOURACE Cabinet Hardware Jig for Handles and Knobs Aluminum Alloy Drill Guide Sleeve Drawer Pull Wood Drilling Dowelling Tools Set Drawer Knob Pull Drilling Templates Jig Tool
Amerock TMPMULTI Cabinet Door/Drawer Hardware Installation Template Combo Pack
All Metal?
Steel Drill Guides?
Carrying Case?
Maximum Handle Height
12″ (longer with TP-1935)
10″
5-1/16″
Shipping
Editors Choice
The Original Cabinet Hardware Jig – Adjustable Drill Guide for Fast and Accurate Installation of Door and Drawer Front Knobs, Pulls and Handles – Professional Template – True Position Tools – TP-1934
The Original Cabinet Hardware Jig - Adjustable Drill Guide for Fast and Accurate Installation of Door and Drawer Front Knobs, Pulls and Handles - Professional Template - True Position Tools - TP-1934
All Metal?
Steel Drill Guides?
Carrying Case?
Maximum Handle Height
12″ (longer with TP-1935)
Shipping
Best Value Jig
TOURACE Cabinet Hardware Jig for Handles and Knobs Aluminum Alloy Drill Guide Sleeve Drawer Pull Wood Drilling Dowelling Tools Set Drawer Knob Pull Drilling Templates Jig Tool
TOURACE Cabinet Hardware Jig for Handles and Knobs Aluminum Alloy Drill Guide Sleeve Drawer Pull Wood Drilling Dowelling Tools Set Drawer Knob Pull Drilling Templates Jig Tool
All Metal?
Steel Drill Guides?
Carrying Case?
Maximum Handle Height
10″
Shipping
Economy Template
Amerock TMPMULTI Cabinet Door/Drawer Hardware Installation Template Combo Pack
Amerock TMPMULTI Cabinet Door/Drawer Hardware Installation Template Combo Pack
All Metal?
Steel Drill Guides?
Carrying Case?
Maximum Handle Height
5-1/16″
Shipping

Last update on 2020-08-08 at 10:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Editors Choice

Last update on 2020-08-08 at 10:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Economy Template

Last update on 2020-06-13 at 21:53 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Value

Last update on 2020-08-08 at 10:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Cabinet Hardware Jig

cabinet hardware jig comparison

I’ve built hundreds of cabinets from raw lumber in a 2-person cabinet shop. 

And, while we started using homemade jigs for a very specific style of cabinet hardware there are jigs available today that make manual methods obsolete.

So what makes one cabinet hardware jig better than another?

Here’s what I look for in the best cabinet hardware jigs:

  • All metal construction
  • Able to handle wide drawers with precision
  • Support for metric and imperial (inches) measurements
  • Firm, metal adjustment knobs to avoid slips
  • Squareness (not always a guarantee!)
  • Pilot hole bushings with hardened steel inserts
  • Support for long handle bars of 12″+  
Personally, I prefer to not use a clamp for speed.

1. True Position Tools TP-1934 Cabinet Hardware Jig

Editor's Rating: 5.0
5/5
True Position Tools Cabinet Hardware Jig

Overview

For a serious DIY’er or professional woodworker the TPT-1934 from True Position Tools is the best on the market. 

Featuring all metal construction, industry best tolerances and upgrade to support longer handle bars this jig will tackle any knob or handle installation.

How to Use

The TPT-1934 cabinet hardware template is one of the popular “T-style” cabinet jigs.

It’s design allows for positioning of cabinet knobs or handles on the door or drawer in an infinite number of settings through the use of sliding adjustments.

Steps:

  • First, assemble the all metal jig according to the included instructions.
  • Then, use the jig to measure the distance required between your handle holes and set the hole spacers.
  • Or, if installing knobs, use the supplied center spacer built into the vertical rail
  • Finally, for both drawer and doors set the stop to the appropriate depth (middle of the door stile, center of the drawer front)
  • If installing knobs or handles in the middle of a door (or for handle bar installations) use the optional extended ruler attachment
  • Use a 5mm jobber bit for drilling the holes

Make sure to test one door or drawer first and fully install a handle or knob to verify you have the right cabinet hardware placement and the jig is properly adjusted.

Cabinet Jig Review

So why is this #1 on the list of the best cabinet hardware jigs? 

True Position Tools owns the market for accurate cabinet hardware jigs. 

And there just isn’t any all metal jig competition. Sure, Kreg is a competitor but their jigs are a different design and don’t offer the flexibility.

PROS
  • Handle widths up to 12″ on center (optional attachment for up to 38″)
  • Reversible design
  • .001″ accuracy
  • Easy to adjust 
  • All metal
  • Lifetime warranty metal bushings
  • Add-on kit to upgrade to TP-1935 “like” length later

CONS

  • Price

2. True Position Tools TP-1935 Cabinet Hardware Jig (Long Bar Handles)

Editor's Rating: 4.8
4.8/5
True Position Tools TP-1935 Cabinet Hardware Jig

Overview

While technically a bigger and better cabinet hardware jig than the TP-1934, I’ve put this #2 due to the extra cost that most hardware installations won’t require. 

So why would you consider the TP-1935? 

Easy. If you have long handle bars on your cabinets over 12″ this jig is a must have. 

And with the cost of those style handles a jig of this size (and cost) is reasonable.

How to Use

Since the TPT-1935 is the same jig as the TPT-1934 it is setup and used the same.

However, as it works for long handle bars it’s extended length ruler allows for handle bars out to 38″ in length.

Cabinet Jig Review

PROS

  • All the features of the TP-1934 plus support for up to 38″ handles.

CONS

  • Additional price

3. Tourace Cabinet Hardware Jig

Editors Rating: 4.4
4.4/5
Tourace Cabinet Hardware Jig

Overview

After trying a Valiant jig (that I found out of square) I picked up this jig for my toolbox. 

And I was pleasantly surprised with it’s construction and accuracy. It included a nice carrying case, was intuitive to use, and only had plastic on the horizontal (blue) guide bars.

And after installing four doors and three drawer handles in under 10 minutes I was sold on this handy jig. 

How to Use

As a T-style cabinet knob jig the Tourace is setup and used similar to the TPT-1934.

A few things to look out for, though:

  • Due to plastic components be sure to take care to firmly lock the sliding guides – but not strip them
  • Make sure to validate square of the assembled jig. 

Cabinet Jig Review

PROS

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Easy to adjust
  • Metal guide bushings
  • Allows for precise centering over door stiles

CONS

  • Plastic jig slides

4. Kreg Tool KHI-PULL Cabinet Hardware Jig

Editors Rating: 4.1
4.1/5
Kreg KHI-PULL  Cabinet Hardware Jig

Overview

For fans of the highly reputable Kreg line this jig is a great option for small projects. And due to it’s no-frills design it can be easily used by just about anyone.

The Kreg jig departs from the T-style jigs and leverages a simple sliding design for it’s guides. And, while this jig is plastic, the drill bit bushings are encased in hardened steel.

How to Use

This style of jig is simpler to setup – and is best when used with Kreg’s popular face clamp.

Simply match the guide bushings to the spacing of your hardware and clamp to the cabinet door or drawer.

Cabinet JIg Review

PROS

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Simple design
  • Metal guide bushings

CONS

  • Limited reach for tall drawers
  • Requires a face cabinet clamp (additional $15-20)

5. Valiant Cabinet Knob Jig

Editor's Rating: 3.0
3/5
Valiant Cabinet Hardware Jig

Overview

This Valiant is one of many True Position Tools-like budget T-style cabinet hardware jigs.

And, after purchasing this jig, I was disappointed with this jig due to a mis-aligned set screw on the main shaft of the jig that caused it to be out-of-square.

And not just a little, it was noticeable over just 5″ on the project I was installing.

How to Use

Like other T-style jigs, including the TPT-1934, this jig is setup for drilling both handles and knobs. 

Cabinet JIg Review

PROS

  • Price
  • Includes locking allen wrench
  • Drill bit included
  • Support for handles and knobs

CONS

  • Main body was out of square to the point it was not usable

6. Amerock Cabinet Knob Jig Template

Editor's Rating: 3.0
3/5
Amerock Cabinet Hardware Jig

Overview

If your DIY skills are stretched to the max with measuring and drilling, a cabinet knob jig template might be best for you.

A cabinet knob jig is a plastic sheet with pre-drilled holes for most popular knob and handle spacing. 

To use on doors, simply select the right holes for your knob or handle and drill holes like you would have with a jig. 

And for drawers repeat the same thing, however you’ll need to locate the drawer center (left to right, up and down).

Tip: Use blue painters tape to hide the holes you shouldn’t use.

How to Use

Of all of the jigs on this list, this one is the easiest to use:

  • First, there are no moving pieces or setup to the jig
  • Your choices are first finding the right hole layout for your cabinet hardware
  • Once you have the right holes, I recommend marking them off with tape (either mark the holes to use, or mark off the holes not to use)

Cabinet Jig Review

PROS

  • Price
  • Easy to use

CONS

  • Fixed hole positions prevent adjustments (eg. finding exact center of a cabinet door)
  • Multiple holes can be confusing and cause drilling in wrong hole if not properly marked

Choosing Cabinet Hardware

Still deciding on what cabinet knobs or handles you want? With thousands of options ot choose from it can be difficult.

So to help decide, we’ve included two lists of the most popular knobs* and handles* that Amazon continually updates:

Bestselling Cabinet Knobs

Last update on 2020-08-08 at 11:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bestselling Cabinet Handles & Pulls

Last update on 2020-08-08 at 08:53 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Other Tools & SUpplies to Have Ready

Now that you have a jig and your hardware in hand there are a few other things you’ll want to have.

Tools to Drill Cabinet Knobs

Kreg face clamp for installing cabinet hardware

It goes without saying you’ll need to have a cordless drill.

But you’ll need a few other tools to make the job go smoothly:

  1. 3/16″ brad-point drill bit
  2. Face clamp (if your jig requires it)
  3. Tape measure

Cabinet knob Installation Supplies

Before you drill holes there might be a few decisions on where to put the cabinet knob.

And that’s a complicated process and an article to itself in the guide to cabinet knob placement.

  1. Sharp pencil
  2. Mounting putty 
  3. Sacrificial wood block
  4. 1-5/8″ 8-32 machine screws for (some) drawer installations
Why the specific screw?
 
Well, most hardware installations assume a 3/4″ thick door. But if your cabinets have a 1/2″ to 5/8″ thick drawer behind that the screw will be too short.
 
And not many places stock a 1-5/8″ 8-32 screw* so I recommend picking up a box. Just check your drawer construction first.

Guide to Cabinet Hardware Jigs

Now onto what I like to call the 5 W’s and How:

  • Why do I need a cabinet jig?
  • When should I use a cabinet jig?
  • What other tools will I need?
  • Who needs to help?
  • Where do I place my hardware?
  • How do I install cabinet hardware?

Seems basic perhaps, but having a cabinet jig is just one part of the overall project. So let’s explore what else you’ll need to consider for your project.

Why do I need a cabinet jig?

By now you’ve taken a look over at least one jig. If you haven’t, go ahead and take a look at the TP-1934* features so you’ll have a deeper understanding of what these jigs offer. 

For a DIY project here’s a few things to consider:

    • Accuracy as manual methods are tough to repeat over large #’s of holes
    • Cost savings when manual methods may end up damaging a cabinet door or drawer front
    • Visual alignment for both knobs and handles to ensure they are perfectly aligned

When should I use a cabinet hardware jig?

So let’s be economical. 

If you have 2-3 doors and a drawer there’s an alternative: a tape measure, hole punch and some careful measuring. 

And triple check your measurements.

But when do you need a jig? Well, here’s my criteria for a DIY project:

    • More than four doors and especially if the knobs or handles will meet “side by side” as any mis-alignment will be visible
    • Multiple drawers or a “drawer stack” where left to right perfection is a must
    • Adding and subtracting fractions isn’t your thing
    • You or a spouse is a perfectionist 

What other tools will I need?

I’d recommend these four tools in addition to your cabinet hardware jig:

    • Lightweight cordless drill
    • 3/16″ drill bit
    • High quality tape measure with a wide blade
    • Phillips screwdriver

Who needs to help me?

Installing cabinet hardware is a job for one. 

Or, two if you’re not the decision maker on cabinet hardware placement. And I fall into this category. 

So I recommend help for:

    • Deciding initial knob placement
    • Validation after the first door and drawer has it’s hardware installed

After that, a helper is great to work behind you with a Phillips screwdriver or cordless drill set to a low clutch.

Where do I place my hardware?

This is a question only the owner of the cabinet can answer. But, check out my guide to cabinet hardware placement for a few ideas.

How do I install cabinet hardware?

Let’s look at the basic steps and we’ll cover each in more depth later:

    1. Order your hardware
    2. Decide on your cabinet hardware placement
    3. Setup your cabinet hardware jig to the desired hole locations
    4. Double check your measurements
    5. Triple check
    6. Drill one door and test installing a knob or handle
    7. KEEP the cabinet hardware jig setup and drill all similar doors
    8. Double check the jig hasn’t slipped every few doors
    9. Convert the jig to drawers and repeat steps #3-6

What's a sacrificial block and why do I need one?

Cabinet Hardware Jig Sacrificial Block
Sacrificial block on back of jig

If you haven’t drilled cabinet hardware holes before then the term blow-out might not  mean anything to you.

But once you drill a fast hole in a door and find a splintered back of the door or drawer you’ll realize what blow-out is.

How do you prevent damage with a sacrificial block?  Here’s how:

    • First, make sure you are using a sharp (or NEW) brad point drill bit
    • The sacrificial block is a 3/4″x3″x6″ block of scrap wood placed on the backside of the door or drawer where the drill bit will come through
    • Firmly hold or use a face clamp (safest) to hold the block in place while drilling
    • When drilling make sure to clear the shavings a few times to keep the bit clean for optimal cutting

In the picture above you can see I used a scrap of pine as my sacrificial block. But it can be safer to use hardwood if your depth judgement isn’t precise (takes longer to drill through hardwood!).

Why you want a metal cabinet hardware jig and not plastic

It’s all about slipping and durability when it comes to metal versus plastic.

But first, let’s understand the three general types of cabinet hardware jigs and their construction:

    1. Fixed hole cabinet hardware jigs that are initially appealing due to price and the ability to skip measurements. But that makes the less flexible and accurate for perfectly centering your holes.
    2. Clamp-on cabinet hardware jigs like the Kreg and a dozen other varieties of mostly fixed-hole jigs. While these jigs are suitable for smaller projects they are harder to get that perfect 31/64-th’s alignment that is surprisingly required on highly symmetrical installations. 
    3. Inter-locking rule cabinet jigs that depend on two intersecting rules and sliding bore mounts. And while these are a mix of plastic and metal construction, they are my preferred jig and focus of this section.

When it comes to the inter-locking rule cabinet jigs it just doesn’t make sense to choose plastic as the material when this jig is built around extremely precise measurements. D

Due to that plastic can fail if:

    • Over-torquing the adjustment screws can strip the metal housing that is embedded in plastic.
    • Plastic will not be as straight as a machined metal rule. Period.
    • For jigs with a plastic vertical rule squareness to the horizontal rule will be an issue. Maybe not the first use, but over adjustments, inevitable drops, and normal wear-and-tear it will shift out of square.

Buying Guide for the Best Cabinet Hardware Jigs

The reason I recommend the True Position Tools jig is it’s reputation for being exactly square and made from high quality materials throughout.

I found this out recently when I purchased and tested the Valiant jig. Due to a design flaw in the set screw the Valiant jig, pictured below, is almost 1/32″ out of square. And that can be noticeable on a cabinet with short handles and a disaster for longer handles or bars.

To demonstrate this, in the below diagrams the TOURACE is in aluminum and blue; while the more expensive Valiant is in black. Notice the TOURACE has a set screw to keep the jig square and the nearly identical Valiant does not.

Notice the open gap between the silver rule and the right side of the jig (serious flaw)
cabinet hardware jig tourace vs. valiant
TOURACE jig (left) with set screw to keep the jig square, missing on the Valiant (right)

Plastic vs. Metal Cabinet Hardware Jigs

If your project involves a few doors and no drawers then a plastic jig might work. While a plastic jig is $10-15 cheaper there are a few considerations:

    • Plastic jigs with pre-drilled holes and no adjustment might not allow you to place the holes exactly center on your workpiece.
    • Sliding jigs with a plastic ruler should hold up for a few doors. But for larger projects with many adjustments metal is preferred for holding power.
    • Drawers require a long clearance from the jig edge and metal will outperform plastic for accuracy.

Cabinet Jigs for Long Handles

If your cabinet project involves handles that extend over 12″ you’ll want to go with the True Precision 1935 jig to ensure accuracy of holes door-to-door. 

Why? Simple, shorter jigs would require two setups and holes to be drilled. And a simple difference in door or drawer front length will throw off your handle hole spacing and cause a disaster.

Alternatives to a Cabinet KNob Jig

While a jig is best for most projects there are a few alternatives to using a jig.

So let’s take a look at how else you can install your cabinet knobs or pulls.

Using a Cabinet Hardware Template

Unlike a jig, the hardware template has fixed hole positions that are great for simplicity but bad for putting holes exactly where you want them. 

So when should you use one? Consider:

  • A one-time job with less than a half dozen holes
  • Exact placement in the center of the door stile doesn’t matter
  • Slab doors (no frames)
  • Knobs (not handles)

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use for novices 

Cons

  • Plastic drill guide holes lack long term durability
  • Cannot shift template small fractions for perfect center alignment

Frequently Asked Questions for Cabinet Hardware Jigs

How do you install bar pulls on cabinets?

The best method is to use a cabinet hardware jig built for bar pulls. Because you need repeated placement across multiple drawers and doors a jig built specifically for this will improve accuracy and visual placement.

How do you use cabinet hardware templates?

While each cabinet hardware jig will vary in it’s use there are three basic steps. First, do all similar doors or drawers together and avoid changing your jig settings. Second, use a face clamp to secure the jig to the door or cabinet before drilling. And lastly, use a large backing block on the back side of the door or drawer to avoid “blow out”.

How do you make a cabinet jig?

While it’s possible to make a simple, fixed hole jig I advise to purchase one as they are relatively inexpensive for small jobs. But, for a quick door jig, you can create a jig using two plywood strips nailed in an “L”. Then use a third piece of plywood as the face piece that you will drill two guide holes in. But, this method is not as accurate as commercially available jigs.

What is a cabinet hardware jig?

A cabinet hardware jig is a tool built to help install cabinet handle and knob hardware. The jig provides guide holes for holes to be drilled with repeatable accuracy. Cabinet hardware can be quickly installed without concern for crooked handles or knobs.

Summary

Hopefully you found this article useful in deciding what cabinet hardware jig you need for your next project. Be sure to check out the resources and related articles below for more information.

Resources

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