What Adjustable Handwheels Can Be Used For

What Adjustable Handwheels Can Be Used For

Handwheels (also known as handknobs or handgrips) are a type of handle or knob that is commonly used to adjust, tighten or clamp on things such as machinery, domestic appliances, products and equipment.

There are many different types available and they can be used across a wide variety of applications from those needing a quick adjustment to those that require additional handles or bearings for more precise, accurate alterations.

Handwheel Types

The sort of material needed will vary depending on the type of application it is required for such as domestic use, manufacturing and medical. Here are some examples;

  • Light duty plastic

The lightweight design of these handwheels makes them best suited to applications for things such as tripods, machinery and equipment.

  • Ergonomic soft touch

Ideal for things such as medical equipment, the soft touch grip is popular for use on mobility aids and medical apparatus.

  • Heavy duty

Durable and robust these are perfect for applications with regular heavy use or that might need to withstand exposure to knocks, collisions, bumps or harmful substances.


Handwheels are made from a diverse assortment of materials suitable for a range of purposes. Some of the more widely used materials include;

Aluminium – this lightweight metal provides good electrical and thermal conductivity, is highly reflective and resistant to oxidation. 

Cast iron – a composite made mostly of iron but that also contains trace amounts of carbon and silicon.

Steel – this commercial iron can be used similarly to cast iron but differs with its malleability and lower carbon content.

Stainless steel – both chemical and corrosion resistant this is a popular choice for potentially hazardous environments and has a relatively high pressure rating.

Plastic – there are various types of plastic materials that can be used including thermoplastic, Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastic (GRP) and thermosetting polymers.  

Other materials sometimes used include reinforced nylon, Bakelite, brass and die cast alloys.

Handwheel Variations

Handwheels come not only in a wide range of materials but also solid or spoked and are available with or without keyways – all of which is determined by your requirements.

  • Handwheel styles include scalloped, star, cross, tri-star, 6 point and knurled knobs which have thread inserts (female, male and through thread).
  • Solid or disc handwheels have knurled, moulded edges designed to give a better grip and can be purchased with or without handles. Safety variants available mean that the clutch on an adjustable handwheel can be engaged by pushing or pulling the wheel on its spindle.
  • Spoked handwheels are used as turning mechanisms that use manual rotation to make adjustments. These handwheels generally come in 2 or 3 spoke designs but can have more and a range of handle options.
  • Usually the rim of the handwheel acts as a grip but where needed it can be beneficial to add on a stationary, revolving, or foldaway handle for ease of use.

Handwheel Applications

Handwheels are designed for tightening, securing, fastening and clamping on everything from home products, equipment, appliances and machinery. These can include things such as;

  • Manually operate valves
  • Medical / mobility aids
  • Precision medical equipment
  • Precision medical instruments
  • Rehabilitation and disability aids
  • Metrology machines
  • Boat building
  • Plant construction
  • Armament fabrication
  • Precision machinery
  • Medical equipment
  • Manufacturing
  • Display equipment
  • Sewing machines

From machinery and equipment to exhibition stands and medical aids, handwheels are a fast, affordable way to make adjustments, clamp, secure or tighten – with their easy to grip surface and wide range of versatile options.