How to Choose Instrument Knobs

Instrument knob by Monroe Engineering

Are you looking to buy instrument knobs? If so, you’ll need to choose the right type. Also known as control knobs, instrument knobs are used to manually control machines and devices. They consist of a circular-shaped handle that you can grip and turn to adust the machine or device to which they are connected. There are different types of instrument knobs, however. When shopping for instrument knobs, you should consider the following features to choose the right type.

Non-Slip Grip

Since they require gripping to use, you should look for instrument knobs with a non-slip grip. There are knurled instrument knobs, for example, that feature a textured non-slip grip. As shown in the adjacent photo, they don’t have a smooth surface. Rather, knurled instrument knobs have a textured surface consisting of many small and vertical ridges. This patterned texture protects against slippage. You can easily grip a knurled instrument knob without having your hand slip.

Durable Material

You should choose instrument knobs made of a durable material. Instrument knobs, of course, are often used in sensitive applications. If an instrument knob fails, it may damage the machine or device with which it’s used. Instrument knobs made of a durable material are better protected against failure than those made of cheap and weak materials. Stainless steel instrument knobs are particularly durable. You can still find them with a non-slip grip — the grip is typically made of plastic or a similar synthetic material — but they have a stainless steel insert that serves as the connection.

Pointer Indicators

Depending on your application, you may want to choose instrument knobs with pointer indicators. What are pointer indicators exactly? A pointer indicator is a visual representation of an instrument knob’s alignment. In other words, it shows you the instrument knob’s position in relation to the machine or device with which it’s used. Pointer indicators often consist of a single line, which is displayed on top of the instrument knob. As you turn the instrument knob, the line will point in a different direction. Not all applications require pointer indicators. Nonetheless, if you need to see the alignment of your instrument knobs, you should consider choosing them with pointer indicators.

Fiber Reinforcement

Standard instrument knobs consisting of plastic are susceptible to breakage. Plastic can break when exposed to stress. Fortunately, there are fiber-reinforced instrument knobs available. They are still made of plastic, but they have super-strong fibers mixed in to protect them from stress-related damage. Fiber-reinforced instrument knobs may also feature a stainless steel insert.