How to select the right cabinet hinge for your home

How to select the right cabinet hinge for your home

Choosing hinges for your cabinets might seem like an easy task, but there are many more choices and styles than most people realize. Choosing the right cabinet hinge requires careful consideration and planning.

Hinge Outlet is here to help.

For more than a decade, HingeOutlet.com has delivered the highest quality door hinges at the best possible prices. We offer the largest selection of residentialcommercialheavy duty, and marine door hinges online, as well as door accessories like wood screws, door hinge stops, ball catches, flush bolts, and more. In addition to our premium product offering from the world’s leading hinge manufacturers, HingeOutlet.com manufactures a custom line of door hinge products.

Read on for your complete guide to selecting the right cabinet hinge for your project. Any questions? Call (888-250-8133) or email Hinge Outlet (sales@hingeoutlet.com), and we’ll be glad to help.

Cabinet Hinge Types

The first step to selecting the right cabinet hinge is to understand cabinet hinge types and their appropriate applications:

  1. H and HL Cabinet Hinge - H and HL Cabinet Hinges get their names from their shapes – each resembles the letters of the alphabet for which they’re named. H and HL Cabinet Hinges are installed on the surface of the cabinet, and are not adjustable. H and HL Cabinet Hinges are available in a variety of finishes.   
  2. Full Wrap Cabinet Hinges - Full Wraparound Cabinet Hinges screw to the edge of the frame, wrapping 3 sides of the frame for improved operational stability. Full Wraparound Hinges can be used with overlay, flush, or inset overlay cabinet doors.
              

  3. Partial Wrap Cabinet Hinges - Partial Wrap Cabinet Hinges provide similar door stability and functionality as Full Wrap Cabinet Hinges, but instead screw into the inside of the frame instead of the edge. As a result, Partial Wrap Cabinet Hinges wrap just 2 sides of the frame instead of three.  Partial Wrap Cabinet Hinges are compatible with overlay, flush, or inset overlay cabinet doors. 
      

  4. Face Frame Cabinet Hinges - 

    Face Frame Cabinet Hinges are partially concealed hinges. The part attached to the frame is visible, while the part attached to the door is hidden, unless the door is open. Face Frame Cabinet Hinges are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and finishes, allowing you to completely customize your hinges to your cabinet thickness and design style. Certain Face Frame Cabinet Hinges are self-closing.

    There are 4 main types of Face Frame Hinges:

    1. Variable Overlay Cabinet Hinges allow flexibility because your cabinet door does not have to overlap your frame by a set dimension (such as ½” or ¼”). Variable Overlay Cabinet Hinges come in a variety of sizes and finishes.
    2. Partial Wrap (Wraparound) Cabinet Hinges screw into the edge or inside of the frame and wrap 2-3 sides of the frame for superior stability. 
    3. Inset Cabinet Hinges come in either a hidden mount, where the hinge is mounted on the inside edge of the door and cabinet frame, or surface mounted on the outside of the door and frame.  
    4. H-Style Cabinet Hinges are named as such for the alphabetic shape the hinge resembles. H-Style Cabinet Hinges are considered more traditional from a design perspective, are completely visible even when the cabinet door is closed. 


  5. Surface Mount Cabinet Hinges - Surface Mount Cabinet Hinges are mounted on the inside of the cabinet frame – no mortise installation required – and are completely concealed. Surface Mount Cabinet Hinges, also called Invisible Cabinet Hinges or Concealed Cabinet Hinges, originated in Europe. Some Surface Mount Cabinet Hinges are adjustable.
     

  6.  Soft Close Cabinet Hinges - Soft Close Cabinet Hinges are a type of surface mount cabinet hinge that closes gently, no matter how much force is exerted to close the cabinet door. Soft Close Cabinet Hinges are popular with families, reducing noise and the risk of injury, while protecting your investment. Soft Close Cabinet Hinges are precision adjustable, therefore we recommend you hire a professional installer for the best performance outcome.

  7. Self-Closing Cabinet Hinges - Self-Closing Cabinet Hinges are just that – cabinet hinges that enable you to close the door without having to guide it to a complete close… a complete lifesaver in the kitchen! So how do they work?

    Self-Closing Cabinet Hinges have springs built in, giving them just enough added closing power to help finish the closing action. To activate the self-closing action on a Self-Closing Cabinet Hinge, give it a gentle nudge. Once the door reaches a certain point in the closing process, the spring activates and pulls the door closed the rest of the way, so that it is securely shut against the cabinet.  

    Hinge Outlet offers Self-Closing Cabinet Hinges in a variety of decorative finishes and styles. With periodic oil and maintenance, our Self-Closing Cabinet Hinges will last the lifetime of your cabinets.

  8. Demountable Cabinet Hinges: Single and Double

    Demountable Cabinet Hinges allow you to remove the cabinet door. Demountable Cabinet Hinges come in handy when you’re cleaning, and especially if you anticipate you’ll be staining or painting your cabinets at some point after installation.  Demountable Cabinet Hinges are available in Single and Double Demountable Cabinet Hinge styles:

    Single Demountable Cabinet Hinges are installed on the face of the cabinet frame with screws, and the hinge fits into a slot on the edge of the door.

    Double Demountable Cabinet Hinges have two slots - one in the face of the cabinet frame and one on the edge of the door.

  9. Self-Mortise Cabinet Hinges - Self-Mortise Cabinet Hinges are stylish and sturdy hinges that don’t require mortises. Self-Mortise Cabinet Hinges are used on Inset Cabinet Doors and are an excellent choice for adding decorative detail to your cabinets.

    The downside is, with no mortises, if the screws are protruding at all, the Self-Mortise Cabinet Hinge won't close properly, so we recommend you hire a professional installer for this type of hinge. 

Next, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the different styles of cabinet door installation, and that will help you decide what type of hinge will work best for your cabinet doors.

For the purpose of selecting cabinet hinges, Cabinet Doors are identified by the style of installation used in the cabinet construction process:

  1. Overlay Cabinet Doors



    Overlay Cabinet doors do exactly what the name implies: They cover the cabinet opening completely, overlapping the cabinet case or face frame on all sides.

    Overlay Cabinet Doors can be matched to specific hinges of various dimensions. The most common are ¼”, 3/8” and ½”.

    Overlay doors can used demountable hinges (single or double), face mount, flush mount and full and partial wrap hinges.

  2. Full Inset Cabinet Doors - See white cabinet in below picture.

    Full Inset Cabinet Doors fit entirely within the cabinet opening and sit flush with the cabinet sides or face frames when in the closed position. 

  3. Partial Inset Cabinet Doors – See Brown Cabinet in above picture.

    Partial-inset, 3/8" inset or lipped doors overlap the cabinet opening slightly on all sides, but a 3/8" x 3/8" shoulder machined along all edges on the back of the door allows part of the door thickness to sit inside the opening.

  4. Offset Cabinet Doors

    Offset Cabinet Doors are common in older homes, and are compatible with H, L, and strap hinges, as well as surface mount hinges.

Now that you know about hinge and cabinet door types, we have a few helpful hints for proper cabinet door hinge installation:

  1. Screw Holes - If you’re remodeling your home and are replacing older cabinet hinges, you’ll probably need to fill the existing screw holes, because the screw holes will likely be in different places on newer hinges. Simply fill the holes from the old hinges, then sand and refinish the area. After that, you can drill new holes for the new hinges.
  2. How to measure your cabinets to select the correct cabinet hinge:
a) How do you measure the cabinet hinge overlay?

  1. Apply a piece of tape to the frame of the cabinet on the hinged side of the door so that it even with the edge of the door.
  2. Open the cabinet door and measure from the edge of the tape (inside edge) to the edge of the opening of the cabinet. This is the overlay.

b) How do you measure the cabinet hinge inset?

  1. With the door closed, part of the thickness of the door fits inside the opening of the cabinet and is called the inset.
  2. Inset is measured on the edge of the door. Possible inset dimensions include 3/8″, 1/2″, 5/8″ and 3/4″. Earlier cabinets used 1/2″, 5/8″ and 3/4″"  

    Now that you know about hinge and cabinet door types, we have a few helpful hints for proper cabinet door hinge installation:

    Now that you’ve narrowed your hinge choices by type and cabinet door installation preference, you can make your final hinge selections by picking the best features and finishes for your home.

    Hinges are made from a variety of metals including stainless steel, brass, steel, and bronze. Finishes include primed, polished and plated, and rust-resistant depending on your project needs.

    Features include items like self-closing or soft-closing action on a cabinet hinge.

    Shopping on HingeOutlet.com is simple. Click on the cabinet hinge image or description and you’ll find all the details you need including the metal composition, finishes available, the inset and offset size when applicable, special features, mounting details, dimensions, and price.

    How many cabinet hinges do I need to order?

    Now that you’ve learned about hinge sizes, hole patterns, and types of cabinet doors and hinges, you need to start counting your doors.  A couple things to make a note of before purchasing your door hinges:

    1. Most cabinet doors have two hinges per door. When in doubt, err on the side of too much support rather than too little.
    1. Most hinges today are sold in pairs.
    2. A pair of hinges is two complete sets of cabinet hinges.

    That’s it! Five steps to picking the perfect cabinet door hinges for your project. Our best piece of advice from here is to invest in quality. Budgets are always tight on home improvement projects, but the area to spend is on things that keep your home together and functioning at it’s best.

    Hinges keep cabinet doors held in place. Bad ones can cause damage to floors, operate noisily, and often require replacement soon after installation.

    Choosing a high-quality cabinet door hinge can make a world of difference in your world!

    Have additional questions? Hinge Outlet is your best resource for the largest selection of high quality cabinet door hinges at the lowest possible prices. Our helpful staff can help you determine the right cabinet hinges for your doors, how many you’ll need, and any other accessories that you’ll need to complete the job. Visit hingeoutlet.com today!

    Click Here for our Downloadable PDF Cabinet Hinge Guide!

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