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Cabinet Hinge Types: Choosing the Right Hardware

by Gary Wade • February 21, 2024


Cabinetry forms a significant part of home decor, and the hinges play a vital role in their functionality. Choosing the right type of hinge can be a daunting task due to the myriad of options available. This article aims to simplify the process by providing a comprehensive guide to various cabinet hinge types.

Cabinet Hinges: An Overview

Cabinet hinges, often overlooked, are crucial elements of your cabinetry. They are responsible for the opening and closing of cabinet doors, contributing to the overall functionality and aesthetics of your furniture. There are various cabinet door hinge types available in the market, each designed to cater to a specific design or functional requirement.

Types of Kitchen Cabinet Hinges

Choosing the Right Cabinet Hinge

When it comes to selecting the right hinge, several factors come into play. Here are some key aspects to consider:

1. Door Overlay Style

The overlay style of your cabinet door is the first step in choosing the right hinge. There are two primary styles:

  • Inset: The door sits flush with the cabinet frame, offering a sleek, seamless look.
  • Overlay: The door covers the cabinet opening partially (Partial Overlay) or entirely (Full Overlay) when closed.

It's crucial to match the hinge with the cabinet door style to ensure the door is mounted with the proper amount of clearance.

2. Visibility of the Hinge

Hinges can either be concealed or exposed. Traditional styles of cabinets often feature exposed hinges, while concealed hinges offer a clean exterior look, ideal for a more contemporary style.

Inset Cabinet Hinge

3. Surface Mount or Mortised

Surface mount hinges sit on the surface of the cabinet material and require no hole or mortise. Mortise hinges, on the other hand, are recessed into the cabinet and require a hole to be drilled for installation.

4. Motion Features

Modern hinges come with motion features like soft closing, self-closing, or self-opening. These features reduce noise, prevent slamming, and make closing and opening a door effortless.

Deep Dive into Cabinet Hinge Types

Let's delve deeper into the various cabinet hinge types, exploring their unique features and applications.

1. European Hinges

European hinges, also known as concealed or hidden hinges, are installed on the interior of the cabinet and remain hidden when the door is closed. They are available in various sizes made to fit inset, partial, and full overlay style doors. European hinges offer greater room for adjustments and can support heavier doors.

European Cabinet Hinge Type

2. Inset Hinges

Inset hinges, a type of European hinge, are offset from the edge of the door, allowing the door to sit flush with the cabinet face when closed. They are ideal for inset overlay doors, creating a sleek, flush look.

3. Partial Overlay Hinges

Partial overlay hinges, another type of European hinge, are set back from the edge a bit further than inset hinges. This allows the edge of the door to overlay the cabinet box partially. These hinges are suitable for partial overlay doors.

4. Full Overlay Hinges

Full overlay hinges have a completely straight arm, which makes the offset much greater than partial overlay or inset hinge styles. This type of hinge allows the door to completely overlay the cabinet box.

5. Surface Mount Hinges

Surface mount hinges are mounted to the outside of the frame and the outside of the door, making the entire hinge visible. These hinges are typically used on face frame cabinet types and are ideal when you want to feature the style of the hinge.

Surface Mount Cabinet Hinge

6. Butt Hinges

Composed of two mounting plates and a barrel, butt hinges are straightforward and traditional. One plate is attached to the cabinet door, while the other is attached to the cabinet frame, with the barrel being exposed.

7. Flush Hinges

Flush hinges are similar to butt hinges but have a slimmer profile. They are suitable for completely flush doors where you cannot drill a mortise.

8. Semi-Concealed Hinges

Semi-concealed hinges hide the main mechanism of the hinge behind the cabinet door. However, some parts of the hinge are exposed on the frame or door edge.

9. Wrap-Around Hinges

Wrap-around hinges look similar to semi-concealed hinges but feature either a partial extra wrap around the inside edge of the frame, or a full wrap that continues into the inside of the frame.

Wrap Around Cabinet Hinge

10. T-Style Hinges

T-style hinges have one vertical wing that attaches to the cabinet frame and one horizontal wing that attaches to the outside of the cabinet door. These hinges are heavy-duty, easy to install and are commonly used for sheds and barn doors.

Which Cabinet Hinge Type to Choose

Cabinet hinges may seem small and insignificant, but they play a substantial role in the functionality and aesthetics of your cabinetry. Understanding the various cabinet hinge types can help you make an informed choice that complements your cabinet style and meets your functional requirements. Whether you're a homeowner planning a kitchen remodel or a contractor working on a large-scale project, this guide can serve as a handy reference in your cabinet hinge selection process.

Regardless of the type you choose, ensure that your cabinet hinges are of high quality, offering durability and optimal performance. Remember, the right hinge can make a significant difference in the operation and longevity of your cabinets. So, choose wisely!


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