When it comes to types of cabinet hinges, you’re spoiled for choice. However, the type of cabinet door you have will help you narrow down your choices right out of the gate. From this point, you can really start to look at styles, special features, and finishes based on your personal preferences, needs, and your home’s style.
If you’re about to go to the hardware store to look at types of hinges, we recommend taking a quick peek at this guide to ensure that you don’t get overwhelmed. We’re going to list out the top 19 types of hinges below for you.
How to Measure for Cabinet Hinges
Getting accurate measurements of your new hinges is a critical piece to figuring out which types of cabinet hinges will work best for your project. You’ll want to measure the door overlay to come up with precise measurements.
To measure your overlay correctly, you want to put the cabinet door where it’ll go once you install your hinges. Put a piece of tape from the door to the door frame to create a makeshift hinge. Then, you want to open the door and measure the distance from the edge of your tape to the cabinet’s opening. This measurement is the overlay measurement.
Picking out a type of cabinet hinge for your project is something you want to be careful with because it can impact the overall look of your space. Metal hinges with screws. In light by Dominick Guzzo / CC BY-SA 2.0
It’s also critical to ensure that your hinge is facing the correct way. A right-handed hinge gets designated as RH, and a left-handed hinge has a LH designation. When it comes to your measurements, it’s very common to be concerned that you’re not 100% sure which hinge will work best. You can always take pictures of your cabinets and have a store employee help you narrow your choices down.
Since your hinges attach your cabinet door to the frame, the amount of hinges you need will depend on the weight and height of the door. Common measurements include:
- Two Hinges – These work for doors that weigh less than 11 pounds and are less than 40 inches high.
- Three Hinges – Three hinges are meant for doors that weigh between 13 to 20 pounds and that are between 40 and 60 inches high.
- Four Hinges – These hinges are four doors between 29 and 33 pounds and that are between 60 to 80 inches high.
- Five Hinges – Use five hinges if your doors are between 40 and 48 pounds and are between 80 and 85 inches high.
Also, you have two types of hinge installations available, and you have to consider this when you shop for your types of cabinet hinges. They include:
- Concealed Hinges (Mortise) – These are permanent installation hinges that attach inside the cabinet frame and door, and they work well on inset doors.
- Decorative Hinges (Nonmortise) – These hinges don’t require placement into the cabinetry and you fasten them with screws.
The final considerations to keep in mind when you shop for any type of hinges include:
- Adjustable hinges allow you to have different overlay closure
- Hinges get specified as being left or right for doors. Some also get classified to use on frameless or framed cabinetry. If you’re not sure which one you have, take a few pictures to reference when you get to the store.
- Self-closing hinge systems have a spring that will pull the door closed when the door is close to the cabinet. This ensures that your door stays closed.
- Soft-close types of cabinet hinges are available on a few built-in hinges where the mechanism closes the door softly. This makes your kitchen quieter because the doors won’t slam.
1. Barrel Hinge
Barrel hinges are a nice type of cabinet hinge if you’re someone who wants a hinge that you can’t see on your cabinet. You’ll see these cabinet hinges used in woodworking for any items that have lids like jewelry boxes or wooden storage boxes. However, they also work just as well when it comes to cabinets. You’ll have to correctly size this type of hinge to ensure that it matches your cabinet’s thickness level because they’re available in several different depths and heights.
This type of cabinet hinge is slightly more tricky to fit than any hinge that sits on top of the surface of your cabinet, and you may need to enlist the help of a carpenter or a professional cabinet fitter to install. Using your drill bit, you want to drill a hole the same width as the barrel hinge needs to be drilled along the edge of the cabinet door. You’ll drill a second matching hole in the frame. The barrel hinges will slot into place and get connected by an arm that allows the door to swing open and closed.
2. Butt Hinge
Butt hinges come with two sides that face each other and they join in the middle using a pin or ball joint. This is a very simple type of cabinet hinge design that you find used on a huge range of cabinets because of how reliable and simple it is. You’ll fix one side of the hinge to the main frame on your cabinet and the other side gets fixed to the cabinet door. They’re very easy to install, and you can fit them without difficulty as long as you own a screwdriver.
This is a fairly budget-friendly option that is easy to find if you look in the hardware section of any home improvement store. You should note that some of the hinges will be visible on your cabinet when you finish the installation process when you close the door. So, you should pick out a metal and finish that you like the look of.
3. Decorative Hinge
Decorative types of cabinet hinges are usually those that are the most functional that still retain a very decorative look. They can also be faux hinges that don’t really have a purpose other than design aesthetics. A decorative hinge is a nice way to give your cabinets a specific look, and they can help them look ornate, modern, or more rustic, depending on which hinge you choose. These types of cabinet hinges are available in a broad range of finishes and colors, including glossy copper, matte black, gold, stainless steel, and rose gold.
A decorative hinge is one you want when part of the hinge is noticeable at all times, no matter if your cabinet is open or closed. Untitled by David Grant / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
4. Demountable Hinge
These hinge styles make it possible to remove your cabinet doors when you attach them to either clean or repair them. It’s also a popular choice if you’re going to repaint them, and they’re popular for kitchen cabinets because you can remove the doors without taking the hardware off to wipe down any grease splatters or other messes. They come in single or double demountable designs.
You can easily install this hinge on the cabinet frame, and the other end of the hinge will fit into a slot on the door without any screws to attach it. This lets you carefully slip the door off when you need to without having to unscrew anything. A double demountable hinge will fit into slots on the cabinet frame and on the door without any screws to install it.
5. Face Frame Hinge
This type of cabinet hinge is invisible from the outside of your cabinet, and you can only see them when you actually open the door. They’re very easy to install, they operate on a reliable level, and they won’t alter how your cabinets look while being inexpensive. Each of these attributes makes them a very popular choice, and this is why they are some of the most commonly used types of hinges for cabinets throughout the United States.
When you look at the hinge, it’s easy to see how it works. You’ll fit one side of your face frame hinge into the cabinet’s interior, and then you’ll fit the other one on the back of the cabinet door. You can typically get them in stainless or brushed steel, and this prevents them from rusting. So, they’re good to use in a room with a higher moisture level, like your bathroom or laundry room. The color of the metal isn’t usually a buying consideration with this type of cabinet hinge because you don’t see them unless you open your cabinets.
6. Flush Hinge
A flush type of cabinet hinge gets the name because when it’s closed, one side of your hinge sits inside of the other side, and this makes it 100% flush. It works very close to the way a butt hinge does with one side fixed to the door and one side to the cabinet. The biggest benefit of this hinge is that due to the ability to sit flush when it’s closed, it takes up less space in your cabinet because it’s more streamlined. Also, it usually takes less time to install, and you can DIY. However, like the butt hinge, you can see these hinges from the outside of your cabinet, so you need to pick out a finish that you’re happy with.
7. Frameless Hinge
These types of cabinet hinges are also called surface mount hinges because you fix them onto your cabinet’s surface. They also don’t require a mortise, and this makes them very easy to fit. They also feature an adjustable design to them, and this allows you to alter the hinges to let the door open and close at the exact right angle you need. You mount these hinges to the inside of the frame and the cabinet door, and this makes them invisible once you close your cabinet door. This is why the finish doesn’t matter as much.
8. Full Overlay Hinge
A full overlay type of cabinet hinge works well for a single cabinet door that covers the entire cabinet frame when you close it. You can attach these hinges to both the inside of the cabinet frame and the inside of the cabinet door itself. You won’t be able to see them from the outside of the cabinet when you close the door, and this allows for a very sleek and modern appearance.
9. Half Overlay Hinge
When you talk about an overlay, it refers to a specific way that your cabinet doors sit on the cabinet frame. Overlay cabinets are designs where your doors sit on top of the frame and cover the frame completely so you can’t see it. The opposite type of cabinet would be an insert frame where your cabinet door slots perfectly inside of the frame. A half overlay is where you have two doors that sit on top of the cabinet frame and meet in the middle when you close them.
If you look behind the closing edge of your doors where they meet, you’ll have either a partitioning wall or a central post. This type of cabinet door requires you to install a half overlay hinge, and you attach your hinge to the partitioning wall. In turn, you can snugly open and close the doors against one another without them touching. The hinges need to be on the smaller side to let them both fit on the central partition. How the hinges look isn’t heavily considered since you don’t see them when you close the cabinet doors.
10. Heavy Duty Hinge
Heavy-duty types of cabinet hinges are ones that you’ll see in industrial settings more often than in residential ones. You can expect these hinges to hold more weight than regular ones, and you may see them used in medical or military facilities.
However, it’s possible to use these types of cabinet hinges in your home if you have very heavy cabinet doors due to them being oversized or due to the material. Barrel and pivot hinges are common heavy-duty hinge types to consider, and they can hold a lot of weight while ensuring that it’s easy to open and close the door. Usually, these hinges can get up to ¼-inch thick, and they have an intended use on doors of at least 1,000 pounds. So, this isn’t usual for home use.
It’s rare to see heavy-duty hinges on residential doors, but they can be a popular choice if you’re someone who has a larger metal door that weighs a few hundred pounds. Gate hinge by Roberta Taylor / CC BY-NC 2.0
11. Hidden Hinge
A hidden hinge isn’t one that you’ll see from the outside of the cabinet when the door is closed, as the name suggests. They’re also called concealed or invisible hinges, and they can help you get the perfect streamlined look in your luxurious kitchen design. They will only attach to the inside of your cabinet door and the cabinet frame so that the doors give the impression that they’re floating on your cabinet frame’s face.
One of the biggest benefits of this hinge type is that you can put them where you need them to be without negatively impacting how your cabinets look. If you have slight imperfections in how you measure, these hinges can help hide them because you won’t see any differences in the placement when you look at them from the outside.
12. Inset Hinge
An inset type of cabinet hinge is more decorative in nature. The design of this hinge allows one side to get fitted to the cabinet door’s outside, and you can see it when you close your cabinet door. These hinges come with a single narrow side, and this is the side that you see on your cabinet when the doors are closed. The other side of your hinge is more square or rectangular-shaped and wide, and this is the side that attaches to your cabinet door on the inside. This is a more old-fashioned hinge choice that you commonly see in kitchen cabinets if you have an older house. If you pick out this hinge, you want to pay careful attention to what the decorative portion looks like because you’ll see it all of the time.
13. Invisible Hinge
An invisible hinge may also be called a concealed hinge. However, there is an actual hinge that falls into the invisible hinge category. This hinge is very common to put on home theater systems, and you can also use them on metal doors like in a shed. They’re a relatively small type of cabin hinge that takes up very little space at the attachment point in your cabinet frame and door. Even when you open the cabinet doors, these smaller hinges aren’t extremely noticeable.
14. Offset Hinge
Offset hinges work best for any cabinet that has doors that protrude a little bit. This could happen if your cabinet doors are on the thicker side and they’re thicker than the frame. An offset hinge comes with two parts to it, and the parts don’t line up perfectly. In turn, you can use it to adjust them to fit the protruding door. This will help you open the cabinet door without it getting stuck or hitting the frame. The hinges get fitted to the outer side of your cabinet, and you’ll have one side on the frame and one side on the door. Since they’re visible, you can choose from a broad range of designs to fit your style, including different finishes and metal colors.
15. Pivot Hinge
These hinges are nice to have on cabinets that come with inset doors where you don’t want any visible hinges. You’ll find them on smaller cabinets or on freestanding pieces of furniture that have doors, like TV units. You put one hinge at the very top of the door and one at the base. There are two flat pieces to these hinges, and one gets fixed to the cabinet frame.
The one hinge on the top of the door gets attached using a metal column that slots between the two an lts the door pivot close or open. These types of cabinet hinges have a very low profile, and they need it in order to work seamlessly and to prevent you from seeing them. They give a smooth action when you open or close the cabinet, but they can’t support a lot of weight, and this is why you don’t see them on larger cabinets.
16. Self Closing Hinge
Self-closing hinges may be called spring-loaded hinges. However, some don’t come with springs and they have a hydraulic design instead. Both designs let your cabinet doors close on their own by their weight. You’ll find this hinge type used in home theater systems or gym lockers, but it’s also very common to install in your kitchen or bathroom cabinets too. As the name suggests, this type of cabinet hinge comes with a spring that uncoils when you open the door and recoils when you release the pressure against the door. It can wear down as you use it, especially in cabinets that you open and close a lot.
On the other hand, a hydraulic self-closing hinge requires the use of hydraulic pressure to close the cabinets. When you release the pressure, a vacuum of air inside of the type of cabinet hinge will cause the hinge to close. A drawback of either hinge type is that they can malfunction or wear down, and this means you could get stuck with a door that you can’t open or close without replacing the hinges.
17. Soft Closing Hinge
Soft closing types of cabinet hinges are very similar to self-closing models. Even though a self-closing hinge will close the door for you, it won’t necessarily be a quiet closing process. A soft closing hinge will help to stifle the noise when you close the cabinet door, but it’s not 100% self-closing. When you close your cabinet door with this type of hinge, you’ll need to put some force into it and push the door so it closes completely. Once your door gets to a particular position, the hinge will take over, and this allows it to glide shut without slamming.
Soft closing hinges are very popular in children’s rooms or in areas where you don’t want slamming door noises to disturb you. Hinge by Josh and Melanie Rosenthal / CC BY-SA 2.0
18. Strap Hinge
This hinge gets the name because it looks like a long strap that works to attach the cabinet door to the cabinet frame. This is a great hinge style for larger cabinets or any cabinets that are made from heavier materials because they’re capable of supporting a lot of weight. They come with two long wings that join in the middle, and they’re very common to see on garden gates or bigger doors due to their ability to support more weight. They come in different designs to suit your style, and you can see them from the outside of the cabinet.
19. Wraparound Hinge
This type of cabinet hinge comes with a bracket that attaches to the outside and inside of the cabinet door, and it’ll wrap around the frame. Another piece extends out of the hinges and attaches to your cabinet door’s interior. They can support a high amount of weight while being very sturdy, so they’re nice to have on larger cabinet doors. You can see them when the door closes, so you want to be sure that you like the finish.
The Most Popular Hinge Finishes
If you don’t plan on buying a hinge that goes on your cabinet’s interior, you will have to pay attention to how it looks. But, you should remember that when you open the doors, most of the hinges will show a small part. So, you may not pick out a gold finish if everything else is silver if you want it to match.
Hinges come in a huge range of styles and finishes, and they can help you pull your whole room together nicely. You could consider purchasing a sample of a few different finishes so that you can compare them to your cabinets and see which one works the best. A few common finishes include:
- Stainless steel
Cabinet Door Types and Well-Fitting Hinge Types
Depending on the cabinet door you have, this will impact the type of cabinet hinge that you can have installed. Some hinges will work better for different door styles, and we’ve picked out the most common options below.
Any full inset cabinet door fits on a full inset cabinet where the door will butt up against the edge of your cabinet opening when it’s closed. The door will lay flush with the cabinet’s surface, and full inset doors require either surface-mounted or butt hinges to work well. They work well with strap hinges or H and HL hinges, and there is a particular set of full inset hinges that you can buy too.
There are many offset dimensions available, but most of them are ⅜-inches today. This is a much older style of cabinet, and the doors require strap, H, and L hinges to work properly, and they can also use surface or face mount hinges. You can also find a specific offset hinge set for these doors. They come as a set of two or left or right mounted designs with ⅜-inch offsets.
The most common dimensions for overlay cabinet doors are ¼-inch, ⅜-inch, and ½-inch. You can use a variable hinge, but it attaches to your cabinet’s surface instead of the edge of the opening. You can use it on various overlay sizes too. You measure the overlay dimension from the edge of your cabinet opening to the edge of the cabinet door as you put it in a closed position. You can use demountable hinges, either single or double, flush mount, face mount, and full or partial wrap types of cabinet hinges.
The most common dimension for partial inset doors are ⅜-inch inset. In the 1950s and 1960s, you also has ½-inch, ⅝-inch, and ¾-inch inset hinges, but they’re not common today. For partial inset doors, you can use single or double demountable hinges, flush or face mount hinges, H hinges, or partial or full wraparound hinges.
We’ve outlined 19 types of cabinet hinges for you to consider for your next project, and you can sift through the list and see which ones are going to work the best with your particular cabinet doors. If you get a good fit, you’ll get a streamlined look that will help tie your room together.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.