When it comes to cabinets, a lot hinges on the hinges. Their style and functionality have a huge effect on the overall appearance and performance of your cabinets and doors, maybe as much as the choice of wood or finish.
With such a wide range of options, how do you choose? This guide walks you through all the options, and helps you choose the right hinge for your project. The best place to start is to figure out what type of cabinets and doors you have because that’s typically how hinges are broadly categorized.
Types of Cabinet Hinges
When you’re updating cabinets, you have many different cabinet hinges to choose from. Here are some common cabinet hinge types:
Framed vs. Frameless
In order to determine what type of cabinet hinge will work best for your cabinet, you must identify what type of cabinet you have.
Frameless cabinets are originally of European design and have recently grown in popularity in contemporary American homes. There is no frame, allowing you to feel around the entirely of the cabinet opening smoothly. The hinges on frameless cabinets are installed directly on the inside of the cabinets.
Framed cabinets are the more traditional style of American-built cabinets. They feature a frame around the face of the cabinet, similar to a picture frame. The hinges on framed cabinets are installed on the frame, and the cabinet door sits on the outside of the face frame.
How to choose the right cabinet hinge
Consider your door overlay style
It’s essential that the hinge type you use matches the cabinet door style that you are building so that the door is mounted with the proper amount of clearance. There are two main styles of door overlay—inset doors and overlay doors. Overlay doors come in partial overlay and full overlay. Take a look at your cabinet design to determine which you are working with.
- Inset: The cabinet door is flush with and on the same plane as the cabinet frame, and the frame surrounds the entire cabinet door. For inset doors, the most common hinges are butt hinge or surface mount, and inset European.
- Full Overlay: Also simply called overlay, a full overlay door covers the entire cabinet opening when closed, and the inside wood edge of the cabinet box is exposed when the door is open. For full overlay doors, the most common hinges are full and partial wraparound, flush mount, surface mount, and full overlay European.
- Partial Overlay: In partial overlay, the cabinet door partially covers the cabinet box when the door is closed, and the inside wood edge of the cabinet box is exposed when the door is open. For partial overlay doors, the most common hinges are full and partial wraparound, flush mount, surface mount, and partial overlay European.
Decide if you want hinges concealed or exposed
Exposed hinges, like butt hinges, are visible and often intentionally so. They are extremely common in traditional American styles of cabinets and vintage styles. On the other hand, concealed hinges offer a clean exterior look and more contemporary style.
Choose either surface mount or mortised
Surface mount hinges act exactly as they sound—they sit on top of the surface of the cabinet material and do not require a hole or mortise to be drilled. Mortise hinges however are recessed into the cabinet and require boring a hole to install.
Decide if you want motion features
Motion features like soft closing hinges are becoming increasingly popular because they reduce noise from slamming and make closing a door as easy as a tap, even with full hands in the kitchen. Here are the most popular motion features:
- Soft-close: Keeps doors from slamming by slowly drawing them in.
- Self-close: Available in some concealed hinges. Similar to soft close hinges and draws the door in with even less effort from the user.
- Self-open: Simply press the drawer front to pop open the door. Good for modern styles that do not have external cabinet hardware.
Best Hinges for Cabinets of 2021:
The list below narrows the field to some of the top soft-close hinges by type. These hinges feature durable construction and work with a variety of cabinet styles.
Quality construction, adjustability that aids with installation, and six sizes to suit different overlay widths set these soft-closing cabinet hinges apart from the pack. The rolled steel, nickel-plated hinges suit frame overlays ranging from ¾ to 1½ inches, making them one of the more versatile brands of soft-close hinges available.
Installation is made easy by the three-way adjusters that allow for fine-tuning the position of the doors after they are installed, eliminating the need for perfect hole placement. The cup diameter and depth are a standard 35 millimeters and 11 millimeters, respectively. Furniware soft-close hinges come in packs of 10, 20, and 50.
Replacing standard hinges in a kitchen or throughout a home can be a less costly endeavor with these partial overlay hinges. This set includes enough quality hinges for upgrading 10 cabinet doors at one of the lowest prices on the market.
Similar to higher price options, they feature stainless steel construction with a nickel-plated finish and offer three adjustment options for easy installation. They also include door bumpers, making them a good choice for new cabinet installations. Konigeehre hinges fit a cup size of 35 millimeters in diameter and 11 millimeters deep, and they have a ½-inch overlay on the cabinet frame.
Thanks to their innovative design, Blum Blumotion soft-close hinges are a premium product that makes it easy to upgrade your cabinets. A unique clip mechanism allows the user to attach and detach the cabinet doors in seconds, eliminating the need to attach the hardware while holding the door in place.
They also offer more control than most competitors, via a switch that turns the soft-close feature off and on. Blum Blumotion clip-top hinges fit ½-inch to ¾-inch overlay doors and the standard cup size of 35 millimeters in diameter and 11 millimeters deep. They are sold in packs of eight.
If you take away the large arm, detachable clip and get down to a high quality soft close cabinet hinges for face frame cabinets you’ll get the Blum 38N.
Similar to the Clip Top, this economical Blum compact face frame hinge features the same cup-mounted soft close mechanism, on/off switch and quiet operation.
But in a more compact form at a lower price point. Over the years I’ve installed countless 38N hinges and now that these newer hinges integrate soft close it’s my go-to choice on large projects where budget is key.
The Berta hinge is similar in design and construction to the Blum, but lacks the integrated on/off feature needed for smaller cabinet doors. While smooth performing, I’d opt for the Blum Compact line first for the ability to turn the hinges off on smaller doors.
If you want durability and functionality to the best, you can put your trust on the face frame cabinet door hinges from Decobasics. This one stands out completely when it comes to giving you the ultimate door closing and opening experience.
First off, it comes with a 105-degree opening angle, for which, you can open and close the door of your cabinets smoothly. No, the door won’t get stuck as you move it. This hinge, unlike the typical ones, will make sure you can have a seamless experience.
I know how bad it feels when you hear all those cracking noises as you close your door or open it. Fortunately, these door hinges come with the best solution to your bummer.
If you’re looking for ideal soft close hinges to redesign your kitchen, office, bath or home, you can think about buying the AmazonBasics AB-4013 Hinges. Its ½’’ overlay hinge can easily be attached inside your cabinet door and its adjacent cabinet wall. You can determine the cabinet door overlay before purchasing the hinges.
A total of 50 hinges can be found in each pack. The pack also includes all mounting screws and one pan head screw of 10×3/4’’, two flat head screws of 6×5/8’’ in it.
It includes some great features like sound-dampening and the soft-close mechanism that allows cabinets to close smoothly and without any noise. Thanks to the three-way mounting adjustable screws, the hinges give you the room for the ultimate alignment for the better finishing of any cabinet.
The Soft Close cabinet is the perfect fit for all types of doors in your house. Whether it is the cabinet doors, TV cabinets, wardrobe, bookcase, and what not! Its 105-degree angle allows the doors to swing open smoothly and give enough room for the doors to wide open. Made from great quality metal, the Soft Close Satin Nickel is long-lasting and impressively durable.
The stain nickel finish just plays the icing on the cake. It adds to the durability of the hinge and provides optimum stability and sustenance. We know quite well how annoying and pain in the neck; it is when the hinges are not as flat as you want those to be.
With a wide range of adjustability for easy installation, these frameless hinges are ideal for frameless cabinets. A three-way adjustable design allows the user to adjust the hinges, up and down, left to right, and front to back, so it’s simple to correct minor errors made while drilling pilot holes for the hinge hardware.
Each hinge fits a 35-millimeter-diameter hinge cup with a 10.5 millimeter depth and fits doors ranging in thickness from 14 millimeters to 20 millimeters. Their design makes them suitable for a ⅝-inch to a ¾-inch overlay on frameless cabinets. DecoBasics cabinet hinges come in numerous package quantities ranging from 2 to 100 and are available in a full and half overlay.
These well-made hinges suit multiple overlay widths, making them ideal for a broad range of kitchen cabinets. The versatile hinges come in sizes to suit 1¼-inch, ½-inch, and ¾-inch overlays, and nickel-plated steel construction makes them ideal for kitchens and other cabinets that see a lot of use.
For easy installation, adjusters allow the user to move the doors left to right, front to back, and up and down with a standard Phillips head screwdriver. Each hinge fits a standard cup that’s 35 millimeters in diameter and 11 millimeters deep. Ravinte’s soft-close hinges come in packs of 10, 20, 30, 50, and 60.
How to Adjust Cabinet Doors
Annoyed by scraping, bumping, misaligned kitchen or bathroom cabinet doors? Cabinet hinge adjustment is one of the easiest, cheapest fixes you can make to your kitchen and bathroom. Even homeowners who shrink at the sight of a screwdriver and hammer can quickly take care of this frustrating daily problem.
Check your hinge type before you begin. Most modern cabinets have fully adjustable hinges with three directional adjustments: up and down, side to side, and in and out (or depth). Most hinges have mechanisms for side to side and depth adjustments, while some are adjusted up and down using the screws that mount the hinges to the cabinet. Others have a mechanism for this, too, and you don’t have to loosen the mounting screws.
Tighten Loose Mounting Screws
Open the cabinet door and look at the part of the hinge attached to the cabinet box. Two screws, located at the top and bottom of the hinge, mount the hinge to the cabinet. Turn these screws clockwise to make sure the door is secure.
Adjust the Door Up or Down
If tightening the mounting screws didn’t solve the problem and the door is still too high or low, look for a screw that adjusts the door up and down. If there is no separate screw for this function, loosen the two mounting screws on both hinges, adjust the cabinet door to the desired height, and retighten the screws.
Adjust the Door Right or Left
Use the side-to-side adjustment to move the door right or left to align the door with its neighbor or with the edges of the cabinet box. You can adjust one or both hinges on each door, depending on how much correction it needs. If the door seems to be tilting down to the right, turn the side-to-side screw on the top hinge so the hinge pulls closer to the side of the cabinet box, moving the top of the door to the left. If that doesn’t quite do it, adjust the side-to-side screw on the bottom hinge to move the hinge away from the cabinet box, moving the bottom of the door to the right.
Adjust the Door In or Out
Use the depth adjustment screw to move the door in and out in relation to the cabinet box. Because wood doors can warp a bit with seasonal humidity changes,1 a door may pull away from the box at the top or bottom rather than meeting the box flush when the door is closed, causing the door to bounce when it closes. If the door doesn’t meet the box at the top, adjust the top hinge toward the cabinet and/or adjust the bottom hinge away from the cabinet. If the door is gapped at the bottom, do the reverse.
Test the Door
Close the door after each minor adjustment to make sure you’re moving it in the right direction and to see if it needs more adjustment. This is a trial-and-error process, and fine-tuning is the name of the game.