12 Types of Hinges for Doors to Use in Your Next Build

There are many types of hinges for doors. Some hinges only offer a cosmetic difference, while other types function in unique ways. It is also worth noting that some types of hinges cannot support a full-size door and should only be used for cabinet doors and in similar applications. On the other hand, there are also types of hinges that only work well with full-size doors. Read on to learn about the various types of hinges.

Strap Hinge

The strap hinge was very popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It is still used for gates and when interior designers want to give cabinets a rustic feel. In the past, it was commonly used for barn doors. This is because the longleaf (the “strap”) allows this type of hinge to support a very large and heavy door. Strap hinges are commonly made out of steel or brass, though they can be had in less common metals like pewter. As with all hinges, strap hinges should be specified in a rust-resistant finish if they will be used outdoors.

Offset Hinge

If you need a couple of extra inches of clearance, an offset hinge is your best bet. Offset hinges are most commonly found in full-size doors, but they can be used for cabinets. Offset hinges are especially common in commercial stores and restaurants, as they can help an establishment become Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)- compliant by making doorways wide enough for wheelchairs.

Overlay Hinge

Overlay hinges are usually used for cabinets. They are rarely if ever, used for full-size doors. Overlay hinges have a clever design that allows the hinge to fold back in on itself. If your cabinet doors do not lay flush against the cabinet due to their hinges, you may want to switch to overlay hinges. These hinges will help your cabinet doors sit flush against the cabinet, which will give your kitchen a neater look. Overlay hinges are most commonly produced in stainless steel.

Pivot Hinge

Pivot hinges are also called knife hinges. These hinges look like a pair of scissors. Pivot hinges can be used for both cabinets and full-size doors, though the way these hinges work is actually very different depending on the application. Cabinets with pivot hinges have one leaf of the hinge attached to the cabinet itself and one leaf attached to the cabinet door.

Pivot hinges for full-size doors are more commonly found in commercial applications, especially restaurants, though they can be used in residential buildings. Pivot hinges allow full-size doors to open and close in either direction. This makes them ideal for doors that have to repeatedly open for people going in either direction. Pivot hinges are often used on kitchen doors in restaurants.

Scissor Hinge

Though they look similar, scissor hinges and pivot hinges are totally different and are used for different applications. Scissor hinges are often used for cabinet doors that open vertically. They can be set to allow the door to open up or down. A scissor hinge is attached to a spring that stops the door and holds it at a certain distance and angle. This distance and angle can easily be adjusted. In addition to cabinets, scissor hinges are often used for hampers and tool chests.

Gate Hinge

Gate hinges, as you might have guessed, are almost exclusively used for exterior gates. This is very simple: an L-shaped bolt extends from the gate post and into a barrel on the gate door. These hinges are usually made out of stainless steel because they must withstand high forces. The construction and design of gate hinges allow them to be used for extremely heavy wooden and metal exterior gates. Note that most residential gates will not need a gate hinge. Unless the gate door is extremely heavy, a standard strap hinge will work perfectly. Gate hinges are usually used for cow pens and the like.

Invisible Hinge

Invisible hinges, such as those made by SOSS, can be used for both cabinets and full-size doors. This type of  hinge is also commonly called a “concealed hinge.” They are especially popular when you have a particularly beautiful door made out of high-quality wood and you don’t want an unsightly hinge to ruin the look. In addition to the discrete look of invisible hinges, they have a couple of mechanical benefits. Invisible hinges can be self-closing. They are also easily adjustable. All you have to do is tighten or loosen a couple of screws in the hinge. Finally, invisible hinges are more secure because they are not exposed. This means that they cannot be tampered with like other types of hinges.

Barrel Hinge

Barrel hinges are not meant to be used for full-size doors. Instead, they are meant to be used for small cabinet doors. This is because barrel hinges cannot support much weight. Though barrel hinges can only be used for very small doors, they do have multiple unique benefits. First, the hinge is very small, making fitting it easy. Secondly, the hinge is concealed when it is installed properly. This makes it popular for fancy cabinets as well as woodworking projects. Barrel hinges are commonly made out of brass, but they can also be found in stainless steel.

Rising Butt Hinge

The rising butt hinge is a common variation on the extremely popular butt hinge. A rising butt hinge raises the door about half an inch when it swings open. This can be very helpful if you have thick carpet installed just inside the door. A rising butt hinge can also help the door clear a threshold, as long as the threshold is relatively low. If the threshold is over half an inch, you will simply have to mount the door so that it hangs higher over the floor.

Spring-Loaded Butt Hinge

The spring-loaded butt hinge is yet another type of hinge that adds a variation to the standard butt hinge. The spring installed in this hinge will make sure that the door closes behind you. This type of hinge is most commonly found on exterior doors. For example, screen doors or patio doors often use spring-loaded butt hinges. If you have a door that uses a spring-loaded butt hinge, you can adjust how fast the door closes with ease. All you have to do is either wind up or unwind the spring slightly. As spring-loaded butt hinges are often used for exterior doors, they commonly come with rust-resistant finishes.

Ball Bearing Hinge

If you have a particularly heavy door or a door that is used very heavily, a ball bearing hinge may be a better choice than a standard butt hinge. This is because the lubricated ball bearings in the hinge stand up to heavy usage better than the mechanism used in a butt hinge. The ball bearings are located between the hinge’s “knuckles,” which are the parts of the hinge that move when the door is swinging open or closed. As with many types of hinges, ball bearing hinges are commonly found in brass or stainless steel.

Butt Hinge

The butt hinge is the most commonly used hinge for residential applications, and it has been for some time. The butt hinge gets its name from the fact that the two leaves of the hinge (one of which is installed on the frame and the other on the door) butt up against when another when the door is in use. As previously mentioned, the butt hinge has numerous variations like the rising butt hinge and the spring-loaded butt hinge. However, the standard butt hinge is the most common by far. It is what contractors will use on the vast majority of ordinary interior doors. The butt hinge is often seen in stainless steel and brass, but it can be found in other metals.

Which of the Types of Hinges for Doors is Best For Your Project?

If you are trying to figure out which type of hinge is best for your project, you have to determine where the door will be placed, what sort of use the hinge will see, and how you want the hinge to look. If you aren’t totally sure what you want, you can always select a versatile type of hinge. Invisible hinges, for example, can be used on both cabinets and full-size doors. They are also easily adjustable and very secure.