Types of Cabinet Hinges
Cabinet hinges and drawer slides are basic but crucial parts of storage systems, so it may surprise you that there are different types. The construction of your cabinet – most notably, the overlay of the face frame and the cabinet door – will determine which cabinet hinge you need. Similarly, the location that your drawer slides need to be mounted dictates what type of drawer slide you need. This guide will teach you the different types of cabinet hinges and drawer slides so you can make sure you get the right cabinet hardware for your cabinet system.
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.
Our above diagram will help you understand frameless cabinets vs. framed cabinets better.
The overlay on framed and frameless cabinets describes the amount of the cabinet door that lays on top of the cabinet opening.
Measure your cabinet’s overlay by making a faint pencil mark or putting a piece of tape along the edge of the cabinet doors when closed. Open the door and measure the distance between the cabinet opening the distance and the mark/tape.
You could also simply measure the width of your cabinet doors from end to end (both doors together) and subtract from that the width of your cabinet’s opening. Divide that difference by two to get each door’s overlay length.
The most common overlay lengths on American cabinets are called partial overlay and full overlay.
- Partial overlay leaves some space between doors. Most common overlay lengths on American cabinets are 1/2-inch and 1 1/4-inch.
- Full overlay leaves little to no space between doors.
|Face frame - Cabinet Hinges||Also called “semi-concealed” hinges. Mounted on the frame. Frame wing is visible while door wing is attached to back of door.|
|Inset - Flush - Cabinet Hinges||Hinge is completely concealed or only a knuckle is exposed. Both the frame and door wings are mounted inside.|
|Full overlay - Cabinet Hinges||Hinge can be interior or exterior. Attaches to doors in which the end of the closed door fully covers the cabinet frame.|
|Half overlay - Cabinet Hinges||Hinge either completely interior or exterior. Attaches to doors in which the end of the closed door fully covers the cabinet frame.|
|Inset - Cabinet Hinges||Installed inside the cabinet frame and flush with the closed cabinet face. Can either be concealed or exposed. Requires a doorknob to open the cabinet.|
|Partial Overlay - Cabinet Hinges||These hinges allow typically a 1-inch gap between doors, which allows the face frame to be seen. No hardware required to open.|
|Surface mount - Cabinet Hinges||Hinge mounts to surface and is fully visible from the front. Does not require a hole for installation.|
|Variable Overlay - Cabinet Hinges||Designed for overlay doors on framed cabinets.|
|Wrap around - Cabinet Hinges||The leaf on the hinge wraps around the frame. Can be partial wrap, which touches two sides of the frame, or full wrap, which touches three frame sides.|
- Butt hinges have two rectangular leaves joined by a pin or rod, which can be removed if you need to take off the door. Only the pin shows when the door is closed.
- Continuous hinges (aka "piano hinges") are the long, beautiful leaves with multiple screw holes that are often seen on pianos.
- Corner hinges are generally used with the wide-angle opening of corner kitchen cabinets.
- Friction hinges slow the pivoting motion of cabinets. Some models can keep the door held open in any position.
- Butterfly hinges resemble a butterfly in that both sides are fully visible when the cabinet door is closed.
- Pie cut hinges are used to attach two doors together that are part of a corner cabinet.
- Semi-concealed hinges, also known as semi wrap hinges, show part of the hinge when the door is closed.
- Self-closing cabinet hinges are spring-loaded so the door can close on its own.
- Soft-close cabinet hinges reduce the noise of a closing cabinet door.
When replacing a drawer slide, examine how the drawer is currently installed. Your drawer may use a slide system that’s installed on the bottom of the drawer, along the side of the drawer or along the drawer’s bottom joint. Choose new drawer slides that have the same type of installation and are the same length as your current drawer slides.
When installing new drawers, consider the required length and extension to find the best slide system for your drawers.
Drawer slide length:
- Drawer slides typically range in length from 10 inches to 28 inches, but specialty slides can be shorter or longer.
- For side-mount drawer slides, measure the distance between the front edge of the cabinet and the inner face of the cabinet. Subtract 1 inch from this measurement to find the slide length you need.
- For undermount drawer slides, measure the length of the drawer. They must be the same length as the drawer to work properly.
Drawer slide extension:
- Drawer slides will only allow the drawer to extend a certain distance from the cabinet when open.
- 3/4 extension drawer slides allow most of the drawer to extend, while a small part of it remains in the cabinet. This can be a space-saving option when you don’t necessarily need full access to the drawer.
- Full extension drawer slides allow the drawer to extend the full length of the slide. This doesn’t always mean the drawer opens completely beyond the cabinet.
- Over travel extension drawer slides allow the drawer to extend outside of the cabinet, granting full access, even under countertop edges.
Also pay attention to a drawer slide’s weight rating. Drawer slides can only support the drawer if both the drawer and its contents are within its weight rating. Most drawer slides are rated for 75 to 150 pounds.
Tip: Make sure the slides will have enough clearance between the drawer and the cabinet to operate properly.
- While standard drawer slides use a plastic or nylon roller to operate, ball bearing drawer slides use a set of stainless-steel ball bearings. They are quieter and smoother than roller slides and are available as soft-close slides.
- Side mount drawer slides are a slide set that attaches to both sides of the drawer and the inside of the cabinet. They are easy to install.
- Undermount drawer slides are ball bearing slides that mount to the side of the cabinets and connect to a locking device mounted on the underside of the drawer. They’re entirely concealed from view.
- Bottom mount drawer slides are a slide set that wraps around the bottom joints of the drawer. They’re subtler than side mount slides, but not entirely concealed like undermount slides.
- Push-to-open drawer slides eliminate the need to use handles or other hardware. Simply push the front of the cabinet or drawer and it will pop out to open.
- Self-closing drawer slides smoothly pull the drawer shut the last few inches, eliminating loud slams or squished fingers.
- Hanging drawer slides install under a shelf or cabinet.
- Keyboard drawer slides are designed to attach to the bottom of a desktop for keyboard storage.
The right cabinet hinges and drawer slides will make storage in your kitchen and bathrooms even more accessible. If you need help finding types of cabinet hardware, use image search in The Home Depot Mobile App. Snap a picture of an item you like, and we’ll show you similar products.
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