Buying Guide

Types of Hinges

Hinge Types

Hinges are right- or left-handed, and can have a fixed or removable pin – the latter lets you remove doors without unscrewing the hinges. 

There are specialized types of hinges, so consult the chart for details.

Hinge Types
Description Feature/Benefits Recommended For
Ball Bearing - Door Hinges Ball bearing Permanently lubricated Heavy doors
Steel - National Hardware - Door Hinges Continuous / piano Distributes weight evenly over the entire length of the hinge Cabinets Chests Jewelry boxes Lids
Jako Architectural Hardware - Hardware Double-action spring Self-closing tight pin hinge offers two-way access for swinging doors Dining room doors Kitchen doors Lightweight doors
Flush - Door Hinges Flush Hinge is largely concealed Cabinet doors
Knuckle Hinges Knuckle Features a loose joint Can hold both light and heavy doors Shows only the knuckle when door is closed Decorative doors
Lift-Joint Butt Hinges Lift-joint butt Enables door to be easily lifted off hinges Areas where door must be frequently removed
Decorative - Cabinet Hinges Ornamental Decorative look Cabinet doors Furniture
Butt - Door Hinges Residential / butt May feature a removable pin Includes heavy-gauge screws Exterior doors Interior doors Lightweight doors
Rising Butt Hinges Rising butt Causes door to rise as it opens, enabling it to clear thick carpet Doors installed over high, thick carpet
Spring - Door Hinges Spring Shuts door automatically UL-approved Ideal for back doors Doors leading into a garage Outward-swinging cabinet doors
gate hinges Strap and T Features a heavy-duty tight pin May be installed on left- or right-hand side Heavy doors Wooden gates and fences
Surface mount - Door Hinges Surface Doesn't require a mortise Bifold doors Shutters Small closet doors
Swing-n-Sway Hinges Swing-n-sway Provides lateral adjustment to ensure perfect alignment Café-style doors

Hinges are installed in four configurations: full-mortise, half-mortise, full-surface and half- surface.

  • Full-mortise installations have one leaf mortised on the door jamb and one into the edge of the door.
  • Half-mortise installations have one leaf mortised into the edge of the door and one anchored onto the surface of the door jamb.
  • Full-surface mounting occurs when the two leaves are secured to the surface of the door.
  • Half-surface mounting occurs when one leaf is mortised into the door jamb and the other anchored to the door’s surface.
Materials, Finishes and Installation

Hinges can be made from a wide variety of materials, from steel to copper, and have an equally broad range of finishes.

  • Stainless steel, brass, bronze, pewter and copper are common hinge materials.
  • Choose a finish that complements the design of the door and surrounding décor.
  • Common finishes include primed, polished, plated, rust-resistant and more.
  • Most hinge types are available in a wide range of sizes. For example, spring joints may range from 2 to 4 inches.
  • Installation for most interior and exterior doors will require a chisel, utility knife, hammer, screwdriver and drill.

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