Types of Hinges for Cabinets

Bambi Turner

Cabinet hinges come in a surprisingly wide variety to suit many different types of cabinet designs. These hinges are chosen based on their appearance, function and durability. Some buyers may also consider added features such as price and ease of installation.

Cabinet Design

The most important factor to consider when choosing cabinet hinges is what type of cabinet design you are dealing with. Cabinet doors may be full overlay, where the entire frame of the cabinet is covered by the doors. They can also be partial overlay, where a portion of the frame is exposed and the remaining portion is covered by the face of the doors. Finally, the cabinets may also be inset or flush, which means that the door is set to the inside of the cabinet frame, leaving the frame entirely exposed. When comparing types of hinges, it's important to choose units designed to work with your specific cabinet design.

Surface Hinges

Surface hinges may be called H-hinges, T-straps or butterfly hinges. They are installed on the surface of the door and frame, and are completely visible when the cabinets are closed. Because of their high level of visibility, these hinges are often chosen for their appearance. They are available in a wide variety of styles and finishes to complement the decor of any kitchen. Surface hinges can be used on full overlay cabinets, while offset versions will work with most partial overlays.

Butt Hinges

Butt hinges offer affordability and easy installation for DIY homeowners. They consist of two metal leaves connected by a steel pin, or butt. Only the pin portion of the hinge is visible when the cabinet is closed. These hinges can be recessed into the door and frame or surface mounted for a more simple installation. Butt hinges work best on flush or full overlay doors.

Wraparound Hinges

Wraparound hinges are designed for added strength and stability. They are particularly useful for oversized or heavy cabinet doors, and are compatible with all three basic cabinet designs. These hinges feature a large, U-shaped design that wraps around three sides of the cabinet frame for extra support.

Overlay Hinges

Overlay hinge are designed for doors with a partial overlay. These hinges wrap around two sides of the frame and two sides of the door to provide added support. They have plates bent at a 90-degree angle to allow them to work with partial overlays.

European Hinges

European hinges are a heavy duty hinge designed for full overlay or inset doors. They are easy to install, but are also adjustable, allowing homeowners to align and level the cabinet doors. European hinges are one of the most popular hinge designs for cabinets.

SOSS Hinges

SOSS hinges are designed to be invisible when the cabinet is closed. They are concealed inside the door and frame so that only a small portion is visible when the door is open. These hinges are costly and difficult to install. They require extensive mortises to be cut in the door and frame, which is a complex task best left to master woodworkers. SOSS hinges are used on high-end cabinets, and are designed for all types of cabinet designs.