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Guide to Cabinet Hinges


Choosing an appropriate hinge for cabinets can be tricky since there are many cabinet door hinge options available. Before selecting a hinge style, it’s helpful to examine the cabinet. If the cabinet door has a face-frame the kind of hinge will depend on how far the door overlaps the face-frame. In these cabinets, the hinge is actually attached to the inside of the face-frame. If the cabinet does not have a face-frame the type of hinge will depend on how far the door overlays the cabinet sides. When a cabinet lacks a face-frame, the hinge is attached directly to the side of the cabinet.

Cabinet Hinges–Types

For each kind of cabinet, either face-frame or frameless, there are at least three different cabinet door hinge options.

Face-frame Cabinets Hinge Options

With cabinets that have a face-frame, as is commonly found in most traditional cabinets, the cabinet door will overlay in one of three ways: completely, partially, or flush with the frame. Each 

situation calls for a different kind of hinge.

Overlay hinges are appropriate to use if the door completely overlays the face frame and the back edge is not recessed or grooved. On the other hand, if there is a groove (also called a rabbet) along the back edge of the door and the door partially overlays the frame, a 3/8-inch insert hinge is preferable. If the door does not overlap the face-frame at all and is inset so as to be flush with the frame itself, full overlay hinges for face frame cabinets are recommended.  

Frameless Cabinets Hinge Options

As with face-frame cabinets, frameless cabinet door hinges are determined by the amount of door overlay. Since there is no face-frame, looking at how far the door actually overlays the cabinet sides will indicate which kind of hinge is most efficient.

If the door completely covers the cabinet and aligns with the edges, a frameless overlay hinge is commonly used. However, if the door only partially overlaps with the cabinet edges, a frameless half-overlay hinge is an appropriate choice. In the occasion that the door is inset and flush with the cabinet edges, a frameless inset hinge is the preferred option.

For more information on the choice between face-frame and frameless cabinets, check out this article on

Specialty Cabinet Hinges Types

Not all cabinets open and close in a traditional manner. For specialty cabinets, there are other door hinge options, including:

  • Flipper door systems: This cabinet door hinge styles are commonly used in sliding doors.
  • Clip-on hinges: For wider opening doors, clip-on hinges are often preferred.
  • Cross corner hinges: Doors that close at a 45-degree angle usually require this type of hinge.
  • Fully concealed hinges: In applications where doors conceal pull-out shelving, fully comcealed hinges will enable the shelves to emerge without bumping into the hinge and getting jammed.

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