Here's an in-depth list of the different types of door hinges you can use for exterior and interior doors for your home. There are 17 different options and we set them out with photos and explain what the purpose for each.
Lately, my partner and I have had a lot of trouble sleeping at night. We couldn’t figure out what could possibly be the cause. We were being awoken by something, but no noise loud enough to be identifiable.
However, we quickly learned that the small sound was the gentle squeaking and rattling of the door. The cause? Improper door hinges! We live in an area of the country where the weather changes frequently. This leads to drafts within our home while also impacting our doors. Our doors simply do not open and close as smoothly as they should.
When we started looking for replacement door hinges, we were quickly overwhelmed by the number of options. There are so many sizes, styles, finishes, and different types of hinges. Furthermore, we need to make sure we find the right door hinges for our needs.
If you ever find yourself in the same situation as us, we want you to have access to a comprehensive list of the various door hinges, including some of their benefits or drawbacks. Take a look at the options below and see if they can help you and your family find the right door hinges.
Table of Contents
- A. Exterior Door Hinges
- B. Interior Door Hinges
- C. Extra Features of Door Hinges
A. Exterior Door Hinges
You might be in search of an exterior door hinge. Some of the qualities that you will want to consider with an exterior door hinge include strength, durability, and its ability to stand up to harsh weather conditions.
In addition, your exterior door hinges are responsible for keeping your house safe from criminals and intruders. If the external door hinges are too weak, they might buckle and break under pressure. Take a look at some of the options for exterior door hinges below. We want to help you find the right security hinge for your home.
There are also various materials that can be used for an exterior door hinge. Stainless steel hinges are an excellent option because they will not wear as quickly as other materials, and they are wonderfully sturdy. There will be large option of metal materials for your door hinge that will match your door hardware as well.
1. The Butt Hinge
Source: Home Depot
One of the most common options for an exterior door hinge is called the butt hinge. These hinges have two identical leaves. One leaf is able to move while the other leaf is fixed in place. Then, these leaves are attached to a curled barrel which gives the door the ability to open.
One of the reasons why people love butt hinges is that they can support a lot of weight. If you have a steel or fiberglass door, you’ll want to consider using butt hinges because they can support the extreme weight. Other hinges might be damaged by the extreme weight.
There are actually several types of butt hinges. Lift-joint butt hinges are easy to install and remove. A rising butt hinge is meant for rooms in which the floor is uneven. If you have a particularly heavy door, you might want to use a ball-bearing butt hinge. Butt hinges are among the most common hinges used for exterior doors.
2. The Flush Hinge
Flush hinges are another common option, particularly in small rooms. These hinges are designed to save space. One of the leaves compresses against the other when the door is closed, saving space. Despite their small, compact size, flush hinges are still quite durable. On the other hand, they do not have the strength of butt hinges and will break if the door is too heavy.
These are a great option if you have a simple bedroom door that needs to be held in place, but it won’t be the best option for heavy front doors or outside doors.
3. The Ball Bearing hinge
This is different from the ball-bearing butt hinge. A ball bearing hinge is one of the most durable options on the market. This hinge has been designed to support wide, heavy doors. In this hinge, a ball bearing is placed between two separate knuckles. It is also called the plain bearing hinge.
The purpose of a ball bearing hinge is to reduce the friction between the two knuckles which wears down the hinge over time. These are most commonly used for entry doors which tend to be larger and see more use. Finally, a ball bearing hinge will also open and close smoothly, reducing squeaking and friction. This would be a great gate hinge.
4. The Case Hinge
Case hinges have a lot of similarities to butt hinges. Therefore, they are often used for front doors which tend to be larger, wider, and heavier. The biggest difference between case hinges and butt hinges is that case hinges are a bit more stylish, flashy, and decorative.
Therefore, they tend to look good to visitors and guests as they walk through the door. Case hinges are so varied in their shape, style, and color that they are even found in suitcases. The case hinge can be used for a cabinet door as a cabinet hinge as well.
5. The Hospital Hinge
If you are looking for a short hinge, hospital hinges are the answer. This hinge is far smaller than a butt hinge and has been designed with small spaces in mind. There is one hinge leaf that is installed against the door frame while the other is attached to the door.
These two leaves come together at a rounded knuckle which allows the door to open and close. The small, compact, functional design makes this hinge great for small spaces.
6. The Strap Hinge
This is the hinge that people see attached to gates as they open and close. By far, the strap hinge is the most unique option on the market. They are the shortest hinge but also have the longest leaves. Though not the most fashionable, they are one of the more reliable types of hinges.
Anyone who wants to have an exterior door with a one-of-a-kind look should take a look at strap hinges. The longer leaf has been designed to give the door a little bit more support than usual. For this reason, strap hinges and popular for doors that get a lot of use, such as gates and the front door wing.
7. The Olive Knuckle Hinge
The olive knuckle hinge is in the shape of an H, making it unique. When the door is open, the hinge makes an “H” shape. These hinges are also sometimes called the H hinge. When the door is closed, only the knuckle is visible.
The design of the hinge makes it incredibly versatile. In addition to being used on exterior doors, many people also use olive knuckle hinges on cabinets. The large design makes it very durable, and they’re so attractive that you would rather be it be a visible hinge than a hidden hinge or a semi concealed hinge.
8. The HL Hinge
The HL is simply a bit of a sturdier option to the simple H hinge. The extra key is an extra supporting arm that attaches to the front side of the door you are fastening, which is the extra L shape that attaches to the H.
This is a great hinge option if you’re looking for extra support for a super heavy wooden door. There’s also the option of adding hinges on the bottom hinges as well, where the bottom front hinge will be G shape that attaches to the H shape.
9. The Pivot Hinge
The pivot hinge has been designed to work with larger doors. When someone has a larger door, it might be a challenge to keep it aligned with the wall and the floor. The pivot hinge can fix this problem. This hinge has been designed to pivot when the door opens, helping to keep it in place. The appearance is similar to that of an olive knuckle hinge; however, the functionality of a pivot hinge is slightly different.
10. The Heavy Duty Hinge
The name of this hinge is self-explanatory. The biggest difference between a heavy-duty hinge and a typical hinge is that a heavy-duty hinge is thicker. It is more than a quarter-inch thicker than a typical hinge. In this sense, a heavy-duty hinge can be designed to fit the shape and function of any of the other hinge types above by using thicker materials.
A heavy-duty hinge is great for a large, heavy door that is used regularly. These types of hinges are ideal for more intense applications, like for personal safes or safes in banks.
11. The T Hinge
The T hinge is the combination of a strap hinge and a butt hinge. They are most often used for applications where there is a more narrow amount of space, like on frames and posts, shed doors, and sometimes tool chests as well.
The screw holes are staggered along each leaf hinge so as to spread out the load and to protect the wood from splitting. These are most often found on gate doors and give a charming, rustic look to them.
B. Interior Door Hinges
While it is important to think about the doors that lead into your home, there are plenty of additional doors inside that also need hinges. These doors come in all shapes and sizes. Therefore, interior door hinges also come in all shapes and sizes.
There are numerous types of interior door hinges that all have their benefits and drawbacks. It is important for you to know about every type of interior door hinge so you can make the right selection for your needs.
12. The Double Action Spring Hinge
One of the first types of interior door hinges is referred to as the double-action spring. While these are among the most popular interior door hinges, they aren’t able to be used outside because they cannot handle the weight of a steel or fiberglass door.
This spring loaded hinge is most commonly found in the kitchen and dining room. Some of the other names people might use to refer to this type of hinge include the café, sway, swing, and saloon door hinge.
Due to the design of the hinges, they allow the door to swing in both directions. There are two cylinders that come together against a square hinge leaf. This design draws a stark contrast between it and the exterior door hinges.
13. The Butterfly Door Hinge
Source: Home Depot
Butterfly door hinges are also common on interior doors. Again, this hinge cannot lift or support the tremendous weight of an exterior door. On the other hand, their decorative design makes them popular for interior doors.
Anyone who is looking to add a little bit of personal style and flair to their interior doors should think about the glamorous design of the butterfly hinge. While the basic design looks like a pair of butterfly wings, this hinge can be customized to meet anyone’s desire.
The butterfly hinge can truly be applied to any at home project. If you’re looking for a new door hinge to a closet, a toy chest, or a kitchen cabinet, there’s a good chance that the butterfly hinge will fit the bill.
14. The Bi Fold Hinge
Source: Home Depot
The Bi Fold hinge is a little bit less common than other door hinges; however, they do serve a unique purpose. In some situations, people might need a hinge with multiple leaves that are of varying lengths. This is the design of a bi-fold hinge.
There are multiple pivots in this hinge that allow the door to move to a greater extent. In some cases, people might even be able to customize the lengths of the leaves to serve a specific purpose. That makes the bi-fold hinge a good choice for certain types of interior doors.
15. The Concealed Hinge
Also called an invisible hinge or a hidden hinge, a concealed hinge is designed to do exactly that. A concealed hinge is meant to be used but not seen. This hinge is popular among people who are looking to show off the design of their door. This includes certain types of interior doors.
There are two parts to a concealed hinge. The first is the pivot and the second is the bracket. This hinge is installed against the recess in the door where it is impossible to view from the outside. The pivot allows the door to be opened at a 90-degree angle. This hinge is not as common as some of the other types; however, it is seen on interior doors from time to time.
These types of hinges style over substance kept in mind during their design. They will be chosen for rooms that will not receive much movement or foot traffic, but plenty of eye traffic. It’s also the perfect choice for a frameless cabinet application.
16. The Flag Hinge
This type of hinge isn’t very common; however, it is seen from time to time. The flag hinge is commonly found attached to PVC doors. The design of this hinge is unique. Instead of having two hinges that attach to a central knuckle, this hinge has one leaf that attaches to a pin.
The hinge is designed to swivel around the pin, giving the hinge a total range of 360 degrees. There are very specific situations where a flag hinge might be needed. These will be used in rotating doors often found at the fronts of malls and airports.
17. The Take Apart Hinge
This hinge has been designed with exactly that purpose in mind. In some cases, people might need to take down a door and move it somewhere else. This is common if someone is moving furniture in or out of a room. If this happens on a frequent basis, a take-apart hinge might be a good idea.
The major advantage of this hinge is that it allows someone to remove their door easily. I actually recently took advantage of these hinges when I removed the door from my child’s room. This hinge is made up of one leaf and a central pin. To take down the door, simply remove the central pin. Then, the door can be taken down. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
18. The Barrel Hinge
The barrel hinge is one of the more fancy door hinge options on this list. Though they are not used for large doors, they are often used for small woodworking projects like cabinets and jewelry boxes.
Barrel hinges are typically made of solid brass, and the reason why they are attractive is because they are completely invisible on both sides of the door, yet it can still open 180 degrees. Keep in mind, it is not recommended to use this hinge type for load bearing applications.
19. The Piano Hinge
The piano hinge got its name because it was the original application used for both the piano lid and the piano seat door. They’re used nowadays for workbenches, desks, cabinet doors, and storage boxes as well.
The piano hinge is a continuous hinge that runs along the entire length of whichever door it is being applied to. It is comprised of two same sized leaves connected by a central pin.
C. Extra Features of Door Hinges
Now that we’ve gone over the actual shapes and designs of door hinges, there are still more details yet to be covered! In this section we will go over the extra features of door hinges.
Inset Hinge vs. Offset Hinge
Inset hinge doors are designed so that the door can fit seamlessly within the frame of the door or cabinet. This way, the door fits flush with the face of the structure when the door is closed.
This also means that the door will require a knob or pull on the front in order to open the door. This is one of the more expensive design features, though gives a very attractive and neat appearance to your space.
Offset hinge doors or overlay hinge doors are very similar in appearance, though the door does not lay flush with the frame of the door or cabinet. The overlay door will lay slightly above, removing the neat flush design.
This is a cheaper option and also allows for more storage space within the compartment. This option also does not require a knob or a pull, as there is enough space to pul the door away.
A mortise hinge is basically an extra feature you can apply with any type of hinge, though this allows the hinge to lie flush with the surface of the door. A mortise is create in the door frame or the door itself where you then place the hinge.
With so many different types of door hinges, it can be a challenge to make the right selection. There are several common questions that people have regarding door hinges. Some of these questions are related to the size of the hinges, the number of hinges, and how to install the hinges themselves. Knowing the answers to these questions can be helpful when trying to find the correct hinges for a door. Some of the most common questions that people have include:
1. What are Door Hinges Made Out Of?
Door hinges can be made out of a variety of materials. Some of the most common materials include brass, copper, and steel. One of the strongest materials is residential-grade steel, which is meant to stand up to the wear and tear that comes with routine use. In addition, the hinges can often be finished with a plate of your choice. This means that people have the ability to customize a door hinge to meet their needs. Hinges can also be decorated with ornamentation to meet the style of a given room. For most applications, residential-grade steel is a good choice for door hinges.
2. What Size Door Hinge is Right for my Door?
In general, most homes are going to use the standard-sized hinge. This is a hinge that measures 3.5 inches by 3.5 inches. Measurements of door hinges are taken from the bottom edge of the hinge up to the top edge of the hinge. Then, the other measurement is taken from the outside edge of the hinge to the inside when the hinge is open. Those who are looking for exterior door hinges usually need a 4-inch hinge; however, this is not always the case.
3. What is the Radius of the Replacement Door Hinges I Need?
The radius of the door hinges is going to vary. In general, the 5/8-inch radius is most common; however, a quarter-inch radius is not far behind. In order for you to determine the radius of door hinge you need, follow these instructions. First, place a quarter at the corner of the door hinge. If the radius of the quarter matches that of the door hinge, this is a 5/8-inch radius. If you do this same technique with a dime and this is a closer approximation, this is a quarter-inch radius. If your hinges are a square shape, there is only one size and there is no need to take a measurement.
4. What Do I Get when I Order a Door Hinge?
What comes with a door hinge order will vary slightly from place to place; however, most door hinges are sold in pairs. Along with the pair of door hinges, there will also be mounting screws and/or a hinge pin if necessary. In some cases, it is possible to order door hinges individually; however, door hinges typically come in pairs.
5. How Many Door Hinges Do I Need?
This is one of the most common questions about door hinges. To answer this question, simply take a look at the existing door and count the number of hinges that are present. In general, doors require three hinges; however, this is far from universal. Interior doors will typically require 3 separate 3.5-inch hinges. On the other hand, an exterior door is going to require 3 separate 4-inch hinges. In some cases, you might be looking for hinges that are going to go on a set of brand new doors. If you have questions about the number of hinges for new doors, talk to the company that is making the doors. They should be able to answer this question for you.