15 Different Types of Door Hinges (Exterior and Interior Doors)

Close up photo of a door hinge

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 15 different options and we set them out with photos and explain what the purpose for each.

We have had a lot of trouble sleeping at night. We couldn’t figure out why; however, we quickly learned it was the squeaking and rattling of the door. 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. It turns out something is wrong with our door hinges.

When we started looking for new door hinges, we were quickly overwhelmed by the number of options. There are so many sizes, styles, finishes, and more. 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.

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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 exterior 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 exterior door hinges for your home.

1. The Butt Hinge

Butt hinge example

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. Rising butt hinges are 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

Ranbo (1 Pair) Hidden gate Hinge Stainless Steel Invisible Door Hinges Concealed Barrel Wooden Box Silver (1-3/4 inch)

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.

3. The Ball-Bearing hinge

Stainless Steel Ball Bearing Door Hinges - 4" inch with 5/8" inch Square Corners - NRP - 3 Pack

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. The purpose of a ball bearing 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.

4. The Case Hinge

Penn Elcom Lift Off Hinge for Flight Case, Pedal Board, etc. P0644N

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.

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 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

Hillman Hardware Essentials 851663 Light Strap Hinges Zinc 3" -2 Pack

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. 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.

7. The Olive Knuckle Hinge

Deltana OK2015U5-L Solid Brass 2-Inch x 1/2-Inch 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. 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.

8. The Pivot Hinge

BNYZWOT 2 Sets Stainless Steel 360 Rotation Hidden Door Pivot Hinges 100x25x4mm

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.

Read all about pivot doors here.

9. The Heavy Duty Hinge

Bobco Metals Heavy Duty Weldable Pair 4" x 4" Gate Hinges-Steel Butt Hinge/HVY Gates Doors by Bobco Metals

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.

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.

10. The Double Action Spring Hinge

Rok Hardware Double Action Steel Spring Hinge, Satin Chrome Super Value 2-Pack (2 Hinges)

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. Double action spring door hinges are 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 leaf. This design draws a stark contrast between it and the exterior door hinges.

11. The Butterfly Door Hinge

Butterfly 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.

12. The Bi-Fold Hinge

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.

13. The Concealed Hinge

Premium Mortise Mount Invisible/Concealed Hinges (2-3/8" Leaf Height) with 4 Holes (2 Hinges), Zinc Alloy, Satin Nickel Finish, 1/2" Leaf Width, 23/32" Leaf Thickness, Easy to Install

Also called an invisible 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.

14. The Flag Hinge

HONJIE Stainless Steel Two Leaves Detachable Flag Hinge for Window Door 3-inch-4 Pcs

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.

15. The Take Apart Hinge

Take-Apart Hinge Stainless Steel Take-Apart Hinge (Left) *Pr*

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.

C. Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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