Types of Cabinet Hinges: A Complete Guide

Six different styles of cabinet hinges showcased top down.

There are numerous cabinet hinge types, and choosing the right one can seem challenging. How do you know which hinge will best suit your project? How do the various cabinet hinge styles look and work? We know you want to find your perfect hinge, and you may not have the time to dig into the nitty-gritty details of all the cabinet door hinge types.

We compiled a comprehensive list of common cabinet hinge styles to save you time. We summarized vital information about each — from how they work and their features to typical use cases and pictures for reference. Whether you plan to use these cabinet door hinge styles for your kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom, you’ve come to the right place.

1. European and Concealed Hinges

European and concealed hinges, often called cup hinges, are designed to remain hidden from view when you close the cabinet door. Unlike traditional hinges, concealed hinges mount on the interior side of the cabinet door for a seamless, minimalistic look when closed.

European concealed hinge with a description

How They Work

Concealed hinges operate using a simple and elegant mechanism. A cup-shaped component is mortised into the door, with another attached to the cabinet’s interior. When you close the door, the hinge parts fit perfectly within each other, ensuring a flush and concealed appearance. The hinge’s design allows for precise door alignment and consistent spacing adjustments.


Here are a few common features to consider when choosing concealed hinges:

  • Adjustability: One of the standout features of concealed hinges is their adjustability. Users can fine-tune the position of the door in various directions, ensuring a perfect fit and alignment.
  • Soft-close mechanism: Many concealed hinges have a soft-close feature, gently closing the door without slamming. This feature adds convenience and helps prolong the life of your cabinet doors.
  • Sleek aesthetic: European hinges are modern, clean, and discreet. They complement contemporary cabinet designs beautifully.
  • Variety of applications: Concealed hinges work with all cabinet door applications.

Best For

European or concealed hinges are best used for modern and contemporary cabinets with a sleek, clean look. They are one of the most suitable bathroom cabinet hinge types. Also ideal for frameless kitchen cabinets and furniture, these hinges stay concealed when doors are closed. These hinges are popular in homes with a modern aesthetic, offering a seamless, uncluttered look for cabinet doors.

2. Semi-Concealed Hinges

Semi-concealed hinges are among the most versatile hinge designs for cabinet doors. They strike a balance between surface mount and fully concealed options. When closed, these hinges allow a portion of the hinge mechanism to be visible while concealing the remaining part.

How They Work

Semi-concealed hinges consist of two parts — one plate attached to the door’s back and the other to the cabinet’s frame. The hinge’s pivot point, or the hinge pin, enables the door to open and close smoothly. While the frame wing is visible on the cabinet’s interior, the door wing remains hidden when you shut the door. This design conceals the hinge’s primary function, providing a sleek look and maintaining sturdy cabinet door operation.


Consider the following key features of semi-concealed hinges:

  • Durable construction: These hinges are durably constructed from materials like steel or brass, ensuring longevity and reliability.
  • Ornamental elements: Some designs incorporate ornamental features, adding an elegant touch to the cabinet’s appearance.
  • Variable opening angles: These options offer various opening angles, providing door movement and functionality flexibility.
Key features of semi-concealed hinges

Best For

Semi-concealed hinges are best used for cabinet doors where a partial hinge appearance is acceptable. Ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, and bedroom closets, these hinges provide a neat appearance while ensuring easy access to items inside the cabinets.

3. Surface Mounted Hinges

Surface mount hinges, as the name suggests, sit on the surface of the cabinet door and frame without needing to drill recesses or mortises. Also called surface mounted, surface mount hinges display the entire hinge on the outside of the cabinet, enhancing its aesthetic appeal with an attractive color or design.

Surface mount hinge

How They Work

Surface mount hinges attach directly to the exterior surface of the cabinet door and frame. These hinges have plates or wings you can screw onto the cabinet door and frame. The hinge pin, which holds the plates together, allows the door to pivot open and close.


Surface mount hinges often have the following features:

  • Ease of installation: These hinges are relatively simple to install since they don’t require complex recesses or mortises.
  • Visible design: Surface mounting makes them visible, which is ideal for showcasing the hinge as part of your cabinet’s aesthetic.
  • Variety of styles: They come in various styles, finishes, and materials. This feature allows you to select the one that best complements your cabinet’s design.

Best For

Surface mount hinges are best used for cabinets where the design calls for the hinge to be visible on the cabinet’s exterior. They are a popular choice among kitchen cabinet hinge types, combining functionality with an attractive design. These hinges enhance the aesthetics of the cabinet by showcasing their color and design on the outside.

4. Wrap Hinges

Wrap or wrap-around hinges allow cabinet doors to wrap around the frame when closed. This design completely conceals the hinge when you shut the cabinet door, offering a clean, unobtrusive look.

How They Work

Wrap hinges consist of two plates — one attached to the cabinet frame and the other to the cabinet door. When you close the door, these plates wrap around each other, allowing the door to sit flush with the cabinet frame.

Full-wrap hinges wrap entirely around three sides of the face frame, while partial-wrap hinges feature a long leaf that wraps around the side panel’s face frame.

Wrap hinges include various options for frameless cabinets with overlay doors that sit on top of the cabinet’s openings. Hinges with partial insets work well for cabinet doors with an overlaying lip and insets that partially fit in the opening. In addition, 270-degree wrap hinges are ideal for entertainment centers and similar applications.


Consider the following specific features of wrap hinges:

  • Concealment: Wrap hinges primarily hide the hinge mechanism with a closed cabinet door.
  • Sleek aesthetics: These options provide a seamless cabinet surface for a modern look.
  • Various finishes: Wrap hinges are available in numerous finishes, making it easy to match them to your cabinet style.
Features of wrap hinges

Best For

Wrap hinges are best used for overlay doors and inset doors. Ideal for achieving a sleek cabinet design, wrap hinges allow the door to sit flush with or completely cover the frame for a seamless appearance. Wrap hinges are perfect in contemporary kitchen and bathroom cabinets and furniture where aesthetics is a priority.

5. Butt Hinges

Butt cabinet hinges are often called “traditional” hinges, characterized by two plates joined by a central barrel. The butt hinge attaches to the inner edge of the door, and when shut, only the knuckle section of the hinge is exposed. To prevent gaps, you can install butt hinges directly onto the doors and cabinets or mortise them, depending on the application.

Butt Cabinet hinge

How They Work

Butt hinges work on a basic yet effective principle. The two hinge plates — one mounted to the door’s edge and the other to the cabinet frame — align to ensure the door opens and closes smoothly. When you close the door, the plates meet securely, and the central pin or knuckle serves as a pivot point. This design allows for a simple and functional hinge mechanism.


Consider the following key features of butt hinges:

  • Sturdiness: Butt hinges are durable and reliable. They are capable of withstanding frequent use and heavy doors.
  • Simplicity: These hinges are straightforward in design and operation, making them popular for various applications.
  • Variety: Butt hinges come in various sizes and materials, including stainless steel, brass, and other finishes, allowing you to select the option that best suits your needs.

Best For

Butt hinges are best suited for a variety of applications, such as interior doors, cabinets, cupboards, and wooden boxes. They provide a classic look while ensuring durability and reliable performance.

6. Youngdale Hinges

Youngdale has been among the most trusted and reliable hinge brands for decades. Youngdale cabinet hinges provide smooth and durable operation while keeping the hardware fully concealed from the frontal view when closed. The designs are known across the industry for superior quality, making them ideal for many furniture and kitchen cabinetry projects.

Youngdale Hinge

How They Work

Youngdale hinges come in various designs suited for a range of door thicknesses. Many designs are self-closing, consisting of a body attached to the cabinet frame and a leaf attached to the door. They are compatible with both frameless and face frame cabinets. Excluding the #65 design, Youngdale hinges are not handed, meaning the same hinge will work on either a right- or left-hand door.


Several primary features of Youngdale hinges include:

  • Simple installation: Compared to European designs, Youngdale hinges are much easier to install.
  • Multiple finishes: Finishes are available in various options, including brass, nickel, stainless steel, bronze, and white tones.
  • Superior quality: Youngdale has been one of the industry’s most trusted hinge brands since 1963.
  • Easy identification: Each hinge includes an identification number for quick replacement selection.

Best For

Youngdale hinges are highly popular in kitchen cabinetry applications, because most of the hardware is concealed from view. They are ideal for 3/8-inch partial inset doors or overlay doors. These hinges offer a high-quality alternative to European-style hinges.

7. Pivot or Knife Hinges

Pivot or knife hinges are a unique type of hinge known for a minimalistic and stylish design. Knife hinges, named for their resemblance to a knife blade, consist of two interlocking metal plates that pivot around a central point. One plate is attached to the cabinet frame, while the other is on the door. This design allows the door to swing open and close smoothly.

How They Work

Knife hinges work by creating a pivot point between two plates, allowing them to rotate in sync. One plate is typically mortised or recessed into the cabinet door’s edge. The other is mounted within the cabinet frame. These plates pivot around the hinge point with an open or closed door, ensuring smooth door movement.


Here are a few common features to consider when choosing pivot hinges:

  • Sleek design: Pivot hinges are known for their stylish and minimalistic appearance.
  • Semi-concealed view: The only visible component of the hardware is the pin or the axis point where the hinge rotates.
  • Versatile installation: You can use them with full overlay, partial overlay, or inset cabinet doors, making them adaptable to different cabinet styles.

Best For

Knife hinges are ideal for projects desiring a sleek, minimalist appearance. They provide a discreet and concealed hinge design, ideal for applications where you want hinges hidden from the outside. These options are used in high-end furniture and cabinets for a clean and elegant look. Pivot hinges also work well with doors that must swing open smoothly and precisely.

They are an excellent option for projects where aesthetics and functionality go hand in hand.

8. Entertainment Center Hinges

Entertainment center hinges are specialized hinge designs used in media consoles, television stands, and similar types of cabinetry. Also known as 270-degree hinges, these designs enable the door to open wide enough to offer a clear view of your television screen.

How They Work

Entertainment center hinges connect the door panel to the frame, facilitating smooth opening and closing movement. Since this option operates differently than a standard hinge, a wider-angle opening is achieved. These hinges come in various designs based on your requirements, including pivot hinges, double-wrap hinges, and full overlay hinges.


Features of entertainment center hinges include:

  • Variety: These hinges come in various finishes, from bronze and brass to pewter and black.
  • Wide opening angle: The 270-degree angle ensures your television isn’t obstructed from view. Wider-angle openings also allow for easier placement and removal of the items inside the cabinet.
  • Size options: These hinges come in various overlay dimensions to meet your needs.

Best For

Entertainment center hinges are best suited for media consoles and other cabinetry projects requiring 270-degree openings.

9. Glass Door Hinges

Unlike traditional hinges for wooden doors, glass door hinges are specifically designed to hold the door securely while providing smooth movement. Depending on the application, many glass door hinges typically have a frameless design that helps minimize the visibility of the hinge hardware.

How They Work

Glass door hinges function by securely keeping the glass panel in place and allowing it to swing open and close seamlessly. These doors often have specialized features like frameless designs, self-closing mechanisms, and unique opening angles to provide stability and convenience, specifically for glass doors.

Glass Door Hinge


Enjoy these features when installing glass door hinges:

  • Reliability: Choose from some of the industry’s most reliable brands, such as Sugatsune and BLUM.
  • Versatility: These hinges come in many designs to accommodate a range of door thicknesses.
  • Variety: Glass door hinges are available in various finishes to complement your existing cabinetry, from stainless steel and polished nickel to brass and bronze.

Best For

There are many options for glass door hinges — including bore and non-bore types — to meet the requirements of the glass panel and the structure. Examples include cabinets, display cases, showers, and more.

10. Demountable Hinges

Demountable hinges allow for easy removal or disassembly of cabinet doors without unscrewing or repositioning the hinge hardware. The primary benefit of these hinges is simplifying cabinet assembly, installation, and maintenance.

How They Work

A demountable hinge attaches with an insert that fits into a slot in the door or cabinet. After the hinge is placed in the slot, it can be tightened to secure the door. If the door requires removal for maintenance, cleaning, or another reason, you only need to loosen the hinge.


Standard features of these hinges include:

  • Easy installation: Demountable hinges are much easier and quicker to install than many other hinge types.
  • Convenience: The intuitive hinge designs make door removal easy and convenient.
  • Variety: Demountable hinges come in single- or double-demountable designs with many different finishes, including bronze, nickel, brass, and more.

Best For

Demountable hinges are best used for various cabinetry applications where high accessibility, ease of removal, and fast reinstallation of doors are desired. They are commonly found in kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, office furniture, and similar applications.

Choosing a Cabinet Hinge

Key steps to help you choose the perfect cabinet hinge

Selecting the right cabinet hinge is crucial for the functionality and aesthetics of your cabinets. Whether you’re working on a kitchen, bathroom, or other cabinet project, choosing the right hinge is the key to long-lasting, reliable, and visually appealing results. Here are some key steps to help you choose the perfect cabinet hinge:

Understand Your Cabinet Type

First, identify whether you have framed or frameless cabinets. Knowing your cabinet type will narrow down your hinge options.

  • Face frame cabinets: These designs have a frame on the unit’s front, providing the cabinet box with increased strength and added dimension. Face frame cabinets are among the most popular designs of American manufacturers.
  • Frameless cabinets: Frameless cabinets rely on thicker side panels for strength instead of a face frame. While these designs are highly prevalent in Europe, they have steadily emerged in America among those who prefer modern and contemporary aesthetics.

Consider the Door Overlay

Next, determine the overlay of your cabinet doors. The overlay refers to how much the door covers the cabinet opening. Common overlay styles include full overlay, half overlay, and inset. Each of these may require a different type of hinge. Your choice should align with your cabinet design and personal preference.

Determine the Functionality

Consider the desired functionality for your cabinet doors. Do you prefer soft-close hinges that prevent doors from slamming? Are you looking for self-closing hinges for convenience? Your specific needs will help narrow down your choices.

Select the Hinge Style

Traditional, concealed, or decorative hinges can affect the overall look of your cabinets. Choosing a style that complements your cabinet design and fits your requirements is essential.

Choose the Installation Method

Determine whether you prefer surface mount or mortise hinges. Some hinges may require more complex installation, while others are more straightforward.

Find the Hinge You Need at HardwareSource

You’ve explored common cabinet hinge styles, from classic butt hinges to sophisticated pivot hinges. But the key to making your cabinet project shine is finding the perfect hinge for your unique needs. That’s where HardwareSource, the specialty hinge division of San Diego Hardware, comes in.

With a legacy dating back to 1892, HardwareSource is your trusted source for all things hinges. We take pride in our vast array of hinge styles and finishes, featuring renowned manufacturers such as Baldwin, Hager, SOSS and Stanley. No matter the hinge you need, you’ll find it here.

Ready to take the next step? Browse our extensive selection of cabinet hinges and hardware, and take advantage of our Hinge Finder for quick and precise searches.

Can’t find what you need? Contact our knowledgeable customer service team, and we’ll guide you to the perfect solution.

Find the hinge you need at HardwareSource