Learn About All the Door Hinge Types

Knowing the different door hinge types could make a huge impact on your home! There are many different types of door hinges available and knowing how they function will change how you use your door.

Whether it’s an exterior door, interior door, cabinet door or something else, you have a variety of options with your hinges. There are some made for specific actions and door styles while others are all encompassing.

door hinge types

In this article, we’ll go over the different door hinge types so you have a better understanding of what you’re looking for when replacing them. Once you’re done reading, you’ll have a new appreciation for your often overlooked and forgotten door hinges. Let’s get started.

Parts of a Door Hinge

Before we can get into the types of door hinges, you have to know the different parts. We’re going to be using certain terminology throughout the article and if you don’t know what it means, it may confuse you. We’ll even go over a few parts we don’t mention, but are good to know.

  • Leaf: also known as the wing, it’s the flat part of the hinge that’s screwed into the door and frame
  • Knuckle: it’s the middle part, usually cylindrical, where the leaves meet. This is the part that allows the door to move
  • Pin: a long piece that slides into the knuckle which keeps the two leaves together. When the pin is pulled out, you can remove the door slab from the frame
  • Sleeves: the round pieces that make up the knuckle which hold the pin in place

Exterior Door Hinges

There are many exterior door hinge types. You want these hinges to be durable and strong so you won’t have to worry about them wearing down due to excessive use or from harsh weather conditions.

Plus, your exterior door’s hinges play a major role in keeping your home safe from intruders. Just like you’d want a strong entry door, you want the hinges to be strong as well. Weaker hinges will give out when facing extreme pressure.

Below are the different types of exterior door hinges that are available. We’ll help you determine which is best for your home.

Butt Hinge

One of the most common door hinges is the butt hinge. Butt hinges are composed of two identical leaves – one that’s attached to the moving component and the other on the fixed component. They’re attached by a curled barrel, also known as the knuckle, which allows the door to open.

One of the major reasons they’re common for entry doors is because they’re designed to support a lot of weight. Many steel, wood and fiberglass doors can be heavy which can damage weaker hinges. However, butt hinges won’t buckle under the weight.

There are several different types of butt hinges available, including:

  • Lift-joint butt hinges: easy to separate the door slab from the frame – simply remove the center pin.
  • Rising butt hinges: made for rooms with uneven floors
  • Ball bearing butt hinge: made for heavier doors

Flush Hinge

Another common hinge style is the flush hinge. They’re designed to take up as little space as possible. They do this by having one leaf nestled into the other when your door is closed.

While they can’t hold as much weight as the butt hinge due to their design, they’re still durable.

Ball Bearing Hinge

While door hinges do wear down over time, some naturally last longer than others. One of the most durable door hinge styles is the ball bearing hinge. They’re built for heavier and wider doors.

The ball bearing is placed between two knuckles to reduce friction which wears down your hinges. Entry doors see the most traffic so it only makes sense that the hinges face the most friction.

Another benefit of ball bearing hinges is that they’re permanently lubricated. This allows the door to open and close easier and smoother – also helping reduce the amount of friction.

Case Hinge

Case hinges are very similar to butt hinges which is why they’re perfect for a front door. The only real difference is that they have a more decorative design which will help improve your home’s curb appeal.

Another benefit of case hinges is that they come in many different shapes and sizes. Exterior doors aren’t the only place you’ll find these hinges – they can even be used for suitcases or briefcases.

Hospital Hinge

If you’re looking for a shorter hinge, you should consider the hospital hinge. It’s much shorter than a butt hinge and has a rounded machined knuckle.

Otherwise, they’re designed very similar to a butt hinge. They have one leaf that’s installed the door frame and the other that’s attached to the door. They meet at the rounded knuckle which allows the door to operate.

Strap Hinge

Strap hinges, also known as gate hinges, are the most unique exterior door hinge style available. They’re the shortest by far but have the longest leaf. It gives your entry door a unique look that you won’t get with any of the other exterior hinges.

strap hinge

The strap hinge does more than just look pretty. The long leaf gives your door much more support. This will make the door much stronger which is exactly what you want from the entryway to your home.

Olive Knuckle Hinge

Have you ever seen a hinge that’s shaped like the letter H? That’s an olive knuckle hinge which is one of the more unique door hinge types. When the door is open, you see the H shape. However, when the door is closed, you only see the knuckle.

Pivot Hinge

Some taller doors need the assistance of their hinges to keep them aligned. This is where the pivot hinge comes in handy. They’re made for taller doors because they pivot when they’re opened. They look very similar to an olive knuckle hinge.

Heavy Duty Hinge

Heavy duty hinges can come in any hinge style but are stronger than their normal counterpart. This is because they’re up to 1/4″ thicker than a regular hinge and built for heavier, more used doors.

door hinge

Interior Door Hinges

Your home has more doors than the ones that grant you access to your home. Inside, there are doors separating each room that will need door hinges.

There are several interior door hinge types that you should be aware of that help determine how your door can be used. We’ll go over a couple of them below.

Double Action Spring

Double action spring door hinges aren’t made for exterior doors because they can’t handle the heavy weight of a steel door. That being said, they’re perfect for kitchen and dining room doors.

The double action hinge can go by many names because of the way it operates. Some of the names are swing and sway, saloon and cafe doors.  They can swing in either direction because of their design. With two cylinders meeting a square leaf, they’re vastly different than all of the other exterior door hinges.

Butterfly Hinge

Butterfly hinges are made for interior doors because they can’t lift the weight of heavy exterior doors. Their decorative design (looking similar to a butterfly) will give your doors a touch of pizzazz and flair that you won’t get from a typical door hinge.

With many different shapes and patterns available, you can customize your butterfly door hinge to look exactly how you want.

Bi-Fold Hinge

Do you want a hinge with multiple leaves that are different lengths? Then you should consider a bi-fold hinge. They have several pivot points which allow the door to travel at a greater degree.

Other Types of Door Hinges

There are many door hinge types available. Some are best for exterior doors while others are meant for interior doors. Then there are these door hinges.

These more unique style of door hinges can be used in a multitude of ways. Whether it’s for a cabinet door, a suitcase or something else, there’s bound to be a door hinge that’s perfect for you.

Concealed Hinge

The concealed hinges, also known as invisible hinges, are made to not be seen. This helps you show off the design of your door – whether its an interior door, cabinet door or something else.

concealed hinge

They’re made up of two parts: the pivot and the bracket. The bracket is installed into a recess in the door and the pivot allows it to open at 90°.


T-hinges get their name from their shape – they look like the letter T. That means they’re shorter than a typical hinge but have a longer leaf that is installed to the surface of the operating component.

You often find T-hinges on larger doors, gates and garage doors. They add structural integrity and strength to the entryway.

Ornamental Hinge

Ornamental hinges are highly decorative hinges that are made to embellish the look of your doors. They’re often found on smaller doors such as cabinets. They’re made of solid brass or cast iron and come in a variety of different finishes.

Barrel Hinge

A type of concealed hinge, barrel hinges are perfect for cabinet and furniture doors.  They screw into the base of the door and frame. The knuckle pivots, which helps keep the hinge concealed when the door is opened and closed.

Soss Hinge

Another type of concealed hinge is the soss hinge. Rather than being screwed into the door and frame, they’re mortised. These are extremely common with cabinet doors and furniture.

Piano Hinge/Continuous Hinge

The longest door hinge is the piano hinge, also know as the continuous hinge. Since it’s long and narrow, it will run down a large portion of the door and is screwed in with many countersink screws.

Piano hinges are found in very specific places. The most common would be on a desk door that conceals your keyboard and mouse. You made also find it on cabinets or in furniture.

Flag Hinge

Most of the different door hinge types are composed of two leaves and maybe a knuckle. The flag hinge is different in that it’s only made up of one leaf and swivels around a pin. This gives it 360° of range.

Flag hinges aren’t very common but they can be found on a few things. They’re most often found on pvc doors.

Take Apart Hinge

Some doors need to be moved often, especially when people are moving in and out of them like in an apartment. The major benefit of take apart hinges is that they allow you to remove your door with ease.

Like the flag hinge, the take apart hinge is made up of one leave and a pin. When the pin is removed, the door will come right off the hinges – it couldn’t be any easier.

Knife Hinge

Knife hinges are often found on tool boxes and other things where the door opens upwards. They’re the scissor shaped hinge found on the sides of your toolbox that allow it to open without losing the door.

There Are Many Different Door Hinge Types

There are many different door hinge types. Whether its exterior, interior, cabinet or furniture hinges, it feels like your options are endless. Some hinge styles, such as butt hinges, can be used from many different types of doors.

You want your hinges to be strong but if your doors aren’t, it won’t make a difference. Feldco’s steel and fiberglass entry doors are strong enough to keep your home protected while being durable enough to withstand Midwest’s erratic weather. Get a free quote now for a replacement door that will withstand the test of time.

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