Types Of Concealed Cabinet Hinges

Abstract: Concealed hinges make the functioning of cabinet doors smooth while at the same time taking care of aesthetics. They are most common in kitchen cabinets and are available in various types, from soft-close to full-overlay hinges.

Cabinet hinges, especially the concealed kitchen cabinets, are essential to functioning cabinet doors. These hinges not only make the functioning of the cabinet doors smooth  but also add a lot to the aesthetics. But what is a concealed cabinet hinge? How are concealed hinges related to aesthetics? That is where the specialty lies, mostly famous in European-style cabinets; concealed hinges stay invisible when the cabinet doors are closed. This makes the finishing of the furniture more pleasing. 

What Is A Concealed Hinge?

For those who do not know what is a concealed hinge? And how different is it from an ordinary hinge? A concealed hinge, also known as a European hinge, comes in a unique shape that helps it stay invisible while the cabinet doors are closed, but when the doors are opened, they are visible. A concealed hinge is durable, offers smooth functioning, and, most importantly, is invisible from the outside. Do not underestimate their size; these metal hinges are so strong that they cannot tamper with easily. 

The mechanism of concealed hinges is simple. Mostly, these hinges can be easily detached by unscrewing whenever the doors need to be dismantled. It is super-easy to install concealed cabinet hinges, and anyone can do it without needing to follow a manual. Concealed hinges manufacturing companies manufacture high-quality materials to ensure they are not easily jammed, tampered with, or rusted. 

These invisible cabinet hinges are designed mainly for a neat look, and their simple mechanism makes them more popular among modern furniture makers. Another big reason European concealed hinges are used so frequently in modern furniture is that they are very affordable. For choosing the right concealed kitchen cabinet hinges, choices can be made among these concealed hinges types such as full and half overlay, inset, soft-close, and self-closing. 

Benefits Of Cabinet Concealed Hinges 

There are many benefits shared by concealed cupboard hinges. These particular types of hinges are nothing but magic, and here is how they benefit the users:

  • The first benefit is, of course, its invisibility; its ability to stay out of sight from the front and back side of cupboard or cabinet doors increases aesthetic values. 
  • The safety is enhanced in concealed hinges.
  • The hanging of the doors can be adjusted.
  • Dismantling the doors is easy with concealed systems because their mechanism is the simplest. If needed, the doors can be detached with the hinges as well.
  • Concealed hinges are made of high-quality metal. Hence, they cannot get damaged easily.
  • They are affordable, readily available, and durable.
  • They can be used for residential as well as commercial uses.

Concealed Cabinet Hinges Types

When it comes to cabinet hinges, there are indeed many types, each of which has a different purpose. Concealed hinge types vary depending on the frames used in furniture or no frames used at all. These different types of hinges serve their purposes differently.

Concealed or hidden hinges are classified into inset, half-overlay, full-overlay, soft-close, and self-closing. Each of these types is designed specially to serve its purpose in the best way. 

Hidden Hinges For Framed Cabinets

Installing Hinges for Framed Kitchen Cabinets
Source: istock

Framed cabinets are primarily found in kitchens, bedrooms, and any other location in homes, and installing concealed cabinet hinges is very easy. Framed cabinets are also popular in offices because of their solid stature. Most American cabinets are framed, and that is where the vast difference lies between American and European style furniture because, in European, there are no frames. 

Modern households mostly prefer framed cabinets because they are stronger, more flexible, and share an enhanced, cleaner look. Hidden hinges for framed cabinets are designed keeping in mind the position of the wooden frame. Whether the wooden frame is on the front, sides, top, bottom, or back, the hinges are designed accordingly to ensure they attach and function well. 

How To Install?

Installing hidden hinges for framed cabinets is easy; it involves the following simple steps:

  • The initial steps involve marking the points where the hinge is to be attached with the help of accurate measurements and drill holes for screws.
  • The next step involves installing the hinge cup on the door and marking the cabinet to install the mounting plate.
  • The final step involves mounting the door, adjusting the hinge and the door, and inspecting its function. 

Hidden hinges are the best example of modern technology, making everything more accessible and efficient. Even if the hidden hinges operate with the help of a simple mechanism, their construction involves a complex process. Manufacturing companies take care of both the quality of metal and the metal finishes to ensure customer satisfaction. 

Although traditional hinges have the simplest mechanisms, they could be more aesthetically pleasing. They have issues related to noises and rust, and most importantly, they are visible from the outside. There are also few choices available in traditional hinges, but for concealed ones, there are many. Precisely, hidden or concealed hinges are more efficient and reliable. 

Concealed Hinges For Frameless Cabinets

Installing Hinges for Frameless Cabinets
Source: istock

Frameless cabinets, also known as the European style, look aesthetically pleasing because they offer a much cleaner look. When the doors of such a cabinet are closed, there are no face frames visible, and that is where the significant difference lies between framed and frameless cabinets.

Do not go after its name; these European-style cabinets are becoming increasingly popular in modern American households because of their contemporary look and clean finishing. The designs of such cabinets are simpler and offer more accessibility. While considering which hinge will be appropriate, there is only one choice, overlay concealed hinges for frameless cabinets. 

An overlay-concealed hinge allows the door to partially or fully overlay from the cabinet’s frame. Overlay hinges provide the best coverage and offer a seamless finish ideal for modern kitchens and living rooms. Overlay concealed hinges allow the doors to open outward, and when they are closed, they are out of sight. 

The installation of overlay hinges is a bit more complicated than the inset. To install the overlay hinges, it is essential to make adequate measurements of the cabinet’s width and the doors’ overlay. An adjustable overlay hinge is the best choice because every cabinet door measurement is different, and some may offer only half an inch of the overlay. To balance this lack of gaps, overlay hinges can be adjusted accordingly.

The installation process is similar to installing every other type of concealed hinge; the difference only lies in the direction in which the cabinet doors open. After making the accurate measurements, performing the drills carefully, and attaching the mounting plate and the hinge cup, the door is good to open with a partial or complete overlay. However, most frameless cabinets need full overlay concealed hinges (Knowledge: What Is A Full Overlay Hinge)

Hinges Used In Frameless Vs. Framed Cabinets

While frameless cabinets only work with whole overlay hinges, for framed ones, there are 3 types of concealed hinges options: inset, partial and full overlay. When the doors open inwards in framed cabinets, the inset hidden hinge does the job. Whereas, for doors opening outward, the partial or full overlay is the most appropriate choice. The massive difference between these two types of hinges lies in their ways of opening doors and their build-up with or without frames. 

European Concealed Hinges 

European concealed hinges are famous worldwide for their concealed and simplified look. The mechanism of European concealed hinges is simpler, offers a seamless look when the cabinet doors are closed, and, most importantly, the hinges are adjustable, a feature you do not find in traditional hinges.

Now, the question remains, in what ways are the European concealed hinges adjustable? It simply means that the screws of these hinges can be moved in the desired direction, such as in and out, up to down, and left to right. These adjustable features enhance the efficiency of doors and make them easy to operate. Some of the European-style hinges also come with a soft-close feature which means the door will not shut with noise; instead, it will shut slowly without noise. 

European concealed hinges have become popular also in American style. Today, most of the furniture found in American households includes concealed hinges. The most significant advantage of using concealed hinges on cabinets is their aesthetics, and the function of opening and closing doors is smoother and noise-free. European concealed hinges are available in the inset, overlay, and soft-close. 

Installation of a European concealed hinge is the easiest; it can be done by any non-professional with the help of adequate measurements. Concealed hinges are available in overlay, inset, and soft-close; each is available in a flexible option. These hinges come with parts known as hinge cups and mounting plates; the mounting plate is attached to the inward of the cabinet, whereas the hinge cup sits on the inward of the door. 

Difference Between European And American Style Hinges

There are quite a few differences between a European and American style hinge. In the American style, the furniture usually includes three hinges, and these hinges are primarily visible from the outside. In European style, firstly, the number of hinges used is two, and second, the hinges are concealed; hence, they are more aesthetic and offer a seamless look. 

Hidden Hinges For Inset Cabinet Doors 

Installing Hinges for Insert Cabinet Door
Source: istock

There are many choices available in concealed hinges, one of which is inset. Choosing the perfect concealed inset cabinet hinges can sometimes be a little overwhelming. While cabinets have only two classifications, framed and frameless, the types of hinges are more than three. No matter if the furniture is frameless or framed, choosing an inset hinge would mean that the opening of the doors will be inset. This means that one can adjust the hinges to set the doors inside when opened.

Hidden hinges for inset cabinet doors are readily available. They can be installed easily on all types of cupboards and cabinets, and this choice is only valid when the cabinet’s doors open inwards. Inset doors are common in modern-style furniture and can be found in framed and frameless ones. So, a unique cabinet door that opens inwards needs a particular type of hidden hinge called an inset hinge.

An inset hidden hinge mechanism is much different from an overlay hinge. This hinge comes with a large crank fitted in its arms which performs the primary function of letting the doors open inwards. Since the doors open inwards, the outer edge of the cabinets gets displayed fully. 

According to experts, installing inset hinges is much simpler than any other choice. One can install these particular types of hinges super-quick by making adequate measurements, drilling holes, and finally attaching the hinge cup and the mounting plate. 

Before installation, one must keep one important thing in mind: the measurement of the cabinet’s door being slightly smaller than the frame. And this is done purposefully to allow the doors to open smoothly. The measurements for installation must be made, keeping this in mind. 

Difference Between Inset And Overlay Hidden Hinges 

There is a significant difference between an inset and an outlay hidden hinge, and the difference lies in their ways of opening the cabinet’s doors. An inset hinge lets the cabinet doors open inwards and expose the outer edge. Similarly, for an overlay hinge, the hint lies in its name, making the door lay partially or entirely over the frame. 

Full Overlay Concealed Hinges 

Full Overlay Concealed Hinge.
Source: Maxave

Very common among modern furniture manufacturers, full overlay concealed hinges allow the cabinet doors to be completely concealed, offering a cleaner, aesthetically impressive look. The specialty of full overlay concealed hinges lies in the functioning of the cabinet door. Since these hinges have a straight arm, there is no gap in-between when the door is opened. The door and the cabinet’s body are edge to edge; you can say that is entirely in line with the cabinet’s body, which is why it gives the piece of furniture a seamless look. 

Full overlay hinges work best in frameless cabinets because the cabinet and the door’s body are attached edge to edge. Installing full overlay hinges can be a little complicated because there is no space left between the door and the cabinet’s body; the measurements must be very accurate. Once installed, full overlay hinges help the doors to open wide, letting the outer edge of the cabinet come into the display. It also helps offer more space and accessibility. 

Difference Between Full Overlay And Half Overlay Hinges

Framed concealed cupboard hinges should always have a full overlay system, but how is it different from half overlay systems? A full overlay hinge comes with a straight arm which enables it to attach edge to edge, thus, offering no space between the door and the cabinet’s body. The significant difference between a full and a half overlay system lies in the arm of the hinge. 

In half overlay, the arm of the hinge is slightly bent, which enables it to cover the side panel of the cupboard partially. Half overlay hinges are commonly used in wardrobes for modern bedrooms, whereas full overlay can be in the kitchen, dining, or living. 

Half Overlay Concealed Hinges 

Overlay hinges come in two types, full and a half; while a full overlay hinge is primarily common in frameless cabinets and cupboards, the half overlay can become a part of framed ones. Since half overlay hinges have a slightly blended arm compared to the straight arms of a full overlay hinge, it allows the doors to mount on either side. Since it has a bend in the arm, the half overlay system allows the cabinet door to cover only half of the side panel. This partial coverage results in the name of half overlay. 

Companies manufacturing contemporary bedroom furniture mostly use half overlay hinges in their cabinets and wardrobes. 

Concerning the installation of a half overlay hinge, it is just as simple as installing an inset or a full overlay hinge. The difference usually lies in the measurements and the positions. To install a half overlay hinge, accurate measurements of the center of the hole in the hinge cup and the top of the door are necessary. These accurate measurements will help in placing the mounting plate correctly. 

Difference Between Half Overlay And Inset Hinges

Full Overlay vs Half Overlay vs Insert Hinges
Source: Maxave

There is indeed a stark difference between half overlay and inset; to choose between one is indeed a challenging task. As stated before, the name of the half overlay hinge has derived from its function of covering the half portion of the side panel, which is just the opposite of a full overlay, which covers the side panel fully. 

A half overlay hinge allows the doors to open outward, where its most significant difference lies with inset hinges. An inset hinge allows the cabinet doors to open inward, thus fully displaying the cabinet’s outer edge. Both inset and half overlay hinges are common in framed cabinets; these systems are more useful in bedroom wardrobes than kitchen cabinets. 

Soft-Close Concealed Hinges 

One Way Slide On Soft Close Hinge.
Source: Maxave

Only a few people are okay with their kitchen cabinets or wardrobes making a lot of noise while being shut. But, most people wish for furniture with doors that close softly. Have you ever wondered what makes the doors stop right before they are shut and close them softly? It is the magic mechanism of a soft-close hinge. 

As the name suggests, soft close concealed cabinet hinges are manufactured to reduce the noise the cabinet doors make while being shut (Learn: How To Adjust A Soft Close Hinge). The powerful mechanism of soft-close hinges slows the process of shutting the doors no matter how hard they are pushed. No one would want to disrupt their sleep because someone in the other room is closing cabinet doors with too much noise, and for that, soft-close hinges are the best modern solution.

The mechanism of soft-close hinges is not as complicated as it seems; also, they are effortless to install. During installations, one has to pay attention to the measurements and be careful while placing the mounting plate and the hinge cup. 

Difference Between Soft-Close And Other Concealed Hinges

The most significant difference between soft-close concealed hinges and other types of face frame concealed hinges is the mechanism. While inset, half, and full overlay systems promise smooth door functioning, they do not promise a noise-free closure. The doors may shut at once with a loud noise, and this is not always pleasing, especially for homes with babies, elderly patients, and pets who are terrified by loud noises. On the other hand, soft-close hinges have a powerful mechanism that stops the door right before it is shut and closes it softly without making a noise. No matter how hard the doors are shut, the mechanism is powerful enough to handle it. 

Self-Closing Concealed Hinges

As the name suggests, self-closing concealed cabinet hinges are built with a unique and powerful mechanism that lets the door close automatically while at the same time making no noise. Self-closing is an upgraded soft-close hinge that allows the doors to shut softly while, at the same time, the whole process is automatic. 

Self-closing concealed hinges are growing increasingly popular in American-style contemporary furniture. They are used in kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, cupboards, and many other styles of furniture with doors. These hinges also provide a seamless appearance, and the fully automatic function relies on the powerful string attached to these hinges.

A self-closing hinge makes not only the mechanism of closing the cabinet’s door but also its opening. Like a single tap leads to the automatic closing of doors similarly, one small pull can open the doors fully without much effort. Soft-closing hinge mechanisms are ideal for those users who are worried about the loud noise made by the slamming of doors. In contrast, self-closing features are appropriate for those who usually forget to close the doors of their cabinets and want it to happen automatically. 

Installation of a self-closing hinge is similar to every other concealed hinge. Their mechanism may be a little complex, but the installation process is the same. Taking care of the measurements and adjusting and placing the mounting plates and hinge cups appropriately are the only things to worry about. 

Difference Between Soft-Closing And Self-Closing Hinges

A significant difference between soft-closing and self-closing hinges makes them so special and different from each other. A soft-closing hinge includes a powerful mechanism responsible for stopping the doors before they are shut and, rather, shutting them softly, avoiding the loud noise. Similarly, a self-closing hinge comes with a unique mechanism that results in the closing of doors automatically. The mechanism is fully automatic and also prevents the loud slamming of doors. 


Whether the kitchen cabinets and bedroom wardrobes are framed, or unframed, concealed hinges are the revolution of hinge mechanisms. Not only its aesthetics, but stainless steel concealed hinges also ensure that the mechanism of doors remains smooth for lifelong. Most door mechanisms get stuck because the hinges are either jammed or rusted, which differs from concealed hinges manufactured with high-quality stainless steel (The 6 Best German Cabinet Hinge Manufacturers)

Concealed hinges have become the most vital part of European-style furniture, the idea is also being employed in modern American furniture, and the results are truly beautiful. They make them contemporary and more impressive. People mostly prefer 26mm concealed cabinet hinges for the cabinets used in kitchens or the wardrobes in bedrooms, these concealed hinges for face-framed cabinets or even the frameless ones ensure enhanced performances and make everyday life a lot easier. You can contact us for more details.

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