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Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide

Whether you have new cabinetry or you’re updating an old look, there are many cabinet hardware options to help you get the results you want. Hinges, knobs and pulls are available for every budget, so our buying guide serves as a starting point for finding the cabinet hardware that’s a great fit for your home.

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide

Before You Begin

Before you begin shopping for new cabinetry hardware, be aware of your project timeline. Some special order pieces require seven days for delivery.

If you are choosing new cabinetry, it’s a good idea to take a sample of your finish directly to the hardware department and select new knobs or pulls on the same day. This allows plenty of time in your schedule to get the hardware you really want.

Understanding Types of Cabinet Hardware

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide Knobs and Pulls

Knobs are handles mounted to the exterior of doors and drawers with a single screw and bolt.  Some knobs have screws built-in and are easier to install than ones with separate screws.  Knobs look great when used with a back plate or alone.

Pulls
serve the same function as knobs but occupy more space – which means more impact on the appearance of the cabinet.

Cabinet Back Plates

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide Back Plate

A back plate is a piece of finished metal that rests between the door and hardware. Back plates help protect the cabinet’s surface, cover existing holes in the cabinetry or to enhance decorative hardware.

Cabinet Door Catches

Cabinet door catches are meant for doors without self-closing hinges to keep cabinet doors secure against the frame.

Hinges

Hinges attach the cabinet door to the frame. The number of hinges you need depends on the height and weight of the door.

  • Use two hinges for doors less than 40 inches high and less than 11 pounds.
  • Use three hinges for doors 40-60 inches high and 13-20 pounds.
  • Use four hinges for doors 60-80 inches high and 29-33 pounds.
  • Use five hinges for doors 80-85 inches high and 40-48 pounds.
Good to Know

Hinges are specified for use on left- or right-hand doors. Some are specified for use with framed or frameless cabinetry. If you’re not sure what you have, snap several pictures or take a sample with you for shopping accuracy.

Understanding Hinges

Two types of hinge installations are available:

  1. Mortise hinges are permanent installation hinges. The areas inside the cabinet door and frame have cutouts to attach the hinges.
  2. Non-mortise hinges do not require placement into the cabinetry. These hinges simply fasten with screws.

Hinge Construction

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide Hinge Construction

Hinges are composed of four parts:

  1. Frame wing – attaches to the frame
  2. Door wing – attaches to the door
  3. Knuckle – connects the frame wing and door wing
  4. Pin – holds the hinge together

Hinge Appearance

Fully concealed – only the surface of the door is outwardly visible, or
Semi-concealed – only the knuckle is visible.

Good to Know

Use semi-concealed hinges for inset doors.

Types of Hinges

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide Types of Hinges

European or frameless hinges are the most popular choice for full-overlay and inset doors, although they are usable on face-frame cabinets as well. They offer ease in installation and can easily support heavier doors. European hinges adjust to align and level cabinet doors.

European Overlay hinges work on frameless cabinet doors with half-overlay doors. They may also work on face-frame cabinet doors that overlap the frame.

Face Frame Hinges

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide Face Frame Hinge

Variable Overlay hinges work on doors that completely overlay the frame and do not have a cut out on the back.

Partial Wraparound
hinges have a large surface area that improves stability on flush, inset or overlay doors.

3/8-inch Inset
hinges work on doors that overlay the frame and have a cut out on the back edge.

H-style
hinges look like the letter “H”. One side attaches to the frame and the other attaches to the flush mount door.

3/8-inch Offset H Hinges

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide Offset H Hinge

3/8-inch Offset H hinges provide support and smooth operation for offset doors.

Butterfly Hinges

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide Butterfly Hinge

Butterfly hinges are for use on flush doors. Each wing mounts to the outside surfaces of the cabinet door and frame.

T-style Hinges

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide T-style Hinge

T-style hinges look like the letter “T” with the vertical piece attaching to the doorframe and the horizontal piece attaching to the door.

Full-Inset Pin Hinges

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide Full Inset Pin Hinge

Full-Inset Pin hinges (or butt hinges) are for doors completely flush with the face of the cabinet. These hinges mount recessed or work surface-mounted on face frame cabinets.

Good to Know

Take a sample of your current knobs, pulls and hinges to the store when shopping for replacements. This ensures you find the perfect fit.

Cabinet Door Catches

To secure cabinet doors without self-closing hinges, consider a catch.  Friction catches have a male part and a female part that work with a spring tensioner to provide a secure grasp on the door.

If small children are in the home, be sure to explore safety catches and other accessories to keep your kitchen secure.

Magnetic Catches

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide Magnetic Catch

Magnetic catches are the most widely used catch and work with a metal plate mounted on the cabinet door that adheres to a magnet mounted on the frame.

Spring Roller Touch Catches

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide Spring Roller Touch Catch

Spring Roller Touch catches have one or two rollers set close together on the cabinet frame and a catch mounted on the door, closing when the rollers hook on the strike plate.

Drawer Slides

Drawer slides are available in light, medium and heavy designations depending on the weight of your drawer. Keep in mind that side-mount hardware is more durable than a monorail, or center-bottom-mount slide. Bearings and rollers create a smoother motion, while full-extension slides are perfect for providing access to every inch of the drawer. Before shopping for drawer slides, you must know the slide length and drawer length needed.

Mini Ball-Bearing Drawer Slide

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide Mini Ball-Bearing Drawer Slide

Mini ball-bearing drawer slides may require a ¼-inch mortise in the drawer side for installation. Drawer stops are available.

European-Style Self-Closing Side-Mount Drawer Slides

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide European Drawer Slide

European-style self-closing side-mount drawer slides have a stop to prevent drawers from sliding out completely.

Full-Extension Self-Closing Drawer Slides

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide Full Extension Self Closing Drawer Slides

Full-extension, self-closing drawer slides use the maximum length of your drawer. Drawer stops are available.

Basic Side-Mount Drawer Slides

Cabinet Hardware Buying Guide Basic Side Mount Drawer Slide

Basic side-mount drawer slides use surface installation on face-frame cabinets.

Cabinet Hardware Finishes

Before buying new hardware for your cabinets, consider which will look best in your home. Would a traditional finish be more flattering than something contemporary?

Traditional finishes include brushed metals, polished brass, nickel and pewter. Contemporary finishes include enameled or high-shine metallic finishes.

All cabinet hardware, knobs, pulls and hinges are available in:

  • Oil Rubbed Bronze
  • Antique Copper
  • Iron
  • Polished Chrome
  • Polished Sterling or Antique Brass
  • Nickel

Additionally, knobs and pulls (only) are available in ceramic.

Good to Know

Changing your cabinet’s knobs and pulls is a fast and inexpensive way to give your kitchen a new look.