German kitchen hinges

Choosing kitchen hinges

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Quality kitchens

Kitchen hinges are an integral but sometimes overlooked aspect of any kitchen.   Their function ensures kitchen doors open and close as intended, ideally within a smooth easy action.  They should also be strong enough to endure repeated and regular use, or even the occasional slamming!  Essentially, kitchen hinges have a crucial role within a kitchen so it is important to choose a kitchen with high quality hinges that will withstand the test of time, functioning as well within years to come as on the day of installation.  Otherwise, a beautiful kitchen can quickly spoil because of a door that has started to creak on opening, become unaligned, or worse case, is hanging off its hinges! 

Durable kitchen hinges

Kitchen hinges must be strong and durable, withstanding daily and repeated use.

Kitchen hinges must be of high quality but at the same time are not a kitchen feature so should not draw attention. Instead, they should allow the kitchen door to open smoothly and quietly, without you having to think about or really notice their presence.  Not a feature but kitchen hinges are visible and in plain sight on opening the door. This means as well as ensuring optimal function, they should be as small, sleek and unobtrusive as possible so as not to catch the eye.

Different styles, strengths and qualities of kitchen hinge exist, so it is beneficial to understand the available options in advance of choosing.  The main options for kitchen hinges are as follows:

Soft-close kitchen hinge systems:

Soft-close door systems as their name suggests include a kitchen hinge mechanism which enables the door to shut slowly and softly, so regardless of the force applied, it will always close smoothly, and without ever slamming…because it can’t! This not only minimises noise for a quieter kitchen environment but a softer close ensures a better and longer quality of life for the hinges.

Clip-top or Clip-on kitchen hinges:

Soft-close kitchen hinges

Clip-top kitchen hinges can have dampers added for a soft-close kitchen effect

Within this style of kitchen hinge the parts of the integral door hinge clip together.  Clip-top or clip-on kitchen hinges are common within kitchen cabinetry as they are extremely easy to fit but can vary greatly within quality and longevity.  An additional door damper is optional and can be fitted on top of this type of hinge for a soft-close kitchen effect.

Integrated soft-close system:

An alternative to the clip-top kitchen hinge is a hinge system with an integrated soft-close mechanism, removing the need for an additional door damper. The Sensys hinge by Hettich is a high quality soft-close hinge that ensures quality, ease of use and durability.   Hettich hinges are renowned for their strength as well as adjustability to allow for different door sizes and weights.  Effectively this means smaller hinges, which are more visually pleasing because of their unobtrusive size, can still bear the weight of larger kitchen doors.  

Hettich hinge with integrated soft-close system

Hettich hinge with integrated soft-close system

The adjustable setting also controls the rate at which the door or drawer closes.  For example, a heavier door might take longer to close, and this is better for the hinges. Similarly if you have accessories such as a spice rack or basket on the inside of the door a slower rate prevents the occurrence of damage or spillages.

Electromechanical opening kitchen hinges:

Rather than traditional kitchen hinges, an alternative is door and drawers that open electromechanically. Blum Servo drive kitchen hinges are an example of this innovation, enabling kitchen doors and drawers to fully open and close, triggered by only the softest touch.  This system can be implemented throughout an entire kitchen including all base and wall units of varying widths and heights. All kitchen hinge mechanisms are quality tested to 40,000 cycles, reflecting the average hinge lifespan.  The Servo drive hinges are particularly well suited for continuing the sophisticated look of a handleless kitchen, and the fittings are still fully functional allowing access should a power cut take place.

Kitchen hinges for wall units

Up and over lift kitchen hinge system

Up and over lift wall cabinet hinge systems can bear a variety of weight and door sizes

Gas lift door mechanisms or Gas stays are an alternative to kitchen hinges and are usually introduced for up and over lift wall cabinet doors at or above head height.  They operate smoothly and easily for comfortable access to upper kitchen cabinets, and are tensional so can be soft-close too.   

Gas stays are available for multiple finishes and cater for varying door sizes, even taking the weight of wider, heavier doors whilst still ensuring a soft close that won’t bang or slam.   

 

Kitchen hinge for flap up wall units

Flap up wall units have a kitchen hinge mechanism opening to 90 degrees, allowing for storage above the units.

The usual door opening angle of up and over lift doors is between 95 and 110 degrees, or can be more for corner units, but this means nothing can be stored on top of the units as they slide across this space on opening. 

If storage space above the units is a necessity then an alternative is flap up units with a hinge mechanism that only opens to 90 degrees, an effective choice ensuring storage above the units.

 

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