What kind of hinge is best for garage storage cabinet?

Garage cabinets come in many configurations and materials, as such, the question of what kind of hinge is best for a garage storage cabinet comes down to what kind of storage cabinet is it and what is it made of?

Let’s start by determining the type of cabinet in use; there are two basic cabinet types that use hinges since they have doors and doors require hinges. These are face-frame cabinets and frameless cabinets.

A face frame cabinet has a frame that is usually made of 1.5” to 2” wood and comes with hinges mounted into the frame. The second type is the frameless cabinet, and this is basically a box with a door attached to its side wall.

The next item to look at is the door overlay, which is how the door opens in relation to the type of frame. There are overlay door types faced frame cabinets, as such, these doors cover the entire front of the cabinet, including the frame. The inset door type sits within the frame, so the difference is not just in opening style, but in a location too. An overlay sits on the frame, and an inset sits within the frame.

There is a third type, the partial inset door, these doors have a machined edge that lets the door sit within the frame, but about 3/8” of the door sits over the frame too.

Now let’s take a look at frameless cabinet doors:

There is a full overlay door style that sits flush on the cabinet edge, covering it totally. There is the half overlay door style that is usually found in a serious of side to side cabinets, where the hinge overlay accounts for the shared partition wall.

The inset door sits within the cabinet’s edges, much like the framed cabinet door.

Hinge Appearance

Another issue with hinges are how they appear, in other words, do you want to see the hinge or not? Here are the type of hinges based on appearance:

There are concealed hinges that sit inset the cabinet and the door. They come with “cups” that sit inside the material of the door and the cabinet, and when opened are not seen from the outside.

Semi-Concealed Hinge can partially be seen from the outside, and usually, the exposed part has a design to make the hinge look attractive and part of the total design.

Then there are exposed hinges, and as you guessed, the hinge is seen from all directions. These are the classic hinges that were used for centuries.

Hinge Attachment Structure

There are three basic hinge attachment structures for fastening the hinge to the cabinet and the door. These include the Surface-Mount Hinge, which is usually what an exposed hinge looks like, these are hinges with bases that fasten onto the surface of the cabinet and door.

Then there are Mortised Hinges that require a recess or mortise in the cabinet wall and door, and these are usually found on hidden hinges.

Finally, there is the Wraparound Hinge which is a style of the hinge with leaves formed to wrap around the edge of the door and the cabinet side or face frame. You might find partial wraparound hinges that have one side felt and the other a wrap around. The full wrap around hinges is used on face-frame cabinets.

So now you have the different options, it’s time to look at the appropriate hinges for each type.

Hinge Types

Butt Hinge: this is the standard hinge composed of two pivoting plates with interlocking fingers forming a barrel that is held together by a pin. Some butt hinges require a slight mortise in the frame and door to account for a flush finish.

Deluxe (adjustable mount) Butt Hinge is but hinges that let you adjust the doors horizontally and vertically to acquire a perfect fit.

Knife Hinges look like scissors, these are mounted on the top and bottom of the door, and the pates fasten to the top or bottom of the cabinet, they open like a pair of scissors.

A European Hinge is a form of concealed hinge found on most frameless cabinets and come with a mortise based mounting plate for both the cabinet and the door. Most European hinges come with height and depth regulators, in the form of small screws that can adjust the depth and distance of the hinge.

Other options to choose from are self-closing hinges, or self-opening and closing systems. These are mechanisms you can add to the hinge to make the operation of opening and closing less manual.

Number of Hinges

In most cases two hinges are enough to support a full sized door, however, the weight of the door and the cabinet have to be considered as well as the overall dimensions. The larger the cabinet, and the heavier the door, the larger the hinges, or possibly adding a third hinge. If you are not sure, more is better than less.