Ultimate guide to spring loaded hinges and how to install them

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Home » Hardware » Cabinet » Hinges » Spring Loaded Hinges » Ultimate guide to spring loaded hinges and how to install them

Looking for spring loaded hinges and trying to decide what’s best for your project? Perhaps your adding a spring to close a passage door? Or, maybe a gate, cabinet or other specialty hinge. Whatever your project this guide will help you select the right hinge. 

  1. BEST INTERIOR DOORS:  Deltana DSH35R515
  2. BEST HEAVY DUTY:  Berlin Modisch
  3. BEST BUDGET HINGE:  Amazon Basics
  4. BEST FOR SMALL PROJECTS:  Rannb 2-inch

For some reason our builder didn’t install a self-closing door in our entryway from the garage. So, a few weeks ago I added two 4×4 heavy duty spring hinges  to the door. 

Easy to install and adjust, and wished I had done it years ago.

But, there are more to spring loaded hinges than entry doors. In this guide we will cover:

  • Spring loaded hinges for interior and exterior passage doors
  • Cabinet door spring loaded hinges
  • Spring loaded hinges for jewelry boxes
  • Exterior gate hinges
  • Piano hinges
  • Safety door spring closers
And, since hinges have a long history, we’ll also take  Lastly, we’ll also take a look at the manufacturers of these hinges. One manufacturer, Hager, dates back to the 1800’s and has sixth generation leadership.

What is a Spring Loaded Hinge?

A spring loaded hinge is a specialty hinge designed to automatically return to a closed (or open) position. The most common use of this style hinge is to automatically close doors that should be closed. A spring loaded hinge can be used on doors, gates, lids, cabinetry and more.

The most common use of a spring loaded hinge is for assisting passage way doors (the ones we walk thru) to close. For example, garage doors to/from the house should all have a spring loaded hinge. 

And in many commercial buildings a spring hinge is required for fire safety.

How to Use this Guide

You’re likely here to find the best hinge for a specific project.

And since many of you haven’t purchased or installed a spring hinge before we’ll spend some time on:

  • How these hinges work
  • Choosing the right size
  • Review the best hinges for specific applications (there are many!)
  • How to Install guides – including links to great installation documentation from the top manufacturers
Woodworking professional? Hey, so am I and we’ll get into some of the specifics and I’ll share a few jigs and tools to help make mortising and new installation easier.

Best Spring Door Hinges

Let’s start with the most popular use of a spring door hinge: the interior or exterior passageway door (aka a standard house door).

First, these hinges range from a standard 3.5″x3.5″ for residential doors up to 4.5″ x 4.5″ for heavy duty spring door hinges. 

Not sure how to measure? We’ll cover that shortly (including measuring of the hinge corner radius).

A few things before we get started:

  • You get what you pay for
  • For doorways you may only need one hinge per door. 
  • Or, you might need to replace all hinges on a heavy MDF / solid wood door
Lastly, I believe in name brands. Hager, for example, has been in the business for 170+ years. And that doesn’t happen without a focus on quality and service.

1. Deltana DSH35R515 Single Action Spring Door Hinge

Deltana DSH35R515 Single Action Steel 3 1/2-Inch x…
  • Item Weight: 0.8 lb
  • Country of Origin: China
  • Brand name: Deltana
  • Item Dimensions: 3.5″L x 3.5″W x 1.0″H

Last update on 2021-03-02 at 10:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Reason for rating: Top manufacturer, excellent reviews, huge selection of colors and hinge corners.

Few spring door hinges are available in as many colors as the Deltana line. Haven't heard of Deltana? They have been around since 1977 and are a leading manufacturer of door hardware.

Leading the list of the best spring door hinges is the Deltana DSH35 line of hinges. 

Why Deltana? We’ll get to the features of this hinge in a minute, but across their line of products they feature truly high-end brass, stainless and other goods. And with that comes a reputation. Learn more at deltana.net.

Key features:

  • Available in 10 colors
  • Three hinge corners to choose from: square, 1/4″ radius and 5/8″ radius 
  • Adjustable tension (included tool)
  • UL Listed

PROS

  • Wide range of color and radius options to fit most standard doors
  • Tensions adjusts to fit size and weight of door
  • Simple to install

CONS

  • Instructions are reported to be hard to use
  • Common to all spring hinges, the barrels are larger than a standard door and could rub nearby trim

2. Hager Spring Door Hinge

Hager Matte Black 4 X 4 Spring Door Hinges (5/8″…
  • 4 inch by 4 inch Self Closing Spring Hinge (5/8″ Radius Corner)
  • Matte Black Finish
  • Full Mortise Aplication
  • Includes Matching Installation Screws

Last update on 2021-03-02 at 08:45 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Hager hinge manufacturer is one of the oldest around. 

And with history comes quality and a broad selection of products. For spring door hinges Hager offers hinges from standard 3.5×3.5″ to heavy duty 4×4″ with a variety of colors and features.

Key features:

  • Wide selection of colors and hinge edge combinations
  • Adjustable tension (included tool)
  • UL Listed

PROS

  • Price (available in 2-packs)
  • Tensions adjusts to fit size and weight of door
  • Simple to install

CONS

  • None

3. National Hardware 4-1/2" Heavy Duty Spring Loaded Door Hinge

Stanley Hardware 2060R 4-1/2″ X 4-1/2″ Heavy Duty…
  • Automatically closes door – an alternative to overhead mounted door…
  • Ideal for use in Corridors,Boilers, Apartments, Entrances and Stairways.
  • Patented ratchet adjustment eliminates need for locking pin and allows for…
  • Can be installed right- or left-handed on doors measuring up to 4-by-8 feet…

Last update on 2021-03-02 at 12:14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This 4" hinge will support up to 180 pound doors, is available in 6 colors and a stainless steel option for exterior / marine use.

For taller and wider custom doors this 4″ hinge is a name brand, affordable option. Key features include:

  • Patented ratchet adjustment
  • Supports up to 180 pounds and door dimensions of 48×96″
  • Right or left handed doors
  • Stainless steel option for exterior use

PROS

  • Tension adjustable
  • Larger 4″ size for heavier doors
  • Comes as a pack of 2 for supporting larger, wider doors
  • Rubber door stopper included to keep door open when desired

CONS

  • Limited sizes available 

4. AMAZON BASICS Interior Door Spring Door Hinge

Amazon Basics Self-Closing Door Hinge, 3.5 Inch x…
  • Gloss Black Finish
  • Durable steel construction
  • Pack includes one (1) self-closing door hinge
  • Mounting hardware included

Last update on 2021-03-02 at 12:14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

AmazonBasic’s entrant into the spring door hinge review is similar to the traditional manufacturer brands. Similar to other hinges there are reviews with concerns of noise, missing or hard to follow instructions, and not closing the door as expected.

Key features:

  • Available in 3 colors (black, oil rubbed bronze, satin nickel)
  • 5/8″ radius corners
  • Adjustable tension (included tool)
  • UL Listed

PROS

  • Price
  • Tensions adjusts to fit size and weight of door
  • Simple to install
  • UL listed

CONS

  • Instructions are reported to be hard to use

5. 3" Screen Door Spring Loaded Hinges

National Hardware N114-975 125 Adjustable Spring…
  • Cold-rolled steel hinge with solid brass adjustable collar
  • The hinges are adjustable to provide desired closing speed for a variety of…
  • Factory preset spring tension for a variety of applications
  • LifeSpan Limited Lifetime Warranty

Last update on 2021-03-02 at 12:14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For custom surface mount applications, including on screen doors, this compact spring hinge will keep doors closed. 

Specialty Spring Hinges

1. Jewelry Box Rannb Spring Loaded Hinges

Rannb Spring Hinge Self Closing Hinge 2″ Length…
  • ⭐ Package Content: 4 x Spring Hinge
  • ⭐ Self closing design, better meet your needs and requirements.
  • ⭐ Made of premium 304 stainless steel for better rust resistance.
  • ⭐ Leaf Thickness: 1mm/0.04″; Screw Hole Diameter: 5mm/ 0.2″.

Last update on 2021-03-02 at 16:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

These stainless steel, small spring loaded hinges are a good fit for interior or exterior projects. While their compact form will yield less closing force, their size allows use of more hinges on small doors.

2. Exterior Gate Spring Loaded Hinges

7Penn Self-Closing Black Gate Hinge 2-Pack with…
  • Practical: The 7Penn Self-Closing Black Gate Hinge 2-Pack with Installation…
  • Easy Installation: Use the included 1″ (2.5cm) self-tapping metal screws…
  • Adjustable: Spring tension; Use the swing adjustment tool inside the series…
  • Durable: Constructed from zinc plated steel with a black powder coat for…

Last update on 2021-03-02 at 12:14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For a garden or fence door a spring loaded hinge is almost a must. Rather than worry about the gate being shut this style hinge, when paired with a locking clasp, will keep your make your gate door self closing.

3. Spring Loaded Piano Hinge

Sentry Supply 650-4049 Piano Hinge, 3in x 54 Inch,…
  • For use with left hand swing-in, or right hand swing-out partition door…
  • 1/16 inch x 3-inches x 54-inches
  • Satin finish
  • Stamped stainless steel construction

Last update on 2021-03-02 at 12:14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Looking for a custom application with a longer, continuous hinge? Then a spring loaded piano hinge might fit your projects needed. In a compact form these hinges have a spring built through the entire length of the hinge.

4. Spring Hinge Door Closer

Spring Hinge Door Closer, Fits on Most Door Butt…
  • Spring closer turns lightweight interior doors into self-closing doors
  • Long-lasting construction includes Vinyl Sleeves on Wing prevents door from…
  • Safely and easily installed without completely removing the hinge removal
  • Nice chrome finish, Keeps door closed, Ideal for closet doors, Kitchen…

Last update on 2021-03-02 at 12:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For an economical, unobtrusive solution to closing interior doors an add-on spring hinge door closer will assist with keeping your doors shut. 

Due to a similar closing strength as a replacement hinge these install typically on one hinge. To install, simply remove one of the door hinges and slip this over the pin. Then re-insert the door hinge pin and test the operation.

Concerned the hinge pin won’t operate on the full length of the door? Well, if needed you can order a longer pin as a replacement. Since most hinges are 3-1/2″ there are 4″ and 4-1/2″ pins available.

5. Safety Spring Door Closer

Prime-Line KC10HD Safety Spring Door Closer –…
  • INCLUDES – (1) Surface mounted spring-loaded door closer, tensioning rod,…
  • EASY DIY PROJECT – Thanks to these KC10HD safety spring door closers,…
  • EASY INSTALLATION – With a closer and plastic slide plate being surface…
  • INSTALLATION NOTES – To prevent over-tensioning, adjust closer one quarter…

Last update on 2021-03-02 at 12:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If removing a hinge isn’t an option then a spring door closer is the next best option. And especially for heavy duty doors where hinges might be hard to find (or expensive to replace). 

However, this self closing door option may work best in an office or industrial setting. Due to the mounting requirements this hinge is somewhat obtrusive, but in exchange it will handle 180 pound doors and is UL listed for up to 30 minute fire rating.

Top Manufacturers

Identifying who’s making your hardware can be difficult in the age of redistribution channels that re-brand the same hardware.

And that’s why I always look to brand-established vendors that are sold by their name.

Why does that matter? Well, brand reputation and ongoing, repeat sales requires a quality product. While on the other hand a generic, re-branded hardware can simply change names (and reviews).

And not surprisingly, hinges have century-old suppliers that focus on this product as a core part of their business. 

Hager Co
Source: www.hagerco.com

Website: Hager Co

Since: 1894

Origin: USA with Global Manufacturing

National Hardware
Source: www.natman.com

Website: National Hardware

Since: 1901

Origin: USA with Global Manufacturing

Deltana.net
Source: deltana.net

Website: Deltana

Since: 1977

Origin: USA with Global Manufacturing

How to Choose the Right Spring Loaded HInge

In this article we’ve touched on three major brands: National, Deltana and Hager. 

Within these brands you’ll find just about any possible hinge, so to keep your search focused stick within these brands.

Need help measuring?

Or maybe you’re wondering how to pick the right hinge corner radius? 

Well, this section will answer the most common questions for ordering self closing door hinges.

How to Measure Hinge Corner Radius

How to Measure Door Hinge Radius

Generally, you can tell the hinge radius by looking at the hinge as there are dramatic differences in the top 3 styles:

  • Square edge
  • 1/4″ radius are barely rounded off
  • 5/8″ radius are almost an exaggerated radius edge

So how do you measure? Well, the easiest way is to take a tape measure and identify the radius (the distance from the center of the circle to the edge).

Selecting the Right Hinge Height

Measure Door Hinge

So not everyone has mortised a hinge or even installed one.

But finding the hinge height is an easy step. Simply measure from the top of the first hinge knuckle to the lower one.

See the pin sticking up in this picture? Ignore it and base measurements from the knuckles.

How to install a spring loaded door hinge on a door

How to adjust a spring loaded hinge

For interior doors it’s best to start with replacing a single hinge in the middle of the door. A few considerations:

  • Measure the height of your hinge first
  • The radius is vital when ordering – and is found by measuring the “height of the curve”. Fortunately, most hinges are 5/8″ in height.
  • Be sure to match the color of your existing hinge.
  • When installing, unscrew the existing hinges using a constant pressure on the existing screws to avoid “stripping” the heads. Why? Well you may need them later if they are extra long for your door jamb
  • Next, install the replacement spring loaded hinge according to manufacturer instructions.
  • Use the included adjustment wrench and pins to set the tension

How to remove spring loaded door hinge pins

The best way to do this is to relieve the tension on the spring first, and then remove the hinge from the mounting plates. While not all of us would keep the adjustment levers, try to remove the tension spring or set it as low as possible first. Then, remove the screws from the door side (the screws will be shorter).

How to fix spring loaded door hinges

For less than $10-15 per hinge it is often easiest to just replace the hinge. However, if you are in a bind then check the hinge carefully to see if the manufacturer is present on the hinge. Then take a look at their website if a replacement spring or tension pin is available. 

How do you tighten a spring loaded door hinge?

If your spring hinge is adjustable (not all are) there is a special tool you can use to either increase or decrease tension on the spring. However, if the door is not closing as desired at maximum tension you can opt to replace another hinge to give added force.

Frequently Asked Questions for Spring Loaded Door Hinges

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a spring loaded hinge?

A spring loaded hinge is designed to hold a door or lid firmly shut. Through use of an internal, adjustable spring this hinge will attempt to close when opened. While these hinges are typically used on interior doors and exterior gates they are also found in furniture projects, jewelry boxes and even piano lids.

How do you install a spring loaded hinge?

For full size doors these style of hinges are commonly installed in just the middle of the 3 hinges found on most doors. Using an adjustable tension mechanism the closing force can be adjusted. However, for larger or heavier doors multiple hinges can be used.

Can you adjust a spring hinge?

Most spring hinges can be adjusted by use of a special wrench and pins that are used to set the tension of the spring. However, not all hinges are adjustable and there are limits to the maximum force of a single hinge.

Summary

Hopefully this article was useful in exploring the variety of spring loaded hinges on the market. To learn more, be sure to check the name brand manufacturer references I’ve included below. 

As is common with a lot of hardware, not all manufacturers are US based and the replacement parts can be difficult to find later. For that reason, I recommend a brand you can find with a 25+ year history in the business.

Resources

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Last update on 2021-03-02 at 16:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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