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Stop loud slamming cabinet doors with soft-close hinges

Soft-Close Cabinet Hinges

Kitchen & Bath

Stop loud slamming cabinet doors with soft-close hinges

Stop loud slamming cabinet doors with soft-close hinges

Update to the latest all-in-one soft-close hinges or choose one of the many independent dampers and keep your current hinges.

I love doing hardware upgrades. Not the new installs where you need to make sure your router and drill jigs are carefully planned and perfectly measured. But the hardware upgrades where you just swap something out. These are some of the easiest home improvements to do, require minimal tools as well as very little experience, and can be done at your own pace without unsettling your home.

Now, hardware may not transform a room, especially hinges that are hidden, but they do help complete a room, provide daily usefulness, and give you that feel-good sense of accomplishment with little effort involved.

There is a little homework involved in choosing the correct cabinet hinge upgrade, especially for some of the brands with large product lines. The door style, door thickness and hinge type all play a role. Once all this information is sorted out you should hopefully be able to find a soft-close hinge that is a direct retrofit to the existing hinge, or just choose one of the many independent dampers and keep your current hinges.

What are the different cabinet hinges?

The most common categories of cabinet hinges will be concealed, semi-concealed and surface-mount.

A concealed – often referred to as European – style of hinge will be completely internal so there is no visible part of the hinge when the door is closed.

These hidden hinge installs are achieved by using a forstner bit to bore a hole in the door for the hinge cup. Then depending on if you have a a frame or frameless cabinet, there will be several variations of mounting plates to attach the other end of the hinge to the cabinet enclosure.

Concealed Face Frame / Compact Image Courtesy of Blum

Blum Face Frame Concealed Hinges

Concealed Frameless Image Courtesy of SALICE

SALICE frameless concealed cabinet hinges

There is some consistency among all brands of concealed hinges, but there’s also variations depending on the application. Most of the following brands listed are very common, and most likely already used in most existing applications as a basic self-close hinge. Now you just need to cross-reference the soft-close version.

For a direct retrofit you’ll need to know some basic information. A 35mm hinge cup bore diameter is standard, but bore depth and pattern vary. Common boring patterns range from 42-48mm.

Concealed Hinge Boring Pattern Image Courtesy of Grass

Boring patterns for concealed cabinet hinges

Both the semi-concealed and surface-mount hinges will have a portion of the hinge exposed when the cabinet door is closed. Neither hinge style has an integrated soft-close option for decorative cabinet use, but you can use any of the standalone soft-close dampers mentioned in this article.

Semi-Concealed and Surface-Mount Image Courtesy of Amerok

Amerok visible cabinet hinges

For more assistance on upgrading or replacing a cabinet door hinge, try the cabinetparts.com hinge replacement service, and they carry many of the top brands of hinges at a competitive price.

The various brands and types of soft-close cabinet hinges and dampers.

When I chose to upgrade our cabinets and drawers to incorporate the soft-close feature, I had no idea how complex the model list of hinges could be. At least I had a bit of starting point with the existing Blum self-close concealed hinges. The bad news? I learned that the existing Blum concealed hinges were older models that couldn’t accept the BLUMOTION 973A add-on, I needed to replace all the hinges with the newer Blum CLIP top versions where I wanted a soft-close damper. What was the difference? The existing Blum hinges had an oval cutout in the hinge arm, whereas the latest CLIP top models have a rectangular cutout in the hinge arm allowing the BLUMOTION 973A mounting prongs to attach.

Key Points:

  • All concealed hinges have an industry standard self-close / snap-shut feature, the soft-close feature just slows and dampens this effect.
  • Each manufacturer’s catalog provides guidelines on the number of soft-close needed based on weight and number of hinges per door.
  • If you have existing basic self-close concealed hinges and you want to go all out with upgrading to the premier line of soft-close hinges of the same manufacturer, the bore pattern may remain the same, but there’s a chance you’ll have to drill the hinge cup holes deeper. This will require the proper sized forstner bit, usually 3/8″ (35mm), and mounting hole bit.

blum

Blum refers to their soft-close system as BLUMOTION, which spans a wide range of products, so prepare yourself for a lot of reading and decision making.

Visit Blum’s interactive microsite’s for further product information regarding CLIP top BLUMOTION and COMPACT BLUMOTION.

Model Type Adjustable Purchase
CLIP top BLUMOTION Built-in Yes
COMPACT BLUMOTION Built-in Yes
973A for CLIP top Add-on No
971A for CLIP top Add-on Yes
970A for CLIP top Add-on Auto

1) CLIP top BLUMOTION are Blum’s flagship hinges with hinge cup integrated BLUMOTION for the quintessential in streamlined appearance.

If you decide to install these hinges throughout, you’ll also get the privilege of a handy fine-tune adjustment feature, the BLUMOTION function can be turned on / off with an activation switch so you can accommodate different weights of doors. But the soft-close feature doesn’t have variable adjustments like some of the other soft-close hinge systems. Once the soft-close is turned of you’ll be left with a standard self-close hinge.

Key Points:

  • CLIP top BLUMOTION works with all current CLIP mounting plates, which includes versions for face frame and frameless cabinets.
  • If replacing a Blum CLIP top self-close hinge, the boring pattern for the hinge cup remains unchanged for CLIP top BLUMOTION, however, a 13mm boring depth is required for all three holes.
  • CLIP top BLUMOTION enables three-dimensional adjustment for fine tuning door alignment.
  • Hinge cup cover cap and hinge arm cover caps are sold separately.

Blum CLIP top BLUMOTION concealed hinge

2) COMPACT BLUMOTION hinges have all the same features as the larger CLIP top BLUMOTION hinges but with a smaller profile specifically designed for face frame cabinets.

Key Points:

  • COMPACT BLUMOTION hinges are interchangeable with current COMPACT hinges.
  • The BLUMOTION function can easily be deactivated on the hinges.
  • COMPACT BLUMOTION enables three-dimensional adjustment for fine tuning door alignment.
  • Hinge arm cover caps are sold separately.
  • Hinge cup cover caps are unavailable and screws will be exposed.

Blum COMPACT BLUMOTION concealed hinge

3) CLIP top are standard self-close concealed hinges with the widest range of applications. Many of the hinges accept a soft-close add-on (BLUMOTION 973A). See product manual for full details and model compatibility.

Key Points:

  • Blum CLIP top hinges may already be used for your concealed cabinet hinges. You just need to add the 973A damper for a very economical and simple soft-close upgrade.
  • The average medium to heavy door will only need one hinge to have the BLUMOTION 973A add-on.
  • BLUMOTION 973A is NOT adjustable. Small and lightweight doors will have to remain free-swinging as they’re not heavy enough to push the 973A to a closed position.
  • CLIP top enables three-dimensional adjustment for fine tuning door alignment.
  • Hinge cup cover cap and hinge arm cover caps are sold separately.

Blum CLIP top concealed hinge

4) 970A – 971A are independent soft-close mechanisms that mount to the cabinet frame and work with Blum CLIP free-swinging hinges or any other hinge. For more information visit the Blum media center and select hinge systems. These are part of the CLIP top catalog as add-on accessories.

Key Points:

  • BLUMOTION 971A is adjustable to various door sizes and weights.
  • BLUMOTION 971A for use with straight-arm hinge and either 0 mm or 3 mm mounting plate only.
  • BLUMOTION 971A available in different configurations to work with face frame and frameless cabinets.
  • BLUMOTION 970A automatically adjusts to the closing force of the door.
  • BLUMOTION 970A installs into the top and/or bottom panel or with adapter plates on hinge-side.
  • BLUMOTION 970A is designed for two BLUMOTION per door, however, one may be enough depending on door size and weight.

Blum 970A & 971A soft close cabinet door dampers

GRASS

The GRASS group has European beginnings, with a US manufacturing and distribution division being established in 1977.

You’ll find top-tier drawer and door systems for kitchen and bath cabinets, with a claim to “Introducing the world’s first concealed furniture hinge”.

Model Type Adjustable Purchase
Tiomos Soft-Close Built-in Yes
TEC Soft-Close Built-in Yes
Soft-Close adapter for Nexis Add-on Yes
UniSoft Add-on Yes

1) Tiomos is the companies flagship hinge, offering self-close models and soft-close models with the mechanism integrated and concealed in the hinge arm. The closing process is said to be “extremely smooth” because the soft-close is activated until the door is completely shut.

Key Points:

  • Tiomos makes things simple by having one hinge type for all door thicknesses (14 – 24mm).
  • Tiomos works with face frame and frameless cabinets using the proper mounting-plate.
  • Tiomos adjustable soft-close mechanism has three levels of closing pressure to work with all sizes and weights of doors.
  • Tiomos hinge system offers three-dimensional adjustment for fine tuning door alignment.
  • Hinge cup cover cap and hinge arm cover caps are sold separately.

Grass Tiomos Concealed Soft-Close Cabinet Door Hinge

2) TEC hinges offer the same premium features of the Tiomos hinges, but in a more compact and sleek package for face frame cabinets only. TEC hinges come in self-close models and soft-close models with the mechanism integrated and concealed in the hinge cup.

Key Points:

  • TEC Soft-close hinges feature a three tiered adjustment switch enabling you to regulate the closing action of the door to work with all sizes and weights of doors.
  • TEC hinge system offers three-dimensional adjustment for fine tuning door alignment.
  • 11mm (7/16″) cup drilling depth.
  • There are no optional Hinge cup cover caps or hinge arm cover caps to give a cleaner finish.

Grass TEC Soft-Close Cabinet Door Hinge

3) Nexis is a free swinging hinge in standard form, but can be upgraded with an easy to attach optional soft-close damper.

Key Points:

  • The Nexis hinge series offers a wide variety of hinges for standard door applications, specialty door applications, and frame and frameless applications.
  • Damping force can be individually adjusted.
  • Nexis soft-close can be purchased as a set to include hinge cup cover caps and hinge arm cover caps, or parts can be purchased individually.
  • Nexis soft-close is an all-in-one with hinge cup cover cap, while the Nexis Impresso soft-close has a separate hinge cup cover cap.

Grass Nexis concealed soft-close cabinet door hinge

4) UniSoft is a universal soft-close adapter that mounts and works independently of the cabinet door hinges.

Key Points:

  • UniSoft works with face frame and frameless cabinets on all door overlays.
  • UniSoft is manually adjustable to desired closing speed.
  • UniSoft has a scratch protector and front bumper with cushion for a quiet close.
  • UniSoft mounts independently from the hinge in the upper corner of the cabinet.

Grass Unisoft Soft-Close Cabinet Door Damper

SALICE

Salice is named after its Italian founder, Arturo Salice, and to this day the company headquarters still resides in Italy, keeping to it’s heritage.

Model Type Adjustable Purchase
Silentia Built-in No
Lapis Built-in No
Smove D0S_SNG Add-on Yes
Smove D0L_SNG Add-on Yes
Smove D00_ Add-on No

1) Silentia is the designation given to the soft-close lineup of hinges to separate them from the standard free-swinging hinges. E.g. Series 100 = self-close and Silentia Series 100 = soft-close.

The soft-close damper is integrated into the hinge cup and is available across a wide variety of hinges for various door thicknesses, angles and metal profiles.

Key Points:

  • Silentia hinges work with traditional Series 200 mounting plates and longitudinal Domi snap-on mounting plates (BAP).
  • Silentia hinges only offer sideways adjustment. Height and depth adjustment are done by, and depend on, the mounting plate used.
  • Silentia has a hinge cup diameter of 35mm, while bore depth varies based on door type and compatible hinge model.
  • Silentia soft-close is not available for face frame cabinets.
  • Hinge cup cover cap and hinge arm cover caps are sold separately.

Salice Silentia soft close hinges

2) Lapis series hinge cup based soft-close builds upon the Silentia line. Made of two covers, the hinge elements move synchronously, hiding the technical components and enriching the product with refined aesthetics, far from the traditional geometries of furniture hinges.

There are 12 primary colors available, the mounting plate and hinge cup covers are separate, thus allowing you a total of 144 color combinations. The only two-tone hinge on the market.

Key Points:

  • Lapis soft-close feature is referred to as decelerating system.
  • Lapis hinges only work with longitudinal Domi snap-on mounting plates (BAP).
  • Lapis has a hinge cup diameter of 35mm, while bore depth varies based on door type and compatible hinge model.

Salice Lapis soft-close hinges

3a) Smove D0S_SNG dampers are direct add-ons for Salice hinges and mounting plates. Make sure to read the catalog carefully as three different tension dampers are available for varying door sizes, along with a slew of adapters.

Salice says, “We suggest that one Smoveholder only is used for each door, by selecting one of the three available models”.

Key Points:

  • Smove D0S7SNG to be used with doors made with particularly light materials.
  • Smove D0S8SNG to be used with doors with two hinges.
  • Smove D0S9SNG to be used with doors with more than two hinges.
  • There are 3 different tension adapters, but each is also adjustable for further fine-tuning.

Salice Smove D0S_SNG dampers

3b) Smove D0L_SNG dampers are very similar to the DOS_SNG models. The main difference is these are universal add-ons and work with any cabinet door.

Salice says, “We suggest that one Smoveholder only is used for each door, by selecting one of the three available models”.

Key Points:

  • Smove D0L7SNG to be used with doors made with particularly light materials.
  • Smove D0L8SNG to be used with doors with two hinges.
  • Smove D0L9SNG to be used with doors with more than two hinges.
  • There are 3 different tension adapters, but each is also adjustable for further fine-tuning.

Salice Smove D0L_SNG cabinet door dampers

3c) Smove D00_ are independent dampers that recess into the cabinet or use one of the many surface mount housing adapters. Since there are several models available, but with very limited information, we suggest contacting Salice direct for further detailed information before making a final purchase.

Key Points:

  • Each model is available in gray or beige tips to best match your cabinets.
  • Insert Smove D005 into the cabinet side opposite the hinges. For an optimal performance, we suggest that Smove D005 is positioned at the centre of the side panel.
  • Insert Smove D006 at the centre of the top or the base panel of the cabinet.
  • Insert Smove D008 into the top or the base panel of the cabinet on the hinged side.
  • Insert Smove D009 into the base panel of the cabinet on the hinged side. Smove D009 is used for doors between 720 mm and 1600 mm high.
  • Insert Smove D010 into the base panel of the cabinet on the hinged side. Smove D010 is used for doors over 1600 mm high.

Salice Smove independent cabinet door damper

SUGATSUNE

The Sugatsune concealed hinge lineup isn’t as diverse as the other brands mentioned, but sometimes a basic and uncomplicated product catalog can be the perfect solution.

Keeping with the simplicity, you have a painless choice of one add-on damper, which comes in two sizes, depending on hinge overlay dimensions.

Model Type Adjustable Purchase
230-SCA/19 Add-on No
230-SCA/9 Add-on No

Key Points:

  • 230-SCA/19 damper for use with 230-C26/19T hinge only.
  • 230-SCA/9 damper for use with 230-C26/9T hinge only.
  • Sugatsune recommends 1 x damper for 2 hinge applications and 2 x dampers for 3-4 hinge applications.

Sugatsune soft close concealed hinge dampers

All products listed in this buying guide were chosen by DIY House Help based on independent research and analysis performed by our editors. However, not all products listed in this buying guide have been purchased and independently tested by our staff. When a retailer is listed, this is purely a suggestion for the convenience of our readers, but we are not obligated to endorse specific retailers. However, some of the links we provide throughout the site may earn us an affiliate commission when you decide to purchase.
10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Scott

    November 3, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Which of these solutions would be suitable for kitchen cupboard doors that have Butt hinges which do not have any self close mechanisms?

    • Editorial Staff

      November 3, 2015 at 9:22 am

      Hi Scott,
      If you have no interest in switching hinges, any of the independent dampers will work. e.g. Blum 970A and 971A , Grass UniSoft, Salice Smove, etc.

  2. Suzanne

    October 17, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    For a standard kitchen door would you replace one or both hinges?

    • Editorial Staff

      October 17, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      Hi,
      The weight of the door would be the biggest factor along with the brand and type of softclose. Plus how aggressive you close your doors. As of now I only have experience with the Blum BluMotion and even our largest doors with three hinges only use one soft-close mechanism.

      Hope that helps.

  3. Luch

    July 22, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Once I take the hinges off. Do I have to make more holes or can the new soft closing hinges just screw into the same hole the old hinges came off from?

    • Editorial Staff

      July 23, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      I only have direct experience with the BLUM brand – which was a direct retrofit with no new holes – but from my understanding hinges are standardized just like a door handle would be so hardware can be switched amongst different brands and styles. Also the manufacturer sites may have specifications listed somewhere for a measurement comparison.

  4. John D'Aubray-Butler

    July 7, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Are the clip-top dampers fitted to both hinges on each door?

    • Editorial Staff

      July 9, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      My apologies for the delayed response. Have been busy and haven’t checked this site the last few days.

      Two dampers could be installed on large doors, but I find a single damper sufficient. Small doors are too light and won’t compress more than a single damper.

  5. August DelleDonne

    June 16, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    Can I change my existing hinges on my kitchen cabinets to soft close hinge.? I can email you a picture of the hinge I have. Please let me know if you can help me.
    Thank You

    • Editorial Staff

      June 16, 2014 at 7:08 pm

      Hi,
      Any cabinet door can be converted to soft-close hinges, and depending on the existing brand, you may be able to do a simple retrofit. Yes, please use the contact page to send an image of what you have and see if you can find the manufacturer imprinted on your hinges.

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