A quick look at a few higher-end refrigerators will show you how prevalent hidden hinges are in top-tier appliances. As the name suggests, these hinges are invisible to the casual glance and therefore create a more seamless look in the kitchen.
If you are looking for an aesthetically-pleasing hinge for your refrigerator design or other hinge application, hidden hinges are the way to go.
What is a Hidden Hinge?
A hidden hinge, also known as a concealed hinge, is a hinge that can’t be seen when viewing the door from the front and/or side. If you have seen European-style hinges, you have seen concealed hinges.
They are designed to create an aesthetic look, one that is seamless and can be made to match cabinetry, if needed. By hiding the hinges, you can also help prevent debris or contaminants from getting into the hinges and causing them to malfunction.
What is a Hidden Hinge on a Refrigerator?
If you took an average person off of the street and asked them what is a hidden hinge refrigerator, you would probably get one of two answers – either, “I don’t know,” or, “A refrigerator with hidden hinges.”
Since the name explains the concept pretty well, it’s not difficult to guess what it means. But it takes some pretty advanced hinge design abilities to produce a legitimate hidden hinge.
Hidden hinges for refrigerators are designed to disappear visually through concealment in the body of the refrigerator and the door.
High-end refrigerators often have hidden hinges because they fit in aesthetically with many kitchen designs. Some refrigerators are set between two sets of cabinets or recessed in the wall, so having hidden hinges becomes a function of safety, too. You don’t want to scratch the wood of nearby cabinets.
Other Hidden Hinge Applications
Hidden hinges are used on a wide variety of appliances and in other applications. Some of these include:
- Ice makers
- Wine Coolers
- Sleeper sofas
- Beverage bins
- Fancy/heavy doors
Motion Control for Hidden Hinge Design
Motion control hinges use physics to control the weight and feel of doors and lids for the user. You see this technology used on heavy lids, such as those found on industrial or medical equipment. For most of the applications above, counterbalancing is not necessary. But if there is a lot of weight involved, or want to give a high-end feel, it can be useful.
For example, if you have a fridge with a custom oak panel on the front, you don’t want it crashing into the surrounding cabinetry. A motion control hinge design would allow you to eliminate pinch points and make sure the open and close conditions are where they need to be.
What’s the Hidden Hinge Design Process Like?
Designing concealed hinges is largely dependent on the space requirements. But, there are a few other design considerations, too, including:
- Desired door position in the open position – how wide it opens, self-closing or not, protecting surrounding cabinetry
- Door weight
- Desired cycle life
- Kind of seal on the door
- Corrosion resistance
- Temperature – ovens vs freezers – where you mount the hinge might have less insulation, causing condensation which leads to rust so a coating would be important
- Finish requirements
The Ideal Hidden Hinge for the Ideal Refrigerator
Finding the right types of hinges for your appliance designs goes a long way for preserving their longevity, functionality, and safety.
Partnering with an expert hinge manufacturer will ensure that your appliance design -- whether a refrigerator, freezer, oven, or anything else -- has the highest quality hinge possible.
To learn more about how motion control can improve kitchen appliances, check out our resource page!