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Motion Control Engineering & Manufacturing Resources

What Is A Hidden Hinge On A Refrigerator? A Closer Look

What Is A Hidden Hinge On A Refrigerator? A Closer Look

Posted by Weber Knapp on Apr 10, 2024 10:24:00 AM

Hidden hinge on refrigerator - kitchen

Inspecting several high-end refrigerators quickly reveals the widespread use of hidden hinges in premium models. As the name suggests, these hinges are invisible to the casual glance and therefore create a more seamless look in the kitchen. For those seeking a refrigerator that enhances the kitchen's aesthetics with a smoother facade, hidden hinges are an ideal choice.


What is a Hidden Hinge?

A hidden hinge, also known as a concealed, non-visible, or invisible 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.

Learn about our SI.1 Hinge! 


What is a Hidden Hinge on a Refrigerator?

If you took an average person off of the street and asked them what is a concealed 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 concealed 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 non-visible 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 concealed hinges becomes a function of safety, too. You don’t want to scratch the wood of nearby cabinets. 

Maximum Durability

Hidden hinges are designed to last through at least 100,000 cycles of opening and closing, with those for refrigerators ideally enduring 300,000 cycles. This can extend the hinge’s life to about 41 years, potentially outlasting the appliance itself.

Sleek, Unobtrusive Design

Hidden hinges contribute to a seamless look by being invisible when the door is closed, thus enhancing the overall aesthetics of high-end kitchen designs. This design avoids disrupting the visual flow and feel of the room, making the appliance blend in smoothly.

Smooth, Fluid Motion

These hinges use counterbalancing to control the weight and movement of heavy doors, ensuring smooth, predictable operation. This helps protect adjacent cabinetry and appliances from damage and provides a high-end feel with soft-close features.


The motion control provided by hidden hinges reduces strain during use and allows for soft opening and closing, which can help prevent fingers from being pinched. This safety feature eliminates many concerns typically associated with exposed hinges.


How Else Can Invisible Hinges be Used?

Hidden hinges are used on a wide variety of appliances and in other applications. Some of these include:

  • Ice makers
  • Cabinets
  • Freezers
  • Ovens
  • Dishwashers
  • Wine Coolers
  • Sleeper sofas
  • Beverage bins
  • Fancy/heavy doors



Motion Control for Concealed 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 Non-visible Hinge Design Process Like?

Designing invisible 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 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!


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Topics: Ergonomics, Motion Control, Design, Appliance, Counterbalance Hinge, Hinge, Hinges, Lid, Testing & Prototyping, kitchen, Manufacturing