Door hinges are the most important part on any swinging commercial door. Without hinges to hang on, the door will not swing. Conventional hinges (often called butt hinges) come in a variety of sizes and with many options to meet the conditions at an opening.

A conventional hinge is essentially two metal plates that are joined together with a pin that fits through the knuckles. Conventional hinges with ball bearings or other anti-friction bearings are usually recommended for commercial doors that are used regularly and for doors with door closers.

Hinge Weight

Hinge weight could also be referred to as hinge thickness. The thicker hinges will be stronger and carry more weight. Standard weight hinges commonly have two sets of ball bearings while heavy weight hinges have four ball bearings. The frequency of use or the size and weight or the door are important considerations when deciding which hinge weight to utilize.

Heavy weight hinges should be used if the door has frequent and heavy-abuse traffic or if the door is oversized and heavy.

Hinge Knuckles

Conventional hinges most commonly have 3 to 5 knuckles. The knuckles can be visibly identified. On a 3 knuckle hinge the ball bearings are concealed but they act in the same way as any other ball bearing hinges.

The 3 knuckle hinges are more aesthetically pleasing since there are less knuckles and you cannot see the ball bearing casings. The 5 knuckle hinges are often less expensive and are more common.

Hinge Tips

The tips of hinges sit on top and bottom of the hinge pin barrel. Hinge tips act as an anchor to keep the pin from falling down through the barrel. Most conventional hinges have flat button tips as the standard.

Other hinge tip options inculde:

Hospital Tips – Used in areas such as hospitals and other places where cleanliness is a concern. The beveled tips also help prevent wires or other cords from getting caught on the hinge tip as patients or medical staff pass through openings with medical equipment.
Steeple Tips – Pointed, tapered tips that provide a decorative look.
Ball Tips – Rounded ball tips that are also decorative.

Non-Removable Pin (NRP)

Hinges with non-removable pins provide added security to prevent forced entry if someone attempts to remove the hinge pins and slide the door out of the opening. A small set screw is inserted into the hinge pin barrel to prevent the pin from being removed when the door is closed. When the door is open and the conventional hinges are opened the set screw is exposed and can be removed if necessary. But while the door is closed and secure the set screw is not accessible.

Security Studs

A security stud is a small protrusion from one hinge leaf that fits into a hole in the opposite hinge leaf when it is closed. This interlocks the hinge leaves and holds them together. If a forced entry is attempted and the hinge pins are removed then the security stud prevents the hinge leaves from sliding apart, holding the door in place.

Swing Clear

Swing clear hinges have bent metal plates and are designed to provide a wider clear opening. When opened to 90 degrees, typical hinges do not move the door completely out of the opening. Swing clear hinges swing the door so that the door does not fill in the clear width opening (See diagram below).

Swing Clear Hinge

These hinges are commonly used in hospital rooms where hospital beds, wheel chairs, and other equipment needs to have as much space in the opening as possible to pass through.

Wide Throw

Wide throw hinges are wider than typical hinge sizes and are generally meant to be used in openings where the door is expected to open 180 degrees. Hinges are measured Height x Width, so if you see a hinge size of 5 x 6 it means the hinge is 5 inches tall and 6 inches wide. A wider hinge may be necessary to swing the door past any decorative trim or molding around the door frame that could stop the door from opening a full 180 degrees.

Wide Throw Hinge

Door closers and other hardware may have to be coordinated to work with wide throw hinges because the pivot point of the hinge is affected.

Spring Hinges

Spring hinges have an adjustable spring inside. As the door opens, the spring is loaded with tension and when the door is released that spring tension closes the door. Depending on the circumstances at the opening, the spring hinge will need to be adjusted to ensure the door closes and latches properly. When used on fire rated openings, a minimum of 2 spring hinges are needed as per the manufacturer’s tested requirements.

Spring Hinge

Spring hinges are not as desirable as door closers, especially in openings that are used frequently, since spring hinges can wear out quicker and require more maintenance than a commercial door closer. Door closers also allow for more control through the whole swing of the door, whereas spring hinges do not have “control zones“.

Electric Hinges

For doors that have electronic locks or electronic exit devices installed an electric hinge can provide the power transfer needed for device operation. The hinge has electrical wires that run through the leaves and hinge barrel, from the frame into the door. This conceals the wiring and provides a clean look unlike an electric power transfer or door cord that are very noticeable.

Electric Hinge


There are many hinge options and we have briefly covered some of the more common options. Conventional hinges are available with so many options and they can vary between manufacturers. Whatever the conditions at the opening may be, Beacon Commercial Door & Lock can help you find the right hinges to meet your needs.