Are you asking yourself, what is a butt hinge? The simple butt hinge is the most common hinge used on doors in our homes. But did you know that the choice of design can make such a difference to the smooth operation and proper functionality of your door? And how do you choose the right one? Read on for a simple guide to help you make the right decision.

Anatomy of a Hinge

A butt hinge is comprised of two pivoting metal plates with interlocking parts forming a barrel shaped knuckle in the centre, traditionally held together with a pin running through the centre.

washered hinge, what is a butt hinge

These hinges are fitted between the door frame and the edge of the door, often recessed into a mortice to keep the hinge flush with the surface of the wood.

4 inch hinges are designed for external doors (also heavy, large internal doors): 

butt hinge sizes


And 3 inch hinges are the best choice for internal doors:


Types of Bearings

There are several factors to consider before you choose the right hinges. Depending upon your door, the type of hinge bearing you choose is crucial. For example, a hinge with metal-on-metal moving parts will wear quickly and, if used frequently, will develop problems. Here is a simple guide:

Plain Bearing:

This is a basic butt hinge with metal-to-metal contact and no additional parts for friction reduction. These can also be fire rated. This type of hinge is best suited to doors with light use. If you choose this type of hinge we advise hinges with spun ends. This process fixes the pin in place.


Grease-Packed Bearing:

This is a plain bearing hinge that has been grease-packed in order to reduce friction and provide smoother operation. Our button tipped fire rated butt hinges have a grease-packed plain bearing and are available in bright zinc or matt black velvet finishes.


Ball Bearing:

Strong and durable, ball bearing butt hinges are heavy-duty hinges, essential for big, heavy doors. Around the central pin there are ball bearings which create a permanently lubricated surface area. This allows for doors to swing smoothly with less force required.

Here at Suffolk Latch Company, we offer a collection of 3 inch stainless steel, ball bearing butt hinges in a choice of four different finishes.



Washered Bearing:

Another option is the washer hinge. Washered butt hinges are ideal for internal doors with light to medium use. These are often preferred in homes for doors that don't require ball bearing hinges as the size of the hinge knuckle is smaller and more discreet.

Our double phosphor washer brass butt hinges have phosphor washers ensuring noise free, smooth operation for many years. Available in four finishes to co-ordinate with your door knob/handle.


See Butt Hinges Explained (Part Two) for more info and technical details.




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