Soft-close hinges have become widespread throughout kitchens in America due to their convenience and usability. They allow you to move quickly and efficiently without worrying about slamming a cabinet door or leaving it open.

That said, when their mechanism isn’t working in alignment with your preferred moving speed, they can hinder your efficiency rather than enhance it.

In this article, I’ll show you how to adjust soft-close hinge speed and explain crucial elements that you’ll need to consider along the way. After finishing, you’ll be able to adjust the hinge speed effortlessly.

1. Determine Your Hinge Type

This first step is crucial in ensuring that the rest of the process will go according to plan. Different types of hinges require different approaches in order to adjust their speed. Determine whether your cabinet doors are inset or overlay, as depending on the style, hinges may be positioned differently.

Also, try to inspect the hinge itself, as some newer models have a more obvious adjustment tab that you can move by hand. Otherwise, you might need to get your toolbox out of the garage for this project.

2. Check for and Fix Any Crooked Doors

Crooked or unlevel doors may be the reason why the soft-close mechanism isn’t working correctly. Even if the unlevel door isn’t the cause of the problem, fixing it before delving into further work would make the whole process easier. Not to mention it’ll also help attain better-quality results. So, before going through the following steps, inspect the cabinet door and its hinges carefully.

Say you’ve detected a problem area, such as crooked or unaligned doors. The root of this problem is usually a loose screw that will make it difficult for the hinge to support the door’s weight. In this case, take a screwdriver and tighten any loose screws to make the doors level with each other. Make sure that you can open and close them freely before continuing.

If you still can’t seem to get the doors to align with one another, you may need to remove and reinstall them altogether. It may take a lot of work, but it is crucial to finish this step before working on the hinges and adjusting their closing speed.

3. Measure the Hinge’s Current and Desired Self-Closing Speed

Now that the doors are all level, you need to decide on the adjustments you’ll need to make.

Firstly, measure the time it takes for the cabinet door to close by itself. Take this time into consideration and decide whether you’ll want to make the process faster or slower, according to your needs.

Calculate the difference between the current speed of the soft-close hinge and the speed you’re aiming for. This will be the size of the adjustment that you’ll want to be making later on, so take it into consideration.

4. Look for the Adjustment Tab and Move the Lever

Now that you’ve everything prepared, you’ll want to start the process by closely looking at the cabinet’s hinges to find their adjustment tabs. Firstly, shut all the doors and focus on the hinges. Inspect them closely, looking for a gray or silver plunger in the middle of the mechanism. That’ll be the adjustment tab.

Now, as I said, this plunger can look very different depending on the cabinet model you have. Newer models, mainly produced after 2012, will have a visible movable lever that you can slide back and forth using your hand. Try moving the lever in different positions in order to determine which one fits the speed you chose in the previous step best.

If you’re dealing with a bigger door equipped with several soft-close hinges, you’ll be able to adjust them all differently to achieve the closest possible results to what you were looking for. Therefore, a larger door will give you more flexibility in achieving your exact desired results.

Let’s say you own an older model for which you’ll need to use a flathead screwdriver. You still will be able to set the adjustment hinge to your preferred setting very easily. You simply need to use the tool to push and adjust the visible white-ish or gray tab.

Pushing the lever away from the hinge will give you lighter resistance and a higher closing speed. While moving the lever closer to the hinge will provide you with stronger resistance and make the closing process even slower.

The lever will most probably be set in a middle position between these two options, as this is most often the factory setting. Depending on whether you would want to increase or decrease the resistance, move the lever accordingly. To reiterate, you may combine different settings in different hinges to achieve more customizable closing speeds.

5. Reset the Mechanism by Hand-Closing the Door

Before trying out the new setting, you’ll need to reset the mechanism. Taking this step will ensure that the hinge will be preset to your desired setting, on which it’ll function from this moment on.

Resetting the self-close mechanism is a pretty straightforward process. You’ll need to take the open cabinet door and “force close” it by hand. Force closing in this context means pushing the door by hand rather than letting it close itself.

At this moment, the closing speed will be reset according to your adjustment, and you’ll be able to try it out and determine whether you’re satisfied with the results.

6. Try Out the New Self-Closing Speed and Make Adjustments

Open the cabinet doors up again and let them close by themselves. Measure their closing time again and see whether this time is compatible with the expectations that you set in the second step. If not, you may continue to make further adjustments until the hinge achieves your preferred closing speed.

Final Thoughts

You can adjust the speed of a soft-close hinge by accessing the lever tab and changing its movement time. This process is more straightforward when done on newer models, which have a prominent button that’s accessible by hand. Older models are also relatively uncomplicated to work with if you have access to a flathead screwdriver.

Related: Soft-Close Hinge Stopped Working (Causes & Repair)

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