Getting gate hinges and installing them on your own can be difficult. First of all, you’ll need to find the best gate hinges for your specific gate, based on several factors. After that, you’ll also need to be sure that you possess the tools and strength to tackle the installation on your own.
Whether you want to take on this as a DIY project or ask someone to do it for you, it’s up to you. Nonetheless, here are some things you should know before picking out the gate hinges.
Best Gate Hinges for Outdoor Use
- Best Gate Hinges for Outdoor Use
- Size and Weight
- Installation Concerns
- Do You Always Need Lubrication?
- Hinge Pin Durability
- Do You Need a Self-Closing Mechanism?
These National Hardware hinges are what I would recommend for heavy-duty gates. Their design allows for pairing with wide and narrow mounting surfaces. That means that you can use them on gates, shed doors, barns, etc.
I find that they work best installed on 2x4 and 4x4 posts. I like the use of additional screw holes, which improves their weight capacity and overall strength. That also allows for a more secure installation while also minimizing any damage to a wooden post.
The zinc plating is pretty good. Also, the special WeatherGuard coating developed by National Hardware improves the corrosion resistance to impressive levels.
If you’re looking for something that you can install with basic tools and that can handle light to medium weight gates, the National Hardware N129 hinges might be for you.
These come in four sizes, 6, 8, 10, and 12”. Although made of rugged stainless steel, I don’t recommend these hinges for hefty gates. That’s because they don’t have as many mounting points as others.
I like that you can slightly adjust these hinges, as that should help address any gate sag. The weather protection comes courtesy of a high-end WeatherGuard coating.
Due to its design, the N129 is the right choice for 6x6 posts. I will say that these hinges are slightly pricier. Since they come individually, you’ll need to get two sets. Also, you’ll have to buy mounting screws separately.
With a plate thickness of 3/16” and a pin thickness of 3/4”, these are among the sturdiest hinges on the market. They’re ideal even for more massive gates, as long as you use two pairs to even the load.
The hinges are well-made and don’t require much skill to install. That said, you will need some special tools. These aren’t bolt-on hinges. You’ll have to weld them.
Because of this, they’re not ideal for use with wooden posts. Any regular MIG welding machine should do the trick. And, as long as you add lubricant from time to time, the operation should be smooth, without any screeching.
It may not be the most eye-catching finish; I’ll give you that. However, the overall durability and smooth spin make the Bobco gate hinges worth considering for light to heavy-duty applications.
TamBee offers both I-shaped and L-shaped hinges. That gives you plenty of mounting options, depending on your fence posts or barn design. Both options can support a load of up to 250lbs, without making excess noise or causing the gate to sag.
That makes them ideal for heavy-duty work or lifetime investments for lighter gates. Given that the hinges are stainless steel, their weather resistance is superior to almost any other model on the market.
The hinges are not too cheap but not overly priced either, given what they offer. What’s also cool is that you can use these as center hinges for revolving doors inside your home too. That can save you some shopping time if you’re planning on doing some remodeling, as well.
Note that each hinge has a 250lbs weight capacity. However, TamBee didn’t design these for extra-long gates. So while they may support double gates just fine, make sure they’re not too long, or one-sided as the hinges won’t hold.
You can use this hinge model if you want to have a self-closing gate. It will only support models up to 154lbs. Anything over and the hinge may fail or, at the very least, operate erratically.
One of the main selling points is that it is maintenance-free. That said, you do have to adjust the pin with a screwdriver to make sure that the gate can close on its own. But that’s about it.
This hinge is self-lubricating. That means that it has a tube with lubricant inside, enough of it to last for years. This hinge is made from stainless steel and an industrial-strength polymer, and it can take all that nature can throw at it. That includes scorching and freezing weather.
It also offers plenty of UV protection so that the lubricant doesn’t dry out and lose its properties.
Size and Weight
The size of your gate will largely determine how big hinges you’ll have to buy. However, sometimes the weight is even more critical. Depending on how massive your gate is and weight distribution, some models will work better than others.
As long as you know the weight of your gate, you should be able to pick good hinges. Manufacturers list specific compatible ranges for size and weight.
At the same time, the size of a hinge can also determine the length of the gate it can support. Slimmer models are not usually suitable for long gates.
Most hinges are quite straightforward to install. They require you to drill holes and then put in the mounting bolts. Nothing too special. Just look closely at the dimensions to use the right kind of drill bit.
That said, there’s another type of hinge that’s quite popular in some circles. That’s weldable hinges. These don’t weaken the posts like some larger screws would.
Of course, using one over the other has clear implications. First of all, think of what tools you have, or what tools you’re ready to invest in to install the hinges on your own.
Secondly, consider that weldable hinges only work on metal posts. To install them on wooden posts, you would have to install an additional support piece.
Furthermore, there’s also the matter of adjustability. Once installed, weldable hinges are hard to remove and reposition. On the other hand, you can raise and lower pretty much all bolted hinges. Sometimes, you can reposition them even without removing them.
Some bolted hinges come with adjustable pins. You can use a screwdriver to adjust the gate sag.
Do You Always Need Lubrication?
If you don’t want a screeching gate, you’ll need smooth-working hinges. Contrary to popular belief, not all hinges need lubrication. If you don’t want to buy lubricant and get messy, you can always look for models with sealed, lubricated barrels.
However, keep in mind that these can be quite expensive. That’s because they’re designed to last for decades, and that takes money to achieve.
If you do decide to opt for a self-lubricating hinge or a pair, there’s something else you should know. The tube that holds the lubricant must be made of resistant materials and feature superior weather protection as well as UV protection.
Too much exposure to UV rays or extreme temperatures can ruin the lubricant and cause it to lose its properties.
Hinge Pin Durability
That’s easily one of the most pivotal components of gate hinges. The hinge pin should always be as durable as possible. Only the highest quality materials should qualify.
I would also like to point out that solid bars, as opposed to hollow pins, will always be longer-lasting and more reliable.
Stainless steel is perhaps the best material. However, I also give props to aluminum hinge pins due to their high corrosion resistance. That said, they’re not that great at handling massive gates.
And, while the iron is excellent for huge loads, I wouldn’t recommend it unless it features heavy coating rust protection.
Do You Need a Self-Closing Mechanism?
No one needs a self-closing gate, but some are willing to pay for the convenience. While these hinges will likely be expensive, they can make your life easier. However, it’s unlikely that they’ll handle large, heavy doors.
So, you need to decide for yourself if they’re worth the premium.
Exercise Patience with Specs
It’s essential to read your gate specs before you even look at different models. Gate manufacturers will often give suggestions as to what shape and type of hinges you should use.
Using the tips in this article, you should be able to understand these specifications quicker and make the right decision for a reliable and fast installation.
A hardcore woodworking and welding enthusiast, Russ is the editor-in-chief of TAH. In his spare time, Russ loves watching sports, and (binge) watching Netflix.