What Types of Glasses Hinges Are There?
Glasses hinges probably aren’t the first things that come to your mind when you’re shopping for a new pair of glasses. However, they’re one of the most crucial parts of your eyewear.
Without them, you won’t be able to fold or unfold your temples to wear your glasses. Choosing the right one is also key to a comfortable fit and can even affect the style of your spectacles.
We’re all about the A-Z of glasses in this space, so here’s everything you need to know about glasses hinges, from types to pros and cons of each type to how to care for them.
What are glasses hinges?
Hinges are the joints that allow the temples of your glasses to be folded and unfolded. They also influence the fit of your frames. Without them, your glasses won’t be functional, much less comfortable.
There are three types of hinges:
- Standard hinges
- Spring hinges
With consistent use, glasses hinges are bound to weaken and loosen over time. That said, they are relatively easy to fix, either by yourself or with help from an optician.
The most common type of eyeglass hinges are the standard/barrel hinges. They’re made from a number of metal rings (barrels) that fit into one another like zippers and are secured in place by a small screw that slides inside.
Each barrel can be adjusted to be either lower or higher, using a tiny pair of pliers. This allows the hinges to be fitted for maximum comfort and security.
If your new pair of glasses tend to slide off your face or don’t fit securely, you can easily adjust a few barrels inside the hinges to give you a snug fit.
Here are some of the pros and cons to take into consideration:
- Easy to repair.
- More durable than any other type of hinge.
- Parts are widely available.
- Lacks flexibility, which means your eyeglass temples have limited movement.
- Not resistant against the jerks and sudden movements of intense physical activities. Your glasses might fall off during rigorous activities such as jogging.
Comparing five-barrel and seven-barrel hinges
Three, five, and seven-barrel hinges are the most common types of standard eyeglass hinges. The numbers refer to the number of interconnected barrels that makes up the hinge.
Among the three, five-barrel and seven-barrel hinges are the most common. While the number of hinges doesn’t seem significant, it actually affects how your hinges work.
You’d find that the sturdiest one out of them all are the seven-barrel hinges. However, compared to five-barrel hinges, they can be a lot more difficult to adjust and repair.
When choosing between the two, it all comes down to how you use your glasses. For instance, if you’re into more active sports such as basketball, seven-barrel hinges are a good option for you as they make your glasses sturdier.
However, if you find yourself needing to adjust your hinges a lot, five-barrel hinges are better for quicker and easier replacement.
For more tips on how to take care of your glasses, click here.
Spring/flex hinges are the second most popular choice. The spring component makes them highly flexible, enabling your glasses temples to be extended past the standard 90°.
This type of hinges is also usually the most comfortable. Its flexibility is enhanced by three-barrel hinges, which makes your glasses more comfortable by extension.
Additionally, they’re better at withstanding wear and tear, meaning they won’t break as easily even with rough use on a daily basis. If you lead an active lifestyle, you don’t have to worry about your glasses falling or coming apart as much.
With that said, here are its pros and cons:
- More flexibility means fewer adjustments.
- More comfortable compared to other types of hinges.
- Ideal for individuals with active lifestyles who take part in a lot of physical activities.
- Can be a hassle to repair since specialty tools are needed. You’d want to see an optician, or in some cases, the manufacturers themselves to get them repaired.
Do check out our spring hinge glasses collection if you're shopping for one!
As eyeglasses evolve over time, so do various frames, lenses and of course, hinges. However, there is one type of eyewear that does away with hinges, and it’s currently trending.
Hingeless glasses have no screws, barrels, or a hinge. To compensate, they’re customized to fit the wearer’s head perfectly, and generally come in rimless frames.
In the absence of hinges, this type of glasses are usually made with the strong and durable titanium. Titanium also has the extra bonus of being hypoallergenic.
The following are its pros and cons:
- Ideal for people who lead active lifestyles or engage in frequent physical activity.
- More modern and sleek design.
- Customized fit means they’re more comfortable for the wearer.
- Can withstand greater wear and tear.
- Hingeless glasses need to be sent to an optician or the manufacturer itself for repairs.
Potential defects of glasses hinges
Like other parts of your glasses, the hinges will develop defects from constant use over time.
Here are some of the most common issues:
- Hinges can weaken or loosen, making it harder to fold and unfold your glasses.
- Hinges can break when your glasses fall off your face unexpectedly.
With that said, you can easily fix hinges or get them replaced, depending on the type of hinges you have. Standard/barrel hinges can be easily repaired at home. However, other types like spring/flex are a bit trickier, in which case you should check with your optician.
Keeping your specs clean also goes a long way in extending their lifespan. Here are some tips on how to clean your glasses.
Don’t let your glasses go unhinged
Understanding glasses hinges gives you a better idea of how to pick glasses that aren’t just comfortable, but suited to your lifestyle and personal style.
Once you’ve got your specs, be sure to take good care of them not only by cleaning but also by keeping an eye out for any parts that need replacing or adjusting.
Need new glasses and not sure where to get started? Maybe you can feast your eyes on some fancy frames.
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