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Door Closer Buying Guide

Door Closer Buying Guide

There are so many options. How do I choose the right door hardware for my requirements?
Choosing the correct door closer can be confusing. And let’s face it – you’re not looking to spend a lot of money, especially at this stage of your building project. Many people will make a quick decision and simply choose a cheap door closer that can be delivered ASAP.

This isn’t always the best solution. The reasons you consider doors closing in the first place are important. Make sure you understand the benefits and limitations of each model.

Consider the door:

Is it an internal or external door? Screen door? Inward or outward opening door? Will it need an automatic door closer? How much door control, or closing force is needed? How heavy is the door? The larger and heavier the door is, the more force will be required to close it. Will it need latch speed control to accommodate these variations?

Consider the space:

Measure the width and height of both frame and door. Heavier doors will require a door closer with a larger power size. For very narrow frames you might need a concealed door closer.

Consider volume and frequency of traffic:

Low frequency – up to 10,000 cycles per year.

Medium frequency – 10,000 to 100,000 cycles per year.

High frequency – 100,000 to 500,000 cycles per year (e.g. hospitals, schools, shopping malls).

And … who is using the door?

Bear in mind that elderly and less abled people may need a door operator with a more delayed close to allow them more time to pass through the doorway.

What about mounting?

The most popular mounting situations are:

Surface Mounted Overhead door closers are the most commonly used and mainly operate with:


Regular arm surface mounted

Parallel arm surface mounted

Concealed door closers

These are aesthetically pleasing, hidden from view either in the door jamb, the door, or the transform.

Door Closer Terminology:

Backcheck: The cushioning effect you feel when the door is swung open but prevented from slamming into the wall behind. It’s a useful feature to ensure that the door hardware and the door itself are given a measure of protection.

Delayed Action/Delayed Close: The length of time it takes for the door to close after being opened. A desirable feature for senior homes or areas where it may take people a little more time to get through the doorway.

Closing Speed: The adjustment for the general speed of the door closing.

Fire Rated: A fire-rated door is especially constructed to slow or prevent the spread of fire and smoke. It is generally an extra heavy door, usually made of materials like metal or gypsum.

Automatic Door Closers: Automatic door closers use and store the energy for opening the door. This is usually within a compression system, where the energy is later released at a controlled rate.

Latching Action: This is the adjustable latch speed and refers to the final few degrees of closing. This is beneficial to overcome any issues with the latch or seal on a door.

Mechanical Hold Open: A Hold Open Arm can be used on door closers to achieve a rigid hold open function. (These must never be used on Fire Doors.)

Hold Open: Ideal for use on Fire Doors; the Hold Open function means that the door is held open permanently at a fixed angle (unless released by the fire alarm activation).

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