What Does Soft Close Actually Mean?

Soft Close is a popular locking system for drawers, cabinet doors, and flaps. But how does it work, and can the technology be retrofitted? We explain the system and what alternatives are available.

So that drawers close smoothly and quietly are equipped with a soft-close system. We explain how this works
So that drawers close smoothly and quietly are equipped with a soft-close system. We explain how this works.
Photo: iStock/vitranc

Soft Close: The most important facts in brief

  • Soft Close avoids noise when closing doors, drawers, and lids.
  • It is also known as self-closing and consists of a spring and a damper.
  • You can retrofit Soft Close yourself.

What is Soft Close?

Furniture and kitchen manufacturers increasingly equip their products with the so-called soft close system – a damping technology for doors and drawers so that they close silently and gently – the latter means the translated English term. The system is often also referred to as self-closing. The technology is also used in other industries. Among other things, car manufacturers equip their doors with soft close so they can be closed when there is little room to move – in tight parking spaces, for example. There are also toilet seats with soft-close systems. There, it is usually referred to as an automatic soft close.

How Do Soft-Close Drawers Work?

Soft-close drawers or cabinet doors with the system are equipped with a spring and a damper. For example, when you open the drawer, on the one hand, the spring tightens, and on the other hand, the damping extends. When you close it again, the spring relaxes, and the damper automatically slows down the closing process – this causes the drawer to retract right down to the last centimeter, prevents drawers and doors from slamming shut with a loud bang and damaging the wood in the long run. The soft-close system is available in two variants: mechanical and electrical. The electric method is mainly used for handleless drawers and doors that open automatically by pressing on the front (push-to-open).

Soft-Close makes closing cabinets more convenient - you save time and energy
Soft-Close makes closing cabinets more convenient – you save time and energy.
Photo: iStock/ArchiViz

How and Where Is Soft Close Used in the Kitchen?

As a rule, Soft Close is installed in kitchen furniture to save power and noise. The system is used in drawers and cabinet doors but also exists in some manufacturers of refrigerators. If you do not want handles in your kitchen, a soft-close automatic system with push-to-open is indispensable. Thus, you will get a classy design without kitchen handles and knobs spoiling the look. High-priced stainless steel kitchens use a system of magnetic strips instead of a spring and a damper to allow self-closing.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Soft Close

Soft Close has some advantages and disadvantages compared to classical closing mechanisms of drawers and hinges of cabinet doors. The main disadvantage is that the system is more expensive than conventional variants. Installation is also more time-consuming. However, this is offset by several advantages that also advocate using a self-closing system in your kitchen. The drawers and doors are much easier to close, especially if you have no hands free. A slight pressure is usually enough, and the drawer or cabinet door closes. In addition, the technology is gentle on your furniture, increasing its durability. Last, the technology avoids unnecessary noise in the kitchen and house. Doors and drawers close silently, allowing you to use the kitchen at night without hesitation, even in apartments with a high noise level.

Can Soft Close Be Retrofitted?

You don’t have to buy a new kitchen to benefit from the advantages. As a skilled craftsman, you can retrofit the system yourself. You can buy door fittings with soft close for as little as around 10 euros from online retailers, furniture stores, or DIY and specialist stores. You can also get suitable dampers for your drawers for retrofitting.

Alternatives to the Soft-Close System

Cheaper than ready-made self-closing systems and easier to retrofit are felt glides. These also serve the purpose of closing cabinet doors and drawers gently and quietly. Simply stick the glides to the inside of the doors and drawers – this will help you avoid them banging when they close. The disadvantage of this method is: the doors do not close gently. For this, the dampers of the soft-close system are missing.

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