What are the Different Door Closer Types?

In modern construction, door closers aren’t just about function – they’re essential and central components of a building’s design and feel. These devices, which are available in various types intended for different purposes and appearances, do more than just close doors; they enhance safety, aesthetics, and optimise energy efficiency.

As building trends shift and architectural designs evolve, knowing about these different door closer types is essential. So, let’s dive in and explore more about these components, the range of door closers available, and what benefits each offers.


The Importance of Door Closers

Door closers, while seemingly simple devices, play a vital role in our daily lives. Their significance isn’t just functional, but extends to:

  • Safety: We’ve all been startled by a door that slams shut with unexpected force. Door closers moderate the closing speed, reducing the risk of accidents or injuries.
  • Security: A securely closed door provides a sense of safety. Door closers make certain that doors latch properly, minimising potential security risks.
  • Energy Efficiency: Doors left ajar allow conditioned air to escape, leading to increased energy costs. Door closers help in automatically shutting doors, promoting better energy conservation.
  • Aesthetics: A uniform look can make a significant difference in a building’s design. With door closers, every door closes in a smooth and consistent manner, contributing to a polished and cohesive appearance.
  • Compliance: All swinging fire doors to be self closing to contain a fire outbreak for as long as possible.
  • Accessibility: Where doors are being used by the elderly, people with disabilities or even children and the door requires self closing then a high quality cam action door closer is very important.


Understanding the Mechanism

At the heart of every door closer lies a precise combination of hydraulic and mechanical components. Together, these ensure the smooth opening and closing of doors, irrespective of their weights. A fine interplay between these two components guarantees the door either closes at a consistent speed to prevent abrupt shutting, has a low operating force or keeps the door open when you need it to remain so.


Different Types of Door Closers

Let’s delve into the various door closer types that cater to different door setups and requirements.


Surface Mounted Door Closers

These are the most common types of door closers and are typically visible on the door or frame.

  • Regular Arm Mounted: Predominantly used on fire doors or doors where accessibility is not a concern, features a distinctive scissor arm mechanism. Always has a hydraulic rack-n-pinion body.
  • Parallel Arm Mounted: Still a regular arm door closer but mounted on the PUSH side of the door. Often used on services cupboards and doors that open out where the door closer cannot be installed to the PULL side. Features a distinctive scissor arm mechanism. Always has a hydraulic rack-n-pinion body
  • Slide Rail: Typically a sleaker and more aesthetic style of door closer. Slide rail closers (also known as slide arm) typically have a lower operating force then a regular arm door closer which makes them perfect for office doors, child cares or anywhere accessibility is a concern. Typical slide rail door closers can have a hydraulic rack-n-pinion body OR a be a Cam-action type.
  • Cam Action: Top of the range closers that have a low operating force but high adjustiabity in terms of closing and latching speed. Cam action door closers should always be considered where accessibility is a concern. Cam action door closers can be mounted on the PULL or PUSH side but angle brackets may be required for PUSH side mounting. 


Concealed Door Closers

As the name suggests, concealed door closers are hidden, offering a minimalist appearance. They are a top pick for spaces that emphasise aesthetics without compromising on functionality.

  • Overhead Concealed: Incorporated within the door frame right above the door, these are commonly used for aluminium glazed entrance doors or double acting doors of any make. Also known as ‘transom mounted’ door closers
  • Floor Spring Mounted: These are fitted below the floor, mostly seen with glass doors or areas desiring an unobstructed view.
  • Door mounted concealed: Morticed into the head of the door, often used on apartment entry doors where self closing is required for fire rating but a minimalistic look is desired. Also used often in mental health facilities where the ligature points are being avoided.


Key Features to Consider When Choosing a Door Closer

Navigating the world of commercial door closers can initially seem daunting. But when we break it down, the essentials you need to consider when choosing a type are rather straightforward.

It all begins by understanding the core features:

  • Adjustability: Door closers that are commercial in nature often require nuanced control. The ability to adjust the speed and force ensures doors open and close in a manner tailored to the environment.This is when top of the range cam action door closers should be considered.
  • Materials: Aesthetics matter just as much as functionality. When choosing door closers, we must factor in both the durability of the material and its appearance. After all, a door closer should be robust and blend seamlessly into its surroundings.
  • Size and Weight: Not all doors are created equal. By considering door weights and sizes, we can match them with compatible door closers, ensuring seamless operation.
  • Hold Open and Non-Hold Open Options: In bustling commercial settings, doors may need to stay open for extended periods, while in other scenarios, a swift close is necessary. Having the flexibility to choose between these options is invaluable.
  • Environmental Factors: From coastal areas prone to corrosion to regions with extreme climates, the environment plays a pivotal role. Selecting door closers that can weather these conditions is paramount.
  • Fire compliant: Not all door closers are suitable for fire doors, when selecting a door closer for a fire door.


Can I install a door closer on any type of door, or are there specific doors that require particular types of door closers?

Like outlined above, when choosing a door closer, it’s vital to consider the specific needs and characteristics of the door in question. Different doors have unique requirements based on factors such as their size, weight, and the function they serve. For instance, fire doors require a door closer with no hold open, adjustable back check and strong enough closing force whereas a humble services cupboard may only need a simple minimal adjustability type. Additionally, the material of the door, its exposure to various environmental conditions including internal air conditioning , and the desired user experience are all crucial elements that influence the type of door closer you should opt for.

Consulting with experts, such as us here at John Barnes & Co., can help determine the best fit for your specific needs.


Specialised Door Closers for Specific Purposes

Beyond the generic types we’ve already covered, there are door closer systems designed for distinct purposes and requirements. These include:

  • Fire Door Closers: In emergency situations, every second counts. Fire door closers ensure that fire doors close automatically, acting as a barrier against spreading flames.
  • Electromechanical Hold Open Door Closers: These door closers offer enhanced safety by holding open the door until required.Integrated with fire alarm systems, they ensure doors close during evacuations and provide a smooth exit pathway.
    • Free-Swing door closer: Similarly to the electromechanical hold open closers, these door closers are connected to the fire alarm system but only ‘close’ the door when the fire alarm has been triggered. This enables the door to be seamlessly operated like no door closer is installed but then in a fire scenario, the door closing function is enabled.


Maintenance and Lifespan

While door closers are robust, they’re not immune to wear and tear. Regular maintenance extends their lifespan and ensures consistent performance.

Ensuring the longevity of your door closers goes beyond occasional checks. It’s about recognising early signs of wear and responding promptly. From overhead door closers to the concealed door closer varieties, each has its unique maintenance needs.

Yet, maintenance can feel daunting. That’s where our dedicated team steps in. At John Barnes & Co., we offer more than just products. Our expert team is always ready to assist, ensuring that your door closers function smoothly for years to come.


Find the perfect door closer for your building today

Door closers might be overlooked in the grand scheme of building design, yet their impact is palpable in the environments they shape. Investing in quality door closers and seeking informed guidance can make all the difference in ensuring optimal functionality and aesthetic alignment.

At John Barnes & Co., our dedication isn’t merely about supplying products. We’re committed to enlightening our customers about their choices, ensuring each door closer they select is the best fit for their space.

Given our wealth of experience and the trust we’ve garnered from premier institutions ranging from government departments to tier 1 construction companies, why navigate this journey alone? Let us be your trusted guide. Whether it’s a comprehensive site survey, adept security advice, or addressing inquiries about door hardware and locksmithing solutions, we’re here for you.

Choose John Barnes & Co., where expertise meets genuine care.

Schedule a viewing of our showroom today