As a designer I’ve been very happy with the improvements in touch-latch hardware.
Also referred to as Invisible or Magnetic latch hardware, I would try to discourage customers from using touch-latch hardware because they were not very reliable and always seemed to break.
Touch latch hardware comes in two versions – Magnetic and Mechanical.
The more common Magnetic Touch Latch employs a magnet at the end of a spring-loaded plunger. When the door is closed, the plunger is pushed inside its casing, compressing the spring behind it. A small catch holds the plunger in place and the magnetic plate keeps the door shut. When the door is pushed, the plunger is compressed slightly, disengaging the stop, releasing the spring and thrusts the plunger out opening the door.
Mechanical Touch Latches use a ratchet and spring mechanism. When the door is closed, the ratchet engages and physically holds the door in place. When tapped or touched, the ratchet releases and the spring mechanism pushes the door open.
Blum and Salice, both leaders in cabinet hardware manufacturing, offer integrated push-to-open drawer hardware for both doors and drawers. This new hardware is robust and compact. The new catch plate from Salice shown below is magnetic.
Blum tip on hardware for drawers is a cabinet makers favorite because it doesn’t take up additional cabinet space and can be adjusted without removing the drawer. The taller drawers have a smaller activation area and long drawers must be pushed in the center to open.
These new advances mean touch-latch hardware can be used more places for more design diversity without sacrificing function. Even with this new freedom some limitations still exist. If you bake or mix with your hands, you might not want to worry about smearing the face of your cabinets.
Super heavy drawers might also be better served by electronic openers such as the Servo drive system by Blum which is popular for trash and recycling cabinets.
I love the bright yellow hardwareless cabinets in this photo. The note cards fixed to the front make this space fun and inviting.
The lack of hardware on the black upper cabinets helps them recede into the background and let the color and metallic accents stand out.
Often you might see J-Channels used on bases for a handle-free look. These upper cabinets could have touch-latches or they might be designed to be opened by grabbing the bottom of the door. The less used area above the pantry and ovens was once considered the only areas suitable for touch-latches.