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I have one of these common residential screen door closers:

screen door closer with only one screw for adjustment

From what I can tell, they are primarily meant to make sure your door closes. I haven't seen a video of someone adjusting it so that it closes slowly (and doesn't hit my ankles!).

This is why I looked into a more commercial closer (the one with the arm with a hinge):

commercial door closer with hinged arm

However, when I am trying to match the spring size, it seems like the lowest size (1) recommends a door weight that is more than the weight of my door. Will that be a problem?

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    the first one has a screw at the end of the cylinder to adjust closing speed; right-slow, left-fast. The 2nd one is a style that typically requires quite heavy exterior-caliber doors, certainly not screen doors.
    – dandavis
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 7:30

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Every screen door closer I've ever seen has an adjustment mechanism. Some adjust better/easier than others, but it's a matter of playing with it.

You'll want to find and turn the screw(s) to make sure that it closes slowly enough that you can get through without it biting your ankles (your current problem), but hard enough that it actually closes and latches the door. If it doesn't latch, you risk it getting yanked open by a strong wind (we've had 20+ MPH steady winds with gusts to 60+ the last couple of days) and being ripped off its hinges.

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  • The problem I had with the single-screw adjust is that there was no overlap (not even close) between "slow enough to not bite ankles" and "hard enough to close & latch". Is that a symptom of an old or poor door closer or is it something common to all single-stage door closers? Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 1:22
  • That's a question I can't help you with, @CalebJares. If you've got a single screw closer and cannot get it adjusted to your satisfaction, your only option may be to update to one with a 2-screw adjuster.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 13:18

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