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Selecting Drawer Slides

When you are selecting drawer slides for your cabinets or furniture there are a few major factors that must be taken into consideration. The most important of these factors are drawer weight and drawer depth. The first factor is extremely important as you must select a slide that can bear the weight of the drawer and all of its contents. The drawer depth is just as important as you will surely want a drawer that opens and closes the proper distance. The information below should help you find a slide that is appropriate.

Drawer weight

Light Duty Slides: up to 75 lbs.-- usually plenty for residential drawers.

Medium Duty Slides: 75 to 100 lbs. -- normally used for residential drawers, especially those expected to be loaded heavily. Range from euro roller slides to light duty ball bearing slides.

Heavy Duty Slides: strength ranges from 100-150 lbs. best for lateral file cabinets, large storage drawers and pantry pullouts. These are always ball bearing slides.

Drawer Depth

The depth of the drawer must be measured accurately. The length of the slide is described by its length in the fully closed position. The fully closed slide must fit easily between the drawer front and the rear of the cabinet. If you consider each of these criteria it should be easy to find a slide of the proper length.

Slide Types

For more information on any of the slide types below simply click on the picture or highlighted name.

Side Mount Drawer Slide: these slides are most popular for kitchen applications as they offer a variety of extensions and weight ratings. They are mounted on each side of the drawer as well as on either side of the inside of the cabinet. The hardware will be very visible when the drawers are open.

side mount drawer slide

Center Mount Drawer Slide: these slides mount under the center of the drawer, these are the lightest duty slides normally available. (around 35 pounds) They are easy to mount and hardware is invisible from the top. The weight ratings on center mounts is lower than on side mounts because there is a single slide bearing all of the weight, whereas a side mount uses two slides.

center mount drawer slide

Undermount Drawer Slide: under mount side slides add weight bearing capacity to center mount slides (since there are two slides instead of one) and are also easy to mount. These mount on the underside of the drawer on the outside edges. These slides are good medium duty choices and just as with the center mount, the hardware will be invisible from the top.

under mount drawer slide

European Mount Drawer Slide : these slides are inexpensive and easy to install, with a good medium load rating (usually around 75 pounds). They mount directly to the bottom of the drawer side, and to the inside side of the cabinet. Their low cost and ease of installation can often make them a good choice. Hardware is moderately visible, as it is low down on the side of the drawer.

european drawer slide

Specialty slides: Flipper Doors, TV pullouts, keyboard slides, pencil drawers.

There are other factors that should be taken into consideration only after you have found a slide that fits your weight and depth requirements.

Travel or Extension: this tells you how far the drawer can be extended from the cabinet. The travel is easy to determine, a ¾ extension gives good access with ¾ of the drawer extending beyond the cabinet. A full extension means that the full drawer extends from the cabinet and an over-travel means that the drawer extends beyond the cabinet.

Disconnect: This is the feature that allows you to take the drawer out of its cabinet when needed. There are different kinds for disconnect depending on the slide.

Lever disconnect: an internal lever releases the drawer.

Rail disconnect: a rail latch lets you pull the drawer off the slide, and out of the cabinet.

Friction disconnect: no levers or latches, as you just keep pulling the drawer until it moves through the resistance of the ball retainer.

Clearance: It will be necessary to have enough clearance between the outside of the drawer and the inside of the cabinet for the slide to fit. Most slides will need between ½” and ¾” of clearance. Be sure to measure your clearance carefully and check the specifications for each slide carefully, as obviously, a slide that needs ¾” of space will not fit in a space of only ½.”