Common Types of Cabinet Drawer Slides for Storage Needs

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If you’ve ever wandered down the cabinet hardware aisle, you’ve probably been overwhelmed with the options for cabinet drawer slides. How far does the drawer need to open? Would it better for an undermount slide or a side mount? The choices can be quite overwhelming when they’re considered.

Table of Contents

What Are the Types of Drawer Slides

It’s important to choose the type of drawer slide you’ll be using before you begin building the drawer. It is important to know the following when choosing a drawer slide:

  • Size of the Cabinet Opening
  • How Far the Drawer Needs to Open
  • The Size of the Kitchen

Will a full-extension drawer slide work in the given space? It is important to know to help guide your decision to the appropriate type of slide.

The most common types of drawer slides are listed below:

  • Ball Bearing Drawer Slides
  • Undermount Drawer Slides
  • Center Mount Drawer Slides
  • Roller Drawer Slides
  • Wooden Drawer Slides

Ball Bearing Drawer Slides

By far the most frequently type of cabinet drawer slides used, is the ball bearing drawer slide. These use ball bearing which roll along a thin track and allows less friction and smooth operation when the drawer opens and closes. While the ball bearing drawer slide is easy to install, it requires expert precision when building the drawer box. If it is off by even the tiniest of margins, the slides won’t roll correctly and the drawer will stick.

Ball Bearing slides come in two pieces. One half goes on the inside of the cabinet, while the other half goes along the side of the drawer box.

These are inexpensive and easy to install when done properly. They can also hold a great deal of weight which is great for many various operations.

However, it should it noted that these are not ideal for situations in which there may be environmental hazards such as dust or dirt. The slides can also be seen when the drawer is open.

Undermount Drawer Slides

This type of slide can be mounted either along the side of the cabinet or along the bottom. The bracket and sliding track are both ‘L’ shaped. One of the benefits is that there is very little hardware attached to the cabinet. It’s just a small clip that locks the cabinet onto the track.

These offer unparalleled customization with fully adjustable settings. It makes it easier to fine tune the position of the drawer front. The drawer can be removed simply by disengaging the clips beneath.

As with the ball bearing slides, the cabinet box needs to be made to the exact specifications needed. These also tend to be more expensive than some of the other slides. They can also only be used on those drawers with what is called a captured or recessed bottom. This is because there needs to be a little extra room for the clips along the bottom.

Center Mount Drawer Slides

This type of drawer slide has a center drawer slide mounted straight down the middle of the drawer box. There are rollers along the side of the cabinet to keep the drawer properly aligned. This type of slide can only support a minimal amount of weight. It is also easier than other types of slides to knock them out of alignment which can cause problems with the proper function of the drawer.

Roller Drawer Slides

This type is attached along the corners of the drawer box. They have a wheel which allows the drawer to move back and forth along the rail or track. These cabinet drawer slides are most commonly found on inexpensive furniture and cabinetry. Partly because they are inexpensive and partly because of the type of cabinet in which they are found, this type of slide cannot support heavy weight and tends to not last as long as other types.

Wooden Drawer Slides

Before the days of slide manufacturing, furniture was made with wooden drawer slides. This type of slide is found on antique furniture. This type of slide is typically made from two strips of hardwood mounted to the side of bottom of the cabinet drawer. There is a groove cut into the side of the drawer box that allows the slides to pass through the groove. This was the way of old-time carpenters who recognized the need for proper drawer function but had nothing save their abilities with woodworking to use.

There are some drawbacks including:

  • The Need to Wax the Wood for Smooth Function
  • Seasonal Changes in Wood Can Make Drawers Stick
  • Pulling the Drawer too Far Out Makes Drawers Fall off Track
  • They Are Difficult to Adjust

Drawer Slide Extensions

There are various types of extensions. The most common are listed below:

  • ¾ Extension Drawer Slide
  • Full-Extension Drawer Slides
  • Over-Travel Drawer Slides

Drawer Motion Types

There are a number of drawer motion types listed below:

  • Self-Closing Drawer
  • Soft-Closing Drawer
  • Push-to-Open Drawer

In Conclusion

There are lot of decisions which can go into choosing the appropriate cabinet style and drawer slide hardware. This can include various drawer slide hardware. They are rated for various uses. If your drawer has a great deal of heavy items to support, it is important to use heavy-duty cabinet slides and heavy-duty drawer slides. Reach out to us for all the information you need to make an informed decision regarding your drawer slide selection.

Kevin Peter