Different Types Of Drawer Slides

Drawer slides, also known as drawer runners, allow drawers to slide into and out of a drawer unit, allowing users easy access to the contents.

These devices can be made with a variety of features, including:

  • Mounting style (e.g. side, center, or under mounting)
  • Slide length
  • Slide extension (e.g. over-travel, full-travel, three-quarters, etc.
  • Weight rating (i.e., maximum load capacity)
  • Finish

Drawer slides can also have different features and different functionality depending on their type. These are some of the most common drawer slides:

  • Wooden slides
  • Roller slides
  • Ball bearing slides

These sections give a brief overview of the various types of drawer slides.

Wooden Slides

Before the advent of metal and plastic drawer slides, cabinet makers and furniture manufacturers used wooden slides. These wooden strips serve as horizontal rails that drawers rest on and slide. Guides can be attached to the slides depending on the face of the cabinet or drawer. This will help guide the drawers’ movement as they open and close.

Wooden slides are used in furniture and cabinet pieces. This requires precise fabrication and assembly. Although it is challenging to achieve the perfect fit, this results in a drawer that does not require any additional hardware or false faces. Wooden slides are more suitable than other types of drawer slides for their aesthetic appeal. However, they can be challenging to fit into drawers without sacrificing stability and tending to stick in humid environments.

Roller Slides

Roller slides typically consist of two mated and epoxy-coated metal profiles, one that attaches the drawer and one that attaches the cabinet frame. Nylon wheels allow the profiles to glide smoothly and quietly between each other. These slides are less conspicuous than wooden slides. They attach to the sides and can be seen from the front.

Roller slides can be ordered in either side-mount or bottom-mount models, which are sometimes called European bottom-mount–models. They are usually used for lighter applications (>75 lbs.)

Ball Bearing Slides

Ball-bearing slides are named after ball-bearing components that allow the steel alloy or mated steel profile components to move quietly and smoothly about one another. These slides are more durable than roller slides and can support more load (>500 lbs.)

You can choose from progressive movement or Telescopic slide models of ball bearing slides. Progressive movement slides allow for quiet and smooth opening and closing. Telescopic slides, on the other hand, are segmented. Each slide segment extends (or condenses) before propagating its motion to the next segment.

Additional Drawer Slide Functions & Features

There are many options for drawer slides that can be used to enhance functionality and user experience, you can buy drawer runners according to your preference. These options include:

Soft-Close: Hydraulic dampening components reduce noise and drawer damage by preventing drawers from closing too quickly.

Push To Open: Draw slides open when pressure is applied to the front, eliminating the need for additional hardware components

Assisted Close/Open: The assistive mechanism automatically closes the drawer or opens it three-quarters through the motion

Holding-In/Holding-Out: The drawer remains open or closed until a certain level of force has been applied

Lock In/Lock Out: The drawer remains locked closed or opened until a lever is released.