Types Of Drawer Slides – A Buying Guide

Drawer slides – also known as drawer runners – are devices that allow individual drawers of a drawer to slide in and out, allowing users easy access to the objects within.

Different types of heavy duty drawer runners use different mechanisms and offer different functionality, depending on which type is used. There are many types of drawer slides available, including:

  • Wooden slides
  • Roller slides
  • Ball-bearing slides

Below is a short description of the types of the drawer slide.

Wooden Slides

Wooden slides were the only option for cabinet and furniture makers before the invention of modern metal and plastic drawer slide designs. These are made of strips of wood and serve as horizontal rails for drawers to rest on. You can attach guides to the slides, depending on which cabinet or drawer face you have. These guides will guide the drawers during opening and closing.

Wooden slides for furniture and cabinet pieces require precision fabrication and assembly. The drawers must be able to move smoothly without being too tight or too loose. It is not easy to get the right fit but it results in a drawer with no hardware or false face components. Wooden drawer slides can look great, but they are less practical than other types of slides. They have a limited range of extensions, so the full extension can be impossible without losing stability. Also, wooden drawer slides tend to stick more in humid environments.

Roller Slides

Roller slides usually consist of two mated epoxy-coated metal profile profiles that attach to the drawer. The other attaches to the cabinet frame. There are also nylon wheels that allow the profiles and their attachments to move quietly and smoothly along one another. These slides are much more visible than wooden slides because they attach to drawer sides. If you wish to hide the hardware, you will need to add a false face or extend the drawer’s front lip.

You can choose from either side-mount or bottom–sometimes called European bottom–models. Roller slides are more lightweight (75 lbs). ).

Ball Bearing Slides

Ball bearing slides have ball bearing components. This allows the mated or steel alloy profile parts to glide smoothly and silently between each other, as suggested by their names. These slides are much more durable than traditional roller slides and they can bear more weight (>500 pounds). ).

The ball bearing slides can be ordered in the progressive movement and telescopic model. All slide components can move simultaneously in progressive movement slides. This allows for quiet, smooth opening and closing. Telescopic slides on the other side are segmented. The movements of individual slide segments happen in stages. Each segment expands or condenses before propagating the next segment’s motion.

Additional Drawer Slide Features And Functions

Additional to the above mechanisms that allow drawers to open and close by a user’s hand, drawer slides have additional functions and features that can enhance functionality and increase user experience. Some of these options are:

  • Soft Close: The hydraulic dampening parts prevent drawers from slamming shut, reducing noise and minimizing damage.
  • Push To-Open: The drawer opens when pressure is applied to the front face. This eliminates the need to purchase additional hardware components
  • Assisted Opening/Close: This assistive mechanism automatically shuts down or opens the drawer when it is three-quarters of the way through its motion.
  • Hold-In/Hold Out: The drawer is left open or closed until the force applied reaches a particular level.
  • Locking-In/Locking-Out: The drawer is locked open or shut until the lever component is released.