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Drawer Slide Types and How to Choose the Right One

You may have already seen drawer slides affixed to both sides of the drawers in your home. These are special devices that allow individual drawers in furniture to slide in and out easily.

Drawer slides are essential in most homes and residences as you can’t have drawers without accompanying drawer slides. These are typically hidden from view, so one may overlook their importance.

How Do Drawer Slides Work?

Drawer slides are also known as drawer runners because they help the drawer box “run” back and forth along their rails. A drawer is typically secured with drawer slides on each side, and this allows the drawer box to move along the rails evenly.

Drawer slides also support the drawer box’s weight and reduce friction as it slides in and out of the drawer housing. This is vital, as a drawer should always be easy to open and close no matter how heavy its contents are.

The Importance of Drawer Slides

In addition to reducing friction during movement, drawer slides also help extend the drawer’s lifespan. A drawer box that isn’t supported by a drawer slide would be in constant contact with the drawer housing, and this would wear down the surfaces on both.

This means it is essential for all drawers to feature an appropriate drawer slide that keeps the drawer box and housing connected but separate.

What Do Drawer Slides Consist Of?

Drawer slides consist of many different components depending on their type. However, they generally feature long and narrow rails made from metal. Let’s look at various types of drawer slides, what they consist of, and where they are used.

Types of Drawer Slides

There are numerous types of Drawer slides out there. This includes:

Applications of Drawer Slides:

  • Study desk drawers
  • Kitchen drawers
  • Dressers
  • Drawers for storing medicine
  • Medical beds
  • Drawers in laboratories
  • Drawer slides in emergency vehicles

How to Choose the Right Drawer Slides

As you can see there are many different types of drawer slides to choose from. Choosing between each one can be tricky if you aren’t familiar with drawer slides. Let’s look at some considerations to keep in mind when choosing drawer slides to make the selection process easier.

  • Load Rating
  • As mentioned above, different drawer slide types offer different load ratings. Center-mount slides offer the lowest load capacity as they possess only one rail.

    When comparing dual-rail side-mounted slides, the ball bearings variety typically offers greater load capacity than the roller slides. For high-load applications, you may be interested in using linear guides.

  • Drawer Movement Direction
  • You should also consider the direction your drawer will be moving in. Most of the drawer slide types mentioned above allow you to extend the drawer box outward and then back into its housing.

    If your drawer housing is open on both ends, you can extend your drawer box outwards in two directions with a 2-way travel drawer slide.

  • Extension Length
  • It is also vital to determine how much you would like your drawer to extend outwards. Full extension drawer slides are ideal for drawers that extend outwards completely and allow you to access the drawer boxes' entire contents easily.

    ¾ extension drawer slides allow the drawer box to extend out to around 3/4ths of its full length, which is preferable for bedroom dressers or places with limited space.

    You can also check the rail length for each slide. It is recommended to use the longest slide for your application, but without exceeding the drawer’s depth into the cabinet housing. Most roller slides feature guide rails that are around 20” in length. However, there are ball bearing slides that feature guide rails with longer lengths up to 50”.

  • Durability
  • Drawer slides also vary in terms of durability depending on their type. The stainless-steel ball bearings on ball-bearing slides tend to offer better durability than the plastic rollers on roller slides. If you intend to make your drawer last for many years, it may be better to choose ball-bearing slides over roller slides.

  • Orientation
  • If you intend to create an object with a drawer, it is essential to use the right drawer type. We discussed the different types of drawer slides in an earlier blog. If you would like to purchase reliable high-quality drawer slides for an upcoming project, please visit Hinge Outlet.

    Where to Purchase Drawer Slides?

    Here at Hinge Outlet, we offer a wide range of drawer slides for different applications and can help you find the right one for your needs. Our experts are always eager to help customers and can help guide you in the selection process, and ensure you are matched with the perfect drawer slide for your project. Please get in touch with us to learn more about our selection of drawer slide products.