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How to Install Drawer Slides

Drawer slides play a vital role in ensuring drawer units open and close seamlessly. The average drawer slide mechanism isn’t very complex. However, you should be familiar with how to install them correctly if you want your drawer to function properly.

This guide will go through the various steps involved with installing a basic side mounted drawer side. It is applicable for both ball-bearing and roller drawer slide types.

Choosing Drawer Slides

Before we get to the installation portion of this guide, it is worth discussing how to choose the right drawer slides for your needs. In our earlier blog, we discussed the different types of drawer slides and the type of loads they can bear. Ball-bearing drawer slides can handle heavier weights than roller slides, but both are suitable for most home applications.

One factor that you should pay careful attention to is the drawer slide length. This slide length will determine how far your drawer box will extend. When choosing a drawer slide length, it is best to go with one that is slightly less than the length of your drawer box.

For example, if your drawer box measures 21 inches from back to the front, you should look for drawer slides that are around 20 inches in length.


Ball bearing slides are a popular choice.


Installing Your Drawer Slides

Once you have purchased the right drawer slides for your drawer unit, it is time to begin installing them. For the sake of this guide, we have broken down the installation into four easy steps. These are applicable for most drawer slide designs with separate cabinet and drawer members.

Step 1: Prepare Your Cabinet and Drawer Members

The majority of drawer slides consist of two components: a drawer member and a cabinet member. The drawer member is the portion that is installed onto the drawer box while the cabinet member is installed onto the cabinet that the drawer is inserted into.

If you have purchased roller slides, the drawer member and cabinet member are likely to be separated at first. If they aren’t, you can pull the drawer member outwards until it is fully extended. You can then move the roller on the drawer member over the cabinet member’s roller.

If you have purchased ball-bearing slides, the cabinet and drawer members will be accompanied by a third component known as an intermediate slide. The intermediate slide generally remains connected to the cabinet member, and can be connected or released from the drawer member using a lever or other release mechanism. You should note that not every ball-bearing slide includes a release mechanism, so their members may have to remain connected during installation.


Roller slides are a popular alternative to ball bearing slides


Step 2: Attach Your Cabinet Member

The first step of the actual installation process is to attach your cabinet member to the cabinet. You should ideally complete this step before working on your drawer member regardless of your drawer slide type.

For side mounted drawer slides, it is vital to place your cabinet member inside the cabinet and align it properly. You can check that the members are parallel by ensuring the distance from your cabinet edge to the slide edge is the same for each drawer slide. You can then check that they are level using a level tool.

After you have aligned your cabinet member with the cabinet, you should fasten it in place. Different drawer slides offer different fastening options and come with their own holes for their cabinet members. You generally want to fasten the cabinet member using a minimum of three holes or slots to ensure stability.

Step 3: Attach Your Drawer Member

Next, you will need to attach your drawer member. This involves aligning the front of the drawer box with the front of the drawer member. You can use the same technique for checking that they are level and parallel as before. However, it is also important to ensure that the drawer and drawer members are aligned with your cabinet member.

Once you have completed this alignment process, you can fasten them to the cabinet using fasteners through the recommended slots. If you need to make adjustments to the member’s position, you can use the slotted holes for mounting.

The vertical slots in the drawer member allow for easy height adjustment at the end of this process.

Step 4: Insert Your Drawer and Make Adjustments

After the drawer members and cabinet members have been installed properly, you can finally insert your drawer into your cabinet portion. If you have a roller slide design, you can roll the drawer portion’s roller over the cabinet roller and push the drawer into place.

If you have ball-bearing slides, you can push the drawer member into the intermediate member and push them closed. If the slide has a release lever, it should automatically lock as the drawer is closed.

You can now make vertical adjustments to your drawer slide using the slots on the drawer member. You can then make horizontal adjustments via the horizontal slots on the cabinet member.

After completing these adjustments, you can finally fasten the members properly via the third mounting hole. If you intend to load up your drawer with heavy items, you may want to secure it using a minimum of two locking screws per member.


Full extension slides are perfect for certain types of drawers.


Where to Buy Premium Drawer Slides

As you can see, installing drawer slides is a relatively straightforward process. The above guide should be helpful for installing most roller and ball-bearing slide designs. You can make the installation process as easy as possible by first purchasing reliable high-quality slides from a retailer such as The Hinge Outlet.

We offer a wide variety of hinge slides, and can help you find the right one for your project. Our experts are always eager to assist customers, so please get in touch with us if you require assistance with drawer slide installation.