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How to Measure Drawer Slides in 6 Easy Steps

Is your old drawer sticking and in need of replacement slides? Or maybe you're knee-deep in a DIY project and realized the drawer slides aren't the right fit? 

No matter the project—whether you're updating your kitchen, installing bedroom storage, or fixing office drawers—spot-on drawer slide measurements are crucial. In this guide, we explain how to measure drawer slides in seven easy steps. After a quick read and proper measurements, smooth-sliding drawers are right around the corner.

How to Measure Drawer Slides: 6 Simple Steps

Side mount, under mount, and center mount drawer slides

Step 1: Empty and Remove the Drawer

First, empty your drawer of all contents to avoid any mishaps or inaccuracies in measurement. Once empty, gently remove the drawer from the cabinet. This usually involves pulling it out to its fullest extension and then lifting it out. Some drawers have latches or release mechanisms, so watch for those.

Step 2: Measure the Drawer Length

Now that the drawer is out move on to measuring its length. Extend your measuring tape from the drawer's front edge to the back.

This is crucial because your new slides must match this length for a smooth operation. Jot this number down for reference.

Pro tip: Undermount slides should be slightly shorter than the drawer depth to fit correctly.

Knowing your drawer's height and width is also beneficial, especially if you’re considering full extension slides or need to ensure clearance for undermount slides.

Step 3: Check the Cabinet’s Side Space

Next, look inside the cabinet where the drawer was. You’ll need to measure the space where the slides fit on each side to check the clearance between the side of the drawer and the cabinet. 

Measure the distance from the front of the cabinet (where the drawer face sits when closed) to the back wall of the cabinet. 

This ensures enough room for the new slides to fit without forcing them into place. A snug fit is good but too tight, and the drawer will stick.

Step 4: Determine the Slide Type

Drawer slides come in various styles, like side mount, undermount, and center mount. Determine which is installed in your drawer to pick the correct replacement slides.

  • Side-mount slides are attached to the drawer's sides and the cabinet's interior sides. They are usually visible when the drawer is open.

  • Undermount slides are mounted under the drawer, not visible when the drawer is open, offering a cleaner look. These attach to the bottom of the drawer and the side or bottom of the cabinet.

  • Center-mount slides are typically a single rail mounted beneath the center of the drawer. Open the drawer and look underneath to spot this type.

If you're still unsure, measure the width and length of the slides. Side and undermount slides typically match the drawer width, while center-mount slides are narrower.

Step 5: Measure the Cabinet Depth

Measure your cabinet's inside depth to ensure your new drawer slides aren’t too long for your cabinet. Compare this to the drawer length to ensure compatibility.

Step 6: Purchase Your Slides

Now that you know how to measure drawer slides, shop Hinge Outlet to purchase drawer slides that match your measurements and type. For assistance, contact our team of experts, and we can help you determine the best slide for your drawer.

Pro tip: Be sure to also consider the weight load of the drawer when selecting new slides. Heavier drawers require heavy-duty drawer slides.

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