Ultimate Guide to Drawer Slides

Description 

Nothing can make or break the quality of a project you have been working on more than the drawer slides you choose. Whether working on the kitchen, bathroom, closet, pantry remodels or personal projects, choosing the right drawer slide makes the perfect final touch. The following is a guide of all the useful options that are available to homeowners today.

 

Choosing the Right Drawer Slide

 

When deciding which drawer slide is right for the job there are several important things to consider.

 

 
As a side note, if you are unfamiliar with any of the topics terms used in this tutorial feel free to jump over to our Drawer Slide Term Glossary for a quick explanation.
 
The Different Mounting Options
 
There are five basic types of mounting options offered today. The amount of space available for the drawer inside the cabinet, weight holding capacities, visibility, and cost usually determine the type of drawer slides that people typically choose.

Bottom mount drawer slides diagram
Bottom Mount Drawer Slides

  • With bottom mount drawer slides, the slides attached to the bottom left and bottom right hand sides of the drawer box.
  • These are generally are a roller guided drawer slide instead of a ball bearings. Also the most common is the partial extension, but are also available in a full extension.
  • The bottom mount has a angle flange that supports the drawer box which also has the benefit of indexing the side for easier and quicker installation.
  • These are most commonly used and were designed for frameless cabinets, but have also been adapted and used for face frame cabinets here in the U.S..
  • Shop for Bottom Mount Drawer Slides Here
 
Side mount drawer slide diagram
Side-Mount Slides
 
  • In side-mount drawer slides, the slides themselves attach horizontally to the drawer and the cabinet body. Side mount drawer slides are useful across a wide variety of applications because of their weight bearing capacities and durability.
  • Side-mount slides are available with either a ball-bearing or a roller mechanism. OVIS sells more of the ball-bearing variety because of their load bearing capability, their increased durability over time and little deflection. 
  • equired clearance is typically around a ½” between the drawer slides and the sides of the cabinet opening and in general the only downside to side mount drawer slide is that they will limit the horizontal width of your drawer. If horizontal width is a concern you might consider getting an undermount slide with comparable features.
  • Most of our Side Mount Slides are here, but there are many more available in other categories

Center mount drawer slide diagram
Center-mount slides 

  • Center-mount slides are single slides that mount directly under the center of a drawer. 
  • Center mount slides may restrict the height of the drawer and you need to mind the size of your cabinet. One benefit is that center mount slides are easier to install. However, most center-mount slides hold less weight than side mount alternatives.
  • Shop for Center Mount Drawer Slides Here
 
Undermount drawer slide diagram
Undermount slides
 
  • Undermount slides mount to the sides of the cabinet and connect to locking devices that are attached to the underside of the drawer body inside of the cabinet. 
  • Undermount slides are ideal when you want to highlight the quality of your cabinetry itself because the slides are not visible.
  • Undermount slides are ideal when horizontal space is limited because they typically only require 3/16" to 1/4" of space per slide. The other thing to note about under mount slides is that they require ½” of clearance above and below the drawer in the cabinet opening.
  • Shop for Undermount Drawer Slides Here


Groove mount drawer slide diagramGroove Mount Drawer Slides

  • Groove mount slides are NOT commonly used in the U.S.. Here in the U.S. we commonly see these on imported furniture from Europe.
  • These slides mount in a groove milled into the side of the drawer box and are commonly identified by the groove height. The common groove heights are 17 mm and 27 mm. OVIS sells the 17 mm style, but not the 27 mm groove option. 
  • This type of slide generally has a light load rating, and is generally only used in a partial extension variation.
  • Shop for Groove Mount Drawer Slides Here

 



Slide length
 
It is important for users to consider their ideal slide length and extension when choosing drawer slides. Because drawer slides can last for years it is worth making an investment in the exact configuration you would be most likely to enjoy over a long period. Nothing is more frustrating than having shorter drawer travel than you need or having your nice granite countertop keep you from being able to access the items inside your kitchen drawers. 
 
In general most people buy slides that range in size from 10" to 28". Additionally, at OVIS, we offer a variety of heavy duty drawer slides that are 30”, 36”, 40”, 42”, 48”, and even up to 60” long.
For side-mount and center-mount slides, typically measure the distance from the front edge of the cabinet to the inside face of the cabinet back and then subtract 1". For undermount slides, measure the drawer length. Slides must be the same length as drawer to work properly.
 


Extension: Figuring out the Right Size Drawer Slide

 
One thing to be aware of when choosing drawer slides is how large the drawer space is in the cabinet. While there are a variety of options for how a drawer will ultimately extend, you also need to buy a drawer that is the right size for your cabinet. Furthermore, when there is a lip, or overhang from a countertop or the top of a cabinet it is ideal to get drawers with over-travel, so that you can easily access everything in the drawer. 
Drawer Slide Types

 

3/4 extension:  (See illustration Fig. A) Restricted access to your drawers contents is probably what most people have become accustom. Slides with ¾ extension allow you to pull the drawer out ¾ of its total specified length and are still better than older wooden guide drawers you might still have around the house. While these are an economical solution to replacing an old drawer slide there are also some exciting new options available from OVIS. 

Full extension: (See illustration Fig. B)Full extension drawer slides are recommended for the average homeowner or hobbyists because they allow you to easily view and access everything that is inside of your drawers.

Over travel:  (See illustration Fig. C)Drawers with the over travel feature allows drawers to open beyond full extension, meaning that you get more inches (See illustration Fig. D) of clearance than you would with a full extension drawer slide. Drawer slides with over travel are ideal if you have kitchen countertops that hang over the edge or have a lip on your cabinets. They will still provide total visibility and access to your cabinet contents. 

 
Features/ Motion
 
 
Today’s slides offer a wealth of complex features that allow you to have a luxury experience at a reasonable price. Some important features to look for when purchasing drawer slides are:
 
  • Shock Absorption: Hard closing or slamming is often what causes damage to the internal mechanism of a drawer slide. In order to help protect the quality of your slides, look for slides that feature shock-absorbing capability which will also limit noise if anyone inadvertently slams them shut. 
  • Push to open: Slides that open with an easy nudge give you the ultimate in minimal appeal and keeps you from needing an extra handle or knob. These are a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms where obtrusive hardware might interfere with the look of your space, or give the kids something to bump into.
  • Self close: Slides return the drawer all the way into the cabinet when drawer is pushed slightly in that direction. 
  • Soft close: Slides add a dampening effect to self-close feature returning the drawer into the cabinet softly, without slamming.
 
Weight Rating
 
Weight Rating is an important consideration because you want to have a drawer slide that lasts for a lifetime of use. The key to getting your money’s worth is to ensure that you are getting a product that is rated to hold as much weight as you will require. 
 

In general most slides are rated to hold 75, 100 or 150 pounds. This is a key consideration in places like the kitchen where heavy cooking pots & pans could easily break down lesser slides. OVIS offers you expert guidance on the usage and installation of heavy duty drawer slides which can handle up to 500 lbs. of static load. 
 

Drawer slide weight ratings are determined following the specifications of the following standards programs. In general all drawer slides are rated based on an 18 inch length. Longer slides will have less weight capacity, slides shorter than 18" will have a higher capacity. Consult list the below listed governing bodies for details.
 

  • ANSI/BIFMA X5.5-2008 American National Standards Institute/Business Industrial Furniture Manufacturers Association
  • ANSI/KCMA A161.1-2006 American National Standards Institute/Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association
  • ANSI-BHMA A 156.9-2010 American National Standards Institute/Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association
  • NSF/ANSI 2 Food Equipment National Sanitation Foundation (International)/American National Standard Institute
  • SEFA-8-2007 Scientific Equipment and Furniture Association
  • WI Woodworking Institute (California)

 
 
Installation Considerations
 
Disconnects
Disconnects are the mechanisms that allow you to remove a drawer from its housing. There are three common types of disconnects: lever, rail, and friction. Each one is a little different depending on brand. 
 
  • Lever disconnects feature an internal lever that, when depressed, allows the drawer to slide out freely. 
  • Rail disconnects feature a latch that enables you to raise the drawer up off the slide to pull it away from the desk or cabinet in which its housed. 
  • Friction disconnects, unlike lever and rail disconnects, do not require the manipulation of a latch or lever but simply allow you to open your slide against the force of the ball bearing holding it. 
  • OVIS also offers a variety of locking drawer slides. Some have slightly more complicated release mechanisms and are ideal from mobile applications such as use in an RV.

 

Color
 
  • There are also a few options on the color or look of the drawer slides you desire. 
  • The majority of slides offered in the industry today come in a metallic zinc finish, which keeps them from getting corroded in relatively non humid environments.
  • Some brands are starting to offer black drawer slides which blend well with dark or black stained wood. 
  • OVIS also carries some chromated steel drawer slides which provide your drawer slides a more polished look.
  • Don’t forget, there are always undermount slides as well if you would like to highlight the natural features of the drawer wood itself.

 

Brands

 

 

While there are many brands of drawer slides in the business over the past 25+ years in business OVIS has strived to only offer products from the best manufacturers, who we know will satisfy your needs. Here are some of the trusted brands of drawer slides we offer:
 
Hawthorne & Reid
 
 
Sugatsune