How to: Measure the installation width when replacing a drawer slide

Description 

Replacing worn-out or damaged drawer slides can be a daunting task. The most critical dimension when replacing a drawer slide is the installation width. This is the distance between where the cabinet (fixed) member of the drawer slide is attached to the cabinet, and the drawer slide where the drawer member of the slide is attached to the drawer box itself.

To measure the installation width most accurately we suggest this method. Measure the width of the drawer opening of the cabinet or where the drawer slide cabinet member is attached. Then measure the width of the drawer box itself. Then make this simple calculation opening width minus drawer box width and then divide by 2. For example, let’s say you have a drawer opening of 12" and a drawer box that is 11" the match is as follows 12" - 11" =1" /2 = 1/2". This allows for a 1/2" drawer slide to fit on either side of the drawer.

The installation width will be shown on our website in the specifications area below the description of the product. and look a bit like this:

 

They are also included in the manufacturers specifications sheet that you'll see a like to further down in the specifications. Here are examples from two different manufacturers:

 

The other important measurement is the length of the slide. This is not a critical measurement, but you can't put in a longer slide than the depth of your cabinet. Drawer slides are measured and classified by their closed length for this reason. To make a drawer slide attach to the back of the cabinet with the slide is not long enough, you will use a rear mounting bracket which will give you about 2" of depth adjustment. 

You should choose a slide that is approximately the same size as the length of the drawer box, but it can be shorter or longer by a modest amount. Most slides you can buy to retrofit into your cabinet are in metric dimensions but will be shown and classified under the closest imperial dimension length. The most common size in a kitchen for example is 22" which will likely be 550 mm. Drawer slides are manufactured in 2"- or 50mm increments. OVIS stock sizes from 8" up to 60".

Read more about drawer slides in our Ultimate Guide to Drawer Slides.

Good luck with your project!

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Chad Lyons November 27, 2023
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