How to Choose the Right Drawer Slides

We are all familiar with the simple act of opening and closing a drawer but have you ever noticed how some drawers glide effortlessly while other seem to be a struggle? The secret lies in the drawer slides. However, not all drawer slides are created equal. With the vast selection of options available, you will want to select the drawer slides based on the type of drawer, the amount of storage, and its intended use.

So, what are drawer slides and how do they work?

Drawer slides are hardware components mounted inside the cabinet box at specific locations on the drawer box. They extend the drawer box back and forth from the cabinet box. They also support the drawer box’s weight, reduces gliding friction, and extend the drawer’s functional lifespan.

Different types of drawer slides based on mounting method

Side Mount
These slides are mounted along the center sides of the drawer inside the cabinet box. They are visible when the drawer is open and commonly used in the kitchen, office and utility cabinets due to their ability to withstand heavy weight loads. Side mount slides are equipped with either ball bearings or rollers for smooth operation.

Center Mount
A single railing is mounted in the center bottom part of the drawer box. It is hidden when the drawer is extended and is easier to install because there is only one slide. However, it may become less stable over time and is best suited for lightweight storage.

L-shaped brackets and sliding tracks are mounted to the interior sides of the cabinet, Special clips attached underneath the drawer box connect to these tracks. Undermount slides are hidden when the drawer is open and they can support medium to heavy storage weight.

Top Mount
These slides are installed on the top side parts of the drawer box and at the bottom of the cabinet’s opening. Because the weight of the drawer is hanging from these slides instead of resting on them, it’s important to use the correct type of screws to secure the drawer box for proper durability of daily usage.

Exploring Different Drawer Motion Types

Tired of dealing with drawers that never seem to close properly or make loud slamming noises when you close them? Consider these options for a more pleasant drawer use experience.

Self-closing drawer slides
These slides close the drawer when it’s a few inches away from the cabinet box. While this automatic closure can be a luxurious feature, it’s essential to ensure proper installation. If the springs are too tightly loaded or if the track is not level, it may result in a sound when the drawer contacts the face of the cabinet.

Soft close drawer slides
Designed with a catch mechanism, these slides slow down the drawer’s closing motion and the gently bring the drawer to a close. Though a bit pricier than the self-closing slides, they offer longer-lasting mechanisms and minimize drawer wear and tear over time.

Push to open drawer slides
Often found in modern and high-end kitchens, these slides operate by pushing on the closed drawer face, activating it to pop open and close. They provide a sleek kitchen cabinet design by eliminating the need for knobs and pulls, saving money on hardware costs.

Want to learn more? Watch PARR Weekend Warriors Redo with Q; How to Install Wardrobe Drawers. Contact our experts at any PARR Design Center locations to help you pick out the right drawer slide for your project.

Shannon Quimby is an internationally acknowledged salvage designer.