The first and most important item to consider when buying the best ball bearing drawer slides is how much loading capacity it is expected to. Each drawer slide comes with a specific weight rating—that is, how much weight it is designed to support. First, you should have a good idea of what kind of material you plan to keep in this drawer. Will it be a file cabinet? Is it for light office supplies? Or is this drawer going to be for a more industrial application which will require a lot of weight support?
The drawer slide weight rating is an important factor in selecting the right slide for many years of use.
Typically, Side Mount Drawer Slides are rated based on an 18″ slide on a 16″ drawer that is cycled 50,000. This is the standard set by ANSI/BIFMA.
Slides that are longer than 18″ will have their load capacity drop proportionally, and those slides shorter than 18″ will increase in capacity.
The weight rating varies depending on usage. Keep in mind that drawer and carcass material can have a big effect on the life of the drawer slide.
For example, a slide rated at 75 lbs. can hold a static 150 lbs. If this happens to be the silverware drawer in your kitchen that is opened and closed several thousand times a year, then you will need to up the capacity. The least used drawers can use a lower rated slide. Using a less expensive, lower rated slide when appropriate is a very effective way to save money without sacrificing quality and convenience.
Most drawer slides are rated at 75, 100, or 150 pounds. However, some ball-bearing slides can hold up to a 500-pound load. Knowing how heavy a load you need to support may help filter out your choices, and narrow down your choices to those that are most specific to your needs.