How to choose the drawer slides?

How to choose the drawer slides, it is can be as simple as you go to the market and just pick the one you see or know all the requirements first and then decide. There are many features to look at in the drawer slide, type of the drawer slide, load-bearing capacity, extension length, and locking drawer slides. We will give you a detailed review of what points to consider when choosing a drawer slide and which drawer slide will best suit you. Just be with us and read the whole article for a great learning experience about drawer slides. 

Different types of drawer slides

Ball bearing drawer slides

ball bearing drawer slides

Ball-bearing slides are composed of three components. 

A cabinet member, a drawer member, and a slide element. Cabinet member is fixed to the cabinet, drawer member is attached to the drawer. In contrast, the slide member maintains that the drawer and cabinet members are freely run over and give a smooth sliding experience. Ball-bearing drawer slides come in a variety of options for carrying different amount of loads. 

Another appealing function of the ball-bearing drawer slides is that they are easy to install and have many holes in the cabinet strut and drawer strut to attach according to the user’s feasibility. 


  • Light duty ball-bearing drawer slides: they allow for up to 10kg to 35kg load capacity.
  • Medium duty ball-bearing drawer slides:  They allow 35kg to 65kg weight capacity. 
  • Heavy-duty ball-bearing drawer slides: it can with stand from 65 to 250 kg load in the drawer with full extension.

Advantages: They provide 100% opening of the depth of the drawer. 

They can carry a large number of loads, so they are an excellent option for industrial storage. They are durable and work efficiently for a longer life span. 

Disadvantages: They offer significant load-carrying capacity, easy extension, and retraction; however, they are high on the price, yet the features they provide are worth the money. 

Ball-bearing drawer slides offer outstanding rigidity to allow a substantial amount of weight when the drawer is extended to its entire length. 

Roller slides

Drawer slides are also called FGV slides or drawer rolls, permit even and undeviating motion in one axis. They are available in pairs and used in kitchen cabinets, drawers inside tables, drawers in dresser cabinets. They allow the user easy and smooth open and close operation of the drawer. They consist of two components that slide on each other during the sliding process. One part is more minor in size than the other so that it can smoothly glide over the other and gives the user friction-free and noiseless extension and retraction drawer operation. Drawer slides are non-powered; they are of the following types.

Roller slides are economical than the ball-bearing slider; however, they lack several features compared to the other. They usually have a plastic or nylon roller attached to the sliding part of the slide. The roller drawer slide consists of two parts; one is fixed and attached to the non-moving part of the cabinet and a sliding part set on the movable drawer component. The sliding element is called the sliding strut, and the fixed component of the slider is called a fixed strut. The wheel attached to each part of the strut permits the free and smooth movement of the struts. 

Advantage: they are cheap and economical than the ball-bearing slides.

Disadvantages: it has a plastic wheel that is sliding onto the metal axel that is why it is not as smooth as a ball bearing, and extra load can cause failure in operation. It has one wheel for its operation so all the load in the drawer will be carried by one wheel, it cannot be used for large drawers. 

Roller slides allow for up to 75% of the drawer opening.


Locking drawer slides

Locking drawer slides ensure that they lock in place and are primarily used for cutting boards, mobile drawers, emergency vehicles, luxury RVs or overland trucks, as well as heavy-duty fixtures and appliances around the home. 

Heavy-duty locking drawer slides:

Heavy-duty locking drawer slides come in heavy load capacity and are provided with a trigger lever at the end of the drawer slide. The drawer will not open if the trigger lever is pressed close. They are of excellent safety because the levers decrease the chance of injury if the draw accidentally opens. To unlock the drawer slide lever needs to be pressed down. It will extend the drawer to its entire length. These are used in heavy loading-trucks; the lever provides safety during inclined positions of the vehicle so that the drawer will not slide open and cause any injury. They are used in heavy traffic like trucks and containers to carry machinery or heavy luggage. You also can check the video from the Youtube.

 Linear rolls

Linear rolls are also called linear guides, are used to carry substantial loads and guarantee smooth linear motion without any restriction. They have two components; a rail and a sliding carriage. The sliding carriage is the moving component and supports the load during movement. The rails can be modified by cutting to any length, depending on the size you need. The friction or rigidity of the slides can be adjusted according to the requirement, easy, fast movement, or harder slow moment. The most common application of linear rolls is industrial robotic machinery and heavy sliding doors. Linear rolls are of two types; sliding contact guides and roller bearing guides. Their application in hidden entrances is trending because heavy loads can be added to the rail, making it more stable in operation. 

How to choose the drawer slides?

7 things to consider while selecting drawer slides

Load rating

Every drawer slide has a limited maximum capacity to bear a load. It is the maximum amount of load bearable for the drawer slide. You can not overload a drawer as it will result in a shear force on the mounting and leads to the failure of the smooth function or damage to the cabinet part in which the screws are fixed. The amount of load a drawer can withstand is specified, be sure to add a limited amount of gear to your drawer. Use the drawer slide according to the load carrying requirement of the design so it will not result in ineffective functioning of the drawer roll.

Maximum extension length

Maximum extension length is the stretch you need for a drawer to extend out of the cabinet. There are a variety of extension lengths available, over-extension, full-extension, and 3/4 extension. The full-extension maintains that the drawer box will stretch to the entire slide length; 3/4th stretch means 75% of the drawer will come out of the cabinet. In overtravel extension, the drawer box totally comes out of the cabinet; it is easy to view the back of the drawer box in over travel extension. Maximum extension length is based on the mounting type of the drawer slide; the center mount and epoxy mounting types allow for ¾ extension of the drawer while the side mount is available in all three options: full extension, overtravel, and ¾ extension. The under-mount slides are available in full extension. 

Choose your extension length according to the design requirement or the client’s needs. The total extension length will be the length of the slider extension. The drawer and drawer slider should be equal in size to allow for a maximum drawer extension. The full extension length would be according to the type of slide used. 

The thickness of the Material 

It is essential to take into consideration the thickness of the material. The thin type material will let you down when high loads are added to the drawer slide. The thickness of the material ensures safe and strong slide mounting to the cabinet. The thick materials are a little bit costly; however they are durable than the thin ones. 

Mounting type

The metal drawer slides can be mounted in three styles. Side mount, under mount, center mount. If you replace the old or damaged slides, mount the slides where the previous ones are attached to ensure clearance in the design and work smoothly. If you are building a new drawer, you can choose according to the clients requirement of design requirement. It is totally up to you where you want to mount the drawer slide. 



Side mount

As the name indicates, in the side mount, the place of mount is to the side of the drawer box. It is the most common type of mounting, widely used in dresser drawers, kitchen cabinets, toolboxes, and utility drawers. Two side mount versions are ball bearing and epoxy; both allow for smooth operation. Ball-bearing side mount slides offer a range of functions; high load capacities, various extension lengths, full or over travel, and soft, frictionless slide motion. Epoxy versions have a nylon roller, offer an opening detent, and self-closing option. You will require half an inch clearance between the drawer slides and the cabinet for the side mount. Roller slides can also be mounted on sides. These slides come in pairs and are attached to the lower edge of the drawer box. 

side mount

Center mount

Center mount is a bit older type of the drawer slide attachment method; they are actually hidden and mounted to the drawer slide’s middle. They are usually single slides and have a limited carrying capacity to offer. They come in three fourth extension length because of the restricted loading capacity of the drawer rolls. Unlike side mount slides, a self-close and soft closing operation is unavailable in center-mount rolls. They come in ball bearing and wood versions; the clearance required for the practical motion experience is calculated after measuring the thickness of the slide. You need only one rail per drawer box and a good point is that the rail is totally hidden; however the slide losses approximately 80% of its load-bearing capacity.

Center mount


In under-mount slides, the drawer member is the lower side of the drawer, and it connects the drawer to the rails, which are mounted to the cabinet part that lies under the drawer. The advantages of the under-mount are that they are totally hidden liken the center mount, they offer a larger storage area means a high load-carrying capacity. They also do not need much space for clearance on the sides of the drawer. Under mount slides are called premium slides as they offer soft-close, so it is a high choice for high-end furniture builders. Due to the placement of rails beneath the drawer, it will lose some of its height, keep the size accordingly. These types of slides require specific drawer thickness and dimensions, so you should be very careful while building a design for an under-mount slide.


The length of the drawer slides

The travel length of the drawer slides comes in extension from 10 to 32 inches. The slide length will depend on the size of the drawer box and how much you want to extend it. First, measure the length of the drawer box to choose which drawer slide will genuinely fit the drawer. Know the extension length that you want for your drawer box. Measure the retracted length of the drawer slide so the drawer slide will conform to the retracted size of the drawer and not coming out of the cabinet when closed. Telescopic drawer slides are best suited for this.

Special application slides

Special application drawer slides are used in drawers other than the standard drawer. If you are making a unique drawer for a specific purpose it will require special application drawer slides. These drawers include light duty slides for keyboards, slides for pantry cabinets, garbage rolls. Heavy duty special application slides are used for tools and spare parts storage. Other Extra-long slides are intended for trucks, mobile homes and industrial uses. They are up to 60 inch in length.

Fixing Method

There are three varieties of fixing the slide to the drawer; screw, dowel, and clamp. For the installation, you will need a measuring tape, a screwdriver, screws, and slides, of course. 

Difference between wooden and metal drawer slides

Wooden drawer slides 

Wooden drawer slides are entirely made of wood; the main drawback of the wooden drawer slide is friction during movement. The appealing point of the wooden drawer slide is the load-carrying capacity of the wooden drawer slide. They encourage more load than metal and are more durable. 

Sliding motion 

Wooden drawer slides offer smooth movement; however, if compared to metal drawer slides, they are less slippery than the other. 

Weight capacity

Wooden drawer slides offer greater load capacity than metal drawer slides. Hardwood allows for smooth motion and a more enormous load than softwoods. 

Metal drawer slides

bayonet drawer slides

The bayonet drawer slides is good for the metal drawers and cabinets, do not use any screws. The bayonet drawer slides can be installed easily and quickly.

Sliding motion

They offer smooth and noiseless sliding motion and extend to the entire length of the drawer. 

Weight capacity

Metal drawer slides have a lower load-carrying capability than wooden drawer slides.  

They come in varieties; some of the types allow for the more significant load.

How to decide what is best for you?

What drawer slide is best for you is somewhat difficult to select. When you go to the market, you see many types of drawer slides, some are easy to install, and some require professional skills. After reading this article, I think you will have any difficulty as now you have the necessary information needed to choose the drawer slide. Let us again summarize the points to consider when selecting a drawer slide. 

The load capacity of the drawer slide

Loading capacity of the drawer slide: determine the load you want to put in the drawer, so when the drawer is extended, it will not result in the failure of the drawer slide operation. Choose according to the weight requirement from the light-duty drawer slides, medium-duty drawer slides, and heavy-duty drawer slides. You can also choose the heavy-duty locking drawer slides if you want the drawer to not open unless the lever is triggered. 

Extension length

Which extension length do you require in the design?

Full extension drawer slides, over-travel drawer slides, or ¾ extension drawer slides.

Wooden or metal slides

Metal slides offer less weight capacity than wooden slides; however, metal slides ensure smooth and noiseless slide operation. However, heavy-duty metal drawer slides are available nowadays, which allows a significant amount of weight and a smooth extension and retraction of the drawer slides. 

When you choose the drawer slides, if you take all these things into your consideration, you will get the right drawer slides and suit for your applications.

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Nick Wang

Hi, I am Nick, the author of this post, have been in the drawer slides field for more than 5 years. If you have any questions about the drawer slides or drawer slides supplier, feel free to send me your questions.

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