Choosing the best drawer slides can seem difficult. Making the wrong choice could result in jams, drawers that are difficult to open or close, or even breakage. But what kind of information do you need to be sure you are making the right selection? We have detailed below the four factors that will make your choice in slides the right choice.
Drawer Weight Rating
The first and most important item to consider when shopping for the best drawer slides is how much weight it is expected to hold. Every 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?
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.
Types of Drawer Slide Mount
How will your glide be mounted to your drawer? There are three options to consider, each with their own highlights and drawbacks.
Center Mount Drawer Slides
The first and most basic is the center mount. A center mount is affixed underneath the drawer. It is a single slide that is centered along the bottom. Since the slide is underneath the drawer, these kinds of mounts cannot be seen when the drawer is open. This is good if you would like to highlight your wood cabinetry. They are also frequently a more economical choice. However, center mounts will typically have a lighter weight rating, which may not be the right choice for a drawer that will be holding heavier items.
Side Mount Drawer Slides
You can also choose side mounts. These Side mount slides come in pairs, each being mounted on the drawer sides. These will require a clearance (usually about 1/2 inch) between the drawer and the cabinet opening. Side mounts will be able to carry a heavier weight than the center mounts, but will be visible when the drawer is open.
Under Mount Drawer Slides
The third option is under mount. Under mount slides also come in pairs, but these attach to the underside of the drawer. These are a good choice if you would like to accommodate a heavier load, but do not want unsightly hardware on your drawer sides. Under mounts are becoming a very popular industry choice, though may be a little costlier as well.
Extension Drawer Slides
How much do you need your drawer to open? Drawer extensions come in three options—3/4 extension, full extension, and over travel.
You are probably familiar with the 3/4 extension drawer slides, as they are the typical choice for many pieces of office furniture. With the 3/4 extension part of the drawer remains inside the cabinet when opened. This is an economical choice and comes in many mount styles.
When using the full extension slides, the drawer can be extended out to expose 100% of the drawer. This is also sometimes referred to as “full access.”
Over travel allows the drawer to open beyond the full extension. This is desirable if there is a lip or extension on the desk or countertop that prevents full access to the drawer with only the full extension slides. These are also typical for large filing cabinets.
Drawer Slide Features
Drawer slides also come with a range of special options that may be just the feature you need at your facility. Most slides now come as soft-close, which adds a dampening effect that closes the drawer without slamming. You can also choose self-closing slides, which pull the drawer in all the way without effort.
You may also want a push-to-open option, especially if you have flat cabinetry with no handles. These slides require only a slight push; then the drawer slides open towards you. If hands-free is a need in your facility, these slides will accommodate that.
Drawer Slides for Your Needs
Whether you’re mounting drawers in a cozy office or a noisy production floor, knowing the details can help you pick the right slide. Decide ahead of time what the drawer will be for to ensure the right rating. Think about who will be using the drawer and what their needs might be to select the features that will best address your needs. And be sure to check if any additional drawer hardware is needed to get the right fit and the right look at the right price.