5 Considerations for Selecting Drawer Slides

September 27, 2023
5 Considerations for Selecting Drawer Slides

Drawers are a staple in most cabinets and storage systems. An essential part of drawers is drawer slides. They facilitate the opening and closing of drawers and are known for their smooth operation. However, an ill-fitted drawer slide can be very frustrating, warranting a change at the earliest. One way to avoid this problem is by carefully choosing drawer slides before purchasing and adding them to the cabinet. There are essentially 5 factors to consider while selecting drawer slides for any particular application. Kipco Hardware, a prominent supplier of kitchen cabinet drawer slides in Kitchener, Ontario, lists these factors in this blog. 


How To Select Drawer Slides?


1. Consider Drawer Weight Rating

Every drawer slide can only support a certain amount of weight safely before failing. This is known as the drawer weight rating. Since the drawer slide directly supports the drawer, the amount of weight the drawer can handle will directly impact the slide. This will also vary significantly based on the application of the drawer. For instance, kitchen drawer slides for ceramic plates should have slides with a greater weight rating than drawers holding light cutlery.  


Keeping this in consideration, most kitchen cabinet drawer slides have a load rating of about 75, 100, or at the most, 150 pounds. However, for specialized applications, certain ball-bearing drawer slides can support as much as 500 pounds. Ultimately, the load rating can help determine the right drawer and slide for a particular application.


2. Type Of Drawer Slide Mount

Drawer slide mount is defined as the way in which the slide will be attached to the drawer, and consequently, the cabinet. There are 3 primary configurations to consider:


Center Mount Drawer Slides

In this configuration, the drawer slide is mounted at the bottom of the drawer, right in the center. Thus, there is only one drawer slide in this case. It results in a sleek, streamlined appearance, as the slide is concealed. Therefore, those seeking to highlight the woodwork on their cabinetry can opt for this mount. On the flip side, since there is only a drawer slide, it can’t support a lot of weight. Hence, it is mainly suitable for drawer slides with lightweight applications. 


Side Mount Drawer Slides

As the name suggests, in this configuration, a pair of drawer slides are mounted on either side of the drawer. This enables a more even weight distribution, enabling them to support greater load than center mount drawer slides. However, it requires a certain clearance between the drawer and the cabinet opening. Furthermore, when the drawer is opened, the slides will be visible on the side.  


Under Mount Drawer Slides

These combine the benefits of both center mount and side mount drawer slides. Under-mount drawer slides comprise a pair of drawer slides on the bottom corners of the drawer. It can bear a lot of weight just like side mount slides due to even weight distribution. Moreover, since it is mounted at the bottom, it can remain concealed. Therefore, it offers a sleek aesthetic without compromising on performance. However, these heavy-duty drawer slides can be more expensive than the other two mounts.


3. Slide Length

Another factor to consider is the slide length of the drawer slide. Depending on the application and the weight to be supported, the slide can vary in length, thereby determining the length of the drawer. However, the slide length will vary depending on how the drawer interacts with the cabinet opening. For instance, if the drawer has overlay fronts that cover the cabinet opening, then the drawer slide length will be calculated by subtracting one inch from the total length of the drawer. 


For drawers that are inset with respect to the cabinet opening, the drawer slide length is calculated by subtracting the thickness of the front of the drawer from the total length. 


4. Type Of Drawer Slide Extension 

In terms of extension, there are three types of drawer slides that need to be considered:


3/4th Extension Drawer Slides: In this type of drawer slide, the drawer opens or extends three-quarters of the way, leaving a small portion within the cabinet. This is the most common type of drawer slide and is ideal for most household applications.


Full Extension Drawer Slides: In this case, the drawer can extend or open completely. Of course, with this additional access, the stability of the drawer can be compromised to some extent. Hence, one needs to strike a fine balance between load bearing and access.


Over Travel Drawer Slides: Lastly, in over travel drawer slides, the drawer can be opened or drawn out beyond full extension. A staple in large filing cabinets, they are used in cases where the drawer can’t be accessed properly even fully extending due to an overhang or extension, typically seen in desktops. 


5. Drawer Slide Special Features

Lastly, there are special drawer slide features that also require consideration. There are three basic types of features, based on the closing motion of the drawers:


Soft-Close Drawers: In soft-close drawer slides, the slides close the drawer slowly, creating a dampening effect. Consequently, the drawer does not slam and create excessive noise or damage to the drawer and its contents. 


Self-Closing Drawers: In this case, the drawer slides pull back the drawers on their own with only a slight push of a finger. These are usually combined with soft-close drawer slides for best results.


Push-To-Open Drawers: In this situation, the slides are activated when the drawer is pushed at the front. It opens directly with a slight push, eliminating the need for any knobs or handles. 



In closing, irrespective of the application, the following 5 factors need to be examined thoroughly before selecting cabinet drawer slides. This will ensure that your choice is perfectly suited to your needs and doesn’t require any replacement or repair for a long time. 


Looking for quality drawer slides for your next project? Reach out to us at Kipco Hardware. Suppliers of premier kitchen cabinet hardware in Kitchener, Ontario, our products are supplemented by our excellent customer service, where our knowledgeable and friendly staff will guide you through all aspects of purchase. 

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