Though you might assume that all drawer slides work the same way, several characteristics can affect their functionality. Before shopping for the best drawer slides for your home improvement projects, read on to learn about some of the most important qualities and features to consider when choosing the best drawer slides.
First and foremost, make sure that the drawer slides you choose are the correct size for your cabinets. Drawer slides come in a variety of different lengths, with standard sizes ranging between 12 inches and 24 inches. To figure out what length you need, you’ll first need to establish whether your cabinets are frameless or have face frames.
▲ Frameless cabinets don’t need a rear mounting bracket. To establish the slide length they require, simply measure the total depth of the cabinet and subtract the thickness of the front of the drawer.
▲ Face frame cabinets have a frame around the front of the cabinet box and require a rear mounting bracket. This means that when measuring, it’s important to subtract ½ inch for the bracket as well as the thickness of the front of the drawer.
There are usually wooden drawer guides and metal drawer guides on the market.
Wood Drawer Slides
▲ Wood drawer slides are often found in high-end furniture and require expert craftsmanship to build. They have a traditional, classic look. They do, however, tend to wear down more quickly than their metal counterparts and don’t give you the flexibility to fully extend the drawers. Depending on the temperature and humidity in your home, these slides may also warp and stick.
Metal drawer slides
▲ Metal drawer slides may not be as aesthetically pleasing as wooden ones, but they are more durable and are fairly easy to install. They are constructed with either a roller mechanism or a ball-bearing mechanism, both of which are unaffected by temperature and humidity.
Metal drawer slides can be both self closing and soft closing. Because some types of metal drawer slides are visible when the drawer is open, you’ll want to buy slides in a finish that complements that of your cabinetry.
How much weight a drawer slide can bear is one way to evaluate its quality—the higher the weight capacity, the better. The best drawer slides have a capacity of at least 75 pounds. Most standard options cap out at a 100-pound weight capacity, though heavier-duty products are available at a higher price point.
Some metal sliders are coated with chemicals to prevent rust and corrosion. Although stainless steel is designed to prevent rust, other types of steel are prone to rust if exposed to moisture, which is not uncommon in kitchens and bathrooms. Anti-rust coating can prolong the service life of drawer slides, and is usually used on high-quality slides.
Metal drawer slides come with either nylon rollers or metal ball bearings.
- Drawer slides with plastic or nylon rollers, like European roller slides, are typically more affordable. They’re a good choice for drawers that don’t need to bear a lot of weight. Some are designed to work with self-closing drawers.
- Slides with ball bearings are generally sturdier and have higher weight capacities. Most soft-closing drawer slides and self-closing drawers slides have ball-bearing mechanisms.
Our frist choice
Now that you know more about drawer slides, it’s time to start shopping. The recommendations for choosing the best drawer slides consider the features above, including type, size, material, and weight.