Tips For Picking The Right Drawer Slides

Drawers are made easy to open and close using slides. Drawer slides can be used in an almost endless variety of automotive and industrial applications, from emergency and utility vehicles to server racks, battery trays, and cabinets for medical equipment.

You can select the ideal draw runners for your application by answering a few simple questions.

  • What is the drawer’s intended use, and what load capacity is needed?
  • Do only the slides have a connection to allow for the entire removal of the drawer?
  • How much space is available and how many drawers must be accessible?
  • How often will you open the drawer?
  • How important is appearance, namely if the slide will be visible?

When trying to narrow down your options, determining your required load capacity is frequently the most crucial step to take. From there, you can start looking into your options.

Materials Are Important

Steel slides are less expensive and suited for more uses than stainless steel or aluminum. Environmental factors are crucial since steel does not have the same level of corrosion resistance as stainless steel or aluminum. Stainless steel is the material that is least corrosive, strongest, and most resilient. When you need to minimize the weight of your finished product, aluminum is a fantastic option because it is lighter and also offers corrosion resistance.

A user might also choose a bottom mount in cases that are challenging (or an under-mount slide). Since they are installed underneath the drawer box or the bed rather than on the side like side mounting slides, they are less exposed to the elements and are therefore better suitable for harsh settings.

If You Should Lock

Another crucial element is the needed locking position for the drawers if any. To avoid them flying open during transit in the event of a latch failure, locking drawers in the closed position may be important for automobile applications. When the entire drawer (and not just the contents) must frequently be removed and replaced, slides with a quick disconnect mechanism are indicated.

Requires Space

The following difficulties need to be addressed: space availability and required access. The length of your slides will depend on how much room you have. There are many slides with sizes between 10″ and 48″ in 2″ increments. Depending on the space you have available and how much of the drawer has to be accessed, you can choose a 34 extension, a full extension, or even an over-travel option.

Side mounting slides are simple to install and, depending on their size, require between 12″ and 34″ of space between the sides of the drawer box and the slides. For bottom-mount slides, more precise mounting procedures and vertical clearance are frequently required. As a trade-off, they usually have more flexibility but need less horizontal space.

Bottom mount slides are the ideal choices for applications with low cycle demands and constrained space. The load ratings of slides with a bottom mount range from light to very heavy duty. Light-duty bottom-mount slides are frequently used in applications where aesthetics are of the utmost importance.


Long-drawer runners with ball bearings are the most trustworthy choice for high-cycle applications. They are exceptionally strong, self-lubricating, silent, easy to open and close, and smooth. The sizes range from light-duty (weight rated for 50 lbs.) to ultra-heavy-duty, including locking and detach options (more than 1,000 lbs.).

Solid bearing or friction slides are a wise, economical choice for applications that only sometimes require cycling. They are a great substitute when ball-bearing slides are not recommended, such as in locations with significant vibration where a loose ball-bearing could cause problems.