June 24, 2019

How to Choose Drawer Slides

Tackling a DIY cabinetry project may seem like a intimidating task; however, with the right equipment and a little knowledge, you can quickly become a master of the craft. Among the most important aspects of your cabinet drawers are their drawer slides or "glides". Drawer slides are an integral part of cabinet hardware, as they enable its utility and function for your cabinet Drawer Boxes; if the slides become worn or damaged, the pull-out function of your cabinet drawers can quickly become a source of frustration – sticking, jamming, or preventing the drawer’s ability to open and close. Fortunately, replacing damaged drawer slides is a reasonably simple and affordable project, as long as you know how to choose the right system for your cabinets.

Making the Choice                                             

The following overview covers everything from mounting styles, measurements to get the proper fit, extension types and understanding some of the specialty options that will help you find the best drawer slides for your cabinet drawers.

Mounting Styles

Drawer glides can be mounted in different fashions, including side mounts, center mounts, and under mounts. If you’re replacing all of the glides on your drawer boxes, choose a consistent mounting type. If not, look at your existing cabinetry to find the common mounting type and replicate it. 

Notes about Mounting Styles:

  • Side mount and under mount slides are sold in a set of 2 glides; one glide is attached or mounted on each side of the drawer box and the other to the inside of the cabinet. Both are available with with a ball-bearing or roller mechanism. Side mount slides are the most common type of slides and very easy to install.
  • The benefit to under mount slides is they are adjustable, more aesthetic to the eye and the ability to have a little wider drawer box for more storage space.
  • Center mount glides come as a single unit and are mounted in the center of the drawer box.

               Side Mount Slide                       Under Mount Slide

replacement drawer boxes                replacement cabinet drawer boxes

Slide Measurements

The size or specifically the length of your drawer slides is perhaps the most important factor to account for when selecting a replacement product. You can measure your slides in terms of depth or length. Make sure you select a drawer slide that’s engineered from sturdy material, normally zinc-coated steel, to help ensure that your slides don’t disrupt the function of the drawer system. We're all looking for smooth and quiet!!

Measurement Tips:

  • Most drawer slides come in lengths of 15" - 28".
  • For side mount and center mount glides, measure the distance from the front edge of the cabinet to the inside face of the cabinet back and then subtract 1".
  • Side mounted glides require clearance - normally 1/2" - between the glides and drawer front opening. Make sure you have enough clearance on either side.
  • For under mount glides, measure the length of the Drawer Boxes

Extension Types

There are three basic extension types for drawer slides: ¾ extension, full extension and "over-travel" full extension.

  • Three-quarter length extensions are the most common extension type where part of the drawer stays in the cabinet. These are the most popular glides and are best for most applications.
  • Full extension is exactly what it means...you have full access to the drawer
  • "Over-travel" full extension is designed to move the drawer further than full extension, making it easier to access all items in the drawer. Make sure when using this type that you can open the drawer box fully. 

dovetail drawer boxes      dovetail drawer boxes       

Drawer Purpose & Weight Capacity

The use of the drawers differ from room to room in your house. Consider what you are storing in the cabinet drawer; storing clothing in your bedroom dresser will differ greatly from the ones in your kitchen, bath or garage. For example, select a sturdier slide for larger drawers with heavier contents such as pots and pans in the kitchen or for tools in your garage cabinets. Therefore, before investing in new slide replacements, consider the contents of the drawer it’s supporting. Drawer slides come with different weight ratings. Make sure you pick the proper slide so they function properly.

Specialty Motion Features

Some drawer slides offer special motion features, adding quality and character to your kitchen. Popular examples include:

  • Self-closing slides - immediately pull your drawer in with the gentle touch of your fingers
  • Soft-close slides - close slowly once pushed in to prevent your drawers from slamming
  • Locking slides - prevent unwanted drawer motion for child safety


Here's a great article I found from Wood Magazine written by the Wood Magazine staff  from 3/15/17 called "Drawer Slides Demystified". 


Here's another article from Popular Woodworking written by Nancy Hiller from 8/28/2017 called "How to calculate the size of kitchen drawers with Blum Tandem Slides (undermount slides)



Get Started on Your DIY Project

For new, replacement Cabinet DoorsDrawer FrontsDrawer Boxes and all of your cabinet remodeling needs, turn to the leader in the online kitchen cabinetry industry – Cabinet Doors ‘N’ More. You can order as little as one cabinet door front for a quick repair, or a multitude of cabinet components for a large-scale project. Whatever you need, we have the custom, high-quality replacement cabinet components you can count on for your DIY project. Click through our extensive collection, and start our easy-to-use ordering process today!

Buy $750 or more in any combination of Cabinet DoorsDrawer FrontsDrawer Boxes or accessories and get 10% off your entire order. Discount taken at check out. Discounts cannot be combined.


Free Shipping military discount

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.