adjusting cabinet hinges
Drawer Slides

Types of Drawer Slides and How to Choose the Correct One

Drawer slides are the main attachments that allow a drawer or shelf to move. It can be in vertical or horizontal directions.

The thing, though, is that drawer slides do not work as a one-size-fits-all accessory. Instead, there are various types of drawer slides. These will mainly depend on the slide’s structure and purpose. Meaning, you can’t just use whatever is available.

It can be hard to do individual research on every slide type. This is why in this article, we have listed the 7 main types of drawer slides that you should know. You can use this as a reference for your own drawers.

Wooden Drawer Slides

Wooden Drawer Slides

Source: Rockler

Wooden drawer slides are probably one of the most durable ones. This is most especially if you avail of a hardwood slide. This comes as a group of wood strips attached horizontally to a cabinet’s face.

One of the best things about this slide type is it assures easy opening and closing. This is also easier to set up since you won’t need to work with mechanical systems nor metal hardware. Hence, expect that aside from being durable, this is also a cost-efficient option.

Roller Drawer Slides

Roller drawer slides

Roller slides mainly work through the combination of two components. These are the cabinet member and drawer member. Each of the parts comes with a roller. From the name, this slide uses rollers to move the drawer horizontally.

If you want a stable horizontal motion, then you should go for this slide type. It also allows full expansion, which makes it an ideal storage space.

Self-Closing Drawer Slides

Self Closing Drawer Slide

Self-closing slides use undermounts to automatically close/lock themselves after use. This makes it one of the most convenient choices for slides. Usually, self-closing slides allow upward-downward and forward-backward motions.

This slide type is silent-moving, full-extending, and smooth-running. Though a little pricier than others, this is a worthy investment. Basically, buying this means availing of an almost invisible drawer slide.

Push-to-Open Drawer Slides

push to open

Push-to-open slides require a manual action (push) before one can open the drawer. This won’t need handles and assures an easy open system. At the same time, you won’t have to hassle yourself with having to exert a lot of effort in opening a drawer.

Drawers with push-to-open slides rarely get stuck. If you want a more modern function for your shelves and drawers, then this is a good choice.

Soft-Close Drawer Slides

Soft-close drawer slides are almost the same as self-closing ones. This, however, solely focuses on minimizing the noise that comes with opening and closing a drawer. Thus, you can also expect less impact on your cabinet’s hinges and overall structure.

These drawer slide types assure a lengthy use. Not only can you save money from constant slide replacement, but you won’t also need to endure repairs on your cabinets.

Ball-Bearing Drawer Slides

Ball Bearing Drawer Slides

Moving on, ball-bearing drawer slides work just like a roller slide. You can also get the same benefits that you will get from a roller slide. For instance, you can expect stable horizontal movements and vast expansion.

The only difference is that instead of rollers, this uses ball bearers. This is also more compatible with industrial use because of its heavy-duty versions.

Center Mount Drawer Slides

Kvm Center Mount Drawer Slides

Source: Knape and Vogt

Center mount drawer slides come in a single lightweight mount attached to the cabinet’s very center. This is one of the easiest to install. If you plan on using the slide for a drawer that won’t need to hold a lot, then center mounts are the best choice.

One disadvantage, though, is the slide’s incompatibility with large and heavy-duty drawers. In addition, because of its central structure, it can only handle a limited weight load. Thus, using it for those can lead to broken and non-functional slides.

How to Choose the Right Drawer Slide for Your Space

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Drawer Slide

When selecting a drawer slide, there are a few factors to consider to ensure you choose the right one for your project. These include:

Weight capacity:

The weight capacity of a drawer slide refers to the maximum weight it can support. It is essential to choose a drawer slide with a weight capacity that can handle the weight of your drawer and its contents.


Drawer slides come in various lengths, so it is crucial to measure the length of your drawer and choose a slide that matches or is slightly longer.

Mounting style:

Drawer slides can be side-mounted, center-mounted, or under-mounted. The mounting style you choose will depend on the design of your furniture and the type of drawer you have.

Extension type:

Drawer slides can be full extension, partial extension, or over-travel. Full extension slides allow the drawer to fully extend out of the cabinet, while partial extension slides only allow the drawer to open partially. Over-travel slides extend beyond the length of the drawer, providing full access to the contents of the drawer.


Drawer slides are typically made of metal, such as steel or aluminum. The material you choose will depend on the weight capacity and durability you require for your project.

Take Your Interior Design into Account

If you’re very particular with your interior design, you should also set the same standards with the drawer slide. You can choose anything if you’re not going for a specific look. However, if you’re building a theme, you may need to consider each slide type’s color and finishes.

Set Your Preferred Budget

Keep in mind that the types of drawer slides cost differently. Hence, you should first set a budget before starting the project. In this way, you can have the best value for your money without having to worry about getting short on budget.

Look Into High-Quality Drawer Slides

Your task does not end once you find the right type of drawer slide. You still need to ensure the quality of the specific product that you will get. This is where its durability and slide movement will depend on.

The tasks above will surely bring you to the right type of drawer slide. But, all in all, it will boil down to your needs and preferences. If you want (and if it’s possible), you can also combine two kinds of drawer slides.

If you need a bit of more accurate advice, we recommend working with experts in the field. You can also ask your local carpenter.


All in all, here are the most common drawer slides:

  • Wooden
  • Roller
  • Self-Closing
  • Push-to-Open
  • Soft-Close
  • Ball-Bearing
  • Center Mount

Drawer slides are an essential component of any cabinet or furniture with drawers. They come in various types, each with its own unique features and benefits. When choosing the right drawer slide for your project, consider the weight capacity, length, mounting style, extension type, and material. By following these steps, you can ensure that your drawers will open and close smoothly and safely.