How to Choose the Right Drawer Slides

Large hutch unit with drawers

Drawer slides are an important component in many types of furniture. You can find them in cabinets, dressers, hutches and chests of drawers Drawer slides live up to their namesake by serving as the tails on which drawers slide. You can pull a drawer open if it’s installed on a slide, and you can push it back shut. When choosing drawer slides, though, there are several things you should consider.

Load Capacity

You should consider the load capacity when choosing drawer slides. Load capacity refers to how much weight a drawer slide can safely support. Drawers typically don’t rest on a flat surface when installed in a piece of furniture. Rather, they remain lifted with the assistance of a pair of slides. To determine how much weight drawer slides can safely support, refer to its load capacity.

One-Way vs Two-Way Travel

There are one-way drawer slides, and there are two-way drawer slides. One-way travel, as the name suggests, means the drawer slides can only travel in a single direction. Two-way travel, conversely, means they can travel in both directions. Some furniture-making applications require the use of one-way travel drawer slides, whereas others require the use of two-way travel drawer slides. You should choose drawer slides in the right “travel” for your furniture-making application.

Strong Material

Don’t underestimate the importance of choosing drawer slides made of a strong material. Most drawer slides are made of metal. With the said, the type of metal from which they are made may vary. You can find drawer slides made of a wide variety of materials, some of which are stronger than others. Choosing drawer slides made of a strong material like cold-rolled steel will protect them from premature damage. They’ll last a long time — all without bending, warping or otherwise degrading.

Ball Bearings

You may want to choose drawer slides with ball bearings. Ball bearings will reduce friction so that the drawers slide open more easily. The balls will be contained within the tracks. When you open the drawer, it will slide on these balls, resulting in a smoother movement.

Check the Length

Something else to consider when choosing drawer slides is the length. Drawer slides need to be long enough to support the drawers with which you use them. Before buying drawer slides, take measurements of the drawers. You can then choose drawer slides in an appropriate length.

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