Choosing the Right Drawer Slide
posted on December 6, 2013 by Rockler

Whether you’re updating your kitchen or outfitting new cabinetry, selecting the right drawer slide can seem like a daunting task. How do you choose from all the options? Here’s a quick introduction to the basic characteristics of slides, as well as some of the features and benefits of different types of slides.  Figuring out what you want in each category will help streamline your search.

Drawer Slide Tutorial - How to Choose the Right Drawer Slide


Decide whether you want side-mount, center-mount or undermount slides. The amount of space between your drawer box and the cabinet opening will affect your decision.

drawer slide

Side-mount slides are sold in pairs or sets, with a slide attaching to each side of the drawer.

- Available with either a ball-bearing or roller mechanism.

- Require clearance – usually 1/2" – between the drawer slides and the sides of the cabinet opening.

center mounted drawer slides

Center-mount slides are sold as single slides that, as the name suggests, mount under the center of the drawer.

- Available in classic wood version or with ball-bearing mechanism.

- Required clearance depends on thickness of slide.

undermount drawer slides

Under-mount slides are ball-bearing slides that are sold in pairs. They mount to the sides of the cabinet and connect to locking devices attached to the underside of the drawer.

- Not visible when the drawer is open, making them a good choice if you want to highlight your cabinetry.

- Require less clearance between the drawer sides and the cabinet opening (usually 3/16" to 1/4" per side).

- Require specific clearance at top and bottom of cabinet opening; drawer sides typically can be no more than 5/8" thick.

- Space from underside of drawer bottom to bottom of drawer sides must be 1/2".

Drawer Slide Tutorial - Mounting Types

Drawer Slide Tutorial - Ball Bering vs Roller Style Slide Mechanisms

Slide length

Determine what length of slide you need.

tape measure measuring a drawer space for drawer slides

• Slides most commonly come in sizes ranging from 10" to 28", though some shorter and longer slides are available for special applications.

• For side-mount and center-mount slides, typically measure the distance from the front edge of the cabinet to the inside face of the cabinet back and then subtract 1".

• For under-mount slides, measure the drawer length. Slides must be the same length as drawer to work properly.


Decide how far out you want the drawer to come when open.

3/4 extension on a drawer slide

3/4 extension: Part of the drawer remains in the cabinet. An economical option when full access isn’t an issue.

full extension drawer slide

Full extension: Allows drawer to open the full length of the slide, providing greater access.

overtravel extension on a drawer slide

Over travel: Allows drawer to open beyond full extension, providing complete access – even underneath countertops.

Drawer Slide Tutorial - Drawer Extension

Weight Rating

Think about how much weight the drawer will need to hold.

several drawers open to show the different weigt ratings of drawer slides

• Slides typically are rated for 75, 100 or 150 pounds, though some are rated for less and some specialty slides can handle as much as 220 pounds.

• Weight rating is especially important when choosing slides for heavy-duty applications such as file drawers or pantry pull-outs.

Drawer Slide Tutorial - Weight Rating, Length and Finish Options


Are you looking for a specific color?

black, white, and brown drawer slides

• Most slides have a zinc finish.

• Centerline Lifetime Series 757 also are available in black (great for entertainment centers).

• Blum Self Closing Epoxy Roller slides are available in white or brown (only at Rockler).


Decide whether you want special motion features.

a drawer slide in motion

Push to open: Slides open with a nudge to the drawer front, eliminating the need for handles or pulls. An especially good option for modern kitchens, where hardware might not be desired.

Self close: Slides return the drawer all the way into the cabinet when drawer is pushed in that direction.

Soft close: Slides add a dampening effect to self-close feature, returning the drawer into the cabinet softly, without slamming.

Drawer Slide Tutorial - Slide Motion


This article is also available in PDF form.

posted on December 6, 2013 by Rockler
previous post next post

25 thoughts on “Choosing the Right Drawer Slide”

  • Milton Buss

    have computer desk w/drawer but the roller ball section are missing

  • john rable

    do they make a hd slide for under drawer were there is no clearance my drawer front fits into opening and sides of drawer fit pretty tight restoring a very old desk that has a large drawer to set up as a filling drawer

  • Joe Klein

    Please let me commend you on your new addition of "How to" to the Rockler Web Site"> I was just looking for information on Tandem Drawer Slides and I found a "WEALTH of information and Great Video in the How to section of your web site. And for your information, I do Plan to visit this pat of the web site very often in the future. However, I do feel that I need to bring this to your attention. Today I stumbled upon this portion of the web site. and then went to the "how to" tab and guess what, I saw a lot of reference to other material under certain categories as you have listed. So what I tried to do and "COULD NOT GET THERE" was to get back to "drawer Slide" section, but I could not get there or find it in the categories that you have listed. I would suggest that you either extend the categories or extent the search capabilities for finding the specific "how to" subject matter we are looking for. So far very good and Please do keep up the good work.,

  • Darrell Ray

    I found this information extremely helpful in choosing the right type of draw slide and the right length for my draw slide.

  • Bill campos

    Do you have hardware and instructions for making a kind of a pop out storage compartment that would go at the center of a cabinet under the sink?

  • Jeffrey Kenney

    I would like to install new drawer boxes with side mounted, soft closing glides. My base cabinets are 24 inches deep, but Can I use 24" glides with 18" drawers? If so, does that mean that the drawer would come out beyond the cabinet opening when fully open? Thanks

  • Gregory F. Arnold
    Gregory F. Arnold February 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Like to know how i Could release and remove the drawers.

    Thank you Greg Arnold

  • don larsen

    want to put drawers 34" deep with your 24" type D or 21' type J. Would they function ok with the rear several inches with no slide?

  • Andrew Kelly

    What is the weight rating for the undermount slides?

  • Clifton Parker
    Clifton Parker April 7, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Your item #28357 appears to be the proper type of replacement for a center track glide to repair the dresser drawer center glide but the glide I am replacing is 2" wide at the top and bottom, has a 1 3/16" measurement where your measurement is 1 1/8" and a measurement of 11/16" where your measurement is 5/16" since the "mouth" of the glide is not rounded as the one you show but on a direct angle like the #24877 top slide piece. The dresser drawer has the #24977 equivalent already in place and the plastic part of #29357 is more of a stop. There is not a Rockler retail outlet near me to take the drawer in to actually compare with the #28357. Can you help or possibly direct me to another supplier?

  • judy harper

    I have an old wood dresser, probably made in late 50's. The problem drawer is the bottom left side. One part of the guide fits in the center on the bottom of the drawer and the other part fits in the center in the base of the cabinet; the slide guide is hard plastic. It is 14" long and approximately 2 1/8" wide. The bottom groove part is cracked and I am unable to locate the broken piece to re-glue it (approximately 4 1/2" is broken). I can't find any plastice guides- what can I do?

  • james Reinhard
    james Reinhard May 16, 2014 at 10:29 am

    which full extension slides will work placed flat under a pull out shelf in a typical 24" base cabinet?

  • Jill Schieffler
    Jill Schieffler June 9, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    I'm looking for cabinet slide for a garbage can. Do you sell those or only drawer slides?

  • Marshall

    I have a good Scandinavian bedroom set purchased about 30 years ago, and some of the drawer slides in the bureau are no longer working. I'd like to replace those, but I'm having trouble finding the right ones. Any suggestions? I live in Northern Arizona where selections are limited.

  • Rockler Woodworking and Hardware
    Rockler Woodworking and Hardware July 1, 2014 at 2:28 am


  • Hope

    We just had custom storage solution put in our study, the shelf where the printer is could use a full extension shelf so we could access the back for wiring and printer jams. if is could slide out and rotate it would be even better, we have an Ethan Allen unit that doues that. What would you recommend.

  • Danny

    I want to replace some shelves in my kitchen cabinets with sliding drawers. I'd like to maximize the width of the drawers by using bottom mounted drawer slides. Do you carry any bottom mounted drawer slides that can be mounted to the bottom of the drawer and the vertical wall(inside) of the cabinet?

  • carlos

    To Danny; July 18,2014: Euro mounts are what you need.



  • Helen R

    Hi - I am building under stair storage and the angle from the tall left side down to the bottom of the stairs is quite steep. I have three cabinets going in the space. I am wondering if there is a drawer slide that would be designed to be installed on the high point of the cabinet, but needed only one slider, and the drawer would not extend to the other side of the cabinet (due to the slant downwards). This drawer would hold dry spices and garbage/sandwich bags, etc. Light stuff so not a heavy load. Thoughts?

  • Jerry

    Learned a lot about drawer slides!

  • Claudette Ellery
    Claudette Ellery December 9, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Wow!! Great info..very helpful, many thanks. I will keep this info for future reference

  • Alex Chen

    I am trying to make a cabinent with 7 drawers.

    There is one safety feature which is required.

    That is ONLY one drawer can be opened at any one time.

    Is there such drawer system available?

Leave a comment

What People are Saying:

I have been using Rockler for years, your products are always the best that can be purchased and your prices are very reasonable. Ann you have always done your best to make me feel as though I was your very best customer. Thank you for great service."

- Daniel F.

What People are Saying:

I have been using Rockler for years, your products are always the best that can be purchased and your prices are very reasonable. Ann you have always done your best to make me feel as though I was your very best customer. Thank you for great service."

- Daniel F.
Feedback X