What are the different types of drawer slides and parts of a slide? This glossary includes all the important terms you need to know related to drawer slides and drawer slide installation. Understanding these terms will help you select the best hinge for your project.

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Ball-Bearing Slides

Refers generally to any type of drawer slide that rides on ball bearings. Ball bearing slides are extremely durable and can be built to support large loads. They very often offer full-extension or over-travel for better access to all of the drawer's contents.

Three different ball bearing-type slides

Bracket Mounting

A mounting method whereby the slide is mounted to brackets at the front and/or rear of the cabinet, rather than directly to the cabinet wall or face frame.

Three views of a bracket mounting slide

Cam Adjustment

A feature of some slides that lets you adjust the position of the drawer by turning a cam screw clockwise or counter-clockwise. Ensures the smoothest, quietest action by ensuring the slides are parallel, and can also be used to adjust the position of the drawer front. Compare for reference with Manual Adjustment, which uses a slotted mounting hole.


Cabinet Member

The part of a drawer slide that attaches to the cabinet.

Diagram of cabinet member part of a drawer slide

Center-Mount Slide

A single drawer slide that mounts to the center of the bottom of the drawer. These are offered in wooden versions, or in metal versions with either a roller that rides in a track, or a flat-mounted ball-bearing slide.

Drawer slide with a center mount

Detent

A feature of some drawer slides that holds the drawer in the closed position or the open position. When you open or close a drawer with this feature, you will feel a dull click. This is the detent engaging to hold the drawer closed.


Drawer Member

The part of the drawer slide that attaches to the drawer box.

Diagram indicating the drawer member part of a slide

Epoxy Slide

An older, but still common type of drawer slide with a small nylon wheel on the drawer member that rides in the track of the cabinet member, and a similar wheel at the front of the cabinet member. Also sometimes referred to as a "Euro slide" or a "roller slide." The word "epoxy" refers to the durable finish—the slides themselves are metal. Epoxy slides typically do not offer full extension. The drawer members typically mount to the bottom of the drawer, but are exposed when the drawer is opened.

Drawer slide with an epoxy finish

Friction Disconnect

A feature of some side-mount ball-bearing slides that lets you remove the drawer without tools by simply pulling past the increased friction at the end of its travel.


Full-Extension

A drawer slide that extends out from the cabinet the full length of the slide, providing easy access to all or most of the drawer's contents.

Diagram showing how far a drawer would open with a full extension slide

Handed Drawer Slides

A pair of slides consisting of a dedicated left- and right-hand slide. The slides are not interchangeable. Many undermount slides are handed.


Heavy-Duty Drawer Slide

A slide specifically designed to support more weight than usual. Used for demanding applications like large file drawers, tool drawers and truck bed drawers.

Drawer slide designed for holding more weight than a standard slide

Keyboard Slide

A type of slide specifically designed to hold a keyboard tray. Typically includes brackets for mounting to the underside of a desk, plus a pair of short ball-bearing slides.

Drawer slide designed to mount a keyboard under a desk

Lever Disconnect

A feature of many side-mount ball-bearing slides that allows you to remove the drawer without tools. To remove the drawer, just press the small lever on each slide, then pull on the drawer.

Tab in drawer slide for removing drawer without a tool

Manual Adjustment

Refers to slotted holes in the drawer member and cabinet member that allow you to adjust the position of the drawer front to back and up or down. Compare for reference with Cam Adjustment.

Diagram of slots in drawer and cabinet portions of slide for adjustment

Over-Travel

A feature of many side-mount ball-bearing slides that lets you pull the drawer completely out of the cabinet and then some, providing full access to the contents of the drawer, even if the drawer is directly under the countertop overhang. These slides are also popular with file drawers where being able to pull out files at the very back of the drawer is important. Also used with full-inset drawers where the face frame creates an added obstruction at the front of the drawer's travel.

Diagram showing how far a drawer would open with an over-travel slide

Self-Close

A feature of some drawer slides that pulls the drawer closed in the final few inches of travel. Epoxy slides have this feature by default, utilizing a ramped track. Ball-bearing slides sometimes offer this feature as an option, and will be marked accordingly. Soft-close slides are a sub-type of self-closing slide.

View of drawer slide with motion blur indicating that it is closing by itself

Side Clearance

The required amount of clearance on either side of the drawer for mounting a particular type of slide. Epoxy slides and side-mount ball-bearing slides require specific side clearances for proper operation, usually 1/2" for the most common varieties. Side clearances vary, and are sometimes variable, depending upon your choice of brand, model and type: side-mount, undermount or center-mount.

Diagram of the gap between drawer and cabinet for slide installation

Side-Mount Drawer Slide

A type of drawer slide that mounts to the side of the drawer box. Side-mount ball-bearing slides can be mounted anywhere on the side of the drawer box. Epoxy slides straddle the bottom edge, and are therefore sometimes called "bottom-mount." We categorize them as side-mount slides because they show on the side of the drawer, and they require specific side clearances.

Top view of a drawer mounted using side-mount drawer slides

Slide Length

Refers to the length of the slide itself. This is most often a nominal number. If space in the cabinet is tight, be sure to check the spec sheet to verify the exact length.


Soft-Close

A feature of higher-end drawer slides that eases the drawer shut in the final few inches of travel. Uses a dampening mechanism to reduce noise and wear-and-tear on the slide.


Static Load Rating

The amount of weight a drawer slide is designed to support. If your drawer needs to support a large amount of weight, look for "heavy-duty" drawer slides and check the spec sheets to match the slide to your need.


Telescoping Movement

The action of a slide with multiple nested members that extend outwards, much like an old-fashioned telescope. Side-mount ball-bearing slides are an example.

Side view of a drawer with a telescoping slide

Touch Release/Touch-to-Open

A special feature of some slides that pops the drawer open after you push on the drawer front. Useful in modern cabinet styles where knobs and pulls would be undesirable. Sometimes called "push-to-open."

Opening a drawer with a touch-to-open slide

Undermount Drawer Slide

A type of drawer slide that is totally concealed beneath the drawer when installed. Although Center-Mount slides are technically undermount, the term usually refers to high-end left/right pairs that are full-extension by default, and often feature soft-close.

Bottom view of a drawer installed with undermount drawer slides

3/4 Extension

A drawer slide that extends out from the cabinet by approximately 75% of the length of the slide. Also called "partial extension." These slides are typically more affordable, and used when access to the full contents of the drawer is not critical.

Diagram showing how far a drawer would open with a three quarters extension slide

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