Cabinet Drawer Slides Guide

Fabuwood Cabinet Drawer Slides from CS Hardware

We’ve all had those annoying cabinet drawers that require precise jiggling before they’ll settle on the track to work properly. Or, we’ve visited friends and noticed their cool, new kitchen cabinet drawers that close quietly on their own. If you want to replace rickety old drawer slides or install new cabinets with self-closing or full-extension upgrades, then knowing how to choose the best drawer slides is your next step. Updating your kitchen or bathroom cabinets with new drawer slides is an inexpensive way to add value and convenience to your home.

How do I choose a cabinet drawer slide?

Choose a cabinet drawer slide based on a few criteria: the mounting method, how much weight it needs to bear, how far you want your drawer to extend when it’s fully open, and how you want it to close.

Sidemount, undermount, and centermount cabinet drawer slides

Drawer slides typically mount on the sides of the drawer box, underneath, or underneath down the center. Thus, drawer slides come in three options: sidemount, undermount, and centermount.

If you’re replacing a set of drawer slides, you’ll choose ones that mount where the current ones do. So, if the existing drawer has sidemount slides (one on each side), then you get sidemount slides. Ditto undermount slides (underneath the drawer box) and a centermount slide (one slide underneath the center of the drawer). You’ll find all three mounting options in our collection of drawer slides.

  • Sidemount slides are the most common type of drawer slide, and they attach to either side of the drawer box. These types of slides usually require ½” clearance between the drawer and the cabinet. 
  • Undermount slides offer a cleaner look and extra storage since they’re concealed underneath the drawer and require little clearance. 
  • Centermount slides also give you a clean look and more storage since they fit underneath the drawer box down the middle. Since there’s only one slide for support, this mounting method is used for light-load drawers. Our centermount slides hold up to 35 pounds.

Soft-close and self-close cabinet drawer slides

Modern drawer slides are available with motion features, so you no longer have to deal with abruptly slamming drawers or ones that get off track. Soft-close drawer slides include a mechanism that dampens sound for a quiet close. You’ll find plenty of soft-close Ball Bearing Drawer Slides at CS Hardware. Self-close drawer slides are designed to propel themselves shut for the last several centimeters. A slight push causes the drawer to close conveniently on its own. For several self-closing options, browse our European Epoxy Drawer Slides.

How do I know how long my cabinet drawer slides should be?

Measuring for a cabinet drawer slide requires accuracy; this isn’t the time to “eyeball” the length or guesstimate based on the inside length of the drawer. Your cabinet drawer slides should be the outside length of the drawer box, so you’ll need to remove the drawer. Then, measure the outside of the drawer from the back to the front of the box, but do not include the drawer face. Once you have this measurement, round down, and that’s how long your drawer slide should be. For example, if your drawer box is 18½”, purchase 18” drawer slides.

In addition to knowing how long your cabinet drawer slides should be, you also need to know how far you want them to extend. Drawer slides come in ¾ extension, full extension, and over-travel. Typical drawers are ¾ extension, which is when the back of the drawer remains inside the cabinet. Full extension slides bring the drawer all the way out, and over-travel drawer slides allow the box to clear the cabinet by an inch or so, giving you complete access to the back of the drawer. Full extension and over-travel drawer slides are excellent choices for workshop and craft room drawers.

Do I need heavy duty drawer slides?

You need heavy duty slides for drawers that hold a lot of weight. We offer full extension drawer slides with a 500lb capacity, but these are often for industrial or commercial use rather than for residential cabinet drawers.

Choosing drawer slides for kitchen pull out shelves

Rolling kitchen shelves, also called pull out, rollout, or slide out shelves, are becoming more and more popular in modern kitchens. Our DIY rollout shelves come with standard slides, but you can upgrade to full extension slides or self- or soft-closing slides by following the same guidelines that you would for regular drawer slides.

Cabinet drawer slides from CS Hardware

We offer a full selection of ball bearing and Euro epoxy drawer slides as well as drawer slide accessories. Browse our collections to find the proper drawer slides with the motion features and extension capabilities you want. If you need assistance with choosing or measuring for your new cabinet drawer slides, contact us via email or by phone. We offer live support Monday–Friday from 8am to 4:30pm CST.