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How To Pick The Correct Drawer Slide For Your Furniture?

The right drawer channel can add elegant function and easiness to your storage cabinets. However, if you need help picking the correct drawer slide for your furniture, here is a guide. In this article, we have listed some considerations that allow you to choose the right drawer channel.

If you’re a furniture manufacturer or hardware retailer, we can also help you buy bulk, heavy-duty drawer slides for your business. To purchase the channel, you can check our website after going through this comprehensive guide on picking the right drawer channel for yourself.

Required Clearance

The clearance in the drawer channel refers to an empty space between the drawer case and the cabinet’s interior. The clearance space is essential for drawer slides to function correctly. The setup should be smaller than the cubby it will fit into so that you can attach the system to the drawer box.

So, the first thing you need when choosing the correct drawer slide is to measure the clearance space. Here is how you can determine the clearance space.

Side clearance

Side clearance, horizontal clearance, or width clearance is the difference between the cabinet opening and drawer box width. To get this difference, measure from the outside right to the outer left of the drawer box walls.

Vertical clearance

The vertical clearance or height clearance is the difference between the cabinet opening’s height and the height of the drawer box. For this, measure the cabinet opening height minus the drawer box height. Mind that the top and bottom clearance are sometimes different. These should be added together to get the total vertical clearance.

Depth clearance

The depth or back clearance is the distance between the cabinet’s rear wall and the drawer box’s back wall. For this, measure from the outside of the back wall of the drawer to the backside of the face. And minus this measurement from the cabinet’s depth.

Drawer Slide Load Rating

The load rating is another factor you must consider if you want your drawer slide to last long and perform better. Make sure your drawers are rated to hold the weight load capacity you need. The load rating is generally measured by the standard specifications of the channels. For example, drawer channels are rated based on 18 inches. So, the longer the track, the lower the weight capacity and vice versa.

Generally, most drawer channels are rated to hold 75 pounds, 100 pounds, and 150 pounds. These are excellent ratings for kitchen cabinets where you want to store heavy-weight pots and pans. However, some ball-bearing versions come with a 500-pound load capacity. They are usually used for industrial purposes. So, consider what you want to store in your drawer before selecting the right drawer slider.

Drawer Slide Mounting Types

Metal drawer channels come in three basic mounting types: side mount, under mount, and centre mount. You must consider the gap between your cabinet hole and drawer box when deciding which type to choose.

If replacing your drawer slide, you should stick to the same type, as your drawers are made for specific clearances. However, if you are building your cabinets from scratch, you can choose as per your needs. Read on to learn about three basic mounting types:

Side mounting

As the name suggests, the side mount drawer channel systems attach to the side of the drawer box. This common type is available in both ball bearing and epoxy/Euro versions. The ball-bearing versions have little metal balls that assist the drawer box in gliding. In contrast, the epoxy version has nylon rollers that run through the tracks, enabling the drawer to move.

The ball bearing option offers various benefits of smooth ball bearing, high load capacity, full extension and over-travel options. They also incorporate detent, which prevents drawers from creeping open when the cabinets are not precisely vertically straight. 

Under mounting

Undermount slides are attached to the bottom sides of the drawer. This mount type is better than the side in terms of space and aesthetics. Since you don’t need much clearance on the side, you can have slightly wider drawers for more storage space. And as these channels get entirely concealed under the drawers, you don’t have a hardware part showing, ruining the appearance of your furniture.

However, remember that you need a little clearance space underneath the drawer, which means you have to shorten the height of your drawer box. Undermount drawer channels also commonly come with premium features like soft-close, which makes them one of the top choices for high-end cabinetry.

Centre mounting

Centre mounting is an older type, which we can still see in some older furniture. In this configuration, you only use a single channel attached to the drawer’s centre bottom. These slides are totally concealed under the drawer box, like under-mount ones. However, they have a lower weight load capacity than the other two. And, therefore, should only be used for lightweight purposes.

Drawer Slide Extension Types

When choosing the right drawer slides, you also want to consider the size of the drawer box in your cabinet. There are many options available in terms of how your drawer extends. But you should get an appropriately sized drawer that fits into your wardrobe. The drawer channels primarily come with three extension types:

Three-quarter extension

These drawer slides allow ¾ of the drawer’s total length to come out, Hence the name. This type of channel offers limited access to the drawer’s space. However, this is still better than wooden guide drawers you may still find around the house. Three-quarter drawers are an affordable and economical way of replacing these older drawers.

Full extension

Full extension drawer slides allow drawers to extend to their edge. This type of drawer channel is perfect for homeowners and hobbyists as they enable you to see and access all the content in your drawers.

Over travel extension

Over-travel extension slides allow drawers to extend beyond their full extension. Meaning you get a few more inches out than full extension drawers. These slides are ideal for kitchen countertops that hang over the edge or have a lip on your cabinets to see your content like a full extension.

Drawer Slide Disconnect Types

Most drawer slides offer a disconnect mechanism to remove the drawer box from cabinets without disassembling the entire slide system. Here are different types of disconnect types you can choose when picking the right drawer slide for your furniture.

Lever Disconnect

Lever disconnect slides have a lever on the drawer’s part of the member that locks the drawer box into place. The drawer is released when this lever is pressed, which you can then pull and remove from the cabinet.

Rail Disconnect

This type of drawer channel does not have any additional mechanism. You have to lift up and remove the box. Rail disconnect slides are ideal for heavy items, where lifting up is a safer option than pulling them out.

Friction Disconnect

This type of drawer channel requires you to pull on through a slight resistance, and the drawer will come out. Friction disconnect drawers are the most common ones and often come in dressers.


Non-disconnect drawer channels do not have any disconnect mechanism. So, it requires you to dismantle the slide to some extent to pull the drawer out. However, this is the safest option against accidental pullouts. Moreover, the lock mechanism may loosen up or stop working in other channels.

Drawer Slide Features

Apart from these considerations, you may also want to look out for other features when finding the right drawer slide for your furniture. Here are some latest and most helpful features you can incorporate in your drawers and cabinets with drawer channels.

Soft Close

The soft close or easy close feature has a dampening effect, which makes your drawer go back into its cabinet without slamming. This feature helps your drawer stay quiet and safeguards against potential wear and tear from hard closing.

Self Close

Self-close channels have a spring mechanism that pulls your drawer back into the cabinet when you gently push it to close. However, this type of slide hits with slight conviction, so it is not ideal for drawer contents that are fragile or make noise.

Push Release

The push-release channel features the most aesthetically-minded function, allowing you to open the drawer with just one push. A gentle push on your drawer face will enable the innerspring to release it. With this drawer, you can avoid handles, giving your furniture a clean and sleek modern look.

Progressive Movement

This mechanism provides smoother sliding motion, ideal for full extension and over travel channels. In progressive movement channels, each channel member moves at once instead of one element bumping into and catching another. 

Detent & Locking

Detent & locking is a common feature that prevents drawers from unintended motion, especially when the cabinet is slightly uneven. This feature creates a slight resistance while opening and closing, keeping the drawer open or close.

Shock absorption

This feature allows drawers to withstand the damage from shutting them roughly and quickly. Moreover, it will reduce the noisiness when someone slams the drawer.

Purchase premium drawer channels in bulk

The article listed some of the prime considerations you should make when selecting the right drawer slide for your furniture. If you want to purchase drawer channels in bulk, Kitchenhutt is a perfect place for you. We are a leading wholesale hardware supplier in South Africa. Apart from drawer channels, you can also purchase wholesale bathroom fittings online. Visit the kitchenhutt site to learn more about our products.

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