Drawer Slide Feature Guide
So you've got a broken drawer, or maybe you're renovating your kitchen or bathroom. It's tough to make heads or tails of the drawer slides that are out there with the vast amount of options you have. Hopefully we can lend a little clarity to the various types and features you will find if you go looking for new or replacement slides. Two critical pieces of information you will need are A) your drawer length, and B) the clearance between your drawer sides and the side of your cabinet. So long as you stay within the bounds of what your cabinets will support, it all comes down to budget and preference. Keep reading below to get an idea of what all the features are and why you may or may not want them in your kitchen or bathroom. As always, we are available by phone Monday – Friday 8am to 5pm CST at (800) 383-0130 to answer your questions and help you find exactly what you need to make you a Hero at Home.
3/4 Extension VS Full Extension
The extension of a slide is simply how far out of the cabinet your drawer will protrude. Unless you have a critical application where you MUST have access to the entire drawer, like a tool box in your shop, for example, this option mainly comes down to budget.
3/4 extension slides will leave a small portion of the back of your drawer inside the cabinet when it is fully extended. They are often chosen for purely economic reasons as they are usually much cheaper than their full extension counterparts, while achieving nearly all of the same functionality.Find 3/4 extension drawer slides here
Full extension slides, like the name implies, allow your drawer to extend the full distance out of the cabinet, giving you access to the entire drawer. These are often used in interior rollout drawers, toolboxes, or pullout organizers tucked into your base cabinet.Find full extension drawer slides here
Side Mount VS Undermount
How does your drawer attach to the slide? Side mounts will typically require more side clearance between your drawer box and the cabinet opening. Undermounts will typically require a newly built drawer box, or modifications to your current drawer box according to manufacturer specifications.
Side mount drawer slides will attach directly to the side of your drawer box. If you check in your kitchen right now, chances are you have side mounted drawer slides. The nylon roller variety is a very popular budget option for side mount slides, but more and more cabinet shops are moving to the more robust steel ball bearing variety, like one we have pictured here. Check your side clearance carefully before purchasing new side mount drawer slides.Find side mount drawer slides here
Undermount drawer slides are quickly becoming the most popular type of drawer slide (the Blum Tandem undermounts are by far our best selling product). You might have guessed, but these types of slides will sit underneath your drawer box. There is a small learning curve when it comes to construction of the box if you're more used to installing other types of slides, but the ease of use and installation once you get it down are second to none.Find undermount drawer slides here
Below you will find a number of features that are not necessarily crucial to the functionality of a standard drawer, but depending on your goals and application, some of these may be absolutely critical.
When you close a drawer equipped with soft close, the very last inch or so gets pulled in automatically and dampened by some sort of mechanism. There are many drawer slides today with integrated soft close and they are only growing in popularity. You can also retrofit old drawers with add on devices like the one pictured, which you can find here.Find soft close drawer slides here
When full extension just isn't long enough for your application, overtravel is the feature you will want to look for. They work just like full extension slides, but they extend some additional amount. Generally the extra travel you get is 1 inch, but you can find them as low as 3/4 inch, or as high as 1-1/4 inches. Your mileage may very there depending on the model.Find overtravel drawer slides here
|Integrated Drawer Box Sides||
There are a few series of slides out there that have the drawer box sides built in. Pictured here, we have the Blum Legrabox system. For the Legrabox system you only need to build the bottom, the back, and the front of the drawer box.Find integrated drawer box side systems here
Hold out is a feature that will keep your drawer or pullout in the open position. Typically you would find these on a pullout keyboard tray on a computer desk.Find hold out drawer slides here
|Push to Open||
These days many homeowners are opting to not have handles on their cabinets at all. This trend is especially popular in Europe. Or maybe you do have handles, but you've got a pullout trash can concealed in your lower cabinets. In these cases, having the option to push on the drawer front to have it pop open is ideal. Most commonly this is achieved with add on devices like the Tip-On or Servo Drive systems from Blum as one example. You can also find drawer slides with integrated push to open mechanisms, like the one we have pictured here.Find push to open drawer slides here
Here we have some slides that are crucial for applications where a standard drawer slide simply won't cut it.
Slides specially designed for keyboard rollout trays on computer desks. They can be mounted to either the sides of your opening, or the top with included L brackets. They typically have the hold out feature we discussed above so your keyboard isn't sliding in and out while you try to type. Some varieties even have a hinged portion at the front so you can conceal your keyboard when it's not in use.Find keyboard drawer slides here
|Pivot Door Slides||
Pivot door slides are very unique, because they aren't used for drawers at all. Notice the hinges attached to the end of the slide. These slides allow you to open up a door and slide it inside the cabinet, tucking the door out of the way. You might find these concealing a TV and entertainment center in the living room, or maybe a bar in a lounge.Find pivot door slides here
|Pullout Pantry Slides||
These super duty slides are used to support very large concealed pantries. The large slide supports from the bottom. The slightly smaller slide supports from the top.Find pullout pantry slides here
These slides are used in tables that have removable sections called leaves. These will connect the two far ends, and when you want to increase your surface area you just pull the two sections apart and drop the table leaf in the middle.Find table slides here
In Depth on Blum Tandems
Tandems can seem complex to someone who's never used them before. Take a look at our full tutorial on how to use Blum Tandem slides or check out our growing library of video tutorials for using Blum Tandems below.