Different types of drawer runners

There are many types of draw runner. These include wooden slides, side-mounted, ball-bearing slides, and self-closing, under-mount slides.

Wooden slides

Drawers were traditionally slid into cabinets using wooden runners. These are wooden strips that attach to horizontal rails and are positioned at the cabinet’s face.

If the drawer is not guided by the sides of the cabinet, or if a face frame protrudes into the drawer opening, runners are equipped with guides to stop the drawers from sliding to one side or the other and binding during closure.

Wooden drawer runners offer many benefits. Wooden drawer runners work well when they are well-fitted and can be used to protect fine furniture.

Wooden drawer runners are also more affordable than mechanical slides, which require an extra expense. The drawer’s face can function as a finished face without the need to apply false or dummy faces.

Wooden drawer runners allow the joinery and sides of the drawers to shine without being obstructed by metallic hardware.

Full extensions are not possible using wooden drawer runners. Also, drawers that have been properly fitted can become stuck in humid climates where humidity levels fluctuate between seasons.

Side-mounted, ball-bearing slides

The reliability, durability, and affordability of side-mounted ball-bearing slides are what make them so popular. You can also add a wide range of additional features to your side-mounted ball bearing slides, such as extra-heavy load deterrents, lateral files, and specialty slides for filing drawers.

Side-mounted ball bearing slides are easy to install in casework and can be used almost anywhere.

These slides can also be used on drawers that are significantly deeper or shallower than the slides. This flexibility is crucial when drawer construction requires a full-extension, affordability, and flexibility.

To remove the drawers, you can disengage a lever and slide them back in place to replace them. The slides can be adjusted in any direction, including up or down.

Self-closing under-mount slides

Cabinetmakers have been embracing silent, smooth operation and full extension since the dawn of the 21st century. These slides are invisible to the naked eye and can be adjusted with the right locking devices. This allows the drawer to move in any direction.

However, these features come with strict restrictions.

Wooden drawer runners are still very much in fashion, but many cabinet builders prefer mechanical slide hardware. They are quieter, more user-friendly, and can be extended fully without them falling out.

Additional Slide Functions and Features

There are many options for drawer slides that can be used to enhance functionality and user experience. These options include:

Soft-Close: Hydraulic dampening components reduce noise and drawer damage by preventing drawers from closing too quickly.

Push to Open: Draw slides open when pressure is applied to the front, eliminating the need for additional hardware components

Assisted Close/Open: The assistive mechanism automatically closes the drawer or opens it three-quarters through the motion

Holding-In/Holdout: Drawer remains open or closed until a certain level of force has been applied

Lock-In/Lock-Out: Drawer remains locked closed or opened until a lever is released


This guide will give you a general understanding of the various types of drawer slides.