Drawer runners for drawer chests and other purposes

Drawer runners are an indispensable feature of chests of drawers and fitted closet drawers but are not solely used for these purposes, as we can use slides to improvise various pull-out systems that come in handy at home, in workshops and in mobile homes. We will take a closer look at improvisation in the second part of this article, but we’ll first look at the ones we know and the functions they perform, which are differentiated as follows:

  • Assembly method
  • Extension
  • Length
  • Opening method
  • Closing method
  • Load-bearing capacity
  • Sides

Assembly methods

Some drawer runners are assembled laterally, that is on either side of the draw, and ball bearing slides are most frequently use for side assembly. Others are combination assemblies, for example, the pull-out part must be attached at the bottom of drawers and the fixed part to the side of drawers for Modern Slides and roller drawer slides. Some ball-bearing slides are installed in slots on the sides, most commonly in purchased furniture (Micro slides) and the wood slides used by carpenters in the past. Only a few slides have a dual function. Prestige ball-bearing slides can be assembled laterally or on the bottom of drawers and shelves. We must pay attention to the load-bearing capacity; in the case of side assembly, the load-bearing capacity of slides is 35kg, with the bottom assemble only 15kg.

Drawer extension

Some drawer runners have partial extension by which drawers are not entirely pulled out from the cabinet and theses are usually used where it doesn’t matter if a drawer is open to its full extent. This is not usually distracting in the case of longer slides, as access to the content or surface is sufficient. In the case of shorter drawers, every centimetre that stays inside the element counts; in such cases, there are slides with full extension, where the drawer is pulled out entirely and we have complete access. We definitely recommend slides with full pull systems.


Drawer runner lengths generally vary between 25 cm and 55 cm, exceptionally ball bearing can be up to 110 cm. The increments between lengths are usually 5cm, that is, they start at 25 cm, 30 cm, 35 cm, and so on.

There are three furniture drawer closing methods. Roller slides are the simplest type and they close accordingly; if we force push them, such drawers will hit the side of the drawer; ball bearing slides operate similarly, but these have more friction because of the ball bearings and don’t slam at the side.

Opening methods

Drawer slides can be opened with furniture handles or by means of push mechanisms. Push mechanisms don’t require handles, as drawers automatically opens when we touch their front. Slides with soft closing systems, such as the Modern Slide and Modern Box, have in-built mechanisms which prevent strong slamming, ensuring quiet and slow drawer closing. The third method uses a forced closing system by which drawers are pulled towards the side and require additional soft closing mechanisms.

Load-bearing capacity.

For the majority of household needs, we don’t need high load-bearing capacity, except for the kitchen, where slides may need to bear tens of kilos when fully loaded with pots and pans, and this requires strong slides. Slides with even greater load-bearing capacity than required for the kitchen are used in industry and workshops.

Load-bearing capacity is categorized as follows:

  • Up to 8kg: Micro Slides
  • Up to 25kg: Modern Slides and roller drawer slides with partial pull
  • 35 – 40kg: Modern Slides with full pull systems, Modern Boxes, and Prestige ball bearing slides.
  • Up to 100kg: Special ball-bearing slides.

Drawer runner Sides

We can opt for drawers with wooden or metallic sides. When making a wooden drawer, most slides come with instructions for use, but assembly is a bit complex. On the other hand, assembling drawers with metallic sides is a bit easier, but a bit more expensive, except for the Metalbox drawer with metallic sides. Drawers with metallic sides, such as Modern Box and Metalbox, only need a wooden drawer base and rear side for easy assembly

Different slide use and improvisation

With a little knowledge or carpenter’s assistance, drawer slides can be adapted for different purposes, such as:

  • Pull-out shelves for spices and herbs
  • Vertical pull-out drawers for baking tins
  • Wooden drawers with separate spaces for lids
  • Pull-out cutting boards
  • Pull-out bins
  • Pull-out shelves for shoes and clothes
  • Pull-out ironing boards
  • Pull-out drawers at the base of kitchens
  • Wooden pull-out columns

As you see, there are numerous options. We can make pull-out surfaces to put things on. Pull-out shelves and drawers are ergonomically practica

Please leave comments, including your tips and ideas.

Thank you and enjoy using your imagination in practice.

Related posts