Types of Drawer Slides

Drawer slides or telescopic slides are mechanisms installed on drawers and cabinets to facilitate smooth opening and closing. Most telescopic slides operate in the same way using basic components — a stationary part mounted inside the furniture and a moving part attached to the drawer.

The best type of telescopic slides for you will depend on drawer functions and the weight of the drawer’s contents. By understanding the features and applications of various telescopic slides, you can make an informed decision for your needs.

1. Locking Drawer Slides

Locking drawer slides have a rubber-fitted lever that prevents drawers from accidentally opening or closing. They’re ideal for mobile applications, such as in recreational vehicles, ambulances or military vehicles, where interior drawers need to stay closed when the vehicle is in motion.

To open the drawer, you press the lever down. It locks again when the drawer is extended fully to prevent the drawer from sliding back and forth.

2. Soft-Close Drawer Slides

Soft-close telescopic slides are fitted with a damping or silent closure system to prevent drawers from slamming shut. They’re ideal for ensuring drawer contents remain in place, such as for storage solutions on vehicles in the defense sector. Soft-close drawer slides are highly durable because of minimal wear and tear.

3. Push-to-Open Drawer Slides

These modern drawer slides eliminate the need for pulling open drawers, making them ideal for applications with limited space. They often use a spring that enables the drawer to pop open when pushed at a certain angle. Racks, shelves and carts can feature these telescopic slides for applications like tools and parts storage.

4. Full-Extension Drawer Slides

Full-extension drawer slides allow drawers to extend up to 100% of their length. They provide maximum access to a drawer’s contents and support heavy-duty usage. These benefits make them ideal for situations where maximum storage is necessary and workers must grab items quickly.

5. Three-Quarter Extension Drawer Slides

Three-quarter extension drawer slides open up to 75% of a drawer’s full length. They’re perfect for light- to heavy-duty drawers installed in small spaces. Three-quarter extension slides are common with side- or center-mount slide styles.

In environments where full drawer extension isn’t possible or preferred, these telescopic slides offer the right amount of storage without taking up space.

6. Ball-Bearing Drawer Slides

Ball-bearing drawer slides are also referred to as sliders, rails or runners. Most versions include three elements — the cabinet member, the intermediate member and the drawer member.

Both the cabinet and drawer members have ball bearings interphased by the intermediate member. When you open a drawer, the drawer member glides over the ball bearings positioned between itself and the drawer member. When you close the drawer, the intermediate member glides over the ball bearings between itself and the cabinet member, allowing smooth and precise operation.

These telescopic slides offer effortless operation and considerable durability and reliability. Some applications of ball-bearing drawer slides include mobile workstations, tool workbenches and manufacturing equipment storage.

7. Roller Slides

Roller slides are an economical alternative to ball-bearing slides that provide smooth operation in a low profile. They include two components — the cabinet and drawer member, each with plastic rollers that glide over each other to allow the opening and closing of the drawer. The rollers are positioned on opposite sides of the slide and have grooves that fit into each other.

Roller slides are ideal for light- to medium-duty drawers and can only be used with side-mounted drawer slides. Roller slides can provide benefits in many industries, such as the aerospace and defense industries, where they can apply to equipment racks, missile systems and aircraft seat systems.

8. Friction Slides

These non-ball-bearing slides or solid-bearing slides are self-lubricating with interchangeable inner members. They’re an easy-to-install alternative to ball bearings that require minimal maintenance thanks to their tight spacing and sufficient lubrication. Friction slides are considerably heavy-duty and allow for total drawer extension, making them ideal for military, aerospace and other commercial applications.

They’re generally suitable for applications where ball bearings are a safety hazard and outdoor applications where dust may interfere with the slide’s functionality.

9. Undermount Drawer Slides

Undermount drawer slides are ball-bearing slides attached to the sides of a drawer’s underside. They’re available in various lengths that match the length of the cabinet, as well as part and full extension styles that require 1/4- to 3/16-inch clearance. Undermount drawer slides often include stoppers that make them lock in and lock out drawers.

They provide a smoother operation than side- and bottom-mounted slides. Being completely out of sight makes under-mount drawer slides perfect for applications such as those in the medical and technology fields, where silent, organized drawer operation is crucial.

10. Side-Mount Drawer Slides

Side-mount drawer slides are mounted horizontally, one on the cabinet (cabinet member) and the other on the drawer (the drawer member). They’re available in a variety of styles, including roller, ball-bearing and friction options, as well as in different extensions.

They require at least a half-inch of clearance between the drawer and the cabinet’s opening, making them ideal for many types of drawers, including utility cabinets. They’re typically affordable, easy to install and highly durable.

11. Center-Mount Drawer Slides

Center-mount drawer slides are single slides installed at the bottom middle of a drawer. Because they’re mounted from the back to the front of the drawer, they’re ideal for small, light-capacity drawers. Their discrete location makes them a common addition to storage equipment for parts and tools.

Note that center-mount telescopic slides limit drawer height because they require some clearance between the cabinet and the drawer, which is determined by the slide’s height. Center-mount drawer slides are only available in 3/4-inch extensions.

Choose High-Quality Telescopic Slides From Jonathan Engineering Solutions

With so many different types of drawer slides on the market, choosing the best for your unique needs may be challenging. Jonathan Engineering Solutions is an ISO 9001- and AS 9100-certified leading manufacturer with six decades of experience providing clients with the highest-quality linear slides. We offer many types of telescopic slides, including ball-bearing, roller and friction slides with varying extension ranges.

Our slides are made from aluminumcarbon steel and stainless steel to meet light-, medium- and heavy-duty applications. We also provide a selection of hybrid slides that feature different materials to maximize load-carrying capacity.

We understand that our customers have unique needs, so we offer customization to suit the sector you’re in and your specific applications. Our team will work with you to find the best type of drawer slides. For more information about our telescopic slides, contact us online today.

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