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kitchen drawer runners – the 3 main options available

You've probably never thought about it, but every drawer in your kitchen at home is simply made to move in and out of a cabinet. To do this they use what we call 'drawer runners' or 'drawer slides', in fact there is no difference between the 2 its just that some people use one phrase whilst some use the other, to make things clear in this article we will use the term 'Drawer Runners'.

There are actually 3 main types of drawer runners used in the UK for a variety of drawer types, without going into lots of technical jargon we feel this article should give you enough information to distinguish between the most common options should you need to replace any in your kitchen.

Three main types of kitchen drawer runners

Metal sided drawer box

Most kitchen drawers are made with 2 metal sides for the drawer itself which then fit into the 2 runners that are fitted to the inside of the cupboard.  To make the draw itself you then have a simple chipboard base and back, with a drawer front that matches the cupboard doors.  Common specifications for these types of drawer runners would be:

  1. 80% extension – meaning 80% of the drawer can be reached when the drawer is out
  2. Drawer can be lifted and removed when extended to easy fitting and cleaning
  3. Maximum drawer weight including contents 25kg, suitable for small cutlery or large pans
  4. Common side heights available 85mm, 117mm and 149mm
  5. Multiple fixing positions for a variety of sized cabinets
  6. Soft / self-closing devices are available to fit in conjunction with this style of drawer runner
  7. Available in various colours, white/cream being the standard found in kitchens
  8. Fixing by wood screws for easy install and removal


Ball bearing drawer runners

Ball bearing drawer runners are heavy duty runners which can withstand much more weight in the drawer whilst still offering a smooth opening movement using a series of ball bearings.  They can fit to the side of any drawer with ease, and in kitchens they are often found on pull out larder drawer.   With their high weight capacity they are also often used for office filing cabinets and drawer units.  Specifications for these often include:

  1. 100% extension so that you can access the full length of your drawer
  2. Trigger release – the drawer member can be released from the cabinet by lifting a trigger, this trigger also acts as a block to stop the drawer from being pulled out accidently
  3. Maximum weights for ball bearing runners can vary, but as a general rule a medium duty runner will quote around  45kg based on a 450mm length runners, heavier duty versions of up to 90kg are also available but not often found in a kitchen
  4. Both drawer and cabinet fixings have multiple hole positions for a variety of cabinet uses
  5. Due to the ball bearings the action of the drawer runner is silent, smooth and rigid
  6. Ball bearing runners can come equipped with self closing and dampened closing devices as well as bayonets to be used on metal cabinets and furniture


Bottom fixed drawer runners

Bottom fixed drawer runners are a light duty option, bottom fixed runners use simple rollers to allow the drawer to move in and out, and they are be fitted to the bottom of any type of drawer.  Because of this light load capacity they are usually found in bedroom furniture, they are also the choice of runners for bespoke kitchen designers, especially traditional wooden kitchens.  They are also an economy drawer runner and are available in a large range of lengths from 250mm to 600mm to suit any drawer need.  The specifications of these runners are:

  1. 80% extension– meaning 80% of the drawer can be reached when the drawer is out
  2. Drawer can be simply lifted up to be removed when fully open
  3. Maximum drawer weight including contents 25kg
  4. Drawer runner fits to the underside of the drawer, right up to the sides like a L shape
  5. Multiple fixing positions for a variety of sizes and uses
  6. Soft / self-closing dampened devices are available

Available in various colours, white being the standard, but also often brown and black

kitchen drawer

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