Can You Use Side Mount Drawer Slides As Undermount

Drawer slides can be as easy or as hard as you allow them, and it all depends on what type of slide you choose. In this guide we are going to cover the many different types of Drawer slides on the market, the many different ways a slide can be fitted into a cabinet, and then some help tips for you to decide which is the ideal type you need for your application. This is allot to cover especially when you consider that a drawer slide should be a very simple device to buy and install, but the reality is there are allot of external factors you must consider.

Drawer slides, or as they are sometimes called a drawer rollers, are a type of mechanism that allows smooth linear motion in one axis. They are most commonly used in pairs and found in a huge range of applications, mostly kitchen cabinets. Drawer slides generally work by having one component to slide over a slightly larger or smaller component of equal shape with roller bearings between them to create the smooth rolling function, which allows the entire mechanism to extend or retract. Drawer slides are not motorized but can be if a linear actuator is attached to provide the hands free motion for you. Generally, you will use drawer slides on their own and will likely encounter only two main types: Ball-Bearing Slides & Roller Slides.

Roller slides consists of two components, the sliding main member strut and the fixed cabinet drawer strut. These types of slides are not fixed together until after you have attached them to both the drawer and the fixed cabinet. Only then can you slide the drawer into position and they then slide in and out freely.

Each strut having one wheel attached at each end is what allows the slides to run freely but it has its limitations. Having only onw wheel to carry the load is a huge disadvantage. This means that the load carried by the entire drawer and its contents is all focused onto the one wheel at either side of the cabinet drawer. This point load can be large for cabinets that need to carry more load and will eventually result in failure. Another thing to note is that the plastic wheels are not mounted onto bearings, they are simply plastic wheels on a metal axel that will eventually cause noise or wear problems at some point during its lifetime. One main advantage of these is that they are very cheap to purchase from any hardware store.

Ball-bearing slides as you can see from the above are completely different to Roller slides. These make use of ball bearings encased in a bearing cage so they dont fall out, and some models offer a telescopic motion. By telescopic we mean that the Rails have 3 or more members that once combined together are able to extend the same distance or more than their total closed length. This great use of space is what gives them such a great appeal because the drawers are then able to slide out 100% of the drawers depth in a cabinet, where-as using a roller slide you can typically only achieve around 75% opening.

These types of slide rails offer extreme rigidity of the draw when fully opened or closed and allows them to carry a significant amount of weight. Plus the are easy to install as they have many hole patterns pre drilled along the length of each member for attaching them to both the fixed cabinet and the cabinet drawer. To open the the slides so that they can be installed simply press the lever down to unlock the full extended opening. Please view the video further down this article to see how to do that. Please note however not all Drawer slides come with the lever feature to take apart the drawer slides, all FIRGELLI drawer slides do have this feature however.

Ball-bearing drawer slides provide a huge durability life span and have much larger load rating compared to roller slides. Within our range of Ball Bearing slides we do even offer a very heavy duty type. Click here to view them. Heavy duty versions of ball-bearing slides

Slide rails, that can also called “linear guides”, are another type of linear sliding mechanism that allow for very smooth linear motion. They consist of two basic components, a sliding carriage and a rail portion in which the carriage slides along. These carriages have there own bearing feature that carry all the weight and offering the smooth sliding. The rails that they run along can be in any length you want and you can cut them to any size you need where as with ball bearing drawer slides you cannot modify the rails so you have to chose the size that is closest to your needs. Also with Slide rails you can adjust the friction or stiffness of the carriage to make it easier or harder for it to slide up and down. Slide rails are commonly used in industrial & robotic applications, however they are now becoming popular in hidden sliding door applications in homes such as a hidden book case door or hidden wall panels for secret entrances because one of the great advantages of these slide rails is that you can add as many Carriages to the rail as you like to not only distribute the load but also make the sliding device more stable.

Both slide rails and drawer slides allow for linear motion, there is a main difference between them functionally, and that is the drawer slides are usually telescopic and more suitable to drawer applications, and slide rails are not telescopic but can be far more flexible for non drawer situations like hidden doors or sliding bookcases etc. . Practically, this means your drawer slides will collapse inwards, while slide rails will have a fixed length. There are also other differences, like thickness of the mechanism and load rating, that you’ll need to consider when choosing between the two mechanisms.

Here are a few things to consider when selecting the right type of sliding technology depending on your application.

The load rating is the maximum allowable load the drawer slides or slide rail or whatever other mechanism you wish to use can handle. This would seem straightforward, just ensure you don’t go over your limit, right?. The load carried by your drawer slides will cause a shear stress on the mounting fasteners to which you screwed the slides into your cabinet with, for your drawer slides, and cause a corresponding force on your cabinet member. If these components cannot hold 400lbs, your design won’t either. To avoid any unexpected problems, you should determine the load capacity for your entire design.

You are going to have an idea of how far you’d like your drawer slides to extend to. So, you’ll need drawer slides with a max extension as long as your requirement. This will also determinate the total length and fully retracted length of your drawer slides. Generally speaking, your max extension will be equal to your fully retracted length and half of your total length. Your cabinet component and your drawer component will also need to be as long as your fully retracted length to ensure safe mounting of the drawer slide.

The thickness of the drawer slide material is another consideration and is generally where a cheap Chinese knock-off would let you down the most. The thicker the material wall thickness the stronger the slides will be. cheap chinese drawer slides will simply feel tinny and will let you down once you start using them.

In most cases you will mount each drawer slide on opposites sides of each other, although, there are some that can be mounted on the bottom side of your drawer component or require only one draw slide, you should always follow what the manufacturer recommends. We discuss the different mounting styles further in this article as its very important.

Usually you wont have much choice on where to install the slide because the cabinet will dictate that for you, however in the event that you are designing this thing from scratch and do have the option of one or the other, it may help to know what your options are.

But First You Need Some Basic Idea of Both the Mechanisms.

Now an undermount drawer glide comes with a mechanism that keeps it beneath the drawer. So, it’s pretty unnoticeable. And not many people even know about it. These are something once you have, you don’t want to go back to the side-mounted style.

Talking about that, the side mount style basically is seen quite everywhere these days. From toolboxes and utility cabinets to even the ones in your kitchen. Mostly, if not all, are the side-mounted ones.

There are several ways on how to install side mount drawer slides and usually, it’s very simple. Something so basic anybody can figure it out, sometimes without even reading the instructions. However, the undermount ones are not so simple. And that lack of knowledge on how it gets installed, makes things confusing on if such swap of side mount as undermount is even possible.

No doubt the undermount style is way more convenient and actually beats side mount style in so many ways. But the major reason is there’s no visibility of the slides plus you save space. However, the clearance height-wise would increase.

We were approached by a joiner who was tasked with creating a solid wood shoe rack in the bottom of an unusually deep and wide built in wardrobe. Using a combination of conventionally mounted and flat mounted Drawer Slides he was able to create stable, smooth running racks despite the substantial weight.

JET PRESS supply Accuride Drawer Slides for flat mounting to shop fitters and furniture makers. Retail designers often use transparent cabinets for displays, with a drawer underneath for storage. It looks much better if there are no slides on the side of the drawer. Also, it may be difficult to mount slides onto materials like glass or Perspex.

The first thing to consider is that a flat mounted Drawer Slide can carries less weight. You should calculate the capacity at no more than 25% of the normal load rating of a vertically mounted slide, so a slide with a rating of 40kg will only carry 10kg when flat mounted.

Hygiene becomes a critical issue in medical environments so flat mount Drawer Slides are a very good option. They won’t collect contaminants from the environment as easily and you can specify Accuride Drawer Slides with front disconnect. Slides with front disconnect allow you to remove the drawer for cleaning or disinfecting in an autoclave.

Accuride Drawer Slides go on the side of the drawer, right? But it doesn’t always have to be that way. There are good reasons why you might want to mount a drawer on slides that run under the drawer. Or you might deploy Accuride Flat Mounted Drawer Slides under the drawer as well as on the sides.

Side-Mount installation method

Side mounting drawer slides or roller slides are the most common way to mount slides in a Drawer. As they come in pairs it makes it obvious this is the ideal place to mound them and also its a space saving method too. In both cases the rails are attached on the lower edge of the drawers so that they carry the weight in a compression loading way.

Telescopic extension slides offer any extension length in many different lengths from 10″ to 60″ extension. Our heavy duty drawer slides can carry up to 500 lbs of weight with extensions up to a whopping 60 inches.

Installation of both these types of drawer slides is pretty simple and can be done by anyone with a tape measure, screw driver and wood screws.

Center mount drawer slides are sold individually as they mount under the drawer in the center and lay flat which is not very common in the industry. Its downside of this is that the drawer slide mechanism looses at least 80% of its weight capacity limit when turned horizontally in this orientation.

There is a benefit though, you only need one per drawer and the rail is completly hidden out of sight. This method is ideal if you want to keep the slides hidden and have a low weight capacity. The required clearance will be determined by the slide’s thickness.


Can you use side mount drawer slides on bottom?

Additionally, side mounts are built to carry a limited load, and if it is used as an undermount, there is a huge possibility that it might bend and malfunction. So for these professionals, the answer to the question “Can you use side mount drawer slides as undermount” will always be no.

Can you use drawer slides on bottom of drawer?

By flat mounting Drawer Slides underneath as well as using conventional Drawer Slides you can make the drawer more stable.

Which is better side mount or undermount drawer slides?

Side mounts are connected on the side of the drawer and cabinet. Bottom mounts are attached to the bottom of the drawer and side of the cabinet. Meanwhile, undermounts are two slides attached to the underneath (invisible) of the drawer and side of the cabinet.

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