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kitchen Drawer Runners


kitchen drawer runners - how they work and the options available

Every drawer in your kitchen is made to move in and out of a cabinet, and to do this they use drawer runners or drawer slides, in fact there is no difference between the 2 its just that some industries use one phrase, Drawer Runnersothers use the other, for the purpose of this article we will use the phrase ‘Drawer Runners’.

There are in fact many different types of drawer runners available in across the World that are specifically design for a variety of drawer uses, without going into too much technical jargon the following paragraphs should give you enough information to distinguish between the most common options.

Metal sided drawer box

The most commonly used drawer system in the kitchen is usually made up of 2 metal sides for the drawer and these fit into 2 runners that fit to the inside of the cupboard. They then have a simple chipboard base and back, with the drawer front matching the cupboard doors. Key specifications of these would be:

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

Ball bearing drawer runners

For more heavy duty uses, ball bearing drawer runners are used as they can withstand much more weight whilst still offering a smooth drawer opening. They can fit to the side of any type of drawer, and they are often found on pull out larder drawers in modern kitchens. Because of their high weight capacity they are also used for large office filing cabinets and drawer units, as well as shop fitting displays. Common specifications include:

  • 100% extension so that you can access the full length of your drawer
  • 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
  • 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
  • Both drawer and cabinet fixings have multiple hole positions for a variety of cabinet uses
  • Due to the ball bearings the action of the drawer runner is silent, smooth and rigid
  • 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 fix drawer runners

Often the light duty drawer runner option, bottom fixed runners use rollers to allow the drawer to slide in and out, and can be fitted to the bottom of any type of drawer. Because of their light load capacity they are often found in bedroom furniture, but they were also used a lot in traditional older kitchens. They are a light weight economy drawer runner offered in a large range of lengths from 250mm to 600mm. The main specifications of these are:

  • 80% extension– meaning 80% of the drawer can be reached when the drawer is out
  • Drawer can be simply lifted up to be removed when fully open
  • Maximum drawer weight including contents 25kg
  • Drawer runner fits to the underside of the drawer, right up to the sides like a L shape
  • Multiple fixing positions for a variety of sizes and uses
  • Soft / self-closing dampened devices are available
  • Available in various colours, white being the standard, but also often brown and black


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