What is a Drawer Runner and how Do I choose the right one?
A good and convenient drawer runner can save you a lot of irritation. What goes into a good drawer runner and how do you examine the right one for your need?
Here’s a brief guide to help you understand the basics of a drawer runner and how to choose the right one for your application.
Let’s get started with the basics
Thomas Regout International manufactures high-quality ball bearing drawer runners, all produced in our production plant in The Netherlands. Ball bearing drawer runners are also known as rails, runners, and sliders.
These slides feature lubricated bearings that move drawers and a linear direction, allowing smooth opening and closing action. The bearings, secured within metal ball retainers, fit between the profiles, and ensure that movement is smooth and noiseless.
A simple drawer runner has two profiles: a drawer (inner) profile that attaches to the side of a drawer box, and a cabinet (outer) profile that attaches to the cabinet’s or application’s inner wall surface, within the drawer opening. Only one of the slide members (drawer) moves when opening a drawer.
A more complex drawer runner structure will include three or four profiles, with an intermediate
(or two) profile(s) located between the cabinet and drawer profiles. Only the drawer and intermediate profiles move; while the cabinet member remains fixed to its location within the cabinet structure.
Drawer Runner Weight Classifications
The load capacity and the type of application determine in which classification of our product program you can find a suitable drawer runner. Determining how much load-capacity you need is key in choosing the right slide.
Thomas Regout International drawer slides’ load capacities fall into three ranges:
- Light Duty Drawer Runners - Support up to 78 kg in weight and are used in domestic applications such as drawers in kitchen furniture
- Medium Duty Drawer Runners - Support between 51 to 99 kg and are used in draws that contain heavier items such as pots and pans
- Heavy-Duty Drawer Runners - Load capacities for some of TRI’s heavy-duty drawer runners can reach up to 2000 kg. Heavy-duty applications include pull-out trays on an emergency or recreational vehicles, ATMs, and utility/service trucks. The TR – 7619 Jumbo is an example of a heavy-duty slide, which has a load rating of up to 310 kg.
To assist you in the process of choosing the right drawer runner, we incorporated a useful tool on our website: the product selector.
Drawer runners can also be classified on how they mount.
Additionally, drawer runners can come in two arrangements: side mount and under mount. Most Thomas Regout International drawer runners are side-mounted, meaning they’re mounted on the side of the drawer and within the cabinet structure. Side mount drawer runners are easy to install, provide good visibility of the drawer contents, and are ideal for use in…
An undermount drawer runner, such as the ADO TR-4522 mounts in a position that allows a specially designed drawer to sit on top of the suspension, unlike a side mount drawer runner. An undermount drawer runner is often used where it’s desirable to conceal the drawer slide components from view or allow the drawer to be slightly wider. Undermount drawer runners are often used in high-end kitchen cabinets as they do not interfere with the look of the cabinet design.
To mount the drawer to the cabinet/ application we can incorporate several fixations into the design of the slide: holes, countersunk holes, press inserts, studs, studs threaded, tabs/ bayonets, slotted strip bracket, spacer bracket, or a drawer carrier.
Drawer Runner Extensions
Thomas Regout International drawer runners come in many lengths. We have stock items available as little as 18 cm to as long as 150 cm. The length refers to the total length of the slide assembly when collapsed in the closed position.
How far a drawer runner extends or moves, is called extension or travel. A simple drawer runner that uses just two members, an inner and an outer, generally provides a 75% extension. That means the moving drawer profile travels at 75%, of the slide’s length. We also call these drawer runners “single extension”. One of our single extension drawer runners is the Junior 1710. This drawer slide is perfect for small retail displays.
Three or four profile drawer slides have two or three moving components, the drawer, and intermediate members. In combination, these members tend to extend either the full (100%) length of the drawer slide assembly or even beyond that. Those that exceed the length are called “over-extension” slides because they travel over 100% and up to 180% of the length of the drawer slide assembly.
Full-extension drawer runners, are useful if you need easy access to contents, as with kitchen utensil drawers, and point of sale trays. Over-travel drawer runners are ideal when additional drawer access is needed, requiring the drawer to be opened beyond the front face of the cabinet.
There are also two-way travel drawer runners, such as the EMS (two way), which can extend the full-length, of the slide, in either direction. These are useful for kitchen islands or entertainment bars, where direct access is needed on both sides of the unit.
To further optimize your drawer runner we offer features and mounting options such as:
Ask yourself the question: do I want to make my drawer removable from the cabinet structure? If the answer is yes, choose a drawer runner with a disconnect feature that lets you separate the drawer profile from the, or intermediate profile, to remove the drawer.
What is the big advantage of a disconnect?
It is for example useful for furniture manufacturers with multiple assembly lines. With a disconnect slide, manufacturers can simply mount the separate profiles in the assembly phases and then join them together in the final stage.
A disconnect feature is not user friendly with heavy-duty applications, because it is impractical to remove a fully loaded drawer. Regardless of whether you use a disconnect feature with light- or medium-duty drawer slide, consider whether you can safely handle the drawer and its contents before disconnecting the members.
Bumper with/ without hold closed
Do you want your drawer to be secured in position? In that case, you may want your drawer slide to include a bumper. There are two types of drawer slide bumpers: bumper with hold closed and bumper without hold closed. This is the standard feature used for the majority of our drawer runners.
A bumper with hold closed has an engagement feature formed on the drawer member and a rubber-like molding secured at the rear of the cabinet member. These two features cooperate to frictionally hold a closed drawer in that position, preventing the drawer from drifting open. You can overcome the detent with a pull on the drawer when opening.
A bumper without hold closed includes cooperating components that hold the drawer slide in the fully extended position, until you are ready to retract the drawer or a working platform, such as a keyboard tray. Deactivating a detent-out slide requires a simple “bump” of the extended unit to release the engagement features before pushing it back inside the cabinet.
There are two types of drawer slide locking features: lock-in or lock-out. Both features include a latching mechanism that secures a drawer open or closed. You can disengage, or unlock, the drawer by pressing a latch or lever (depends on the model). Some slides are just lock-out equipped, while a slide such as the TR 7619 - JUMBO can be equipped with both features, ideal for mobile applications such as emergency vehicles.
A pull-in mechanism actively pulls in the drawer runner for the last few centimeters. It also holds the slide to prevent it from bouncing back as a result of the rebound-forces.
Additionally, drawer runners can come with features that make opening or closing a drawer more convenient. These include:
- Soft-close dampers
Soft-close runners feature a hydraulic cylinder or another mechanism to engage the drawer as it closes. This mechanism dampens the closing motion by pulling the drawer fully closed with a smooth gliding action without needing to apply any excessive force. This soft-close feature prevents slamming and any resulting damage.
Some of our drawer runners are incorporated into several systems such as our Integrated Lock Systems (ISL) and Universal Drawer Locker (UDL).
Choice of Finish
All our drawer runners have standard corrosion resisting zinc plated blue finishing. The material has passed the 120 hours salt spray test (ISO-9227/ ASTM- B 117). Next to the blue finishing, we can also offer black passivation or pre-galvanization.
When you have a special design request, with our R&D department you can co-design a slide exactly the way you want. If you need help to find the perfect drawer runner for you, please use our product selector. If you need further assistance, please contact our sales department or one of our distributors.