How To Choose The Correct Length Full-Extension Drawer Slide

Full extension drawer slides are very popular with cabinet builders and homeowners. This style of slide provides access to all items stored in the drawer by allowing the drawer to extend all the way to the front edge of the cabinet. The most common full-extension slides used in and around homes are generally rated for 100 lbs.

Why is it important to measure accurately?

By taking the time to measure correctly, you get the correct item and do not have to make returns to the store or online merchant. All this takes up valuable time and adds unnecessary cost to your project.

How do I correctly measure my drawer box?

When measuring your drawer, it is best to completely remove it from the cabinet or dresser. Depending on the type of slide you currently have, it may have a release lever or the drawer simply lifts and can be removed for measuring. It usually isn’t necessary to remove the old hardware to get your measurement. To measure the drawer, you take the measurement of only the drawer box. The false front (where the knob or pull attaches to the drawer) is NOT part of the drawer box.

How do I determine my inside cabinet depth?

First, look inside your cabinet for any obstructions, extensions, wooden supports or other structural items that may interfere with the operation of your drawer slides. Full extension slides are side mounted drawer slides. If you are replacing or upgrading existing drawer slides, bear in mind due to the mounting orientation, you may find it difficult to switch to a full extension slide. Measure the inside of the cabinet from inside front to the inside back wall. This will give you your cabinet depth.

Why is clearance important?

The common installation width on full extension slides is 1/2″ per side. If you do not have this clearance, you will not be able to install the slides. To determine your clearance, measure the outside width of the drawer box. Now measure the inside width of the cabinet. For example, if your cabinet is 15″ wide (inside cabinet measurement) and your drawer box is 14″ wide (outside drawer box measurement) you will have the 1/2″ on each side to properly install the slides. There is however, another type of full extension slides with a higher weight rating which have 3/4″ per side installation clearance. I will address that in another blog article.

Selecting your slides!

Now that you have accurately taken your measurements, you can select your drawer slides. If you have the proper clearance with no obstructions to interfere with the function of the slides, all that is left to do is determine what length to order. If your drawer box is 16″ you would order a 16″ drawer slide. If the drawer measurement  is slightly off and is just a tad shorter than the full 16″ (as an example) 15 -3/4″, you would order the next size shorter to ensure the drawer will fully close.