Finding the right replacement drawer slides for dressers isn’t as simple as it might seem. With side mounts, bottom mounts and center mounts to consider there are a few basics to understand.
And, not to mention, ensuring the drawer front alignment isn’t altered such that more work than needed is required.
Fortunately, there are dozens of drawer slides that make for great replacement slides. Featuring everything from full extension to smooth operating soft close there is a drawer slide for just about every application, including:
- CENTERMOUNT: Hickory Hardware Center Mount Slide is an economical replacement for many wood or older metal drawer slides.
- SOFT CLOSING: Vadania Side Mount Soft Close are a stylish black slide with a standard 1/2-inch clearance (per side). And, with integrated dampers, will not slam.
- BOTTOM MOUNT: Liberty Epoxy Slides feature a simple installation, standard clearance and with nylon rollers are an upgrade to old metal or wood slides.
In this guide learn not only what the right slides are for replacing your current dresser drawers are, but also how to properly install them.
Types of Dresser Slides
As you may know, a lot of dresser drawers are built with center-mount drawer slides that allow for less cost in drawers that aren’t opened frequently.
While top dresser manufacturers like Stickley will use higher end slides (undermount are best), other dressers may even be using wooden slides with plastic catches.
Not sure what these “mounts” are all about and why they matter to dresser drawer replacements? Keep reading and we’ll review the importance. And, how you can not just replace but upgrade your drawers.
Center Mount Dresser Drawer Slides
When you open your dresser drawer and can’t see the drawer slides there is a really good chance your slides are a center mount design. These slides, while common, are not the best performing.
But they are economical.
- Single slide mounted in the center bottom of the drawer
- The drawer edges run on glides installed on each side of the drawer frame
- Typically are partial opening (3/4 travel) and don’t allow for access to the back of the drawer
Bottom Mount Dresser Drawer Slides
Odds are very good you’ve opened a drawer and noticed a bottom mount drawer slide. While these drawer slides are as common as any other type of dresser drawer slide, they are not the best performing.
- Are limited to partially opening (3/4 travel)
- Lower weight limits
- Self closing design that uses gravity on the final length of travel to keep drawer shut
- Easy to install
Standard Side Mount Drawer Slides
Almost all drawer slides in newer kitchens have moved to either a side mount drawer slide or premium undermount slide.
And, for dressers, there is no reason not to use this type of drawer slide as it features a standard 1/2″ of side clearance (per side) with functions like:
- Full extension to reach the back of the drawer
- Heavy duty weight limits
- Self closing with rubber stops
Soft Close Side Mount Drawer Slides for Dressers
Without altering the construction of your drawer, the top of the line replacement drawer slides for dressers is the soft close side mount slide.
Since these drawer slides won’t slam, open quietly and stay closed they offer a level of performance that other drawer slides can’t match.
- Large dampers will stop the dresser drawer from slamming
- Dual springs on top slides will pull even heavy drawer shut the last few inches
- Full extension
- Weight capacities up to 100-pounds
Tools Needed to Replace Drawer Slides
Easily one of the most steps in drawer slide replacement is aligning the new drawer slides for proper drawer function.
Fortunately, there are three things every drawer installation (new or replacement) can use to speed the process and reduce frustration:
- Drawer slide jigs can be used to properly align the slide to a perfect 90-degrees from the face of the cabinet
- Rear mount brackets can be used on face frame dressers to support the rear of side and bottom mount slides (pair them appropriately with your slide type).
- Rok #8 screws will hold the bracket or drawer slide firm for years of abuse.
Center Mount Replacement Dresser Slides
For center mount drawer slides, as pictured above, there are generally two options when replacing the slide:
- Replace with a similar thickness metal slide
- Or, upgrade to a side mount soft close slide
The determining factor? Amount of space on each side of the drawer side.
Replacing A Center Mount With Another Center Mount Drawer Slide
The easiest replacement drawer for a center mount drawer slide is simply another drawer slide. Since the drawer was built for this style of slide the work will primarily be to just ensure the height of the new slide matches the old.
Why does height matter? Well, consider:
- The drawer tracks may need to be adjusted.
- Alignment of the dresser drawer front must be maintained
- Clearance to ensure the drawer doesn’t rub the top of the frame
Since there is no getting around need for a replacement, its easiest just to plan some minor time adjusting the slides. And, using shims of thin wood or speed shims plan some tweaking time.
Upgrading a Dresser Drawer to a Side Mount Drawer Slide
The best upgrade for any drawer slide replacement is to go with a soft closing side mount slide. And, for dresser drawers, this simple slide is easy to install and requires just 1/2-inch of clearance on each side of the drawer.
So, with that, the only trick is to measure that the width of the drawer box is exactly 1-inch less than the width of the frame.
Replacing Bottom Mount Slides Dress Slides
If your drawer doesn’t have a concealed drawer slide then odds are good there are two white epoxy bottom drawer slides powering the drawer.
While extremely durable with a simple design and nylon rollers, eventually these slides will perform less optimally. Or, for many, they lack a key feature: soft closing.
The good news is this style of drawer slide can be easily replaced:
- Replacement bottom mount drawer slides are readily available in just about any length.
- Or, since bottom mounds are almost universally 1/2″ side clearance slides a soft close slide replacement is easily done.
Undermount Drawer Slide Replacement For Dressers
While uncommon, one of the unique drawer slides you may encounter in a dresser is an epoxy undermount or metal undermount slide.
Generally, a metal undermount slide if properly constructed will last for decades.
But, like bottom mount slides, an epoxy slide on a nylon drawer will eventually stop working as intended. For these types of slides it is usually best to look for a manufacturer part and look for an exact replacement slide.
The next best bet? Move to a side mount slide and adjust the cabinet frame thickness as needed.
Old Style Drawer Slides
For older furniture that wasn’t made with precision drawer slides you’ll often find a simple wood track was used to keep the drawer in-line.
And, paired with this track, a plastic stopper that simply hits the bottom underside of the drawer to prevent it from falling out.
So can you replace this slide? In most cases certainly, but with a little surgery to the dresser in a tight space.
Plastic Drawer Slide REplacement Parts
Replacing your drawer slides doesn’t necessarily mean replacing an entire slide. Instead, for drawers that have plastic guides and stoppers, just replacing the plastic parts can upgrade a drawer that was sticking or just not operating smoothly.
The solution? With most dresser manufacturers having a unique supply for their parts check for markings or names and lookup the parts online.
But if the parts aren’t available then start measuring the drawer dimensions to see what your replacement drawer slide options are.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of slides do you use for dresser drawers?
The best types of drawer slides for a dresser are a full extension side mount or undermount drawer slide. While side mount drawer slides are more economical and install easier, an undermount drawer slide is invisible once installed and generally operate better.
Can you replace wooden drawer slides?
Wooden drawer slides can be replaced with either a similar length center mount drawer slide or a side mount slide. Since spacing is important, the best way to determine what replacement you need is to measure the width of the drawer opening. If it is 1-inch total, then a side mount slide is a great fit.
How do I know what size drawer slide I need?
There are two dimensions to drawer slides when determining what size is needed. First, the length of the drawer slide must be long enough to cover the full drawer depth – but not long enough that it won’t fit inside the dresser. Second, for drawer slides that mount on the side of the drawer a 1/2″ of clearance on each drawer side is typically required.
As we’ve reviewed, replacement drawer slides for dressers are readily available in just about any length and style. And with enhanced performance options from soft closing drawer slides or upgraded epoxy slides the cost and time investment can improve your project as well.