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Replacement Drawer Slides for Dressers And How To Install Them

Updated: October 7, 2022
Replacing drawer slides on a dresser requires understanding drawer slide mounts and features. In this guide learn how to choose new slides plus tips and tools to properly install them.
Replacement Drawer Slides for Dresser
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Replacement Drawer Slides for Dressers And How To Install Them

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 first.

First, as you replace the drawer slides in your dresser you might be able to upgrade the drawer slides to soft close, full extension and improve their operation. To understand if these are an option we’ll take a look at:

  • Types of drawer slides
  • Where the current slide “mounts” (center and side mount are most popular)
  • Replacing wooden slides with ball bearing
  • Tools and tricks to perform the installation

Lastly, manufacturers of drawer slides often use a drawer slide available only to commercial furniture makers. Which may force you to do a little bit of adjustment and replacement with a different brand drawer slide.

Types of Dresser Slides

Center Mount Drawer Slide
Dresser Drawers With Undermount 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

Hickory Hardware Center Mount Dresser Slide

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 and as you choose replacement drawer slides for your dresser looking at side mounts is preferred.. 

But they are economical.

Key features:

  • 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

Liberty Bottom Mount Dresser Slide

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. 

Key features:

  • 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
  • Inexpensive

Standard Side Mount Replacement Drawer Slides

Liberty Side Mount Dresser Slide

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 replacement 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

Vadania Soft Close Side Mount Dresser Slide

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.

Key features:

  • 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

Drawer Slide Jig

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
  • No products found. 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

Center Mount Drawer Slide

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.

Top drawer slide brands for center mounts include Accuride and Knape & Vogt.

Upgrading a Dresser Drawer to a Side Mount Drawer Slide

Side Mount Ball Bearing 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

Bottom Mount Drawer Slide

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

Nylon Roller Dresser Drawer

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

Basic Drawer Slide Guide and Stopper

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

Plastic Drawer Slide Guide

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

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.

Summary

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.

  • About the Author
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( Woodworker )

Eric has been a professional woodworker for over thirty years and has worked in small cabinet shops making everything from kitchen cabinets to hand-made furniture. Now working from a home woodworking shop Eric is sharing his passion for woodworking, tool advice and how-to knowledge from his Minnesota-based woodshop.

4 thoughts on “Replacement Drawer Slides for Dressers And How To Install Them”

  1. Hi I need about 3 like the very image you have pictured sort of an open v shaped plastic guide for an old 1980s dresser

  2. Hi James,

    Without a part number or manufacturer it is very difficult to find a match. There are, fortunately, inexpensive center mount replacement slides you could take a look at. If you have a logo or part # I can take a look.

    Thanks,
    Eric

  3. Hi. I need several of the same V shaped plastic guides. For Drexel dresser draws, the part number is 510.

  4. Hi Scott –

    These are tough to find as Drexel is a high-end furniture maker and has been acquired. Your best bet is to find a dealer and a quick internet search should give you a few numbers.

    Thanks,
    Eric

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