Home » Hardware » Drawer Slides » Upgrade Existing Drawers With a Soft Close Drawer Adapter
When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Disclaimers.

Upgrade Existing Drawers With a Soft Close Drawer Adapter

Drawer slides are hard to work with. Not only are they in a hard to reach spot, but installing them perfectly is difficult. Which makes a soft close drawer adapter an alternative for anyone looking to upgrade their drawers from slamming “self close” slides.

Fortunately, for the millions of kitchens and cabinets with epoxy “bottom mount” drawer slides there are solutions. 

In this guide learn what adapters are available and the steps to install them.

How to Install a Soft Close Drawer Adapter

Step 1: Verify Slide Compatibility

Choosing Upgrade Drawer Slides

Most soft close drawer adapters will only work with bottom mount (white, in picture above) or side mount drawer slides. In this step, take a look at your drawer slides and see if they match this style.

If your slides are top mounted or undermount there are other options and check here for our guide to the best soft close drawer slides.

Step 2: Order Soft Close Drawer Adapters

Once you’ve determined compatibility, ordering the adapter is easy: simply count the number of drawers you want to add soft closing to and order.

Step 3: Prepare a Spot to Attach the Adapter

This step is optional if you have “frameless” cabinets. Because frameless cabinets have drawer slides attached directly to the cabinet side you’ll have a place to mount the adapter. Skip to the next step if this is your style of kitchen.

However, if you have face frame cabinets you’ll need a place to mount the adapter.

While your first instinct might be to cut a custom width board and attach to the side of the cabinet I have a trick. Rather than fight the table saw simply make a 1/2″ piece of plywood cut to 3″ x 18″ (for a standard kitchen). Then using a few extra 1/2″ screws attach this plywood directly to the epoxy guide slide using the existing screw holes.

attaching soft close drawer adapter block to guide slide

For two tricks in one step, if you aren’t a woodworker with spare lumber don’t despair. Just order pre-finished drawer side stock and cut it to length.

Step 4: Attach the Adapter to the Cabinet (or Slide)

screw soft close drawer adapter to cabinet side

If you aren’t familiar with epoxy slides there is one thing you’ll need to know. And that is the right hand slide is typically the “guide slide”.

What’s a guide slide? Well, it’s the slide that has a lip that keeps the epoxy slide wheel in a tight line. And this is what makes epoxy slides easy to install as the other (left) side allows the slide wheel room to roam.

Why am I explaining this? Because you need to attach the soft close drawer adapter to the guide slide side. Or risk a headache later with the mechanism failing (it’s happened to me).

Step 5: Attach the Catch to the Drawer

attach soft close drawer adapter to side of drawer

I said 3 minutes per drawer and this is already step 5. So, let’s finish the installation with a few more screws.

First, make sure the adapters “catch” is all the way forward. Then install the drawer and rest the catch on the soft close adapter and find the back “trigger”. Now lightly hold the catch in place, keeping it level, and draw a very thin pencil line on the top edge.

Lastly, pull the drawer out a bit and screw the catch onto the drawer about 1/16″ of an inch above your reference line. Doing this will ensure your catch doesn’t rub on the adapter (you’ll hear it if it does). Start with two screws in the vertical slots to allow for adjustment. Finally when you’re happy everything is working install the third lock screw as show in the picture above.

That’s it! Just close the drawer and watch it self close.

Tip: Go ahead and give the wheels of the epoxy slides a shot of silicone spray to quieten them and make the drawers run smoother.

Frequently Asked Questions for a Soft Close Drawer Adapter

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a soft close drawer adapter?​

What is a soft close drawer adapter? An adapter for a soft close feature works with the original slide and uses the same mechanism as a traditional soft close drawer slide. When the drawer is almost closed the adapter grabs the drawer and slowly pulls it shut. And this eliminates slamming found with traditional drawers.

What are the drawbacks to a soft close adapter?​

After installing these on a few of my cabinets the biggest drawback is it takes a little extra force to initially open the drawer. And, while I’ve built and used drawers with drawer slides like Blum, the soft close mechanism works well in comparison.

But one key: the adapter *has* to be installed on the guide slide of an epoxy slide drawer. Otherwise the catch can fail.

Can I add soft close to existing drawers?​

You can add soft close to existing drawers using an adapter specially made for this purpose. By using a standard 1/2″ clearance an adapter will work with the existing slide to catch and close a drawer. While these adapters can work with ball bearing slides, they work best with the epoxy drawer slides used on millions of cabinets and furniture.

What is the best soft close drawer slide?​

After twenty years of woodworking my recommendation for the best soft close drawer slide is the Blum BLUMOTION. Due to their heavy duty pistons and mechanism for soft close they open easy and shut extremely smooth. However they only work for new drawers due to special side clearance requirements. But, there are a number of side mounts that will work for existing 1/2″ side clearances. Learn more in our guide to the best soft close drawer slides.

How does soft close drawers work?​

Soft close drawers work through use of compression mechanisms and springs that will catch a drawer in its last 1-2″ of travel. By closing the drawer with a reasonable force the slide will catch the moving drawer and slowly pull it shut – thus preventing the slam common with slides.

Is a soft close drawer adapter the same as a soft close drawer damper?

Yes – both are designed to catch cabinet drawers and slow the close during the final 1-2″ of drawer slide travel.

 

Summary

It really is possible to install a soft close drawer adapter in just a few minutes. But if you don’t have bottom mount slides, or want to upgrade to other drawer slides then you’ll want to invest in replacement drawer slides.

Bestseller No. 1
10-Pack Rok Hardware Soft Close for Wood...
1,146 Reviews
10-Pack Rok Hardware Soft Close for Wood...
  • GENTLE CLOSING: This soft close adapter guarantees...
  • UPGRADE MADE EASY: Say goodbye to slamming cabinet...
  • INTUITIVE MOUNTING: You will never go wrong...
  • DIY TOP CHOICE: Our soft-close device for drawers...
  • COMPATIBLE WITH: Best used with any wood or...
Bestseller No. 2
Rok Hardware 25 Pack Soft Close Damper for Cabinet...
3,179 Reviews
Rok Hardware 25 Pack Soft Close Damper for Cabinet...
  • FUNCTION: Instantly allows cabinet doors to close...
  • MUST HAVE: Works for face frame cabinets on all...
  • STYLISH: Nice compact design with a polished...
  • INSTALLATION: Easy to mount in the corner of the...
  • SPECIFICATIONS: Material: Plastic | Finish:...
Bestseller No. 3
1 Pair (2 Pack) homdiy Soft Close Adapter for...
1 Reviews
1 Pair (2 Pack) homdiy Soft Close Adapter for...
  • Soft Close Drawer Get: homdiy soft close adapter...
  • Simple Product&Easy Installation: our soft close...
  • Suitable for: The soft close device best work with...
  • What you get: You will get 1 pair (2 pack) soft...
  • Perfect After-Sale Service: Homdiy - A...
Bestseller No. 4
Rok Hardware 10 Pack Soft Close Damper for Cabinet...
2,225 Reviews
Rok Hardware 10 Pack Soft Close Damper for Cabinet...
  • FUNCTION: Instantly allows cabinet doors to close...
  • MUST HAVE: Works for face frame cabinets on all...
  • STYLISH: Nice compact design with a polished...
  • INSTALLATION: Easy to mount in the corner of the...
  • SPECIFICATIONS: Material: Plastic | Finish:...
Bestseller No. 5
2-Pack SoftClose for Metal Drawers/Soft Close...
110 Reviews
2-Pack SoftClose for Metal Drawers/Soft Close...
  • Never hear the sound of a slamming cabinet drawer...
  • Now you can add the gentle soft-closing feature to...
  • Easy installation without measuring
  • Requires minimum 1/2 inch side clearance and a 9...
  • 2-3/16 inch + height of drawer slide for minimum...

Last update on 2022-11-22 at 21:44 / Images from Amazon

  • About the Author
  • Latest Posts
( 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 “Upgrade Existing Drawers With a Soft Close Drawer Adapter”

  1. The article references a bottom mount drawer -“topping your drawers from slamming doesn’t always require replacing the slides. With a soft close drawer adapter and a few tips from this article you can upgrade any bottom mount drawer in minutes.” However, your pictures and steps appear to be for a side mount drawer.

    Do you know of a solution for a bottom mount? Thx!

  2. Hi Jim,

    Drawer mounts are confusing! The pictures are of a bottom mount. Bottom mounts have one piece on the side of the cabinet, and the other piece on the bottom of the drawer.

    The Rok adapters on this page are one of the few available adapters and work with the slides shown.

    Eric

  3. Great Explanation. The problem with undermount slides is their is not 1/2″ of space at the side of the drawer. Usually 3/8″

  4. Tim – appreciated and agree undermounts require a special drawer build. Both the ~3/8″ at the side plus the drawer bottom has to be specially designed and drawer side thickness is a consideration.

    Thanks,
    Eric

Leave a Comment

Need Wood?

Subscribe for a FREE directory to 300+ hand-selected local and online hardwood retailers.

Clear Wood Finish Cutting Board

The Best Clear Coat for Wood Projects

Choosing the best clear wood finish for your project can be a difficult choice. While some of the best clear coats are designed to not yellow the wood, others protect against water damage and still others are free of harmful VOC’s

Read More »
Best Cabinet Door Damper for Soft Closing Door

How To Add Cabinet Door Dampers For Soft Closing Doors

Cabinet door dampers are best way to have soft close doors without replacing the hinges. Did you know dampers are just as good as soft close hinges at closing a cabinet door? Or, that brand matters and there is (in my opinion) only ONE brand to use? Or that they install with one screw in just seconds? In this article learn what the best cabinet door dampers are and how to install them.

Read More »

Disclaimer: DIY projects can be dangerous, hire a professional (link to Home Advisor) if unsure.