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A drawer /drɔːr/ (About this soundlisten) DROR is a box-shaped container inside a piece of furniture that can be pulled out horizontally to access its contents. Drawers are built into numerous types of furniture, including cabinets, chests of drawers (bureaus), desks, and the like.

A white wooden drawer
Artist's illustration of a drawer box


Drawers can be built in various ways using a variety of materials, including wood, various wood composites, sheet metal, and plastic.

Wooden drawers are often designed so that the front face is complete and the end grain from the side pieces does not show. The corners may be dovetailed for additional strength or for aesthetics,[1] and a half-blind dovetail joint may be used for the front corners to hide the joint. To attach the bottom piece of the drawer, a groove may be cut in the four vertical pieces to insert the bottom of the drawer.

Handles and locksEdit

One or two handles or drawer pulls are commonly attached to the front face of the drawer to facilitate pulling it out from its enclosure. In some cases, drawers may have another means by which to pull it, including holes cut in the front face or a hollowed-out area to insert the fingers on the bottom side of its front.

Some drawers can be locked, notably in filing cabinet and desk drawers.


Most older or inexpensive pieces of furniture and cabinets use wooden sliders, on which the drawer slides. Wood slides can be lubricated with paraffin wax. Newer furniture and cabinets may use plastic friction slides, or more elaborate bearings slides, which provide smoother operation with less binding. There are different types of bearing slides, such as linear ball-bearing slides, roller bearing slides, progressive action slides. Modern drawer slides are usually categorized by how they are mounted: center mount, side mount, bottom mount and European mount.[clarification needed] Drawer slides may be intended for light to heavy use and may have load ratings ranging from 34–204 kilograms (75–450 lb); 45 kilograms (100 lb) is considered typical.[citation needed]

Drawer slides often have a mechanism to keep the drawer from accidentally being pulled fully from its enclosure.[2]

With the simplest kinds of mounting, the drawer cannot be pulled out sufficiently to see the full interior, without pulling the drawer completely out of the cabinet, often leading to the contents being dumped on the floor.[3][4] There are at least two ways to make the full interior of a drawer visible, while still being completely supported by the cabinet. One way places the back of the drawer such that it is fully visible when the drawer hits the stop -- the interior of such a drawer is much shorter than the sides of the drawer.[3] That visible back of the drawer may be a false back that conceals a secret hiding place behind it.[5] Another way uses full extension drawers, which have full-extension drawer slides, also called telescoping slides, a kind of linear-motion bearing § Compound slides that support the drawer even when the drawer is pulled entirely out of the cabinet.[4][6][7][8]

Drawer slidesEdit

Closeup photo of drawer slides mounted in a drawer.

A drawer slide or drawer runner is the part of a drawer which allows the sliding movement. There are various types of drawer slide mechanisms in the market to apply for different usages, price points and features.


Examples of uses are in home furniture hardware, office appliances, and industrial equipment, including kitchen cabinets, oven slides, rails for sliding doors, fridge slides (used for coolers, etc.

Performance metricsEdit

A good slide rail defined by smoothness, tight tolerance, and loading capacity.[9] The smoothness and loading capacity must be considered when one choose these furniture fittings.[10]

Types by slide mechanismEdit

Wooden slides
The drawer rests directly on the cabinet.
Wheel drawer slide
A Wheel drawer or roller runner slide is a simple mechanism able to handle heavy loading. However, the drawer can not be drawn out fully during normal operation, except when actually taking the drawer completely out. Sometimes called "European style" drawer slides.
Ball bearing slides
Ball bearing or steel ball slides have ball bearings to make the drawers slide easier
Telescoping ball bearing drawer slides
Telescopic channel slides allow for full extension of the drawer during normal use, and therefore better access to the space inside the drawer. They are manufactured using a drawer slides roll forming machine, and consist of outer, middle and inner rails. Can be made with a built-in with soft close mechanism. These are also called 3-section slides, as opposed to 2-section ball bearing slides which can not be opened fully.

Types by mounting or placementEdit

Side mounted slide
Most drawer slides are side mounted, which usually leads to them being visible from the side or above when the drawer is opened. Concealed slides are generally mounted on the underside of the drawer, and therefore are not visible from either the side or from above when the drawer is opened:
Under mounted slide
[11][12] Bottom mounted slides are mounted out to the sides on the bottom of the drawer (as opposed up on the sides of the drawer), and are therefore invisible from the side or from above when opening the drawer. If the under mounted slide is of the ball bearing drawer slide type they can be made with built-in soft close. Due to the more complex form factor, under mounted slides usually have a higher cost than side mounted slides.
Center mounted slide
Center mounted slides are mounted near the bottom center of the drawer (as opposed to near the sides of the drawer), and are therefore also usually invisible from the side or from above when opening the drawer. A drawback is that they often only allow for light loading compared to other types.[citation needed]

Special featuresEdit

Soft close is a feature which brakes the drawer velocity in the last part of closing, and thereafter closes it self


See also: Guide rail and Linear-motion bearing

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jerzy Smardzewski Furniture Design, p. 67, at Google Books
  2. ^ Drawer slides 101 What is a drawer slide
  3. ^ a b Alvan C. Nye. "Notes on Furniture Draughting". "American Architect and Architecture, Volume 46". 1894. p. 58.
  4. ^ a b Alvan Crocker Nye. "Furniture Designing and Draughting". 1907. p. 85.
  5. ^ Carol Beronich. "Built-In Secret Spaces". 2019.
  6. ^ Carol Schaake et al. "Residential Remodeling and Universal Design". 1996. p. 38.
  7. ^ "The Accessible Housing Design File". 1991. p. 207.
  8. ^ Jeanne Huber. "Complete Home Storage". 2007. p. 65
  9. ^ "Drawer slide Roll Forming machine". Chin Minn. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Soft Closing Drawer Slides Manufacturing Machine, Concealed Slide". Jack Aiva. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  11. ^ Cabrera, Heilyn (2017), Drawer slide types, Hunker
  12. ^ Slide Rail, Shelves that Slide, 2017