Have you ever tried to get something in the back of a cabinet drawer only to become frustrated that it would only come out so far?  You’re left rummaging around the contents or worse yet, pulling items out in the hopes that what you’re looking really is in THAT drawer.  If so, then you have first-hand experience with the standard kitchen cabinet drawer, known as a ¾ extension drawer.

Selecting beautiful, well-made cabinet drawers is only half the challenge.  Your designer will also talk to you about drawer functionality and help you make decisions on the type of drawer glides to select.  Generally, you will have a couple of options based on where the glides are mounted and how far the drawers will extend.

Side-Mount Drawer Glides

Side-mount drawer glides are standard on many inexpensive cabinet lines.  These drawers glides are functional, but generally provide drawer motion that can be a little jerky and noisier than under-mount glides.  Drawers mounted with side-mount glides are generally only offered in ¾ extension, meaning the back section of the drawer will remain “hidden” under the countertop and be difficult to access.  These drawers will also generally be rated for less weight than under-mount glides, although this is rarely an issue in most kitchens.

17-side-mount-drawer-glide  17.1-under-mount-drawer

Under-Mount Drawer Glides

Under-mount drawer glides represent a significant upgrade from side-mount glides and are a standard feature on many mid-range, and most high-end, cabinet lines.  They are also available as an upgrade option for many cabinet lines where side-mount glides are standard.  Under-mount glides tend to be quieter and smoother than their side-mount counterparts, and can generally hold more weight.  A big selling point of under-mount glides is the availability of optional features, including:

  • Full-Extension Drawers – When fully opened, the back of the drawer extends beyond the counter, allowing full access to the drawer and its contents.
  • Soft-Close Drawers – A well-made soft-close drawer cannot be slammed, great for a household with small children.  A special mechanism within the under-mount glide causes the drawer to slow to a whisper-quiet close under any conditions.  This popular upgrade has become a standard feature with some mid-level cabinet lines in recent years.