My cabinetmaking career started with installing epoxy slides in face frame cabinets using plastic drawer slide brackets.
Thousands of them, in fact.
But unfortunately my first experience with ball bearing slides was painful. Because I didn’t realize ball bearing drawer slide brackets existed I tried custom making shims to mount the slides to the cabinet sidewalls.
And it was a mess.
After breaking one slide I was stuck with a constant shim-game to install the slides correctly.
But hey, woodworking is learning so I quickly found I needed a bracket.
In fact, there are four types of brackets:
- First, epoxy bottom mount drawer slide brackets are very popular
- Side mount ball bearing drawer slide brackets
- Then for undermounts, another style of rear slide bracket
- Finally, center mount drawer guides
What is a Drawer Slide Bracket?
A drawer slide bracket is a specialty bracket designed to support the rear of the drawer slide and the drawer. This slide is required in face frame cabinetry to allow the drawer slide to be suspended. Due to the variations in drawer slide types there are brackets for bottom mount, undermount and sidemount drawer slides.
However, while top mount slides slides are supported by brackets, the brackets are included with each slide.
Lastly, center mount drawer slides use a variation of a bracket called a drawer slide guide.
Understanding Types of Drawer Slides
Before we match your drawer slide to drawer mounting brackets let’s first visit the five different types of drawer slides.
And here they are:
- Bottom mount slides
- Undermount slides
- Center mount slides
- Side mount slides
- Top mount slides
What about the variations of self closing, soft closing and so on? To list the variety of features and load limits of slides would take too long.
And fortunately, for drawer slide brackets, those features won’t typically impact your choice of bracket.
Drawer Slide Brackets
So when will you need drawer slide brackets?
First, in a frameless cabinet you won’t need a bracket. Because, by design, the slides will attach through holes in the slide sidewall directly to the cabinet.
But for a face frame cabinet the only screw you’ll have available is the first screw in the frame. And that leaves left-to-right and up-and-down alignment as a challenge.
And just what a drawer slide bracket was made for.
1. Bottom Mount Drawer Slide Brackets
So let’s start with one of the most popular styles of drawer slide: the bottom mount.
While it’s name implies it’s mounted on the bottom (and you won’t see it), this style of drawer slide is *screwed* to the bottom of the drawer side.
But has a piece of the drawer side slide and the cabinet-mounted side visible.
Key features of bottom mount drawer slide brackets:
- Large slotted holes allow for easy adjustment (up/down, left/right)
- Drawer slides fit firmly in the sockets
- And, most importantly, the drawer can “slide” past the start of the bracket.
When wouldn’t you use a bottom mount bracket? On a frameless cabinet.
Almost every manufacturer of bottom mount drawer slides offers a rear mounting bracket.
Here’s some of the more popular:
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Best Bottom Mount Drawer Slide
Haven’t purchased your drawer slides yet?
Or looking for a replacement slide?
When it comes to bottom mount slides one of the industry leaders is Prime-Line.
2. Undermount Drawer Slide Brackets
First, if you haven’t used an undermount drawer slide they are fantastic.
Not only do they disappear when installed, but a slide like the Blum TANDEM with BluMotion has smooth soft closing that beats any of the competing slides.
Key features of undermount drawer slide brackets:
- Typically designed in an “L” shape to be inserted into mounting tabs on the undermount drawer slides
- Slotted holes allow for easy adjustment (up/down, left/right)
- Usually bundled with the slides
Again, similar to the bottom mount drawer slide, this bracket is only needed for face frame cabinets.
3. Side Mount Drawer Slide Brackets
Remember my first attempt at installing side mount ball bearing drawer slides?
It wasn’t a good experience.
But with a rear mount bracket that installation would have went as smooth as for a bottom mount drawer slide installation.
Key features of side mount drawer slide brackets:
- The sleeve fits most standard sized and thickness side mount slides (1/2″ x 1-3/4″)
- Firm fit to keep the slide upright during operation
- Installed with 2-3 screws to the rear of the cabinet
4. Center Mount Drawer Guides
Millions of dressers are operated with center mount drawer slides.
While some are wood, others are metal.
Key features of side mount drawer slide brackets:
- For center mount slides the job of the guide is to keep the drawer running straight
- It also prevents the drawer from tipping out and falling on the floor by acting as a stop
Frequently Asked Questions on Drawer Slide Brackets
Do I need a drawer slide bracket for frameless cabinets?
A drawer slide bracket is not needed for frameless cabinets. Due to the design of the bracket it requires space on the cabinet side of the drawer slide, and with a frameless cabinet the drawer slides are attached directly to the cabinet.
How do you attach drawer slides?
Drawer slides are attached to the cabinet sides (required) and back (face frame cabinets) using screws and drawer slide brackets. For frameless cabinets the drawer slides are attached directly to the cabinet. However, with face frame cabinets the slides are connected to the cabinet face frame and the rear of the cabinet using drawer slide brackets.
What screws to use for drawer slides?
My recommendation is to use a #8 screw that is 1/2″ in length for use on drawer slides. Additionally, for plywood I like to use an aggressive thread design to avoid stripping. However, in MDF / melamine cabinets a “euro screw” is best to avoid stripping during installation and provide the best hold.