Low profile drawer slides are often used for shallow drawers or pull out shelves where the slide needs to blend in. But unfortunately, there just aren’t a lot of these types of slides on the market.
So in this article we’ll review the best low profile drawer slides on the market and what will work best for your project. While there are just a few slides, the Knape & Vogt 4430 (Amazon) stands out as a high quality slide with advanced push-to-open capability.
What features should you look for in a low profile drawer slide? Here’s a few considerations:
- Less than 1.5″ tall
- Full extension
- Features like self closing and push to open
- Side mount vs. bottom mount
Buying Guide for Low Profile Drawer Slides
When deciding on a low profile drawer slide the first consideration is maximum height of the slide. To illustrate, let’s consider a few popular applications:
- Pencil drawer – for a pencil drawer in a standard desk there is typically 2″ of overall height to fit the slide in. Considering potential need for a rear bracket, a side mount ball bearing like the Accuride 3732 for face frame cabinets is a good choice. Don’t want a cabinet knob? Well, choosing the KV 4430 will give you push to open capability to skip the cabinet knob
- Slide-out shelving – if your application involves a sliding shelf there are a few options. When I’ve built these you can either go with the bottom-mount Prime-Line R 7210 and keep a 3/4″ thick shelf. Or, build-up the sides of the shelf to 1-1/2″ thick and go with the Accuride 3732.
- Keyboard tray – while you can use any of these slides, my recommendation is investing in a specialty built keyboard tray.
Considerations for face frame vs. frameless cabinets
First, if you are updating or replacing slides let’s understand the differences in construction:
- Face frame cabinets have a picture-like frame that sits on the face of the cabinet
- Frameless cabinets are simpler in design and have a 3/4″ edge. Doors and drawers can overlay the edge or fit inside.
Another twist on frameless cabinets is fitting gaps under a desk where there is no frame.
So why is this important? Well, there are features of drawer slides that depend on the cabinet construction. Let’s take a look at those next.
Push to Open Low Profile Drawer Slides
While soft closing drawer slides have been the focal features in drawer slides, the little-known push to open found in the KV 4430 is more than just a gadget.
So what is push to open? Built-in to the drawer is a spring mechanism with a release. When the drawer is pushed back the spring is engaged and gently shoves the drawer open.
A few considerations:
- This feature only works on frameless applications
- Smaller drawers with limited weight work best to enable the springs to work
- No knob is required to pull the drawer open. And this is great for applications with visual simplicity or where a drawer knob (like a desk) would be in the way.
When do you want to avoid a push to open low profile drawer slide? If you are installing knobs or handles then this feature invites touching the drawer face or an accidental lean to open to the drawer.
Must Have Features When Available
The #1 feature you want to consider is a full extension drawer slide. While the low-cost nylon roller slides like the Prime-Line are cost attractive they only open 3/4 of the way.
For this reason I prefer a ball bearing side mount like the Accuride or Knape & Vogt.
What About Soft Closing?
Unless you have the drawer height to use the Blum Tandem with Blumotion there isn’t room in a traditional low profile drawer slide to fit the soft close mechanisms.
How much room does the Blum Tandem require?
Not a lot, but you loose roughly 3/4″ of the inside drawer height to the under mount design of this slide. So if soft closing is a priority and you have a drawer over 2″ tall (face frame or frameless) then go with the Blums. And best of all they disappear when installed so you see just the drawer side and no hardware.
Frequently Asked Questions for Low Profile Drawer Slides
What is a low profile drawer slide?
A low profile drawer slide features a compact height when compared to traditional drawer slides. For example, a standard ball bearing side mount drawer slide is close to 2″ in height. But a low profile drawer slide is under 1.5″ and allows for the slide to be used on low clearance pencil drawers and pull-out shelving.
Are low profile drawer slides available with soft closing?
For side mount drawer slides with a low profile classification do not have soft closing. Due to the space required to mount the soft closing mechanisms the compact design does not allow for soft close capability.
Can I use an under mount drawer slide in place of a low profile drawer slide?
Yes – if you have 2″ of overall drawer height an under mount design like the Blum Tandem will work in place of a side mount low profile slide.
What is the best low profile drawer slide?
While there is no single answer to this question as each application is unique, there are slides by top manufacturers in this review that are readily available for face frame and frameless applications.
Low Profile Drawer Slides
Top 3 Low Profile Drawer Slides:
- Knape and Vogt 4430 — Editor Choice
- Accuride 3732 — Highest Quality
- Prime-Line — Best Value
While similar to other drawer slides, the low profile soft close drawer slides are unique in their slimmed-down height. As with other drawer slides you get what you paid for, and going cheap will typically not offer the best long-term performance.