Heavy duty drawer slide vs standard: Pros and cons

Heavy duty drawer slides – what you need to know

Whether you’re committing to a do-it-yourself vehicle fit-out project or simply shopping around for the right drawer slide for your project, it’s important to know what heavy duty drawer slides are. 

Fortunately, with online retailers like Trailer Parts Direct, finding the right slide for your particular requirements is easy. Not only are there a range of products and specifications available, but the drawer slides can even be customised to suit whatever you need.

To help guide you on the use and differences between drawer slides, we’ve put together this handy article. 

Standard vs heavy duty drawer slides


A drawer slide simply refers to the mechanism that allows a draw to slide easily from its stowed away position into an open position. Drawer slides can be made with many different features, such as push-to-open functionality or with accompanying levers or handles. They also range in size, weight bearing capacity and material, often with stainless steel drawer slides and aluminum being the two options. 

When it comes to standard drawer slides, the weight rating is often calculated based on a 500mm square drawer. 

Heavy duty drawer slides

As the name would suggest, heavy duty drawer slides are designed to be more hard wearing and robust. This is to ensure that they can cope with not just heavier loads but also increased use and activity. 

In many ways, these slides operate, look and are installed in much the same way as standard drawer slides. They may be manufactured differently or be larger, but are mostly similar in material (often stainless steel), size availability and most other specifications.

One benefit of heavy duty slides is its full extension function regardless of length. This is a huge benefit for use in caravans, canopies and camper trailers. It means that you’re able to more easily access the entire space your drawer offers without compromising the integrity of the actual slide due to the weight of its contents. 

Features and differences in size, weight and length

When you compare standard and heavy duty drawer slides, the length, extension capacity and carrying capacity can all vary.

Standard drawer slides come in lengths ranging from 250 millimetres all the way to 700 millimetres, with every interval size of 50 millimetres available. Fortunately, Trailer Parts Direct’s standard slides also offer full length extension as well as an impressive weight carrying capacity of 45 kilograms.

When you compare this to the heavy duty drawer slides, you’ll see a distinct difference. With lengths of heavy duty models varying from as short as 356 millimetres to as long as 2007 millimetres, there are plenty of options. Being heavy duty, allows these slides to be manufactured longer without losing structural or functional integrity.

Full extension is still on offer with even the longest of these slides but there is, thanks to physics, a payoff on the carrying capacity. All heavy duty drawer slides offer a weight carrying capacity of a whopping 227 kilograms at and below the length of 763 millimetres. Once you go longer than that, the carrying capacity incrementally decreases proportionally. 

When to use standard drawer slides?

Standard drawer slides are perfect for use when the objects and contents that you want to store inside the drawers are neither too large nor too heavy.

If you’re thinking about a caravan application, this could include kitchen cutlery drawers, some dish storage, slide out kitchen units and other small utility tool drawers.

When to use heavy drawer slides?

Heavy drawer slides are, as the name suggests, perfect for use when storing away heavy objects and tools. From worker tools to shovels, barbeques, fridges and just about anything else that’s either heavy or big, heavy drawer slides are the way to go. 

Other different types of drawer slides

In essence, a drawer slide refers to a specific mechanism of motion that allows a drawer to be opened and closed easily. Throughout homes, offices, industrial applications, warehouses and vehicles drawer slides are used widely. There are however, different types of drawer slides other than just standard and heavy duty. 

Base Mount Drawer Runners

Base mount drawer runners are installed underneath the drawer. In other words, the drawers slide over the slide runners whenever you push or pull it to open. The alternative to base mounted runners are side mounted runners. The preferable style will mostly depend on the specific application–and our team is always here to help if you need–but one big advantage of base mount drawer runners is that they do not collect dust like side runners even when the drawer is open. 

Locking Drawer Runners

Locking drawer runners are a handy mechanism for ensuring easy access and safety when trying to get into your caravan or trailer drawer. Locking runners function by keeping the drawer in the open position or closed position unless the unlocking mechanism is engaged. When you’re out on a work site or camping on uneven or hilly terrain, the slopes can often cause non-locking drawer runners to release the drawer or close it. This can pose both a safety concern and be frustrating to use.

Non–Locking Drawer Runners

Non-locking drawer runners operate in the same way as standard and locking runners, only they do not include a locking mechanism. There can be a few reasons why the locking function is unnecessary and when you would prefer the ease of a slide drawer that doesn’t need a locking mechanism to operate. 

Roller Slides

A popular version of slide drawer is the roller (or rolling) slides. These models are made of two distinct parts: the cabinet member and the drawer member. Each of these components are fabricated with an independent roller. So when they are put together, the roller of the one component will fit into the groove of the other component and vice versa. When you slide the drawer open, the rollers roll along the other component until full extension is reached. Roller drawers, while commonly used in homes and residential/commercial applications, can also be used in vehicle fitouts depending on the particular requirements. One thing to note about roller slides is that they only operate horizontally and can only be mounted on the side of the drawer.

Ball Bearing Slides

In many ways, ball bearing slides are the same as roller slides. Especially in terms of functionality. However, ball bearing slides have an additional component in the form of ball bearings. These bearings act as an intermediary between the cabinet and drawer components. When engaged, the drawer slides directly over these ball bearings which then interfaces with the other slide rather than directly from the cabinet slide to the drawer slide. Similarly, ball bearing slides can also only be applied horizontally. 

Choosing the right standard or heavy duty drawer slides

There can often feel like a lot to consider when trying to determine the right drawer slide for your particular application. Choosing the right slide is important to ensure that it will operate and function in the way that you need. Make sure to consider the following factors:

  1. What are you going to be using the drawer for? 
  2. What sort of contents are you planning on storing in it and how regularly will you be accessing the drawer?
  3. What sort of weight carrying capacity do you require from your drawer slides?
  4. What size drawer can you fit in the area of your caravan, trailer or ute canopy?
  5. What other functions (e.g. locking, soft close drawer slides etc) are you interested in?

Still not sure? Let us help you today!

Trailer Parts Direct is more than just one of the largest online retailers of hardware and accessories for trailers, campervans and caravans. We’re also the leading industry experts on standard and side or undermount heavy duty drawer slides, and all things DIY! So if you have a question or need a hand finding the right slide for you, make sure to check out our range and get in touch with us today