Accuride blog

Blog Archive

1st Sep 2014

An objective look at the difference between ball bearing slides and roller runners.

In fact they essentially do the same thing; allow a drawer to open and close smoothly.

The answer to which is best really depends on several factors such as budget and what you want to achieve with the slide.

Roller runners are traditionally used for drawers in furniture and are fixed to the bottom edge of the drawer box.

They come with either nylon or steel rollers and provide a reasonably stable movement with either full or partial extension.

Drawer roller runners

Roller runner technology is very simple so they should present no operational problems and are good value for money.

Rollers are normally used in the ‘budget’ furniture ranges, but there are some heavier weight rollers that can be used in other movement applications and where drawer removal is an important requirement, for example tool cabinets.

The roller runners that are made to carry larger loads start to get expensive and are physically larger than the equivalent ball bearing slide.

For: Easy to fit and good value. Allow easy removal and reinsertion of drawers. Quiet.

Against: Rollers for heavier loads are much larger than their equivalent ball bearing slides and can be expensive. Full extension rollers have a tall cross section.

Ball bearing telescopic slides have hard steel balls (sometimes plastic balls for particular applications) that run in profiles.

This gives good lateral stability and the flexibility to make the profiles larger and therefore able to carry heavier loads. They also give part, full and over travel as well as two-way travel.

Parts of a ball bearing telescopic slide

For: Ball bearing telescopic slides come in a very large range of sizes suitable for many applications outside of traditional furniture drawers.

They also have many fixing options including different types of bracket or bayonet lancings. The profiles can be made from heavier gauge steel and can be stacked to give huge load carrying ability.

Ball bearing slides have a much larger range of sizes and load capacities than roller slides. For heavier loads, the ball bearing slide will be smaller and often better value than roller runners.

Against: Can be over-specified, and therefore expensive, for some applications.

If in any doubt you can contact your local Accuride distributor or email our Technical Manager with your questions.


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