Ball-bearing vs. Roller Drawer Slides – Which are Best?

Drawers look the same from the outside but when you open them and look at them, you’ll know the difference. Yes, we are talking about the bearing style of the drawer slides. The most hyped drawer slides are the roller and the ball-bearing.

Today, we will discuss the design, application, installation, configuration, and price difference; let’s check out ball-bearing vs. roller drawer slides.

Ball-bearing vs. Roller Drawer Slides

Drawer Slides in Details

If we go through the drawer slides, we will get to see two different slides- roller slides and the ball-bearing slides. But you cannot pick up both. So, we will tell you the differences so that it’s easy to pick up one!

What is Ball-bearing Drawer Slide?

First, we will deal with the ball-bearing slides. And if you already know about the roller slides then you already know that ball-bearing slides are used to get the telescopic motion. With the ball-bearing slides, you will get to see three members.

With the three members, there are two sets of ball-bearings too. These interface between each member of the drawer slide. When you help the mechanism to extend, the ball-bearing will allow the member to slide passing it.  

And they will keep doing it until they extend completely. There are both heavy-duty and lightweight versions available of ball-bearing drawer slides. For the heavier and harsher applications, settle for the heavy-duty versions of these slides.

On the other hand, you can simply get to see these drawer slides in household functions like the drawers of your dresser. And in cases, they are also used in industrial machinery. The best part is they are highly easy to use. But if you face any issue with these slides, take a look at how to fix drawer slides with ball-bearing and you can fix it at home without any expert!

LONTAN Ball Bearing Drawer Slides Heavy Duty Full Extension Drawer Slides, 100 LB Capacity

What is Roller Drawer Slide?

And now, let’s take a tour to the world of the roller drawer slides. Unlike the ball-bearing slides, here, you will get to see two members. Each member of the roller bearing slides will have each roller. The rollers you get here are made of plastic.

The members have a groove and the roller will fit into that groove of the members. If you fully retract it, you will see that the roller will be positioned at the opposite end of the mechanism. On the other hand, if you extend it, you will see that the front roller is allowing the top member of the slide to move outwards.

And then, the rear roller will follow the bottom member’s groove. And finally, the two rollers will confront each other. Mostly, these come in a horizontal configuration. In most household applications, roller drawer slides are used. If you have ever seen the desk drawers where you keep the lightweight loads these are roller drawer slides

What is Roller Drawer Slide

Differences between Ball-bearing and Roller Drawer Slides

We have made a list of the basic differences between these two drawer slides, you won’t regret checking this if you are in a dilemma.

· Length

If you want to pick up one between these two, you have to get through their guide rail length. Well, for the newbie that doesn’t know about the guide rail length of a drawer slide- we will brief it a bit. The distance the drawer slide will extend completely from the retracted position is called the guide rail.

You might also know it as stoke length. Whatever you call it, the length of distance is important. The random roller slides have a stroke length of 20 inches or close. However, in the case of the ball-bearing slides, this is different. The maximum guide rail length of the cabinet ball-bearing drawer slides is 50 inches. But this is not everything.

If you are dealing with heavy-duty ball-bearing slides, there will be a bit of extra stroke length. It will be around 60 inches if you settle on the heavy-duty options. The design of the ball-bearing drawer slides allows it to have a longer stroke length.

Here the design is done in a way that will prove you a large contact area between the members. And eventually, the ball-bearing drawer slides get an increased amount of stability if you extend it completely to the two contact points.

· Longevity

Both of the drawer slides are incredible in terms of looks and quality. However, longevity is a fact that you must ensure before you buy. Though you buy good-grade roller or ball-bearing glides, they are never damaging soon.

However, the construction of these slides matters a lot. The ball-bearings are usually made of stainless steel. On the opposite side, we have the roller slides. As we have mentioned way back, the roller slides are made with plastic!

If you question the least known person, he will still be capable of telling which one is stronger between stainless steel and plastic! So, you can easily guess that the stainless steel ball-bearing slides are on the peak here. These are harder and stronger.

In the case of wearing too, stainless steel is stronger than plastic. They will wear less and the service will be longer than you imagine.

· Placement

If you add the roller slides in the horizontal orientation, you will get an amazing outcome. However, the thing is not the same if you deal with the other configuration. The design of the roller slides is done in a manner that will only work with the horizontal configuration.

Also, keep in mind that you can only add the roller bearing slides with the sides of your drawer. The rollers of the slides are not fixed into the grooves of the members. As a result, if you change the configuration, there’s a chance of the rollers popping out. Have a look at the best side mount drawer slides if you are planning to get one of these.

However, if you want a flexible bearing slide, pick up the ball-bearing one. The best part of this one is you get flexibility in terms of the orientation. The ball-bearing sliders come fixed within the grooves of every member.

As a result, you are free to change their orientation and there’s no chance of any complications. And finally, with this feature, you get the opportunity to add the ball-bearing slides in both the vertical configuration and the horizontal.

To take it to a new extent, some of the brands of ball-bearing drawer slides will also offer you options of the bottom-mounting facility with the drawer. This has a connection with the load rating, for sure.

But it’s a positive aspect that you are getting options- no matter you pick it up or not! To know the basic differences between the mounting facilities, take a look at the under-mount vs. side mount drawer slides, you’ll see everything you need!

· Price

The ball-bearing drawer slide provides many features and so, the price of the ball-bearing slides will be higher than the roller slides. The roller slides are made of plastic mostly.

As a result, the price of these slides is relatively lower. On the other hand, as you are getting flexibility along with ease of installation, removal, and use, the ball-bearing slides will cost you extra. And trust us; the price that you pay is worth it.

But if you have a tight budget and you want something economical, rely on the roller drawer slides. These are still the most used ones for a reason!

Wrap Up

Both of the slides are used in our household and office work. While roller drawer slides are more popular, ball-bearing slides have started to gain fame because of their flexibility, aesthetic, and ease of installation, use, and removal. However, roller drawer slides remain the most economical option if you have a tight budget!