Roller runners or ball bearing slides? Which type of slide is the best for my application?


An objective look at the difference between roller runners and ball bearing slides. In fact they essentially do the same thing, allowing 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
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. 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.

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Easy to fit and good value.
Allow easy removal and
reinsertion of drawers. Quiet.
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
Ball bearing telescopic slides have hard steel balls (sometimes plastic balls or stainless steel 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.

Drive through drinks application

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They come in a very large
range of sizes suitable for
many applications outside of
traditional furniture drawers.
Can be over-specified, and
therefore expensive, for some

They also have many fixing
options including different
types of mounting brackets 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