What is the difference between easy-close and self-close drawer slides?
Some of our easy-close and self-close slides have several features in common such as full extension, front disconnect, hold-in features and high load ratings, however there is one main difference between all easy-close and self-close slides. A self-close slide uses a spring mechanism to close a drawer, pulling it shut quickly once the spring is engaged. Easy-close (also known as soft-close) slides meanwhile, have a damper mechanism in addition to a spring, pulling the drawer shut gently and quietly.
The benefits of easy-close (soft-close) slides
They close slowly and softly, making them good for sound-sensitive environments such as hospitals, but it is also safer for domestic applications which children may be using, such as kitchen drawers.
By using a easy-close slide, easily-damaged items are less likely to be knocked and broken when the drawer is being opened or closed, even if a decent amount of force is being used.
Why can’t I get a dampened soft-close on a short telescopic slide?
One of the more popular features in slides today is the easy-close (soft-close) mechanism. This feature brings drawers to a gentle close and helps prevent slamming.
Easy-close mechanisms are fitted within the profile of the slide at the rear and typically can take up
between 80 to 100 mm. This has an impact on the length of the intermediate member and the ball
retainer lengths. This in turn has an impact on the load rating of the slide, the available space for fixing points and the ability to achieve the travel and extension requirements.
The main problem is lack of space within the slide. The movement in a telescopic slide is provided by ball bearings running in a ball retainer. To get good movement and load rating, we need to maximise member length and get good ball coverage. This translates to: the more ball bearings, the higher the load.
Once you get to shorter slide lengths the space becomes restricted and there will be less room for fixing points at the rear of the slide. On our heavy duty soft-closing slides (5321EC and 5417EC) we have added extra fixing holes right at the back of the slide for this very reason.
The shortest soft-close slide we produce (3832EC) is 350mm long and the travel is restricted to 310mm. Slides shorter than this would not have enough space for the soft-close mechanism. The intermediate member is too short and we cannot fit in enough ball bearings to give a suitable load rating.
For slides shorter than 350mm, we suggest that you look out for an externally mounted, retro-fit, soft-close mechanism which can be fitted along the slide.
These pull the drawer closed for the last few cm and can be used either on one or both drawer slides
depending on the load required.