What’s the Difference Between Soft Close and Self Close Drawer Slides

Soft-close drawer slides and self-close drawer slides are valued fixtures for homeowners and furniture makers alike. These two popular slide features can add subtle yet significant improvements to the drawers of kitchens, bedrooms, hospitals, archives, offices, retail spaces, and domestic appliances. 

If you’ve thought of acquiring these drawer slides for your furniture project, you’re in the right place. By the end of this blog, you will better understand what self-closing drawer slides and soft-closing drawer slides are. We will also discuss how they work, their advantages, their disadvantages, and the best soft close drawer slides from Maxave

What are Soft-Close Drawer Slides

A variety of handheld consoles in a sliding drawer
Source: Unsplash

Soft close drawer slides are slides that ensure that the drawer always gets closed softly (Learn: How To Adjust A Soft Close Hinge). This slide uses a damping mechanism, attached one to two inches at the drawer rear, to slow down the closing of the cabinet. This slow and soft closing motion eliminates noise, protects contents, and prolongs the cabinet frame. When the cabinet is slammed, the hinge regulates the force to close the drawer softly and quietly. 

How Do Soft-Closing Drawer Slides Work

The easy soft-close slides have a cylindrical damping component and a spring that works together, like a shock absorber, to close the drawer gently and silently over the last 2 inches of travel.

Advantages of Soft-Close Drawer Slides

The distinct ability of soft close drawer slides to slowly and softly close drawers (Learn: Installing Soft Close Drawer Slides Guide) makes it an ideal drawer fixture for hospitals, libraries, kitchens, bedrooms, classrooms, offices, and retail spaces. 

Two Main Advantages of Installing Soft-Close Drawer Slides

  1. 1. Protects delicate items like glassware, dishes, and collectibles from children and accidents.
  2. 2. Cancels noise to promote a tranquil environment making it suitable for sound-sensitive locations like libraries, hospitals, classrooms, bedrooms, and offices. 

Disadvantages of Soft-Close Drawer Slides

The damping and shock-absorbing effect of soft-close slides can make closing and opening more difficult, requiring the user to exert more effort than normal. And since the closing motion of soft close drawer slides can be unrecognizable, users may be tempted to ensure that the drawers are closed. 

In addition, senior citizens with arthritis and joint conditions could have a more challenging time using soft-close drawers as they may require additional force to open and close. However, installing the soft-close slide as instructed can resolve this problem in no time. 

What are Self-Close Drawer Slides

Black partially opened drawer with contents
Source: Unsplash

Self close drawer slides are slides that ensure that the drawer gets closed back to its initial

form with minimal effort. Drawers with automatic drawer closer attached to them can close themselves automatically when pushed at an exact distance, typically one to two inches.

With its self-closing motion, self-close drawer slides preserve the cabinets’ finish and minimize the drawers’ forceful pushing. With the help of this additional feature, simple, gentle pushes are enough to turn partially closed and half-open drawers into fully closed cabinets. 

How Do Self-Closing Drawer Slides Work

Self-close drawer slides close drawers with minimal exertion through a built-in spring-action mechanism that quickly pulls the cabinet inwards. Once the drawer is closed by at least an inch, the spring is activated, causing the drawer to get pulled back inside the cabinet.

Advantages of Self-Close Drawer Slides

The self close drawer slide uses a smaller mechanism than the soft-close slides’ damping mechanism. Thus, its shorter length is applicable to smaller drawers like medical or disinfectant boxes.

As this slide is known for its capacity to close effortlessly and completely, it is also an ideal slide for:    

  • Recreational vehicles,
  • Household drawers, and
  • Mobile carts.

In addition, self close drawer slides are also best used on storage that doesn’t require silent and soft closing, like entertainment centers, kitchens, and trash bins.

Disadvantages of Self-Close Drawer Slides

Although self close drawer slides can close themselves automatically with minimal energy, the closing mechanism can sound noisy to most people. The closing motion sounds as if a person were firmly closing the drawer. Even if it can close itself effectively once closed by an inch or two, it lacks the dampening effect of soft-close drawers to close slowly and softly. 

Soft-Close Versus Self-Close Drawer Slides 

3D rendering of the sliding mechanism found on undermount slides
Source: Maxave

To help you choose which of these two drawer slides is more suitable for your furniture business, here are the differences between soft close and self close drawer slides.

  • Self close closes a drawer firmly, while soft-close closes a drawer softly.
  • The self close has a smaller mechanism than a soft-close, especially in the past. Now, a self close slide comes at a minimum length of 12”, while a soft-close slide comes at a length of 14”.
  • Self close doesn’t have a damper. 
  • Self close slides are less expensive than soft-close slides.
  • Soft close slides are temperature-sensitive because of their damper, while self-close slides are temperature-resistant. Thus, self-close is more suitable for places that require extremely high and low temperatures, like kitchens, restaurants, food factories, and the medical industry.
  • Self-close slides can be used with clip-on brackets, allowing users to mount them when needed.

Although the soft-close and self-close slides have several differences, they also share many

commonalities. Both slides can come in full extension, side mount, or undermount. They can carry their respective maximum loads and are both available for hold-in features.

Similarities & Differences: Soft-close vs. Self-close

To summarize, below is a table collating the similarities and differences between the two slides.

Capacity for full extensionSoft-close closes drawers softly and slowly while self-close closes completely and  forcefully
Has high load ratingsSoft close prevents slamming while self-close prevents half-closed drawers
Can be side mount or under mountSelf-close’s spring-action mechanism is smaller than soft-close’s damping mechanism 
Will close properly and will stay closed until reopenedSelf-close has no damper
Can have hold-in featuresSelf-close slides are less expensive than soft-close slides
Can be designed with front disconnectSelf-close slides are more resistant to extremely high or low temperatures while soft-close slides are quite sensitive to temperature changes
Self-close slides can be mounted using optional clip-on brackets

Self close and soft close slides have loads of similarities and differences. Although some situations call for a self close slide, and others require a soft close slide, these slides are still better assembled as a support to one another’s shortcomings as each slide has a unique function that can only be complemented by using the other.

Best Soft Close Drawer Slides from Maxave

Maxave has been manufacturing thousands of soft close drawer slides since 2007 at the lowest possible lead time and manufacturing cost for their diversely expanding business partners worldwide. Check out two of Maxave’s best soft close drawer slides, their features, and their potential benefits for your furniture company now! 

1.   Full Extension Soft Close Undermounted Slide With Handle

Full Extension Soft Close Undermounted Slide With Handle
Source: Maxave

Maxave’s “Full Extension Soft-close Undermounted Slide with Handle” is a silent soft-close drawer slide made of premium galvanized sheet and painted with silver primary color for a  classic finish that matches any cabinet and setting. This slide is offered in undermount for a clean, concealed look. It has a minimum applied thickness of 16 to 18 mm and a 35 kg dynamic load bearing, which was cycled and tested 50,000 times to ensure effectivity while bearing maximum weight. 

2.  45mm Full Extension Dual Spring Soft Close Side Mounted Slide

Black and orange drawer slides
Source: Maxave

Maxave’s “45 mm Full Extension Dual Spring Soft-close Side-mounted Slide” is a quiet  soft-close drawer slide made of industry-proven steel and zinc plated with a black pigment for a timeless appearance that complements any drawer and scene. This slide is offered in side mount for extra strength and durability. It has an installation thickness of 12.7±0.2 mm and a 30 kg dynamic load bearing, which was cycled and tested 50,000 times to ensure robustness while bearing the heaviest loads. 

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Maxave is ready to listen to whatever needs you may have. Discover our wide selection of soft close drawer slides made with designs based on current market trends. You can also connect with our reliable OEM/ODM specialists to create customized soft close drawer slides intricately tailored to meet your unique requirements.


Soft close drawer slides (Learn: How To Install A Soft Close Hinge) and  self close drawer slides are popular slide fixtures that have been improving kitchens, bedrooms, hospitals, and offices for several years now. Before acquiring these furniture components, it is important that you understand the function, advantages, disadvantages, and usage of the two slides. 

In summary, soft close drawer slides close drawers softly and slowly, while self close drawer slides (Knowledge: How To Adjust A Self Closing Hinge) close completely and firmly. Soft-close was manufactured to resolve frequent slamming of drawers, while self-close was made to prevent half-closed drawers. Although both have many differences, when assembled together, their distinct functions become one to conquer limitations and arise as a brand new solution for your furniture hardware business needs!

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