Take a look at the drawers around your house and think about how much time you spent examining them before you made your purchase. The type of drawer you pick should play a major factor in your decision, and choosing the wrong one can actually have an effect on your everyday life.
Always look for a drawer that has dovetails - drawers with no dovetails at all could be very poor quality, and will not last as long. English dovetails are the most common. They have interlocking joints and allow the most amount of space - usually several more inches of room than you would get with French dovetails. This is because the dovetail groove cannot be put all the way at the edge of a drawer with French dovetails. French dovetails have sliding joints and are shorter in height. A piece of furniture with a curved front will always have French dovetails, because English dovetails will not work with that shape.
You can spot the difference between English and French dovetailed drawers by pulling out the drawers and examining the back corners. If you see one dovetail on each side, they're French dovetails. Both types of dovetails make high-quality drawers, and you can even find a combination with an English dovetail in the front and a French dovetail in the back. If saving space is a priority, go with English dovetails.
Mounts: Side or Bottom?
You'll find the side mounts attached to the sides of a drawer - these are the most common. If you're concerned about appearance, bottom mounts are a good choice. They are attached to the face frame, and have a cleaner look - you won't see any hardware on the sides of the drawer when you open it. They are ideal for wooden drawers because the design detail won't be hidden under those metal slides. There are heavy-duty bottom mounts for drawers to hold heavier items. If you're looking to reduce the noise of drawers slamming shut, you can opt for drawers with soft-close mounts. This stops the drawer right before it completely closes, allowing it to softly glide shut with minimal noise.
Slides: Wood or Metal?
What you plan on using your drawers for will help you make this decision. Drawers with metal slides have a smoother gliding motion, and are less prone to wear and tear. Drawers with wood slides hold more. Harder wood will glide smoothly and hold more than softer wood. If you'll be using your drawers for heavy tools, go with wood slides. Drawers for lighter items, like dish towels, will work better with metal slides. Always look at weight specifications of drawers and stay within that range.
Full extension drawer slides allow the drawer to be pulled all the way out without falling to the floor. They extend out to the same distance as the length of the slide. This is beneficial if you plan on using all of your drawer space, so you can have access to the items in the back. Always make sure there is enough room in front of your drawers for them to be extended all the way out.
Other Construction Methods
There are other methods you should always keep an eye out for - these will make a difference in how you use your drawers on a daily basis. Are you using your drawers to store clothing? You may want to look into cedar-lined drawers, which provide aromatherapy benefits while preserving clothing and protecting it from moths. Dust proof drawers are also important to consider. The dust-proof wood panels between the drawers are designed to prevent dust from damaging and discoloring your clothing. Felt-lined drawers are ideal if you are using your drawers to store jewelry, fine silverware or other delicate items that need to be protected from snagging. When looking at overall quality, solid drawer construction is a key factor to look at if you need drawers that are durable and will last a long time, as opposed to drawers with a front panel glued on.