Sometimes you run into a dilemma with parts and accessories in woodworking where the manufacturer is less than clear or helpful in defining the differences between their similarly named/numbered parts. We ran into one recently and would like to spare you the efforts we had to go through to find answers.
It has to do with Blum drawer slides for drawers, whether they be for kitchens, bathrooms, offices, or any other place where drawers can be found. They offer the Blum 563 extension drawer slide and the Blum 563H extension drawer slide. While it would be very helpful for the Blum website to have a “comparison” feature to help understand the distinction between the two, sadly, the website does not.
Sadly, also, the installation details, which are a part of the Blum website, do not make the difference between the two clear in any way or identify which of the two your particular drawer installation might need. It would be nice to know before you make the purchase.
Blum Drawer Slides
We’ve written about our own use of Blum drawer slides in the kitchen and how much we like them. The Blumotion soft-close feature serves both the drawers and the cabinets well. You’ll find our piece on the Blumotion system soft-close system here.
The undermount drawer slide system closes the drawers so softly once you get them in motion, and between that softness and the softness of the cabinets closing, keep the kitchen quiet, and we’re sure it will extend the life of each in the absence of slamming that could disrupt both the drawer runners and the cabinet hinges. Each will likely remain square for a long time to come.
As we’ve noted, the drawer slide options include, along with others, the 563 and the 563H choice. Therein was our frustration as we attempted to sort out the differences to make the right purchase choice.
Is There a Difference between the Blum 563 and the Blum 563H?
Yes, and in fact, there are a couple of differences. Before getting to them, let’s remind ourselves of the drawer runner systems available:
- Side mount. These are mounted, as you might guess, on the sides of your drawer. You need to leave a ½ “ clearance on each side of the drawer from the side of the chamber into which it slides to accommodate the side mount.
- Undermount. These are mounted, clearly, on the underside of the drawer. In building the drawer, you will need to leave enough space in the bottom of the drawer to fit the runner and slide with the sides of the drawer extended below the bottom instead of flush to it with dovetails.
You can see from this that your drawer will be built differently depending on which mount type you choose.
With respect to the 563 and 563H, though, we are talking specifically about undermounting. The “enough space” needs for the undermount system is both the space to fit below the bottom but within the sides, as they extend below the bottom, and the length of the cabinet as it reaches the rear mounting bracket at the back of the drawer chamber.
What Are the Differences Between the Blum 563 and the Blum 563 H?
The differences have to do with connecting or not connecting to the rear mounting bracket.
The Blum 563 body is shorter than the body of the Blum 563H. The “H” series, with its extra length, will connect with the rear mounting bracket; the 563 is shorter and will not.
The Blum 563 is available in lengths of 21” and 18”; the 563H is available in lengths ranging from 9” to 24”. If your drawers are not 21” or 18”, you will need to use the 563H; if they are either 21” or 18”, the 563 will be sufficient for your needs and will likely save you a few dollars.
Although this video includes but is not specifically about Blum, it will illustrate the point about drawer construction and the need for either side space or bottom space, depending on the type of runner and slide you wish to use.
Does It Matter Which Blum Drawer Slide You Use?
Either drawer slide works well. Blum is certainly a premium name in cabinet and drawer fixtures and systems, and you do pay a premium price for them. However, the quality is there, and you might well find Blum to be the best choice.
Each drawer slide is a full extension slide. This means the drawer will open fully and give you access to the entire contents of the drawer without having the reach.
One is longer than the other; one will reach to and connect with the rear mounting bracket, and the other will not.
Each includes the Blumotion soft-close feature for which Blum is well known. It’s a terrific feature in your kitchen or bathroom, and we do recommend it.
Just be sure to build your drawer accordingly based upon whether you have chosen a side mount or undermount system. You’ll need extra space either on the side or the bottom to accommodate whichever system you’ve chosen.