A reply to my recent post about tricked out door and drawer hardware prompted a question about what type of hardware I prefer to use.
When I used to build a lot of melamine cabinets, I really liked the very simple side/bottom mounted white enameled glides. These glides are inexpensive, operate smoothly and are pretty robust and there is little that can fail on them. I cannot recall ever getting a callback. They also have a 'detent" that allows the drawer to self close in the last few inches of travel.
For heavier drawers, I have always relied on the steel, ball bearing glides offered by several manufacturers. There are cheaper versions of these glides but I lost faith in them pretty early on because there were a few instances where the little ball bearings went skittering across someone's kitchen floor, a problem that never occurred with the better quality glides.
The only problem with these glides is that they are ugly. Even the low load rating glides are fairly conspicuous. And because they are side mounted, you have to leave a half to five eighths of an inch gap per side to accommodate them. I ended up making rabbeted drawer sides that would conceal most of the hardware when the drawer was opened.
I also like the under-mounted glides, even though they eat up a bit of drawer depth. These glides allow a minimal side clearance, usually no more that an eighth of an inch which gives a more furniture-like appearance when the drawer is opened. When these glides first appeared, they were made of heavy steel with no plastic parts at all. Now that they have become somewhat ubiquitous, the construction has suffered a bit and there are lots of small plastic parts and little springs and catches, all of which are subject to failure. Plus they are ungodly expensive and that cost must be passed along to the customer.