What are the Different Types of Dining Table Slides?

A dining table slide refers to the mechanism under the table that allows the top to open and close so that leaves can be inserted (and in some cases stored inside the table).  There are three main types of dining table slides:  ball bearing, geared and wood.

No one type is necessarily more superior than the other, but rather a matter of personal taste, and what is technically permitted for different types of dining table bases.

Wooden Slides:

Wooden slides are thought to be the original table slide, which makes sense as they are the most simplistic, strongest, and allow the table top sections to extend

Do you want to know the difference between the types of dining table slides?

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out the farthest.  Due to this, this slide performs best on extension leg tables whose specialty is accommodating about a dozen or more 12″ leaves.

With all that weight spread over twelve feet or more, an extremely strong slide is a must.

This slide works in an accordion fashion, where railed wood sections are stagger mounted, and one section slides in and out of the neighboring section, with a wood to wood contact.

The quantity of sections and the length of each section determine how far the table will extend.


– Bulky

– Least smooth sliding action; best with two people

– Legs on leg tables must be lifted or slid off the floor


– Extremely strong

– Can handle heavy weight loads

– Traditional look and feel

Geared Slides:

What are the Different Types of Dining Table Slides?

Geared slides are the most common type of slide and a standard option on most tables with no upcharge.  This slide design has more parts and is slightly more complicated than the wooden slide, and also provides plenty of strength for solid wood tables.

A geared slide operates with two wood rails sliding in opposite directions that are each guided and supported by metal gears and metal rails.

Aside from some leg tables, most trestle and single and double pedestal tables are compatible with geared slides. Geared slides are very effective in “equalizing” both sides of the table top when opening the table top.


– Smooth but tighter sliding action; may require two people

– Rails limit table extension capability

– Heavier than wooden slides

– More moving parts


– Effectively equalizes both sides of table when opening

– Easier to slide than wooden slides

– More universal so works on more table models

– Often compatible with leaf self store

– Sophisticated mechanical look

Ball Bearing Slides:

Ball bearing table slides allow the smoothest open and close action of any available, and this is their biggest advantage.

One person can open and close a ball bearing table top with ease, and the sound of hundreds of metal balls rolling inside the slide rail casing is inviting as well. Like the geared, the ball bearing slide is effective at keeping the two table top halves equal so no binding can occur.

This slide is typically a non standard option up-charge that can be added to most table that come standard with geared slides at a cost in the $100 plus dollar range.

Some tables may not be able to self store leaves with the ball bearing slide due to how the rails are mounted to the table base.


Ball-Bearing-Slide– Rails limit table extension capability

– Mounting requirements may effect leaf storage

– Lightest slide but less strong than geared or wooden.

– Most moving parts


– Very smooth and easy to slide open and closed for one person

– Nearly as widely available on tables as geared slides

– Best at equalizing table halves when opening/closing

– Sophisticated mechanical look

– Nice sound and feel of sliding action

If you are shopping for Amish tables or other Amish furniture, please contact us at 800 918 6184 or use our contact form to send us a message.

4 Responses to “What are the Different Types of Dining Table Slides?”

  1. Peggy Crowe says:

    I am interested in ordering a table. I have one but it is too small wanting a larger one and chairs.

  2. Ronald Shiffman says:

    I have an antiques 5 leg oak table that has an extension slide that has worn out that enables me to get a 120″ opening enabling me to insert 5 two foot extension board. I would like to replace it. Do you manufacture a slide that can meet my needs

  3. timothy christian says:

    Two extension gear type slides broke. Will you sell me a pair of the wooden slides?

  4. Informatika says:

    How does the use of ball bearing slides in a table top design contribute to ease of operation and prevent binding between the two table top halves, and what makes the sound of rolling metal balls inside the slide rail casing appealing in this context?

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