How Do I Compare Kitchen Cabinet Costs?

Cabinet Box Material

Most cabinets boxes are made with plywood or furniture board. Both material choices are strong options. Furniture board is sometimes slightly more affordable than plywood.  Features include this built-in tall pantry cabinet with slide-out shelves for easy-reach storage and organization.

Cabinet Back Panel

Cabinets with solid, full-height back panels are structurally sound. In addition, they are also easier to install and keep dust out of cabinets. An open or partial cabinet back does not provide the same durability and protection.

Door Hinges and Drawer Glides

Soft close hinges and drawer glides come standard on all quality cabinets. They are easily adjustable and eliminate the sound of slamming doors in your kitchen. Corner view of a solid wood dovetail drawer

Drawer Box Construction

Drawers constructed with dovetail joints are durable and beautifully crafted. On the other hand, drawer boxes with stapled drawers are more prone to sagging because the bottoms are not fully set in the sides. 

Fully Assembled Cabinets

Ready-to-Assemble (RTA) cabinets arrive in pieces and must be assembled before installation. Cabinets that arrive fully assembled save time because they are ready to install on arrival. 

Characteristics of High-Quality Kitchen Cabinets


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1. All-Plywood Cabinets

Plywood Strong and long-lasting, certified plywood sides and backs are standard.  Consumer Reports recommends plywood as the premium quality option for cabinets. Plywood holds screws more securely and resists moisture better than alternative materials. It is resilient against blow-outs, dings, dents, and sagging. These benefits make it the best material for cabinet sides, backs, shelves, and drawer bottoms.

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2. Fully-Assembled and Ready-to-Install

Fully-assembled semi-custom cabinets means every cabinet is engineered to create a single piece that will arrive in one carton. No assembly required. Factory construction methods join wood parts using dovetail joints, hot & cold glue, power fasteners and other industrial techniques. In this wood-to-wood construction, the pieces bond on a microscopic level, creating a quality kitchen cabinet with strength.

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3. Solid Hardwood Frame

Painted frames made with ¾” by 1½” solid hardwood. Solid hardwood is unique in its color, texture, and grain patterns. This includes mineral streaks and knots. These natural variations add to hardwood’s distinctive appeal and beauty. Hardwood is durable, resilient, and easy to repair.

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4. Quality Cabinet Boxes

Captured and integrated brace construction creates a quality cabinet box. This increases stability during shipping and installation and provides long-term cabinet strength. Unless integrated with the cabinet side, gussets add no strength or structural integrity to the cabinet. Captured, or integrated, braces also make base cabinets much easier to move into position when installing.

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5. Easy-to-Clean Interiors

Kitchen cabinet interior surfaces should be non-porous and easy-to-clean. Cabinet interiors also need to be tough enough to last the life of the cabinets without staining, bubbling or showing wear. Melamine and laminate are two different, yet similar materials. They are the perfect surface for cabinet interiors because of their extremely high resistance to moisture. Most melamine and laminate cabinet interiors are printed with a light-tone wood grain.

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6. Durable, Full-Height Back Panel

For strength and ease of installation, quality kitchen cabinets have a durable, full-height back panel. A full back panel allows the cabinet to be directly attached to wall studs at any point on the cabinet back. If installation requires the cabinet be cut around ductwork, plumbing or electrical, the modification will be simpler on the full back.

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7. Dovetail Drawer Box Construction

The bottom of the drawer must support the weight of the drawer contents. That’s why we choose to use solid hardwood sides with a fully captured bottom. Hardwood drawer boxes with dovetail joints have become the standard for American cabinetry. This is due to the long-lasting strength, durability and beauty of the dovetail joint.

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8. Soft-Close Door Hinges

All quality cabinets have soft-close door hinges with Certification. This means they have been tested to withstand 65 pounds of weight and operated through 25,000 open and close cycles. Quality hinges provide a limited lifetime warranty on all door hinges.

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9. Soft-Close Drawer Glides

Certification assures you that the guides have been tested for quality. Each drawer glide can withstand 15 pounds per square foot of drawer space. They can also be operated through 25,000 open and close cycles. There is a limited lifetime warranty on drawer glides.

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10. Toekick

The toekick area is the space where the cabinet meets the floor. It provides space for your feet when standing at the counter. A toekick should be fully enclosed and captured with dado joints, glue and nails. It should be integrated into the full-length, back panel and cabinet sides for additional strength. After installation, applying a finished toekick panel completes the look. Cabinets supported by plastic legs are not as strong or stable as full-box cabinets. An additional toekick panel is also necessary to prevent dirt and small items from being trapped under the cabinet.

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