Cabinet Reviews for 2022. Ratings for Kitchen Cabinet Brands.

45 Replies to “Cabinet Reviews for 2022. Ratings for Kitchen Cabinet Brands.”

  1. Sarah

    Hi Paul,

    Our contractor is recommending we go with US Cabinet Depot but we had seen they are using 100% HDF doors instead of a wood frame. The other options would be CNC or Fabuwood, increasing in price accordingly.

    We were told the other perk to US Cabinet Depot is the lifetime warranty vs a 5-year warranty to the original owner?

    Should HDF be a no go for us? Are you still carrying that line, and are you seeing longevity issues after a few years?

    Thanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sarah,
      We were dealers for US Cabinet Depot, and we wouldn’t recommend the painted door styles for anything except flipping a house. They do have a nice gray stain that’s an all-wood door. Cabinets are not warrantied against damage, which is what will happen to the MDF doors, so the warranty is meaningless. I would recommend spending more and getting Fabuwood if you want a painted shaker door. They also don’t have the supply chain problems that both Cabinet Depot and CNC do right now. We stopped carrying both lines because of missing parts and pieces on their orders.

      1. Sarah

        Hi Paul,

        That’s great feedback, thanks so much!

        The CNC quote is coming in at 25% less than the fabuwood & the USCD is 35% less than fabuwood!

        We got a few quotes from different dealers using the same design just to keep things consistent.

        1. Paul

          Hi Sarah,
          If price is really an issue Fabuwood has the standard overlay door style Quest Discovery frost that is a wood door and is also 25% less. It just has thinner shelves, 3/4 extension tracks, and smaller doors and drawer fronts. Also if you are pricing the CNC cabinets in the Luxor door style they are also MDF in the white color.

      2. Sarah

        Hi Paul,

        Thanks for the quick reply! Hope you had a nice thanksgiving.

        The quotes we got for the CNC Elegant were pretty much equal to the Fabuwood Discovery, both 25% less than the Galaxy. Good to see the #’s are making sense.

        We actually didn’t price out the Luxor after having a chance to see all of these in person.

  2. shama

    Hi Paul,
    I’m looking at Schuler cabinets for my mudroom, laundry and bathroom vanities. I like their colors and stains and your rating for it is reasonable too. I have been reading reviews and they have terrible reviews which is making me doubt my choice. Is it really that bad and what other cabinets do you recommend in schuler price point with positive experiences.
    Thanks so much.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Shama,
      I think that all the brands that Lowes and Home Depot carry get poor reviews NOT because there is anything wrong with the brand but because home center designers don’t give customers realistic expectations and they make mistakes that get blamed on the cabinet brand. Schuler is the most expensive brand that either home center sells so that means you have picky customers splurging on cabinetry but often with a streak of cheapness since they are shopping at a Lowes. Add inexperienced designers to the mix, along with possibly installers that are also less experienced, and you generate poor reviews for the cabinet brand that isn’t responsible for any of the complaints.

      Schuler is the same brand as Medallion and Yorktowne are in private showrooms. So, if you wanted to switch to a private dealer where the experience might be better and you could get the same cabinetry, door styles and colors you could.

      For a bath and mudroom, the possible mistakes are limited so as long as you upgrade to all plywood construction you should be fine. Here’s a blog on the topic:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/hard-compare-kitchen-cabinet-brands/

  3. Lindsey

    Hi Paul, thank you for this review and for answering individual questions for your readers!
    I was looking at getting JSI cabinets bc they’re about $5k less for my kitchen than Fabuwood and the rep said they’re plywood and no particle boards. But then I also went for a quote on Diamond at lowes bc of a 30% off sale, just to compare everything . The lowes quote was way more even with the discount. So anyway back to my question, do you know about the hardware and details of JSI and what makes them lesser quality than Fabuwood? Their website does not give any specifics or much info about their cabinetry. I was planning to go with them bc or the price point and knowing they’re plywood but then the lowes guy told me hardware matters and runners matter and things like this that I hadn’t considered. I’m grateful for your feedback! Thanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Lindsay,
      The 30% off sale is a scam. When companies advertise 30% off they mean off list price. No cabinets are sold for list price and some are sold for 50% off of the arbitrary “list” price. JSI is usually less than Fabuwood but not a lot less. You are probably comparing different door styles or an MDF door to a wood door style.
      Read this blog:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/price-comparing-kitchen-cabinets-and-why-it-is-a-bad-idea/
      Diamond at Lowes is a good brand when upgraded but if you are getting a standard door, color, and sizes not a good value.
      The hinges and tracks on all these brands are either the same or close to the same.

      More expensive brands should be bought to GET the things they offer that the less expensive brands do not. If you aren’t picking those things you are wasting money.

  4. Leigh Gray

    What shall I do (wringing hands)??? I am comparing KraftMaid, Schrock, and US Cabinet Depot. I just saw that earlier this year USCD had some legal problems with regard to China/Vietnam import duty evasion which makes me think they use Asian products. KraftMaid and Schrock seem to be a good quality and their prices are actually fairly comparable (about 22K for a very small kitchen). What do you think?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Leigh,
      US cabinet Depot does import their cabinet parts, as do all the better made less expensive brands. Kraftmaid and Schrock are at least 50 % more and generally not better constructed for any stained doors. However, US cabinet depot painted doors are MDF which is not a smart choice for longevity. Fabuwood, J&K and other brands just a little more than US Cabinet Depot would be 40% less that Kraftmaid and Schrock but better values for the limited styles and colors that they offer.

  5. Cie

    Hi Paul!

    First, thank you for making this list and taking the time to respond personally to people. 🙂

    After a month of researching and visiting stores, I decided to go with RD Henry. I’d have never even known about them if it weren’t for you, so again, thank you! The price point for fully custom American made cabinets was comparable or better than most bids.

    Here’s my question… My first bid was for stained cabinets with plywood construction and standard face. My second bid was painted, full front but furniture board construction. The designer said that was what was in her home and the owner’s home and that it was actually stronger. That goes against everything I’ve read, including here. I’m wondering if maybe RD Henry uses a superior (denser) board and what your thoughts are on this. I have asked her to do a bid with plywood sides as well. I appreciate her trying to keep the costs down, but I want cabinets that last and will support the granite without issue.

    Also, the stained finishes seem rather flat… Is that typical? Is sheen usually an option? I expected the finish to be more like my furniture, which has a bit more sheen.

    Thanks again Paul! It’s so reassuring to have a knowledgeable resource who isn’t also trying to make a sale. 🙂

    1. paul

      Hi Cie,
      Particle bord is not so bad for the bottom cabinets but a terrible idea for wall cabinets that hang on the wall loaded with heavy plates and glasses. MDF doors would be the worst idea if you want a kitchen to last.

      There are so many well-made inexpensive cabinet brands why choose an expensive brand and get them cheapy made. Your cabinet dealer seems to be giving bad advice. That usually means they are also poor designers. You should have us critique your design before purchasing cabinetry by calling into our helpline and podcast on a Friday. Here’s one of our podcasts where we critique a callers design:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/calls-with-paul-the-kitchen-design-podcast-episode-17/

      1. Cie

        Awesome! Thank you! I think the doors are alder, but I’ll need to double check that the painted are also alder. I think maybe she was just trying to keep the bid for painted and full overlay close to the stained and standard overlay bid. I can’t imagine making the boxes plywood again would be that much more, we’re only talking 11 cabinets total. I will try to make your next podcast, but wouldn’t you know we’re meeting with the designer that morning. LOL

  6. Dave Taylor

    Hi Paul,

    Looking at getting Kemper Echo line for our kitchen project. Any concerns we should be aware of?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Dave,
      Masterbrands is not transparent about how they make their cabinetry and so there is no information online on how they make an entry level line like Kemper Echo. Generally,
      Lines like Fabuwood, J&K, Wolf, Procraft, and other US companies mass producing plywood cabinetry with soft close doors and drawers would be better values than an entry level brand from Masterbrands.

  7. Carrie Piro

    Hi Paul,

    I work as a designer for a small company in Albuquerque, N.M. We carry SOLLiD, ENVii and Waypoint. We are looking for a line that is “more affordable” for our contractors and home builders. Do you have any suggestions? Also, what are your reviews on the SOLLiD Cabnetry line??

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Carrie,
      I don’t know SolliD or any of their lines like their ENVi. The website has little information so I can’t comment their quality. I would guess that since they boast (with flag waving) that they are assembled and stored in the US but say nothing about where they are made, that the doors and parts are made in Mexico. That makes me not like their marketing strategy for its lack of transparency. But they are trying to appeal to a mostly conservative audience and that means a positive response to flags. Much as environmental boasts would have in San Francisco. When cabinet companies boast about things other than their cabinets I tread carefully.

      I’m not sure which inexpensive lines are available for you in NM but Fabuwood is the best of the inexpensive brands on the east coast. ProCraft is a good value on the west coast, and J&K is sold nationally.

  8. Dima

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for creating a great place to discuss Kitchen Cabinet brands. I am working with a local designer for a new kitchen cabinet project, and she has recommended using either Legacy Crafted Cabinets or Kahles Kitchen Cabinets for my project. I was unable to find either brand on your review post so was hoping you would take the time to apply your rating system on both of these brands. Thank you in advance.

    -Dima

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Dima,
      I don’t know Legacy but they appear to be a very small custom brand. Kahles, I sold for years. I’m surprised we forgot to review them. Kahles makes a nice cabinet, but I don’t like the company. It frustrated me as a designer that they took no responsibility for their mistakes. If the Dealer you are buying from is reputable and honors their agreements, then buying Kahles should be fine.

      Personally, I would choose from many of the other Pennsylvania custom brands over these two though. We chose Brighton and Wellsford over considering Kahles as one of our custom brands.

      1. Dima

        Hi Paul,

        Thank you for answering my previous question. I still haven’t decided on a brand to go with. Can you comment on Hannsem now called Massachusetts Design? They have a framed and frameless option and happen to be close to me so I thought it might be nice to use a local manufacturer for my project. I would appreciate your opinion on this brand.

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi Dima,
          Hannsem is manufactured in South Korea. They have outlets and sell under several different names. They are at their core a South Korean Company. So, you won’t be patronizing a local company, or even an American one. Many of the inexpensive brands that import their cabinet parts from Vietnam and Mexico are US companies. Fabuwood, Wolf, CNC, J&K, for example. Hannsem was a good option years ago but I think the US imports do a better job for a better price now.

  9. Theo

    I noticed that the 21st Century Line mentioned here has the same name and styles as Jarlin Cabinetry. Are they related, same manufacture ?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Theo,
      I looked up Jarlin and they appear to be unrelated to 21st Century. Jarlin is a RTA cabinet brand so you have to put it together. This usually means that if you buy Jarlin you will have no competent kitchen professional helping you with your design and helping you make good decisions.

      1. Theo

        Thank you for your response, I was quite confused by the duplication of the designs and names. You have a great blog and I appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge.

  10. Cie

    Hi Paul,

    I’m in the Phoenix area and was wondering who your top 3 picks would be for inexpensive to midrange cabinets. I was looking at J&K and one site has them in AZ and another in FL, which is correct? ProCraft also caught my eye. I want these cabinets to last, but want to control the costs since we overpaid for the property already and to hedge against a future move. The kitchen is small and Hubs thinks a stain with the mid tone wood floor would be too dark. Thoughts on this and on resale of stain vs white? I’ve been told mdf is preferred for painted doors, what are your thoughts on this? Thanks! 🙂

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Cie,
      MDF recessed center panels on doors is fine. A total MDF door is a terrible idea if you care about durability. For flipping a home they would make sense.

      J&K is a national brand and is sold in many states. This is their website:
      https://jandkcabinetry.com/

      Both ProCraft and J&K are durable and well made. Stains are more durable than paints, however inexpensive brands will usually have limited stain color available.

  11. Chris

    Diamond is now offering frameless with 5/8 ply construction. Any thoughts/experience about build quality?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      5/8″ ply is OK but not ideal. We would give them a B- for construction quality buy 3/4″ is only a solid B. Keep in mind that it makes little sense to be getting frameless unless you are getting a slab door style.

  12. Mike

    Hi Paul

    What are your thoughts on Ultimo Custom Cabinetry by “Tuscan Hills”. It looks like they are affiliated with Costco.

    We had visited a kitchen designer in the Baltimore area, and for some reason he steered us to the least expensive cabinets they offered (Marsh Cabinets), but did not even mention the plywood upgrade option.

    Thanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Mike,
      Even though I think the cabinets are probably pretty well made, Costco or online are not good places to be having your kitchen designed. Marsh upgraded is a good value.

  13. Kathleen

    Hi Paul!
    Thanks for this site and all the wonderful information and knowledge you provide! Finally, a site that makes sense. (I too wish you were located where I am)

    I have 4 questions that I hope you can comment on:

    1. You’ve said that “The finish on painted cabinetry is less durable than stained cabinetry on ALL cabinet brands”. What about “tinted varnish”, “conversion varnish” and “catalyzed conversion” finishes? What exactly are they, and where do they fall on the “durable finish scale”?

    2. What are your thoughts regarding Schlabach Cabinets (Ohio) and Pioneer Cabinets (Michigan), and where would they be in your review table?

    3. I was surprised to see a major company offering a “plywood upgrade”, but in small print, states that they may use an “MDF core plywood”. That’s not my understanding of what plywood is. Your thoughts?

    4. What is your opinion of toe-kick drawers? Whenever I inquire at a cabinet store, they try to dissuade me from it, saying its a lot of money and not worth it. But I am trying to maximize storage in my small condo kitchen (aka hobbit hole) if it is too expensive from the manufacturer, is an after-market product an alternative?

    Sorry, I guess that’s more than 4 actual questions. Your indulgences please sir.
    Many many thanks,
    Kathleen

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kathleen,
      1) When we talk about painted cabinets in all brands it isn’t a liquid paint it is a conversion or catalyzed varnish, or a heated powder. Anything less like liquid paints used by small cabinet makers would be MUCH MUCH worse. And these pinishes all are less durable than stains that absorb into the wood and are protected by urethane.
      2) These are two tiny companies that I don’t know. However, “Amish” is often synonymous with poor kitchen design and less durable finishes. See blog:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/custom-cabinets-handmade-or-homemade/. Pioneer makes little sense as inexpensive brands are better bought from bigger companies.
      3) Companies that are using an MDF core plywood are probably talking about slab doors and frameless cabinetry. They would use this not to save money but because it makes sense sometimes depending on the door style and if the cabinets are frameless.
      4) Toe kick drawers are what happens when customers in an effort to capture every inch of space start making bad decisions. And designers that encourage customers to get these are just in it for the money. Good designers won’t even sell you these.

  14. yvette

    Hi, this review helped me a lot! can’t thank you more!
    I was comparing Ultracraft and Kitchen Craft for my kitchen, both frameless. there is an update about Ultracraft that their ply upgrade only come to 5/8″ply sides, top, bottom, no 3/4″ option. The only 3/4″ would be shelving, which is from 3/4″MDF to 3/4″ply.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Yvette,
      Both these brands make pretty inferior frameless cabinetry, and they aren’t even particularly inexpensive. I would stay away from these brands. There are other better made AND less expensive even in frameless lines. CNC and US Cabinet Depot both make well made inexpensive frameless cabinetry, however both are having supply chain issues. If you are getting frameless cabinetry I would get nothing less than 3/4″ plywood sides.

  15. Kevin

    Hi Paul,

    Hello from the Bay Area, CA!

    The kitchen designer I’m working with at the Cabinet Center has been spectacular and she’s steering me towards a Canadian company called Columbia Cabinets. We are considering their full plywood construction boxes, including solid plywood top. Door centers have the option for solid wood or mdf veneer and finishes seem semi limited. Do you have any experience or thoughts regarding theirs cabinets. Price wise.. they seem like equal or better quality compared to Diamond or omega for 25-30% less. The company is also KCMA ESP certified which sounds kinda cool/good for the earth. I appreciate any freedback. Thanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kevin,
      Since 2019, all cabinet lines sold in the US are now carb compliant, pass the same tests, and are KCMA certified. That’s why when a company advertises this they get on my radar as being less than transparent. Columbia is a frameless brand and so can’t get better than a B rating for construction under our rating system. For a shaker painted door style there will be framed lines that would cost a little less like Procraft, J&K, Wolf, Fabuwood, and others that I would choose over Columbia. If you do get Columbia they should be all plywood. Center panel on the door is actually better in MDF, so long as the rest of the door is solid wood.

  16. Andrew

    Why is Shiloh rated only a “C” for quality ? The are American made, family owned company, and appear to have good solid construction. They are priced a tad lower than Kraft made in a recent quote we got..

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Andrew,
      Shiloh has a very small terribly engineered hanging rail that is used to screw all their cabinets to the wall. Brands like Kraftmaid, Decora, Bishop, Homecrest, and others that use a hanging rail system, use a 3 1/2 inch high sold wood or double ply hanging rail. Shiloh uses a 1″ or 1 1/2″ hanging rail which is too small to support the wall cabinets and also too easily bends and splits.

      Why such an otherwise nice cabinet line makes this mistake I have no idea. I know they lose business from our rating. And that fixing the issue is easy. Carpenters can fix the problem on site, but we rate cabinetry the way it is made not after modifications.

      Sometimes companies that do things a certain way for a long time are resistant to make sensible changes just because they have succeeded in the past doing it “their” way. Most US cabinet brands that had poor construction got the message that consumers were getting more savvy when the import lines began selling better built cabinets than theirs for less. Also, our company was reviewing their lines poorly and they realized that that hurt them. I have heard dozens of stories of dealers having customers enter their showrooms with print outs of our reviews. In recent years Masterbrands changed all their lines with 3/8″ sides as did several other brands like Yorketown.

      I have spoken with VP’s from several brands calling to ask why we rate their lines poorly, or have been thanked by others for our good reviews of their products. Sometimes a brand will change after we discuss the reason we review their product poorly or notify us when they make changes. Sometimes their dealers notify us to changes as one of Yorketowns dealers did.

      The good news is that cabinets are being made much, much, better today than they were even 10 years ago. Today their are inexpensive brands that are better constructed than some custom brands were a decade ago.

  17. Andrea Stefanac

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you so much for your very educational website! I wish we weren’t 4 hours from you (Richmond, VA)!
    Do you have any thoughts on Mantra cabinets? I didn’t see them listed in your cabinet reviews.

    Thank you!
    Andrea Stefanac

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Andrea,
      Mantra is an inexpensive pretty well-made cabinet brand from Masterbrands. Not sure why we didn’t rate it. I’m rating it now. We give it a B+ for construction and a Solid B for value. Depending on their lead time right now I might give them a B+ for value. They are a good entry level cabinet brand from Masterbrands.

  18. Bonnie Milano

    Can you compare Bishop to Timberlake. I see you carry both brands as well as Fabuwood. I also carry Fabuwood but I am looking for another line with more custom capabilities and wood selections.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Bonnie,
      Great dealer question!
      We carry Timberlake because they carry more door styles, colors, and wood species (like Maple and Cherry) than Fabuwood and are only about 20% more expensive.

      Bishop starts at about 35% more than Fabuwood and offers both Framed and Frameless lines and almost full custom options. However, when you design in very custom things like inset cabinets or unusual cabinet heights the cost is so close to custom prices that we usually switch customers over to our Brighton custom line.

      If you are only going to carry one of the two lines Bishop offers every option (and Frameless) and their Essentials collection is very reasonable with tons of options.

      Carrying both these type lines along with Fabuwood gives you everything in framed and frameless at very competitive pricing except for full custom cabinetry. Which is why we carry both brands and two custom brands.

      There are two other sensible ways to go that are simpler and offer more options more easily. Designers don’t have as much to learn, and you only have one rep to deal with. They are:

      Carry Wellborn. They have several lines across price points from Fabuwood to Bishop. You get one brand, all the options, only one rep, and less to learn.
      or
      Carry Masterbrands cabinet brands. You can pick from their brands. I would select Homecrest and Decora, but there are many options. One rep, one company to deal with and several brands to choose from.

      We selected our lines ignoring the added work and learning involved just to take advantage of the greatest number of possibilities and also to have diversity in case an individual company were to experience problems. Since we don’t have full kitchen displays in our offices and only use selling centers this allows us to dump lines easily if they have supply chain problems or like in the case of 6SQuare go Bankrupt!

  19. Frank

    Hi Paul

    Do you have any thoughts on Lectus Cabinets, which is a sister brand of Merit? Our desire is for a simple, sturdy, white shaker and we have no significant need for multitudes of options or customizations which is why our designer is recommending these—as a 3/4” plywood box (we would be all over Fabuwood if there was a designer/dealer within 100 miles).

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Frank,
      Lectus is a frameless line. 3/4″ plywood is the best available construction in frameless (assuming the back is also 3/4″). However, there will probably be framed lines that are more durable and also possibly less besides Fabuwood. Examples are Wolf, J&K, ProCraft and others. For a European cabinet it looks fine.

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