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Cabinet Reviews for 2022: Cabinet Ratings for the top cabinet brands

Cabinet ratings for top brands. Photo shows kitchen island.

Cabinet Ratings for the top cabinet brands.

Below are Main Line Kitchen Design’s 2022 updated kitchen cabinet reviews for the top-selling cabinet manufacturers in the United States and how those manufacturers rate for construction quality and value considering the price point of each cabinet line. These cabinet ratings were compiled by our team of highly experienced kitchen designers. Price point is rated from 1 to 6, with 6 being the most expensive custom cabinetry on the market. 

READ THE MOST RECENT 2024 RANKINGS HERE

Warning: Price Isn't Everything

If you are comparing cabinet brands, read this first! Price comparing your design at different dealers often leads you down a bad road.

Why Price Comparing Kitchen Cabinets Can be a Bad Idea

Cabinet pricing is dependent on dozens of factors that customers are not knowledgeable enough to price compare accurately. …

How the cabinet ratings work

Cabinet reviews assume each cabinet brand is upgraded to the top level of construction available, usually all plywood construction.

A grade of A for construction quality will not be quite equal across different price levels, as the more expensive price point cabinets will have far nicer finishes and construction options.

Note: The highest grade for Quality in any frameless European style cabinet line is a B. While frameless cabinetry is easier to access and is sleeker looking, it is also less durable than the best made framed cabinetry.

The Value Grade

The value grade we give is not a rating about the quality of the cabinetry but a rating of how good an investment a cabinet line is considering its cost.

For example, many of the most expensive well-made cabinet lines receive lower cabinet reviews even though as designers we think the cabinetry is the best in its class.

These lines receive lower grades on value because there are competitors offering the same quality at slightly lower prices. If price is no object, then we recommend ignoring the value rating in the cabinetry priced in the 6-price point.

Brighton Cabinetry shown here gets great cabinet ratings and is available to our customers 50 miles around Philadelphia.
Brighton Beaded Inset - Doylestown, PA Butler's Pantry. Brighton gets 5 A- A+ in our cabinet reviews

(!) Note About Painted Cabinetry

The finish on painted cabinetry is less durable than stained cabinetry on ALL cabinet brands, SO DO NOT:

1) Purchase expensive cabinetry believing the finish will be more durable, or

2) Blame a less expensive cabinet brand for being responsible for paint chipping, scratching, or being damaged by water. All painted cabinets have this issue, but finishes can be easily repaired by professionals.

Brighton Kitchen with Cerused Oak Island. Brighton gets great cabinet ratings
Brighton Kitchen with Quartersawn Cerused Oak Island Brighton gets 5 A- A+ in our cabinet reviews

Disclosure

Main Line kitchen design acknowledges that we are dealers for the following cabinet lines: Wellsford, Bishop, Brighton, Fabuwood, and Timberlake and Cubitac. While we could be prejudiced towards reviewing these cabinet lines more favorably, we have tried to be impartial. However, since the cabinet lines we carry were chosen specifically for their construction quality and value, it makes sense that we rate them well. 

Cabinet Reviews (Ratings)

Cabinet Line Price Level
(1-6)
Quality Value
21st Century 1 A A-
Adelphia Kitchens 3 B B
Adornus (frameless) 3 B B
Alusso by Adornus (frameless) 3 B B
All Wood – framed 2 A A
All Wood – frameless 1 C C
American Woodmark 3 B+ B
Aristocraft 2 C C

Belmont 1900 Series Frameless

4 B B+
Bertch 4 A A-
Bishop 4 A+ B++
Bishop Frameless 5 B A
B.J. Tidwell Cabinetry 3 B C+
Bremtown 6 A+ B
Bridgewood Framed 5 A A
Bridgewood Frameless 5 B A
Brighton 5 A- A+
Brookhaven 5.5 A B
Brubaker 5 A A
Cabico 4 B B
Cabinet Depot 2 B+ B+
Candlelight 4 A A
Canyon Creek Framed and Frameless (deduct 1 letter grade for frameless) 4 A A
CliqStudios Reopened 2.5 B+ ?
CNC 1.5 A- A-
Collier 5 A B-
Craft-Made Cabinetry framed 5 A A
Crestwood Framed 5 A A
Crestwood Frameless 5 B A-
CrownPoint Cabinetry (framed) 5.5 A+ A
CrownPoint (frameless) 5.5 B A
Crystal custom 5 A A
Crystal semi-custom 4 B+ B+
Cubitac  1.5 A A
Cuisine Ideale (frameless) 4 B B
Decora 4.5 A B
Designers Choice 4 A A
Design-Craft 4 B B-
Diamond 4 B+ B+
Diamond Now Stock 1 B B
Durasupreme 5 B+ B-
Durasupreme frameless 3 C C
Dynasty by Omega (frameless) 4 B B+
Dynasty by Omega (framed) 4 A A-/B+
Dynasty Pinnacle (framed) 5 A B
Echelon Cabinetry 2 B- C
Eclipse by Shiloh 4.5 B- / C+ B
Eurocraft Frameless 3.5 C C+
Executive (frameless) 4 B B
Fabuwood 2 A A
Fabuwood (frameless) 2 B- B
Fieldstone 4.5 A- B+
Forevermark 1.5 B+ B
Grabill 6 A+ B
Great Northern Classic 5 A A
Green Forest 2 A A-
Haas 3 B B
Hampton Bay (frameless stock) 1 D C+
Hanssem framed 1 B- C+
Holiday (frameless) 3 C supply issues
Holiday Kitchens 4 A supply issues
Homecrest 3 B+ B+
Homestead Custom 4 A A-
Ideal Cabinetry 2 B A-
IKEA (frameless) 1 D C
Innovation 2 C C
JSI Cabinetry 1 B+ B+
J&K Cabinets 2 A+ A-
Kabinart 3 C+ D
Kemper 4 B+ B+
Kitchen Compact 2 B- C-
Kitchencraft (frameless) 3 C B
Kith 3 B+ C+
Koch Classic 4 A- A-
Kountry Kraft (framed) 6 A B
Kountry Kraft (frameless) 6 B B
Kountry Wood 2 C C
Kraftmaid (Possible grade change. Being checked) 4 A- A-
Kraftmaid Vantage 4 A- A
Legacy 2.5 B+ B
Legacy Presidential 3 A B
LifeArt 1 C+ A
Luxor Collection Frameless 4 B B
Marsh 2 B B
Marsh (frameless) 2 B- B
MasterCraft 2 B B
Medallion
(Now owed by ACPI)
5 B+ B
Merillat 2 C D
Merit Kitchens 4 B+ B
Mid Continent with all plywood upgrade 3 B B
Mouser 5 A A-
Mouser (frameless) 5 B A
NatureKast Waterproof Cabinets 5 A A
Norcraft (every upgrade used) 3 B D
Ovation 4 B C
Plain and Fancy 6 A B+
Plato Woodwork 5 A A
Poggenpohl (frameless) 6 B C
ProCraft 1 A A-
QCCI Quality Custom 6+ A+ A-
QuakerMaid (frameless) 4 B B
RiverRun Cabinetry 3.75 B B-
R.D. Henry 4 A A
Rutt 6 A+ A
Schrock 4 B+/ A- B+/ A-
Schuler 5 A- B+
Shenandoah 3 B+ B
Shiloh (Possible grade change. Being checked.) 4 B B
Showplace 4 A B++
ShowplaceEVO (frameless) 3.5 B B+
Siematic 5.5 B C
Signature Custom 5 A+ A+
Siteline Cabinetry 3.5 B- C
Solid Wood Cabinets Closed Bankrupt  
St. Martin (frameless) 3.5 B A
Starmark Plywood upgrade 5 B+ B
Starmark inset or 3/4″ back panel 5 A+ A
Stylecraft 6 A A
Tedd Wood 5 A A
Thomasville 4 B+/A- B+/A-
Thomasville Nouvell 3 D D
Timberlake 3 B+ B
Tru Cabinetry 3 B B+/ A-
Ultracraft (frameless) 2 C C
Ultracraft 3/4 ply upgrade 3 B B+/A-
Urban Effects (frameless) 3.75 C- D
Village 5 A A
Waypoint 3 B+ B
Wellborn 4 and 5 A A
Wellborn Forrest 3.5 B+ B+
Wellsford 5 A+ A+
Wellsford (frameless) 5 B A-
Wolf 2 A B+
Wolf Signature Series 3.5 A- C+
Woodharbor 5 B+ C
Woodmode 6 A A-
Yorktowne
(Now owed by ACPI )
4 B+ B+

Outside Our Service Area?

FOR PEOPLE OUTSIDE A TWO-HOUR DRIVE OF OUR BALA CYNWYD PENNSYLVANIA OFFICE, HERE IS A LINK TO RECOMMENDED DEALERS IN OTHER AREAS. GOOD DEALERS WHO ARE CLOSE TO YOU CAN BETTER ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT’S AVAILABLE IN YOUR AREA.

All the designers who helped create these cabinet reviews have greater than 20 years’ experience in our industry. When possible, all construction specifics were double-checked on the websites for each cabinet line.

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Which Cabinet Brand is Best for Me?

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276 Replies to “Cabinet Reviews for 2022: Cabinet Ratings for the top cabinet brands”

  1. Jen

    Hi again
    Have you heard of Seville or Marquis? They are made regionally in the Midwest .
    Thanks ,
    Jen

    1. Paul McAlary

      Hi Jen,
      Never heard of Seville. Marquis from Kansas I have heard of but have no information on other than off their website. Based on that I would only recommend considering the Imperial line with upgraded soft close tracks.

  2. Molly

    Hi Paul – great thread here!
    I am considering Kitchencraft cabinets, thoughts? I don’t see much talk about them besides being from the MasterBrand family. The frameless aspect seems to scare off some. Also, what is the average designer commission? My quotes don’t appear to include that so I’m trying to budget for sticker shock also. Thanks again!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Molly,
      Not a fan of Kitchencraft. It is a lesser made frameless line which is a bad idea. There are better made framed lines with thicker plywood sides I would recommend if you were set on a frameless line. Frameless lines really only make sense to me when the door style is a slab.
      The best kitchen designers ALL work for cabinet dealers and their design time is almost always included in the cost of the cabinetry. Thiers comissions aren’t paid by customers they are paid by the showroom and cabinet dealer.

  3. Meno

    I do not see Barker Modern cabinets out of Portland, OR. I would be VERY interested in hearing your opinion of this company. We are considering ordering from them. We are only interested in a modern frameless style of cabinets. Also open to other suggestions. Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Barker appears to be a very well-made RTA line. The problem with the brand is not in how they are made it is that since they sell to the public no good kitchen designer would be involved in the project. This is because the best kitchen designers all make their living selling cabinets. So, while you will get a well-made cabinet and possibly save 10 percent on your cabinetry you won’t have a qualified kitchen design professional working with you. Unfortunately, most people think they don’t need a kitchen designer. The reality is that the more certain a person is that they don’t need a professionals help the more they actually need it. If you call into our Friday 2-4 pm EST podcast we can critique your design and maybe save you some major headaches.

  4. Jennifer

    Hi Paul,
    Just an fyi the info I received from my designer states the standard Starmark cabinet has a 1/4” plywood back and 1/2” rail . I have a screen shot from her resource but it doesn’t look like I can do an attachment here. It looks like they call it a “backrail”
    Also the Yorktowne info she sent says 1/8” plywood back and 1/2” rail.

    1. Paul McAlary

      Hi Jennifer,
      Thanks so much. I’ll update both lines. It’s a shame that they don’t do a better job documenting cabinet construction when they make changes. Still, they would get terrible revies if the backs and the hanging rails weren’t upgraded to Plywood.

  5. Jess

    Hell, Paul.

    What a great resource! I am about to sit down with a new (to me) kitchen designer at a showroom in my local area. This will be my fourth kitchen, so even though I have lots of experience I know the value of a pro. I’ve had the full spectrum of cabinets in the past including Ikea, Medallion and custom built. I loved the flexibility of custom, but don’t actually think was worth the cost. So, I’m looking at the brands carried by my dealer: Medallion, Bluestem, Schrock, Plain and Fancy and Kabinart. I’m not opposed to going with Medallion again, but want to learn about the other lines the dealer carries. I’ve been able to find reviews or ratings for most of these, with the exception of Bluestem. Any intel on them? I’d love to be prepared during my meeting! Thanks again for your list and thorough attention to the comments section!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jess,
      Sorry never heard of Bluestem and their website tells nothing about how the cabinetry is made. There are under 5 photos of 3 different kitchens on their website. This and the fact that those kitchens aren’t especially well designed concerns me.

      However, cabinet makers know very little about kitchen design. I would lean heavily on how the designer compares them to their other brands. With a company this small I also worry about how they will fair during tough economic times. Due to interest rates, I expect the cabinet market to be down this year.

  6. Jennifer

    Can you explain why Starmark “standard” are rated only a C . You say with 3/4” back they are an A but it looks like most cabinets come standard with 1/8-1/4” backs

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jennifer,
      The best well-made framed cabinets will come two ways. Either with 1/2″ full plywood backs or better, or with at least a 3/4 thick inch hanging rail and around 1/4 inch backs.
      Hanging rails need to be large enough to support the cabinetry. Starmark without upgrades has neither of these construction features. You are screwing cabinets to the wall through 1/4 plywood.
      This is pretty crazy and shows a complete disregard to construction standards.

      Some very nice and very expensive cabinet brands use terrible construction methods. Shiloh would be the most extreme example of a beautiful cabinet brand that is engineered terribly. Starmark un upgraded comes in second. Of course, a good carpenter could modify the cabinetry to correct the terrible engineering. We judge by how the company makes the cabinet.

      These companies need to hire someone with good engineering skills like the teacher in this video:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/how-to-make-a-better-kitchen-cabinet/

      1. Jen

        My husband installed 5 Starmark standard cabinets in our basement level
        And he said there is a hanging rail so I’m not sure why you say it’s like hanging through 1/4” plywood . That is why I’m confused . I believe it is at least 1/2 “

      2. Jen

        So Wellborn and Yorktowne cabinets, for example, state they have a 1/8” back but you are saying they also add thick rails over this ?

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi Jen,
          We review cabinet brands with all their available standard upgrades. So Wellborn is reviewed for the Estate line. See here:
          https://s3.amazonaws.com/offload-wellborn-com-assets/pdf/Wellborn-Cabinet-Construction.pdf

          Anything less than the Estate line would use a particleboard hanging rail which is terrible. Estate is 1/2 inch ply back with a 1/2″ ply hanging rail.

          Yorketowne has recently been acquired by ACPI. It is my understanding that upgraded Yorketowne is now made the same way as upgraded Medallion.
          One problem we have in this case is that ACPI is becoming less transparent about how they make cabinets. They have taken over a giant piece of the cabinet industry in the last few years and so if they make changes and aren’t transparent, we won’t know until well after the fact.

          To answer your other question about Starmark. Starmark recently changed how they make their cabinetry. So we are using the link below as a guide to how they presently make cabinetry:
          https://www.starmarkcabinetry.com/cabinet-construction

          They make no mention of using a hanging rail on any version of their cabinet’s construction. We always assume that brands would tell us if there was an important feature making their cabinetry better. Not listing a hanging rail would be pretty stupid. I’ll try to talk to a dealer and see if that is the case, but it really would be a terrible and unusual mistake to NOT tell the public something good. Not telling the public something bad is what many cabinet brands do on purpose. I

      3. Jennifer

        Thanks for your response . It is hard to know since I’m not seeing the rails mentioned on the website . I looked at Plato since a local designer sells that and the Wellborn but I couldn’t even find the back details on their website ,
        Also , after looking at the one Starmark upper cabinet we have and talking to my husband I believe you are right that the back is only 1/4” but my husband later said he couldnt recall the exact details .
        So would you recommend going with the Wellborn or Yorktown over the more expensive Plato or Starmark ? We aren’t getting anything out of the ordinary . Those are the options we have so far in our area .

      4. Jen

        I also found this Starmark installation guide that mentions hanging rails but I don’t see a date and it doesn’t mention measurements

  7. Amy

    Hi-
    Thank you for this great resource. Do you know anything about quality and value of Seville Cabinetry- Lucerne, with 3/4” plywood core.
    Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Amy,
      The Lucerne is a frameless European box. I don’t love frameless cabinet construction on any door style that isn’t a slab door. This is because the frameless construction, while less durable, looks so much better on slab doors. This is due to the very tight gaps between doors and drawers that the hinges on frameless cabinetry allows.

      Seville also uses a hanging rail on their frameless cabinet which makes it also a little less durable. Overall, there are probably better choices to make in a framed line that would be less expensive and better made. If you are getting a slab door style then there could be reasons why the line could be a good selection depending on door style, finish, and sizing.

  8. Dean Dobbins

    Hi Paul – do you have any opinion on Thomasville Elements cabinets? I’m not sure whether these differ from Thomasville? Any specific characteristics of this brand to be aware of? If you don’t recommend them – is there a similar price point brand with better quality?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Dean,
      I’m not sure how the Elements collection is made. However, Since Thomasville is only sold at Home Depot you are probably not optimizing the design of your kitchen working with a home center designer. Also, since the Elements collection is a painted finish, you are spending at least 30% more than you need to get a similar finish in a lower priced (and at least equally if not better constructed line) like Fabuwood, J&K, and some other brands.
      Here’s some relevant blogs:

      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/why-you-shouldnt-buy-a-kitchen-from-home-depot-or-lowes/

      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/what-cabinet-brand-is-the-best-value/

  9. Erin Sudul

    Hi Paul,
    I came across this review page surfing for reviews on Kraftmade Cabinets. This is my husband and my first time ever remodeling. I have been reading reviews and now really reluctant to order these types of cabinets. We don’t plan on having them painted, which it was seems to be a little bit of the problem. Other reviews say they come unfinished, scratched, the quality isn’t good. Looks like from the review in here they are a decent quality and rated A. What are your thoughts?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Erin,
      I’m assuming you mean Kraftmaid Cabinets. Kraftmaid is a good brand. Here is a blog about why Kraftmaid might wrongly get some bad reviews. And another relevant blog:

      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/hard-compare-kitchen-cabinet-brands/

      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/what-cabinet-brand-is-the-best-value/

      1. Erin

        Thank you!!

  10. Rich

    Thanks for so many detailed replies (wish there was a way to search the conversations)…

    Have any experience with/comments on Covered Bridge cabinetry? The folks working on our design are sold on them. I feel good about them, but always looking for second opinion/confirmation.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Rich,
      I didn’t know the line, but I looked at their website and was VERY impressed. They offer three Constuction choices all are fine, but I would select one of the top two. They do everything I love in a brand. They are transparent in what they offer, well made, have many wood species to choose from, and most of the most popular door styles and finishes. Plus, they do custom finishes. I’m going to guess at pricing and say that since they are a custom line that I don’t know that they would price out at about a 5.5.

      I am adding them to our ratings blog. This is usually impossible with a line I don’t know because the cabinet brand’s website isn’t so transparent. Covered Bridge tells me everything I need to know. I looked at their reviews online and the few bad reviews they receive seem to be from customers that don’t how the ordering process works or don’t have any expertise – which is common for all cabinet brands.

  11. Rich

    Have any experience with/commentary on Covered Bridge cabinetry?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      BTW Rich- Great idea about being able to search our comment section on a blog. I’ll have our web team see if they can work on making it happen.

  12. Jennifer Edwards

    Any input on Woodland cabinets ?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jennifer,
      Don’t know anything about the brand other than that they appear to be a more expensive custom brand. They do a couple of things I don’t love marketing their product. Showing an American flag, while not saying how they make cabinets. Tout being green, US and locally made, family owned, and other plusses that really amount to a lot of talk.

      I like websites that educate and inform – not talk in generalizations. That’s just me through, and in South Dakota, where they are from, that approach is probably better received. So you shouldn’t probably hold it against them.

  13. Dan

    Aristokraft is a common cabinet offered in new construction homes in the Montgomery County area where I live. The quick delivery home (Rouse Chamberlin) we purchased ten years ago has them. They look nice and have held up reasonably well, but after reading your guides, I can tell they are of lower quality (furniture board, terrible hinges, and glides (not soft close or full extended). We are about to start designing/building our dream home with a local builder who offers Aristokraft via a local kitchen and bath company with several MasterBrand lines.

    Does your current rating of Aristokraft factor in that they seem to offer a better quality “All Plywood” option – https://www.aristokraft.com/get-started/learn-about-cabinets/cabinet-construction. Does that option get C’s as well, or does that rating reflect the Standard and Select options?

    I’m getting educated before we start the formal design and options selection process with the builder and kitchen designer.

    Your site/content has been extremely helpful. Thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Dan,
      If you are about to begin designing a dream home, I would recommend not using the cabinet dealer that the builder is recommending. Working with that company will probably not be in your best interest. Read these two blogs to help you understand why:

      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/reasons-not-to-buy-cabinets-from-kitchen-contractors/
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/transparency-is-priceless-in-a-kitchen-showroom-or-kitchen-contractor/

      Main Line Kitchen Design is happy to advise people on the design of their new home free of charge on our Friday help line and podcast 2-4 pm. See this link:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/podcasts/

      Alternately, you could be working with us directly as you are in our service area.

      If you are trying to educate yourself before building your home my best advice is NOT to focus on cabinetry but to focus on getting the best design, kitchen designer and cabinet dealer. Those choices will determine the value of your home and the durability of your kitchen. The builder is not a reliable resource in making those selections.

      Aristocraft is still poorly made upgraded to 3/8″ thick plywood. It’s also not even inexpensive.

      1. Dan

        Paul – thanks for the reply.

        Would you say Aristokraft (any of their construction packages) is more expensive than Fabuwood? What about Timberlake? (I know we can’t compare brands directly, just asking directionally.)

        I would be interested in working with Main Line, but as you say in the other article: “I was recently at a meeting of construction professionals where many contractors still felt no guilt in refusing to install any materials that they didn’t order.”

        I need to find out if the home builder would even allow us to do that. They work with Sterling. Have you worked with homebuyers on new construction homes (development, not one-off custom) where the home builder already has a kitchen/bath contractor with a list of options/pricing in place?

        Happy to take this convo offline if that is better.

        1. Paul McAlary

          Hi Dan,
          I actually worked at Sterling 15 years ago. We disagreed on philosophy. In the three years I was there I never sold an Aristocraft kitchen. It would have been unethical in my opinion. That was why I didn’t work with some builders while I was at Sterling. Aristocraft is a bad product and a bad value. Fabuwood is infinitely better made and 20 % less. Timberlake is about the same price as Aristocraft and has 1/2 plywood sides and backs, as does Fabuwood, instead of the 1/3” that Aristocraft uses. Many kitchen designers derogatorily call Aristocraft “Aristo-CRAP”!

          The Builders that use Aristocraft as their standard also usually jack up the price on the other brands to make an enormous profit when customers try to upgrade into a better brand. Sterling allows this. Unfortunately, the worst part in this equation is that these builders usually won’t let the designers at Sterling fix the poor designs that they use in their homes. They want no changes. Even when fixing the design flaws in their homes would increase their value.

          Several of our customers have actually ripped out the kitchens in their brand-new Toll Brothers, and other builder homes, the day of their closings in order to install better designed and better made kitchens.

          The whole situation is so frustrating. When I worked at Sterling I got in an argument every time I wanted business cards. I wanted my cards to say Paul McAlary Kitchen Designer. They wanted them to read “kitchen sales”

          Someday, home buyers may become better informed and demand better from the cabinet makers, kitchen design professionals, and the builders that they work with. Main Line Kitchen Design tries to influence this change through our cabinet ratings, our website, and our podcast. We have had an effect over the years. For example, several cabinet brands have upgraded their construction because of our reviews of their brand and have told us so. This is because our cabinet reviews are more popular and read by many more people than the Consumer Reports cabinet reviews.

          The builders are the toughest nut to crack.

          This is also one of the reasons we respond to these types of questions online and in a public forum. It puts pressure on our industry, forcing it to become more transparent. While we have fielded complaints from cabinet brands and home centers, as long as everything I say can be documented I am not worried.

        2. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi Dan,
          Sounds like a plan. The best part is that they are letting you make changes. We can tweak your designs in the podcast. Masterbrands has Homecrest a less expensive brand like Timberlake and Decora a more expensive brand like the Kraftmaid that Sterling also carries. All three of those lines are great choices.

      2. Dan

        Paul – thanks for all the insight.

        We are locked in with builder+Sterling since they don’t allow outside contractors. It looks like Sterling carries all MasterBrand lines, so Fabuwood doesn’t appear to be a viable option. So, it’s now about making the best of the situation. The one potential saving grace is this is not one of the giant production builders (Toll, Rouse, Ryan, etc.). It’s a smaller builder we really like with otherwise quality/upgraded features, and we have direct access to the owner/builder who oversees everything directly (benefit of smaller). At least in preliminary conversations, he seems open to design changes and customizations. They said we could bring our own designer along if we wanted.

        Once we have more info on the proposed kitchen design and options, I’ll call into the podcast.

        Thanks again.

      3. Dan

        One last question, Sterling also carries Wolf, which looks to have all plywood construction and solid B+ rating. I assume that is a viable option as well?

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi Dan,
          Wolf is a Fabuwood type brand. IE less expensive that Aristocraft and far better made. They had some issues I know a while back with one of their Midwest manufacturing plants. The Sterling designer will know how they are doing. For a shaker white kitchen, they would be a far better pick than Aristocraft. And less expensive.

  14. Will

    This list is garbage. Anyone in the cabinet world knows Shiloh is premium and well built. Giving a C is not even fair.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Will,
      Unfortunately, Shiloh has a poorly engineered hanging rail. While the line is beautiful it does not come close to meeting our idea of acceptable construction standards. Why such a high-end brand continues to be so poorly engineered remains a mystery to me but if they would increase the size of their hanging rail or offer a 1/2″ plywood back we would give them straight A’s.

      1. Will

        You really don’t know these brands well and obviously have not installed any of these cabinets, or any cabinets at all…What your saying doesn’t make any sense look at the supposed A brand’s compared to what you are saying. Your entitled to your opinions but they are not educated or based on any experience with these brands.

    2. Paul

      Will,
      I studied engineering at an Ivy league college for 4 years. Owned a construction company and installed cabinets for ten years. The last 25 years I have designed and sold kitchens and owned a cabinet dealership. You are presumably less educated, less experienced and less informed.

  15. Daniel

    Paul,

    

First off, on behalf of everyone here, thanks so much for putting this list together. It’s been wildly helpful.



    I’ll try to be as succinct as possible, so here it goes.

 We want white painted, shaker lower cabinets (6 boxes) and white painted, shaker wall/hanging cabinets (3 boxes) that can extend to about 40” tall to accommodate some soffiting I’m going to demo. 

We want a wood island, shaker, that we’ll put our oven and microwave into (3 boxes). And we love inset – but I’m told it adds quite a bit of cost. Maybe euro/frameless as an alt.



    We want these to be our forever cabinets, but wonder where to begin when choosing one dealer if so many dealers in our area offer good quality cabinets. One dealer gave me an average box price of $1500 for Durasupereme, which you have rated at a “5” in cost, so I made a list of 4’s with vendors in my area. They are..


    Showplace
    
Yorktowne
    
Crystal
    
Schrock
    
Decora

    Woodland
    
Wellborn

    Diamond

    Bertch

    Crown

    Omega

    Homestead
    
Kemper



    All are in the 4/5ish range and have A’s and B’s in quality and value.

    From what we know so far, what we need is pretty standard and we’re just looking to replace what we have now. Are there a few brands that stand out to you based on what we’re looking for? 



    The reasons this stumps me is because A. some vendors want deposits for design and estimates, thus not revealing a manufacturer cost to consider, and B. how do I choose a manufacturer when all appear to offer the style we want, while also being rated so highly on your list? 



    We’re not exactly looking for the lowest bidder, but say Omega (4, A, A-) comes in lower than Bertch 4, A+, A-) how the heck will I know if that’s the right decision? Woof. Was shorter in my head. Thanks in advance!

    Kindly,



    Daniel


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Daniel,
      If you read our blog or listen to our podcast you will see that I repeatedly beg homeowners to stop all the research they do on brands and instead to focus their efforts on finding a good kitchen designer and cabinet dealer. Read this blog:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/price-comparing-kitchen-cabinets-and-why-it-is-a-bad-idea/
      You seem to be thinking that you are capable of designing your kitchen alone and just need cabinet “boxes”. This instantly identifies you as someone in need of even more help.

      For example- Inexpensive cabinet brands are made just as well as expensive brands and the color and style that you want every brand has so you don’t need to be in an expensive brand to get great cabinets. Fabuwood would be made just as well as most of the brands you list and would be almost half the price. However, they would not be inset or do custom sizing in your design like 40″ high wall cabinets.

      NO customer I have worked with in 20 years kept their layout the same. However most came to me wanting to, simply because they couldn’t think of anything better. But why should they think they are qualified to know what could be done with their space, and how to spend their budget effectively? Getting expensive cabinets and the same poor design makes no sense. This is what kitchen designers help customers do and it takes many years to get good at our job. Watch our funny video:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxJgxCeeNTo&t=

      Doug Mottershead says it best. “All customers need kitchen design help. They just need to be convinced that they need it.” If you listen to our podcast for example, nearly every person I talk to needs MAJOR design help.

      When people ask about cabinet brands on our website, we know that they are missing the elephant in the room. Namely that they need design help far more than they need help picking a brand.

  16. Debra

    Hi Paul,
    Can you show the rubric you used for rating the different cabinet companies? I’m in the process of having samples ordered from Belmont. I’m curious what’s the difference between an A, A-, B+, and B. Belmont is rated B and now I’m nervous about ordering from them. Why aren’t they rated A? Also, I’m assuming a 4 means they cost quite a bit. Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Debra,
      How we rate cabinets is included in this blog. Belmont is a frameless brand and so couldn’t receive higher than a B for construction. Here are blogs on cabinet construction:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/what-cabinet-line-is-the-best/
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/2015-popular-kitchen-cabinetry-brand-comparison/

  17. Joseph

    I love the blog/podcast and have learned a ton about kitchen design from them – really an invaluable resource. A common complaint on Houzz regarding Fabuwood and J&K is that they don’t have lifetime warranties, but is this a red herring (in other words, there aren’t realistically conditions that a lifetime warranty can be redeemed, it’s just a warm fuzzy feeling of coverage)?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Joseph,
      The warranties are meaningless. Any problems that are going to be covered by the warranty would happen in the first few years. We give a limited lifetime warranty to all the brands we sell even if the manufacturer doesn’t. Partly because market research has shown over and over that the longer the warranty the fewer the claims.

      If it gives you comfort Fabuwood start a giving a lifetime warranty in a few weeks.

  18. Larry

    Hi Paul,

    I will go with white shaker, and debate between 21st Century and Fabuwood. Someone recommended CK cabinet. Any comments on the quality of the CK cabinet? Thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Larry,
      Never heard of CK. For a less expensive brand than Fabuwood we chose to work with Cubitac. They have nicer looking door styles and finishes than 21st century. Both are inexpensive and well-constructed though. Fabuwood is 20% more expensive and usually worth the price if you are picky. If you are renting or flipping, I would use the less expensive brands.

  19. Subra

    Hello Paul:
    This is such a useful comparison of cabinet brands and also contains so much information for novices such as myself. We live in the suburbs of Chicago and are looking to upgrade the kitchen in our house. The contractor we are working with is recommending cabinets made by Amish manufacturer located in Indiana. Apart from door samples he can bring , it looks like there is no other way of seeing the product. This makes us very uncomfortable to go with such a product, although we do have some friends who have used this contractor and the cabinetry. I wanted to see what your thoughts would be on choosing such a product.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Subra,
      I would NEVER buy cabinetry through a contractor from an Amish cabinet maker.

      First the contractor is making money through them. In my opinion this is stealing from you. I would not hire this contractor without getting several bids from other contractors and not until after your kitchen is designed by a professional kitchen designer that works at a kitchen cabinet dealer. By the way, no kitchen cabinet dealers sell small Amish manufacturer’s cabinets. We consider these cabinets as “homemade” and not custom. Read this blog:

      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/custom-cabinets-handmade-or-homemade/

      Second the manufacturer knows nothing about design, so by bypassing a Kitchen designer you guarantee you are getting an amateurish design. Since you got onto this path once I would recoomend letting us critique and fix your design on our Friday help line and podcast. Here a link if you want to:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/podcasts/

  20. Ali Conway

    Thank you for your post. I was wondering if you have ever worked with or have any thoughts on Nichols cabinetry out of Canada.

    Thank you, Ali

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ali,
      Nichols is a frameless brand. I would only recommend buying frameless for modern contemporary slab doors. If you want expensive European cabinets in a slab door style they would be fine. They appear to have nice finishes. Read about framed vs frameless here:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/kitchen-cabinet-storage-space-framed-vs-frameless-cabinets/

  21. Holly

    Hi Paul – we are interested in a white shaker door with slim rails/stiles (~1 inch). I know Fabuwood has the newer Luna line…is it worth it to opt for a more semi-custom brand such as Wellsford or St. Martin (which is only frameless)? I feel like my head is spinning trying to compare construction details between cabinet lines.

    For even a more transitional look such as the mini-shaker, would you still recommend a framed cabinet with full overlay for durability and aesthetics? Thanks so much!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Holy,
      Those slab doors with outside corner moldings are not considered shaker. They are all made the same so spending a lot of money on more expensive brands wouldn’t make sense unless the colors or sizes weren’t available.

  22. MM

    Can you tell me why Midcontinent gets a C for quality?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi MM,
      I looked up Midcontinent to refresh my memory as to why we give them a poor rating and I found out that they now offer an All-Plywood Construction option. This would be needed to make their cabinetry acceptably constructed particularly with a 3/8″ back panel. I would give them a B or possibly a B+ if I knew a little more about what their new upgrade offers.
      I’m going to change our rating based on the new upgrade. I still wouldn’t give top marks for value because the upgrade will be expensive compared to less expensive brands that only come with all plywood construction.

      Thanks for alerting me to this. I will have to check some of the other Masterbrand lines when I get a chance to see if they are offering upgrades as well.

      I think that a combination of the availability of the better made import/US brands, combined with consumer awareness, and also our ratings, which are read by over 2000 people each week are forcing cabinet companies to offer this upgrade. This is encouraging for our industry. Transparency is being forced upon cabinet companies whether they want it or not. While Masterbrands has been slow to transparency, this is very encouraging to see.

  23. Dee

    Hi Paul, so wished we live closer! Just wondering what the * next to Thomasville is for? We are leaning towards Kraftmaid at the moment, but I am really hesitant lately about Home depot after reading the sale scam you talked about. I thought it was a good deal until this helpful information. Also, do you know what brands offer pocket doors? seem to have trouble finding out just by searching, that way we can find a dealer. It would really help with our layout to have them, but its not a dealbreaker.
    Your time and advice is most appreciated.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Dee,
      Thomasville’s * is a sign that it is rebranded Diamond cabinets. Home Depot has had several lines make the brand over 20 years. It is NO RELATION to the Thomasville Furniture Company. Pocket doors will only be available in more expensive brands and only for limited cabinetry. Unless you are getting custom cabinets. You need help with your layout particularly if you don’t think you do. I’d consider calling is to our Podcast once you have a design you can show us.
      Thanks,
      Paul

  24. Ayanna

    We are buying kitchen cabinets and our considering Merillat, but you have them rated as a poor value and quality. Would you say more about why? We are also considering Fabuwood, J& K, and KraftMaid, but customer reviews all have quality issues, broken cabinets, and companies refusing to stand by warranty. Any thoughts on these brands?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ayanna,
      We put very little stock into customer complaints about about cabinetry as people complain about everything and the bigger the company the more the complaints. Most customers complain about things that they should have expected like painted cabinets being nicked and scratched easily, or damaged by water as all painted cabinets are. Or about a few shipping damages that are quite common with large cabinetry orders and simply need to be reordered and replaced. Most often customers complain about designer and contractor errors that they blame the cabinet company for. We rate cabinets on how they are built and Merillat is built poorly and is not a good value. The others you list are better choices. Here is a blog to read:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/hard-compare-kitchen-cabinet-brands/

  25. Kari Lannan

    Hi Paul,
    We have received bids from procraft and KCD. Looking online they seem comparable, but the price point is significantly different. 20 k and 11k (procraft). Both have birch faces and appear to be similar thickness. What is your opinion on quality. Is KCD better?

    Thank you!
    Kari

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kari,
      Assuming you mean Kitchen Cabinet Depot when you say KCD. They should be only 5 to 10% more for cabinets as we have considered selling both and know wholesale costs for each. On the West Coast Procraft can be a bargain because they ship into that side of the country. However comparing cabinetry is very difficult. Read this blog:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/price-comparing-kitchen-cabinets-and-why-it-is-a-bad-idea/

      1. Kari Lannan

        Hi Paul,

        Thank you! I should have specified KCD was Kitchen Cabinet Distributors and the Brooklyn line vs the procraft shaker style. When looking at comparisons of these row companies (not a cabinet expert) they seem comparable in quality with a 10 k price difference. We wanted middle of the line cabinet. We have 2 small boys 6 month and 3 yrs. We plan to stay in this house 5-10 years so it isn’t our forever home. What are your thoughts on the procraft. The low cost makes me nervous? We are from Texas and there are so many cabinet companies around that is it overwhelming. Any recommendations appreciated!

        Thank you,
        Kari

        Then

        Procraft – 1/2

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi Kari,
          They are very similar lines so something is wrong with the pricing you are getting. You might be comparing different types of wood or an MDF door to a solid wood door.

  26. Chris C

    Hello!

    We are choosing between Omega cabinets and Signature Custom Cabinets. The difference in price is about $7K. Any thoughts?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Chris,
      I have no experience recently with either company, so I don’t know how well they are handling supply chain stresses. But generally, I prefer Signature as you can see from our ratings. Not sure if the difference is worth 7K as that would depend on the door style finish and construction upgrades you are picking in each line. The fact that Omega no longer sells Pinnacle might mean they are moving away from more expensive custom cabinetry options.

  27. Katherine

    Hello Paul,

    Thanks for your fabulous website. I’m a kitchen designer and home builder in Colorado. My husband and I build everything from high-end custom homes to small, budget conscience remodels. I’m looking for the best cabinet lines to carry that would include the most options while working with the fewest amount of reps, as you mentioned in previous posts. We currently work with The Corsi Group (Greenfield and Siteline) and I noticed they are not rated on your list. What are your thoughts on these lines and what would you recommend for us to carry?

    Thanks so much!!
    Katherine

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Katherine,
      If your goal is to have the least # of reps I would choose to carry Masterbrand Lines. You will get several brands that cover several price points from the one company and Rep. I would recommend HomeCrest, Schrock and Decora. Or Wellborne has several lines in their one brand that cover several price points.

      Neither of these will give you a high-end custom line or an inexpensive US / Import line which you should also carry.
      I’m not sure which of these expensive and inexpensive lines are available in your area. Possibly Procraft is as an inexpensive line. If you choose Dynasty by Omega as your expensive brand you would also get several possible lines in both framed and frameless cabinetry.

  28. Hart Traylor

    What do you think of kitchen cabinet distributors? I don’t think I saw them on the list above.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Hart,
      They are another US company importing inexpensive well-constructed cabinets from overseas. I would rate them like CNC. Not sure how they are doing with supply chain issues.

      1. Carrie Johnson

        Do you happen to know the quality of the painted Kitchen Cabinet Distributor cabinets? We have to replace our kitchen due to a leak and the price of KCD is appealing, but I want to make sure we are getting something that will last many years. We currently have painted maple Schrock and have never had an issue. If you had to choose between KCD painted shaker in birch or Kraftmaid painted shaker in maple, which would you choose?

        Thanks!
        Carrie

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi Carrie,
          Kraftmaid is a MUCH more expensive brand than KCD. It should be at least 40% more. While the construction and durability of the finish on both lines should be about equal and also equal to Schrock, there will be telltale signs that KCD is a lesser brand. Expect rougher dovetail drawers, more shipping damage, possible out of stock issues, and slight inconsistencies in construction and finish. The cabinets will come much MUCH faster – in half the time at least.

          Plus, there will be less sizing, and customization available. All that being said durability should be very similar.

          Fabuwood is the best of the inexpensive brands IMO so if that could be an option the price would be a similar savings and the step down in quality virtually undetectable.

          All these inexpensive lines offer only a fraction of the door styles and finishes that a brand like Kraftmaid makes. However, if you are getting white or grey shaker you are paying for the availability of things you aren’t selecting.

          Consumers have a hard time grasping that most of the extra money they pay buying higher end cabinetry often goes to the availability of products they aren’t selecting.
          Here’s a link to a multimillion-dollar home with Fabuwood cabinetry.
          https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/kitchen-design-gallery/villanova-pa-renovated-barn/

  29. Victoria

    Wellborn premier or Medallion Silver line ?
    which would you recommend. Price from 2 different kitchen designers are about the same. We’re looking at White shaker door style.
    Wellborn -maple solid door.
    Medallion -Door is MDF core and maple frame.
    Thx for your advice

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Both brands are fine and similar. However, they are expensive for the white shaker door style that every brand has. Does the design you are getting require special sizing? If not, you are wasting money.
      Often when we get questions like this, and then see the design being considered, the design would be vastly improved by spending a little more money on construction. Moving a doorway, widening an window, removing a wall, all cost peanuts compared to the added costs of these brands for white shaker.

  30. Colin

    Hi Paul,

    Do you have any knowledge of either Sylvan Cabinetry or Aiwood Cabinetry? These are the two brands being offered by my designer.

    Thanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Colin,
      Both of these places are not brands. They are distributors for imported cabinets. It sounds like your designer is not working for a cabinet dealer. Independent designers are less experienced and also usually charge for their time. While the design time of “real” kitchen designers is incorporated into the cost of the cabinets that they sell. I would recommend working with a designer that works for a cabinet dealer that sells at least several different lines and not a designer that designs and then possibly overcharges you for cabinets they purchase though a importer.

      Certainly, I would have us look at the design before you buy cabinets on our free Friday Podcast and helpline. There will be mistakes that we find when have a kitchen designed this way.

      1. Colin

        Hi Paul,

        I’m not sure on the distinction you’re making. The designer I’m working with is at a cabinet dealer. They don’t charge anything to design the kitchen and they have many different brands they offer including lots of others from your list like 21st Century, J&K, Fabuwood, etc.

        – Colin

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi Colin,
          I’m not sure how you can be asking about Sylvan Cabinetry or Aiwood Cabinetry as these are not cabinet brands but individual distributers. Was the design done by the designer that sells the brands you mention like J&K and Fabuwood etc? And then you are considering taking that design to the two distributers to buy cabinets? If so, that’s a bad idea generally and as a designer that makes us all crazy as you would be stealing our intellectual property.

  31. Louise

    Hello Paul,
    Do you know anything about the quality of Bentwood and Harmoni? They are not on your list. Interested in possibly frameless cabinets but want them to be good quality.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Louise,
      I don’t know those lines, but a good frameless cabinet is easy to identify.
      THEY MUST
      Use 3/4″ thick plywood sides
      Have a 1/2″ Minimum plywood cabinet back or wide 3/4″ hanging rails.
      Use soft close hinges and tracks.
      Use solid wood dovetail drawers or heavy-duty contemporary type drawers.

      We only recommend frameless cabinetry for modern slab type door styles. These styles look best in frameless construction, and it is worth the step down in durability.
      Otherwise, framed cabinetry makes more sense.

  32. 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.

  33. 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/

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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!

  50. 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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