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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. 


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


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
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
(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-
(Now owed by ACPI )
4 B+ B+

Outside Our Service 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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280 Replies to “Cabinet Reviews for 2022: Cabinet Ratings for the top cabinet brands”

  1. Kristen McKenna

    Paul – very informative. My contractor has connected me with a local cabinet person who does fully custom and is also a dealer for Greenfield. Do you know anything about this brand? I received another quote from a company who uses Fabuwood which is almost 1/2 of what I’m being quoted. I for sure want nice cabinets but don’t want to go over the top as I don’t have an endless pot of gold. Thoughts?

    Also, my kitchen design is from my architect as I’m doing other renovations.

    1. ITSAdmin

      Hi Kristen,
      Here’s some relevant blogs to assist you:

      With cabinetry paying more for custom brands like Greenfield don’t necessarily get you better made cabinets. Most of the added expense is going towards the availability of custom sizes, special kinds of wood, unusual finishes, more expensive door styles, or cabinet styles such as beaded inset cabinetry. If you are not picking these choices and were getting shaker white, grey, or blue painted full overlay cabinets then nearly all the extra money you would be paying over a brand like Fabuwood would be going towards things you weren’t taking advantage of.

      I would encourage you to get a real kitchen designer to critique your designs, or to call into our Friday helpline and podcast, as architects are notoriously poor kitchen and interior designers. The first blog tried to make that clear.

      My MANTRA remains:
      People worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they worry about their designs. This is because they aren’t kitchen designers themselves and don’t understand how poor their designs usually are. If you listen to one of our podcasts this is usually a central issue. The Podcast below illustrates this point:

  2. mike

    Hi Paul,

    What are your thoughts about Laminate cabinet doors with an all-ply box?
    Should I upgrade to a laser edge band on the doors?

    1. ITSAdmin

      Hi Mike,
      There are lots of really nice laminates out now. An all-plywood box and upgraded edge banding would both be good ideas.

  3. Amy Zhang

    Hi there, I’ve did a lot of research and eventually decided that I want to go frameless, but I would like the door to be shaker style, is that a smart choice ? I just don’t like the flat surface of euro cabinets..

    I noticed above that You mentioned that for white shaker, there is no need to go more expensive brand, but the problem is I want frameless cabinets, and seems Fabuwood doesn’t have the shaker door style for their frameless line. Can you recommend a brand that I should go for this ? I’ve consulted with dealers for Crystal cabinets (they’re using MDF in the middle of the shaker door) and Shiloh’s eclipse line (seems using hardwood), also some local cabinetry like Gooder’s, I think Shiloh’s price seems similar to Gooder’s, I’ve not got price quote for Crystal back but I suppose it would be more expensive for sure.

    Do you suggest that if I want shaker door, I could just go with the traditional framed design ? That would open up a lot more cheaper choices. Thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Amy,
      You will get a better made, more durable cabinet, that costs less if you got framed cabinetry. Contrary to what most people believe there is not much difference in storage space. See our blog below:
      Essentially you lose 4% storage but get a better made cabinet that costs less. Use the savings to make construction changes that will create a far better kitchen. Frameless cabinets also have other issues that make designing in them more difficult and sometimes problematic.

      MDF in the middle of a shaker door is a good thing by the way, the whole door MDF is bad.

      1. Amy Zhang

        Thanks Paul for your advice. If I go framed cabinets with all hardwood for the door, would it be better or worse than MDF in the middle ? So far I know a local dealer recommending Grand J&K cabinets, which is using hardwood for the whole door, and he also suggested that it’s better price/quality than if I go with frameless as this brand doesn’t offer that option. Do you know anything about this brand, is it good ? Thanks again ! Really appreciate your knowledge sharing here.

        1. ITSAdmin

          Hi Amy,
          Yes we rate J&K well. They are an inexpensive well made brand. For painted cabinets having the center panel MDF is fine’

  4. JeffK

    HI Paul,
    Yours is the most informative website for kitchens that I’ve seen. I have two questions:

    First, are you familiar with Del-Wood cabinets? They have been recommended by a kitchen remodeler in my area. Their website includes the specifications for their cabinets. Do you think they are well constructed?

    Second, if I go with a simple cabinet style, such as a basic shaker design, would there be any reason to consider cabinets from a more expensive brand over less expensive, but nevertheless well-made cabinets, from a brand like Fabuwood? I would add that I prefer painted cabinets.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jeff.
      So much depends on budget and design that giving advice blind so to speak is impossible.
      Spending extra money to get custom cabinets like Del-Wood makes no sense unless you have first spent the money to reconfigure the kitchen to become the best layout it can be.

      My MANTRA remains:
      People worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they worry about their designs. This is because they aren’t kitchen designers themselves and don’t understand how poor their designs usually are. If you listen to one of our podcasts this is usually a central issue. The Podcast below illustrates this point:

  5. Jeffrey

    Hi Paul,
    I learned so much from your website and appreciate your expertise.
    I am currently looking at Fabuwood, CNC and Medallion via CliqStudios. I spent a lot of time with a kitchen designer (13 years experience) from CliqStudios who recommended Medallion cabinets from their cabinet lines due to my preference. You rated Medallion at 5/B+/B. Medallion cabinets with all plywood options quote is slightly higher in price than the Fabuwood. I was surprised to see about that. What do you think? Should I go with Medallion from CliqStudios since Medallion is able to achieve what I want where as Fabuwood has some limitations. Thank you!


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jefrey,
      I never recommend buying cabinets online EVER!
      Particularly from CliqStudios that has gone bankrupt once already with customers losing their money.

      If you like Medallion buy it from a dealer that comes out and measures your home the way professions do.

      I would also recommend calling into our FREE helpline and podcast. Example below:

    2. Jeffrey

      Thank you for your prompt feedback!
      Can I submit my floor plan to your podcast for your review?

      1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

        Hi Jeffrey,
        Sure Email the drawings to and call Tomorrow if that works between 2-4 pm Eastern Standard Time. We get to all calls. Call 610-500-4071

  6. Nathan Frey

    Hi, my wife and I are looking for quality cabinets at a reasonable price. One of our contractors offers only ProCraft. Our other contractors leave it up to us, but we have to juggle lead times – in addition to ProCraft, we’ve looked at Schrock, J&K, and Fabuwood.

    Can you help walk us through the procs/cons of each and what we should consider when choosing between these? Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Nathan,
      You should not be buying cabinetry from contractors. They are not qualified to design and sell kitchens. All the lines you are considering are fine, we like Fabuwood the best of the ones mentioned HOWEVER, please get good design help first or let us vet your design for you. If you listen to our podcast, you will see that the designs people consider without good design help ALLWAYS need a lot of improvement. Particularly when the homeowner doesn’t think that’s the case.

      My MANTRA remains:
      People worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they worry about their designs. This is because they aren’t kitchen designers themselves and don’t understand how poor their designs usually are. If you listen to one of our podcasts this is usually a central issue. The Podcast below illustrates this point:

      1. Nathan Frey

        We would love to let you vet our design! We have a first pass at a design that I prepared online so we could use it to communicate what we want – would love to discuss with you. What is the best way to connect with you and understand your process?

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi Nathan,
          Every Friday from 2 to 4pm Eastern Standard Time I take calls and review designs from all over the United States. We make a podcast out of some of the calls.
          To have me review a design please email the drawings on that Friday to then call 610-500-4071 during the 2-4pm time slot. If you get my phone message leave your name and number to get into the queue. We call back and review everyone that leaves a message even if it goes past the 4pm hour.

          If any callers are looking for a way to thank us – a good Google review is priceless.
          Hope to hear from you.

      2. Nathan Frey

        We ended up going with ProCraft because we can get it fastest. Do you know what type of drawer slides and door hinges they use and whether they offer an upgrade? Thank you!

        We’ll send around our design for input as soon as we have it.

        Thanks for all your help!

  7. Sheila Widergren

    Hello- love the article – so if my design is a white shaker – is Procraft a good choice ? I may have misunderstood but it has a “1” price point, so does that mean it is just an A in quality, etc compared to other “1” price points ? Procraft Seems to be so far off some in price, ( that I recognize ) so I just wanted to make sure it’s a good choice . We have an excellent carpenter/ kitchen designer and he is adding to them to “customize “ for us . I did notice they only have. 5 yr warranty and KraftMaid for instance has a limited lifetime . Someone told me the cabinets are only as good as they are assembled, so I was preferring the skilled carpenter . Maybe I’m wrong . Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sheila,
      Generally, the construction finishing does improve as you get to the level 4, 5, and 6 price points. So, dovetails are sanded smooth, joints are tighter, and cabinetry is assembled to a higher exactness. However, the durability is not affected in any significant way. Warranties are not really relevant, as all things covered under a warranty will generally have issues in the first couple of years. Nicks scratches water damage and wear and tear is not covered under any warranty.
      As always-
      My MANTRA is:
      People worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they worry about their designs. This is because they aren’t kitchen designers themselves and don’t understand how poor their designs usually are. If you listen to one of our podcasts this is usually a central issue. The Podcast below illustrates this point:

  8. Reggie

    Hi! Just found this site and wow, so helpful, thank you. Cabinet company question – do you know anything about Pioneer Cabinetry based in Michigan? Wondering where they would fall in terms of quality and value etc.
    Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Reggie,
      Sorry I don’t know Pioneer and their website has no information on how they are constructed. They look like a higher priced semi-custom cabinet brand. Generally they will have lots of cabinet, wood type, and finish options. You would have to get a spec book to see how they are constructed. Always upgrade to all plywood construction, and dovetail soft close drawers. Here’s a blog on how we rate cabinet construction.

  9. Nancy

    Hello from CT!
    Retiring soon and Have decided to stay in our home versus selling and moving .
    Replacing our 30 year old kitchen cabinets ( which though builder’s grade have done quite well overall!) will be part of the renovation projects we will take on .
    Have gotten estimates for white shaker cabinets from kitchen designers on Shiloh and Candlelight brands. Candlelight a bit less but mostly equally expensive .
    In your mind is there a better choice between the two for any reason?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Nancy,
      Without seeing a design I couldn’t comment other than to wonder why you are considering more expensive cabinetry for a white shaker kitchen. Unless you are stacking cabinetry or have custom sizes less expensive brands like Fabuwood would be a better choice for white shaker.

  10. Asiya Umer

    I am having hardwood floors installed throughout the house. I am having cabinets/vanities replaced in the laundry and powder room. Would installing stained cabinets be too much wood? If I choose painted cabinets what do I match them with? My trim throughout the house is a dark cherry. I also cannot decide between Procraft (Newport Millstone) and Fabuwood (Fusion Oyster) if I went the painted cabinet route. I see a number of negative reviews on Fabuwood online but not much on Procraft, good or bad. The issues people have with Procraft are more to do with the vendor/supplier/design company. Thank you for any feedback that you can provide.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Aslya,
      Procraft and Fabuwood will have the same durability. Complaints are just homeowners that don’t understand that painted cabinets damage easily. Fabuwood sells many times the volume of cabinetry hence the complaints. Either brand is a fine choice.

  11. KimL

    Hi Paul,

    This information is so helpful. Thank you! Especially having a smaller budget I appreciate knowing which products are still a good value. Question for you: is the Cabinet Depot you list here the same as US Cabinet Depot? We have a quote from a local company using this brand.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kim,
      Yes they are the same. We should add the US since they go by that name now. I would be careful with this line. They make a good cabinet HOWEVER, the painted shaker doors are ALL MDF and should only be used when flipping a home. They will not last long term. If this is for your home or a rental the grey stained shaker door is a better choice. Or a different brand if you are getting a shaker painted door. If the local company quoted you a white shaker style and didn’t mention the MDF issue, I would not work with them.

      1. KimL

        Hi Paul,

        Thank you for the heads up about the doors. This project is for a second home/vacation home right on the beach on the Gulf coast. We are about to have to go on the rental market in order to keep the place, so there will also be a lot more traffic in the house going forward. They did disclose that the doors were MDF (actually they called them HDF…is that a thing?) however they recommended these types of doors over wood due to the high humidity environment. What are your thoughts on that? I have some decisions to make!

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi Kim,
          For a rental property I would always get a stained cabinet and certainly NEVER an HDF door. Particularly at the beach.

  12. Brenda

    Hi, Paul,

    Thank you for compiling this great report card on cabinetry. I happen to have Holiday Kitchens cabinetry in my Master Bathroom. I see they get a decent score other than supply issues. May I ask, are “Holiday Kitchens” the same company and brand as “Holiday Frameless?” I believe my version of HK are frameless, though. Planning our kitchen next, so I’m wondering about “Holiday,” and if those are two related cabinetry lines or if they just happen to have a similar name. Thank you for a reply if you catch this question.


      Hi Brenda,
      Cabinet brand is the same the type of cabinet is different. I’m not sure that Holiday ever recovered from their issues. It might be safer to order another line. I also would not recommend a frameless cabinet unless the door style you are looking for is a slab door style and a contemporary look.

  13. Emily

    Hi Paul, this guide is amazingly helpful – thank you! Can you tell me which, if any, of these brands are made in the USA? My contractor recommended ProCraft, but I am hesitant to purchase a product made in China due to their lax labor laws and the environmental impact of freight from overseas.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Emily,
      Couple of thoughtful things in play here:

      I don’t know for sure but nearly all US companies like ProCraft, that impot cabinet fronts and parts, no longer import from China due to tariffs. Most importing now comes from Vietnam, Mexico, the Philippines and other countries.

      Were you to purchase all US made cabinetry of a similar quality you would need to spend at least 35% more and probably still not quite reach the same quality. If you buy lesser made cabinetry you will need to replace the kitchen sooner and that would negate any environmental impact.

      Generally, customers and the public in general, do not have enough reliable information, particularly in the cabinet industry, to make subtle evaluations on environmental impact. Reading Freakonomics will give you some perspective on why these types of evaluations are often not intuitive.

      Decision making when renovating a kitchen should be all about value in my opinion. US companies offer value in their variety and their availability of different wood species, stains, and unusual door styles and finishes. For full overlay shaker white or grey door styles, US brands are not a good value in less expensive semicustom brands.

      Once you bring tangential issues into the mix or if you get political, it gets too complicated. For example, nearly all the less expensive 100% US brands are made in Red states and their owners are very conservative politically and contribute accordingly. Many of the US import brands are owned by Orthodox Jewish families and the high-end custom cabinet brands often have roots in Mennonite communities. I appreciate the diverse mix in our industry and simply try to evaluate value on it’s own merit.

      1. Emily

        Thank you Paul! You bring up a lot of good points I hadn’t considered.

  14. Amy

    Hi Paul-

    Thank you for the advice and the great resource. I see that on your ratings, you give Tedd Wood A’s for quality and value. Would this hold up for their frameless line? I am sure you wouldn’t rate them higher than a B for quality but wondering if you would give them the B.
    Many Thanks!!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Amy,
      Yes, assuming that the Tedd Wood box was 3/4″ plywood we would give them the highest rating of a B. 🙂

  15. Jon

    Hi Paul,

    Ive been digging into cabinets the past couple weeks as we are starting to put our house back together post-demo.
    We are located in the valley out in LA, are there any places you recommend out here?

    So far we have looked at reform (out of denmark, i think its high end rta) and liked it and received a quote. I was looking at fabuwood and found a carrier not too far from us but got spooked by some reviews. We have worked with our architect and some friends who are designers and have a plan. We really want high end look and feel but were able to keep to mostly standard sizes. We are looking at doing dark blue/grey painted lowers, no uppers, then wood for the island (its an L kitchen with island) with qhite oak floors.

    This post and all of the replies have already been very helpful, thanks for putting together this valuable resource.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jon,
      I’m worried about the direction of your renovation as there are several warning signs in your post such as:

      Starting a renovation without knowing where you are buying cabinetry.

      Not consulting with a kitchen design specialist before arriving at a design.

      Designing an “out of the box kitchen” IE no wall cabinets without expert help. If you are an expert, you are more likely to successfully break design rules. However, the people that usually design unusual kitchens and break design rules do so without any knowledgeable help. Every experienced kitchen designer will tell you that architects, interior designers, real estate agents and contractors come up with the worst designs we see. As the saying goes . . . “A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

      There is no such thing as a “high end RTA cabinet” Plus using internet searches to make cabinet and design decisions is very dangerous. Even using our site. This is because, there will always be pieces of vital information that you are missing when you don’t consult an expert. Physicians, auto mechanics and kitchen designers all get patients and customers that come to us having done cursory research thinking that they have arrived at a health or mechanical diagnoses or a good kitchen design. This is rarely the case as we show on our podcast.

      I would recommend calling into our helpline and Podcast on a Friday 2-4 pm Eastern Standard Time for some general help. Listen to this episode to better understand why this is important.

      1. Jon

        Thanks Paul. We worked on our kitchen design for 2 years with our architect and friends and family that are interior designers as we tried continually to kick off the reno (in retrospect it’s better to have been delayed since wait times and material costs are a bit more stable now). So we had some informed input but our biggest issue has been finding the right person or company to work with out of the innumerable options out here.

        That all being said our preference would be to use a kitchen designer and actually met with one last week and just got a quote from them yesterday on their recommended cabinet maker Columbia (a Canadian brand). I also received a quote from a different provider for fabuwood. The Columbia quote is about 30% higher than reform (the rta option) and 3x the quote we got for fabuwood.

        There are less finish options for fabuwood so we would need to compromise on our design a bit. I see you rate fabuwood very highly, would you consider it similar quality to some of the higher end brands? I’m looking to see fabuwood in person tomorrow to get a feel for it. The dramatic difference in price definitely makes me pretty skeptical so just trying to square all of the information.

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi Jon,
          Fabuwood and any well-constructed framed cabinet will be more durably made than any frameless brand, even far more expensive ones. You side stepped my concerns but if you decide to call in for advice I am available.
          Here are some blogs on the difference between framed and frameless cabinetry and how to chose a cabinet brand:

  16. MS25

    Hi Paul,
    I’ve been researching cabinets and trying to figure out what’s best for me. After reading I know all plywood construction is best along with some other factors. I’ve seen some companies you posted such as fabuwood and cubitac which you gave great scores for at solid price points. What separates them from the brands you can the same score quality wise at higher price points ? Also I’ve see. St Martin cabinets and another brand called tribeca, can you give me a little insight on those compared to the ones you listed. Just want good quality cabinets that will last. Thank you !

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Marco,
      St Martin is a frameless brand that we review in this blog. It is a nice frameless brand but quite different and more expensive then the well-made inexpensive framed brands you are asking about like Fabuwood and Cubitac. Tribecca would be included in this type of inexpensive framed cabinet brand as would J&K, Procraft, Wolf, CNC, and many other brands.

      We like Fabuwood because they offer more selections than other similar brands in this price point but they are all well-made and each has their own colors and slightly different offerings. This is why we carry both Cubitac and Fabuwood. Cubitac is a little less expensive but is still built well. They also offer some MDF door styles that would be a great value for home flippers. Although these MDF doors would not be as durable in the long run. Cubitac also offers solid wood doors that would be a good value for rental properties and for homeowners on a budget.

      As always my “mantra” below remains more important than these cabinet selection worries. Assuming you are buying a well-built cabinet.

      My MANTRA is:
      People worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they worry about their designs. This is because they aren’t kitchen designers themselves and don’t understand how poor their designs usually are. If you listen to one of our podcasts this is usually a central issue. The Podcast below illustrates this point:

      Or the funny video below also makes the point in just a couple of minutes.

      1. Marco

        I will listen to the podcast today. My only other question is then: for homeowners that don’t plan on moving that want quality cabinets that will last long for a good price, what do you recommend ? Are the companies we spoke about good for that or would price point a bit higher better off ? Right now I have mills price oak cabinets that are pretty solid and I want to make sure the next cabinets I get are on par or better. Thank you for your quick response and all your help !

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi Marco,
          Home Depot’s Mills Pride was the lowest of the low in cabinet quality. On par with IKEA. However stained cabinets are way more durable than painted cabinets – so you might want to consider a stained finish. All paints chip, scratch and are damaged by water easily no matter how expensive the cabinet brand.

  17. Layla

    Hi Paul,

    Thoughts on getting Fabuwood cabinets in a custom SW color? How’s the paint job? Are seams, lines, etc. an issue?
    If you don’t recommend, what is a brand you do for painting?


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Layla,
      We tested Fabuwood custom color doors and they were just as nice looking and only very slightly easier to chip due to the extra coats of paint. The custom colors are 35% more though, so I would use them for Islands and not a whole kitchen. Once you are spending more and more on a kitchen and appliances then being in an inexpensive brand might not be that saving that much money and you’d have more choices in another brand.

  18. Deborah Abernathy-Smith

    Hello Paul:

    In Georgia there is a cabinet company call Prime Cabinetry, can your company evaluate their semi-custom cabinetry? Here is their website. I would like to purchase cabinets, but after reading Main Line Kitchens Design on how to buy cabinets, I am really at a stand still because its really hard to purchase cabinets because pricing is high and quality is low. I value your recommendations.


    Deborah Abernathy-Smith

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Deborah,
      We DO NOT recommend ordering cabinetry online for many reasons. The biggest being that there are almost always physical locations that will have knowledgeable people to help you and to measure your home that will be the same price or a little bit more for the same, or better, quality cabinets. If you live in rural Alaska they might be your best option. But that’s seldom the case. See the reasoning from another post below:

      The reason we don’t review online cabinet companies and Costco is to protect homeowners from themselves. Were we to review these type brands favorably then consumers that don’t understand or value kitchen design would avoid the design help that they desperately need. My mantra, the podcast and the video below all try to make this understandable.

      My MANTRA is:
      People worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they worry about their designs. This is because they aren’t kitchen designers themselves and don’t understand how poor their designs usually are. If you listen to one of our podcasts this is usually a central issue. The Podcast below illustrates this point:

      Watch our funny video:

  19. Deborah Butler

    Paul, this information is very helpful and is a great service to the industry. While we have not run into this before, customers are starting to ask about the Costco Ultimo Custom Cabinetry by Tuscan Hills. They are not on your list. Is there any information available that would help the consumer to assess the quality and value? Thanks so much.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Deborah,
      There are lots of brands that we intentionally do not rate. They include RTA cabinets, brands sold online, and also Costco cabinets. These brands can save a little money but there are also lots of other low-cost brands that will be sold at places where there should be some competent design help available. We don’t review these brands despite the fact that many are well made.

      The reason we don’t review them is to protect homeowners from themselves. Were we to review these type brands favorably consumers that don’t understand or value kitchen design would avoid the design help that they desperately need. See my mantra, the podcast and the video below that all try to make this understandable.

      My MANTRA is:
      People worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they worry about their designs. This is because they aren’t kitchen designers themselves and don’t understand how poor their designs usually are. If you listen to one of our podcasts this is usually a central issue. The Podcast below illustrates this point:

      Watch our funny video:

  20. Darrell Mathis

    I recently came across this online source of cabinetry From the description is see there is appears that these are high quality construction with a wide range of options and low price (at least to my unprofessional eye). I was wondering if anyone can comment on this. The site is new so not sure how reliable/safe it would be to order from them. Thanks

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Darrell,
      There are tons of inexpensive places to buy well-made cabinetry. Why by unknown cabinets online and avoid getting any of the design and cabinetry help you need from a local cabinet dealer? We don’t rate these types of brands because no profession would use them.

  21. Jess O.

    Hi Paul! Our contractor referred us to their cabinet supplier who has a kitchen designer. They carry Schrock cabinet lines (entra, trademark, boutique) and Mantra. We are meeting with them next week to get measurements of our space and discuss options but I didn’t see anything on this list about Mantra cabinets. Any thoughts on these two cabinet brands and advised upgrades if their “base” cabinets aren’t up to snuff? Thank you!!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jess,
      Schrock should be upgraded to a plywood box and soft close tracks and drawers. I believe Mantra is the import Masterbrands line like other US/Imports that comes automatically Plywood and soft close. If you like the mantra doors styles and finishes, they will be a good value.

  22. NL

    Hello! Thank you for this amazing and helpful resource! We are working with a contractor who offers either Mantra or Homecrest cabinets. We currently have KraftMaid cabinets in stained wood that are in great shape but are hoping for an updated look and revised floor plan. We are currently planning on a shaker style cabinet in white. Do you have recommendations about either of these cabinet lines? Is the extra cost of Homecrest worth it if we are going with painted cabinets? Or, would you stay away from these two brands altogether and look for another option? Thank you!!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi NL,
      For white shaker style cabinets US/Import brands will be better made, less expensive and have smoother paint finishes. Make sure that the door style you select has a solid wood frame and isn’t all MDF. The middle panel can be MDF. These brands will all come upgraded to all plywood construction and soft close tracks and hinges automatically.
      My favorites below:
      These brands may have some supply chain issues:

      Masterbrands cabinet lines (both Mantra and Homecrest) are not the best choice for white shaker.

  23. Dpkt

    Hi Paul,
    After reading your comments, we decided we prefer stained kitchen cabinets over painted due to chipping issues. We are doing a full kitchen remodel and are close to making final decisions. For a modern look, we are opting for frameless, maple wood, stained, shaker cabinets with plywood option. The dealer we are working with offers canyon creek and Ted wood. Any last minute advice on our choices?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Dpkt,
      Tedd Wood should be a little more expensive and have some nicer finishes, but each brand is equal in durability. For a shaker door style, I would certainly recommend getting framed cabinetry over frameless, particularly if you are concerned about durability. Also I have noticed that when customers are selecting frameless cabinetry over framed it seems that my mantra below is even more relevant:

      My MANTRA is:
      People worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they worry about their designs. This is because they aren’t kitchen designers themselves and don’t understand how poor their designs usually are. If you listen to one of our podcasts this is usually a central issue. The Podcast below illustrates this point:

  24. Kunal P

    Hi Paul,

    Firstly your website is a wealth of information and very much appreciate the effort you put in on educating / guiding consumers who are embarking on kitchen renovations. Our project involved essentially gutting the kitchen and installing new flooring, cabinets, counter tops, backsplash, moving electric and plumbing etc. hence find it challenging to make the sound decisions required to get a good balance of function, quality, price etc.

    Stumbled across your website whilst researching on cabinet manufacturers and have short listed 3 cabinet manufacturers: Fabuwood, Cubitec and FGM. We have spoken to 2 different kitchen designers, one an advocate of FGM and other Fabuwood and both neutral on Cubitec. Pricing wise seems FGM may be the least expensive of the 3 but not the same warranty, longer delivery times etc. Build quality from what we have read, seems like they are all on par, however keen to get your input on your thoughts of the 3 which you would select.

    Similarly on the countertops (Quartz) struggling to select one from PMI international, Reliance stones, Cambria and MSI. Similar to cabinets how you have a scoring for price, quality and value do you have a view on how these manufacturers fare in comparison.

    We are in NJ which seems to be home to a handful of cabinet / countertop manufacturers hence have a variety of options which is also great.

    Looking forward to your advice / guidance. Thank You.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kunal,
      Fabuwood and Cubitac are top of their class in their pricepoints. Fabuwood is a little more expensive. FGM I don’t know and would be skeptical of.

      All engineered stones are of equal quality. Cambria has some of the nicest colors and is the most expensive. MSI is the least expensive and has good prices for less expensive colors but not so much for the higher priced colors. I think Silestone, Viatera, and Caesarstone are the best values considering the colors they offer.

      AS Always

      My MANTRA is below:
      People worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they worry about their designs. This is because they aren’t kitchen designers themselves and don’t understand how poor their designs usually are. If you listen to one of our podcasts this is usually a central issue. The Podcast below illustrates this point:

      1. Kunal P

        Thanks Paul for your response. Agreed with the importance of kitchen designs, although as you pointed out as a consumer its also difficult to find kitchen designers who are thinking through all the permutations and offering something that is optimum based on the structure of the house. Not yet called into your friday helpline, although will do so when we have a design we like and is close to final for your feedback. Not sure how many you are able to get through on these calls, but will attempt to share and would appreciate your feedback.

  25. Sarah

    We’re looking for bathroom cabinets and are noticing quotes for quick ship brands are all over the place. If you had to choose between JSI and Procraft, which would you recommend? Will one hold up better in a humid bathroom than the other? And any insight on National Kitchen & Batch Cabinets (NKBC)? I’m finding very little about them online but got by far the best pricing on cabinets from a dealer who carries them.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Stains will hold up better than paints. Cabinets brands with paints in all plywood will all be similar in durability. Never heard of NKBC. We rate Both Procraft and JSI similarly.

  26. Rao Garimella

    Our Kitchen Designer (Davis Kitchens, Albuquerque) is recommending Shiloh Cabinetry for a higher end line and BJTidwell for a lower end line because they say that KraftMaid has had a lot of issues with quality and delivery times since the pandemic. You rate Shiloh poorly. Could you say why?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Rao,
      From a past response:
      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.

      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. This is because their hanging rail is too small to adequately support the cabinets and secure it to the wall. Of course, a good carpenter could modify the cabinetry to correct the terrible engineering. We judge brands by how the company makes the cabinet.

      Some companies need to hire someone with good engineering skills like the teacher in this video:

      I understand that Kraftmaid has had supply chain issues. However, cabinetry is the bones of your kitchen as I stammer in the video below:

      If you get Shiloh someone needs to address their poor engineering. I could give you a drawing on how to do this if you were to call into the podcat some Friday.

      1. Rao Garimella

        Thank you for the explanation.

        I think this company also sells Medallion, Legacy, Fabuwood, BJTidwell and Kraftmaid. Since the house is higher end we didn’t go with Tidwell or Fabuwood (made outside US??). That left us with Shiloh (which they claim is great), Kraftmaid (they are 12 weeks out and have issues), Medallion (more pricey, I think).

        We loved their service and installation in another remodel 10 years ago and decided to go with them instead of a big box store. We are too far along with them to ethically ditch them and go elsewhere but are trying to make the best choice.

      2. Rao Garimella

        Now that I look more closely Kraftmaid and Diamond are also using a 3/8″ plywood back putting them on par with Shiloh (for good or for bad).

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi Rao.
          Thanks for the “heads up”. Some recent changes in these lines.

          Diamond and Shiloh are still made a little differently. While both now use 3/8″ backs Diamond does a better job capturing the back of the cabinet and squaring and supporting it with I-beam construction. Diamond also rabbits the bottom of the cabinets into the sides and back. In the past I believe Shilo used a 1/4 back with their hanging rail. The Shiloh Hanging rail is still too small and insufficient. However, the whole cabinet is better made if the new back is 3/8″ ply which it doesn’t say, but appears to show in the spec book. We NEED to confirm this.

          I just checked and surprisingly there are two conflicting construction methods shown on the Kraftmaid website. It appears that Kraftmaid may have changed how the build cabinetry after decades. I wondered if this would happen with the company changing hands again. While their video shows the old method of construction, you are right, the Kraftmaid specification photo shows it no longer uses a hanging rail to attach cabinets to the wall. In the past, cabinets were being screwed to the wall and supported by a 3/4″ solid wood or double plywood wide hanging rails.

          Some more investigation needs to be done to determine how we will rate Kraftmaid going forward. I’m going to upgrade Shiloh slightly while we investigate their back.

          But Wow! Thanks for alerting us to some changes that, while still need to be confirmed, will change our cabinet ratings going forward.

  27. ellen

    Sorry Paul. I have an additional question-

    have you heard of cabinets from They are featured on HGTV and they are an online cabinet store. If yes, how would you rate their cabinets and whether they are good for bathroom vanities? Some of their cabinets are made of birch wood. I heard it’s not as strong as maple. Is it a good wood for bathroom vanities? The price they quoted is $2000 less than maple cabinets and I’m tempted to go that route. Unfortunately they have only limited finishes and I would pick a painted finish instead of stained.

    thanks again for your time and advice.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ellen,
      All kitchen professionals hate HGTV because the information you get on these shows is misleading, unprofessional, and a little bit nuts. Here is a blog where we rate some of these shows:

      We recommend not using RTA cabinets because without a professional helping you are bound to make mistakes. Plus you will have to build the cabinet and there are inexpensive brands like Cubitac and many others that come assembled already and are only a tiny bit more not $2000 more.

      1. Ellen

        ok thanks so much for the insight.

        The RTA cabinets can come pre assembled for an extra $600. I’m sorry I think my question was unclear. The RTA seller priced all 3 bathroom cabinets including assembly but not install at $4000 compared to Kraftmaid (same no install) for $6200. I’m working with a contractor to install the cabinets.

        The RTA cabinets are however birch wood while the Kraftmaid is maple. Do you think birch wood will hold up well in a bathroom?

        Thanks again for ur time and advice.

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi Ellen,
          Birch is fine, however why pick a RTA birch cabinet that isn’t even inexpensive and one that real Kitchen designers would not use. Kraftmaid is an relatively expensive semi-custom brand. A less expensive and more reliable national brand like Fabuwood should be about $4400, Cubitac would be under $4000. Other brands like ProCraft, J&K, Wolf, and many more, would all be around these numbers. Some less some a little more than $4,000 but still 40% less than Kraftmaid.

          Using a real cabinet brand that dealers carry (like any of the lower priced brands getting good reviews in our ratings) will mean that you will have order and design help. Also a warranty from a local merchant that can get you replacements easily. And better cabinets for the same price. Only people that don’t know any better, like HGTV, would use the RTA brand you are considering.

  28. Emmy B


    I have had multiple designs out at several local showrooms for a kitchen reno and finally found a showroom with a salesman that has taken a great amount of time explaining everything to me. I’d love to go with him given his care with my project. They use Woodland cabinetry (But also offer Bertch). What are your thoughts on Woodland? Would you suggest Bertch over Woodland, why?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Emmy,
      The same repose I just gave to Stan seconds about the brand he asked about applies to Woodland.
      I don’t know the brand personally, and they give very little information online. I see they offer some expensive wood species and door styles and finishes so they must be a relatively expensive custom brand. This usually means they will make cabinetry almost with any upgrade you want. But more than that I can’t say. If you had the rep email their spec book I could rate them and that would possibly increase their business.
      Bertch is a larger brand. It looks like Bertch offers slightly less variety than Woodland. Bertch I know – Woodland I don’t. I suspect Woodland is more expensive. If it is worth the price would depend on what you were selecting and what upgrades you were requesting.

      1. Emily B

        How can i send you the spec book?

  29. Stan

    I am renovating my kitchen and a friend suggested I source the cabinets from Greenfield Cabinetry out of Elkins, West Virginia. They appear to produce a quality product but otherwise not a lot of information on them. Would appreciate any insight you can provide.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Stan,
      I don’t know the brand personally, and they give very little information on line. I see they offer some expensive wood species and door styles and finishes so they must be a relatively expensive custom brand. This usually means they will make cabinetry almost with any upgrade you want. But more than that I can’t say. If you had the rep email their spec book I could rate them and that would possibly increase their business.

  30. Emily


    What does the asterisk next to Thomasville mean? This is a brand we are considering. Thanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Emily,
      Originally, I had the asterisk because Thomasville cabinetry had no relation to Thomasville furniture which misled people. Home Depot bought the rights to use the furniture companies name and in the first 8 years had several different cabinet brands making the cabinets including Mills Pride an inexpensive particle board cabinet line.

      Masterbrand’s Diamond Cabinetry has made Thomasville for 15 years now so we can remove the asterisk. Rebranding cabinetry, appliances, or other products in better sounding name brands is something Home Depot does that misleads consumers. For example, at one point Home Depot sold GE water heaters. They were the worst water heaters just branded with GE’s name to make them seem like they had a level of quality. Why companies sell the rights to their name only for The Home Depot to hurt their brand is beyond me.

      I’ll remove the asterisk now as I no longer think it’s needed. I would read this blog about home centers though:

  31. Ellen

    Thank you Paul. This review comes just at the right time as I am purchasing all new cabinets for all my bathrooms. Your expert advice is greatly appreciated.

    I live in VA and the cabinet sales rep recommended 2 brands, Kraftmaid or Timberlake.

    For Timberlake, I chose the upgraded New Haven line. For Kraftmaid, the sales representative did not offer an upgrade but I only know the cabinets will be made the same as the Timberlake New Haven line which is Maple wood for frames doors and drawers while everywhere else is plywood construction. I chose painted for half bath and stained for master and guest baths. The price came out to just under $1000 difference. (Timberlake – $5100 while Kraftmaid $6100)

    That small price difference made it harder to decide so I was wondering if you can offer your advice on which cabinet would be a better choice?

    Also can you provide advice on countertops? I was amazed at how expensive quartz countertops are. For the 3 bathrooms, with sinks and tops, it’s almost the same price as the 3 cabinets. And that is the lowest tier countertops they quoted. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ellen,
      I’m assuming that the Kraftmiad is Kraftmaid’s Vantage that comes already upgraded. Both brands are equally durable the KraftMaid simply has some nicer looking finishes and offers additional options that you are probably not looking for in a vanity. Your choice- both are fine.

      The countertops are so expensive probably because you are only getting a quote for a limited amount of square footage and a slab of Quartz comes 50 square feet. So the dealer is charging you for close to a whole slab even though you are using only a fraction. With small orders, like for vanities, it is best to get quotes for using remnants. That way you won’t pay for unused square footage. Also, if the vanities aren’t between two walls they don’t need to be templated and could be easily installed by the contractor by simply placing the tops on the vanity and putting a bead of clear caulk between the top and the vanity. So you would them only be paying for the actual square footage without templating or installation. Your cost then for delivered tops might be half the price or less. You will have to take the colors that there are remnants of, but they might be very close to what you were considering.

      1. Ellen

        Thanks so much for your quick response!

        Your advice is greatly appreciated!!

  32. Kelly E


    What are your thoughts on Wellborn Premier, all plywood construction with MDF doors (painted), and Schrock Entra, standard construction cabinets for a kitchen remodel? I am having a hard time deciding between these two options. We started out comparing Schrock Trademark, all plywood construction vs Wellborn premier, all plywood construction, but the Schrock cabinets were coming in a lot more expensive than the Wellborn. So, the designer is suggesting the Schrock Entra with standard construction.


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kelly,
      I don’t think you want to order MDF doors. It’s Ok having a recessed center panel MDF in fact that is preferred. However, a whole door MDF will damage too easily. It’s probably why the cabinets are so inexpensive. I would not get Schrock Entra standard construction.

      Not knowing the door style and finish you want makes it difficult to advise you. But both of these lines are not the best value for a simple shaker painted door style.

  33. Erin Nelsen

    I live in Southern California. I want to buy high-quality inset cabinetry for my kitchen remodel. Thank you for your list as it is very helpful. So far I have found dealers in my area for the following brands: Rutt, Plain & Fancy, Kountry Kraft, Signature Custom, & Wood-Mode. Do you have any insight into the difference between the manufacturers?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      They are all Custom Brands so they will probably make anything you want. If you are getting a painted cabinet, then the brands won’t be very different in construction, durability and looks. If you are getting stained cabinets then the more expensive brands like Rutt will have nicer looking finishes.

      I would not get Wood-mode as they have been in financial trouble too many times recently to be a safe choice.

      Best of luck and feel free to call into our Friday helpline and Podcast for advice. Here’s an example of the podcast and my “mantra”

      People worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they worry about their designs. This is because they aren’t kitchen designers themselves and don’t understand how poor their designs usually are. If you listen to one of our podcasts this is usually a central issue. The Podcast below illustrates this point:

  34. Eve

    Hi Paul
    I’m an interior designer and I want to open studio with a small showroom .
    Im wishing to work with 3-4 of kitchen brands.
    What brands are you recommend to work with for my clients?
    Looking for:
    3 semi custom brands .
    1 custom brand.
    We are located at California.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Eve,
      Recommending cabinet brands is a little harder on the west coast since we are so far away and I don’t know what brands you will have available, or how the supply chain and the cabinet reps are in your area.
      That being said I’ll pick more National brands so that they will be available in your area and their order and delivery process will be more consistent. Of course, if you were close to us I would recommend the brands that we carry, which are from inexpensive to expensive we carry Cubitac, Fabuwood, Timberlake, Bishop, Brighton, and Wellsford.

      For California from least expensive to most expensive:

      1) Procraft or Fabuwood is better (if Available),
      2, 3) I would keep things simple by using a Masterbrand Rep for the next two cabinet brands and so pick Homecrest and Decora
      4) For custom I would choose a very high end Semicustom that has both Framed inset and Frameless cabinetry. So I’d choose Omega. Omega Dynasty and Omega Pinnacle will offer Framed, Inset, Beaded Inset and Frameless Cabinetry.

      You should learn 2020 CAD or Prokitchens if you don’t already. 2020 is the more common software that most kitchen designers use. All the brands I listed offer both CAD systems for ordering. If you don’t know one of the two kitchen design CAD programs and intend to use other software like Chief Architect that would be a sign that you are in over your head. It doesn’t mean you couldn’t still succeed; but you would be starting out with a big strike against your success.

      Best of luck and feel free to call into our Friday helpline and Podcast for advice. Here’s an example of the podcast and my “mantra”

      People worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they worry about their designs. This is because they aren’t kitchen designers themselves and don’t understand how poor their designs usually are. If you listen to one of our podcasts this is usually a central issue. The Podcast below illustrates this point:

      1. Eve

        Thank you for your reply Paul.
        Yes I’m definitely know how to use CAD 2020.
        Did you hear about Mantra and Envoy brands? Any recommendation?


        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Mantra is a low level Masterbrand line that will offer far less options than the Procraft and tons less than Fabuwood but be similar in price if not more expensive and so not a great value for a less expensive brand.
          The Envoy is an inexpensive frameless brand. It could be OK in your area. In our area only 10% of customers want frameless and they usually want more expensive frameless so we wouldn’t carry a brand like Envoy.

  35. Joanne

    Hi Paul,
    We are seriously considering a design company who sells only DuraSupreme Cabinets. (The Design Company has good ratings from customers in this area. And we felt comfortable with him when discussing our project.) According to DuraSupreme, the construction of the cabinets comply with what is considered to be a solid cabinet. You gave them a rating of B+ for quality and B- for value. Are these good cabinets? Why are they B+ and B-?

    This Design store did not have cabinets set up to look at, only sample pieces, so I went to see the cabinets at another kitchen store. They seem like good cabinets, although I was a little dismayed at the roughness of the dovetail joints. The sales person directed me to Holiday Kitchens cabinet and the dovetail joints and interior drawers were sanded to a smooth finish. You gave these cabinets A for quality and problem for value. Not sure what you mean by problem.

    I thought this was suppose to be fun. I’m overwhelmed.

    Thank you,


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Joanne,
      DuraSupreme is a pretty well-made cabinet as shown by the B+ rating. It’s a little more expensive than some other similar brands AND we had problems with them honoring their warranties when we carried their line which is why we rated them a B- for value. If the dealer has good reviews I wouldn’t worry. Holiday had serious supply chain problems that I don’t know if they are resolved. I wouldn’t feel safe with the Holiday.

    2. Joanne

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you, I very much appreciate your reply. I have two more questions about Durasupreme Cabinets, if I may. You state the cabinets are “pretty well-made”. What is it about the cabinets that keep you from giving it an A rating?

      Also, I could not find any information on their drawer tracks and soft-close doors. Are they Blumotion? Are they of good quality?

  36. Mike

    Hi Paul,

    We trying to choose between Waypoint Series 503S and St. Martin Clayton. It seems both are good quality semi Custom cabinets. Waypoint has B+ rating for quality and B for value while St. Martin has B rating for quality and A for value in your review. We can’t decide which way to go. I appreciate it if you any info/suggestion for us to make the decision.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Mike,
      t looks like you are getting a slab door style. Waypoint is framed. St Martin is a frameless brand which looks better for a slab door. I would go St Martin in this case.

  37. Brianlange

    Really, this article was much needed. My fiancée wants to change my home and guess what, her favorite is white. Can you believe that? But I get hospital vibes and want some color and I am loving this bronze splash in the picture. Do you think sapphire blue cabinets will work for my kitchen? Also, going for classic Persian rugs is something I want. So many of them are colorful ones. Can you suggest me something here?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi BrianLange,
      Can’t comment without more information other than carpets do not belong in kitchens.

  38. Cathryn Gilmore

    I am looking for a lighter wood stained cabinet, but am having a hard time finding them in the lower priced cabinets. I’m really trying to stay away from the unfinished ones. Am I being unrealistic? Or can you recommend an affordable line (3 or less) on your scale.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Cathryn,
      Fabuwood is just about to release Galaxy Timber. See Link Below and scroll down:

      We have the samples and they look very nice.

  39. John

    Hi Paul,

    Are there any Euro style flat slab door cabinets that you recommend? Have you had a chance to look at Fabuwoods new frameless line, “Illume”?



    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi John,
      There are lots of frameless lines that make Frameless cabinetry well. For inexpensive brands CNC makes a 3/4 inch plywood box on some of their slab door styles that are really well constructed. Fabuwood’s Ilume line is 3/4 Particle board sides because the high gloss laminate doors and laminate sides must adhere to Particleboard or MDF and not plywood.If you like that style and look they are made as well as anyone else makes them. Omega Dynasty frameless cabinetry is well constructed upgraded. As are any custom cabinet brands that use 3/4″ sides.

      In general you always want 3/4″ sides on frameless cabinets and at least a full 1/2″ back or a 3/4″ hanging rail.

      1. John

        Thanks Paul!

        Do any manufacturers offer hanging rail systems anymore? Our project is upgrading identical kitchens in 42 townhouse apartments that originally used an hanging rail system that was fully adjustable. It made for a very quick, neat and accurate installation.


  40. Karen

    Trying to decide between Thomasville, Aspect and Schrock cabinets. Any suggestions?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Karen,
      Looking at the Aspect website it seems that they use an insufficient hanging rail in their construction. So I would recommend upgraded Thomasville or Schrock which are similar in price and quality.

      I’m adding my new “mantra” paragraph below:

      People worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they worry about their designs. This is because they aren’t kitchen designers themselves and don’t understand how poor their designs usually are. If you listen to one of our podcasts this is usually a central issue. The Podcast below illustrates this point:

  41. Jennifer

    Well, that response wasn’t helpful at all. I am building my forever home and I am going to do the style I like. I think shaker cabinets look cheap. I don’t think you should discourage people to do what they like and encourage them to follow trends, unless they are flipping a house.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jennifer,
      You can get a million different door styles and finishes. Certainly, get a raised square panel door in one of dozens of styles. The base cabinets will always be square so is it such a sacrifice to get the tops square too, instead of an arch?

      No one said to get a shaker cabinet. It’s just extreme to pick something so outdated. I understand that it’s your forever home.

      Consider that even if you like the look, any responsible salesperson at a clothing store would discourage you from buying plaid pants to wear with a polka dot shirt. In the kitchen design world an arched door would be a comparable selection.

  42. Jennifer

    I do not see Omega or Cardell on your list. The other brands I have been considering are all categorized as 4s! I know I can’t go with really inexpensive cabinets because they don’t come in the style I want. However, I can’t afford really expensive ones either.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jennifer,
      Omega is on the list under their original name. Dynasty by Omega or Pinnacle by Omega. I don’t know the Cardell cabinets sold at Menards, but they have been racking up a bunch of 1 star reviews recently. I’d stay away. You don’t mention the door style or color you are considering – so I can’t help steering you to a brand.

      1. Jennifer

        Thank you for the response. I want the raised panel arch. I’m doing dark wood cabinets on the perimeter and blue on the island.

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi Jennifer,
          I would strongly discourage you from doing an arched stye door. First this style hasn’t been popular for 25 years. But even more importantly, you are right in that this style is so unpopular that it will only be offered in more expensive cabinet brands. So, you will be paying much more simply to get something that actually hurts the value of your home.

          There are so many things that you can splurge on when you are renovating a kitchen that picking something that wastes money AND hurts your home’s value is never a wise investment. As much as you might like the arch, spend the extra $5000 you are paying to get it on design changes, a more expensive countertop, flooring, backsplash, and nicer appliances. The overall kitchen will be something you still love, but so will others, and you will be enjoying the nicer design and materials that you could afford. You can gain so much simply by not miring yourself in the past with an out-of-date style.

  43. Amy

    Thank you again for your availing yourself as such a wonderful resource. Do you know anything about Bernier Cabinets based in Canada, in terms of their construction, quality and durability? Thanks again!!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Amy,
      Bernier looks like a custom cabinet brand from Canada. They will probably make cabinetry almost anyway you like as I see they do framed and frameless cabinet construction. This will make them an expensive choice. Whether this makes sense for your chosen design color and door style I wouldn’t know without a lot more information.

      I’m adding my new “mantra” paragraph below:
      Of course, as always people worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they are concerned about their designs. This is because they aren’t designers themselves and have no idea how bad their designs are. If you listen to one of our podcasts that usually is a central issue. This one is a good one for that issue:

  44. Jess O

    Hi Paul! I can’t tell you how helpful your website has been at educating me about the design process and the importance of finding a good designer. We are in an insurance restoration situation so our kitchen is gutted and we have the opportunity to make changes to cabinet layout, etc. We have a small G-shaped kitchen layout and want to bring our cabinets to the ceiling to optimize storage space, are there any brands that offer taller wall cabinet boxes or are those typically custom? I might try calling in on Friday for your podcast, would love to get your thoughts!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jess,
      I really couldn’t comment without knowing the height of your ceiling. In general, custom cabinet brands make cabinetry any size. Non custom brands typically come with 30″. 36″, and 42″ high wall cabinets as standard.

      1. Jess O

        Thank you, still good info to know! We will eventually work with a designer who can help us with this but waiting for the slow insurance process to play out first where they will tell us what is covered and what our budget is.

  45. Patti woodford

    We purchased kitchen cabinets by kemper. Finish quality is horrible. They are painted but should at least be 1st quality upon delivery.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Patti,
      I’m not sure without seeing the issues, but, customers’ expectations with painted cabinets are often unrealistic. On an inexpensive US brand like Kemper you should expect to see the lines on the doors where the outside door frame is assembled. Also seams on the cabinet frames will be detectable. Expect some of these joints to open slightly over time and need touch up. Some shipping damage is not unusual with all cabinet brands, particularly less expensive brands, and backorders are also possible due to remaining supply chain issues.

  46. Clay

    My head is spinning after weeks of interviewing cabinets dealers and designers. I’m looking for a specific shade of painted sage green. However both Lowes (Shenandoah) and Home Depot (American Woodmark) carry it. I’m terrified of the subcontractors used by the big box stores. So far I’m having a harder time finding it at a independent dealer — the only one I have found carries Waypoint (a lower end American Woodmark). You give all 3 comparable reviews — do you consider the B+ and B bad reviews?
    This is just a color for a pantry and my island and the perimeter will be boring white shaker. This is also what we consider to be our forever home and kitchen to last us decades. I’m planning to upgrade under the sink to plywood. Or I would love to go with Kraftmaid — but they don’t have the right shade of green — is it better to stink with them and do a custom match on the island and pantry? Is Kraftmaid overkill for white shaker as I would be paying for options I don’t need? Your advice is great, but all the information makes me second guess myself.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Clay,
      Timberlake at a private dealer is the same cabinet line as Shenendoah at Lowes and American Woodmark at The Home Depot. We sell Timberlake but always upgraded to all plywood construction. It is a big mistake to only upgrade a sink cabinet to plywood. We also sell Fabuwood which is 25% less than Timberlake and comes automatically with all plywood construction. Fabuwood now does custom colors for 35% more. Since the majority of your kitchen is white you would save money ordering Fabuwood. Upgraded both bands are well made. The Fabuwood paint job is slightly nicer looking.

      I am starting to think that all my responses to blogs should end with this paragraph I posted in my last two responses:

      Of course, as always people worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they are concerned about their designs. This is because they aren’t designers themselves and have no idea how bad their designs are. If you listen to one of our podcasts that usually is a central issue. This one is a good one for that issue:

  47. Dave

    Hello Paul,
    I am looking for inset raised panel cabinets. I have narrowed down to Fieldstone or Starmark. Obviously looking for the best cabinet at the best price. I did look at Omega, decora and shiloh.

    I would love to get your opinion on this.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Dave,
      Both those brands used to be made in the same factory and are very similar. Upgraded to the same construction there should be little difference. As I just responded to another comment. . .

      Of course, as always people worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they are concerned about their designs. This is because they aren’t designers themselves and have no idea how bad their designs are. If you listen to one of our podcasts that usually is a central issue. This one is a good one for that issue:

  48. Anne

    Hi Paul,

    I cannot tell you how often I’ve consulted your website! I’m grateful for all of the information provided….thank you!! I paid for a kitchen design from Unique Kitchen and Baths with the hope of buying their cabinets for my kitchen. The price was very high and there were uneven gaps in the cabinets in the showroom. By the way, that wouldn’t bother me since I think it lends a handmade look but not for the price. Additionally, they didn’t/wouldn’t dimension any of the cabinetry in the plan I purchased. I understand that they wouldn’t want me to compare pricing but I’m not sure who wouldn’t price compare given the expense. I have also received pricing for Medallion Platinum, Woodland and Wellborn, all inset shaker door style, very price competitive with one another and 30% less expensive than UKB. With quartz countertops, my pricing is still less than the just cabinet price of UKB. I’m curious of your thoughts. My objective is all wood cabinet quality construction.

    PS I wish I was in your area, but I checked and you’re 4 hours and 18 minutes away.
    PSS I read your recent comments about Woodland and I agree.
    PSS The reps for Woodland and Medallion were incredibly responsive and provided dimensioned layouts without charge and without me asking for them.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Anne,
      In inset shaker door styles there will be a huge variation in price since only custom cabinet brands will do that style particularly well. Medallion would be an entry level price cabinet for doing an inset or beaded inset style. I have no idea what kind of cabinets UKB sells so it’s impossible to comment.

      Of course, as always people worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they are concerned about their designs. This is because they aren’t designers themselves and have no idea how bad their designs are. If you listen to one of our podcasts that usually is a central issue. This one is a good one for that issue:

  49. Subra

    Hello Paul:
    Wanted your opinion on Cambria Quartz vs MSI Calacatta ; Cambria is offering a lifetime warranty but do either make encounter significant problems over their normal use to justify the warranty and associated premium pricing for Cambria?



  50. Joseph Babcock

    Any thoughts on Maplevilles cabinets? Superficially looks similar to j&k (painted birch construction, soft close, plywood sides > 1/2 inch), but since RTA probably less used by professionals. Appealing in the sense of being less expensive for inset look than custom …

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Joseph,
      Inset and RTA do not belong in the same sentence. Building inset cabinetry requires precise construction because the gaps between the doors and the face frames of the cabinet must be almost perfect to look right. Even in higher end semi-custom cabinetry like the Bishop line we carry I think its better to spens a little more and get use a custom cabinet brand if you are choosing inset or beaded inset cabinetry. Even the reps for the less expensive brands that do inset encourage dealers to stear customers away from inset cabinetry in their lines. They know that there will be customer satisfaction issues and lots of site visits on their part required.

      J&K sells a full overlay door that mimics the beaded inset look. I would go no lower in price than that in my quest to get an inset look cheaply.

      1. Joseph Babcock

        Thank you Paul – this (and really everything on this site) are a superb resource. Amazing how many design mistakes one finds on Houzz after reading your tips.

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Thanks Joseph. You are right about Houzz. We actually use the photos from cabinet dealers and designers on Houzz to help screen out companies and to create a list of designers and dealers that we recommend outside our service area. Surprisingly 80% of kitchen designers show mistakes in the designs that they post on Houzz. Here’s a link to the places that we found around the United States that met our criteria for quality design and cabinetry. Plus, they get good reviews on Google.

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