Main Line Kitchen Design
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Posted March 1, 2017 by pmcalary


Main Line Kitchen ranks the best selling cabinets in the US

All the designers that gave us input on the cabinet lines below have greater than 20 years experience in our industry. When possible all construction specifics were double checked on the web sites for each cabinet line.



Main Line kitchen design acknowledges that we are dealers for the following cabinet lines: Wellsford, Bishop, Brighton, Fabuwood, 6 Square, and CNC.  We could be prejudiced towards ranking these lines more favorably, but we have tried to be impartial. However, since the cabinet lines we carry were chosen specifically for their construction quality and value, our ranking them well should not be a surprise. 




Below is our comprehensive list of the top selling cabinet manufacturers in the United States and how they rank for construction quality and  for value considering the price point of each cabinet line. Price point is rated from 1 to 6 with 6 being the most expensive cabinetry on the market.


We rate cabinetry assuming each line is upgraded to the top level of construction available. A grade of A for construction quality will not be equal across different price levels, as the more expensive price point cabinets will have far nicer finishes and construction options.


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 it’s cost. For example, many of the most expensive well made cabinet lines receive lover marks on value even though as designers we think the cabinetry is the best in it’s class. These lines receive lower grades on value simply because there are competitors offering the same quality at slightly lower prices.


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.





Cabinet line                   Price level 1-6     Quality     Value
6 Square 2 B+ B+
American Woodmark 3 B C+
Aristocraft 2 C C
Bertch 4 A A-
Bishop 4 A A-
Bishop Frameless 5 B B+
Bremtown 6 A+ C
Brighton 4 A A+
Brookhaven Closed Closed A B
Cabico 4 B B
Candlelight 4 A A
Canyon Creek 3 B B
CNC 1 B+ A
Collier 5 A B-
Crystal 5 A+ A
Decora 4 A A
Design-Craft 4 B B
Diamond 4 B B
Durasupreme 5 B+ B
Durasupreme frameless 3 C C
(Omega)Dynasty Frameless 4 B C
(Omega)Dynasty Pinnacle Framed 5 A B
Fabuwood 2 A A
Fabuwood Frameless 3 B A+
Fieldstone 4 A B+
Grabill 6 A+ B
Haas 3 B B
Hanssem 1 B+ B
Homecrest 3 B+ B
IKEA (frameless) 1 C C
Innermost framelss 3 B B
Kabinart 3 D D
Kemper 3 B C
Kitchencraft Frameless 3 C B
Kith 3 B+ C+
Kountry Kraft framed 6 A B
Kountry Kraft frameless 6 B B
Kraftmaid 4 B+ A
Legacy 3 B+ C-
LifeArt 1 C+ A
Marsh 2 B+ B
Medallion 5 B+ C+
Merillat 2 C D
Mid Continent 2 C C
Mouser 5 A A-
Mouser Frameless 5 B A
Ovation 4 B C
Plain and Fancy 6 A B
Poggenpohl frameless 6 B C
QuakerMaid frameless 4 B B
Rutt 6 A+ A
Schrock 3 B B
Schuler 5 B+ C+
Shenandoah 3 B C+
Shiloh 4 C C
Showplace 3 B+ B-
Solid Wood Cabinets 1 A A
Starmark 4 A B+
Stylecraft 6 A+ B+
Thomasville* 4 B- C-
Timberlake 3 B C+
Ultracraft Frameless 2 C C
Village 5 A A
Waypoint 2 B B
Wellborn 4 A A
Wellsford 5 A+ A+
Wolf 1 B+ B+
Woodharbor 4 B+ C
Woodmode Closed Closed A A-
Yorktowne 3 C D

* Note: Home Depot can change who manufactures this line although Masterbrands has been manufacturing the line under the Thomasville name for over ten years.


Remember that choosing the designer, the cabinet dealer, and the installer you are working with is just as important as the cabinet line.


The updated rankings for these cabinet lines and an additional 30 popular cabinet lines are included in our

Cabinet Rankings for 2018  


The link below is to a more general review of cabinetry from 2015 explaining types of cabinetry construction:


And for those sensitive to the fumes new cabinetry can give off:


Hoping you make all the right choices . . . .

and of course . . .


Bon Appetit!

Main Line Kitchen Design

Paul, John, Stacia, Ed, Tom, and Julie


  1. ITSAdmin, November 16, 2019 at 1:27 pm:

    Hi Terry,
    That depends. I would only order upgraded DuraSupreme framed cabinetry and not their frameless line. Also since DuraSupreme did not honor their warranty to one of our customers I would make sure that the dealer you were buying from had a stellar reputation as the only reliable warranty you will get will be from the dealer.

  2. Terry, November 16, 2019 at 8:29 am:

    Are Dura Supreme vanities any good?

  3. ITSAdmin, October 22, 2019 at 7:20 pm:

    Hi Katelyn,
    Both of these lines upgraded are good. Having the center recessed panel be MDF is a good idea but not the whole door.

  4. Paul McAlary, October 19, 2019 at 8:16 am:

    Fabuwood Fusion Blanc would be the best value. But if you like another color and style more you would have to determine if the price difference was worth the additional cost. All the cabinet construction and finishes are very close in quality and durability.

  5. Jen, October 18, 2019 at 8:24 pm:

    Hello, We are looking to do a kitchen addition and are selecting cabinets. If you had to pick between Kraftmaid Vantage, Diamond Vibe, Fabuwood, or Wolf Desginer Line, which would you pick based on quality and which is the best value for the money spent? We are looking to get painted maple with glaze, recessed, full overlay framed cabinets. Thank you!

  6. Katelyn D, October 18, 2019 at 11:05 am:

    I am remodeling my kitchen and looking at both homecrest and wellborn cabinets. I will be getting a wood shaker painted white. Which brand is a better quality cabinet line? Is all wood or wood with mdf door recommended? I am aware of the cracks that wood will show at joints but am less concerned with that and more concerned with durability and quality of the cabinet over time.

  7. ITSAdmin, October 7, 2019 at 2:16 pm:

    Bertch is a good cabinet. And a good Value. Upgrade to a plywood box and soft close doors and drawers. Reviews are pretty meaningless it our cabinet world.
    I would bet most of the bad Bertch reviews come from customers that bought Bertch vanities from Lowes and had no idea what they were buying and what properties to expect.

  8. Ilene, October 6, 2019 at 4:12 pm:

    Our contractor is recommending Bertch cabinets for both bathroom and kitchen. This is a new line them. Omega was my originally choice but he stated that Bertch cabinets where comparable but less expensive. I’m hesitant as the only reviews I’ve have found where not positive and found no comments on this blog. What are your thoughts regarding comparing the two?

  9. Gladys Vanegas, September 25, 2019 at 10:44 pm:

    Hi Paul!

    Thank you again for this informative blog! We are remodeling our kitchen and are looking into St. Martin. Would you be so kind and give me your opinion on this brand. Thank you!

  10. ITSAdmin, September 25, 2019 at 4:13 pm:

    Hi Brian,
    We rate Executive on our 2018 review not 2017. It is a lesser cabinet than Kraftmaid.

  11. Brian, September 24, 2019 at 5:21 pm:

    Howdy! I sent a question earlier about Executive frameless vs Kraftmaid and now see Executive has been removed from your listings. Any concerns? Thank you!

  12. ITSAdmin, September 21, 2019 at 9:06 am:

    Forevermark gives no information on how they are constructed so we can not rate them. However Fabuwood is the best of the less expensive lines in my opinion. The only issue with Fabuwood is if the dealer you are buying from is not a good one. And Fabuwood does have some sketchy dealers especially around New York where they originated. They have become better screening dealers in more recent years. So Google the dealer and see what their reviews are like.

  13. Harry A Savage, September 20, 2019 at 8:14 pm:

    My wife and I are trying to choose between forevermark and Fabuwood. The forevermark I noticed is not listed on the list. Are you familiar with this brand?

  14. ITSAdmin, September 12, 2019 at 7:38 am:

    Hi Maria,
    On a painted cabinet a MDF center panel is not a bad thing. However I do not know how 21st Century cabinets are made so they could very well be poorly constructed since their web site gives very few details. Cabinet dealers that only carry one line I don’t respect as much. So if this dealer only carries an inexpensive brand like 21st Century that would be a particularly bad sign.

  15. ITSAdmin, September 12, 2019 at 7:30 am:

    Hi Carla,
    We have some issues with the Shiloh cabinet construction. And their web site does not show how they construct their cabinetry. So while like many other brands they recently could have begun constructing a better cabinet we won’t do the research to update their ratings until our next review comes out in 2020. If they were more transparent they could be updated sooner but not being transparent is also indicative of a problem.

  16. Carla, September 11, 2019 at 11:08 pm:

    I am having an issue deciding between shiloh, kraftmaid and schuler. All 3 are plywood construction. I like the shiloh but here they were rated c’s so I am confused because they seem nice.

  17. Maria, September 11, 2019 at 7:33 pm:

    I was working with a designer with 21st Century Cabinets. I spent so much time picking out countertop and backsplash that I neglected to check on the cabinetry. I just noticed that 21st century cabinets have the MDF center panel Is it better to shop for a solid wood panel? I am trying to keep the cost low but want a quality product.

  18. ITSAdmin, August 24, 2019 at 9:38 am:

    Hi Kelsey,
    Fabuwood does offer their cabinets unassembled but there would be no warranty and we would never sell them that way. You are about a 1 hour and 15 minute drive from our office so we would work with you. Our warehouse is in Reading so closer to you than us. If you call we can discuss our design process.

  19. Kelsey Torpey, August 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm:

    Duh *helpful

  20. Kelsey Torpey, August 23, 2019 at 7:28 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    First of all, I just want to thank you for this blog. I just started researching a kitchen remodeling project over the past few weeks and it has been so hopeful. My kitchen is very small and my budget is tight. I was looking to see if you had commented on GHI cabinets, but I couldn’t find the thread. While scanning these responses, I noticed that you really recommended Fabuwood. I’ve been researching them, and am waiting to hear if there is a dealer/designer in my area (I’m in Bethlehem, PA- so I’m out of your service area- drats). While looking for a response I noticed this comment which makes sense “We never recommend RTA cabinets. That assures that the people putting your cabinets together are inexperienced doing it, and it guarantees that you aren’t working with a good kitchen designer.”- so that had me thinking I should probably rule out the GHI cabinets sold at a local surplus store. But then some sites are also saying that Fabuwood cabinets are RTA- so I’m really confused. I know this is a ton of questions. I’ve been reading so much about cabinets. Again, the info you post is beyond helpful. Any insight would be so greatly appreciated, and if you happen to have anyone you can recommend in the Lehigh Valley, I would be forever in your debt. Only one estimate so far and I was deeply disappointed with all of it (from price, to recommended products and vendors).
    Thanks, Kelsey

  21. Lindsey, August 2, 2019 at 6:16 pm:

    Would you expect there to be an $8k difference between Kraftmaid and Bertch for same design?

  22. pmcalary, August 1, 2019 at 2:59 pm:

    Hi Andrew,
    Both are good cabinet lines. In general Homecrest is about 15% less than Kraftmaid. With well made cabinetry the design, and the designer, as well as how much you like the door style and finish become what’s important.

  23. Andrew, August 1, 2019 at 2:31 pm:

    Hi, we are re-doing our kitchen and have two quotes for new cabinetry. Kraftmade from Lowes or Homecrest from a smaller cabinet store. What would you recommend and what are the differences between these two suppliers?

  24. ITSAdmin, July 31, 2019 at 10:36 pm:

    Hi Lindsay,
    You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get well made cabinets. Many inexpensive lines are made just as durably or even better made then expensive cabinet lines if the more expensive lines are not upgraded. The value of your home is tied more to the design of the kitchen then the cabinet line.
    For example while Brighton is a great value and a well constructed line, if the designer at Cabinet Discounters is not very good, which would be quite likely, then you would be wasting money getting a more expensive custom line like Brighton. Meet with the company we recommend on our site as a start. We don’t know them but we have reviewed the work they post of Houzz and the cabinet lines they carry, as well as their on line reputation. They were better, at least from what we could discern from afar then their competitors.

    Remember that even in this company their will still be an big range of skill between designers. So try to find out who is the most respected in the company and try to work with her or him.

  25. Lindsey, July 31, 2019 at 7:15 pm:

    Thank you for this helpful blog. I truly appreciate it. We are starting our kitchen design and were hoping to spend around $20k for cabinets, but our first bid came close to $28k for Bertch (24 base & wall cabinets and 3 tall cabinets). Does that sound like a good and fair price? Did we aim too low? We want cabinets that are good quality and will last. My friend just got 6 square and we did not like the feel. (I’m having one of your recommended companies come in the next week as we do not live near you). We are going for a shaker style with a wood stain color…maybe dark. I see you recommend Brighton a lot but the only local dealer is cabinet discounters. Is is better to go with a kitchen/bath store or is a discount place safe? Let me stress that we are in no rush to do our kitchen.

    Thanks for your help and advise!

  26. pmcalary, July 17, 2019 at 12:49 pm:

    Hi Suzan,
    People that obsess too much over subtle differences in off white colors are usually missing the big picture. Namely:
    That white colors take on completely different shades based on the lighting you are using and also the other colors in the room. All artificial kitchen light should be LED and different LED color lighting can make a white look grey, yellow, blue, or bright white. These lighting changes have WAY more impact then subtle cabinet shading. The colors you are painting the walls also transfer to the white cabinets. So if your cabinet is too beige paint the walls a more grey white and use LED lighting that shifts the room away from yellow.

    Your design itself is so important that the interior designers and customers focusing on these color issues are often spending too little time addressing and understanding the very fundamental problems with their designs. I almost never see a kitchen design that isn’t wacky whenever people are agonizing over these type color issues.
    Never overlook the elephant in the room. Good kitchen designers will harp on the design issues first and be less concerned with the similar cabinet colors that get completely altered based on a customers choice of lighting, backsplash, countertop, and room colors. Coordinating the different choices is the key – and not picking independent colors and then trying to find countertops, flooring, tile, paint to match arbitrary color selections.
    This is why most of the best kitchen designers will not work with interior designers and decorators. They are less knowledgeable and are trying to design backwards.

  27. Suzan Brady, July 17, 2019 at 7:48 am:

    Hi, we are getting bids on cabinets for our kitchen. The showroom we went to has Dutchmade, Cabico and Decora. Trying to decide which to go with the decora prices out better but choice of colors is less. Trying to do a not so white white kitchen. Decora doesn’t have as many options. Decorator picked the Chantille color. I’m worried it will look yellow.

  28. pmcalary, June 29, 2019 at 1:03 pm:

    They are close to IKEA in quality so not a good investment.

  29. Rich, June 28, 2019 at 2:29 pm:

    Does anyone have any review or thoughts on Klearvue (Menards). I know they are all particle board but…..are they just junk? I haven’t seen any reviews….

  30. pmcalary, June 28, 2019 at 7:35 am:

    Looking over the Woodland web site and spec book I was not overly impressed. Yes the cabinets can be upgraded to a B+ construction rating, but the cabinet line seams like a far cry from Wood-Mode.

  31. Kate Fischer, June 28, 2019 at 1:17 am:

    We were planning a WoodMode kitchen… and are now looking at viable alternates.
    What is your opinion on Woodland Cabinetry? It is not on your list

  32. Paul McAlary, June 24, 2019 at 12:41 pm:

    Hi Judith,
    The Custom Wood Products cabinetry looks well made and the company a small custom manufacturer. However sice we don’t know the brand and their web site give no details we cannot say for certain.

  33. Judith Shill, June 23, 2019 at 3:43 pm:

    I’m doing a major kitchen remodel and have found your comparisons on cabinetry very useful. We had chosen Woodmode cabinets but they have gone out of business so I had to find another supplier. Our kitchen designer is offering us Custom Wood products out of Kansas. I have read through their website but urgently need your opinion on this brand of cabinetry? Please could you advise me and I look forward to your response. I cannot thank you enough for all your blogs which I have spent hours reading. I’m so sorry that your cabinetry is not represented in Texas .

  34. pmcalary, June 17, 2019 at 3:41 pm:

    Hi Bob,
    Plain and Fancy has beautiful finishes. However in a painted cabinet I don’t think you can tell the difference between Brighton and Plain and Fancy and I would never buy any custom cabinets and not have upgraded them to all plywood construction. If you are getting a stained finish then I’d spend the 10% extra if you like the finish that much more. For a painted finish I would get the Brighton all plywood construction.

  35. Bob, June 17, 2019 at 2:28 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    I have been following your blog for a while now as we venture into our kitchen remodel — we have narrowed it down to Brighton and Plain & Fancy — price points are similar with P&F slightly higher for the standard construction — we are leaning towards Plain & Fancy — the finish in particular seems second to none, flexibility (from being custom), door construction seems to be top notch and the designer’s knowledge are all big positives — but I have a question — if we go with P&F, should we opt for the varnish interior finish or the standard construction with a vinyl interior? There is approximately a 10% difference in price between the two options (varnish interior being more expensive)…I like the idea of a durable interior v. the wood interior which can be difficult to clean at times…but I found out one of the key differences are the materials used in the standard construction…the tops and bottoms use a 1/2″ veneered PBC (with vinyl on the interior veneers) v. all plywood…and the shelves are 3/4″ MDF (fully covered with the vinyl) v. all plywood — and the backs are 1/4″ MDF v. plywood — the sides are all 1/2″ plywood (3/4″ with 1/4″ veneer on sides that are exposed) and everything is constructed the same — many have told me that the construction of P&F is top quality and it does not make a difference (in quality) but is a matter of preference and whether you want to pay the added ~10% for wood interior (and all plywood option) — I wanted to get your thoughts on this — the 10% wont matter to me in the long-term but can certainly use it now to put towards something else in the kitchen — do you have a perspective?

  36. ITSAdmin, June 12, 2019 at 7:37 am:

    Hi Steve,
    This is a question that sets off an alarm bells for me. Being concerned only about quality of cabinet construction and then asking about two RTA lines and Wolf suggests a possible lack of understanding about how important having a professional help you design and order a kitchen is. Wolf would be my choice here if only because it is the only one that could also come with a competent kitchen designer as Wolf is sold in many full range kitchen showrooms and cabinet dealerships. Feel free to call on a Friday ready to email your design. I am worried that there are bigger issue here.

  37. steve bevilacqua, June 11, 2019 at 7:02 pm:

    Any difference maker in quality between Wolf (Classic Dartmouth white), Prime (Shaker White) and RTA (Windsor white shaker) They are all about the same price. Looking for a recommendation based on quality. Thanks

  38. paul mcalary, May 31, 2019 at 9:25 am:

    Hi Sherry,
    The reason that only the shaker style is available in that color is that it goes better and is more popular. So by getting the raised panel door you will spend probably 40% more to get a door style that will be less popular should you sell your home.
    This is because the color itself is contemporary so when you pick a traditional door style and a contemporary color you are mixing styles. While mixing styles is popular with architects and interior designers it will look out of place in the long run.
    As we say on our blog paraphrasing a famous quote attributed to Picasso: “If you are a Davinci and know all the rules you can break them, but most of the people breaking design rules don’t even have the beard.”
    Maybe Picasso said it better: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”

  39. Sherry, May 31, 2019 at 9:12 am:

    Thank you, I am not looking for a shaker door style. Currently looking at a raised panel (square) would consider recessed panel possibly. The current model is Shenandoah Edgeworth. The Kraftmaid was fox hill I believe.

  40. paul mcalary, May 31, 2019 at 9:03 am:

    Hi Sherry,
    The big question here is what door style are you looking for? In the less expensive cabinet lines the cabinets will often be equal to or even better constructed than the more expensive lines but you will have very little choice in door style and less customization available. Almost all the espresso colors will only come in a shaker door style. If you are looking for a shaker door style then Fabuwood will be the best of these inexpensive lines followed quickly by many other brands including Wolf Classic, J&K, and others.

  41. Sherry, May 31, 2019 at 8:56 am:

    Thank you for your response. With that said, first would you recommend going with Birch over Cherry and what import lines would you recommend. We are looking at a very large amount of cabinets so while we want nice looking cabinets that will last budget friendly (not cheap) will be helpful.

  42. pmcalary, May 31, 2019 at 7:53 am:

    Hi Sherry,
    Yes Cherry does darken over time but Kraftmaid’s Peppercorn stain is already very dark and so will not be affected very much, if at all, by the darkening of the cherry wood over time. In poor lighting Peppercorn has even been confused with black. The dealer can order you a new sample of peppercorn to see but don’t expect to see a difference.
    Cherry usually looks better with these dark stains than does maple. Birch is a less expensive wood than either Cherry or Maple and stains this color nicely. Because of this many of the import lines would be the best value for this particular color.

  43. Sherry, May 30, 2019 at 9:28 pm:

    Hi, we are doing a major kitchen remodel, removing load bearing wall and creating a large open concept. I love dark cabinets and fell in love with the Kraftmaid cherry in peppercorn. I am told they darken overtime and the sample in the store is 5 years old therefore the cabinets will come much lighter and continue to darken for 5-10 years. I know natural cherry darkens but will we notice it much when it is being stained so dark to start out? My alternative is shenandoah – maple with espresso finish.

  44. pmcalary, May 21, 2019 at 1:26 pm:

    Hi Mary,
    I think anyone that was getting a WoodMode Brookhaven kitchen would be happy with any of the custom high end lines that we give good ratings too. So any line at price point 5 or 6 that gets an A or even a B+ for construction. This assumes that you like the door style and finish you are choosing.
    How nice a kitchen looks is more dependent on the designer from their overall lay out to the finishing touches like integrated end panels, wainscotting, hood design, molding profiles etc. Most customers would not be able to tell the difference between even an inexpensive cabinet line and and expensive one if the person designing the less expensive kitchen was a better designer.
    For example: I can pull doors off our displays and 9 times out of ten only another designer could distinguish the expensive line from the less expensive one. And that doesn’t even take design into account. Once you add good design to the mix only a tiny fraction of customers can discern the difference in cabinet lines. This is why it is so wasteful paying for expensive custom cabinetry if the kitchen design itself is not truly inspired.

  45. Mary Veldheer, May 21, 2019 at 11:48 am:

    Another brand being considered is Hampshire and Quality Custom.

  46. Mary Veldheer, May 21, 2019 at 11:45 am:

    Hi. I’m so happy to have found this information online. We are doing a kitchen remodel for a home we have just recently purchased It is a high-end home and needs to have a kitchen that reflects that value. We’ve gone through the process of creating the kitchen layout with a kitchen designer that I’ve used for years. I have complete faith in the design. Our problem is we had a order already to go and started with wood mode. We were looking at the wood mode Brookhaven. As you probably know, they close their doors last week. I am now being quoted a price for Showplace. Based on your reviews show place gets inferior marks. I’m sure I would have the upgrades included in my Showplace package but I still have questions. I am also considering Mouser entra cabinets I have looked up information on Wellborn but don’t have any information because I need to wait for a dealer to contact me? So my question is based on someone who was going to be satisfied with wood mode Brookhaven what would be your recommendation going forward? As far as quality? Value? Durability? Will the Mouser centra provide that? I’m still waiting back for that quote. Thank you!

  47. pmcalary, May 15, 2019 at 8:21 am:

    Hi Austin,
    From the lines we carry 6Square would be the least expensive cabinet line that has a simple charcoal color. Don’t know what a hidden pantry door means,
    When customers focus so much on color it often means that they have not paid enough attention to design. You will pay at least 40% more for cabinets in the color you are looking for. Even though Fabuwood and Wolf both do custom colors I would not recommend getting color matches from inexpensive lines. It is not what they do well and they overcharge for it.
    For 40% of the cabinet cost you could design a very different kitchen, moving doorways, removing walls, soffits, or stacking cabinets etc. I think it is quite likely that you are missing the big picture. Feel free to send us your design and to call for comments on a Friday between 2-4 pm EST.

  48. Austin Collins, May 14, 2019 at 11:49 pm:

    We have received a number of quotes and designs before finding your site – cabico, bj tidwelll, showplace, Kraftmaid vantage, and mid continent. Overwhelmed to say, but then I found your blog!

    Could you point me to which of the lines MainLine carries that would best suit us?

    -framed or frameless, shaker cabinet
    -want to incorporate a hidden pantry door (need semi custom?)
    -budget of 15k (Kraftmaid vantage priced at 20k)
    -looking for a charcoal (blue undertone) painted finish, often finding standard colors offered don’t meet our needs – (would have to upgrade to Wolf designer for Sherwin, believe Fabuwood didn’t have a color for us)

  49. pmcalary, April 30, 2019 at 1:00 pm:

    Plain and Fancy is a very expensive cabinet line. I assume they are using a 3/4″ plywood box. If so the German line would have no advantages and is quite likely less well made even though I don’t know the line.
    Of course the irony here is that your very inexpensive Fabuwood cabinetry is better constructed than these very expensive frameless lines. Although I’m sure they are very attractive.
    So don’t worry having the grand kids over. Your framed cabinetry can always be easily repaired even if damaged. Your daughters frameless cabinetry will be almost impossible to repair if damaged due to abuse because the front of the box is just plywood tape and the hinges and tracks are in plywood instead of solid 1 1/2″ thick wood. The slab door style does look much nicer using frameless cabinetry though.

  50. Carole Chris, April 30, 2019 at 12:28 pm:

    I love my Fabuwood cabinets and so relieved I have them after doing a kitchen reno a year ago without finding your website first. I have the white shaker overlay doors. After about 18 months in an overheated coop a few of the frames have barely noticeable hairline cracks where the molding is joined around the outside of the doors, but otherwise they are holding up well, are easy to clean, and were VERY reasonable cost plus adequately adjustable for a semicustom fit-depth, width, half cabinet etc. I did get a floor to ceiling pantry cabinet from another manufacture because Fabuwood didn’t make one but its around the corner from the main kitchen so looks the same as the rest. Now my daughter needs to do a kitchen and they have quotes from a kitchen shop on your list in Westchester County NY as well as Nobilia German cabinets. They are set on frameless Euro design cabinets. They are trying to compare Nobilia to Plain and Fancy frameless plywood body similar look slab full overlay doors – the price estimates so far based on first layout using the architect drawing are very similar with the main down side to Nobilia is the order time of 12 weeks. I cant find any reliable reviews or comparisons of Nobilia cabinets on line-only that they are considered the ‘affordable’ choice in Germany. Any thoughts on if the Plain and Fancy are likely to be better quality than Nobilia? They need to last 15-20 years and assaults of three little kids as they grow who are always opening and banging doors in the kitchen.

  51. pmcalary, March 29, 2019 at 8:54 am:

    Hi Sri,
    For white shaker cabinets there will be little difference in construction, and looks across these lines while huge price differences. The other lines all have much nicer looking stained finishes than Fabuwood and more ability to customize. However if your kitchen design doesn’t utilize added customization and is not inset and simply full overlay white shaker doors you would be paying a whole lot for for more expensive cabinetry on options you aren’t taking advantage of. I’d stick with Fabuwood so long as the dealer has a good reputation.

  52. Sri, March 29, 2019 at 12:14 am:

    Thank you for your blog.My kitchen Designer refers to it.Based on your blog, I narrowed my choices to Fabuwood, Schuler upgraded (Lowes), Decora (Home depot) or Crystal current. What is your view regarding Fabuwood vs other brands i narrowed down to?. I’m in the range of 20k , white shaker style cabinets .

  53. pmcalary, March 16, 2019 at 12:57 pm:

    We don’t feel that the hanging rail or back of the cabinet are sufficient in Shilo to support the wall cabinets. Many expensive cabinet lines are poorly constructed because home builders do not care about cabinet durability only how nice the finish is. What a waste not to construct expensive cabinetry to last.

  54. Tahani Kanan, March 15, 2019 at 9:38 pm:

    Hi !
    I’m in process to remodel my kitchen, I was very surprised to the rating on Shilo. I like the inset finish they have and the fact the whole door are made from wood plus you can’t see the lines between the wood like Kraftmade or Decor especially in white. I would love to hear more information about the quality too.

  55. pmcalary, March 14, 2019 at 1:38 pm:

    Hi Thean,
    I don’t think they will look differently but if you are staying in your home for 20 years or more I think the Homecrest makes sense. If you are leaving in 5 or 1o years probably not.

  56. Thean Traynor, March 14, 2019 at 9:48 am:

    Thanks for all your knowledge and input.
    So homecrest for 18,000 and waypoint for
    15,000. I know there both b’s in value/quality
    And homecrest is a 3 and waypoint a 2.
    I’m assuming this price difference makes sense
    Due to that. Any thoughts? Are the homecrest
    Worth the extra $. Painted White shaker for both
    And 4 Lil kids opening and closing. Lol. Thanks.
    For all you do

  57. pmcalary, March 13, 2019 at 11:00 am:

    The upgraded Hanssem gets a B+ in our ratings for construction. I don’t know pricing.

  58. Christine Ranford, March 13, 2019 at 10:51 am:

    Im about to do a kitchen renovation using Hanssem flat panel, plywood box cabinets. I just found your site and was concerned about your ratings regarding Hanssem. Can you please provide me with any advice or addional information on this product. Thanks for your help.

  59. pmcalary, March 10, 2019 at 2:07 pm:

    I have never heard of them then so I wouldn’t know how to rate them.

  60. Danielle Schor, March 10, 2019 at 1:31 pm:

    They are just called Signature, not Wolf. We are working with designers but they use different cabinet lines. Does the fact that the Signature cabinets are not Wolf make a difference?

    Thanks for your help

  61. pmcalary, March 10, 2019 at 1:21 pm:

    Hi Danielle,
    I assume you are talking about the Wolf Signature line with that price difference. They are a well made inexpensive line that offers much fewer door style, finish and cabinet options than a higher end line like Kraftmaid. It comes down to what finish you are selecting, type, of wood, and the design itself as to whether saving the money makes sense. Of course if you are shopping at home centers and working with less experienced designers splurging on cabinetry makes make little sense if your design itself is poor. Since most designs that are sent to us to review are decidedly poor focusing on finding a good kitchen designers would probably be more important than which line you chose.

  62. Danielle, March 10, 2019 at 1:06 pm:

    I received 2 estimates on cabinets. The estimate for Kraftmade was 50 percent more than the estimate for Signature standard. Am I comparing apples to oranges? I didn’t see Signature listed on your website

  63. pmcalary, March 7, 2019 at 8:15 am:

    Hi Venkat,
    I looked at the Niviya website and was not comforted. The cabinets looked “homemade” to me and not what we as professionals would refer to as “custom cabinets”. Custom and cheep are not two things that should be paired together.
    Here is a blog on this topic:

  64. pmcalary, March 7, 2019 at 8:07 am:

    Hi John,
    All these lines upgraded to all plywood construction are fine and all three have particularly nice finishes. Once you are considering such high end lines and expensive appliances your design needs to be the best it can be to merit the extra money you are spending on materials.
    Sadly the highest costing kitchen can have the least attractive or functional designs. This is because quite often architects who are amatuer kitchen designers designed the kitchen. There is no question if you ask any good kitchen designer that the worst designs we receive are from architects. Unless of course they are kitchen designers full time with a degree in architecture, then they could be great designers. Or because the cabinet sale is so much money even good kitchen designers could be wary of telling a customer that their ideas are ill-advised because they are in fear of annoying the customer and losing the sale.

    Feel free to call on a Friday between 2 and 4 pm EST ready to send us a PDF of your design to comment on. We can check your design for it’s professionalism.

  65. Venkat, March 7, 2019 at 1:13 am:

    Hello – Thanks for all the useful information. Have you heard of Niviya custom cabinets and the quality? They manufacture them in Hollister, CA. There are some local contractors that say they make custom cabinets right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. How good are those? We want to be careful about choosing something that looks good now on the outside but isn’t durable longer term.

  66. John, March 6, 2019 at 11:23 pm:

    Hi, we are struggling between 2 brands, Medallion Gold and Candlelight for our kitchen perimeter cabinets. We are looking for a clean, simple shaker stay look. We have a 42” subzero that will also get panels instead of stainless doors. Will either brand be a good choice? Any advice or should we consider another brand? I was told Starmark may be good too. Thanks!

  67. pmcalary, March 5, 2019 at 9:09 am:

    Hi Mallory,
    I don’t know Klearview but at a glance they appear to be a frameless line about the quality of IKEA and so not a good value.
    We recomend a dealer in Minneapolis and others around the country on our site, Link here
    Also our 2018 cabinet review rates more lines than the 2017. I’d use the more current review to find an inexpensive line better rated than Klearview would be.

  68. Mallory, March 4, 2019 at 5:25 pm:

    We are thinking of white or grey shaker doors for our remodel. We don’t have a huge budget but we are in need of a kitchen refresh badly. I am looking at Klearvue cabinets from Menards based on their lower price. Do you know anything about the quality of these? I see you recommend Fabuwood for a lower budget and good quality. We are in Minnesota and I don’t see where or if we can get this brand from? Thanks!

  69. pmcalary, March 3, 2019 at 8:50 am:

    Hi Jess,
    The review rates these lines. So those are our thoughts. Starmark upgraded is a much better line.

  70. Jess, March 2, 2019 at 5:38 pm:

    Trying to decide between Kemper and Star mark cabinets for a new construction, your thoughts?

  71. pmcalary, March 1, 2019 at 9:35 am:

    Hi Rocco,
    We carry and love Brighton cabinetry. They are a custom cabinet company that has a price point equal to higher end semi custom lines. Of course if you are getting full overlay cabinets in a white shaker door style there is no need to be in such a custom line. Especially if your kitchen design hasn’t been designed to create the best kitchen for your space. Always move doorways, plumbing, remove soffits, replace flooring and create the best layout for a kitchen first and then splurge on cabinetry, appliances, and countertops second. If you are replacing a kitchen with exactly the same layout you can be sure you are not prioritizing correctly.

  72. Rocco D, February 28, 2019 at 3:54 pm:

    Hi what’s is the current thought on Brighton cabinetry? We are in the process of renovating our kitchen and bar area. We understand Brighton offers a semi-custom design and would like to get feedback and quality reviews.

  73. pmcalary, February 25, 2019 at 8:51 am:

    Hi Carolyn,
    Your question is confusing. A price range for what? A kitchen? They are all sizes. In general a price point 1 is the least expensive assembled cabinetry that you can buy, up to 6 – the most expensive custom cabinetry that you can buy.

    I don’t know QCCI and their web site tell nothing about their construction. But as they are a custom line I would guess that their framed line would get a an A and that they are a pricepoint 5 at least.

  74. Carolyn, February 23, 2019 at 3:55 pm:

    Thank you so much for this well thought out list. I was wondering…do you have price points for each of the price levels? In other words, does each level have a price range associated with it?

    Also, do you have any opinions on Quality Custom Cabinetry Inc QCCI?

    Thank you,

  75. pmcalary, February 21, 2019 at 3:31 pm:

    Hi Jaimie,
    These are all great lines. I would worry more about the design and the designer that you are working with. It sounds like you chose poorly the first time and may not be paying enough attention, as most people don’t, to the same issue again. How good your designer is is far more important than choosing between these high quality expensive custom lines.

  76. Jaimie, February 20, 2019 at 10:16 am:

    Hi! We are renovating our kitchen and I am having a really hard time deciding on which cabinet line to go with. We already had custom cabinets made and installed only to find out they were not built to the correct specs and now have to be torn out. Going else where now and I am choosing between Brookhaven, Plain and Fancy and KountryKraft. We will be doing a white shaker door. They all rate good, just wondering if anything tips the scale in your opinion? Thank you!

  77. pmcalary, February 10, 2019 at 3:23 pm:

    Sorry Not knowing the line I couldn’t speculate if they would be worth the price difference with Decora. If the architect designed the kitchen and the kitchen designer priced that design that would scare me. If you want to have us look at the design you are considering we do that for people outside our area 2-4 pm EST Fridays. Email the design to and call on Friday to discuss your design.

  78. Nikki Keery, February 10, 2019 at 2:42 pm:

    Thank you for your responses. Yes we are fixing and renovating the space and working with a kitchen designer and architect. I’m very happy with it. The kitchen designer who specied Greenfield cabinets indicated that because I had custom cabinet sizes that is why the cabinets were so expensive. The architect who was surprised by cabinet cost sent same plans to another place that uses Decora cabinets to compare pricing and hence the difference question. So all things right now being equal same cabinet sizes I’m wondering if Greenfield is 10-20 percent better In quality than Decora. Is you can’t comment because you haven’t tested them, I wanted to then verify the things that would justify a higher price point.

    by inset I meant inset doors as that seemed in previous comments to make a difference in price point. Thanks Nikki

  79. pmcalary, February 10, 2019 at 11:33 am:

    Hi Nikki,
    It is actually rare that a kitchen needs custom cabinetry sizes. Even the least expensive lines we sell can do the modifications needed for almost all kitchens. It is when customers have unusual height ceilings that custom cabinetry most often is required. Inset cabinetry is lovely but also less appreciated than fixing the layout of your home. Almost all homes built in your home’s era would need some major changes with walls, doorways and even possibly windows or stairways, to create a good space for a kitchen. Spending money to create the better kitchen space is less expensive and far more valuable that splurging on more expensive cabinetry or professional appliances. Hopefully the designer you are working with understands this and is making the changes to your home’s layout that will create a kitchen that would make sense getting inset cabinetry for. That would be the thing worth spending 10% or 20% on.

  80. Nikki Kerry, February 10, 2019 at 10:50 am:

    I see you commented prior on Greenfield vs Decorate. Also my two choices in my area. I understand why you can’t rate Greenfield. For me Greenfield is about 11-22 percent more as my Decora price is being finalized. I have a higher end 1930s home for our City in Southern California. It has an immense amount of character but hasn’t been substantially remodeled since 1940. All cabinets are inset cabinets and custom sizes to accommodate nuances of walls. I am working with a kitchen designer as well of a kitchen design studio . What should I be confirming with the manufacturer for that price point difference? Would it be worth the 20percent price point? What about 10 percent? Thank you for your blog. Immensely helpful!

  81. pmcalary, February 8, 2019 at 6:00 pm:

    Hi Lauren,
    I just checked and found a discrepancy on our review of DC Designers Choice. I see no specifications for us to be able to review them and I worry that we rated their construction based of the specs for Designers Choice by American Woodmark. As I just made that same mistake. I can’t rate Designers Choice without specs. I would avoid Aristocraft and get upgraded Wolf over that line. Candlelight is nice but as you say costly.

  82. Lauren, February 8, 2019 at 5:24 pm:

    Thanks for the guidance. The designer I am using does not have that brand. They have executive cabinets, wolf, candlelight, designers choice and aristokraft. Candlelight is really nice but costly. What would be the second best option out of the cabinet companies above?

  83. pmcalary, February 8, 2019 at 5:05 pm:

    American Woodmark Designers choice upgraded to APC all plywood construction is fine. Drawers are 5/8 dovetail drawers. And it will fall between the Wolf and Candlelight price.

  84. Lauren, February 8, 2019 at 9:51 am:

    Thanks for the information. Is there anything wrong with Designers Choice? seems to have the color and style i want and is 20% less then candlelight? The only thing the designer mentioned to me is the the side drawers are 3/8 instead of 5/8.

  85. pmcalary, February 7, 2019 at 12:38 pm:

    Hi Lauren,
    Upgraded Wolf would be fine construction wise but possibly not as nice looking as the other two. If you like the Wolf colors and styles save away!

  86. Lauren, February 7, 2019 at 11:54 am:

    Hi, I am having my first floor renovated and deciding on white cabinets. The three companies presented are designers choice, wolf and candlelight. Candlight is really nice but cost the most. i would like to save some money on this project and the only variable are these cabinets. Any recommendation on which one to select?

  87. pmcalary, February 3, 2019 at 4:04 pm:

    Your husband seems like an armchair expert. Kraftmaid needs to be upgraded to plywood construction so I don’t know if yours were but your husband is almost certainly mistaken about no glue. The glue is clear so he is probably missing it.
    Cabinetry can also pull apart even when it is well constructed if the design is poor or if incorrectly installed. Without seeing your kitchen I couldn’t tell you if this was the case.
    We do not sell Kraftmaid so we have nothing to gain by rating them higher than other brands. One of the problems for Kraftmaid is that since it is sold in both Lowes and The Home Depot those designers are often inexperienced and create designs that can have problems like yours. The installers that the home owners that shop at home centers employ are also often less experienced.
    All it takes is a designer or an installer not knowing what they are doing and even well constructed cabinetry will fall apart, yellow, peel, be damaged by heat or water, sag, etc. And when consumers have any problems with their kitchens they almost always mistakenly blame the cabinet line.

  88. Robert W McGee, February 2, 2019 at 7:03 pm:

    My husband is rehanging our expensive, beautiful, cherry Kraftmaid cabinets. They have pulled out of the wall due to poor quality manufacturing . The back and nailing strip became detached from the top because it only has three wood staples holding it together.Also, the dovetails weren’t even glued.
    My husband now calls them Crapmaid cabinets. He’s a builder and knows quality.

  89. pmcalary, January 29, 2019 at 10:25 am:

    Hi Joe,
    All plywood would be way better. Especially if the sides of the cabinet were stained instead of simply a plastic photo. If the sides were real wood stained they would get a B for construction.

  90. pmcalary, January 29, 2019 at 7:44 am:

    Hi James,
    The first company carries great brands and the second company not so much. When a company makes good brand choices that tells me they know what they are doing. I’d stick with company A and take the designers advice on the cabinet line based on what you want and your budget.

  91. pmcalary, January 29, 2019 at 7:15 am:

    I have never heard of Evoke so I would go for the established Brookhaven line. Make sure you upgrade to plywood construction.

  92. Amanda, January 28, 2019 at 9:10 pm:

    My husband and I are currently looking at either putting in Brookhaven or Evoke cabinets for our new kitchen. The price came in pretty much the same for both cabinets so I was wondering if you had an opinion on either of our two choices (more so Evoke). We were originally going with fabuwood but recently have decided to spend extra money in our kitchen so now it’s between those two.
    Thank you

  93. Joe DeWitt, January 28, 2019 at 10:39 am:

    There is a all plywood box upgrade that we were quoted. Does that change anything? Agree with your concerns about design though we’ve been three different places and each has been very similar in layout components etc. Trying to thoroughly vet all options.

  94. pmcalary, January 28, 2019 at 4:29 am:

    Hi Joe,
    These cabinets are the lowest stock cabinetry out there. No better than IKEA. I don’t know their cost but they would get a C- or a D for construction in our rating system. The melamine exterior sides will bleach and fade quickly and they will fall apart if put under modest stress. There are many lines that should be close in price I would think but would get A’s and B’s on our list for their construction.
    No good designer would sell these so I would assume that your design may need improvement too. It makes no sense to spend all the money you will be compelled to renovating a kitchen, with new cabinets, countertops, appliance, flooring, fixtures and labor and to save at most 20% on the cabinetry which everything is built around and dependent upon. And you will also not have the assistance of an experienced professional kitchen designer. Spend a little more and most importantly get the knowledgeable help that all kitchen renovations require. Hopefully the Tru Cabinet place has an actual kitchen designer that can review you plan. Or call us on a Friday between 2 and 4 EST and we can review your plan after you email it to our designer.

  95. Joe DeWitt, January 27, 2019 at 8:18 pm:
  96. James, January 27, 2019 at 4:32 pm:

    We are doing a fairly high end kitchen remodel and are having a tough time deciding on which cabinet line. The 2 companies we are down to have multiple lines. One has Mouser, Schlabach, Fabuwood, Wellborn and Showplace. The other carries Dynasty, HomeCraft, KitchenCraft, Omega and Schrock. On top of that many of those cabinet makers offer many lines within the brand, for instance Wellborn offers 4 different lines. My question is which of these brand or brands would you recommend as the best quality?

  97. pmcalary, January 25, 2019 at 1:09 pm:

    Hi Joe,
    Sorry BJ Tidwell does not show how their cabinetry is constructed anywhere we can find on line. You can use this link to see how we describe a well constructed cabinet and if the dealer supplies you with specs you can check or forward specs to us to evaluate:

    We rate Kemper cabinets in our 2018 ranking (not so well) and Tru cabinets would get between a B or B+ for construction under our system. I only worry about Tru’s 5/8″ plywood shelves on wide wall and base cabinets so if you could somehow upgrade the shelves to 3/4″ thick on the wide cabinets they are a B+, and if you could get soft close tracks and hinges as an upgrade a solid B+.

  98. Joe DeWitt, January 25, 2019 at 12:31 pm:

    You’re an amazing wealth of information, thanks for what you do.
    Any opinion on BJ Tidwell’s Monarch line? I got a great quote that seems a bit too good to be true.
    I have a second quote on upgraded Kemper Monarch and a third on Tru Cabinetry.
    Thanks again.

  99. pmcalary, January 22, 2019 at 7:09 pm:

    Hi Caroline,
    Thanks so much for your message and for following our blog. It is gratifying to finally have a reader say this. Suprisingly you are the first person to say this in such a straight forward way.

    It can be frustrating spending so much time trying to make clear what you and all our customers accept. THat ALL kitchens can be designed better than they were 20 or 30 years ago.
    The fact that homeowners don’t realize this is BECAUSE they aren’t professional kitchen designers and any preconceptions that they have are quite often the opposite of what is true.
    We try to make this clear with funny videos like the one below:

    I will keep beating the same drum hoping that a few more people will hear it.

  100. ch, January 22, 2019 at 6:49 pm:

    Thank you so much for doing this blog. I have been reading it for the past two weeks. My husband and I were convinced we should keep the same layout in our kitchen, so I started focusing on cabinets. After reading your blog, I realized I should pull back and start talking to designers. Three designers I talked to told me to do the exact same thing, and I decided they were right! We’ve decided to move forward with one of them. If I hadn’t read your blog, chances are I would have done some very stupid things. Thanks again for taking the time to do this.

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