Kitchen Cabinet ratings for 2017. Reviews of the top selling cabinet lines.

1 Replies to “Kitchen Cabinet ratings for 2017. Reviews of the top selling cabinet lines.”

  1. Terry

    Are Dura Supreme vanities any good?

    1. ITSAdmin

      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. Paul McAlary

    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.

  3. Jen

    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!

  4. Katelyn D

    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.

    1. ITSAdmin

      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.

  5. Ilene

    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?

    1. ITSAdmin

      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.

  6. Gladys Vanegas

    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!

  7. Brian

    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!

    1. ITSAdmin

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

  8. Harry A Savage

    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?

    1. ITSAdmin

      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.

  9. Carla

    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.

    1. ITSAdmin

      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.

  10. Maria

    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.

    1. ITSAdmin

      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.

  11. Kelsey Torpey

    Duh *helpful

    1. ITSAdmin

      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.

  12. Kelsey Torpey

    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

  13. Lindsey

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

  14. Andrew

    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?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  15. Lindsey

    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!

    1. ITSAdmin

      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.

  16. Suzan Brady

    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.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  17. Rich

    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….

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

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

  18. Kate Fischer

    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

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  19. Paul McAlary

    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.

  20. Judith Shill

    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 .

  21. Bob

    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?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  22. steve bevilacqua

    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

    1. ITSAdmin

      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.

  23. paul mcalary

    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”

  24. Sherry

    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.

  25. paul mcalary

    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.

  26. Sherry

    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.

  27. Sherry

    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.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  28. Mary Veldheer

    Another brand being considered is Hampshire and Quality Custom.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  29. Mary Veldheer

    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!

  30. Austin Collins

    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)

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  31. Carole Chris

    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.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  32. Sri

    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 .

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  33. Tahani Kanan

    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.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  34. Thean Traynor

    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

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  35. Christine Ranford

    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.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

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

  36. Danielle Schor

    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

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

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

  37. Danielle

    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

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  38. Venkat

    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.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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:

  39. John

    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!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  40. Mallory

    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!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  41. Jess

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

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

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

  42. Rocco D

    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.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  43. Carolyn

    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,

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  44. Jaimie

    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!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  45. Nikki Keery

    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

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  46. Nikki Kerry

    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!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  47. Lauren

    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?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  48. Lauren

    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.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  49. Lauren

    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?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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!

  50. Robert W McGee

    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.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  51. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

    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.

  52. Amanda

    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

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

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

  53. Joe DeWitt

    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.

  54. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

    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.

  55. James

    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?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  56. Joe DeWitt

    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.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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+.

  57. ch

    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.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      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.

  58. Laurel Gaffney

    Hi there! Thank you so much for this helpful review. We are considering cabinets by Kraftmaid or Bertch, which both seem to have similar ratings on your list. Can you tell me if there is a significant price difference for comparable styles between the two brands (semi-custom overlay doors from Bertch vs Kraftmaid’s standard overlay doors)? Pick a basic maple mission style cabinet front, standard white paint (no glaze). Which costs more? And does Bertch use soft close hinges and drawer glides as standard? I remember Kraftmaid did when we renovated our old kitchen a few years ago. Thank you!

  59. Mike Zimbleman

    Hi Paul-
    Re: DeWils. They have both frameless and face frame lines. We bought full face frame from them for our remodel last spring. They seem to be good quality cabinets. Twelve years ago we bought Kraftmaid for another house and if my memory is any good, I would rate DeWils just a little below Kraftmaid. We bought from them because we wanted cabinets stained in a custom color and they were about the only manufacturer we found that would do a custom stain (not paint).

  60. veronica

    Very much in need of an advice. Working on a kitchen remodel Already have a beautiful design in place. Looking to find a relaible e and high quality cabinetry manufacture. Have got estimates from Kraftmaid, Schuler, Ultracraft. Not comfortable about the negative reviews. Mainly concerned about the finish and paint. thank you

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      All painted finishes are less durable and I haven’t noticed much of a difference between any lines in paint durability. Ultracraft is frameless and so I would avoid. When customers tell us that they like their present design and they are working with Home Centers (Lowes in your case) we find almost always that their designs are poor. I constantly pound the point that 90% of our customers come to us believing that they know the design they want and even the appliances that they want but the buy a completely different kitchen. Why? because not being professional designers they don’t understand how much their design can be improved.

  61. Matt Tisler

    To those people asking about Dewils cabinetry from Vancouver, WA. I see that a comparison was made to American Woodmark. I sold American Woodmark in the past and don’t dislike them but there is no way Dewils is equivalent. Dewils is a far better cabinet.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Matt,
      We don’t rate Dewils on our list but I believe they are a frameless European constructed custom line. So while their finishes and the door styles they offer will be nicer than Am Woodmark they could never recieve higher than a B rating for their construction which might be the source of the confussion.

  62. Heather Shafter

    So what brand does Main Line Kitchen Design use and why?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Heather,
      Good question, we can sell up to about 10 brands that we are authorized dealers for, but we primarily sell these 7 brands. We selected the brands we carry because they all are well constructed and meet our criteria for durability and quality but also because they have some niche that we like that they are a good value for. Brands below and what’s the niche:

      CNC- Good for flipping lower priced homes
      Fabuwood -simply the best and most versatile of the import lines. A step above the rest.
      6Square – Many unusual colors available and different wood species in an inexpensive line.
      Bishop -Semi custom prices but the abiliity to do almost everything custom.
      Brighton -Custom cabintry at high end Semi Custom Prices
      Wellsford -Truly custom cabinetry with any wood species and furniture grade finishes only 15% more than Brighton.

      Stylecraft -Fine furniture and cabinetry made to order.

      Some lines we tried and stopped carrying due to problems like Durasupreme.

      Our designers have designed with most of the cabinet lines we review but I select the lines we carry. Some designers for example are upset that I didn’t select Wellborn, or Woodmode, or Kraftmaid but those lines are carried by our nearby competitors, and while I do like them, having a dealership exclusive to our area has advantages.

  63. Sol

    Hi-I am considering both Crystal Cabinets and St. Maarten Cabinets. Also-when considering cabinets any tips on how to compare one line with another? I am new to all of this. THanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      We rate both lines in our 2018 ratings. St Martins is a European frameless line and so for any door style other than a very contemporary style door it can’t come close to being a sensible choice. If you want slab doors and contemprary styling a case can be made for selecting a frameless line. Otherwise I’d go with the more durable construction.

  64. Mary

    My new kitchen needed a lot of work on the design part because of the many doorways and walls Matt came in with some of the best ideas for the design by removing the walls that no one other the Gallery of kitchens came up with. I reviewed 8 kitchen designers and picked Matt because he came up with the best work and price of all. We are very glad we had Matt do our kitchen. I would recommend St. Martin cabinets and Gallery of Kitchens to any one thinking about a kitchen

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Mary,
      Matt sounds great. While WE can’t be sure of his abilities if you list the area you live in and specifically the name of his company he could get some work from your great recommendation.

  65. Diane

    I’ve been meaning to leave a comment regarding a conversation I had on December 20th with Stacia. I wanted to say thank you for your help and great advice. I was in a funk after spending a lot of time looking at a particular brand of cabinets and putting together a beautiful design only to find in the end, the price of the cabinets was way above our budget. When I discussed the quote with Stacia I felt better about not going with that brand of cabinetry. We are now looking at Brighton, Decora’ and Shrock cabinets which I believe will be more in our price range. I do love inset cabinets however so that could be a problem. I also noticed that Paul had recommended Fabuwood cabinets to another person who wrote in. Is this a cabinet line I should consider? I live in the Boston area and I’m looking for recommendations for places to look if you have any suggestions? Thanks again for your help, this truly is a great service that you provide to the public. Happy New Year!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Inset cabinetry is very expensive because only a custom cabinet line will be able to do inset cabinetry well. If you give up inset you can actually use very reasonable cabinet lines like Fabuwood and give up very little in quality or the ability to customize. The more expensive cabinet lines offer more finishes and more species of woods and door styles. Many people that get a recessed panel or shaker white door style in more expensive lines are just throwing their money away by paying for the flexibility to choose unusual door styles, woods, and finishes and then not selecting them.

  66. Tammy

    I am remodeling my entire first floor and putting in a new kitchen. I am planning on white shaker style cabinets. I am looking at J&K Cabinets. They seem to be pretty well constructed and are half the cost of KraftMaid. What do you know about J&K?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Tammy,
      You summed it up well. J&K are pretty well constructed and a lot less than Kraftmaid. There will be fewer styles, colors, and a smaller catalogue of cabinetry with less ability to customize in J&K vs Kraftmaid. And the Kraftmaid finishes (especially the stained finishes) will be nicer looking. But if the kitchen design can be done in the J&K line and you like the color and style door you are selecting, and you are on a budget, it will be a better investment to get J&K. Save the money to spend on moving walls, or doorways and making the kitchen layout the best it can be.

  67. bobbylynn

    Six years ago I redid my kitchen. At the time, the man who oversaw the installation told me that he didn’t actually measure the pantry, but estimated it so that it wouldn’t get too close to the in-wall radiator (it’s an older house). I decided to live w/ the pantry, but now I feel it’s just too narrow, the look of the width is annoying me and frankly I could use the extra storage. Trouble is that my old contractor no longer carries that particular line of cabinetry (Holiday). The pantry measures 24 and 1/4 inches wide by 25 and 1/16 inches deep (including the doors). There is a gap of 15 or 16 inches on the left side of the pantry before reaching the molding that surrounds the radiator. Because I didn’t want the very top of the cabinets to collect dust, I had the contractor add a double molding. Can you recommend a company that carries the Holiday line, and possibly to install a new pantry? Thank you and Happy Holidays.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      You don’t say where you live so finding a dealer and contractor isn’t possible. Also depending on your cabinetry style, color, and type of wood matching the existing cabinetry may be difficult even in the same line. Installing a 36″ wide pantry and crown molding will cost at lest a few thousand dollars so unless those kind of numbers are OK I’d skip this solution. If you are still up for the project then finding a Holiday dealer in your area would be the first step in the process. Here is the Holiday web site contact page:

  68. Katie Liston

    We are happy with our design, but are stalled at the type of cabinet. We would like a white, shaker door style. So far, we have been quoted Shiloh maple, Bertch Birch and Maple, and custom cabinets using maple and MDF. I am finding mixed reviews on all of the above. Looking for middle of the road, not top of the line. Any suggestions of other brands to consider, and/or comments on the above?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Katie,
      We rate Bertch and many cabinets well in our 2017 and 2018 rankings. When people ask a question this way IE happy with the design but having a problem finding something easy to do, it sets off an alarm that makes me suspect that their design has mistakes in it. Because most designs we receive are full of mistakes. Homeowners not being designers are just unaware that their designs are so problematic. A mistake free design is the hard part in this process. Finding a cabinet when we rate them right here is simplistic by comparison. If you email me your design at I can look at your design between 2pm and 4pm on a Friday.

  69. Julie Gehling

    We are replacing kitchen cabinets, including an island and I have been reading your blog for insights and information. My question is regarding three different companies. We are planning on solid maple painted white, with a simple shaker design. We plan on being in this house for another 5 years, and then moving to a smaller home. Our home is in the 400,000 range. The three lines we are looking at are KraftMaid, Marsh and Tuscan Hills Cabinetry. Any information on those?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Julie,
      I don’t know Tuscan Hills cabinetry but if they are the line sold at Costco then please don’t buy your cabinets there!

      Especially if you will only be in a home for 5 years then you are primarily redoing your kitchen for resale value and to enjoy it in the interim. You do not need a more expensive line like Kraftmaid for this. Nor do you necessarily need maple cabinets if you are getting white painted shaker cabinets. Asian birch could look nicer than maple depending on the line.

      What you do need is a good kitchen designer since how much your home is worth is not dependent on how expensive the cabinetry is, it is dependent on how good the kitchen design is.

      My biggest frustration as a kitchen designer is that most customers believe that their kitchen design is fine and that not much can be done with their design. This is only because they aren’t designers themselves and are ignorant of the possibilities. Because many customers almost work at avoiding getting good design help they will often foolishly splurge on expensive cabinetry, professional appliances, quartz or quartzite countertops. Yet they will keep terrible design features like the soffits over their cabinets, or their stove too close to their sink, or a corner sink, or a cooktop in an island, all thinks that destroy the value of a home.

      Find a good kitchen designer first then focus on the cabinet line. It certainly doesn’t need to be a more expensive line if all you want is white shaker cabinets. Costco and IKEA do not have even competent designers – so stay clear of those places. Home Centers like Lowes and The Home Depot will have some diamonds in the rough but you must research the background of the designers before selecting one. Use our recommended suppliers list if there is a dealer we recommend close to your area. Link below:

      You should think of your home and your kitchen like I think of my car:

      When my transmission needs to be replaced I do research to find a good mechanic. I don’t research who makes the best transmissions and how to install them.

  70. dan

    Hi Paul,

    Another question – what is a reasonable tolerance for height differences for two inset-style doors in the same cabinet?


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      That would depend on the cabinet line. The more expensive the cabinet line the less difference you should expect. This is one reason why we do not sell any inset cabinetry that isn’t custom cabinetry, even though some of the less expensive lines we carry offer the option.

  71. Dan

    Hi Paul,

    Does Bertch make their two-tier cutlery drawers with a soft-close mechanism?


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      No idea we do not carry Bertch please ask your designer.

  72. Lisa Steinberg

    I’m trying to decide between Bertch and Medallion cabinets for our master bathroom renovation. The Medallion were quoted at $3,700 and the Bertch at $4,900. Bertch is more due to a special cabinet being made, Medallion line has it as a standard cabinet. It’s a lot of extra money for the same design. So my question is, which line is better and is the additional cost worth it if Bertch is better? Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      It sounds from the pricing that the price difference might be more than just one cabinet. Check and make sure that the Medallion Quote has the same construction upgrades and the same hardware (tracks and hinges) as the Bertch. If they are the same than save the money. If the Medallion quote was for particleboard and lesser hardware while the Bertch was not, I get the Bertch.

  73. Steve

    Thank you for the recommendation. I do have a dealer nearby, though a friend is using Fabuwood now and I do believe they will be more expensive at least based on what he claimed he was spending on a smaller kitchen.

    Also I don’t think I would go with an inset from any line as I feel like they may get damaged more easily taking pots and pans etc out of the cabinets though they do look very nice.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Steve,
      Fabuwood and Clique Studios are normally very similar in price. Kitchens can vary in price greatly from far more than size. Customizations, tall pantry and oven cabinets, interior cabinet conveniences, door styles, special colors, stacking cabinets, and other things can double the same size kitchen in price. So I would take nothing definitive from a friends pricing.

  74. Steven

    Hi Paul,

    I have read the majority of these comments on here and your insight has been very valuable. I have been researching my kitchen remodel for a few months now. The only design and quote I have received was from CliqStudios. At the time I choose their inset design in a painted white finish. Cabinets came to about 18k (4k less if I choose the full overlay cabinets). This was for roughly 18 base and wall cabinets, 1 floor to ceiling pantry and 6 cabinets in the island. With that said, do you think another cabinet manufacturer listed in your ranking could offer the same quality at a better value OR better quality at around the same cost. I would truly hate to spend 20k on cabinets just to regret choosing a certain manufacturer over time.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I wouldn’t buy cabinets on line and not have a designers help from measuring through installation. The inset cabinets are a terrible idea from an inexpensive line. I would recommend buying cabinets from a Fabuwood dealer if you have one in your area. They should be similar in price and they have more sizes and customizations available. And if you have a local dealer you will get the help you need.

  75. Alli

    Thank you for your blog, it’s very informative. I’m doing a complete remodel on my kitchen and bathroom. My designer recommended to me KCD Cabinets. Have you heard of this brand. I think they’re from China. They are made of solid birch and polar hardwood with a 5/8″ backing. I think I have read every comment you have made and there has been no mention of these cabinet makers. I noticed that the Property Brothers just used them in one of there remodels. Would you recommend these cabinets?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Yikes! Don’t use HGTV as a recommendation for any product. On the contrary even though I like some episodes of Property Brothers they are making a TV show first and are getting free products as advertisements from suppliers. 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. Here is our blog on HGTV shows:

  76. Joi

    Can you give me some feedback on JSI cabinets? They have the CARB 2, 1/2″ plywood boxes, soft close doors and drawers, 6-way hinges, dovetails, 1/2″ backs & 5/8″ hang rails, 3/4″ maple drawer boxes, doors and shelves. I am looking at the Designer Series in gray shaker style. I am just adding a few extra cabinets to an empty wall in my kitchen breakfast area. I have the shaker style kitchen in white with gray granite. They are reasonably priced and I would order pre-assembled. (My husband installs…experienced as a previous Lowes/HD installer and builder.)

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I have never seen JSI cabinetry but they meet all our requirements for an A cabinet construction rating. If you have seen them and like the finish I think you are safe.

  77. Cinda Capone

    I have read a lot of reviews on Fabuwood, which is what my contractor uses. Many people complain about the awful smell of these cabinets. As someone who is very sensitive to smells, I am concerned. Have you ever heard of these issues with thus brand?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I have never seen that complaint and being in the industry I read most of the reviews out there for any brands we sell as well as reviews for other brands. Where are you reading this? I Googled Fabuwood smells and nothing comes up. I have a hard time believing you. Let us know where you saw this and if we can verify it we can answer it otherwise we will have to delete your post or assume that you have ulterior motives.

  78. Daphne Warren

    Ok, great, thank you! I will reach out with that tomorrow then. Also before I forget, I’ve seen you talk about cabinet heights being too high for any given ceiling height and that you should use stacked crown molding instead to reach ceiling. What height cabinets should I get if I have 10ft ceilings? Thanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      10ft High ceilings are complicated as their are many solutions if you want cabinetry to reach the ceiling. Tray ceilings can be particularly nice if it works in the design.

  79. DAW

    Hi Paul,

    I’ve read thru allll of these comments and your ratings. I have only consulted with my builder’s 1st contact (Graves Lumber) here in OH but I fear she’s exactly the type of kitchen designer you warn against. The design we have so far may be fine but she literally just drew up what I had in mind the 1st time we met. She hasn’t suggested anything else and while I had somewhat of an idea of what I wanted I certainly went in wanting consultation and expertise. I ask questions but she is so shy and timid. I’m about 6 hrs away from you so I’m guessing cabinets thru y’all isn’t possible but would you mind taking a look at the design at least? She’s also pushing only Diamond which you don’t rate all that highly especially for simple white shaker.
    Thanks so much in advance!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      We would be happy to look at your design it if you send it in on a Friday between 2pm and 4pm. This Friday we won’t be able to get back to you until Tuesday due to a price increase deadline that has us swamped.

  80. Stephanie

    I am looking into Wellborn and kraftmaid.
    Do you have a recommendation of one over the other?

    Also, we are going with white shaker style doors.
    Thoughts on MDF vs solid wood painted white?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Upgraded both are good lines. Getting MDF doors is a tough question. MDF center panels are definitely a good idea. The whole door MDF depends on how tough you are on things. Some people will be fine. People with kids and dogs maybe not. Although replacing a few doors down the road probably costs less than the savings in getting the MDF. MDf doors will certainly look better and be smoother without seams in joinery when new. But wood doors will be easy for re-finishers to touch up and so an easier fix than replacing damaged doors later. This is a difficult call and depends not just on how hard you are on things but on how fastidious you are about home improvements and how picky you are about wear and tear.

  81. MMJ

    I’m happy to read all of this advice on kitchen cabinets since it is very difficult to choose companies. My designer has recommended Sorrento or Kemper for a level 3 price range. I am planning to use white Shaker cabinets. I see your rating for Kemper, but have you heard of Sorrento? I think it is part of Decor Cabinet Company. Also do you have a bias toward wood (maple) over MDF? I’m looking for something durable, easy to care for, not too expensive and nice looking.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I don’t know Sorento or Decor cabinetry well. However, like many frameless lesser made cabinet lines their web site talks about the nice people that make the cabinetry, the environment, and everything BUT how they make their cabinets. If this Canadian manufacturer was a US company you could be sure that they would also be waving an American Flag on their home page. When cabinet companies refuse to give you specifics and instead talk in platitudes or about patriotism, BEWARE. Their are much better choices in cabinetry then you are considering and better constructed cabinetry in the level 1 and level 2 price point.

  82. A Miller

    Hi, thanks for the great advice…I need some! I understand the Wellborn brothers parted ways some time ago and I’ve heard mixed reviews on the quality of the Wellborn Forest line. Dilemma is, W. Forest has a brushed glazed finish that I really like. Last year the upcharge for the brushed glaze was apx 2k. Now its quoting at 3300. more than basic painted finish. I’m just not sure if the quality of WF is worth the price.
    Second, while trying to get over the glazed finish, I ran across a line called Wolf “Signature” which has SmartShield Technology, making them really easy to clean and less damaged by water. It’s basically a laminate (which I would usually NEVER consider) but it looks like a beautiful painted finish. And with white, easy to clean is a factor.
    I would appreciate your feedback on the Wellborn Forest (and your experience with brushed glaze) as well as quality of Wolf “Signature”. Thanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      As far as Wellborn Forrest – I don’t know the finishes well enough to comment. Upgraded their cabinets are well constructed but shipping issues or quality control I can’t know since we don’t carry them.

      Wolf has now branched off into several different cabinet lines and types of construction. Unfortunately the good construction values and concepts the line began with in their Wolf Classic are not the same for other lines. Wolf is now gravitating towards the concepts of the Aristocraft line they left to create Wolf. What a shame! We will need to rate their lines separately in 2019. Wolf Signature is only 3/8″ thick sides and backs which we would never recommend.

      Also the expensive foil doors like the one you are considering are not a good idea. They can easily be melted with heat from a range even when you use heat shields. And since thermafoil doors fall out of fashion quickly and can’t be reproduced after the style is discontinued, if you melt a door ten years from now you will most likely not be able to replace it. Then what?

      Years ago when I worked at a dealer that carried what some designers called “Aristocrap”. Every Saturday brought former customers into the showroom with melted or discolored doors in discontinued thermafoil styles we could no longer replace. I tried never to sell the Aristocraft line even though other designers at the company sold it in abundance.

      That dealership and the way they approached our industry is why I started my own company. Every time I needed new business cards I fought to have my job title say “Kitchen Designer” but the company insisted that my tile remain “Cabinet Salesperson”. Today we are competitors and while they are still a larger company than mine I think the wave of the future is better designers and a more a cost effective business model like ours. It allows you to sell better designs at a slightly lower price than the companies that just want to sell cabinets and give people what they ask for without regard for the quality of the products they sell.

  83. Steve

    I recently was shown cabinets by Greenfield. We liked the cabinets and we were told they were a step above Decora, so fairly high end. I can’t find much info on them. I noticed there are a few inquires about them in the comments of this webstite as well but no answers. If anyone can give me their experience.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Steve,
      I did some research and Greenfield cabinet looks well constructed. However their construction was posted on line by another dealer and not by Greenfield themselves. We know nothing about the company and they don’t show specifications on line so we can not rate them on our cabinets ratings guide.

  84. Christa

    Wow, there is a wealth of information here and I really appreciate your time and guidance!
    We are renovating our kitchen and are narrowing in on about 18 cabinets and 1 tall pantry for the new layout. I have a range of quotes from kitchen designers. All suggested very similar layouts. In order of increasing price: Waypoint 10K, Wolf Designer 13K, Yorktowne 15K, Centra by Mouser 17K, and Diamond 17K. All are full plywood with painted shaker doors. Would you say these prices are reflective of quality? Anything you can suggest to help make this decision? I’m not sure where the “quality” differences will be, though I have noticed that the Mouser cabinets will allow for a little more fine tuning with measurements, though we don’t need many.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Price and quality are not directly related in the cabinet world. I don’t know the Wolf and Mouser lines as well as the Yorktowne and the Diamond lines but I think either Wolf or Centra are the better values for the cabinetry you list. If you can afford the Centra I would get them.

  85. Carolina Prokopis

    How about Fabuwood vs Starmark? I know fabuwood is a big price difference but I plan on getting a painted cabinet and I just want to make sure it holds up for years to come. Thanks for your feedback. I’m having a hard time deciding.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      There won’t be a difference in durability of finish between Fabuwood and Starmark on a painted cabinet. However all painted cabinets are less durable finish wise than stained cabinets. They can be inexpensively touched up though by professional refinishers if the paint gets nicked, scratched or damaged from water.

  86. Nina

    I’m having a tough time deciding on kitchen cabinets. The lines that I’ve gotten quotes on are Starmark and waypoint. Both prices were reasonable but I really want to make sure I pick a better quality cabinet since we don’t plan on moving or remodeling kitchen. Any advice is appreciated!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Starmark should be more expensive and a better cabinet upgraded.

  87. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

    Hi Amie,
    If you have a floor plan of your existing kitchen I would be happy to look at it and give advice. Lighting is the last thing designers work on so not getting a lighting plan is not unusual. No one would do one until you hired them.

    Lowes and Home Depot sell Kraftmaid which upgraded is a fine cabinet line and Lowes carries Schuler (Medallion in private sectors) which upgraded is a high end cabinet. If you are committed to keeping the same design Lowes is fine. We almost never recommend this because most customers believe their design is fine until we show them one they hadn’t thought of that’s better. Changing the layout in a kitchen also costs next to nothing and can even save money.

  88. Amie

    Thank you for your help. We bought a small but high-end condo that had been professionally, and beautifully, designed several years ago. The kitchen and bath layouts make efficient use of the space, look really good, and more than meet our needs. For some reason they skimped on the actual cabinets and left the original and inadequate lighting as it was. We wanted to upgrade the cabinetry from laminate to stained wood and do a few small things, like change some of the units to drawers and/or pull-outs which we like better. While the current cabinetry layouts are fine, the lighting could definitely use improvement. That’s where we sought help. It’s hard to get a grasp of what the actual cabinets cost because everything has to be shipped in. Some businesses hid huge mark-ups in their “shipping costs”, on top of their regular fees. I definitely do not begrudge their regular fees because they would be dealing with the manufacturer, shipping, delivery, installation, etc. I just don’t like hidden mark-ups. Unlike on the mainland, we don’t have access to many “kitchen and bath” stores or home stores (except for Home Depot and Lowe’s). By the way — although we have met with several designers and contractors, not one has addressed our original need for improved lighting. We’ve gotten several proposals requiring major changes to the condo (which interestingly left the cabinetry layouts as they were) but made no changes to the lighting. At this point, we are doing internet research and visiting everybody else’s condo to see what they did and how it has worked out for them. It has been a frustrating experience. We remodeled our house a few years ago, but we lived in a major metropolitan area and knew who the respected designers and businesses were. We did a little research on specific issues, but by and large took their recommendations because we trusted them and understood why they made their proposals. I definitely agree that finding a trusted business would be the way to go if we were making major changes or were wondering what else might be possible. In this instance, we only want to replace existing basic cabinets with nicer ones and get a little more light. Your blog has helped a lot.

  89. Amie

    I tried to leave a question via Facebook, but in case it went astray I’ll try here as well. We live on Maui so our ability to get cabinets is limited. We are updating an older condo. It has a great kitchen/bath layout that was professionally done, it’s just time to update. We tried going to more than one designer but hit two problems. Some are tied to specific brands and will only sell those and you have to buy through them. And the remaining ones want to do a complete redesign, tearing the condo out to the studs. Again, the existing design is great and we love it. We found a source for Crystal, Ovation, and Bellmont cabinetry that is not tied to a designer. Our contractor likes Bellmont, which I don’t see reviewed. The condo is very small and open. Like most people on Maui our island-style furniture is a type of Mahogany from Indonesia and we are hoping to find a stained wood to blend with it. How does Bellmont compare to Crystal and Ovation? Thank you for your help.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Amie,
      Belmont is a frameless less expensive particle board cabinet that is far below Crystal. Ovation has nothing to do with the Crystal line and I can’t find any reliable information on them.

      Your story has a thread that concerns me. Usually when customers try to avoid designers as you are and the designers they meet want to do things the customers don’t want it is because any sensible professional would make these changes and do the recommended construction. Shopping to find the advice you want to hear is never a good idea. Whether you are getting advice from a kitchen designer or a another professional such as a doctor. Find the best professional and listen to their advice. You get into trouble when you only listen to what you want to hear or don’t listen at all.

  90. Jeana montgomery

    Can you tell me if CNC, omega or Fabuwood
    in bright white are known to fade or yellow over time?
    Thank you so much?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      The white cabinetry that we worry about yellowing is usually plastic coated white thremafoil. So it is the material more than the cabinet line that is the issue. All these cabinet lines make at least one of these plastic coated door styles.

      I have always discouraged customers from getting thremafoil cabinetry for their kitchen Thrmafoil is easy to clean and hard to nick or scratch but it can melt due to oven heat and it can delaminate after 15 years or yellow if you get a bad batch. And usually the doors and drawers are made by third parties so the cabinet company has less control over quality.

      Not to mention plastic coated white cabinets are presently unpopular for any door other than a modern slab door. For slab white modern door styles I would recommend laminate instead of thermafoil. Plastic raised panel doors or shaker doors look less tasteful then paint since plastic and traditional door styles don’t go together. Painted white cabinetry is the better looking alternative to plastic. Paint can be more easily nicked or damaged by water. However, touching up paint is easy while fixing a kitchen when the thermafoil fails is impossible.

  91. Amy

    Hi Main Line team! I’m curious what advice you have for a customer who’s cabinet order has gone poorly. Would you allow the manufacturer another chance? the

    Our microwave cabinet arrived and the MDF was facing up. When we received the replacement it was the same way. A base cabinet door was chipped and another was missing the corner brackets. They didn’t include the upgrade of the soft motion doors and roll trays with plywood and dovetail construction. We ordered a shaker style door and the center inserts are veneer. The amount a movement and give is not like anything we’ve experienced.

    I look forward to your feedback. Thanks in advance!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Amy,
      Nice speaking with you. Hope it all works out OK. If you want to send us your design I’d be happy to check it to help the second time around go better.

  92. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

    It appears you are discussing the difference between a framed and frameless cabinet and finding the frameless box superior looking to all the parts and pieces in a framed box. Yes they look more substantial to a person not understanding the structural engineering advantages of a framed box over a frameless. As you say you are not an expert and the designer you are working with sounds like they are either confused or quite a salesperson if they came up with the off gassing explanation.

  93. MMalloy

    I wasn’t just looking at displays Pmcalary, my designer actually put the two cabinets side to side and while I am not an expert on construction I can say that the St. Martin cabinet appeared to be much more solid and the finishes were much higher end. There were no loose screws, clips, or nails to be seen. The Fabuwood cabinet had seams in between where the sides met the bottom and the shelf clips were not stainless steel. St. Martins shelves have stainless steel clips that fit into a groove on the bottom for support and are not chintzy looking, the dovetail drawer and plywood are 3/4, and the entire cabinet is laminated so there is no rough plywood at all which I was told reduces off-gassing. Also,the wall cabinets are 13′ deep which is another reason I was sold on the line as all my bigger plates fit finally!

    While I agree that a warranty is not indicative of quality, I also looked at Woodmode which was much more but has a lifetime warranty and it has been my experience with other products that the warranty time frame is normally indicative of how long a product will last. Personally, I will always happily pay for peace of mind. Anyway thanks for the information, it was very helpful in my search and I would happily invite you to come over and have a beer to check out the finished project.

  94. MMalloy

    I recently went through the design and renovation process and we ended up going with St. Martin as opposed to Fabuwood because while the price was a little bit more, it wasn’t enough to dissuade me from getting a nicer product with a better warranty. St. Martin has a 10 yr warranty as opposed to Fabuwoods 5 yr warranty, the doors are thicker and more solid than every other product I saw, and St. Martin uses actual American hardwoods as opposed to cheap substitutes (I think my designer told me Fabuwood uses Chinese birch and not American Cherry or Maple?). Also, while the Fabuwood display in the showroom and pictures online were badly cracked at all the joints which I was told they don’t warranty, St. Martins finish on their display seemed thicker and seemed to have held up much better with aging. I also looked at Kraftmaid but plywood was an upgrade from particleboard whereas St. Martin was standard all plywood 3/4 construction. Getting a new kitchen is very stressful and confusing so I would advise anyone looking for cabinets to do their own research and actually do a real comparison between lines as many designers seem like they just want to steer you into a product where they make the most money and spend the least time..

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      There are many misconceptions in your comment. Most importantly that price point and warranty have a bearing on construction quality or durability. IKEA has a much longer warranty than St Martin and is a lesser quality cabinet and also costs much less. Fabuwood is far better constructed cabinet than St Martin but is also less. If you want to do research on cabinetry our web site would be a good place to start and anecdotal evidence of what a particular display looked like is not very telling. The age of the display as well as the particular door style and type of finish will be more telling than the brand in most cases. For a raised panel door style I would not choose a frameless cabinet line like St Martin.

  95. Barb

    Hi there, Paul. Your site is invaluable for consumers like me who are navigating the complicated world of cabinets. We live in Warsaw, IN, near Ft. Wayne, and are working with a company called Copper River Cabinets. We have worked with a designer there, and are pleased with her design for our remodeling of our 1968 kitchen in our ranch style home. Copper River carries Homecrest, Shiloh, and a company based out of Harlan, IN, called Harlan Cabinets. From what I see, the finish is superior, the customization is readily available, and they’ve been in business for thirty years. But I’m also new at this game, and could use a professional’s opinion on this company. Are you familiar with Harlan, and what are your thoughts. Thank you in advance for your response. It’s really appreciated. By the way, we’re planning on going with a painted cabinet from Harlan, not stained, not that it makes any difference. Thanks again!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Barb,
      I don’t know anything about Harlan cabinets but the do something that puts me off. They fly the US flag on their web site and say God bless America but tell you NOTHING about how their cabinetry is constructed.

      Companies that try to appeal to peoples hot button issues by touting their patriotism, religion, or by being “green” or “environmentally safe” but not telling you how their cabinets are made are often shams.

      We would never carry a line that promoted themselves this way.


  96. Mike

    Hi we are located in the Tacoma area of Washington state. Looking for a quality white shaker style cabinet, had been looking at Kemper but reviews scare me. Any recommendations on a kitchen designer and cabinet line serviced in our area. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      We recomend Luna Kitchen and Bath Seattle WA 206-338-3763

  97. Cabinets4me

    Do you recommend Procraft or J&K for white shaker cabinets?

    I am waiting to hear from Fabuwood to confirm if there are distributors in Fort Lauderdale.

    Someone told me that J&K cabinets were not as good as Procraft. Could you give me your review. Cliqe I think was much more.
    Kabo cabinets are like 3 times the price.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I don’t know enough about the difference between Procraft and J&K to compare them against each other. They are both inexpensive but pretty well made lines

  98. David

    My contractor suggests CNC for our small galley kitchen (6 top & 3 base cabinets). He chose CNC because we want white shaker door style.

    Are we better off getting Fabuwood or Kraftmaid?

    If we stick with CNC are there any upgrades that must be added?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      CNC is about 15% less than Fabuwood and about 60% less than Kraftmaid. It is a well constructed cabinet if you upgrade the hardware.
      But it also looks a little cheap and has more damages in shipping and quality control issues. We use CNC on houses being flipped but not on homes for homeowners planning on staying. Spending 15% more for Fabuwood is the better choice if you want to be at all picky.

  99. Jill Whelan

    You have incredibly helpful articles! Thank you! I live in the Seattle area and would love to do inset painted cabinets. Do you have any recommendations on what brands to start with? Would like to be budget conscious but I am aware that inset typically costs more and it’s important to pick a quality brand. Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Fieldstone, Starmark, or Decora would be good choices. Budget conscious and inset do not go together though.

  100. Paul McAlary

    Looking at the 21st century web site they appear to be a frameless line with no listed specifications. And I’ve never heard of them. All bad signs. Fabuwood is the best of this bunch and Wolf and a few others second. Why go with a brand with no history that is not even transparent?

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