Main Line Kitchen Design
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Posted July 1, 2018 by pmcalary

Below is our updated reviews including additional cabinet lines from our very popular 2017 cabinet ratings blog.

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.


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


The value grade 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 lower 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.



Cabinet line Price level 1-6     Quality Value
21st Century 1 A A-
6 Square 2 B+ B+
Adelphia Kitchens 3 B B
Adormus (frameless) 3 B B
All Wood – framed 2 A A
All Wood – frameless 1 C C
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+
Brighton frameless 4 B A
Brookhaven 4 A B
Brubaker 5 A A
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
Desginers Choice 4 A A
Design-Craft 4 B B
Diamond 4 B B
Durasupreme 5 B+ B
Durasupreme frameless 3 C C
Dynasty by Omega (frameless) 4 B C
Dynasty Pinnacle (framed) 5 A B
Echelon Cabinetry 2 B- C
Executive (frameless) 4 B B
Fabuwood 2 A A
Fabuwood (frameless) 3 B A
Fieldstone 4 A B+
Grabill 6 A+ B
Haas 3 B B
Hanssem 1 under review
Holiday (frameless) 3 C C
Holiday Kitchens 4 A A
Homecrest 3 B+ B
Homestead Custom 4 A A-
Ideal Cabinetry 2 B A-
IKEA (frameless) 1 C C
Innermost (frameless) 3 B B
Innovation 2 C C
JSI Cabinetry 1 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
Kountry Wood 2 C C
Kraftmaid 4 B+ A
Legacy 3 B+ C-
LifeArt 1 C+ A
Marsh 2 B B-
Marsh (frameless) 2 B- B
Medallion 5 B+ C+
Merillat 2 C D
Merit Kitchens 4 B+ B
Mid Continent 2 C C
Mouser 5 A A-
Mouser (frameless) 5 B A
Ovation 4 B C
Plain and Fancy 6 A B
Plato Woodwork 4 A A
Poggenpohl (frameless) 6 B C
QuakerMaid (frameless) 4 B B
RD Henry 4 A A
Rutt 6 A+ A
Schrock 3 B B
Schuler 5 B+ C+
Shenandoah 3 B C+
Shiloh 4 C C
Showplace 3 B+ B-
Siematic 6 B C
Signature Custom 5 A+ A+
Solid Wood Cabinets 1 A- A-
St. Martins (frameless) 4 B B
Starmark 4 A B+
Stylecraft 5 A A
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 2 A B+
Woodharbor 4 B+ C
Woodmode 5 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.


Below is a more general review of cabinetry from 2015 explaining types of cabinetry construction:


  1. Ted, July 3, 2018 at 8:22 am:

    When I research Solid Wood Cabinets, I am directed to a second company called In-Stock Cabinets for design and quotes. Is this the same company that you have rated so high?

  2. pmcalary, July 3, 2018 at 12:34 pm: should get you to the right place. Please remember the good rating we give them IS AS THE LEAST EXPENSIVE LINE YOU CAN BUY AND A LEVEL 1 PRICE POINT. So better than IKEA for the same price for durability. I’d always buy the cabinets assembled. And I would not recommend these cabinets to anyone planning on staying in their home an extended period of time. A line like Fabuwood or Wolf that is 10% or 20% more expensive is a better investment. Those slightly higher priced cabinetry will look nicer and have fewer factory defects that need replacement.

  3. Ted, July 3, 2018 at 7:59 pm:

    so… Wolf 1-B+-B+ is a better cabinet than Solid Wood at 1-A-A??
    Not meaning to be trouble, just trying to make sense.

  4. pmcalary, July 3, 2018 at 10:39 pm:

    Hi Ted,
    You are absolutely right. When we were adding additional cabinet lines and reviewing them we neglected to do a good job updating some of the lines we had reviewed in 2017. Several higher priced lines improved there construction and contacted us to tell us which helped.

    Solid Wood was a early leader in the low cost lines, but they lost some traction. We never updated their rating as they remained static and Wolf, Fabuwood and other lower priced lines improved and also increased in price. I adjusted the lines in question. We will continue to make adjustments to the 2018 ratings as the market changes, and we find time to review past work. Good Catch THANK YOU!

  5. sj, July 5, 2018 at 8:03 pm:

    Your reviews are so helpful, thank you. Many of the more economical lines are not available in the southwest. Any recommendations in this neck of the woods? Looking for a moderately priced painted cabinet line for a townhouse.

  6. Angela, July 5, 2018 at 8:42 pm:

    Are you familiar with Crestwood or Koch cabinets? I have a quote on my kitchen from a designer using Crestwood, and my mouth still hasn’t shut from my jaw falling on the floor. My kitchen isn’t THAT big, and this isn’t the Taj Majal. She also uses Candlelight and Koch, with Candlelight supposedly being about the same price as Crestwood. There is a finish style I adore in Crestwood, but my gosh, we’re at $66,000 and she hasn’t even quoted me the butler’s pantry, or any of the other cabinets in the house.

  7. pmcalary, July 5, 2018 at 10:25 pm:

    You are selecting cabinet lines that are expensive custom lines. Also probably door styles and finishes that are also extra, and most likely working with a designer that overcharges for the cabinetry she sells. If I saw your design it would also most likely be poor based on how things have gone so far. Google and find a better place to work with or at least gain some perspective from another designer.

    Most of all if your kitchen is staying close to what it is now you are focusing on the wrong things needed to create a great kitchen. And probably getting yessed by people out to give you what you think you want and take as much money from you as possible giving it to you. When customers tell us that they know exactly what they want – we know that they have blinders on and can’t see the big picture. They are also easy pickings for designers that simply want to sell them the most expensive things they point at.

  8. pmcalary, July 6, 2018 at 1:46 pm:
  9. Dennie Miller, July 9, 2018 at 9:30 am:

    Excellent blog and great job on the reviews. I am in Baltimore, MD and looking for quality lower price point cabinets for a new kitchen. How do 21 Century cabinets compare to Fabuwood and Wolf cabinets with respect to finish and style? Thanks.

  10. tk, July 13, 2018 at 3:19 pm:

    How would you rank the following 3 cabinet lines in terms of quality and price: Wolf vs Fabuwood vs All Wood Framed? Looking for white Shaker.

  11. Lee, July 13, 2018 at 11:55 pm:

    Doing a small kitchen remodel for my moms house and trying to choose between waypoint 650F (free plywood upgrade and free sinkbase cabinet) at $5500 or Fabuwood galaxy at $4800. Which cabinet is better constructed and has better ratings. Thanks.

  12. pmcalary, July 14, 2018 at 7:33 am:

    They are both great choices for the price. I would not use cabinet construction as the test here since they are both well made. Assuming the design is identical I would buy the cabinets from the dealer with the best reputation and best reviews on Google and Houzz.

    If both companies have a stellar reputation or if it’s from the same company I would select the door style and finish I liked the best.

    If you like those equally then if the types of wood are different, for example if Waypoint is Maple and Fabuwood is birch I’d pick Maple over birch and get Waypoint. If everything else is equal then just save money and get Fabuwood.

  13. Cyndi, July 15, 2018 at 5:54 pm:

    I have MCS (multiple chemical sensitivites) and need to find cabinetry that has low VOC’s, no formaldehyde and good glues. I live in Northern California and can’t spend a fortune because we just retired and bought a fixer that we intend to stay in. We have been pricing all-plywood construction but lots of reviews say to beware of some cabinet companies because even though they say “all plywood” they sneak in MDF, which I cannot chemically tolerate.. (Diamond reviews, for instance.)
    I appreciate your ratings… can you help us find a dealer that sells these type of cabinets?
    Thank you!!

  14. pmcalary, July 15, 2018 at 9:43 pm:

    If you call on a Friday between 2pm and 4pm EST we answer questions from people outside our service area.

  15. John, July 16, 2018 at 3:43 pm:

    We are looking at the difference between custom cabinets from Woodland and Starmark cabinets. Do you have any information on the quality of Woodland to compare the two?

  16. pmcalary, July 16, 2018 at 4:27 pm:

    We’d never heard of Woodland Cabinetry. So I checked their specifications online and their web site. Starmark wins hands down and is a more transparent company.

    I hate when cabinet companies talk in generalizations and not specifics using all the buzz words like “green” and “universal design” or “ergonomic” and have US flags prominently displayed but tell you nothing about how their cabinetry is constructed. When you dig just a little you always find the product lacking while the hype is top notch.

  17. Asha, July 17, 2018 at 11:17 am:

    Hello, would you please advise on choosing between Fabuwood and Marsh cabinets, also Birch vs. Maple cabinets, which ones should we go with, are cabinets from both the companies all wood? I do not want any plywood,
    Thank you,

  18. pmcalary, July 17, 2018 at 11:28 am:

    Hi Asha,
    You are confused. When companies say their cabinets are all wood that means the fronts, doors, and drawer fronts are solid wood but their sides, backs, shelves, and sometimes door panels are plywood.

    I think Fabuwood is a nicer cabinet than Marsh but if you wanted a light maple stained cabinet it is not available in Fabuwood only in Marsh. Finding a knowlegable designer to help you understand your options might be the best choice.

  19. Audrey, July 17, 2018 at 11:32 am:

    Hi! We ordered custom kitchen cabinets last week and just found out that the front panel is vaneered MDF. We were tossing between two door styles (the other one was $4,000 more). Could you please explain the difference between vaneered MFD and solid wood? We can still make the change to the other door style. BTW, the cabinets are cherry wood that will be stained and glazed.
    Thank you!

  20. pmcalary, July 17, 2018 at 11:47 am:

    Hi Audrey,
    This is my favorite question!
    I love the look of solid wood doors myself BUT>>>>

    Without any expatiation customers think that they would prefer a solid wood panel if the cost was the same. However a solid door panel will have stripes on the door where each piece of wood is glues to the next. The average door panel will have three pieces of wood glued together to make the center panel.

    A veneered door panel will have the grain of the wood continue across the whole door panel. So no stripes! Both types of doors should last a lifetime in custom cabinetry.

    So you pay extra to get the striped look. When customers call screaming that they paid 30K on their cabinets and got stripes on the doors we know that they must not have understood that they paid thousands more to get the stripes. All our designers make sure we explain this. But sometimes people don’t hear what we are trying to tell them.

    Get the look that you like. Do not pay more if you do not like the stripes you should expect getting.

  21. John, July 17, 2018 at 5:39 pm:

    Thanks for the reply on Woodland. I have the spec sheet from them and was wondering if you would like to see it for a reference. Let me know how to send it to you.

  22. Paul McAlary, July 17, 2018 at 8:45 pm:

    Hi John,
    I found their spec sheet on line. You can send a link if you like to double check but I would pick Starmark even if the cabinets could be upgraded to near equal construction. Just on reputation alone.

  23. Alicia, July 18, 2018 at 1:55 pm:

    Thank you for all the time you take to educate us on cabinets! Presently, we are looking at Echelon until I found your site. Awhile back, we looked at Fabuwood and perhaps we should reconsider it now that I’ve read your blog. The only dealer you list for my area is and based on your ratings, none of the cabinet lines appeal to me. When we worked with the company selling fabuwood, the designer was also the installer I believe. Is this common? Is this a red flag that we should not go back? How can I figure out if he is a good designer?

  24. pmcalary, July 18, 2018 at 2:11 pm:

    Hi Alicia,
    The Legacy cabinets that Mid South sells are pretty inexpensive and well made. Buying cabinets from a contractor is bad for two reasons. First, he can not be a good designer and installer both so he is almost certainly not qualified to design your kitchen. Second he is too small to absorb the cost of the mistakes he will certainly make trying to design kitchens.

    Picking a designer and dealer is more important than the cabinet line. Remember you are not buying cabinets from the manufacturer you are buying cabinets from the dealer. The fact that Fabuwood sells to contractors is one of the reasons to stay away from them unless a reputable dealer that sells several lines is selling them.

  25. EricZ, July 19, 2018 at 8:45 am:

    Hi – first thanks for such a great resource! I see your rating on Solid Wood Cabinets – do you know anything about their custom line – Main Line Custom Cabinetry? I am assuming no affiliation with you? – we are looking at inset, we have a local SWC dealership near us, and they have a very small display, a cabinet with a door and drawer and that’s about it. They have 5-6 full displays but that is of their “in stock” everyday line. Your rating system says it grades with assuming we upgrade to the highest level, but this seems to be a separate line vs their standard line, so not sure if your rating reflects their standard line, or this “Main Line” custom line…Specs seem to be 1/2” plywood all around top/side/bottom and 3/4” shelves with solid wood/plywood 5/8” shelves.

    thanks in advance!

  26. pmcalary, July 19, 2018 at 9:24 am:

    Hi Eric,
    I know nothing about this line but I a skeptical. Inexpensive and inset don’t go together. Even the lines we carry that are less expensive but do inset cabinetry we won’t sell their inset cabinetry. And their reps have admitted that there are a great many issues with their own inset product. I don’t know the price point of these cabinets but if they are not double the cost of Solid Wood Cabinets then they are probably not a good idea. I also wouldn’t recommend getting inset cabinetry from a company that is brand new without a track record of success making both inset and beaded inset cabinetry.

  27. Josh, July 19, 2018 at 11:55 pm:

    Hi- your blog is EXTREMELY helpful. Thank you for all of this information. I’m looking at Schuler v Kraftmakd cabinets, all upgraded. The finish would be painted white shaker wall cabinets and plain front drawers. If the prices end up being comparable between the two due to sales, are there other reasons why you like KM more than Schuler. Thanks!!

  28. pmcalary, July 20, 2018 at 6:48 am:

    Upgraded Schuler a better buy for the same price and definitely has nicer finishes. That’s quite a sale. It makes me think that the Lowes kitchen designer made a pricing mistake. Buy them while they are stuck honoring the price.

  29. Michele, July 20, 2018 at 8:39 am:

    How would you rate Mouser’s centra (semi custom) line?

  30. pmcalary, July 20, 2018 at 9:17 am:

    Mouser’s Centra Full overlay and Inset line upgraded to all plywood construction is very well made. We’d give it a 4 of a 5 for price a A for construction and a B+ for value. It could rate higher for value but we aren’t that sure of pricing. The Centra Euro line upgraded to plywood is well made for a frameless cabinet. As always we recommend frameless construction for slab door styles only.

  31. Lisa, July 21, 2018 at 12:14 am:

    Hello! Love your blog, very informative. Do you have any ratings on Pioneer Cabinetry made in Michigan? We are building, and our builder recommends this cabinetry. Thank you for any information you can provide.

  32. pmcalary, July 21, 2018 at 7:13 am:

    Hi Lisa,
    The Pioneer Cabinetry web site gives a description of their cabinet construction but does not show a drawing of exactly how they are made and so leaves some details unclear. My concerns are that the cabinets are described as having 1/4″ thick backs and there is no mention of a hanging rail. If the cabinet is designed to have one added in the field or has one and they don’t mention it they could be OK. Otherwise they are poorly constructed. They also use Grass drawer glides and hinges instead of the preferred soft close Blum hardware.

  33. Sherry, July 21, 2018 at 9:24 am:

    This article is a wonderful resource! We are getting estimates from 2 different designers. One is a Hiliday cabinet with msg panel overlaid with wood painted, the other is Wellborn Forestry cabinet, wood. I am not finding any comparisons of Wellborn Forestry. Do you know anything about it?

  34. pmcalary, July 21, 2018 at 11:47 am:

    Wellborn Forrest is a well made less expensive cabinet line than their neighbor Wellborn. I assume you mean Holiday which we rate. They will be a little higher priced then the Wellborn Forest I would think.

  35. Sherry File, July 22, 2018 at 4:57 pm:

    Are their constructions comparable?

  36. pmcalary, July 22, 2018 at 5:13 pm:


  37. Anonymous, July 22, 2018 at 7:48 pm:

    How would you rate River run cabinetry?

  38. pmcalary, July 22, 2018 at 8:41 pm:

    No more than a B for construction in framed and less than that frameless. In Framed shelves are only 5/8″ thick and backs use 3/8″ hanging rail.There are better values out there construction wise. Their Driftwood finish is cutting edge.

  39. Gayathri Ravichandran, July 22, 2018 at 10:54 pm:

    Hi thanks for ur informations. Plato Woodwork semicustom or Starmark which is best. Then in Starmark they mentioned the cabinet box construction is all plywood veneer core, but in Plato they just mention plywood but not mentioned about their core like plywood veneer or mdf do u have any information about it. Which one s best Plato or Starmark for small kitchen???

  40. pmcalary, July 23, 2018 at 7:01 am:

    They are very similar, When cabinetry is so close in price and construction the particular door style, the finish, the dealer and the designer you are working with become the relevant issues. The Starmark veneer core tells me you might be selecting a painted or foil doorstyle. You would need more specifics for me to comment further.

  41. Nicole, July 23, 2018 at 3:26 pm:

    Hi – thank you for all your great insights. Do you have any information on Greenfield cabinets, 3/4″ plywood construction for both frame and frameless. Part of the Corsi group out of Indiana. I am comparing this line to Mouser Centra and Signature Select – both frameless with the same 3/4″ plywood. Also – any thoughts on using all MDF doors to minimize separation lines on painted doors? Thank you.

  42. pmcalary, July 23, 2018 at 4:11 pm:

    Hi Nicole,
    You are getting a painted 5 piece door because you ask about getting an all MDF door to avoid expansion seams. We do not recommend a frameless cabinet line for this style door. Only for more contemporary slab door styles that may only come in frameless lines and look better as slab doors due to tighter reveals between doors. For these door styles compromising on cabinet durability can make sense. For the style you are getting frameless makes little sense. We we use Mouser or Signature framed cabinetry for your project and not the Greenfield.

  43. patty olivos, July 24, 2018 at 2:03 am:

    I want to say that I really really learned A LOT from your website.
    I am on the beginning stages of remodeling my kitchen… If I am limited to Lowes or Home depot… which brand would you recommend as their best ?
    I thought KraftMaid but then you also said that Shuler is comparable with nicer finishers …
    I just want to make sure to buy a product that would last me for a long time…
    thank you

  44. Nicole, July 24, 2018 at 8:02 am:

    Hi Paul – thank you for your reply. Sorry for the confusion – I am not interested in a slab door style, but rather wonder your opinion of using a 5 piece MDF recessed panel door with a frameless cabinet. I like frameless cabinets for the larger drawer widths and tighter reveals (I do understand that you recommend framed – and I will compare once I narrow down the brands) Am I correct that you prefer Signature Select and Mouser Centra over Greenfield? They all appear to have the option of 3/4″ plywood sides – is there something that differentiates the quality between these 3 frameless lines? Should I also look at Brookhaven 3/4″ plywood frameless?

  45. pmcalary, July 24, 2018 at 8:40 am:

    Upgraded Kraftmaid and Schuler are about equal in construction quality. However Schuler is about 15% more expensive due to their ability to customize and their nicer looking finishes. Not to many designers at Lowes will be able to design a kitchen that would take advantage of Schulers ability to customize. Or even Kraftmaid’s for that matter. If you need to buy from a home center your first job will be to research and to find an experienced kitchen designer working there.

  46. pmcalary, July 24, 2018 at 8:48 am:

    Sorry Nicole,
    When you start by not taking our advice – asking us to advise you while overlooking the elephant in the room to concentrate on the mouse feels off. Let’s say all these frameless plywood lines are equally less well made in construction quality.

  47. Nicole, July 24, 2018 at 9:05 am:

    Thank you again for your very valuable input. Sorry for any miscommunication – as I mentioned, I will also be looking at framed based on your input.

  48. Jay, July 24, 2018 at 11:57 am:

    How would one differentiate Fabuwood from Fabuwood Frameless? I don’t see a distinction on the Fabuwood website.

    Fabuwood 2 A A
    Fabuwood Frameless 3 B A

  49. pmcalary, July 24, 2018 at 12:21 pm:

    It is the difference between a framed and a frameless cabinet. See this blog for clarification.

  50. Charley, July 24, 2018 at 2:26 pm:

    Hi Paul: All information that I have read here is extremely useful. One question I have for you? I am looking at Bertch Inset Cabinets. Are there any negatives that you are aware of?

  51. pmcalary, July 24, 2018 at 2:41 pm:

    None that we are aware of. They are not a line we carry so we are not completely up to date with any factory issues or changes lines we aren’t dealer for make.

  52. Debbie, July 24, 2018 at 10:10 pm:

    This is all great information on your blog and every link I have clicked on your site. I helped build custom cabinets years ago and have been dead set on the all plywood construction and looking for better grade plywood as there can be an A-1 to D-4 rating on plywood for appearance. I cringe at the idea of RTA cabinets even if they are plywood construction, I never heard of JSI Cabinets until recently and though they look nice despite the RTA option, I did notice that you gave a poor quality rating. Can you elaborate on the issues you see, such as in the Georgetown series? This is one option that my boyfriend has found as an appealing alternative to some of the more expensive options that we have looked at. Looking at the picture on the website he found, the panels do not have the appearance of the joining but appear to be either solid across or a doctored picture. And I could not find any construction details on their website. Thank you!!

  53. pmcalary, July 25, 2018 at 2:47 pm:

    I personally reviewed the JSI assembly videos and upgraded the reviews of JSI. While I think buying RTA cabinetry is not a great idea in general JSI does a great job of explaining their assembly. And their cabinetry is definitely well constructed if built properly. That being said you are removing all professionalism from the kitchen design and assembly process to save 20% on cabinet costs. Not a great trade off IMO. Way better than IKEA though and around the same price.

  54. patricia olivos, July 25, 2018 at 5:47 pm:

    thank you for your reply on kraftmaid vs schuler…
    i met with the designer at lowes and i was fairly happy.
    will continue to look at my options…
    thank u again

  55. Eve, July 25, 2018 at 8:54 pm:

    I am in the process of beginning a kitchen renovation and am considering going with Waypoint cabinets. My contractor said they are a good quality cabinet at a reasonable price. I was originally considering Kraftmaid but do want to stay within budget and Waypoint would help with that. However I don’t want to get a less expensive cabinet and not be happy. Any advice?

  56. Lauren Clapp, July 25, 2018 at 9:20 pm:

    Hi there I am currently in the middle of a remodel. I am looking at 3 cabinet lines.
    Mouser Centra inset, Kahles and Showplace.
    What are your thoughts on these 3 lines?
    Thank you, From Massachusetts

  57. pmcalary, July 25, 2018 at 10:38 pm:

    We review these lines. If you would like to speak to a designer further about them we take calls from outside our service area 2-4 pm EST on Fridays

  58. pmcalary, July 25, 2018 at 10:41 pm:

    Once cabinets are made well how happy you will be is determined by how much you like the particular door style and finish. Worry more about the kitchen designer you are working with. This will usually be your week link.

  59. Robert A., July 26, 2018 at 11:02 am:

    I obtained a quote on the following Fieldstone cabinets from a local dealer:


    Are there any specific upgrade options I should request? Thank you.

  60. Paul McAlary, July 26, 2018 at 5:38 pm:

    No those upgrades should get you what you need

  61. Patrícia olivos, July 26, 2018 at 9:02 pm:

    Hello one last question …
    What do you know about SOLLID cabinetry

    There were not on your list 🙁
    Please forgive me if I am asking for too much
    But I just love your site and even though I don’t know u I trust your judgement
    May be going outside Lowe’s into a cabinet store and they carry diamond and sollid mostly
    THabk you again

  62. pmcalary, July 27, 2018 at 10:34 am:

    Never heard of them

  63. jjman, July 29, 2018 at 10:24 pm:

    Going between Marsh, Holiday, and Mid Continental. Which is the best if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, but still want good quality?
    Thank you!

  64. jjman, July 29, 2018 at 10:26 pm:

    Going between Marsh, Holiday, and Mid Continental. Which is the best quality, but most affordable?
    Thank you!

  65. Gayathri, July 30, 2018 at 12:20 am:

    Hi Thanks for all your informations. Waypoint,schrock or fabuwood which one you prefer for all plywood contruction box?And i heard like some companies they will just mention as ‘all plywood’ and sneak MDF .Are these three are like that?


  66. Rick, July 30, 2018 at 2:09 am:

    Costco sells a brand called All Wood but I think it is different from the All Wood you reviewed. The site is all wood Can you confirm?

    If they are a different company than the one you reviewed above, do you know much about the Costco product? Price/Wuality/Value? I assume since it is Costco it will be pretty high quality at a decent price. They are estimating our cabinetry (36 linear feet of kitchen at about $9k.

  67. pmcalary, July 30, 2018 at 6:56 am:

    Buying a kitchen at Costco would be as bad an idea as having your wisdom teeth removed there. You are not buying a simple toaster but a complex product that needs expert manufacturers, designers and installers for the project to succeed. Lowes and the Home Depot stretch the limit of what makes sense usually failing but with the help of the few good designers they sometimes succeed. IKEA always fails. Costco doesn’t even have a prayer of getting anything right. Some of the knock of appliances Costco sells seam to be OK but designing a kitchen with Cosco and using their RTA cabinetry is unlikely to end in a finished project worth very much.

  68. pmcalary, July 30, 2018 at 6:59 am:

    Upgraded to Fabuwood standards all three are fine choices. Which makes the most sense will depend on the door style and finish you are selecting. For the popular painted white shaker door Fabuwood is the best buy. For most stains the others offer nicer choices.

  69. pmcalary, July 30, 2018 at 7:03 am:

    If you read the blog Holiday is the choice here.

  70. pmcalary, July 30, 2018 at 7:06 am:

    March will be inexpensive but OK. Holiday more expensive and a much better line.

  71. Sue, July 30, 2018 at 2:13 pm:

    We are looking to use Echelon cabinets in our new home, the ratings you gave don’t seem like that is a wise choice. Can you give any further information on Echelon? The reviews I find online are older, from 2015 or so when they weren’t yet Echelon.

  72. pmcalary, July 30, 2018 at 2:34 pm:

    If you get every last upgrade Echelon offers in the 2018 spec book they get up to a B rating for construction. Still since these are upgrades and not standard you will usually pay more to get them making the value of the cabinet lower. Upgraded they are fine but definitely not the cutting edge of where the best values for the less expensive lines are. Some features like plastic lazy Susans and middle stiles in the wider cabinet openings are old fashioned and cheap. Better value lines in this price group won’t have this and they will also be better constructed.

  73. Gayathri Ravichandran, July 31, 2018 at 8:51 am:

    My local kitchen modeler offering Koch cabinets.They said its very durable and good quality.But I didn’t see any reviews/Ratings for Koch.R they really good?
    Then again about Fabuwood, Many clients mentioned there s a discoloration in their cabinet doors.But here you have good rating.Whats your opinion.Thanks for your time.

  74. Nicole, July 31, 2018 at 3:53 pm:

    Hello – I am considering Brighton, Grabill, Mouser Centra and Signature for painted cabinets. All get good quality grades from you – can you provide any points of differentiation between them? Thank you very much.

  75. Paul McAlary, July 31, 2018 at 3:58 pm:

    I Believe we have looked up Koch before and they are a more expensive custom line and a much more expensive item than Fabuwood. We have had no discoloration problems with Fabuwood.

  76. Paul McAlary, July 31, 2018 at 4:05 pm:

    Hi Nicole,
    Once you are considering good lines at similar price points the cabinet dealer and the designer become what’s most important. Since it is rare that we even see competent designs from the designs customers send us try to find the best designer. Usually the best designers don’t rubber stamp a customers ideas they try to show them better ones.

  77. Shana, July 31, 2018 at 7:30 pm:

    Hi, our contractor is encouraging us to buy either “Kunal Kitchens” or “International Kitchen Supply”. I believe they are both Chinese lines. They are a lot cheaper then the Waypoint we were looking at, but we are a little considered about them. Do you know anything about their quality?

  78. pmcalary, August 1, 2018 at 7:14 am:

    Hi Shana,
    No but you are not working with a designer and contractors give bad cabinetry and design advice. The ones that don’t work with designers are the ones that are less reputable. When you are on such a severe budget that even inexpensive cabinet lines are out of your budget this is when you especially need direction from a kitchen designer and you need to bid this job out to several contractors. This is how you save money and get a good result. Hiring the contractor BEFORE you finalize a kitchen design and are ready to buy cabinets through a reputable dealer is how people get ripped off.

  79. Laura, August 1, 2018 at 5:06 pm:

    Hi, we are trying to decide between J&K cabinetry (lowest quote), Waypoint (middle quote), and Holiday Kitchens (highest quote). In all cases, we’re looking at all wood cabinets. J&K cabinetry’s cabinets are made in China, so they are the lowest cost, but I’m concerned about choosing them to save money now and then having it cost us more money in the long run. I know the other two we’re deciding between that are U.S. made aren’t the top of the line so I’m not sure how much more we’re getting for the cost. Any thoughts on the cost vs. quality trade-offs when it comes to these three companies? My husband is leaning towards J&K cabinets to save money, but I’m feeling unsure. Thanks for your help.

  80. pmcalary, August 2, 2018 at 8:21 am:

    Hi Laura,
    IN General:
    The US manufacturers like J&K that produce parts in China to be assembled in the US are actually a better than the 20% more expensive next tire of all US made products. You have to spend about 30% more on all US made cabinetry to get back the US owned import level. There are some all Asian lines that get sold under many different labels that have little quality control. These companies have no track record so they should be avoided.

    All that being said the three lines you are choosing from have different niches. Holiday is a high end line that is great but probably 60 % more than the cost of J&K. Waypoint is in that middle ground where you get an inexpensive US cabinet that has reached the well constructed level at about 30 % more than J&K. And J&K a low cost US/Import. J&K is not our favorite of these type lines but it is fine.

    Best of all here is that your dealer carries three appropriate well constructed lines at these price points. This tells me that they know what they are doing and care about selling a product that they can stand behind and aren’t forcing their customers into lines that aren’t appropriate for their budget.

  81. Bernadette Felch, August 2, 2018 at 11:38 am:

    Thanks for all of the information you make available. I refer to your site all the time. The builder we are considering has referred us to a kitchen designer who sells Waypoint, Showplace, Homecrest, and Candlelight cabinets. We are planning a full remodel with some construction to add a box bay window. We want to spend our money wisely. We are looking to do a combination of a painted cabinet in an Ivory kind of color, and wood – possibly cherry. A shaker or similar profile, full overlay. We want to stay and enjoy the house a while longer, but then hope the kitchen will still look good when it comes time to sell. You seem to consider all 4 cabinet choices to be pretty good. Would you have any suggestions to steer us to a good choice? Thanks again!

  82. pmcalary, August 2, 2018 at 11:52 am:

    Based on the lines they carry I’d guess the kitchen designer works for a good company.

    The mantra in our industry is that it’s all the same money. That means that it is better to spend more money on better a design moving doorways and windows than on upgraded cabinets, countertops, and appliances once you are talking about a good cabinet line like the lines here. So adding glass doors or nicer moldings or legs on the island anything that makes the design nicer and more expensive would be better than getting the most expensive cabinet line with a worse design without the extras. Keep that all in mind and then get the best design in the cabinet line door style and finish that you can afford.

  83. Bernadette, August 2, 2018 at 12:28 pm:

    Thanks! I feel better already.

  84. Alice Gordon, August 2, 2018 at 1:22 pm:

    I know you don’t like the first question to be which cabinet line … it’s not my first but still ….

    Candlelight vs Brighton cabinetry?

    How do they compare in quality of construction, finishes and price? Thank you.

  85. pmcalary, August 2, 2018 at 2:25 pm:

    I would guess that Brighton was less than Candlelight and it would depend on the finish which would make the most sense. For a painted finish I would select Brighton and I think some of the stained finishes will be nicer in Candlelight. Whether they are worth the extra cost to you will depend on how much more you like them.

  86. Laura, August 2, 2018 at 3:32 pm:

    Thanks! You mentioned that J&K is not your favorite of that type of line. Are there specific ones you like better? Fabuwood, or am I mixing up lines?

  87. Alice, August 2, 2018 at 6:01 pm:

    I asked about a comparison between Candlelight and Brighton but actually the four on my list that I want to compare are Candlelight, Brighton, Starmark and KraftMaid. Other than your general ratings (Starmark not on the list), I don’t know how they compare in price at this point much less in quality. Would so appreciate your advice. Thank you.

  88. Alice, August 2, 2018 at 9:16 pm:

    Yet another question. What do you think of the “price per linear foot” as a general guide to understanding a cabinet line’s price level?

  89. pmcalary, August 3, 2018 at 6:55 am:

    No cabinets are actually sold using linear foot pricing. ANYWHERE. It is a formula for estimating cabinetry costs. And liner foot pricing is both good and misleading.

    It is good because it shows you a good way to see which cabinetry is less and which is more. The percentage difference is usually pretty close. It is misleading because actual cabinet pricing for a real kitchen can end up double or more than the linear foot price.

  90. pmcalary, August 3, 2018 at 6:57 am:

    Alice – All those lines are listed.

  91. Alice, August 3, 2018 at 9:19 am:

    OK. Thanks. I must have looked past Starmark but I see it now.

  92. Saj, August 3, 2018 at 10:59 pm:

    What’s your opinion about Bridgewood cabinets from Kansas?
    How do you compare Woodmaster (from Newmanstoen, PA) to Wellsford.

  93. Jeff in Texas, August 4, 2018 at 11:28 am:

    with all the tariff talk and implementation, have you seen price increases for the Fabuwood or other semi Chinese product?

  94. Drenna Edelman, August 4, 2018 at 11:24 pm:

    Hello!! First let me say Thank you for providing this amazing blog where common non-industry folks can come and get informative reviews etc. My husband and i are building a home in the Lewes Delaware area and we have been trying to find a well made cabinet that will not break the bank. We have been looking at Mousser, Waypoint and Starmark. Most of the reviews for Starmark are positive but they are very expensive. I have very heavy dishes and serving platters and am concerned about a comment you made regarding the thickness of the hanging rail and cabinet back. I am waiting on estimates for Mousser and Waypoint as well. However, Waypoints reviews are all over the place. According to your list, Mousser out-prices Starmark so I’m afraid of what that estimate will look like. Your review of Wolf made us take a gander at them. Oddly enough Wolf’s website works the best for seeing the cabinetry in it’s raw state. I preferred their designs to the more expensive brands we have been seeing but upon speaking with dealers, I am not hearing good things at all. We need some guidance – can you help??

  95. Valerie, August 5, 2018 at 9:07 am:

    Can you give me your opinion on Ultracraft frameless. Would you have an alternative to that brand as I have read some disturbing reviews. On the other hand some are great. We are not looking at the melamine product but are looking at the maple fronts.

  96. pmcalary, August 6, 2018 at 9:31 am:

    We rate it in this blog. Why get frameless if you are getting anything except a slab modern door?

  97. pmcalary, August 6, 2018 at 9:36 am:

    You should be working with an experienced kitchen designer at a reputable dealer. They can explain in detail the advantages of different lines. This blog is not meant for detailed discussions.

  98. pmcalary, August 6, 2018 at 9:38 am:

    Never heard of these lines

  99. pmcalary, August 6, 2018 at 9:39 am:

    Fabuwood and the better made inexpensive lines like Wolf etc are all US companies so tariffs don’t apply.

  100. Toni, August 6, 2018 at 9:38 pm:

    Had a kitchen design done – good design – choose fabuwood Horizon. The whole thing fell apart when I sat down with the dealer to have final discussion and sign the contract. The dealer was supplying the cabinets, doing installation, supplying & installating quartz counters and I was going to purchase all appliances thru him also. He wanted 100% of the contact price upfront. I was not comfortable paying for everything before anything was delivered or installed but would pay portion now and payments when things were delivered or installed. Dealer said it is standard in the kitchen design industry to pay for everything upfront. I got a definite sleeze feeling and walked away. Can find no other fabuwood dealer in the area. Do you know who in southern Maine or NH is a reputable Fabuwood dealer?

  101. pmcalary, August 7, 2018 at 9:03 am:

    Hi Toni,
    It is not standard to pay 100% up front EXCEPT at home centers. I think that is fine as Home Depot and Lowes don’t want to deal with non payment issues and I don’t think either is going anywhere.

    Private dealers nearly all charge 50% to order and 50% upon delivery. If paying a final balance by check some dealers do require certified check but that is unusual. If you are paying the final balance of cabinets, tops, and appliances by credit card most dealers process the payment of each delivery the day before the delivery.

    I don’t know a Fabuwood dealer in Maine but here is the dealer we recommend nearest to you:
    Kitchen Solutions Portlannd ME 207-520-2311

    They were the only company that seemed to barely meet our criteria for recommendation near you. Not an overwhelming indorsement I know.

  102. Toni, August 7, 2018 at 10:26 am:

    Paul – thanks so much for the reply to my question. Good to hear that my instincts were right and normally small dealers do not get 100% upfront. I contacted the dealer you recommend – unfortunately they don’t service the southern area of Maine, they are more central Maine. I will continue my hunt for cabinets, etc. BTW – your blogs are fantastic!

  103. pmcalary, August 7, 2018 at 10:56 am:

    Thanks Toni,
    That makes me feel better about recommending the place in Maine. Not being willing to take a customers money when they are too far away is a sign of integrity. Less ethical dealers will take anyone’s money. Taking 100% of someone’s money up front is creepy.

  104. Steve, August 7, 2018 at 12:14 pm:

    Thanks for this site! When you rate Medallion, are you considering all of their lines, Silver, Gold and Platinum? We are looking for inset cabinets and were considering Medallion Platinum, but they are quite expensive but they look like very high quality. We are also looking at Brighton and Brookhaven. Thanks!

  105. pmcalary, August 7, 2018 at 12:56 pm:

    When we rate any line we are assuming the line is upgraded to the top construction level. Getting Medallion not upgraded is a mistake. All the lines you are pricing will be similarly priced. We like the Brighton best for the price especially for painted finishes. Which is why we carry them. However they are all good and the Medalion has the more beautiful finishes for stained cabinetry. The choice here with everything upgraded would really come down to the door style and color you like the most considering price.

  106. Sam, August 7, 2018 at 6:14 pm:

    Hello..How would you rate the cabinets and construction of 21st Century to Kraftmaid?

  107. pmcalary, August 7, 2018 at 9:57 pm:

    Never heard of them and they give no information on their web site. They look like inexpensive RTA cabinetry and so far from Kraftmaid.

  108. Alice, August 8, 2018 at 10:54 am:

    I’m still pondering Candlelight, Brighton and Starmark, all with stain on maple. Starmark has the best prices, Candlelight probably the best construction. Starmark’s veneer center panel is much cheaper than their solid wood center panel. You recommended that the veneer center panel is often better because it looks more uniform on a recessed panel. I don’t know if Candlelight does a veneer center panel. Do you know?

    I’m a little concerned about Starmark’s hanging rail construction. My question: is Starmark’s hanging rail construction good enough to feel secure that the cabinets are sturdy and will last? I won’t be doing another kitchen remodel (but not mentioning my age!).

    I’m also concerned as to whether Brighton’s stain is good based on your comments since I don’t want paint.

    None of these lines has a stain color I love but it will really increase the cost to go to a custom color but I haven’t yet ruled it out.

  109. pmcalary, August 8, 2018 at 1:07 pm:

    It’s not the quality of the stains it’s simply the look of them. If you like the stain then it is fine. Upgraded Starmark will be fine and they should also do a solid panel if you like.

  110. Craig, August 9, 2018 at 10:00 am:

    Good Morning Paul:
    I see that you answered Sam’s question from August 7th about 21st Century cabinets by saying that you never heard of them, yet you rated them as an A for quality and an A- for Value. I know they are not the same quality as Kraftmade, but I was looking for a decent quality, low cost cabinet for a flip that I am doing. I know that they are RTA imports but need to keep costs down. I was going to consider 21st Century because of your rating, but may now reconsider. I’ve used CNC in the past and thought their painted finish was a little sloppy.

  111. Alice, August 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm:

    I am so discouraged by the awful reviews I read of even your highly-rated cabinet brands. Seems as if a tremendous amount of cabinetry comes in damaged with poor quality control and the manufacturer unwilling to replace most of the time. Makes me want to find a way to live with my ugly 50-year-old cabinets! Also found out that Starmark won’t make a solid back panel instead of hanging rails except for inset cabinetry. Sigh.

  112. pmcalary, August 9, 2018 at 3:33 pm:

    HI Alice,
    Reviews from home Owners don’t count in our opinion. And reviews from Consumer Reports and JD Power are even less meaningful. For these reasons:

    People usually post when they are disappointed. So big cabinet companies will always get bad reviews even if 99.5 % of the time they do a great job and have no damages.

    Homeowners blame cabinet companies for mistakes made by their contractor, designer or for information they didn’t receive or understand from their dealer.

    Many complaints Home Owners have they should have expected but they weren’t informed or their expectations were not realistic.

    JD Power and Consumer reports rate Customer Satisfaction right after the kitchen is delivered and not 15 years later when cabinets are falling apart. This is why the worst cabinet line IKEA wins in customer satisfaction time and time again. See our blog on this topic:

  113. pmcalary, August 9, 2018 at 3:47 pm:

    Hi Craig,
    Where did we Rate 21st Century Cabinets an A for quality and an an A- for value? Not on our 2018 ratings form. If one of us was able to look them up for a customer and see their construction detail we might have rated them in a previous answer to a question on our blog. However their specifications are not available online for me to review them now. Possibly a customer forwarded their specs to us in the past.

  114. Craig, August 9, 2018 at 9:23 pm:

    Cabinet line Price level 1-6 Quality Value
    21st Century 1 A A-
    6 Square 2 B+ B+

    Here it is Paul……right from your report. Perhaps your rating was in error?

  115. Craig, August 9, 2018 at 10:07 pm:

    It is the very first rating on your list for your 2018.

  116. Paul McAlary, August 10, 2018 at 7:29 am:

    Ahh then we got the specs when we listed it. It is a well constructed but very inexpensive cabinet since it is a price point level 1. Expect cheaper looking but durable finishes and some quality control issues with cabinets at this price point.

    This shows that when blog readers keep asking about cabinets already listed as they do often we will eventually not realize one of us has already done the research and rated the cabinet line.

  117. Alice, August 10, 2018 at 4:53 pm:

    So Starmark and Brighton each use hanging rails on a 5/16″ back (Starmark) and 1/4″ back (Brighton) respectively. My probable contractor advises against hanging rails – full back seems to be more desirable.

    So … that suggests I go to another brand (and spend more!) unless you think that hanging rails are really OK which I assume you DO think since Starmark and Brighton are ranked highly. Maybe it’s an issue of durability?

  118. Paola, August 11, 2018 at 2:16 pm:

    Hello Paul – What is your impression of cabinetry from Artcraft Kitchen out of Canada? Our design is contemporary, with slab style doors. Looking at LP Laminate for bathrooms and Veneer or Wood, Walnut grain for Kitchen. There were too few reviews to get an opinion and most seemed to be around installation. We are working with a designer who is a designated dealer, but looking for balanced reviews.

  119. Maria Mariencheck, August 13, 2018 at 12:25 am:

    Any info on Marquis cabinets based in Kansas? It appears (but I’m not sure) that they are related to Koch cabinets. Our designer is recommending them vs Kabinart for our budget – and your review of Kabinart is not encouraging. Please help!

  120. pmcalary, August 13, 2018 at 7:36 am:

    Sorry The Marquis web site offer no information on how their cabinets are made. We usually assume in this case that there is nothing to brag about.

  121. pmcalary, August 13, 2018 at 7:46 am:

    Artcraft offers no information on how their cabinets are made. If they can be made with 3/4″ plywood or a plywood core with MDF skins that is the top construction grade for a frameless cabinet and gets a B otherwise B- or c+ for construction is the best they could get with particleboard sides. Once you are getting frameless cabinetry if the sides are 3/4″ it is more important to design for the cabinets construction vulnerabilities then the overall rating for the cabinets construction. this means for example:

    NO CABINET DOOR WIDER THAN 18″, NO DRAWER BASES WIDER THAN 30″. Do not over load cabinets, be careful with interior cabinet gadgets like Magic Corners or Mixer lifts.

    Modern cabinetry can be beautiful but you must design for it and treat it more delicately.

  122. Cody, August 15, 2018 at 12:39 am:

    Trying to pick between three Cabinet brands. 21st century vs Wolf Classic(Dartmouth or Saginaw) vs Fermawood cabinetry which is not rated but is an alder wood cabinet. Do not know which one I’m going to get the best value out of.

  123. Paola, August 15, 2018 at 12:45 am:

    Thank you Paul. Very helpful advice for considering Artcraft Cabinets.

  124. pmcalary, August 15, 2018 at 6:51 am:

    I would pick between 21st Century and Wolf. I would also only buy cabinetry that is pre assembled in the factory. So if one is not coming assembled choose the other. Beyond that I can’t be sure since we are not dealers for these lines and I don’t know if there are any current factory or shipping issues to consider. These lines are close. The Dartmouth in Wolf is a standard overlay doorstyle ie the door does not cover the front of the cabinet. This size door is less popular so if you are considering resale value I would not pick it.

  125. pmcalary, August 15, 2018 at 7:03 am:

    Thanks Paola,
    Another piece of advice would be that natural stone tops look odd as the cabinet style gets more modern. I’d choose a Quartz or other synthetic top for my cabinets. Same with the backsplash- as the style goes modern more contemporary style tiles and sheets look best. Glass tile is no longer so expensive and can be very nice.

  126. Ruth, August 15, 2018 at 9:41 pm:

    Can you give me a list of Fabuwood dealers around Atlanta(GA) area. I contacted Fabuwood but they only gave me one. I am wondering if there’s any other dealer(s) around. We are going to completely remodel our kitchen and I am kinda deadset on using Fabuwood because of your reviews. I might go to Lowe’s for comparison. Thanks for your help.

  127. pmcalary, August 16, 2018 at 10:02 am:

    No we are not given a list of dealer. Googling “Fabuwood dealer” or “Fabuwood” and your town might find others.

  128. Talya, August 16, 2018 at 2:35 pm:

    Thank you for this great information. I am currently working with a designer that sells Showplace and another firm that sells Benedettini cabinets. I have not been successful in finding information on Benedettini cabinets. What would your rating be on Benedettini cabinets.

    Thanks so much 🙂

  129. pmcalary, August 16, 2018 at 4:05 pm:

    I have never heard of Benedettini cabinets. But they appear to be a custom cabinet maker that makes both framed and frameless. They give no information on their web site about how their cabinet box is constructed.

  130. Clint, August 17, 2018 at 11:00 am:

    I’m looking for cabinets for a rental – I definitely need them to be affordable and durable – I’d like for them to last 15 years.

    I see these have quality ratings of A or A- and price <= 2.

    21st Century
    Solid Wood Cabinets
    All Wood – framed

    When I google these companies, I can find Fabuwood, Wolf, and your previous post provides the website for solid wood cabinets. But some could be a couple of different companies. Could you confirm:

    21st Century – – if not, then what site?
    All Wood – framed – – if not, then what site?

    How long should A+, A, and A- each be expected to last?

  131. Audrey s., August 17, 2018 at 9:48 pm:

    Can you tell me anything about Bridgewwod custom cabinetry out of Kansas. Their a division oh Hi-Lo industries. They say all wood 3/4″ with real birch veneer interior. 1/2″sides top&bottom by dado joints sidesmshelves,&bottoms are3/4″. My designer said to make sure they have this thickness when we are comparing products from other dealers. I like Ridgewood American advantage line for the color lines.i want a bright white and grey bottoms,advantage is more money. I’m so confused.

  132. pmcalary, August 18, 2018 at 10:49 am:

    Hi Audrey,
    Although I have never heard of them they looks like a nice Custom line. The Advantage semi-custom version of the line looks good too. However when you say they have 3/4″ sides that usually means a frameless cabinet and Bridgewood makes both framed and frameless. We recommend framed cabinetry for all door styles unless you are choosing a modern slab door. Framed cabinetry is better constructed but frameless looks nicer when you have slab doors.

  133. pmcalary, August 18, 2018 at 11:06 am:

    All these cabinet lines should last a lifetime but just get beat up over time. The finish will determined which kitchen looks the best the longest.
    Painted cabinets get damaged the most easily so for a rental I would get a stained wood. A light stain or a natural finish shows the least scratches and are the most popular colors. Fabuwood and Wolf are the lines with the most choices and the least amount of quality control issues. But for a rental any of these lines is fine.

    Yes those are the correct web sites but I would never buy cabinets on line. Buy your cabinets from a dealer that can be responsible for problems and damages, prevent design errors, and help you spend your money wisely.

    Much like the legal saying about people who act as their own lawyer having a fool for an attorney. “People who design there own kitchens have an incompetent for a designer.”

  134. Ruth, August 18, 2018 at 2:30 pm:

    Have you heard of J & K cabinetry? I don’t see it on the reviews.

  135. Olga, August 19, 2018 at 7:53 am:

    Hello, I have been Working with a designer and t looking at Omega frameless cabinets. I like the simple shaker cabinet door style. I also have an ultracraft cabinetry dealer in the area. I certainly would like a cabinet of higher quality than IKEA and now learned there are many other options for frameless cabinetry. My kitchen is fairly small and I like the look of frameless cabinets and thought I would be gaining cabinet space by going with this style. Which cabinetry brand would you recommend for a quality frameless style? Thank you 🙂

  136. Derek, August 19, 2018 at 8:27 am:


    My wife and I are trying to decide between Schrock or Showplace cabinets. We have a large kitchen and got prices for Brighton and Candlelight but couldn’t justify the cost of spending $35k and up for cabinets with all the other work we’re doing to our home. We’re looking to go shaker style with painted white perimeter cabinets and either a painted/stained or natural quartersawn oak island. We’re looking to stay between a $20 – $30k budget. We did like the Showplace cabinets but there was not much on their website about how their boxes were constructed and as we await a quote.

  137. pmcalary, August 19, 2018 at 9:36 am:

    Hi Olga,
    For a shaker door style I would recommend a framed cabinet. For these reasons:

    1) Cabinet storage is the same except for drawers where the width and depth of drawers are 1 1/2″ narrower and usually 1 1/2″ shallower. However since drawers can take more weight and can be safely used in wider cabinets because the drawers are attached to solid wood instead of particleboard or plywood this makes up for the storage issue to some degree.

    2) The shaker style door is not enhanced visually by the 1/4″ tighter gaps between doors and drawers in frameless cabinetry. Slab doors do look better in a frameless line.

    3) In the less expensive price points better constructed all plywood framed cabinetry can be 40% less than frameless cabinetry upgraded to plywood construction.

    If you still insist on frameless cabinetry then I would pay the additional 40% and get a 3/4″ thick plywood box. Many of the higher end frameless lines offer this option. I believe OMEGA does.

    Remember that the best level of construction offered in frameless cabinetry is a “B” in our rating system and a kitchen should be designed for the construction limitations of frameless cabinetry. Namely:

    No base cabinets wider than 30″, No wall cabinets wider than 36″. No doors wider than 18″ so that means no 21″ wide cabinets. Avoid heavy internal gadgets like mixer lifts and magic corners. No spice racks on backs of doors. The best kitchen designers will know this but many will not. This is because cabinet companies deny that these are needed design considerations. The cabinet industry never admits any weaknesses in their products and naive kitchen designers “drink the Koolaid”

  138. pmcalary, August 19, 2018 at 10:27 am:

    Hi Derek,
    If you are on a budget why not get one of the better made US lines with imported parts like Fabuwood, Wolf. 6 Square, or some of the others. You will usually save at least 20% and you will get a better constructed cabinet and often a nicer looking painted finish?

    That is the problem. The mid range all US made lines like Schrock or Kraftmaid need to be upgraded to their best construction to equal the imports. That makes them 20 to 40% more and then you are very close in price to the really nice high end lines like Brighton. The reason we recommend the semi custom US lines is to get the the different types of woods such as Cherry, Alder, Hickory, Maple and the nicer looking stains you get from the semi custom US lines. You don’t seem to have to have these woods or finishes so you might be wasting a lot of money for little if any improvement in construction or finish.

    And as always I will reiterate that the design itself outweighs all these considerations and so working with a really good kitchen designer is most important of all. Very few kitchen designers are good so finding one that is, is not that easy. If a kitchen designer simply prices out the kitchen the way you tell them or the way an architect has drawn it you can be certian that they are a poor designer.

    There is almost no way a non professional could design the best kitchen for a particular space. Often because moving a doorway, plumbing, a gas line or even a window to get a better kitchen design costs very very little compared to the the cabinet upgrades you are considering. There are an infinite number of bad designs for any space and probably only a couple of truly good ones. Good kitchen designers will find that good design. They redesign peoples homes 40 hours a week for decades. Thinking that you could find that good design without that level of experience, knowledge, and the talent that the best kitchen designers will have is the mistake that most people make.

    Every day I have hear the same comment from probably 60% of the people we first talk to. That their kitchen is small, or they are constrained by the locations of doors, windows, or budget, and that there design sort of has to be the way they have envisioned it. Of course when they actually buy their kitchen 90% of these same people will have chosen a design very different from what they at first thought. That’s why they need us. The video below makes this point in a funny way.

  139. Olga, August 19, 2018 at 10:34 am:

    Wow! Thank you so much for your advise ! I am so glad I asked:)
    I have found so much valuable information here 🙂

  140. pmcalary, August 19, 2018 at 12:06 pm:

    I think J&K is a good line. Their shelves are only 5/8″ thick plywood but that will only create a shelf sagging issue on cabinets over 30″ wide. You could get thicker shelves for just those cabinets from J&K if that’s possible or brace them.

  141. Skye, August 19, 2018 at 1:14 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    I recently decided that a kitchen remodel may be in our near future, and I stumbled across your blog – what a great find – thank you for this information! I had an initial meeting with a contractor and he said that he gets his cabinetry from Tischlerei – a quality “German-engineered” line, manufactured in the US. In reviewing their website, they seem to include all of your recommendations as “standard”, which is a good sign. Are you familiar with this manufacturer? Thanks!

  142. pmcalary, August 19, 2018 at 1:52 pm:

    I don’t know the line but they are custom and so more expensive. You should definitely NOT be getting quotes from contractors first you should be interviewing kitchen designers. After you select a good designer and determine the cabinet line they recommend for your budget then you can interview contractors. Good kitchen designers will know about removing walls and any other construction questions you might have during the design process. Getting quotes from contractors before the design is complete guarantees that you get higher construction quotes and that the contractors are not bidding apples to apples. If the design you are considering is something you came up with then you know that it is not professional and needs to be improved by someone who is. We have a funny blog about homeowners that go down this bumpy and well traveled road. Link below:

  143. Tia, August 19, 2018 at 2:49 pm:

    Hello, I am looking at a budget kitchen remodel after having a contractor take payment and run with it. I located a RTA cabinet company named Barker Cabinets out of NJ i believe. I am looking at their cabinets and they appear to be of good quality for the price. Can you weigh in on them versus 21st century, solid wood or wolf?

  144. Skye, August 19, 2018 at 3:06 pm:

    Thanks Paul!
    I really enjoyed the “Tale of Two Kitchens”, and will most definitely follow your advice by seeking the assistance of a kitchen design team.
    I failed to mention that the contractor was here to bid on installing a new roof (not my kitchen), as our roof was recently damaged by hail the size of racquetballs – no fun at all! Our conversation turned to other home projects, and I mentioned that I would like to remodel my kitchen, someday. That’s when he mentioned the Tischlerei line that he uses, so that’s when I looked up reviews and found yours.

    I will read your reviews and comments more thoroughly as I continue this process. Thanks again!

  145. jordan, August 19, 2018 at 3:06 pm:

    Hi, can you tell me your thoughts on Waypoint semi-custom cabinets? I’m also curious to know what approximate costs should run for install and cabinets. Looking for a large master bath vanity (straight – 4 pieces and an 8′ x 32″ storage cabinet). I’m guessing around $2500 to $3000 installed, and I want to know if my guestimate is about right. Thank you so much for any insight!

  146. pmcalary, August 19, 2018 at 3:10 pm:

    We do not recommend buying cabinetry RTA. Barker is well built when correctly assembled for a frameless cabinet so they would get a B in our rating for construction. Wolf and Fabuwood would be the best values in factory assembled framed cabinetry.

  147. pmcalary, August 19, 2018 at 3:16 pm:

    Hi Skye,
    Thanks and sorry about your roof. You don’t list your area but we recommend cabinet dealers outside our service area. Here is a link.

  148. pmcalary, August 19, 2018 at 3:22 pm:

    Waypoint is rated in our reviews above. The description of your bath is too vague to give an intelligent answer beyond that the price you are guessing is probably low.

  149. Skye, August 19, 2018 at 4:15 pm:

    Thanks, we live in the Denver area, and hailstorms are very common here – but we have never had hail that size in my neighborhood.

    I already looked at your recommendations for dealers outside your area, and I will start with making a visit to Designer’s Choice!
    Thanks again!

  150. Stacy, August 20, 2018 at 2:48 am:

    In our last kitchen, we had custom cabinets and we were very pleased; however, we were the general contractors which made the job take forever. We just moved and need to redo the kitchen. We found a contractor who does A-Z, but will not work with our cabinet guy. He prefers semi-custom. I know he will mark them up (that’s fine I suppose) but I’m wondering about the quality. They are Columbia Cabinets (Canada).

  151. pmcalary, August 20, 2018 at 7:31 am:

    Lots of warning signs here:
    Homeowners that aren’t contractors themselves make a mistake and almost always end up spending more and get a less professional result when they try to GC a job. Contractors should not be marking up cabinets. And kitchen designers should sell more than one line. Individuals, like your cabinet guy, that make cabinets themselves make “homemade” cabinets and not “custom” cabinets. When the contractor won’t work with this person that’s a red flag. And the contractor shouldn’t be determining the cabinet line you choose. We are also not a fan of Columbia cabinets. They are particleboard frameless cabinets.

    Research to find a kitchen designer and cabinet dealership on your own that gets great reviews. We recommend dealers around the US. See link below:

    Then work on the design with the kitchen designer. Then get bids from at least 3 general contractors and at least one from the kitchen designer to compare. This is how the process should be done. You did it what we think is the wrong way once. At least try doing it the way most kitchen professionals would recommend the second time.

  152. Kathy, August 21, 2018 at 8:43 am:

    Would appreciate input on 3 cabinet brands Considering Wellborn, Woodmode, and Woodharbor. All 3 brands are the same “quality” being the premier or top of the lines. We like each one but have some concerns re: our Wellborn dealer seems difficult to reach and unreliable. The Woodmode cabinetry gets great reviews but customer service after the sale allegedly falls flat from the company. Could you provide input. Much appreciated!!! We need to order soon

  153. Cindy, August 21, 2018 at 3:49 pm:

    We are considering cabinets for a kitchen remodel from either Brighton or Crystal. The cabinets would be white, with a stained island. Any pros and cons we should consider? We currently have Kraftmaid. Are they better than Kraftmaid, and which of the two is better?

  154. pmcalary, August 21, 2018 at 6:03 pm:

    Both Crystal and Brighton are a significant step up from Kraftmaid. Remember to upgrade to all plywood construction. Inset doors are very nice and not that more expensive in these custom lines. Inset and beaded inset is the mark of custom cabinetry.

  155. pmcalary, August 21, 2018 at 6:06 pm:

    Woodharbor is not a line even close to the other two. Wellborn is very nice, especially their high end upgraded lines. Woodmode is full custom and a great cabinet but much more expensive

  156. Saj, August 22, 2018 at 10:06 am:

    Thank you for valuble information.
    How do you compare Signature cabinets to Wellsford in quality and price.

  157. Cindy, August 22, 2018 at 10:49 am:

    Thanks for the info about Crystal and Brighton! I know that Crystal has another line, Current. Is it worth upgrading from Current to Crystal? We don’t need anything custom sized.

    Also a design question… with 8 foot ceilings in a traditional colonial, would you choose 42″ wall cabinets with or 39″ with crown molding?

  158. pmcalary, August 22, 2018 at 11:52 am:

    They are comparable but as we sell Wellsford and I know the line better that would be my pick.

  159. pmcalary, August 22, 2018 at 12:02 pm:

    I don’t know enough about Crysat to know the difference in the lines well enough to judge.

    However NEVER use 39 or 42″ high wall cabinets in a 8′ room. Professionals use 36″ high wall cabinets with a stacked molding to allow the cabinets to be leveled. This is a big amateur mistake.

  160. Don Wamsley, August 23, 2018 at 12:12 pm:

    Hi. I am trying to decide between Diamond, Starmark, and Wolf in a Shaker style. Do you have a recommendation as to what I should consider the best value?

  161. Tracy, August 23, 2018 at 2:01 pm:

    Thank you for your amazing cabinet information! We are looking to purchase a 48” vanity with drawers in either white or light gray maple (MDF). We have liked Bertch, Shiloh, Diamond, and upgraded Diamond Vibe. Any thoughts? The other bathrooms have Homecrest. Thanks again!

  162. pmcalary, August 23, 2018 at 4:08 pm:

    Big price swings between these lines Starmark is the most expensive and a completely a different animal. Upgraded I like both those lines but starmark will cost 80% more because it is more custom .

  163. Lina, August 25, 2018 at 1:03 am:

    Thank you for all your time to post this invaluable information. I am in the beginning of planning a new kitchen. I plan to use a designer. You mention on this blog that framless cabinets are usually the only option for slab type doors. I am really attracted to a very modern, sleek look but understand from your recommendations why a framed cabinet is preferable. Is there a relatively inexpensive option as far as you know for a slab door with a framed cabinet that would look decent? Waterworks does a beautiful job in my opionion. But they are very expensive custom made. BTW you wouldn’t service NYC, would you? Thanks in advance

  164. pmcalary, August 25, 2018 at 8:17 am:

    Most cabinet lines that are framed and will do slab doors. However they won’t do the most modern styles in framed cabinets. This means that the will do slab wood and painted doors. Some lines like Bishop will even modern style Pillow Slab doors. However very few will do the most modern laminate, foil, acrylic, or exotic wood slab doors. This is because on a painted slab door or a natural wood slab door styles the look still comes out well (not “as well” though) as with frameless. But in the most modern styles the framed cabinets just can’t pull off the look and it would look silly IMO.

    So if you want a painted or stained slab and the most durable option framed should be fine but if you want the modern laminate, foil, acrylic, or exotic wood slab doors get frameless and have the designer design for a frameless line. IE keeping door widths no wider than 18″, drawers no wider than 30″, and upgrading to plywood sides if available.

    No NYC is outside our service area.

  165. MKSmith, August 27, 2018 at 6:51 pm:

    Hi Paul – This blog has been the best advice I have ever seen online. Thank you for taking the time to answer questions and review cabinet lines. My last two kitchens were Brookhaven – mainly because I really liked the Kitchen Designer and all she sold were Brookhaven and Woodmode. I am in the process of building again and was hoping to not spend quite so much on cabinetry. I loved my Brookhaven cabinets and my main fear is that I will be disappointed with another line. Do you think cabinets by Fabuwood or Wolf will give me the same “feel” as Brookhaven? Looking to do White Shaker again. Thanks so much!

  166. pmcalary, August 27, 2018 at 8:50 pm:

    Fabuwood will not look very different or wear much differently. However customization and the design catalogue will be more limited in Fabuwood. Wolf you might be disappointed in. And expect more shipping damages and replacement doors and drawers being needed. But good dealers will take care of any issues.

  167. MKSmith, August 27, 2018 at 9:08 pm:

    Thank you Paul! Any other line you recommend that will give me the quality of Brookhaven at a lower price point?

  168. pmcalary, August 27, 2018 at 10:24 pm:

    Don’t expect Brookhaven quality for the 40% less Fabuwood prices. Fabuwood will be as close as you can get though for significantly less.

  169. PatG, August 28, 2018 at 7:34 am:

    I am having a new house built and the contractor has proposed Schrock Entra Amira slab drawer for kitchen and Aristokraft Brellin slab drawer in PureStyle laminate for laundry and bathrooms. I am concerned about how laminate will look and hold up. What are your thoughts or recommended alternatives. I am ok spending a little more. Thanks.

  170. pmcalary, August 28, 2018 at 8:39 am:

    Not really a fan of either line (see our ratings) and slab doors are more appropriate for high rises and condos than new homes. It may be your taste but it is less popular with the public and so if this is your final home don’t worry but if you want resale value a shaker style door would be a better choice.

  171. Ruth, August 28, 2018 at 4:20 pm:

    Thank you so much for the wealth of information that you have shared here. I am down to these 3 cabinet lines between Fabuwood, J&K or Wolf. Can you rate them or what would be the best choice and why? Considering quality and price.

  172. pmcalary, August 28, 2018 at 4:26 pm:

    Fabuwood has some nicer finishes and is a little more custom. It’s probably 10% more than the other two lines and worth the money. If you like a particular finish in the other two lines more stick with them.

  173. Mark B, August 28, 2018 at 4:40 pm:

    Hi: Are you familiar with Greenfield Cabinets? I would welcome your assessment, if you are. Thanks!

  174. pmcalary, August 28, 2018 at 5:03 pm:

    Sorry we don’t know the line and their web site offers no construction specifics. They may make decent cabinets but I will always like a company that is transparent over one that only offers spin.

  175. Nelda, August 29, 2018 at 9:30 pm:

    I’m remodeling my small kitchen. My cabinet choices are Mid Continent mdf or Wellborn Premier mdf. I’m so confused. They both have many poor reviews. Which is the better of these poorly reviewed cabinet makers. Thanks! Of course my designers love them.

  176. pmcalary, August 30, 2018 at 8:32 am:

    Wellborn makes a good cabinet but not the premier line. I’d either upgrade Wellborn to plywood construction or find a different line than these two poor selections. Cabinet reviews by consumers are pretty much worthless (see this link for the reasons)

    I think our reviews here are far more reliable but good grades in any of the lines we list ASSUMES that they have been upgraded to all plywood construction.

  177. Emma, August 31, 2018 at 3:17 pm:

    I am dealing with a contractor and designer. We are remodeling our kitchen and it’s between two cabinets Durasupreme and Fabuwood. We don’t want to break the bank, but want to have a great looking kitchen and functional that we can use for a long time without falling apart. Which one would you recommend and why? Thank you!

  178. Angelo28, August 31, 2018 at 10:27 pm:

    I’m in love with decora cabinets but it’s about 10,000 dollars above my price range. A cabinet supply I’ve been pricing with said I should look into waypoint. I’ve noticed they also have a lifetime warranty. Any other recommendations you have.

  179. Tracey, September 1, 2018 at 6:49 am:

    In white shaker cabinets would you recommend Waypoint or Diamond? I am considering Waypoint 410F. What is the difference between 410F and 650F ? Thanks.

  180. Tracey, September 1, 2018 at 7:14 am:

    In a white shaker would you recommend Waypoint or Diamond? Also in Waypoint what is the difference between 410F and 650F? Thanks!

  181. Tracey Gratch, September 1, 2018 at 7:15 am:

    In a white shaker would you recommend Waypoint or Diamond? Also in Waypoint what is the difference between 410F and

  182. pmcalary, September 1, 2018 at 8:06 am:

    Hi Angelo,
    Since you say what style and color you are considering Just use the ratings here.

  183. pmcalary, September 1, 2018 at 8:10 am:

    I would recommend Fabuwood for a white shaker style. They are less expensive, better constructed, and better looking than both these choices. Make sure you buy them from a reputable dealer. Fabuwood has some bad dealers as they do very little screening of who the sell to.

  184. pmcalary, September 1, 2018 at 8:11 am:

    Don’t know 410 vs 650. Ask the dealer.

  185. pmcalary, September 1, 2018 at 8:26 am:

    Hi Emma,
    You don’t say what color and style. For a painted finish I would recommend Fabuwood hands down. I would not recommend DuraSupreme as a good buy or as a responsible company unless you are dealing with a cabinet dealer with an impeccable reputation. DuraSupreme does have beautiful stained finishes but DuraSupreme did not honor their warranty with one of our customers when we carried their line and we had to compensate our customer when they would not. Their cabinets also must be upgraded to the highest construction level to equal the Fabuwood construction quality.

    I had never heard of a manufacturer that had complaints listed from their own dealers with the Better Business Bureau until Durasupreme.

  186. Emma, September 1, 2018 at 11:51 am:

    Thank you for replying so quickly. The two cabinet options are: Fabuwood Allure/Nexus/Frost and Duraspreme Meridien Linen White.

  187. Emma, September 1, 2018 at 10:31 pm:

    Have you heard of Landmark by Teddwood? How would you rate these cabinets? Homecrest over Fabuwood and DuraSupreme?

  188. Paul McAlary, September 2, 2018 at 9:49 am:

    Hi Emma,
    Landmark is a very good line. We would gove it an A for construction and the Teddwood custom framed line an A+. I don’t know pricing though so I can’t rate it for value beyond guessing that it can’t be bad. You don’t say what style door and what color you are picking so I can’t say whick line is a better buy of the three above. For a painted white shaker or recessed panel door I would pick Fabuwood. Stains would depend on the wood and color. Be careful with DuraSupreme the finishes are great but the cabinets MUST be upgraded and the company is not not trustworthy so the dealer you buy from is very important.

  189. paul mcalary, September 2, 2018 at 9:55 am:

    Just saw the door style was Nexus. for the same design I would save money and get Fabuwood here. Make sure the dealer has a good reputation. Fabuwood does not screen dealers so their are some terrible Fabuwood dealers. Remember you are not buying cabinets from the cabinet company you are buying them from the dealer.

  190. Emma, September 2, 2018 at 4:36 pm:

    Thank you again for your quick response. It really helps on which one to go with. The dealer does have a good reputation with Fabuwood. If anything is wrong, they will deal with them and not me. Thanks again!

  191. Michael Marston, September 3, 2018 at 10:05 am:

    I appreciate all this great info. Have you heard about Tedd Wood cabinets? We’re considering their frameless cabinets for a kitchen remodel. Our designer is suggesting them over KitchenCraft

  192. pmcalary, September 3, 2018 at 12:01 pm:

    Hi Michael,
    Ted Wood would be a far better cabinet than KitchenCraft in a plywood framless box.

    However if you are not getting a modern slab door style frameless cabinet construction makes little sense. You could get a Framed cabinet better made than any frameless line for less. In the very modern foil doors frameless will be the only sensible option but you are sacrificing cabinet strength and durability for style. If you like the modern styles make sure your designer designs with the cabinet construction taken into account. This means among other considerations:
    No cabinet doors wider than 18″
    No cabinet drawers wider than 30″
    Limiting the use of stressful gadgetry like mixer bases and Magic Corners.

    Kitchen designers that favor frameless lines worry me. Often these designers focus only on style and color. They ignore construction and function considerations. They also rarely consider moving walls doorways, windows, plumbing and other building changes, because they know very little about them. Moving these layout changers are the first considerations for the best kitchen designers.

    Some of the best kitchen designers I know are women partly because they have great style and color sensibilities and they took the time to gain the construction expertise needed to be a good kitchen designer. For example the woman designer that works for our company Stacia Fischer has a lead carpenter certification from NARI (The National Association of Remodelers)and a college degree from The Art Institute. But some of the most dangerous kitchen designers I know are also women. They are often interior designers that focus exclusively on style and color. They will design dysfunctional sometimes even dangerous kitchens and to a person these worst of the worst designers almost all favor working in frameless cabinet construction.

    If the cabinet line your kitchen designer prefers is a frameless line even when your kitchen style is traditional then watch out! You are probably working with one of these dangerous myopic style focused kitchen designers.

  193. Velma, September 3, 2018 at 6:43 pm:

    First, thank you for a wealth of information! My kitchen designer has recommended Wellborn Premier Bishop style cabinets. I’m thinking plywood vs mdf and I want white painted cabinets…maybe with a pewter glaze. $10,000 for a small galley kitchen seems high priced. In your opinion, is this money well spent and are painted cabinets easy to clean. Should I ask for a special finish?

  194. pmcalary, September 3, 2018 at 8:02 pm:

    Painted cabinets are easy to clean but also more easily damaged by water than stained cabinets. So always dry off cabinets quickly after cleaning with a damp cloth. The pewter glaze could be costing you 15% so if you are on a budget I’d consider eliminating the glazing. The cabinets are a good brand and in general a good investment.

  195. Kimberly Kauffman, September 5, 2018 at 10:59 pm:

    Thank you for this informative site. Can you recommend a dealer in Cleveland Ohio? You don’t offer one on your list.

  196. pmcalary, September 6, 2018 at 8:06 am:

    We had a tough time in Cleveland. The best I could find was:

    Somrak Kitchens
    26201 Richmond Road
    Bedford Hts., Ohio 44146

    (216) 785-2211

    But they they specialize in more expensive lines. Wellborn would be the best line that might still be reasonably priced. I also did not love their designs. However everybody else in Cleveland seemed to be worse and many dealers had major design mistakes on their Houzz page and website. Not a ringing endorsement but the best I could find.

  197. Kim Kauffman, September 6, 2018 at 3:41 pm:

    Thank you for your help! I’ve recently moved here from San Diego to be close to my grandchildren. It sounds like the weather isn’t the only thing lacking in Cleveland. 😊

  198. pmcalary, September 6, 2018 at 4:39 pm:

    Hi Kim,
    Actually we sometimes have a hard time in even big cities. It took two of our designers over an hour to find a dealer we were even OK with in Los Angeles.

  199. Elise Perelman, September 7, 2018 at 1:28 pm:

    Hi, I am considering fabuwood vs. Wolf and great northern. How does great northern compare to these other two? Thanks! This is invaluable.

  200. pmcalary, September 8, 2018 at 9:32 am:

    Don’t know Great Northern sorry. If it is comparable price wise to the other two, play it safe and stick with them.

  201. Michael Marston, September 11, 2018 at 8:02 am:

    Thanks for the detailed information, you are providing a great service to folks who aren’t even doing business with you.

  202. Paul McAlary, September 11, 2018 at 8:26 am:

    Thanks Michael,
    It’s nice to be appreciated for doing it.

  203. Mike, September 11, 2018 at 9:29 am:


    Can you rank these manufacturers in terms of quality? Trying to determine which brand to go with:

    Choices are:
    JSI Cabinetry essex door style
    Fabuwood Galaxy line
    CNC Elegant white line

    Or, are they so close in terms of quality i could go with any of them… I’m getting a similar price quote for all.


  204. pmcalary, September 11, 2018 at 9:56 am:

    Hi Mike,
    Fabuwood is a nicer line than CNC which we carry and JSI which we doo not. We are reviewing Hanssen and are considering carrying the line but I am still too unfamiliar with the line to say much more than that they are in the same ballpark as all these lines. At first glance I like them second to Fabuwood.

  205. Ruth, September 11, 2018 at 12:08 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    I live in the Albany, New York area and visited a showroom that carried Cubitac, Kabinart and Waypoint cabinets. I see you rated Waypoint a B for quality and value. Could you explain the rating? Also, do you know of the quality of Cubitac out of New Jersey? Looking to do a white kitchen.

  206. Paul McAlary, September 11, 2018 at 12:50 pm:

    Not a huge fan of any of these lines. Waypoint has 1/2 inch plywood sides when upgraded but a 1/8″ back and they tell us no more after that. Not encouraging. Cubitec also leaves mysteries as to how they make cabinets.

  207. Ruth Carr, September 11, 2018 at 12:58 pm:

    Thank you very much for this information,Paul. It has been helpful.

  208. Ruth Carr, September 11, 2018 at 1:13 pm:

    Hi again,
    I just noticed that Waypoint says it has 5/8″ dovetailed doors with plywood bottoms and the website says it meets ANSI and KCMA standards and offers a lifetime limited warranty. Face frames are made with 3/4 ” by 1 5/8 inch solid hardwood. It is curious they don’t mention the backs. I had asked the salesman if the backs were 1/2 inch and he said yes. Could they possibly have a top line. I am skeptical since they also sell Kainart which you rated overall as a D.

  209. Paul McAlary, September 11, 2018 at 2:33 pm:

    My guess is that the backs are a 3/8″ plywood hanging rail over 1/8″ back. It only says 1/8″ ply in their specbook though.

  210. Ruth, September 11, 2018 at 4:13 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    How is CWP? Another showroom rated it this way,
    CWP, Legacy, then Fabuwoodin descending order. Do you agree?

  211. Paul McAlary, September 11, 2018 at 4:27 pm:

    I would agree with that order. However there isn’t much difference in cabinet construction across these lines. The more expensive lines just offer more options and some really nice looking finishes.

  212. Ruth, September 11, 2018 at 6:23 pm:

    Thank you for your quick response. It helps so much when making
    When making this costly investment.

  213. Lauren Shaw, September 12, 2018 at 2:19 pm:

    This website is AWESOME. Thanks for sharing all this info. So sad I don’t live near Philly or I’d hire y’all in a heartbeat. I have two questions I’m hoping you can help with. 1) Is the “All Wood” cabinet manufacturer you rated here the same as the “All Wood” brand cabinets (allwoodfast dot com) that sells through Costco? 2) I’m in Austin, TX. I tried a link on your “find a local designer” listing and the one shown as being in Austin is actually in The Woodlands, north of Houston. If there isn’t a designer you feel comfortable with in Central TX, what tips can you offer to evaluate potential designers? I read the steps you go through to evaluate others, but I doubt I’d be able to spot a design error in their Houzz pages unless it were something really glaring, like a big intrusion into the work triangle. Even personal recommendations from neighbors can be dicey — few homeowners are informed enough to know how knowledgeable/talented their designer really is. Do you have a list of “common errors” or “great design” attributes to watch for? Grateful for any light you can shed. Thanks again for spending your time educating folks outside your sales range!

  214. pmcalary, September 12, 2018 at 3:37 pm:

    Hi lauren,
    Yes the All Wood cabinets are sold at Cosco and are an inexpensive well made cabinet. HOWEVER Costco’s employees like IKEA’s are unqualified to design a kitchen, so getting a deal there could be opening a can of worms.

    You should have knowledgeable design help all the way through a kitchen renovation. In general Home centers like Lowes and The Home Depot have designers far better than Costco and IKEA. The Costco cabinets I have never seen but they do have well constructed specifications. Costco also has knock off professional appliances that I have seen and are good buys and probably a safer way to save.

    As far as a cabinet dealer is concerned Austin is a tough market. FBS Factory Builder Stores seems to be the only company without major mistakes in their Houzz photos that also sells cabinets to the public and carries some OK cabinet brands. Some very high end designers and custom cabinet makers look OK but not truely special and even they and others in Austin seem to be OK showcasing design mistakes. Even dangerous ones.

    We ran into this in LA too. Sometimes cutting edge can also mean a little crazy and very overpriced. I am going to add FBS to our list of recomended suppliers even though they are not bowling me over. See information below:

    Factory Builder Stores
    8700 Fallbrook
    Austin, TX 77064

  215. Ruth, September 15, 2018 at 12:39 pm:

    Hi Paul,
    I was just looking at Merillat and the information given was that they have improved and that their Majesty line is of good quality. What is your take on this?

  216. Michael Marston, September 17, 2018 at 9:55 am:

    Thanatos again for all the great info. I’d like your opinion of Tedwood vs Schrock? White painted shaker doors.

  217. Paul McAlary, September 17, 2018 at 10:42 am:

    While I don’t know Tedwood that well. They look like a well made custom cabinet line that will be better made and more beautiful than Schrock – but also at least 15% more. In a simple shaker white door it may not be worth it. But if you take advantage of the best reason to get custom cabinets namely inset and beaded inset cabinetry it will be cost even more than that but also be more worth it.

  218. Linda, September 18, 2018 at 1:56 pm:

    Thanks so much for all your great information! Can you please help me with a comparison? We are building a new home and our builder uses Medalion, Eschelon and CNC cabinets. We do like the look of full overlay cabinets in a shaker style and want to select sturdy cabinets that are the best value within our options. What would you suggest?

  219. pmcalary, September 18, 2018 at 3:05 pm:

    Hi Linda,
    We review all three of these lines here. Eschelon we do not recommend. Medallion and CNC are fine but they are both completely different type cabinet lines and Medallion is probably around double the price of CNC. So it depends on what your budget is. In general I would recommend at least a slightly more expensive cabinet line than CNC. If you can afford Medallion that’s great but there will be other cabinet lines that are less expensive that you might like equally well. If you do go with Medallion the line MUST be upgraded to all plywood construction to be as well constructed as even the far less expensive CNC.

  220. Randy, September 18, 2018 at 4:34 pm:

    Do you know anything about Cardell Cabinets? It appears they are exclusive to Menards but after doing some digging looks like that’s a newer thing. Is this the same company that looks to have gone out of business a not too long ago? I only stopped at Menards to get an idea, I’m not focused on buying there but I was told Cardell’s top of the line is the best that Menards carries and I just wonder if it’s even worth considering.

  221. pmcalary, September 18, 2018 at 5:59 pm:

    After Cardell cabinetry went bankrupt in 2014 the Cardell name was acquired by US cabinet giant Masco in 2015. Masco’s existing plants are now manufacturing the Cardell cabinets sold at Menards. The Cardell web site doesn’t give enough information for us to be able to rate them. Certainly the only line that would possibly be acceptable would be their top line upgraded to all plywood construction if possible. This might possibly be rebranded Kraftmaid.

    The two US cabinet giants are Masco and Masterbrands. When Masco bought Kraftmaid they promised to keep the Kraftmaid quality the same despite the less well made other cabinet lines under the Masco Roof. Much like the other cabinet giant Masterbrands kept Decora their top line untouched.

    Since the cabinet worlds upheaval in 2009 -2010 Both cabinet giants seem to be heading in different directions. Masterbrands surprisingly seems to be becoming a better company and seems to be upgrading the construction on their lines. The vibe I get is that Masco is slipping. The fact that they aren’t transparent about how the Cardell line is made I find distressing.

  222. Christina, September 18, 2018 at 10:44 pm:

    This blog site is so helpful and generous on your part. Thank you.
    We live in a small town in MD and have limited choices for kitchen designers. I have met with several though and received fairly similar suggestions for layout.
    Waypoint (10k) Wolf (13k) and Centra by Mouser (16k) have been presented by different designers – each promoting their own brand. For a painted shaker cabinet, will I end up with a significantly better finish and/or cabinet with the Mouser line? Yes, they are more customizable, which provides a few better adjustments, but if the design doesn’t warrant a lot of measurement fine tuning, does it still make sense to spend more among these choices? I see you have given all of them fairly good grades (I’ve already ruled out Yorktowne based on your grades). Again, thank you. These feel like daunting choices.

  223. pmcalary, September 19, 2018 at 9:48 am:

    The choice here is between Wolf and Mouser. The Mouser finish won’t be more durable but it will have less tiny imperfections. The Mouser cabinetry will also probably be less likely to have shipping damage. And the cabinet construction while very similar in overall durability will have higher standards in Mouser. Such as dovetails having smoother joints. Look closely at the displays in the showrooms for each line. It does seem like you are getting a good price for the Mouser and the Wolf is usually only 15 or 20% more than Waypoint so your Wolf pricing seems a little high in Wolf for the same design.

  224. Christina, September 19, 2018 at 5:04 pm:

    Thank you so much. This is a great help!

  225. Randy, September 19, 2018 at 7:47 pm:

    Thank you so much for the info it’s really very helpful. Their lack of transparency is very concerning to me as well. I’m just starting to scratch the surface on looking. After reading some stuff here and on the post for last year(unless this is the same comment thread)I think maybe I’ll look towards Haas next and see how I feel about them.

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