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Kitchen Cabinet Ratings for 2021. Reviews for the Top Selling Cabinet Brands.

Below are our comprehensive kitchen cabinet ratings for the top selling 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 ranked from 1 to 6 with 6 being the most expensive custom cabinetry on the market. These Kitchen Cabinet reviews were compiled and rated by our team of highly experienced kitchen designers.


03-07-2022 NOTICE Many less expensive brands priced at the 1 and 2 level presently have OUT OF STOCK ISSUES AND EXTENDED DELAYS Check with dealers for timelines. Generally, most higher end semi-custom brands at the 3 and 4 price point now take from 8 weeks to 14 weeks or longer. Most high-end and custom brands at the 5 or 6 price point now take 18 to 24 weeks, some even longer.

Main Line Kitchen Design is a cabinet dealer located in the suburbs of Philadelphia Pennsylvania. OUR SERVICE AREA IS WITHIN A TWO-HOUR DRIVE OF OUR BALA CYNWYD PENNSYLVANIA OFFICE.

Call in to our Helpline and Podcast Fridays 2-4 pm Eastern Standard Time to ask cabinetry and design questions. Have designs ready to email for layout advice. Call 61O-5OO-4O71


If you are price comparing cabinet lines, please click here and read this first. Price comparing your design at different dealers often leads you down a bad road.

Big barn house kitchen with lots of natural light, windows and a big wooden island. Designed in highly ranked Fabuwood cabinet brand.


Fabuwood Kitchen

How the ratings work

Kitchen cabinet ratings assume each line is upgraded to the top level of construction available, usually all plywood construction.

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 its 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 its class.

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

Butler's Pantry Highly rated Brighton Cabinetry


Brighton Beaded Inset Butler’s Pantry


Main Line kitchen design acknowledges that we are dealers for the following cabinet lines: Wellsford, Bishop, Brighton, Fabuwood, Legacy Presidential, Timberlake 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. 


Cabinet line Price level 1-6     Quality Value
21st Century 1 A A-
6Square Out of Business 2    
Adelphia Kitchens 3 B B
Adornus (frameless) 3 B B
Alusso by Adornus (frameless) 3 B B
All Wood – framed 2 A A
All Wood – frameless 1 C C
American Woodmark 3 B+ B
Aristocraft 2 C C
Belmont 1900 Series Frameless 4 B B+
Bertch 4 A A-
Bishop 4 A+ B++
Bishop Frameless 5 B A
B.J. Tidwell Cabinetry 3 B C+
Bremtown 6 A+ B
Brighton 5 A- A+
Brookhaven 5.5 A B
Brubaker 5 A A
Cabico 4 B B
Cabinet Depot 2 B+ B+
Candlelight 4 A A
Canyon Creek 3 B B
CliqStudios Reopened 2.5 B+ ?
CNC 1.5 A- A-
Collier 5 A B-
Craft-Made Cabinetry framed 5 A A
Crestwood Framed 5 A A
Crestwood Frameless 5 B A-
CrownPoint Cabinetry (framed) 5.5 A+ A
CrownPoint (frameless) 5.5 B A
Crystal custom 5 A A
Crystal semi-custom 4 B+ B+
Cubitac Prestige and Imperial 1.5 A A
Cuisine Ideale (frameless) 4 B B
Decora 4.5 A B
Desginers Choice 4 A A
Design-Craft 4 B B-
Diamond 4 B+ B+
Diamond Now Stock 1 B B
Durasupreme 5 B+ B-
Durasupreme frameless 3 C C
Dynasty by Omega (frameless) 4 B B+
Dynasty by Omega (framed) 4 A A-/B+
Dynasty Pinnacle (framed) 5 A B
Echelon Cabinetry 2 B- C
Eclipse by Shiloh 4.5 B- / C+ B
Eurocraft Frameless 3.5 C C+
Executive (frameless) 4 B B
Fabuwood 2 A A
Fabuwood (frameless) Disc Disc Disc
Fieldstone 4.5 A- B+
Forevermark 1.5 B+ B
Grabill 6 A+ B
Great Northern Classic 5 A A
Green Forest 2 A A-
Haas 3 B B
Hampton Bay (frameless stock) 1 D C+
Hanssem framed 1 B- C+
Holiday (frameless) 3 C supply
Holiday Kitchens 4 A problems
Homecrest 3 B+ B+
Homestead Custom 4 A A-
Ideal Cabinetry 2 B A-
IKEA (frameless) 1 D C
Innovation 2 C C
JSI Cabinetry 1 B+ B+
J&K Cabinets 2 A+ A-
Kabinart 3 C+ D
Kemper 4 B+ B+
Kitchen Compact 2 B- C-
Kitchencraft (frameless) 3 C B
Kith 3 B+ C+
Koch Classic 4 A- A-
Kountry Kraft (framed) 6 A B
Kountry Kraft (frameless) 6 B B
Kountry Wood 2 C C
Kraftmaid 4 A- A-
Kraftmaid Vantage 4 A- A
Legacy 2.5 B+ B
Legacy Presidential 3 A B
LifeArt 1 C+ A
Luxor Collection Frameless 4 B B
Marsh 2 B B
Marsh (frameless) 2 B- B
MasterCraft 2 B B
Medallion (Now owed by ACPI ) 5 A- B+
Merillat 2 C D
Merit Kitchens 4 B+ B
Mid Continent 2 C C
Mouser 5 A A-
Mouser (frameless) 5 B A
NatureKast Waterproof Cabinets 5 A A
Norcraft (every upgrade used) 3 B D
Ovation 4 B C
Plain and Fancy 6 A B+
Plato Woodwork 5 A A
Poggenpohl (frameless) 6 B C
ProCraft 1 A A-
QCCI Quality Custom 6+ A+ A-
QuakerMaid (frameless) 4 B B
RiverRun Cabinetry 3.75 B B-
R.D. Henry 4 A A
Rutt 6 A+ A
Schrock 4 B+/ A- B+/ A-
Schuler 5 A- B+
Shenandoah 3 B+ B
Shiloh 4 C C
Showplace 4 A B++
ShowplaceEVO (frameless) 3.5 B B+
Siematic 5.5 B C
Signature Custom 5 A+ A+
Siteline Cabinetry 3.5 B- C
Solid Wood Cabinets Closed Bankrupt  
St. Martin (frameless) 3.5 B A
Starmark standard 5 C C
Starmark inset or 3/4″ back panel 5 A+ A
Stylecraft 6 A A
Tedd Wood 5 A A
Thomasville* 4 B+/A- B+/A-
Thomasville Nouvell 3 D D
Timberlake 3 B+ B
Tru Cabinetry 3 B B+/ A-
Ultracraft (frameless) 2 C C
Ultracraft 3/4 ply upgrade 3 B B+/A-
Urban Effects (frameless) 3.75 C- D
Village 5 A A
Waypoint 3 B+ B
Wellborn 4 and 5 A A
Wellborn Forrest 3.5 B+ B+
Wellsford 5 A+ A+
Wellsford (frameless) 5 B A-
Wolf 2 A B+
Wolf Signature Series 3.5 A- C+
Woodharbor 5 B+ C
Woodmode 6 A A-
Yorktowne (Now owed by ACPI ) 4 A- B+

Outside our service area?


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.

1 Replies to “Kitchen Cabinet Ratings for 2021. Reviews for the Top Selling Cabinet Brands.”

  1. Pamela Cox

    NEVER buy Kraftmaid. 100% of my order was damaged and they are refusing to replace and/or reimburse me for the cabinets. The cabinets have paint splotches, uneven paint job, cracked joints, and various other defects. On top of all of that their customer services sucks! Going back and forth with Lowes for the last 6 months and now I was told if I wanted a better paint job I should have purchased the cheaper MDF line???? I plan to put this review up anywhere on the internet I can find asking for a review of Kraftmaid! DO NOT BUY KRAFTMAID!!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Pamela,
      Your issues sound like many complaints that cabinet companies receive from consumers that are actually not the fault of the cabinet brand. Customer service issues are never with Kraftmaid as Lowes is your dealer. ALL customer service complaints are always the fault of the dealer and never the brand. On painted cabinets in lines like Kraftmaid, Decora, the Bishop brand we carry, and other higher end semi-custom lines customers should expect to have many seams detectable between joints. This is how these brands come. They are not cracks but expansion joints. Less expensive lines or MDF doors will not usually show these seams. Your expectations about the cabinetry you purchased were set by the designer you worked with and so it is their fault that they were not met. Truly damaged cabinets will always be replaced, however, once again the dealer (in your case Lowes) is responsible for replacement.

      You are complaining about the wrong company and people, particularly in the midst of a pandemic which is delaying and creating many problems in the cabinet industry. Lowes and your designer were either at fault for not educating you on the product you were purchasing, or you were, for not listening to what to expect with the brand that you purchased.

  2. Grayson

    Hello – I don’t see North Point Cabinetry on the list. Any chance you have experience with this line from Hardware Resources and can advise on quality/value?


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Grayson,
      Sorry we don’t know Northpoint. We sell hardware from Hardware Resources but don’t know their cabinet brand. Is a designer that sells other brands recommending them? If you are buying cabinets from a hardware store that wouldn’t be something we’d recomend.

  3. Ashley

    Hi. Could you tell me the difference between Designers Choice and Decora? I have read many bad reviews regarding DC. I hope to make a decision soon on cabinets. I have also looked at Wellborn, Bremtown and Candlelight. I need semi custom cabinets with a custom hood. My budget is 25k-35k. I would love to use Brighton but there are no dealers in our area. Thanks

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ashley,
      I see what you mean about the reviews. It looks like DC has had a lot of quality control issues over the last 3 years. Generally we don’t take quality control complaints into account since so many complaints are due to unrealistic expectations on the part of consumers or customer service issues that are actually the dealers fault that get blamed on the brand. In this case the reviews are extreme. I wouldn’t chance having a bad experience and I would order another brand.

  4. Grayson

    Hello – I don’t see North Point Cabinetry on the list. Any chance you have experience with this line from Hardware Resources and can advise on quality/value?


  5. Jonathan

    Looking to do a very large basement pantry probably in the area of over 200sqft. We need quality construction as they will hold a lot of weight, it it is going in a basement pantry so paint grade materials are suitable. We want frameless, and to keep our costs as low as possible while meeting our functional needs. What do you suggest for brands to look at?

  6. Jonathan

    Looking to do a very large basement pantry probably in the area of over 200sqft. We need quality construction as they will hold a lot of weight, it it is going in a basement pantry so paint grade materials are suitable. We want frameless, and to keep our costs as low as possible while meeting our functional needs. What do you suggest for brands to look at?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jonathan,
      If your cabinets are going to hold a lot of weight Frameless cabinets will not be less expensive and they will also not be able to hold as much weight as Framed cabinetry. Certainly the drawers and roll outs won’t. A large walk-in pantry with shelving and roll outs built buy a contractor will be the least expensive and most heavy duty choice. Unpainted cabinets are not available in less expensive brands so you should get stained or painted cabinetry that is prefinished. Any of the brands we rate well with a 1 or 2 price point would be good cabinet selections such as J&K, CNC, Procraft, 21st Century etc

  7. Aaron

    I have received 3 quotes for cabinets. Not 100% the same design – but they are within reason of each other. Waypoint (upgraded to APC) – $20k. Brighton – $31k. Omega $38k.

    All seem like solid options. Any reason to not go with Waypoint? The only concern I have is the back. They claim to have “1/8” plywood captured back” – which seems way too thin to even be real. Am i reading the spec book wrong?

    Also, any concern with the waypoint hardware? I know its not Blum, but it is “CushionClose”. Have you seen much difference there?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Aron,
      Waypoint has a hanging rail so the 1/8″ back isn’t where the cabinet is screwed to the wall. Still why are you pricing two highly rated expensive custom kitchen cabinet brands and one cheap mediocrely rated line? Why not get the price for better made inexpensive lines?

      The Waypoint hardware is fine, and the back is OK, but there are better lines in this price point.

      Plus when people demonstrate a bad strategy for pricing cabinets they are almost always ignoring more important design issues with their kitchen. So I would bet that your design needs improvement. I’d be ready to email the design and call our podcast on Friday between 2 and 4 at 610-500-4071. We can give you advice on cabinet brands but more importantly fix design problems you aren’t aware of.

  8. Maddie

    When I order cabinets from a dealer, does the dealer inspect the cabinets first before being delivered to me? Also, who puts the hardware in the cabinets? Is it my contractor or the dealer?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Maddie,
      Most cabinets come in boxes so they don’t get inspected until after they are delivered to you. Your contractor drills and puts the hardware you purchase separately on the cabinets.

  9. Carole Bedford

    I would get nervous.
    The Green Forrest dealer has recommended we upgrade to Merillat Masterpiece (semi-custom) so they can use fewer filler panels. They say it isn’t a lot more expensive. Merillat Masterpiece isn’t on your list.

    What do you think?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Carol,
      We don’t rate Merillat well. But we need a lot more information to understand your kitchen. Not sure what fewer panels means.

  10. Carole Bedford

    Hi Paul,
    I’ve followed this blog for a long time. It’s amazing. We’re coming down to two kitchen re-modeling companies. One does Fabuwood and the other does Green Forrest. Fabuwood is a little more expensive. We might trust the Green Forrest company a little more.

    How would you compare the two cabinets for a painted white shaker kitchen?
    Thanks so much.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Carol,
      Both are good lines. However Green Forest does not make 36″ high wall cabinets to the best of my knowledge. They only make 30,39, and 42. If your ceiling hieght is around 96″ you need 36″ hign wall cabinets and a stacked crown molding to reach the ceiling. You should show us your design on our podcast and we can correct design errors. Call 610-500-4071 on a Friday 2-4 pm EST

  11. Julie

    Hi Paul. Thanks so much for putting all this info out for everyone and for answering our questions. It is very much appreciated. I’m looking at Schrock cabinets. Of their three lines, which have you rated in your chart? Boutique, as the most upgraded? Or Trademark as the upgrade to the Entra line? Thanks in advance.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Julia,
      All Masterbrands lines make it difficult to find specs on cabinet construction. The companies lack of transparently is one reason we do not sell their brands even though I really like Homecrest, Decora, and other lines they sell when upgraded.
      Schrock can be upgraded to 1/2″ plywood sides and soft close hinges and tracks. I’m not positive if all their lines including Entra can be upgraded to that construction – you will have to ask the dealer. But the upgraded version is what we review and give the rating to.

  12. Sony

    Thanks Paul!!!

    Any input on painted vs stained doors for around the sink/dishwasher/range etc? My wife wants all painted cabinets and multiple designers have alluded to paint not being the safe option for bottom cabinets when close to a water source, if we are thinking long term looks.I agree with them, however, my wife feels I am overthinking it.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sony,
      Farm sinks drip onto lower cabinets. If your careful otherwise it should be fine. One door can always be replaced too,

  13. Franklin

    Hi Paul,

    Can I make sure we’re looking at the right Fabuwood product? It’s a traditional kitchen with 36″ stainless range, farmhouse sink, etc. Older house. I think we want Allure, Fusion, Dove. Do you agree? What about Allure Imperio Dove. It’s more detailed.

    Do you have a favorite, or recommended Fabuwood cabinet and door combo? Is there price variation between the different cabinets and doors?

    As always, thanks for the advice. We’re made so much progress with your help!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Door styles should be the similar price but they are new so I can’t be sure yet. Galaxy will be at least 16% less. The Imperio will have issues because it is an applied molding so I wouldn’t choose that one personally.

  14. Sony

    Hi Paul,

    I see the ratings of Schrock are B+ to A-. Is A- for the trademark series?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sony,
      Good question. The ratings are for the upgraded Schrock. They just fall BETWEEN the two criteria we use to give a brand a B+ or an A-.

  15. Franklin

    Hi Paul,
    Your site is always such a great source of information.

    On to design! We have 9′ 2″ ceilings that are not very level. Would you install two tiers of cabinets (36″ and 18″ uppers and 90″ tall cabinets and 18″ uppers) to reach the ceiling with a single crown? Or would you go to 96″ (42″ uppers) and crown both the tops of the cabinets and the ceiling?

    We’ll have task lighting under the cabinets, so we’re planning on install the trim at the bottom of cabinets that hides those lights.

    Again, thank you so much!


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Frank,
      36″ uppers and 15 ” small cabinets stacked with a two piece crown molding would look and work best for a ceiling 110″ high.

  16. Franklin

    Hi Paul,

    Fabuwood is our choice and we have a good proposal in hand! Thanks for all of your help with the process. I will be calling into the Podcast to talk about our design and layout very soon.

    This is worth other people knowing. We had a quote from a full-service kitchen remodeling company who were charging a crazy price for Fabuwood (3 times what we are going to pay), which is what chased us away in the first place. I can see how important it is to get multiple quotes.


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Frank,
      It NEVER makes sense buying cabinetry through a contractor. You are adding an unqualified and unneeded middleman. Many contractors and builders tell you they are getting a discount for you, which is never the case. Our company won’t even sell directly to contractors unless it is their own home or a spec home.

      You should actually never buy anything, except maybe windows and doors, directly from contractors. This includes, flooring, appliances, tile, fixtures, etc. If your contractor tells you that they get a discount then you should be able to buy directly from the retailer and still get their discount. It eliminates kick backs, and also confusion.

      I know contractors that were trying to help and so bought floor tile themselves to use their discount and passed the savings on to the customer -thinking they were simplifying things. Until the customer came home and the floor that was installed was the wrong color because numbers were accidentally reversed when the contractor ordered the floor he’d never actually seen.

      Skip the middleman and select your own products and have contractors bid on labor and rough construction materials like studs, electric, plumbing, and drywall only. Then comparing contractors bids is easy and “apples to apples”

  17. Franklin

    This is all so helpful! Thank Paul!

    We’re going to keep the house for the long-term, but it’s a vacation house.


  18. Franklin

    Hi Paul,

    That is so helpful! Thanks.

    That leads me to CNC vs. Fabuwood. I can get both locally. You know them both really well. Is Fabuwood significantly higher quality?

    My kitchen cabinets are going to cost around $12,000 in CNC. How much more should I expect to pay for Fabuwood, and is the extra cost worth it?

    One last question. Our house old and in older DC neighborhood. Should we go for Shaker or a traditional raised panel in white? I would like a turned leg on the island.

    Thanks again for your incredible website.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Franklin,
      Fabuwood is worth the 15% more you usually pay over CNC IF it is your home and you will be there a while. The nicer looking finish and dealing with a more organized company is worth it over the long hall. If you are flipping a home CNC would be a better choice.

      Raised panel white in Fabuwood is in their Value line and is 12% less than shaker styles but offers less cabinet sizes and a tiny less quality in construction, that I think is irrelevant. Raised panel doors haven’t really been popular in 10 years. This is a style choice you must decide. It’s a great value though in Fabuwood.

      Warning CNC is having out of stock issues. Fabuwood is not.

  19. franklin

    Hi Paul,

    Sorry I got too complicated there. haha. I’ll be sure to call into the podcast.

    Maybe I can simplify. At my budget (Ikea-like), would you recommend face frame or frameless?

    We all really appreciate the time you put into this!!


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Franklin,
      Especially on a tight budget you should get framed cabinetry as the frameless lines at that price point will be terribly made like IKEA.

  20. Sony

    Thank you Paul for the response. I meant to say Schrock’s trademark series and not traditional series.

    Thanks for the 3/4 upgrade advice. I have debated this myself because our current cabinets don’t have soft close, but they are 3/4″ inch, so my wife feels it would be safer, if we wanted it to last as our kids who are 3 and 1 grow up. She read online that it is the best if you wanted the cabinets to last a long time.

    BTW, is there a link to your podcast up? I did read you are waiting to have a collection of them before putting it up

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sony,
      Schrock has 1/2″ sides. When an exposed end is finished a 1/4″ panel is added. All cabinet brands can flush out the sides but that isn’t the same as Kraftmaid’s 3/4 inch sides. And if your present cabinetry has 3/4″ sides I doubt it is like Kraftmaid’s it is probably either frameless cabinetry or a flush exposed end.

  21. Sony

    Hi Paul,

    Great set of articles, my wife and I are planning a kitchen remodel and your blog articles are troves of helpful information. Thank you so much for being willing to share the information, really appreciated.

    In the article, you rate Kraftmaid and Kraftmaid vantage the same quality wise, but value is better for Vantage. Would you say the same if you moved to All Plywood and 3/4″ end panels for both? We are comparing them against Schrock’s traditional series?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      HI Sony,
      Kraftmaid Vantage is just pre-packeaged upgrades to regular Kraftmaid that we recomend in either case. Because they are prepackaged were you to select these same upgrades individually it would cost more. Upgrading to 3/4″ sides on framed cabinetry is great but a little overkill unless you are REALLY tough on cabinetry. We carry Bishop which does the 3/4″ ply upgrade for only 4%. Kraftmaid charges more like triple that for the upgrade.

      Not sure what Shrocks “traditional series” is as it isn’t one of their true product lines. I suspect if it comes with 3/4″ sides that it is a frameless cabinet and a different animal completely than framed 3/4″ sides which would be way better construction.

  22. franklin

    Hi Paul,
    We’re in DC. I’ve found local dealers for Green Forrest, J&K and 21st Century. You can also get CNC nationwide though RTA Cabinets. AllWood lets you order direct. If you think one of these is better than the rest, let me know!

    What do you think of going frameless at this budget level? Our kitchen is small, so getting more storage might be a good idea. You also get more pullouts with frameless — compared with doors and fixed shelves with face frame.

    You help is much appreciated.


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Franklin,
      You have gotten too complex for a simple answer. I’d recomend calling our podcast.

  23. Franklin

    Hi Paul,
    What a great resource. What do I do if I only have an idea budget? What cabinet line would you recommend in the Ikea price-range that is better, and is either in-stock, or shipped quickly.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Frank,
      Any of the brands that we list on this post that get good marks and are a price point level 1 will be IKEA like pricing and they will be far better made and come already assembled. You don’t say where you are located which can determine which brand is available to you. A kitchen determines the value of your home so selecting cabinets because they are in stock or a little more expensive (even though they are better made) usually is a big mistake unless you are flipping the home quickly. For your own home or a rental getting a better made cabinets always pays.

  24. Justin

    I’ve noticed many references to your Friday podcast with a call in number. I’d like to listen to the podcast but I can’t seem to find a link anywhere. Can you please share?

    I’m about to start a kitchen renovation project and am learning as much as I can – this site is a great resource. Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Justin,
      Thanks for your interest. The podcast is being recorded, edited and catalogued. It won’t be released until we have a library of shows to listen to. Then it will be available on Apple, Google, and the Spotify Podcast sites, as well as being hosted on our own web site.

      The first episode was titled “Cawls with Paul” making fun of my accent. After the second episode the title became “Better call Paul” The kitchen design and cabinet podcast.

      If you’d like a advance copy of the first episode you can email me at

  25. Kristen

    I am getting pushback from a kitchen designer for wanting to put a 24 inch sharp microwave drawer in a Fabuwood 24 inch microwave base cabinet. They are saying the cutout would need to be perfect or it won’t work. Is this something that is possible and that you do? It seems to me no one would make a 24 inch microwave cabinet if it didn’t work. Does Fabuwood have a 27 inch wide microwave cabinet?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kristen,
      That cabinet is designed for that microwave. The only problem would be if the microwave was in an island and you also wanted an outlet on the side of that cabinet. Possibly the real issue here is that the designer knows that the contractor is not capable of making the cut out. If that’s the case there is an easier way to do this and that is to use a 24″ 3 drawer base for the microwave cabinet. Then the contractor has less cutting to do and only needs a small filler to close in 3/4″ under the microwave drawer. Sharpe shows how to turn a drawer base into a microwave base in their online specifications for the 24″ microwave.

      Either possibility here is not comforting. Either you have a designer that knows the contractor is unqualified. Or you have a designer so inexperienced that they don’t know what a cabinet is designed for. This design installation team could be trouble. There is no 27″ Fabuwood microwave drawer base made as there are only 24 and 30 inch microwave drawers

  26. Jay

    Hi Paul,

    I am having conversation with my KD to place Fridge in between two 18″ Pantry or have Fridge and pantry next to each other. Any suggestion please

    Thank you

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jay,
      Kitchen are too complicated to answer a question like yours without measurements and seeing a potential design. I’d recomend calling our podcast with your design ready to email.

      We respond to questions from outside our service area free of charge during our call-in podcast most Fridays between 2 and 4 pm Eastern Standard Time.

      Just call in to 610-500-4071 and leave a message during those hours and we will call you back when your turn comes up. All calls are returned even after 4pm.We review plans free of charge on the podcast simply have them ready to email before you call.

  27. JamesB

    Hi Paul,

    Is see that do you don’t have Christiana Cabinetry on your list. How would they compare with the other 6-tier cabinets, such as Stylecraft?


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi James,
      I don’t know Christiana cabinetry but they look like they really specialize in frameless cabinetry even though they do sell framed. When custom lines specialize in frameless I would avoid them for framed cabinetry. The only sensible reason to buy frameless cabinetry should be for slab doors styles. If you are selling frameless cabinetry for traditional door styles it shows a lack of appreciation for the better construction framed cabinetry offers. So what else don’t you know? It does look like they do nice book matched frameless wood veneered cabinetry. That is a dangerous style though as if a cabinet door was damaged the replacement wouldn’t match.

      I always shake my head that the frameless brands that are LESS durable FEATURE the the most difficult to repair and replace options. IE Pantry pull outs, Lemans and Magic corners, mixer lifts, book matching veneers, and lift-up doors. You don’t say what style door you want but if it isn’t a slab I might avoid Christiana.

  28. Wendy Weeks

    Hi Paul. I have been lookingbat Kraftmaid Vantage for awhile. I have a contractor suggesting I look at Showplace, Cubitac and J & k. What are your thoughts on each of those, as compared to Kraftmaid? I see 2 look to be much less expensive in your review. Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Wendy,
      Less expensive brands can make sense depending on your budget, the kitchen design, and door style and finish selections. To figure out what is best for you we need a lot of information. We answer questions and review designs most Fridays 2-4 pm EST. This Friday we are off for 4th of July

  29. Joby

    Hi Paul,

    What is your take on Full Overlay and standard overlay door cabinet? is is matter of preference or there’s pro and con?

    And, is it okay to place a Wine cube on top of Fridge rather than Fridge cabinet as part of Kitchen Design layout.

    Thank you for the great work

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Joby,
      If the construction is the same in a framed cabinet, there is only the style difference between full overlay and partial or standard overlay cabinetry. Because the doors and drawers are smaller standard overly can be 15% or more less than full overlay cabinetry. However the full overlay look is much more popular.

  30. JamesB

    Hi Paul,

    This is James in Virginia again. We’re getting close to deciding. How would you compare Wellborn Estate Inset, Starmark Inset and Fabuwood Full Overlay against each other. Also, how much of a premium, in terms of percentage more expensive, do you think Wellborn Estate Inset and Starmark Inset should be over Fabuwood.

    As always, thanks for the expert advice.

  31. Nick Lyons

    Hey Paul,

    This is a great resource. I’m a designer in the Chicago area and this has been helpful in narrowing down cabinet lines to offer.

    One thing I noticed is the different ratings for Masterbrand. Schrock/Kemper/Diamond are identical product lines made at the same factory. Masterbrand created 3 different brand names to try and get into as many showrooms as possible in the same service areas without using the same name.

    One question I had is how you go about qualifying clients. I started in the cabinet industry working for a national RTA company and went out on my own a couple years ago. Now I offer various import options, semi-custom, and custom. Unless my clients are looking for inset/specialty finish/etc., usually they find an import option they like. While I’m designing, I see opportunities to improve and enhance the design with different sizes/options that would be available if I switched to a semi-custom option. I usually don’t mention it and stick with the functional but basic layout instead as I don’t want the customer to have sticker shock. How do you deal with this? Do you offer both options?

    Again your website has been a great resource!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Nick,
      We do rate Diamond and Schrock identically as we got documentation on their upgrades. Kemper we haven’t upgraded as Masterbrands is never transparent about the construction of any of their lines and we have know way to know if the Schrock and Diamond upgrades were applied to Kemper. If you are a Masterbrands dealer and know that they were we’ll take your word for it and upgrade Kemper as their website seems to reflect this.

      As far as qualifying customers. We sell the entire spectrum of cabinetry from inexpensive but better constructed imports up to several full custom brands. We simply inform customers about the advantages with any brand and give then exact pricing in the brand we think they want, Should they want pricing in other brands we guestimate the cost and if that sounds like something they would prefer we switch their design into the other line, door style, and finish.

      The reason customers usually end up in higher end semi custom cabinet lines is to get a finish or wood species unavailable in an imported brand. The reason they end up in custom lines is as you said, to get inset or beaded inset door styles or to combine and stack cabinetry reaching a 9 or ten foot ceiling.

      Being honest and transparent about what you sell also help gain a customers confidence in your recommendations.

  32. Roy

    Hi Paul, there seems to be many lines within the Kraftmaid line. Which lines do you recommend for Kraftmaid?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Roy,
      Kraftmaid has only one line to my knowledge but several upgrades. The Vantage line sold at private dealers is just most of those upgrades prepackaged. With Kraftmaid upgrade to at least plywood sides and soft close everything.

  33. Sandra Schneider

    Hi Paul,

    You gave Starmark Cabinets 2 different grades; one for standard cabninets and one for inset and 3/4″ cabinets. What is the difference between these cabinets and how can I be sure I am getting the better quality one? Thank you for compiling all this informationa and for answering questions.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sandra,
      With Starmark you must upgrade to the 3/4″ back or the cabinet is poorly constructed. The inset styles come that way automatically.

  34. KJ

    Hello and how are you Paul?

    In a 100″ ceiling what works best 36″ or 42″ wall cabinet with crown molding

    Thank you in advance

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi KJ
      How level your ceiling is would determine the answer. If money weren’t a factor the best height would be 39″.
      Find a good kitchen designer to work with. They can get the information that helps you make sensible decisions.

  35. jk

    Hi Paul,

    I have 63″ wall from end window sink to end corner wall. In that 63″ wall, my KD said it’s fine to put 18″ and 12″ wall cabinet on either side and 30″ wall cabinet in between with 30″ Microwave underneath. Is that ideal as long as it’s centered with 30″ Range at the base

    Lastly, can you have 18″and 9″ base cabinet between Range or the cabinet door should be same size on either side?

    Thank you for all the great work

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi JK,
      These kind of questions without knowing your whole kitchen are impossible to answer. There are a 1000 considerations that determine what works and looks best. Thinking that there is an answer so simple just means that you need all the more professional help. Once you get a design completed you can call in Friday 2-4 and show us the plan and we can critique it.

  36. Kellee

    Hi Paul, It looks like you are still responding to this post so hope you see this. Bought a house in Petoskey, Mi. that needs updates throughout entire home. 1988 Kitchen needs to be gutted. Been looking last two months for quality reasonably priced Kitchen cabinets since house needs remodel almost everywhere. Follow your ranking and blog and have seen you rank Green Forest high quality and lower price. Found one I like. Dealer I’m using also carries Marsh, Wolf, Yorktown. Seen negative reviews on all. I would love to know your thoughts. We are close to water so I’m told we would be better off going with a MDF front panel due to humidity. Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Upgraded all these lines are pretty well made. Wolf Classic is the Wolf line we rate. Yorktowne will be way more expensive than the other lines. An MDF center panel on a recessed panel door style is a good idea. An entire MDF door will be inexpensive and look great to start but will get damaged too easily for a family that is rough on things. Don’t worry about the water – cabinet doors are warrantied against warping but not the nicks, scratches, and water damage likely to happen in a kitchen with MDF doors.

  37. joby k

    Hi Paul,

    Do you know anything about Major Cabinet? If yes, how’s the quality although I don’t see it in your list

    Thank you

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Joby,
      Don’t know anything about this line other than what I can tell from the website. That they are an inexpensive tiny import line sold only by J&S. J&S wouldn’t be qualified to design a kitchen as they simply sell cabinet boxes and replacement windows in different sizes.

      This is what is so wrong with the kitchen business. Homeowners, flippers, and contractors often feel that they just need to find cheep cabinets that won’t fall apart. While that may be fine what they need more, even though they are too uninformed to realize it, is good advice, expert design,and a qualified kitchen design professional to help them from conception to completion. Saving at most 20% buying these type of cabinets on a renovation project that will spend possibly 20 times that amount and will eliminate the one person who’s knowledgeable about kitchens and design is foolish. Our funny video tries to make this point.

  38. JamesB

    OK. 🙂

    What’s the minimum island depth that works?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi James,
      24 deep for cabinets would be the minimum for a permanent island. A movable table or cart, when you really don’t have the space for an island at all, is a better decision.

  39. JamesB

    Hi Paul,
    We were hoping to have wood panels for a side-by-side professional (24″ deep) refrigerator (KitchenAid) and the dishwasher (Miele). Can you do that Fabuwood? If not, I was wondering if we could have customer panels made by one of the custom kitchen cabinet companies to match to Fabuwood door style and cold. What do you think of that?

    Also, can we build-in the KitchenAid pro in a Fabuwood kitchen.

    One your previous comment, what is the best way to build a 20-21″ island. We have 36″ in either side. One side faces that fireplace, the other side faces the range and sink. We really want seating for three at the island.

    Thanks again for sharing your expertise!


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi James,
      Fabuwood does custom panels.

      There is no way to make a 21″ deep Island look anything but silly. Just because you want something doesn’t mean you should get it. Kitchen designers are not magic so some spaces should just not have islands. That’s why you want a good designer – to help you make sensible decisions and not to just give bad design choices you feel you must have.

  40. Simone

    Hi. I just met with a KD and told him I was interested in their Fabuwood cabinets. He said Fabuwood has been one of their most popular lines but he does not want to recommend it because it has been rather unreliable since the pandemic hit. Instead he suggested Diamond vibe. Is that true about Fabuwood? Is Diamond vibe in the same price range as Fabuwood? Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Simone,
      We have found just the opposite – that Fabuwood has been more reliable, certainly time line wise, that the other brands we sell and know of. Diamond Vibe should be more expensive and even upgraded to plywood construction still not as well made as Fabuwood. When other dealers have problems we don’t experience there is often something going on we can’t know about. Such as a bad relationship between the dealer and Fabuwood.

  41. JamesB

    Great idea. Will do.

    Does Fabuwood have a 15″ deep base cabinet? We need to build a 20″ wide island because our kitchen in narrow and we have an old colonial fireplace on one wall.

    Thanks! Look forward to doing the podcast.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi James,
      Fabuwood has any depth cabinetry. However a 15″ deep base cabinet for an Island is not possible, particularly with a 20″ countertop. I think you need some major design help. Definitely send us the design and call in before purchasing your kitchen.

  42. JamesB

    Hi Paul,

    We’re meeting with the local Fabuwood dealer you recommend in our area. Thanks for the lead!

    We’ve made the big decision to not wait 4 months for a fully custom cabinet. We’re going to install the new kitchen before we move in, rather than wait and do it while we’re living in the house. So lead-times will determine when we can move in.

    If we can’t make the stock Fabuwod cabinet sizes work in our space (we have a fixed line of lower cabinets between two walls) is there a semi-custom cabinet line that you would recommend (painted, full overlay) that can deliver in 6-8 weeks?

    What about Medallion, KraftMaid Vantage or Decora? Or KraftMaid from Lowes?

    Is there one you would recommend that can deliver in 6-8 weeks?

    Thanks again!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi James,
      I don’t think any of those lines will come in that time frame. However I doubt there will be sizes Fabuwood doesn’t have that you need. You should have us vet your design during our call-in podcast most Fridays between 2 and 4 pm Eastern Standard Time.

      Just call in to 610-500-4071 and leave a message during those hours and we will call you back when your turn comes up. All calls are returned even after 4pm. We review plans free of charge on the podcast – simply have them ready to email before you call.

  43. joby king

    Hi Paul,

    what is the difference between Frameless and Frame Cabinet? Any Pros and Cons among the two?

    Very grateful for your continuing support

  44. JamesB

    Hi Paul,

    That makes sense. Thanks.

    If I am ready to give up the inset cabinet, and wanted something with a short lead-time, let’s say 1-2 months, rather than 4+ months, who should I look at for high quality, mid-price. All 3/4″ plywood, solid wood doors, Blume hardware, etc.?

    Do you know what Fabuwood is quoting for lead times right now?


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi James,
      On a framed cabinet 1/2 plywood sides are fine. You definitely want all soft close preferably Blum hardware.
      Fabuwood is 4-6 weeks depending on whether you get direct “tailgate delivery” or if they deliver first to a separate facility that delivers directly into your home.

  45. JamesB

    Hi Paul,
    This is James in Virginia again. We’ve met with the Brighton rep, and we have a rough quote and we’re waiting on the final design. We’re also getting a quote and design from Signature. Both for a beaded inset cabinet, recessed door, painted. Thanks for your great help so far.

    It’s looking like our kitchen cabinet layout opens up the possibility of using standard, non-custom cabinets to get the look we want. We can work with standard size cabinets. That would save both money, and the long manufacturing time for custom cabinets.

    I think Fabuwood has nice, cost-effective painted cabinets, but only full overlay.

    Is there a non-custom beaded, inset cabinet that looks good, is reasonably priced, and doesn’t have the long 4 month lead time?

    Again, thanks for the wonderful advice. I hope my questions is useful to others.


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi James,
      Inset cabinetry requires Custom or close to custom cabinetry. While I don’t know the lead times for all brands I suspect they are similar and there are no inexpensive brands that can do inset well. Bishop might be the closest thing to what you are looking for and they will be 3 months and not as nice as the more expensive lines for inset.

  46. Wilt

    Hi. I posted this question a couple of days ago. Not sure if you saw it. But I wanted to ask again– any opinion on JWQ cabinets? It’s not on your list of cabinet brands. This was one of the brands offered by a cabinet dealer near me. Price looked reasonable and I’m considering it. Thanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Wilt,
      Sorry Not sure how we missed it. JWQ doesn’t say how their cabinets are constructed so I can’t advise you, but Fabuwood is the best in this class of cabinetry so I might get a quote from a dealer in that brand. As always the design is the most important thing and what’s usually ignored by consumers.

    2. Rodger

      I am looking at purchasing some JWQ cabinets. Did you purchase them and any issues. It’s hard to find any reviews on them?

      1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

        Hi Rodger,
        With dozens of well rated, low-cost, US owned and assembled import cabinet brands available, why pick this brand? I don’t like the creepy “working class prices” advertised on their low-quality website.

        There are smarter choices out there, just pick a low cost known brand that we rate well on this blog. When you aren’t an expert in something don’t make bold choices that knowledgeable professionals would not. The internet is making too many people “armchair” experts. Patients come into their doctors’ offices having self-diagnosed themselves.

        For kitchen designers, I think we are particularly challenged with customers thinking that they know better. Read about a family of “Knowbettas” below:

  47. Simone

    Any thoughts on Mantra Cabinets? It’s a relatively new line and there’s not much reviews online. I just came from a cabinet dealer and it’s their most affordable brand because you can’t customize which is fine by me.

    I don’t want anything fancy. I just want something durable that will not look like crap in a couple of years. Thank you for all your assistance to people like me who are buying cabinets for the first time and don’t know what we’re doing!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Simone,
      No information on Mantra Cabinets. At a quick glance, it looks like a new import line owned by Masterbrand. If you are considering a line like this I would stick with the brands that have been doing it for a while like Fabuwood, Wolf, J&K, CNC, and others. This type of line is not a Masterbrand sweet spot.

  48. Don

    hi Paul
    Thanks for creating this incredible resource for so many people who probably wont be your customer, very generous! I am considering Hanssem cabinets, their website shows 3/4″ box construction with a 1/4″ back panel. There does not seem to be an option to upgrade. Is that reason enough to eliminate them from as an option in your opinion?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      HI Don,
      Thanks for alerting us to the Hanssem construction changes. Either we misread the back panel as 3/8″ plywood originally for our review, or more likely they switched to 1/4″. Or they eliminated a hanging rail. I have changed our review to rate them under their present construction.

      And yes, unless you are flipping a home and not staying for many years, I would eliminate them from consideration.

  49. joby king

    I hope you are doing Paul.Do you know anything about MK Wood Cabinet? They have office in New jersey

    Thank you

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Joby,
      I don’t know much about MK. I looked at their web site and they don’t say how the back of the cabinet is made. Everything else construction wise with all the cabinet styles that come with dovetail drawers looks OK.

  50. Wendy

    Hi Paul – thanks for taking the time to review all the cabinets. We are looking at Medallion, Kraftmaid and American Woodmark cabinets, in darker stains. I am wondering if there will be a difference in hardware quality/durability for drawers and soft close across the brands? Does American Woodmark hold up against these more expensive brands in quality and finish? And lastly, should I expect color change with a dark finish in either cherry or Maple? Tha is!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Wendy,
      Upgraded all these brands use the same hinges, tracks, and drawer box construction. Finishes between brands is equally durable as well. However the more expensive brands have more attractive colors and more customisation available. The quality control will also be better on more expensive cabinets. However they are all warrantied. Cherry wood becomes redder and darker over time. Maple turns more yellow. In a dark finish though the changes in the wood will not be noticable.

      FYI very dark stains like espresso for kitchen cabinetry is growing less popular and may look dated over the years. More natural finishes always hold up style wise over time. Think of the dark purple cherry cabinets, the dark brown oak cabinets, and the pickled white maple cabinets from 20 to 40 years ago. They are now all terribly dated while natural color woods all retain their appeal.

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