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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. Erika

    How do I go about submitting my design for review? What information do I need to submit? I only have the “3D” pictures.
    It is a small kitchen in a townhouse, not a lot to work with. I am not looking to spent a fortune. At the same time, I am curious if I am the best design. Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Erica,
      Have the drawings ready to email on a Friday at 2pm and then call and the designer that helps you will give you their email and take a look at your drawings.

  2. Erika

    Thank you for taking the time to share valuable information on this blog. I have similar questions about J&K Cabinets. I am planning a kitchen renovation in a small townhome. It is pretty much a full renovation (upgrade to a simple white shaker style, trying to improve/maximize storage organization, new countertop, flooring etc.).
    There is so much space to work with and I don’t want to spend a fortune.
    I went to a local cabinets and flooring shop that carries a few RTA cabinets brands including J&K Cabinets that would fit my budget.
    Many of the complains online are about the quality of the hardware. They offer 5 years warranty on the cabinets and only 1 year for “door hinges and all drawers glide system, including system hardware (lift system) “. Is that telling or is it standard warranty for similar grade cabinets?
    Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Erika,
      Normally I don’t worry about the length of a warranty and 5 years is standard for many lines but the hardware usually has an equal or longer warranty not a shorter one. That seems odd. Fabuwood, Wolf, or CNC might be safer lines and in a similar price point. They all use Blum’s hardware that have a lifetime warranty even if the cabinet lines don’t cover it.

  3. Edisto

    Recently I went to Lowe’s to see what they offered in kitchen cabinets. The kitchen designers told me I would need to make an appointment bringing in my kitchen measurements (they don’t come to the home to do that) and then they would make an in-depth kitchen design for me. Yesterday I was looking online for kitchen cabinets and found your blog about Lowe’s and their kitchen designers. It was a real eye-opener to read this even though I already thought it was a bad idea for me to try to measure my kitchen. I live in Matthews North Carolina and have asked numerous people if they could recommend a contractor to which they said that they didn’t know anyone. I don’t want to change the configuration of my kitchen just have new cabinets, some with pull-out shelves in the bottom. I appreciate your blog info and it definitely is setting me in a better direction to finding what I need.

  4. Jenny Anaya

    Hi, This has been a wealth of information. Im in California and the designers you have recommended are not close at all. Either way I had already started working with a kitchen designer from Western States Cabinets. Do you know anything about them? I really felt comfortable with the lady who has been working with me. She recommended I go with Diamond brand of cabinets but I liked the color and texture of one particular style from Waypoint called Duraform Drift. I’m also okay going all white shaker style on both. Which one do you recommend based on quality and price? I guess which one is the best bang for my buck? 🙂 She said she prefers Diamond but I would like to hear your opinion.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Upgraded to all plywood construction and 1/2″ plywood sides both lines will be well made. The Duraform cabinets are thermafoil coated so they are very sensitive to heat. I like the look but personally I would not get high BTU burners and professional cooktops with that finish. Keep in mind too that since the finish is plastic and a unique pattern it will be unlikely that you could get replacement doors or drawer fronts 10 or 15 years down the road

  5. mari lamers

    Hi, I am starting the process of renovating a kitchen and I wanted to get your take on buying cabinets (specifically Kraftmaid or thomasville) from home depot or plato cabinets (local dealer uses this brand). I am going to hire a designer to help with plan/color choices but stopped in a home depot today to check out what they had. I see in your review that you give the Kraftmaid and thomasville higher end A/A- reviews. The price cheaper than I thought it would be and I just want to make sure it is not a bad choice.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      It’s important to buy the cabinets from the designer that created the design. So if you are getting cabinets from a Home Center, I’d research to find the most experienced designer at a Lowes or Home Depot close enough to reach via and close enough to measure your kitchen. Home centers aren’t supposed to do designs that remove walls, so if your design is better removing a wall I’d definitely get Kraftmaid from an independent dealer. Since they compete with home centers selling Kraftmaid the price will be close.

  6. boymom3764

    Hi Paul! Thank you for the time you put into the valuable resource. I find myself here often these days!!!

    We got a great recommendation to a KD and have received great service. I worked out the full design using Diamond because I was trying to stay within “budget”. When I brought my husband in to review the final design he started to look around and found our perfect color (the dream cabinet color that we already base our house design off of) in the Omega section. He also felt that the quality was better. I had already settled for my 2nd choice for budget. So here we are, officially upgraded to Omega Dynasty and are awaiting the final updated price from our KD tomorrow morning.

    As I look at some of the pricing here our pantry cabinet is obviously the most expensive piece of the puzzle. I’ve scaled back the other upgrades to justify the 30 inch pantry cabinet with 5 pull out drawers with cookie sheet / cutting board storage on top. Other then that we have only selected a full size trash pullout drawer. We chose a shaker cabinet front that qualifies for a 15% savings (ends soon) so figured I would ask 1. Is omega dynasty worth the upgrade from diamond, especially when you are in love with the color and design and 2. Any suggestions or recommendations on ways to save on upgrades or which upgrades are worth every penny are greatly appreciated. We are a busy house with an even busier kitchen!

    Walked into this remodel with a $10K cabinet budget and think we are close to $15-$16K. The increase is ok, our house is in a valuable area and is all original from early 90’s but its still such a hard decision. I think its all the negative reviews getting to me.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Boymom,
      We review designs from outside our area on Fridays between 2-4 pm EST. I would have us look at your design to recommend ways to both save and improve the design. Dynasty shouldn’t be that much more than Diamond 15% at most apples to apples. Upgraded both are the same but yes the finishes in Dynasty can be nicer looking.

  7. Griffin

    Looking at painted shaker style cabinets. Between Fabuwood, Decora, Kitchen Compact and Schrock. Your advice?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Griffin,
      Depends on your kitchen design and budget. Fabuwood is a great value and a good choice for simpler designs and for projects on a tighter budget. Decors is a good choice for more complex designs, high ceilings, and larger budgets. The other two lines I like less for either end of the spectrum.

  8. Paul McAlary

    The difference in the numbers between Candlelight and Homecrest seem reasonable and the cabinet prices also don’t seem out of whack. Cabinets are expensive and your kitchen with the addition must be on the large size. Whether the difference in price is “worth it” is completely up to you.

    The difference you are paying for is not really for a better constructed and longer lasting cabinet. It is for how nice the finish looks and for the many added colors, styles, sizes, and customizations that are available in the Candlelight. Does your design take advantage of these things? Is the color and finish that much nicer? Only you can decide as this depends on you and how finnicky you are. Some customers take out a microscope to examine cabinets and obsess over everything. Some wouldn’t even notice a difference between a professionally touched up white shaker door style in these two lines. If you are a type A personality and money isn’t tight I get the more expensive line.

    But remember AS ALWAYS the design itself is most important and how good the designer is determines this. And Most kitchen designers are not particularly gifted. Certainly if the design was done by the architect, you or the contractor, we know it can be improved by a good kitchen designer.

  9. Kristen

    Thanks for all the fantastic information. We are doing a major remodel involving removing walls and bumping out the back of the house by 5 feet so that we have enough space for an island. The kitchen designer we are working with sells candlelight and homecrest cabinets. For a similar design, the candlelight are 30k while the Homecrest fully upgraded are 21k. Both prices seem quite high, but does this price difference seem reasonable between the two companies? Is it worth an extra 9k for candlelight? Thank you!

  10. Barbara


    Thank you for your thoughts, guidance and advice. It is truly appreciated and will be carefully and prudently taken.


  11. Barbara

    Thank you for this resource! I live in Arizona and we are remodeling our kitchen among other things. I’m overwhelmed with the many decisions and completely out of my element.
    1. We have a contractor that recommends Koville Cabinetry. He gets them from a source in California. They are not on your list. I believe they are RTA from China. They offer all plywood construction, all soft-closing, full overlay doors with a high quality multi coat stain/paint, 1/2″ plywood all sides and back panel w/furniture veneer interior and exterior, natural fnish, 3/4″ plywood full-depth banded shelf w/furniture veneer, natural finish, 3/4″ wood dovetail drawer box, 6-way adjustable concealed hinges with soft-close, full extensio undermount w/self-closing buffer system with very limited door and color choices. I’m concerned about using them because of this but also because I don’t have a kitchen designer if we choose them. Have you heard of this brand?
    2. Because I’m concerned about Koville Cabinetry I went to one kitchen designer. He has our measurements and designed a kitchen for us but he has not come out to the house (saw the kitchen online) nor has he really sat down and asked us what we like. He designed the kitchen with what he would like in the kitchen based on what he saw online. He is recommending Waypoint, not the entry level but I don’t know what. I don’t have the warm fuzzies about him and he is very busy, a one man show right now as he just bought the business. I know you have rated Waypoint as an OK brand. Should we get another quote from another Kitchen Designer to see what they suggest? You have recommended Interior Innovations and this is very close to us.
    3. I’m being rushed to make a decision because demo is going to start in November but I don’t want to make any mistakes as this a big investment. Any suggestions would be helpful.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Barbara,
      You are doing the renovation process in a terrible order.
      You should not be starting a renovation without first having an expert measure your home and work with you in great detail to create a good design.
      After creating and finalizing the design you should THEN be getting estimates from at least 3 contractors.
      AFTER you select a contractor and have a timeline for the renovation THEN you can buy your cabinets and countertops, appliances, flooring and other materials all before the demolition begins. You NEVER start a renovation without the design finalized AND everything on order and scheduled to be available for delivery when you and the contractor need it.

      Your contractor has encouraged you to make these mistakes so he or she can’t be that experienced or particularly ethical. I would cancel everything and start doing things in the correct order. If you have signed a contract with the contractor tell then that you will not allow him to start until everything is designed, ordered and scheduled.

      When you hear about kitchen renovations taking many months, contractors leaving the job and costs spiraling out of control those jobs all start like this. Add to this that you are starting a renovation during Covid-19 when projects needs to be particularly well organized to be safe.

      Take a breadth and three steps back before proceeding.

  12. Ken

    We are replacing a 36 inch bathroom vanity in a powder room. With the single cabinet going wall to wall, is there any reason to upgrade to plywood? It will be supporting a quartzite countertop. Thanks

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ken,
      A single Vanity can almost never go wall to wall. The vanity needs to be a little narrower and there needs to be filler so that the cabinetry can be leveled and fit correctly. Plywood isn’t important in this type application but the soft close drawers and doors that usually come with that upgrade are.

  13. Tony

    Unfortunately our beautiful kitchen we remodeled 7 years ago had major water damage from a dishwasher. First tip… make sure you have a drip pan under your dishwasher, OMG!

    Now on to the fun stuff… We are in the Pacific Northwest and we have talked with four different cabinet contractors. #1 Huntwood based out of Seattle so local for us. #2 Yorktowne, but they were recently bought out by Merillat so somewhat concerned about their quality. # 3 Contractor who did good work on our bathroom suggest Homecrest, and #4 Recommended Starmark. Thoughts as the insurance company is only covering so much, or are we splitting hairs?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Tony,
      First upgrade all these lines to all plywood and soft close doors and drawers. I don’t know Huntwood but upgraded they look like they would be fine. Yorktown is made better now that it has new owners so quality is no longer an issue. Starmark will be the most expensive and Homecrest the least expensive – but upgraded they are all fine.

      The bad news is that you had this water damage. The good news is that you now have the opportunity to design a better kitchen than you did last time. Since we NEVER see a kitchen design that we can not improve don’t make the mistake of not considering better design options. We look at designs on Fridays 2-4pm EST free of charge. Last week was the first time that the designs we looked over weren’t just flat out terrible since before the pandemic. Unfortunately almost everyone thinks their designs are fine but it is because they just don’t know any better.

  14. Griffin

    I am going to remodel my kitchen in a home built in 1938. I am looking at shaker style cabinets painted a light grey. I am trying to choose between Fabuwood Allure, Wellborn Select and Merillat Masterpiece. I am looking for the best construction for a reasonable price. Not a big kitchen, no island.


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Griffin,
      Fabuwood is the best value here cabinet wise. But the designer, the dealer, and the design itself are just as important to research. Most home owners focus almost laser like on cabinetry. Ignoring the other equally as important decisions. Keep in mind you are not shopping for a toaster on line where the best value is all you care about and there is little difference or amount of inconvenience between 1 supplier and another. You are embarking on the most complex home renovation you will ever do and you need a qualified person and company to help you make decisions that only experts are qualified making and helping you solve the issues that always arise during the course of the project.

  15. Jane

    Our contractor is recommending Wolf cabinets for our vacation/ cottage house in Maine. Looking at the mid grade white shaker cabinets. I have not heard of this brand. For a decent quality not too expensive cabinet would you recommended Wolf or Kraftmade which is what I’m familiar with and like? Thanks so much for your advice.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jane,
      In the better made lines like Wolf Classic is well made and probably 30% less than Kraftmaid.

  16. M Ritz

    Hi Paul
    Cabinet style will be simple shaker style. Thanks

  17. Paul McAlary

    Hi M,
    You still don’t mention door style. But generally the best value in a painted white cabinet I would choose framed over frameless and Fabuwood from your selections. Tedd Wood is great but much more expensive.

  18. M Ritz

    Adding to my previous question. The Wellborn line I am looking at is Select. The other two are Fabuwood and Executive. The cabinets will be painted, not stained. The appeal of the Executive line is the frameless design – seems to have more interior space. Which would you select as the “best”. Also possible to consider Tedd Wood. Your thoughts? thanks

  19. Wesley

    I am looking at Allen + Roth kitchen cabinets for our remodel as well as All Wood through Costco. Can you give any advice on which would be better constructed and a better value?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Wesley,
      At least at Lowes someone with some kind of experience will be helping you design the kitchen. Upgrade to the Luxury plywood box in Alan and Roth and you will be safer. Beater yet send us the design to look at on a Friday between 2 and 4pm and we can catch the mistakes that we usually see from people working in lines like these.

  20. m ritz

    I am working with 2 designers. One is recommending Wellbourn cabinets and the other suggests Fabuwood or Executive. Which of these three would you select?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi M,
      Wellborn has many possible cabinet lines and upgrades available. With their best cabinet construction they will beat out the other two lines but will also be much more expensive. I would choose Fabuwood over Executive for most door styles and finishes.

  21. Anushka

    Thanks for a great blog with very useful information. I am doing a full remodel on my Kitchen and got quotes for Shiloh Eclipse and Brighton cabinets. I’m looking for raised paneled doors. Can you please tell me three things why I should pick one over the other. Thanks so much in advance.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Anuska,
      Shiloh Eclipse is a frameless cabinet brand that uses a thin back with a hanging rail. Upgrading to plywood if possible is a must. Brighton is normally a framed cabinet in all plywood construction with a full plywood back which is better constructed. Both lines have nice finishes and options. Our ratings are above.

  22. Stacey

    For a full kitchen remodel, would you recommend Mouser inset or Starmark inset cabinetry? Would one be more durable over time or solid, quality construction? Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Stacey,
      That a tough call as I like both lines. In cases like this I would say that the designer is much more important that the choice of brands. And if it’s the same designer then I would take their advice as they have recent experience with both lines.

  23. Elaine

    I don’t see Cabinetry by Karman in your rankings. Can you tell me how you would rate them?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Elaine,
      Since I don’t know the line and how it’s priced I can’t rate it for value. Possibly you could tell us how it compares with another brand that we know price wise to help get some data on their price point. Construction wise if you upgrade both the framed and the frameless lines they offer they would get top marks for both. So A for framed and B for frameless.

  24. Shelley

    I am researching bathroom vanity options. Do you have an opinion about Bridgewood cabinets? I have a brochure for American Value line, but it looks like there are a number of lines to compare. What is the price point for these cabinets and how is the quality compared with Diamond?


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Shelly,
      Upgraded to all plywood construction Bridgewood will be very similar to Diamond and probably close in price. I never heard of American Value line but I checked and they are an RTA product and so we wouldn’t recomend them. They will be very inexpensive compared to the two better lines.

  25. Linda

    I am deciding between american woodmark leesburg and JSI Dover castle, both shaker style cabinets, is one preferable to the other? SDo you carry these?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Linda,
      These are not lines we sell. You don’t say what finish you are looking for. JSI should be much less expensive than American Woodmark. Although on a shaker painted white door style there might be very little difference. Other woods and finishes will look better in Woodmark.

  26. Patrick

    Thank you for the wealth of knowledge. I have read a few of your articles and come back to this frequently. We are replacing 30 cabinets, and initially were set on Fabuwood due to the cost/value aspect, but a few specialty cabinets were lacking from Fabuwood so our designer recommended Schrock (insurance is replacing due to water damage and she said the Schrock line is more on par with what we have no cost wise, which is Home Crest).

    Reading some of the reviews on Schrock has me pretty worried. I know most people who like their products don’t run back to the web to post how happy they are. If it makes a different, we are going with white cabinets. I’m not sure if our KD was designing using the trademark or entra level cabinet, but I would make sure it is at least trademark level.

    Thoughts or concerns?

    Thanks in advance

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Patrick,
      You have an opportunity here to get a far better kitchen then you have now. I would never replace a kitchen cabinet for cabinet as there is no kitchen I couldn’t dramatically improve. Reusing the countertop will save no money or very little as the company that will replace the old top will charge close to a new top price to do it.

      So as always on our blog the people asking the questions are asking the wrong ones. The right question to ask would be. “How could my kitchen design be improved from what is is now and what would THAT cost?”

      We look at floor plans on Friday’s 2-4pm EST free of charge and almost no one sends us a design that we think isn’t in need of major improvements that could cost you nothing or save you money if you chose a line like Fabuwood.

  27. Elyse

    Hi Paul,
    Would you recommend American Woodcraft or Fabuwood?
    How different are they in terms of construction?
    Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Else,
      American Woodmark upgraded to plywood construction is as well constructed as Fabuwood or at least very close to it. American Woodmark will offer more doorstyles and wood species, and finishes. However, If you are getting a white painted cabinet Fabuwood is a better choice.

  28. Tanya

    Thank you for this reference. I’ve come back to it a few times now. We’re about to pull the trigger on UltraLux cabinets from UltraCraft with ply-wood upgrade, Blum legrabox drawers, etc. We definitely want frameless slab doors. Any concerns with this line we should be aware of?

    Thank you so much!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Tanya,
      Upgraded to 3/4″ plywood, Ultracraft is a good frameless cabinet.

      As always, the kitchen designs we see from other designers and especially from architects and interior designers are absolutely terrible about 90% of the time. So finding the best designer to work with is the most important thing you can do to make your renovation a good value. Spending a fortune on a kitchen that is designed by anyone other than the most talented professional kitchen designers is nearly always a mistake.

      Consider this:
      Even though non-professionals often believe otherwise, professional kitchen designers know that there are an infinite number of ways to design anyone’s kitchen. Moving doorways, walls, fixture locations and even windows can transform a space.

      Because of this, nearly all of these design possibilities will be poor and only a very few will be good. The best kitchen designers will all come up with those good design options. While an inexperienced or untalented designer will never stumble upon the best design.

      The old adage: “What’s the likelihood of 1000 monkeys tapping on type writers eventually writing Moby Dick?” comes to mind.

      Wikipedia notes that when monkeys were actually tested, these were the results:

      In 2002[12], lecturers and students from the University of Plymouth MediaLab Arts course used a £2,000 grant from the Arts Council to study the literary output of real monkeys. They left a computer keyboard in the enclosure of six Celebes crested macaques in Paignton Zoo in Devon, England for a month, with a radio link to broadcast the results on a website.[13]

      Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five total pages largely consisting of the letter ‘S’,[12] the lead male began striking the keyboard with a stone, and other monkeys followed by soiling it.

  29. Jim

    Thanks for all the great info:
    I am redesigning my kitchen and we want white shaker cabinets.
    After reading the posts and responses I am concerned about the durability of this style.
    Are all white shaker cabinets painted?
    Do you recommend a brand that the finish will last better?
    We are not gentle on our cabinets and I now worry about the finish lasting.
    What do you suggest?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jim,
      On white shaker cabinets either you would be getting a paineted cabinet or a thermafoil. The paint is more easily chipped and scratch and also damaged by water. The thermafoil is less attractive but very durable, with the exception that it is easily damaged by heat, because it is a plastic coating. Thermafoil also can peel after about 20 years when the adhesive begins to breakdown. We haven’t seen much of a difference in durability between cabinet lines. Paint can be inexpensively touched up by professional furniture refinishers.

  30. Janet Fox

    Hi Paul,
    We are working on a kitchen remodel. We have a contractor who has done work with us many times and he has worked on a basic kitchen layout but wants us to go to a kitchen design center to work on the cabinetry layout and installation. He really wants us to have an all plywood box on the cabinets for strength and durability. I went to Markcraft Cabinet and Design Center in Apex, NC. I left my information and plan and am waiting on a call back. The only brands they carry are Ultracraft, Diamond (Vibe and Distinction) and they have their own line called Markcraft. They also carry Aristokraft which I have now but was wanting to upgrade. Do you know anything about the Markcraft brand or if any of the other lines would have the plywood available. Also we will need some custom cabinets in a couple of areas. Thanks for any input.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Janet,
      Ultracraft is frameless while Diamond upgraded can be well constructed framed cabinet and it can be upgraded to plywood. I can no longer find specifications on the Diamond web site so we can not verify exactly of how they are making their cabinetry. Markcraft I have no idea about.

  31. Matthew Mannino

    Hi Paul,
    We are remodeling our kitchen due to water damage and are trying to pick out new cabinets to replace our old cabinets. Our contractor uses JSI and recommends we go with them. We are using a simple design (white shaker) with crowning. We are hesitant about JSI because we have heard bad reviews online and from a sales women we spoke with at a showroom. We are now considering Wolf and Fabuwood as well as JSI. Insurance will pay for cabinets at the price of JSI, but we might be willing to pay a little extra for better quality. Do you think it is wise for us to stick with our contractors recommendation?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Mathew,
      I don’t ever put any stock in online reviews. See link:

      I do like Fabuwood a little better than Wolf Classic and Wolf Classic a little better than JSI but I also know those lines better than JSI. They are all well constructed inexpensive brands.

      I think as always the big mistake here is the design you are considering. This is the time to improve the layout of your kitchen and make your home more valuable. Spend money on design improvements. Re-doing the same floor plan is ALWAYS a mistake.

      Please read the blog below:

  32. Shelly

    Hi, I am just starting the journey to remodel my kitchen so i was thankful to find your site. I am starting to meet with companies and see what they would do with my kitchen and looking at what cabinets they carry. I instantly fell in love with the Acrylic white door from Woodharbor cabinetry. Should I fall out of love?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Shelly,
      The Wood Harbor Acrylic White Door quite likely can’t be done with the Wood Harbor frameless plywood box because the grain would ruin the high gloss melamine finish. So you will be getting a frameless particleboard box. You need to be very careful designing in a frameless MDF line and I would expect a kitchen in a Frameless MDF box with acrylic doors to have an average lifespan of about 20 years. The foil will be sensitive to heat and delamination is possible as the glue that holds the melamine to the MDF ages past 20 years.

      However, you can’t get this contemporary look in more durable cabinetry. It is the necessary price you pay to get the look. WoodHarbor is a good brand so they might beat the odds.

  33. Ann Fang

    Torn between an Shiloh inset cabinet versus Koch full overlay cabinet versus Kraftmaid Vantage standard overlay. Are inset cabinets more prone to problems than a full overlay? Also, if you had to pick between the three cabinet makers would you choose one over the other? Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      As seen on this blog we do not review Shiloh well due to how they construct cabinetry. Comparing apples to bananas by comparing inset, full overlay and standard overlay I don’t understand. Kraftmaid and Koch both make full and standard overlay I’d select from those two the overlay you like.

  34. Colin W

    Hi Paul
    Any thoughts on They seem to provide a quality cabinet – made and assembled in the US. Seems to be better than a lot of the cabinet guys that only assemble in the US.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Colin,
      Sorry I know nothing about However we never recomend ordering cabinets on line.

  35. Elyse Wolland

    This website is awesome! Thank you so much.
    I am considering cabinets from Home Depot (The Thomasville line), Current from Crystal, and Eclipse from Shiloh. Do you have a recommendation as to the best of these 3? Thanks so much.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Elyse,
      Thomasville might be the best value, but I worry about Home Depot designing a kitchen.

  36. oscar

    We are trying to make a choice on the brands that we are considering for our kitchen, we have Omega and Homecrest in our list (knowig that there is a price difference), however based on the comments that I have read here it seems that Fabuwood could be a good choice also. Is Fabuwood better to any of the two brands above, comparing quality and cost?. Your advice would be very appreaciated.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      With Omega Dynasty framed and Homecrest upgraded to plywood construction both lines and Fabuwood will be well constructed.
      Omega will have the nicest looking stains and the most ability to customize and be most expensive.
      Homecrest will offer more door styles and wood species and be less expensive.
      Fabuwood will offer less styles and finishes but also be cost less.

      For a white shaker door style It would be silly to pay more than Fabuwood. But if you want something else the other lines offer more choices.

  37. Charles Frankenhoff

    Thank you for your data. A couple of questions from a contractor.

    On design, what are the common design errors you usually find? Aside from basic measurement and allowing for opening/filler strips?

    Also, while I can’t overstate my hatred for particle board, or structural MDF, I’ve never had any trouble fixing holes in plywood, if anything good plywood holds better than hardwood. The width matters rather more – one really needs the plywood to be 3/4.

    And while not a huge fan of crystal, I have to say in real world their painted finishes are extraordinarily durable. At least the stuff from pre-2010. I’m somewhat less impressed by Mouser

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Design mistakes are too numerous to list and too complicated to describe in detail. The easy ones to explain are:
      Using 42″ wall cabinets in a 96″ high room.
      Putting a side by side refrigerator against a wall.
      Not leaving enough space around an Island.
      Not making cabinet doors the same size on either side of a window or cooktop
      Too many narrow cabinets
      Not removing soffits
      Keeping the existing design which almost NEVER makes sense
      Having moldings on top of cabinet come close to but not reach the ceiling
      Aligning base and wall cabinets when it isn’t needed
      Using a chimney hood in a traditional style kitchen
      Almost always getting a double bowl sink
      Adding a island when a peninsula is a better design choice.
      Not making floor plan changes such a moving a doorway when it is called for.
      Trying to reinvent the wheel.

      We haven’t noticed that much of a durability difference on painted cabinetry between different lines.

      1. DG

        Hi Paul,

        May I ask if increasing the height between countertop and wall cabinet from the standard 18″ to 20-21″ is considered a design mistake? I think it will make the countertop space more usable. Thank you.

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Hi DG,
          While increasing the distance between the countertop and wall cabinets can have benefits for tall people, there are cabinet alignments with tall cabinets and cabinet sizing issues that create problems. For example, cabinet costs can increase by 50% or more due to the customization this can necessitate. Appliances, can look odd or be at illegal or inconvenient heights. Home value can decrease as others will not appreciate your “innovation”.

          Always get design help from TOP experts when you are making bold design choices. Episode 32 on our podcast addresses these issues.

  38. Marjorie

    Question: I am a homeowner wanting to remodel my kitchen. We are thinking about using White Flat Eclipse cabinets. We have some concerns. Does the white turn to yellow over time? Does the Thermofuse Eclipse cabinets start peeling over time? This is an investment that we want to last a long time. We are not hard on our cabinets and are so nervous to start the whole remodeling process. We hear so many different opinions about Eclipse. Please let me know what you think? Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Frameless cabinetry and foil doors are not selections that should be made if you want a kitchen to last a lifetime.
      Themafoil is easily damaged by heat so heat shields need to be used and professional cooktops are problematic. Foil usually start to peel after around 20 years. For slab doors a laminate doorstyle will not have the problems that foil doors might.

  39. John

    Thank you for sharing this “blog” and your insight. We are looking to redo our original 1956 sliding doors kitchen and have a limited budget. We started withe box stores and were presented with Diamond Reflections series and corresponding sticker price.
    We then turned to a small kitchen cabinet dealership and they carry the J&K brand and a package (cabinets, counter, installation) of 1/2 the cost. We’ve been attracted to the shaker style. Reviews of J&K Cabinets seem to be say its good cabinets but eventually rails stick and paint starts rubbing off within a few years. What is your experience and/or knowledge of how well J&K Cabinets fair after 5 years (their warranty limit)or so, and is there other brands with a price point btw J&K and Diamond Reflections that have good value and quality rating? We plan to stay in our home longer than 5 years.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi John,
      All painted cabinetry is less durable than a stained finish. We have not noticed a significant difference with the durability of the less expensive and more expensive lines.

      However customers that don’t know any better believe that their painted finish issues are caused by spending less on cabinetry and so blame the cabinet line for their mishandling of the cabinets. Had they gotten expensive custom cabinets they would of had the same issues.

      Customers that buy less expensive cabinetry tend to be harder on cabinetry then the people who buy the most expensive cabinetry. Often in the most expensive homes people don’t even cook in their kitchen on any kind of regular basis. Families are often smaller and since there are sometimes delicate furniture, paintings and other pieces in the home the whole household learns not to be hard on things. This is not how I was brought up and so I know I am very hard on our home which is one reason we do not have painted cabinetry even though I love it.

  40. ErinL

    Hi Paul,
    Thank you for the helpful list. Do you have any personal experience with Designer’s Choice cabinets ( or know anyone who does)? We can’t find too many customer opinions about them online – other than google reviews which don’t seem to be very positive. I’m mostly concerned about how the quality of their finish holds up. We are doing a white painted cabinet with glaze and live in the Colorado maintains. The designer we’re working with just started carrying their line so he doesn’t have much experience with them just yet, otherwise I’d be happy to believe his opinion on them.
    The other option were considering is Koch Classic.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Erin,
      Designers Choice is rated on this blog. As I just said to Kelly below:

      I don’t think I worry about reviews from customers. All large cabinet companies get bad reviews because cranky people write reviews while happy people do not. And when it comes to cabinet brands often the complaints are actually the fault of the dealer, designer, or contractor and the homeowner is complaining about the wrong entity.

      FYI ALL painted finishes are easily damaged by water and nicks and scratches. We have not found a difference in durability between any of the major brands. So whatever cabinet brand you get be very careful with a painted finish.

  41. Kelly

    Hi Paul. Your content here is invaluable. Thank you!
    We have narrowed down our cabinet selection for a kitchen remodel to the Medallion Silverline vs Kraftmaid Vantage. We have upgraded the Medallion product to be all plywood and offer same features that would exist on the Kraftmaid product. We found a door style in the Silverline that meets almost all of our needs and for the few exceptions, we were able to use the same door style in the gold series for those cabinets. The perimeter cabinets will be maple painted white while the island and a bar area will be stained hickory. The pricing overall is lower on the Medallion option vs Kraftmaid. We understand the warranty to be very similar between the two companies. We are leaning toward Medallion due to the price difference but worry about negative reviews we have found recently online. Would you lean one way over the other in this situation?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kelly,
      Even though the Medallion brand changed hands a few years ago I don’t think I worry about reviews from customers. All large cabinet companies get bad reviews because cranky people write reviews while happy people do not and when it comes to cabinet brands often the complaints are actually the fault of the dealer, designer, or contractor and the homeowner is complaining about the wrong entity.

  42. Jeff S.

    Thank you for all the excellent information here. I have 8 foot ceilings and have been recommended to get 39 inch high cabinets from a local kitchen designer with a great reputation. I know 42 inch are not recommended. What do you think about 39 inch height? Also, the price was much more than we expected. Are 39 inch cabinets generally considered custom and therefore more expensive?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jeff,
      No one’s ceiling is completely level. Your ceiling must be PERFECTLY level to get 39″ wall cabinets to work. Designers that use 39″ cabinets in a 8 foot room need to laser level the room to assure that it can work – which is unlikely. Without seeing your design I can’t see other possible issues but this one scares me since I would guess that this designer never ascertained the levelness of your ceiling.

      Normally a two piece crown molding with a riser is used with 36″ high wall cabinets in an 8 foot high room. This looks better and in most cabinet lines the 39″ cabinets are very expensive because they are an unusual size. So it saves you money in the line that was priced as well as makes it possible for a designer to design a kitchen in a less expensive cabinet line that doesn’t offer such unusual sizes. Sometimes the savings could be as much as 35% for the same design in an equally well made but less custom cabinet line.

  43. Bill Strutton

    Any idea where Barker’s RTA stuff fit in the rating system?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Bill,
      It’s a pretty well made frameless cabinet so it would get a B for construction – the highest rating were it assembled and glued. Far above IKEA cabinetry but RTA cabinets still are missing the one component that customers need but are often to stubborn or shortsighted to get. The help of a kitchen designer measuring, and designing their space.

  44. Debbie

    Hi I’m remodeling my kitchen with either Kraftmaid, Wellborn ir Diamond. I want Maple stain in a slab door style , Any ideas on the better choice?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Debbie,
      Upgraded all these lines are good. For a slab doorstyle you also might want to consider a frameless line and these are all framed. The cabinetry won’t be constructed quite as well but the frameless look is nicer for a slab door style.

  45. Paul McAlary

    Hi Laura,
    Trying to find a kitchen designer that “listens” might be part of the problem.

    The best kitchen designers don’t rubber stamp a customers ideas. Telling customers things they don’t want to hear jeopardizes keeping their business. Often the designers that have your best interest at heart and won’t compromise good design are the better designers. And customers that are the most amendment about their own ideas are almost always the least talented at designing a kitchen.

    Almost always the customers that want to defer to my ideas have good ones themselves that we often need to pursue, sometimes over their own objections. While the customers that have terrible spacial relation skills and know very little about design and styles want to both direct the design process themselves and try wild and unusual design features. As Picasso said you must “Learn the Rules Like a Pro, So You Can Break Them Like an Artist”.

    I think it is the fear and uncertainty of people who don’t have great design skills that makes them feel the need to be in control. Or even worse, the people who have a little bit of knowledge that feel empowered to “Think Outside the box”

    For example. every good kitchen designer will tell you that the worst designs we see come from architects, engineers, real estate agents and contractors. While talented customers doing research on their own and with open minds tend to wisely play it safe.

    Here is our link to designers and dealers outside our service area. If one of these places is close to you, ask for one of their most experienced designers and that could be a good place to begin.

  46. Laura Crouter

    I hear you. I would love to find a knowledgeable designer who listens and is not extraordinarily expensive. How do you know if it’s a quality design? I am struggling with questions like size of lazy susan corner cabinets? Do I have a space for glass fronts or open shelving? Or should it be all traditional cabinets? I am wanting to mix white and wood cabinets. We are trying to coordinate with dining room built in cabinets as well. I am stressed and overwhelmed!

  47. Laura Crouter

    We are struggling with a kitchen reno. We had a contractor who used Mid-Continent cabinets. we are now talking to a designer that use Tru and Woodland. I have another designer to meet with who uses Cheaha, TruWood, Yorktown, and TSG. I am at a loss. We have waited 15 years to renovate and we want quality products.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Laura,
      I have said it 100 times but it can never be said enough. That while the quality of the cabinetry you are buying needs to meet a certain minimum it is the design that you get that determines the value of your home. 90% of customers firmly believe that the design they are considering is good and more than just most are completely wrong. Focusing on finding a knowledgeable designer is the most important thing.

  48. Christy

    Hello Paul, I have been having a great time reading all of the questions and your replies. What an incredible asset and service you give – kudos! I sure wish we could use you during this process! My question – We have a big project on a small (ish) budget. We met a super nice independent designer that carries Ovation cabinets. Should we continue to look at other designers that carry Fabuwood (or the like)? Do you give recs on designers in other areas? Specifically the DC Metro area? Again – you guys are amazing…I’ll continue to peruse your site for info.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Christy,
      Here is a link to the places we recommenced around the US:
      You can also call most Fridays 2-4 pm to get help locating a dealer outside our service area.
      We don’t rate Ovation well on this blog, and independent designers that don’t carry multiple cabinet lines are usually a poor choice to work with. So I would recommend doing more research on finding a good designer and dealer and less focus on cabinet lines.

  49. Hilary Parker

    Do you have feedback on Dewils?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Hilary,
      Dewils is a custom cabinet line that will make cabinets a number of ways so you must make sure you are ordering a well made cabinet from them. As they will make anything the designer specifies. I don’t know them well but the look nice they make nice cabinets and finishes. Once again – The quality of what you get is completely determined by the designer ordering.

  50. AN

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the quick response regarding the brands. Any insight on whether a reversed raised panel is worth the upgrade other than personal preference. Our cabinet choices are Maple painted upper cabinets and Maple or Cherry stained base and island cabinets. We got a suggestion from one of the cabinet sales guys that solid wood center panels on cabinetry have the possibility of shrinking in width during seasonal changes exposing an unfinished raw strip that sometimes moves back and sometimes does not. His recommendation is to go with a flat panel instead of reverse raised for recessed panel type door styles which is the style we have chosen. He says it would be more evident on paints & darker stains and again that matches our preferences. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi AN,
      On a painted recessed panel door I would use a reverse raised MDF panel for the best finish and no warping and shrinkage. For stained cabinets a solid wood reverse raised panel will show stripes where each piece of wood is glued to another. If you are OK with that I would get solid wood if not I would get a recessed flat plywood panel. All shrinkage and warping issues should be under warranty so I wouldn’t worry too much even though solid wood panels are more likely to have that happen. Flat panels are less expensive so there is that to consider as well.

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