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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. PETER

    Deciding on cabinets for our Kitchen Reno. Our designer is pushing for Dura Supreme and the contractor is ok with that. I have read stories of warping and the company not standing up to its warranty. Would Fabuwood be a better option or something else?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Peter,
      DuraSupreme makes beautiful cabinets, in fact we used to carry them. However the company did not honor their warranties so I would not recommend buying them, unless the dealer has a stellar reputation and warranties the cabinets themselves. Even then I still dislike giving money to a company I do not respect.

      Fabuwood is a much less expensive brand with far fewer styles, options, colors, types of wood etc. It is a whole different animal. If you are getting something like a shaker white door and the design can be accomplished in Fabuwood then spending the extra money on a more expensive line is wasted. I would need more information to know if Fabuwood was a good choice for you. This is why selecting a designer is more important than a brand. A good designer will steer you correctly towards a brand and a design that fits your needs.

  2. Linda

    “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.” Can you explain? Why would you consider it less durable?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Linda,
      Below is a link to a description of framed vs frameless. The short version is that framed cabinetry has all the door hinges, drawer tracks, and the cabinets themselves attached by the front frame which is 3/4″ by 1 1/2″ solid wood while with frameless it’s 3/4″ plywood. Plus there is no face frame holding cabinets square or keeping the cabinet stable. Anyone that would say the construction quality was the same would show a complete ignorance of engineering and I wouldn’t trust any information I received from them.

      A very inventive teacher created a great combination of the two types of cabinets. It’s not available as yet. See below:

  3. Jeannette

    comparing American Woodcraft and Kemper Echo cabinets the cost is about 5K difference (american is more). Based on your comparisons scored about the same. Any thoughts?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jennette,
      First you should upgrade both lines to soft close everything and a plywood box. That will probably make them closer in price.
      Then comparing apples to apples between lines if difficult. Read this blog:

  4. Eric

    This is such a great resource that you all have put together. Thank you! Do you have any input on A1 Cabinets? We are on a modest budget and the available brands we are frequently steered towards locally are J&K, ProCraft, and A1. I believe that A1 is A1 Cabinet & Granite nationally.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Eric,
      I never heard of A1 but J&K and Procraft are good inexpensive lines if availability, shipping, and damage can be handled during COVID.

  5. paul mcalary

    Hi Shelly,
    I don’t know Crown Cabinets but from their spec book they would get a B+ for construction with their all plywood box.

  6. Audrey

    I’m curious as to which brands rank best for “green”/sustainability? I’ve heard Crystal cabinets. Are there others on this list and how to consider that along with price/quality?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Audrey,
      While Crystal is a good cabinet brand looking for “Green” cabinetry can be dangerous in The cabinet industry.

      This is because all cabinets sold in the US must meet the same standards for off gassing as of 2019. Carb2 compliance was formerly only required in California. But the new US rules are pretty much the same. This is a surprising holdover from the Obama administration. Add to this that even the best cabinet brands utilizing recycling of materials can not compete with all particleboard cabinetry for the least waste. And so “Green” becomes something that many poorly made brands advertise.

      Getting a well constructed framed cabinet that will last in a style that is not over top, in an attractive and functional design will probably translate into a kitchen that you will enjoy and the next home buyers will appreciate for many years. This is what will truly determine how green your choice is. Homeowners that Google “green cabinets” are often one dimensional shoppers that have contemporary taste and so they fall victim to the advertising directed at them and buy all particleboard cabinets in a frameless design. Not only will these cabinets not hold but the next home buyer is unlikely to share your taste, and so should you sell in a few years, the next buyer may rip out the kitchen you just renovated.

      Getting a great kitchen designer to redesign your space, and buying all wood cabinetry with a stained finish, in a universally popular door style like a recessed panel maple cabinet, would almost guaranty that your kitchen’s environmental footprint would be the smallest it could be over time. However I have found that people want the kitchen they want, and are just looking to feel good about their choices. This is what makes them so vulnerable to advertisers.

      Focus on simply getting the best made cabinet that you like and working with a great kitchen designer. You will end up making choices that will inadvertently accomplish your green goals as best they cab be accomplished in the style of kitchen that you are looking for.

  7. Shelley

    Do you have any ratings or info on Crown cabinets in Utah? They are are not on your list but if you have any info on their construction and quality, I’d appreciate it.

  8. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

    Hi Mari,
    Once you are getting a well made cabinet line as these lines are the difference will be mostly in how the finish looks an how exact and even the gaps in the inset doors are. Often customers can’t tell the difference and they will both hold up equally.

    But as always the skill of the designer creating the design will determine the value of your home. Sometimes great designs can add value many times the cost of the renovation to a home.

    I always tell customers that what good designers do is “de-funkify” peoples homes. IE fixing the architects original mistakes designing the home, and creating a kitchen without any funky elements. A good design looks like the home was designed for that kitchen. Consider sending us your design before buying your cabinetry. We almost never see a kitchen that can’t be dramatically improved.

  9. paul mcalary

    Thanks Laura,
    We will be adding a podcast in a few months that people might also find helpful. Listening to answers to questions posed by others. Sort of a armature Cartalk for kitchens.

  10. Tamara

    Hello Paul!
    Your blog is invaluable to many! Thank you! We are replacing our 24 year old orange oak raised panel cabinets. Yay! Our kitchen is U shaped with a center island, approx 12′ x 15′. We are looking at painted white shaker for the perimeter and dark grey painted shaker for the island. We have received quotes for Waypoint (full APC), and Diamond. Diamond is more expensive without even upgrading to APC yet. The price difference may be upwards of 4K for Diamond.. apples to apples. Does this seem correct? Is Diamond worth the extra money over Waypoint? Also we have received quotes for two companies I am not seeing on your list. David Bradley (USA) and Superior (Canada). Both are frameless lines. Neither of their websites offer much information and there is not a lot of information online. Do you have any recommendations or insight for me? Also, I live in Colorado which is a dry climate. Is it a good idea to choose an MDF door? Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Tamara,
      For those type colors I like Fabuwood as the line for the best value. They will be at least 30% less than Diamond. Diamond has nicer finishes than Waypoint, but if you like the Waypoint finishes you have selected than that advantage doesn’t apply.

      I do worry when I hears that someone’s kitchen design isn’t changing. Of the 200 kitchens we sold last year I would doubt a single one was that close to the original design. However, many customers come to us saying things like “Well my kitchen is small and we are on a budget so there really isn’t much that we could change in the design.” This is because the homeowner and the people working on the design aren’t experts. An expert kitchen designer would almost always be able to improve a design without increasing the overall cost of the kitchen significantly.

      Consider calling us on a Friday ready to email your drawings. We can look at your design and tell you were we might change it. If you don’t have a design photos of your present kitchen from several angles will do.

  11. mari lamers

    Is there much of a difference between starmark and showplace inset cabinets. We will be doing a two toned painted finish (navy lowers and white uppers). Leaning toward the showplace but see they received a slightly lower rating. Would love the input. By the way your website is an awesome source and I have used it several times as I have met with different places to look at cabinets!

  12. Laura

    Hi Paul, I would be very pleased to give you a great review! The time you and your designers devote to helping us is much appreciated. You are a trusted source of information!

  13. paul mcalary

    Hi Mari,
    When cabinet companies give you installation prices they might be talking about installing cabinets only. Not electric, plumbing, lighting, backsplash tile, flooring and everything else included in a full kitchen renovation. Generally I believe that the best route is hiring a general contractor to do the complete renovation and just buying cabinets from the cabinet dealer.

  14. Mari Lamers

    Hi Paul,

    I am looking at two different brands that you have listed here. We want to do an inset cabinet and are thinking either the Starmark or the Showplace from local dealers here in Madison WI. The difference is the dealer that offers the Showplace inset cabinets also has installation pricing whereas the dealer that has the Starmark does not. When we look into hiring a contractor to do the install they are three times the pricing from the dealer. We are thinking of doing a two toned painted cabinets and Starmark is maple whereas the Showplace is a HDF ( I think). When thinking about the longevity of the cabinets and how they will hold up over time is that a problem. If the quality and longevity are the same we will just go with the showplace since they also provide installation services.

    Thanks In advance Mari

  15. Colleen Breitbord

    Hello. Your listing is incredibly helpful since I am completely overwhelmed. I’m wondering why you don’t include Greenfield Cabinets in your listing. I’m on Cape Cod in MA and these cabinets have been recommended by my KD. Thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Colleen,
      Greenfield looks like a good line but none of us know it and they don’t give much information on their website. So we really aren’t even close to having enough information to rate them. You could have your kitchen designer send us a copy of their specbook and also tell us where the line falls price point wise compared to other brands. They look like they are a price point 5. It would be in their interest to have us rate them if they are well constructed.

  16. Mike Serafino

    Hi Paul – This is Mike Serafino, owner of Heartwood Kitchens in Danvers Massachusetts. This is a great ranking. I was wondering if you would have a few minutes to chat. We carry Mouser and QCCI. I’m curious if you know of Quality Custom (QCCI) and thoughts. We love the quality but of course they are at the highest price point. I’m considering a third line and would love your input.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Mike,
      I’ll send you an email with my contact information

  17. paul mcalary

    Hi Laura,
    Floor plans and 3D renderings are good to show us to get advice.
    You don’t have to show us your completed kitchen as finding the time to help as much as we do is difficult. Giving us a great review on Google, Houzz, or Yelp would be a wonderful gift to us that all of the designers would benefit from.

  18. Laura

    Hi Paul,
    I have been reading your blog for the last year while preparing for a kitchen and bath renovation. You provide such a wealth of information in your posts and also in the links to appliance ratings, sinks, checklists, etc. I am always mindful of the phrase “you don’t know what you don’t know” so your advice is invaluable. I’m almost ready to finalize my plans, and if I run them by you do you like to see elevations or the 3D renderings? Since so many of us readers live too far away to work with you, I’m wondering if you are interested in seeing photos of completed renovations that came about due to your advice.

  19. Laura

    Thank you, Paul! As always, appreciate your advice.

  20. paul mcalary

    Hi Laura,
    Painted cabinets are always more easily damaged by moisture. In a guest’s bath it might not be a problem. Personally I decorated and designed our own bathrooms with stained cabinetry to avoid any issues.

  21. Laura

    Hi Paul,
    I’m wondering what you recommend for a bathroom vanity? I can choose a painted cabinet or a wood that is stained, not painted. This is a guest bath, about 8’ long and 8’ wide, vanity on one long wall and tub with shower on opposite long wall. A new vent fan has been installed so moisture is not a problem if that matters! Thank you!

  22. Paula Dufour

    I’m torn between Cabico and Wellborn Forest Shaker cabinets. Looking for recommendations. I’m doing a new kitchen in grey maple stained cabinets.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Paula,
      As our reviews show we believe that Wellborn Forrest is normally a slightly better value. However due to COVID different companies are having problems with orders and deliveries. Since we don’t carry either brand I couldn’t speculate if either brand is handling the pandemic better then the other. Only their dealers would know.

  23. Laura

    Hi Paul,
    It is a brilliant idea, and you can take credit for passing it along! Thanks again!

  24. paul mcalary

    Hi Laura,
    I can’t take credit for the paint drop idea. That was a customers and brilliant!

  25. Laura

    Hi Paul,
    Thank you for your informative response. I knew cabinet paint differs from wall paint, but never would have thought to color match the cabinet door AND allow the paint to dry on the sample before proceeding. The kitchens you showed are seamless! I hope everything gets back to normal again soon.

  26. paul mcalary

    Hi Nancy,
    A Masterbrand’s dealer alerted me to the fact that Schrock had been upgraded to the Diamond Construction. He sent us their spec book and we adjusted their rankings accordingly. Unfortunately Masterbrands doesn’t show cabinet construction on the websites of the cabinet lines they manufacture. And so when they upgrade the construction of a line, as they have been doing in recent years, our review can lag behind.

    Another recent example of this type of upgrade was when Yorktowne upgraded to Medallion construction, and we needed to change our reviews accordingly.

    Hopefully better consumer awareness, and possibly our blog, are helping to push cabinet manufacturers in a positive direction.

  27. paul mcalary

    Hi Laura,
    Cabinet paint is very different from the paint you buy at the paint store. To match a color take a cabinet part you want to match to the paint store and have them scan it to color match. Have them put a drop of the paint not just on the top of the gallon but also on your sample so that when it dries you can compare colors. If the color needs tweaking bring your sample and Gallon back to the paint store. They can either make another adjusted gallon or add pigment to the original. Two times is always a charm if the first match isn’t perfect. The moldings in the second kitchen on the blog below were all done this way:

  28. Nancy Osgood

    I noticed your rating of Schrock changed (for the better)over the year. I was wondering why ?

  29. Laura

    Hi Paul,
    Happy New Year! I’ve been reading your blog for the better part of the last year and greatly appreciate all of your sage advice. We are renovating a kitchen on a budget and have decided on Fabuwood cabinets, thanks to your blog. Do you know if the new Dove White color is from a major paint company in case I want to use the same color on the walls? Also, are you experiencing any shipping delays? I know appliances are severely impacted due to covid. I am taking your advice to have everything on hand before the contractor begins work. We are finalizing the design and I hope to be able to submit it to you for feedback. Thank you once again for your generosity in sharing your expertise…and your stories! Just read your Thanksgiving posts which were quite funny!

  30. paul mcalary

    Hi Mike,
    Yours is an extreme case. But designing your own kitchen or even trying to measure it yourself is still a bad idea. I would recomend one of two approaches. Either:

    I can send you a Zoom link on a Friday at 2pm. If you connected with me on either a smart phone or tablet, I you could zoom with you and we could measure your home together to get the basics needed to design a kitchen professionally. I can give you some ideas and direction. And with professional measurements another company could work with you in detail to design a kitchen and sell you cabinets.

    Or possibly an online company like CliqStudios could walk you through the same process and design a simple kitchen for you which you could then tweak with whoever is going to sell you cabinets.

    You need this help, but many people resist getting the help they need. Here is a story that addresses this issue:

  31. Mike Krall


    You’ve spent a bunch of time with me. We’ll look into our only nearby options (less than 100 mile round trip). That would be 3 lumber yards and a small home center (cabinets, counters, etc.) with an owner who told me particle board with plastic maple pictures was fine. Just take care of the plastic and no one will ever see it’s particle board.

    I’ll get some drawings to you some Friday when and if I can.

    Thank you again for everything I’ve learned here… I enjoyed it.

  32. paul mcalary

    Hi Mike,
    You are going to be buying cabinets from some dealer somewhere. If you give them the floor plans of the house they can design a kitchen for you. Doing this yourself assures that the designer is inexperienced.

    Even home center designers will have far more experience and expertise than any homeowner or pseudo kitchen design professional, such as an architect, engineer, or contractor. So if no dealer is close by or willing to help, go to the closest Lowes or Home Depot and get their input. Once you have the drawings from an actual kitchen designer we can help you fix any design flaws we see.

    Spending a lot of money on expensive cabinets makes no sense unless the designer is experienced enough to create a design that utilizes the advantages of custom cabinetry. There are plenty of well made cabinet brands that will have every feature that is needed for less sophisticated kitchen designs. This is why Home Centers don’t sell custom cabinetry. Custom cabinetry and inset and beaded inset styles are too difficult for designers to design in without at least several years of full time kitchen design experience.

    Generally the designs people send us on Fridays to look at are absolutely terrible. People come to us looking for tweaks to designs that need to be completely redone from scratch. The good news is that anyone that’s qualified can quickly redesign a kitchen by hand to create a basic sensible design. The bad news is that anyone unqualified to design a kitchen would almost never arrive at that simple layout. And only the most qualified professional kitchen designers would ever be able to justify designing a kitchen in a custom cabinet brand.

    For example if you look at the kitchens in our gallery most are designed in well made less expensive cabinet brands with no reason to be designed in custom lines. Only the Brighton Beaded Inset Doylestown PA, Kitchen truly needed to be designed in a custom line to achieve that look. And of all the kitchens only three are done in custom cabinet lines.

  33. Mike Krall

    I do understand your point, Paul. I believe in your view of proper process. I am not arguing. Simply, it is not an option… likely not a possibility here. I spent some time yesterday afternoon and night looking for outfits in Wyoming even sort of fitting your description for right and proper approach. The very few found (you wouldn’t run out of fingers on one hand with the counting) were a stretch… a maybe possible maybe, but likely not. What clinches the inability to follow your advice is these few marginally possible companies are a 300 to 600 mile round trip from here. Now what??… =]

    So, I have to tell you a story. I mentioned I should have used more words in my beginning comments. The only way Sarah and I were ever going to have a house we would love was to figure out what it needed to be like on our own, then build it on our own. That is a very long road that was significantly driven by cash flow… we could get all the loans we needed but then would not have been able to pay them off.

    Here’s and example of what we have needed to do. If a person comes to understand the grossness of 99.9% of home lighting, then if a person goes out into the world of REAL architectural lighting design (educators, practitioners, lighting engineers, architectural lighting manufacturers) and works at it hard enough and long enough, they will, at the very least, not do EVERYTHING stupidly. That was the option we had. Is it possible our lighting will be truly good? How would I know? Actually, when it’s in and then on, I will know. And I’ll probably be able to understand what I didn’t understand, but there was and is no other road in this.

    So that’s way more than too many words, but… This house is down on paper, Paul. There are construction details, elevations and cross sections of everything, much of which we could build but won’t (got too old and lazy). We are not going to build the kitchen cabinets either, though there was a time way past when we would have attempted it.

    We are going to assess our kitchen and figure out if we see a way for you to help with details and ???… things we go back and forth on and don’t have an easy way to be sure about. Whether we do contact you will only have to do with our feeling if our information interests fit into what we see as the thing you are trying to do on Friday afternoons.

    Thanks for your willingness, Paul, it’s a treat.

  34. paul mcalary

    Hi Mike,
    What I’m saying is that if you don’t have detailed PROFESSIONAL 2020 CAD drawings for your kitchen you are 100% on the wrong track for getting a custom kitchen. Your own drawings with chicken scratch are a symptom of not getting the qualified professional help that you need. This funny video applies particularly to expensive kitchens.

  35. Mike Krall


    Do you know that expression, “Damned if you do and damned if you don’t…”? I wrote last in the fewest words possible. Maybe if I had gone the opposite direction I would have given you enough understanding to where I didn’t waste your time… but I have… and I apologize for that.

    I do have detailed drawings. They have my chicken scratch all over them. They simply are not anything I would ask anyone to look at, let alone expect them understand.

    I’m going to figure out if I think there is anything you-all can constructively do if I have a readable drawing to send in. We’ll see.

    I’ve learned a lot over the past days here on your website… learned things that are really valuable to me. This is a great and good work, Paul… a real rarity to find.

  36. paul mcalary

    Hi Mike,
    If you don’t have detailed drawings of your design already you can’t be even close to the type of design considerations that would justify being in a custom cabinet line. You can send me drawings via pdf in any scale but more importantly, you should stop researching cabinet lines and start researching to find a cabinet dealer and designer that you can work with that can do deigns on 2020 CAD, show them to you and give you the printouts needed to make decisions. Designing a kitchen in custom cabinetry takes many appointments with lots of discussions and always the need to see the design in 3D.

  37. Mike Krall

    Thank you, Paul.

    I take your point on actual need for Crown Point. They really are beautiful to look at.

    I will have to make a drawing of the design to be able to send it in. Would you say what scale and format works well for you, please?

  38. Amy

    Hi, thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge. Would you weigh in with your opinion on the following? We are renovating our kitchen and are making the following changes: moving/changing two windows, changing plumbing and electrical, new floor, removing soffit and reversing entry door. That leaves us with 2 cabinet lines that fit into our budget – Kraftmaid Vantage ($13,700 after 20% sale, upgraded to all plywood) and Fabuwood Allure ($12,700). White shaker door style, w/ trash and shelf rollouts, pantry.

    With the KMV upgraded to all plywood, are these comparable construction? I can’t seem to find much info on the Fabuwood construction thicknesses, and does that matter? One of my concerns with the Fabuwood is with the finish – the sample door I’ve been carrying around is not holding up well. A pro for the KMV is that it has full depth shelves. However, we have not seen a robust Fabuwood display, and the Kraftmaid Vantage display was 10 years old. Both designers seem easy to work with, and both are fairly new to the profession, and both are not from big box stores. We live in a very rural area and our options in our budget are limited.

    So, any thoughts as to which you’d lean towards with a difference of $1,000 in price – KMV or Fabuwood?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Amy,
      While I love Fabuwood and we carry it that sounds like an amazing price for Kraftmaid Vantage. Assuming everything is equal.

      Both are good lines either way you go. All painted finishes chip and scratch easily so Kraftmaid won’t hold up any better. Both lines have similar quality construction
      When you say reversing the door I assume you mean reversing the swing of the door and NOT having the door swing out instead of in – because that would be a mistake.

      Since both designers are inexperienced that can be troubling. If you send me your design at and I can send you comments on a Friday 2-4 pm or before if I get a chance. We also take call Fridays 2-4 pm EST and answer questions free of charge for people outside our service area. But this Friday is New Years Day and we are closed.

  39. Mike Krall

    Was wondering if you have a view on price point for Crown Select by Crown Point Cabinetry.

    Was also wondering if you have ever looked at Schroll Cabinets, Cheyenne, Wyoming… perhaps have some rating thoughts about them. There seem to be a lot of happy Schroll clients at Houzz.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Mike,
      CrownPoint is an expensive custom cabinet brand so the design you are getting should be sophisticated enough to need that high a priced brand. Good reasons to be in a brand like this are that you are getting inset cabinetry, are stacking cabinetry to a high ceiling, or you want unusual wood species or colors. Crown Select is a less expensive and well made version of the full custom CrownPoint line.

      Houzz like HGTV is a terrible place to get information on kitchen design and cabinetry. Both these places offer opinions from their writers, and on air talent who know nothing about kitchen design and cabinetry. Individual Pro’s on Houzz can be good. However at least 80% of the Pros are also not qualified to give opinions. And homeowner’s opinions will be wrong nearly all the time.

      This being said:
      I don’t know anything about Schroll Cabinetry. From their website I can tell that they are an expensive cabinet brand but they give very little information on their site about cabinet construction and what information there is does not instill confidence. For instance, they are encouraging designing kitchens and buying custom cabinetry remotely and from what they say I suspect that they are not qualified to do this. Main Line Kitchen Design would never recomend doing this except in a few very specific situations. They are also manufactured in a part of the country not known for the best values in cabinetry.

      If you are considering expensive custom cabinetry you might want to email us your design to make sure it makes sense in a custom line. We review designs free of charge most Fridays 2-4 pm Eastern Standard Time. Although, this Friday January 1st we are closed. Other Fridays simply call our main number between 2-4pm EST and the designer will give you their email address, review your design and answer questions. Myself or Chris usually handle Fridays and our emails are simply Paul or Chris

      Happy Holidays,

  40. Elizabeth

    Hello, I was wondering which paint company candlelight company uses for their limited “stock” colours.

    Thanks you

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Elizabeth,
      Cabinet paint is not the same paint you can get in a paint store. However you can color match cabinets to get an almost exact color match to the cabinets in order to paint moldings and other pieces to match your cabinets

  41. AdinaMoses

    Thank you so much for this amazing resource. I’ve been using your list and the KMCA certification list to help me make a decision on the cabinets I choose but I am torn as to which ones will last, I can’t afford to do another kitchen remodel in 20 years and we plan on staying in our home. We’re replacing 45+ year old cabinets that were solid and I don’t want to put in something that will fall apart. I know about blum hardware and plywood construction and I also prefer a wood veneer interior. I also know I want a white shaker (which I’ve learned isn’t going to hold up as well as stained but I know I can get it professionally repainted). What I don’t really understand is a Brighton line and Showplace “better” than Fabuwood and J&K for the white shaker. I don’t really need all the styles and colors of the semi-custom. All the lines have plywood and blum (I can upgrade the j&K). Is the plywood or the construction of higher quality? Will j&k or fabuwood “fall apart” in 5 years after the warranty is up? Should I be concerned about the environmental impact if they are not KMCA certified? I notice some finishes feel better but they all seem substantial. I’ve looked at all of these lines in 3 different design centers and I’m in the process of getting initial design quotes based on my measurements. They will all come to my house and adjust the design based on theirs if I sign with them. The high-end initial quotes are 20-25k while j&k is 8-9k (not sure about fabuwood yet but I assume it’s somewhere in the middle). I wasn’t planning on spending 20k on cabinets but if I can get the design down to 17k for Brighton by getting rid of drawer sections and pull outs in my pantry area would that be the way to go for durability, quality, and the limited lifetime warranty or is fabuwood and j&K is just as fine (even without the warranty)? Are the more expensive prices because those brands offer more variety and built to order? Obviously, 8k is wonderful but if I can afford to pay more for the Brighton or showplace cabinets does it make sense for the plain shaker? Thank you so much for your help and advice!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Adina,
      All cabinets are meet KMCA standards as those standards are patheticly lax. A few cabinet lines refuse to pay the KMCA for their endorsement but it is never that the cabinets don’t meet their standard. Higher end cabinet plywood can be stronger but not significantly. The paints on the more expensive lines can look better but we haven’t noticed a durability issue EXCEPT ON CUSTOM OR SPECIAL COLOR IN THE LESS EXPENSIVE LINES. I would never order these colors as they are often simply white cabinets painted over in the custom color. This makes the paint easy to chip. On a painted shaker full overlay door I think Fabuwood is the best value. However J&K and CNC will be fine just not quite as consistent looking.

  42. Jane

    I see JSI rates well. Would this be a suitable mid range quality option? Or would Wolf Classic be a better option?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jane,
      All these low cost lines that get rated well are similar. The door style and finishes you like can determine the best choice for an individual customer. Overall Fabuwood is a little more expensive and has the nicest selections IMO which is why we chose to carry them. CNC is up and coming line as a less expensive alternative. That’s why we chose to carry them as well. These are close calls.

      As always who the designer and dealer is trumps all these choices in getting a good kitchen.

  43. Shelley


    Can you comment on the quality of Crown Cabinets for a bathroom vanity? I’m thinking stained maple and all plywood. I’ve seen mostly good reviews but one bad one with pictures of kitchen cabinets with the paint peeling after one year.

    Thanks for your help.

  44. Brittny


    Have you heard of Canada Kitchens? I believe it’s a newer line out of Canada. Not much information about them online.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      never heard of them

  45. Donald A Devereaux

    We are just in the beginning steps of kitchen reno. That is to say we are planning it! We are completing our design with a local kitchen designer and love the plan. However, in reviewing you cabinet list, I was wondering a few things. They recommend Shiloh cabinets. They are a price 4 category and c rated for quality and value. fabuwood is a price 2 category and is A rated for quality and value. My question would be is the value column relative to the price category they are in or is it relative to the entire marketplace of cabinetry. Also, same question with regard to quality. Other than styles and options, I am finding it hard to pick Shiloh for a Grey Shaker cabinet versus a Fabuwood or Wolf?

    Am I thinking about this correctly…or overthinking it like normal. Really enjoyed your page with all this information!!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Donald,
      Unfortunately Shiloh has a nice looking cabinet but is poorly engineered. Their cabinets could be modified to fix their issues but as is they get a bad review from us.

  46. Kathy

    I am getting headaches from researching cabinets! I have decided that I want wood shaker cabinets because I don’t like thermafoil. I’ve stained wood trim and cabinets in multiple houses in my past so was surprised at the number of cabinet makers that use this. I’m considering Kraftsmaid if I don’t want to stain myself, if I can find a wood stain finish I like. I’m installing a kitchen in a small home. I will not have upper cabinets. Since I’m a single, 71 years young, this kitchen won’t get a lot of abuse. Also, I’m on a remote peninsula in very northern part of Washington State, where I have to go through two borders (CA/US) to get to US mainland. I’m thinking Kraftsmaid/Lowe’s because of these difficulties, especially because only necessary travel is allowed to cross borders during Covid-19 (doctor appts. and prescriptions get you through so I can shop then). Any thoughts?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kathy,
      From the things you say IE
      Thinking that staining cabinets yourself is a good idea. It’s certainly not.
      Wanting a stain BECAUSE you don’t want thermafoil. What about paint?
      And wanting no wall cabinets-

      I can see that you are a “go your own way” kind of woman. Certainly taking this road without any knowledgeable design help will get you an amateurish kitchen. But if you don’t care about your home’s resale value, you can do what you want and enjoy being surrounded by what you created yourself. Kraftmaid and a home center is probably the best choice for a project like this. You will get a well made cabinet using Kraftmaid and a “designer” that is used to giving customers what they want. Home centers are becoming the go to place for people that don’t want any design advice. Lowes will also value you more as a customer because you will shop there for other home improvement materials. So any extra effort needed to deliver your cabinetry will probably not deter them.

  47. Tony

    Great resource! Thank you for sharing your expert. We are building a house out of town. The builder originally specified Bishop, then claimed Bishop’s lead time was two late and wanted us to use Schrock. We haven’t been impressed. They quoted us Decora in an inset that felt way too high. We went to a local dealer and were impressed by Starmark. Your thoughts ? Also, I see you say to beware of sales, but Starmark is having a sale on inset and the local dealer said he could get the starmark in line with Schrock pricing. Is he puffing? Thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Tony,
      As far as I know the lead times for all of these lines is similar. Builders are always months off on when they will actually need cabinets. In thirty years no builder has ever had to wait for cabinetry from me, but many customers were forced to pay for storage or keep their cabinets in unsecure and unheated and conditioned garages which is bad for cabinetry.

      I’m sure the Starmark sale is real as it it is a free upgrade. Some cabinet companies do this during the holidays. 20% off is the type of sale to beware of. Getting inset Starmark with all plywood construction for Schrock pricing would be quite a deal.

  48. Jeanette B

    Merillat has three tiers, but you only show the brand name. Should I assume that their high end (Masterpiece) is the same as their bottom tier?

    My dad was a contractor for many years. He did not seem to think they were D value.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jeanette,
      If you read the blog you will see that we assume all lines are Upgraded to their top level of construction. So the Masterpiece gets the poor grades the lower lines would be worse. Merillat Masterpiece is a particle board cabinet with a 1/8″ back panel on the wall cabinets. It is a wonder that the wall cabinets don’t fall off the wall once you put plates and glasses inside.

      Being a contractor alone does not really qualify someone to rate cabinet lines against each other. To do that reliably you need both experience installing cabinetry and knowledge of many types of cabinet construction. An engineering background helps to understand the the advantages of one type of construction versus another. And also knowing the manufacturers and their reputations helps.

  49. Andrew Becker

    I feel like we are stuck trying to find quality cabinets for a simple white painted shaker design. We have a 10′ island and only lower cabinets on the adject wall. We are pretty well set with our layout since our options are limited due to the space. We went to a local shop and they are pushing BJ Tidwell cabinets hard. They also sold KITH but didn’t seem interested in selling them to us. I can’t find anything on this BJ Tidwell cabinetry company except for your ratings that show average. I really didn’t get a good feeling about the place. I’m all about saving money but it seems hard to find a good balance between simple design and quality cabinets. We tried another place that sold Homecrest cabinets. The designer was knowledgeable but tried to upsell us on everything under the sun. Anyway, not sure where to go from here. There is a high end design shop down the road that sells Rutt and Rutt Regency cabinets. Do you think it is worth looking at that line? I know the cabinet are highly regarded but I dont want to pay for options we will never get. The company is also highly regarded as having great designers by you guys and houzz. Thoughts?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Andrew,
      Sounds like you are doing a lot wrong. Your design sounds odd and the reasoning behind it short sighted. Your comment that your options are limited due to the space is one that we hear every day and that frustrates good kitchen designers because it is never true. The space can change for less than the difference in cabinetry prices.

      The skepticism of the Homecrest salesperson is also odd. No one can make you buy upgrades. They can only recommend them. The Homecrest cabinetry will cost much less than the Rutt and the Rutt designer may give you a lot of pushback on your design. That might be good as the best designers do not rubber stamp the designs and opinions of their customers, they try to show them other options.

      My advice would be to open your mind to different designs and consider advice from professionals. Especially if you find several designers telling you the same thing.

  50. Ciara

    Hi Paul – thank you for this wonderful site. I am in Massachusetts and tried out your “outside our service area” section but alas, with no luck. I wonder what you think of Metropolitan cabinets, locally made here in MA: Any input would be appreciated. I want a simple white shaker kitchen.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ciara,
      The web site gives very little information on how the cabinets are made. Why consider a brand with no reputation when there are so many major brands that are sold?

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