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

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

  1. Heidi

    Hello- We are looking at Cardell cabinets upgraded to all plywood boxes at Menards. Are they comparable to Kraftmaid? Thank you.
    Heidi

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Heidi,
      I don’t know Cardell and their website doesn’t say anything about how they are made. The website is sort of unprofessional and they terrible reviews on Google. I wouldn’t compare them to a national brand like Kraftmaid and Menards is probably not the place you’d find a great designer.

  2. Corinne

    Hi Paul – Can you comment on Starmark? Our kitchen designer recommended them. I see there are 2 options and one you only rate a “C” quality. What should I be asking for?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Corine,
      Ask for the 3/4″ back upgrade in Starmark and then they are excellent.

  3. Maria

    Do you know if the quality of J&K has gone down. Also, is 21st century a better cabinet. Looking for white shaker cabinets. Thank you for your time!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Maria,
      I don’t think that the quality of these type brands has gone down. However, there are supply chain issues, backorders and far more shipping damages since 2020. Of these type brands I think Fabuwood is the best but there are many close seconds.

  4. Teri

    Hi Paul,

    I’m deciding between two recommended kitchen designers/cabinet dealers. One is recommending Brighton, but also sells Homecrest. The other is very big on Siteline (he’s more focused on helping me stick to my budget. He also is big on Luxor). I’m considering mid rail shaker white painted perimeter cabinets with a contrast stained or painted island, preferably with slab front drawers.
    You don’t seem to recommend Siteline very highly on your rankings. Why is that, and what are your thoughts on these three lines overall?
    By the way, I have looked at Fabuwood and can’t find a dealer who sells them that has been recommended to me. Also not sure I can get the stained or painted look I want in that line either. But, they do look nice (and affordable).
    Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Teri,
      We didn’t like Siteline’s construction. Luxor is frameless and for a shaker door style a framed line is a better investment. Brighton is an expensive custom line and in a completely different ballpark than these other lines. Homecrest is well made but a step above the prices of the US/Import lines like Fabuwood, Wolf, and J&K. It isn’t made better but offers more choices. The slab front drawers are less popular and so they will be slightly harder to find in a line like Fabuwood that is catering to the high end of the price driven customers.

  5. Mark

    Ordered Waypoint bathroom vanity from Good Value Center in Texas. Took 10 weeks to arrive. Poor Waypoint craftsmanship from dovetail joints not glued properly (cabinet not square), crooked drawers, uneven and non-adjustable spacing between doors, three broken or missing rail clips. Ordered same cabinet a few years back and it was perfect. None of this was Good Value Center’ fault. However, representatives (including owner, Michael Carson) were extremely unresponsive. I did get the rails replaced, but Good Value Center did nothing to solve the myriad of other problems. I sent plenty of photos to document the issues with my bath vanity. I got the same vanity a few years back and it was perfect. Contacted Waypoint’s Partnership Team, but they will not do anything because of their contractual relationship with retailer.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Mark,
      Your experience is often a reflection of the dealer you work with which is why picking a dealer can be more important than a cabinet brand.

  6. Sanjiv

    Hello,
    How do you rate Haggerstown Kitchen cabinetr?

    Thank You, Sanjiv

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sanjiv,
      Sorry I don’t know the brand

  7. Chris

    Hi
    I feel as Your comments are eluding to me being at fault for the horrendous cabinets that I had been receiving as replacements from KraftMaid. I am working with my designer and he was the one that said enough. we are done with the replacements from KraftMaid as they keep sending damaged cabinets. I can understand if they were damaged during shipment, but these left the factory in poor condition. AND THEY WERE INSPECTED! Wrong paint on one side of the cabinet (purple) when its a gray cabinet. Corners were chipped. A chunk of the cabinet was missing from the edge. Paint was peeling off the side of the panel. Scratches throughout the doors and drawer fronts. Chips. My designer has had nothing but major problems with KraftMaid and is no longer selling that brand. I don’t have any choice but to go with another company.as they have sent replacements 5 times already since last May. It’s been a very stressful year and to be honest, I don’t want any hint of a light grey slab door front cabinet in my home after this fiasco. I don’t understand how wanting something different raises flags. This is no one’s fault but the cabinetmaker. This is also the most simplest design and nothing was wrong with the design. It was a direct result of poor quality cabinets. My contractor and cabinet designer have been with me the entire road (and I respect their suggestions and feedback) and they are suggesting it’s time to move on and change direction. The granite was actually removed and reinstalled onto these cabinets as I am working with a great cabinet designer and his team are excellent at installing and re-installing countertops. Having my kitchen a complete mess for almost a year has been truly stressful. All I wanted was some input on which cabinet line you thought would be a good option and not about how one person gave u a bad review. I would never give my cabinet designer a bad review as it wasn’t his fault that KraftMaid has horrendous quality cabinets. Yes, I am stressed. Who wouldn’t be?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Chris,
      All the wrong strategies were being employed during your replacement process. For example: Removing and replacing tops is not a wise or professional idea because no two cabinet installations will work for one countertop template. If tops are installed prior to getting undamaged cabinet replacements the missing cabinets needs to be replaced with the top remaining in place.

      Professionals work on moving a job forward and come up with better work arounds than were used here. For example, if a cabinet side is scratched and not exposed the customer should accept it and the designer should explain why. If the side is exposed, it could be “skinned” or a panel added if that didn’t hurt the design. If doors and drawer fronts are damaged, replace those, but not the cabinet itself. This way even if things come damaged a second time the list gets shorter and the job moves forward.

      I told you a story because it was a nice way of telling you, that as a expert, I can see many people in your story are part of the problem. Including Kraftmaid of course.

      I had a former friend that I refused to sell a kitchen to because I could tell HE was going to be a problem. He complained that the frustration with trying to buy a kitchen from me was that you had to listen to the same stories OVER and OVER again. I told him that if he was hearing the same stories from me it was a sign that he wasn’t doing things sensibly and the stories were a gentle way to tell him that he was the problem.

      When good designers, good contractors, and sensible customers work together they just don’t have a story like yours. Even when the cabinet company is creating the issues. But when everyone makes bad decisions this story is quite common. Below is our blog on this topic:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/why-does-lightning-strike-the-same-people-repeatedly-during-a-kitchen-renovation/

  8. George

    Thank you, Paul.

    I’m debating between Kraft Maid, Wolf Classic and Wolf Signature. Any additional information regarding these would be greatly appreciated it.

    George

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi George,
      All three lines are made well. Wolf will be much less than the Kraftmaid but Kraftmaid offers more door styles and finishes, nicer stains, and far more customization.

  9. Chris

    Hi
    I have had a horrendous experience with KraftMaid cabinets. I placed my order last May 2021 and they have continuously sent me defective and damaged cabinets, doors etc. (not from shipping -these damaged cabinets left the factory in that condition) one even had a smiley face carved into the front of the door. This last replacement took three months as they had them inspected before they left the factory. Well, I think they were inspected by the visually impaired as I have no clue how they could have left with chunks broken off the edges, a hammer hit right in the middle of a door, paint finish was runny and there was a glob at the edge, etc. They have replaced them 5 times already and I am done. I am requesting a refund and hope that I will be granted one. The cabinet designer I am working with is supporting me and going to bat to obtain a refund credit. He recommended that I choose from Woodland, Koch, fabuwood and Timberlake. What are your thoughts on these cabinets. I am looking to go with something completely different as the ones I chose from KraftMaid have become stressful triggers. I am looking at a dark grey color/stain. I currently have the pebble grey slab front door. I don’t want slab and no light grey…. What would u recommend that I look at as this has been so overwhelming. Thank you so much for any feedback.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Chris,
      Kraftmaid doesn’t have any worse reputation than other brands, so your experience is unusual. The supply chain stresses I’m sure have a hand in it. Ripping out the Kraftmaid kitchen will be more work than you may think if the countertops are already on. And the existing top will be unusable.

      Custom cabinetry that might have higher standards than Kraftmaid is more expensive and typically takes 22 weeks right now. And brands like Fabuwood and Timberlake that we carry, while less expensive and having shorter ship times, are not immune to damages and back orders either.

      The frustration of this experience has emotion stamped all over your comments and your decision making. Looking for something completely different also raises flags. Whatever you decide I would proceed slowly, carefully and maybe have us look at your design on our Friday helpline and podcast.

      I worry because calamity usually strikes the same people due to many different, often not intuitive, reasons. Reviewing your design and discussing the process, your designer, and your contractor before you begin this project again certainly can’t hurt but I suspect that we would also find some of the reasons things went so badly the first time.

      Cabinet companies always get blamed for everything in our industry. Often when we ask the right questions, we find that the real issues are a combination of everyone involved.
      The designer that ordered a door style or finish without understanding the properties of what they were ordering. Contractors that can’t work around the issues and problems that arise in a kitchen renovation. And bad decision making and problem resolution skills on the part of all the professionals involved and unrealistic expectations on the part of the customer.

      While it’s exceedingly rare, we have had nearly entire kitchens come damaged. For example, when truck drivers drove long distances with cabinets unsecured in their truck. Or defective glue was used in cabinet assembly. The resolutions required rapid responses on our part, the cabinet reps part, and making sure that the replacement cabinetry inspector, the delivery people, and the truck driver were all the most experienced people.

      Getting a successful outcome is the real responsibility of the cabinet dealer. I think if you asked the few customers that our company had severe replacement problems with, nearly all would be happy and would be satisfied with what they bought and with our company. The 5 star reviews we receive reflect this.

      Once we had a customer receive a kitchen in the wrong color. She was a very difficult customer, which was part of the reason we made the initial error. She complained often, switched designers during the design process, changed her mind constantly, and wanted everything rushed. We got her cabinetry replaced and the entire kitchen renovation was only delayed 7 days. Years later she called to have us do her next kitchen. When she cancelled her initial appointment to measure her second kitchen she became upset when the next available date was 10 days later due to most of our designers being at the National Kitchen and Bath Show in Las Vegas. She then wrote a bad review – but of course she was really the root of all of her problems.

      If you call on a Friday maybe we can figure out what went wrong the first time and help you prevent a second disaster.

  10. Drew

    Hey Paul! Based on your rating I’ve looked into Procraft, but when I looked up the spec guide it shows a 1/4 back panel instead of 1/2 like the rest of the build. But when I look at some videos of people assembling from a few years ago, it looks like the back panel is thin(probably 1/4), but it has a pretty thick frame slapped on top of it. I’ve found a few different spec guides from Procraft since that say conflicting things. Wondering if you can speak to this. Thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Drew,
      We used to carry Procraft and when we did they used a 1/4″ back panel but with a 1/2″ x 3″ hanging rail. So everywhere you are screwing the cabinet to the wall is 3/4″ thick. I believe nothing has changed. While a 1/4 back panel by itself would be bad, if you add a 1/2″ hanging rail to the cabinet it is made like many framed lines. Kraftmaid wall cabinets are made this way as are other brands we review well.

      I think a 1/2″ full back panel is slightly better and a 3/4″ solid wood hanging rail would also be a little better. A 3/8″ full back panel would be about equal IMO.

  11. Josh

    Do you have any knowledge and/or opinions on Valleywood Cabinetry? RTA from Lowe’s and some other RTA sites.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Josh,
      We don’t generally rate RTA. It is a foolish way to order cabinetry as there are far better lines that are only a little more that come already assembled and will come with the assistance of a professional kitchen designer included in the price. Lowes won’t measure a kitchen and install this cabinetry even though they sell it. That should tell you something.

  12. Yael

    Hi Paul. I’m deciding between Fabuwood and Homecrest cabinets; if using Homecrest upgraded to all plywood boxes is the quality the same or is one better than the other? Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      They are both good brands Homecrest will offer many more door styles, finishes, types of wood and more standard sizing. If you just want white shaker cabinets Fabuwood will be better because you aren’t taking advantage of any of the reasons to be in a more custom line.

  13. ANN

    Do have any knowledge of Cabinets.com?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ann,
      Buying cabinets online assures that no professional ever sees, measures, or designs your kitchen. It doesn’t matter how the cabinets are made the concept is flawed. DIYers will often do anything to avoid the professional help that could save them money, time, and avoid mistakes.

      The saying in Law “That a person who represents themselves in court has a fool for an attorney.” also applies to kitchen design. So “A person that designs and measures their kitchen themselves has a fool for a designer.”

      Always try to get experienced professional to help when you are working on the largest and most expensive home renovation in your life.

  14. Drew

    What are you ratings for KCD? I’m in AK and alot of people use KCD for their kitchens.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Sorry don’t know the brand

  15. Lisa

    Hello, We are having a house built and the builder is offering two different brands of cabinets to choose from. They are partial overlay Marsh in the house base price and Dura Supreme as an upgrade. In your opinion, is the Marsh a good cabinet or is is worth the money to upgrade? There will be no children and two adults living in the house who are not hard on things. Thank you for answering my question!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Lisa,
      Upgraded to plywood and in a full overlay cabinet door style – Marsh would be a good selection. Durasupreme is expensive to upgrade and I don’t like the company. The builder is selecting old fashioned cabinet brands so your kitchen design itself surely could use updating as he is out of touch with the market. Most builders are by the way. 

  16. Lisa

    Our designer is recommending Wellborn cabinets but I’ve seen some questionable reviews on Houzz. We’re going with a shaker style, nothing in our design requires a custom cabinet. The other option that our designer sells is Kraftmaid.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Lisa,
      Cabinet reviews from consumers are almost meaningless. Information gotten from Houzz, HGTV or the DIY network is also usually unreliable. There are several reasons for this:

      First, homeowners are more likely to write a negative review than a positive one for any cabinet brand and the bigger the cabinet company the more unhappy people they will have often through no fault of their own. Consumers often blame their problems on the cabinet company when the dealer, designer, or contractor is really at fault, or have unrealistic expectations.

      Second the people commenting on Houzz, writing articles or reviews, and producing home improvement shows on most networks know absolutely nothing about cabinetry or renovation in most cases.

      I would look for reviews for a local cabinet dealer, and after finding a good dealer, listen to their evaluation on the cabinetry they sell. Or use our rating blog. Either will be far more reliable.

      Remember we are in the middle of a supply chain nightmare do delays and damages are far more common than in the past.
      Below are links to some important relevant blogs:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/hard-compare-kitchen-cabinet-brands/
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/picking-cabinet-dealer-important-cabinets/
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/kitchen-remodeling-tv-shows-rated-realism-advice/

  17. Lori

    I don’t see Northpoint by Hardware Resources listed in your 2021 reviews. I’m contemplating CNC White Luxor vs Northpoint Premier Catalina. Can you offer a review of pros/cons on each? My husband doesn’t like that the painted white on each is a full MDF door, vs others having a wood frame surround with MDF center panel.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Lori,
      Your husband is right. I wouldn’t recommend an MDF door for anything but flipping a home. CNC has the solid wood shaker door named Elegant but it’s 30% more than Luxor. Fabuwood is a better value for a Solid wood shaker door and only a little more than CNC’s Elegant.

  18. Susan Hand

    Any thoughts on Showplace’s HDM cabinets? Our designer convinced us it was the best way to go for painted cabinets, and I’m beginning to second guess myself for not going with wood.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Susan,
      The HDM will look great but will be less durable and unrepairable over time. For a flip or short term it makes sense, otherwise Wood is a better choice.

  19. Ellen Meade

    Hi, do you have a rating for Dewils Cabinetry located in Washington state? We are building a home in NC and Dewils has been recommended to us. We are not familiar with them and would appreciate some advice.
    Thanks for your help,
    Ellen

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Dewils is a custom cabinet brand that I don’t know well. I’m sure they are very well made when upgraded. They will also be expensive.

  20. fahad

    Hi Paul,
    Any thoughts on Wolf Designer? That’s one of the brands offered by the local kitchen cabinet place I’m working with. I see Wolf is rated well here, but Wolf Signature isn’t. They also have Waypoint which can be upgraded to all plywood. As always, many thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Fahad,
      Wolf Classic is a better value than the Wolf Designer series but well made. Waypoint would be similar to Wolf Designer and might offer better looking finishes. We don’t carry Wolf so it’s hard for me to get really specific.

  21. Deirdre Baird

    Thank you for all your advice. Could I get your opinion on ConestogaWood doors and drawer faces? They are resold through many retailers. We are looking for painted slim shaker for the perimeter and then a stained wood for the island.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Deidra,
      Conestoga makes great products. That being said replacing door and drawer fronts is almost never a sensible investment. Once you are spending 3/4 of the cost of new cabinetry I’d get all new cabinetry in a better design. Investing a lot of money in an outdated design, possibly keeping soffits, and wall ovens in poor locations usually doesn’t make sense.

  22. Andrew

    Great post. This has saved me dozens of hours of research and is much more thorough than anything I could have done.

    Any thoughts or input regarding Conestoga Wood Specialities cabinets?

    Thanks in advance,

    Andrew

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Andrew,
      I don’t think RTA cabinets even when the parts are very well made as are Conestoga’s make much sense. I’d always buy premade cabinetry with the help of a good dealer and designer. No one that’s an expert in our industry would ever choose this route. As a former general contractor I never would. A carpenter that didn’t value good design might, but that would save almost nothing in materials, and insure that the carpenter was avoiding the help that he or she needs.

      Some people actively avoid experts. They think they know better. They never do, but at least the penalty for their ignorance is just a crappy kitchen in our industry.
      Ignoring scientific and medical experts has far more serious results.

  23. Sony

    Hi Paul,

    Is it necessary that I only use one cabinet maker for an entire kitchen remodel. We are currently having a design using KraftMaid Vantage, however, my wife likes a green paint in the Schrock line. The island is where she wants that color, so was wondering if there is any differences I need to keep in my mind if I do the island in shrock and the wall and base cabinets in KraftMaid. The doors are all shaker style…Also, can I use the same design across brands, like, change entire cabinets and layout from KM into Schrock…with similar cabinets?

  24. Sue

    Hello,
    We are looking to add an addition to expand our kitchen. Is it reasonable that cabinets be ordered before the addition is compete based on the specs of the plan, or should you always wait for the addition to be finished . One kitchen designer said they would do it and would take responsibility for anything that didn’t go to plan and fix it( hs contractor did not raise concerns about ordering cabinets ahead of time) Another from a big box store said they would not oder until the addition is complete. I just want to make sure it is reasonble to order cabinets before addition is complete.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sue,
      Usually we try to order after the walls are framed and before electric, plumbing and drywall is done. That gives you normally plenty of time for the cabinetry to come in before the builder needs cabinets. You certainly don’t need to wait for addition to be complete.

  25. Holly LeClair

    Hello,

    We had a home built in a 55+ community that used Timberlake cabinets for the kitchen and baths. The builder’s business model makes limited upgrades available. Only 4 cabinet finishes, 3 countertop choices and 3 floor color choices were available. Fortunately they used Timberlake Portfolio Select and we chose the Maple, New Haven door in painted linen. We are happy with the cabinet quality but I am making some custom additions for functionality and to distinguish my home from others. I want to replace my island with quarter sawn white oak and drawers rather than doors. Also we never sit at the island so I would prefer cabinets on both sides rather than seating. In the past my custom kitchens had more drawers which I loved. My new kitchen has more door cabinets and not even a pull out! These cavernous cabinets aren’t very functional so the island storage with drawers would be great. I did contact your company but you would not sell just an island and countertops. I don’t want to replace the entire kitchen. Looking over your list, I am considering Brighton cabinets. Would it be too much of a mixed bag to order inset cabinets for the island. The Timberlake linen cabinets are full overlay. Love your site and all the advice you offer. Thanks so much for your reply. Holly

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Holly,
      First off, sorry that we passed on your project. We are so busy and partial kitchen remodels can be as much work for designers as full remodels, and impossible for us to convince contractors to even quote for our customers. Since you are going to have a difficult time finding a kitchen place that will accept your project I think you should focus on finding that company first and simply use the custom or very close to custom cabinet brand that they carry that offers quartersawn white oak. You will be able to upgrade to quality construction in almost every high-end cabinet brand. That brand will also probably color match.

      The quartersawn oak cabinetry will come in a cerused finish that will be popular. That finish might not come in an inset door style. If the finish you pick is offered in inset I would personally still get full overlay to keep styles more consistent. If you find the right contractor, it is possible that they could reuse your countertop if it remains undamaged through the renovation.

      But work on finding the dealer first and don’t focus on cabinet brand.

  26. Susan

    I don’t see Woodland Cabinetry on your list. Any input on these folks? Client wants slab front doors in a color offered by Diamond cabs. This particular style comes as either painted maple veneer over MDF or straight up painted MDF. They think they want solid wood doors though (not avail from Diamond in this color). Woodland was suggested as they offer custom color on solid wood doors. However, I’m seeing very mixed reviews from great (kitchen designers) to awful (customers). Thoughts?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Susan,
      Woodland cabinetry is a custom cabinet brand I don’t know much about. However, like other custom brands I assume you can get almost anything you want made almost any way you want it. I looked at the customer reviews and as is usually the case customers are complaining about problems that are either the designers and cabinet dealers fault or they didn’t understand the properties of what they selected.

      Be careful of your customers. They are like the people making the complaints about Woodland. THEY are dictating what THEY want based on THEIR own assumptions without any knowledge about the products they are ordering. For example, getting a solid wood painted slab door is just stupid.

      If they understand what framed cabinetry is and want framed cabinetry, I would recommend that they stay with the less expensive Diamond cabinets upgraded to Diamonds top construction with the Painted Maple veneer in the color they want.

      They also might want frameless cabinetry, which diamond doesn’t make to my knowledge, because frameless cabinetry looks better with slab doors. Make sure you and these customers are on the same page with what they are buying. They have all the earmarks of problem clients.

  27. Chip

    Have you ever heard of Greenfield cabinets? Do you know anything about their build quality? https://www.greenfieldcabinetry.com/
    Thanks

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Chip,
      Greenfield is a custom cabinet brand and so will probably make cabinets durably and with nice finishes. However, based on the lack of transparency, misinformation, and Bull####, on their website, I think that any kitchen ordered through them would need to be supervised by a knowledgeable and experienced kitchen designer. Some manufacturers need more supervision than others. The Corsi Group appears to be one of these. They will be an expensive brand based on their ability to customize and the diverse finish options that they offer.

  28. Shanker

    Hi Paul

    Thanks for the prompt response. For identical designs, the Mantra cabinets cost 39% less than the Schrock equivalent but the Mantra warranty is only 5 years while the Schrock warranty is limited lifetime. I am curious about what was lacking in the Mantra design that made you rate it a B+ and not an A- or A.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Shanker,
      Warranties are meaningless in the cabinet industry. Many terrible lines have long ones. Many fine brands have the former industry standard of 5 years. I think the 3/8″ back without a hanging rail was what got the Mantra q B+ over an A or A-

  29. Shanker

    Hi Paul

    Thank for taking the time to answer all our questions. I have learned a lot from browsing your site. We are in Massachusetts and are considering Mantra cabinets (Master brand) in Shaker white. I did not see Mantra mentioned in your review and was wondering what you thought of it.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Shanker,
      Mantra looks like we would give it a B+ for construction. Maybe in a less expensive price point a B++ But, I don’t know where it prices out compared to other brands so I can’t rate it. If you happen to get pricing for Mantra and another brand we do rate, and can let me know, it would help us towards eventually rating Mantra.

      It’s interesting that Masterbrands is now selling inexpensive brands better made than their expensive brands were constructed less than 10 years ago. The cabinet market is changing as consumers become better informed. I’d like to think that our website had something to do with that.

  30. Sandra

    I am remodeling a small kitchen in a 800 sq. foot condominium, and then will put the condo up for sale. What reasonably price cabinet line do you recommend?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sandra,
      Great question, because the cabinet brand, the style, AND the color of your cabinets could change quite a bit from what you might choose if you were doing the renovation for yourself or to rent.

      Remember this renovation is NOT for you. And so you should be getting the most popular colors and styles that appeal to “the market” right now. You do not need the MOST durable cabinet brands and door styles but they MUST have soft close doors and solid wood dovetail soft close drawers because new home buyers often understand that this means quality.

      For flipping I would recommend less expensive brands like CNC, Procraft, US Cabinet Depot and other lower priced brands. So see the better reviewed brands on this blog at the 1 and 2 price point.

      A shaker white door style in an MDF door is the most popular and looks great. Not as durable as a wood door but less expensive and better looking which is all you care about.

      A partial overlay door style like the CNC Luxor White door style will look great and be even less expensive because it isn’t full overlay and uses less expensive hardware that will be indistinguishable to consumers. Still not a bad cabinet by the way. For a rental property CNC Luxor in grey wood would be a durable, easy to touch, up choice.

      MOST IMPORTANTLY, since you are selling the condo the design becomes even more important. DO NOT replace the cabinetry as is. There will be at least slightly better designs that will make the layout of the kitchen and the condo more appealing to buyers. For example, diagonal sinks are home value killers. When you are selling a condo it usually makes the most sense to spend money on design, painting walls, and inexpensive new flooring, but never cabinet, countertop, or appliance upgrades past what’s simply popular.

      I’d recommend a level 1 granite color like Steel Grey (quartz is popular but is 50% more expensive) and a $3000 stainless steel appliance package. Get a microwave hood, it saves money and space in a small kitchen. New flooring is also important but even peal and stick vinyl flooring in an attractive pattern is fine.

      If the condo has any outside property. Keep the lawn mowed and at least spruce up the yard.

      Best of luck selling and remember that most real estate agents are trying to sell your home fast, because THEY make the most money that way. If you sell the condo in a few days that means you were asking too little for it. I would always list a home for AT LEAST 10% more than the real estate agent recommends. Then drop the price in a couple of weeks if the number scares people off.

  31. Christi

    Thanks for your feedback. The kitchen you linked to is beautiful and so functional. We have a butler pantry and a mid-size kitchen and we are doing a very similar style/feel as your link just not a large and open – those windows are amazing. I appreciate your thoughts, I’ll try to give a call today and see if I can catch anyone during your phone hours. We don’t need very much customization, as 95% is standard sizing, but have one corner giving me trouble.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Christi,
      We only take calls outside our service are on Fridays 2-4 pm so you need to call then.

  32. Christi

    We are building our own house on the farm I grew up on, and through this pandemic all sorts of things have gone wrong and become more expensive (I know we aren’t alone in). We need a functional family house that we will use to host lots of casual gatherings – so no high end stuff here. We are in ID and in one of the hottest housing markets in the country, so all materials/craftsmen are crazy backlogged and prices are soaring. We had a custom cabinet maker all lined up and ready to start our job, when he informed us after our final measurement apt with him that he didn’t actually have time to do our job b/c of some contractor orders that he needed to fulfill. SO, we are now at the 11th hour and consulted with 2 other cabinet makers and just don’t feel comfortable with them for the cost/value. We felt very comfortable with our first cabinet guy who bailed on us. Now, I’m pricing Lowes cabinets and are seriously considering Allen & Roth (made by Shenendoah/American Woodmark) and getting the upgraded line. From all info I’m getting is that it’s very comprisable to the Schuler/Diamond lines, but with less options, storage, finishes & sizes. We are considering the painted cabinets. Need advice…

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Christi,
      We sell Timberlake which is the same thing as American Woodmark Etc, so I really like the brand. Diamond is also a good brand. What’s the best value really comes down to the door style, finish, and THE LAYOUT of your kitchen. People getting shaker white or gray cabinets with no unusual heights and widths of cabinets can be in less expensive cabinet lines and get just as well-made cabinets as Diamond and American Woodmark and spend much less. Getting custom cabinets makes little sense unless you require the sizing and selections custom cabinetry offers. Here is a link to one of our kitchens designed in a brand 30% less than Diamond or American Woodmark and 60% less than custom cabinetry.
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/kitchen-design-gallery/villanova-pa-renovated-barn/
      Most of the time when people are fretting cabinet brands their layouts are actually amateurish and should actually be their biggest concern. That’s why we have our Friday helpline from 2-4 pm EST.

  33. Patricia Kellberg

    Hi Paul – It’s the Elan ‘full-access cabinet line’ and from what I saw they looked quite nice. I guess you can’t comment then on how Bertch compares to Wellsford or Bishop even if it’s related to their customer service? Thanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Bertch makes nice cabinets – depending on the Elan lines pricing they will be at least as nice as Bishop but possibly not quite as well constructed. Wellsford is a more expensive full custom brand which should be nicer looking and built to the highest standards. It will be more expensive too.

  34. Patricia Kellberg

    Hi Paul,
    I am looking at a Mid-Century Modern remodel and want a well-constructed frameless option. I noticed in another post that you recommend Bishop and Wellsford. Can you comment on how Bertch would compare to them?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Patricia,
      I didn’t know that Bertch made frameless cabinetry. I would assume that if they do you could upgrade to 3/4′ plywood construction and that we would give them good ratings. However, Bertch selling frameless cabinetry is news to me.

  35. Sue

    Thank you for your prompt response! I will be trying to call in Friday! My kitchen was tight and we decided on an addition. We had a design prior to the addition so maybe that is where the blind corner originated from. I was the one pushing for the Lemans (thought they were very cool). I will ask if a way to design without a blind corner.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sue,
      You should definitely call in. When you are going to the expense of an addition it would be very unusual for the design to remain similar to the design prior to the addition, because the cost of moving anything is insignificant compared to the cost of the addition. I’m intrigued to see you design. We take all the calls we receive on Fridays even if we run over, so if you call between 2 and say 3:30 pm you will definitely get in.

  36. Sue

    One more question. I am getting a Lemans for a blind corner. If I am using an experienced kitchen designer am I safe to assume they will make sure I have enough swing for it?
    Or is there a key question I should ask to make sure. You made me nervous with one of your other comments.
    Thanks!!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      First, I would never spend 45K on a frameless cabinet if I was getting a white shaker door style. The shaker door style doesn’t suffer in looks with a better made framed cabinet. Frameless cabinets are best chosen ONLY with very contemporary kitchens and slab door style does. Why spend more for a lesser constructed product. I haven’t seen your design but it quite likely you could be using a far less expensive line and getting a better designed, more durable, cabinet. Good designers know that blind corners and Lemans units are supposed to be a last resort. If you have 45K in cabinets your kitchen shouldn’t be tight and require a blind corner. It sounds like I wouldn’t like your designer.

      I would recommend calling in to our helpline ready to email your design. When a designer does several things that don’t make sense, they usually create poor designs.

      Experience is not a guarantee against bad design and poor decision making. Some very experienced designers are terrible at designing kitchens.

      Warranties on cabinets are meaningless, for example, IKEA offers a 20-year warranty and they are overpriced junk. Luxor with thin sides and an a MDF door would be outrageously overpriced junk. The fact that your “designer” is steering you in this direction is telling.

  37. Sue

    Hello, I am working with a designer who sells Luxor and because of my upper budget of 45k for cabinets he is recommending the Select line. In that line I am looking at a wood shaker style cabinet ( though he keeps pushing the MDF version). He brought me a wood shaker from the higher end line and I could see the panel was thicker and solid wood vs a veneer on the select line. The select line also uses thinner plywood box but warranty on cabinets is the same. What are your thoughts on a wood cabinet from the select line, or should I pay the extra 20% for a solid wood panel? Or is there a better quality all solid wood door for less I should be looking at? I just want a painted white simple shaker door for a transitional kitchen.

  38. Elaine

    What are your thoughts on forevermark cabinets

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Elaine,
      They are a pretty well make inexpensive brand. However, they have had supply chain issues in the past, so you need to check on their availability.

  39. Mary

    Hi Paul,

    What do you think about J&k and Shenadoah painted finishes? I know painted wood would need touch ups eventually but is one better then the other in durability and quality? The Shenadoah cabinets would be upgraded to all plywood. Also, due to tariff prices going up as of lately is still worth it going with J&k? The price difference is not much as long as the shenadoah cabinets are on sale. Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Mary,
      We haven’t noticed a difference in durability between any painted cabinet finishes from major brands. There are quality differences – looks wise.
      Make sure you are also comparing apples to apples. We sell Shenandoah under the original name Timberlake. They have a lot of MDF and HDF doors that will not be as durable as solid wood doors. The paint will look perfect but the door is simply heavy duty particleboard. These will be less expensive than their solid wood doors.

      The Lowes sales go on and off just to put pressure on customers to purchase quickly. One of the many reasons you should be careful buying a kitchen from a home center. Read this blog:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/why-you-shouldnt-buy-a-kitchen-from-home-depot-or-lowes/

  40. Barb

    I did not see Monarch Cabinets in your ratings list. Can you please tell me how you would rate these cabinets. I am looking at both Kith and Monarch at this time. There is no reason as to why these to cabinet companies except by the designers I am working with. I live in the St. Louis, MO area. If there are better cabinets to look at I am very open for suggestions. I have been dealing with a design for 6 months now so if you can help with that it would be appreciated also. Thank you very much for you time and sharing your expertise.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Monarch looks like we would give it an A- for construction. Since I don’t know the line I can’t tell you how it prices out and so what kind of value it would be.
      As far as the design goes – you can call in to our help line ready to email your design a week from Friday between 2 and 4pm EST.

  41. MB

    Paul – thank you so much for taking time to answer all these questions. Your website is so helpful! I was reading back to some of the earlier posts about inset cabinets. We are working on a kitchen addition and the kitchen designer our contractor recommended suggested Showplace cabinets which does offer an inset option. We would like plain, not beaded. What are your thoughts about this manufacturer for their inset line compared to other manufacturers that do inset?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi MB,
      Showplace is very well constructed, however sometimes the less expensive brands have a tough time getting the gaps between doors and drawers and face frames as exact as is needed to look great. Even with 6 way adjustable hinges. Since I don’t know Showplace that well you would have to ask the dealer if they have had any complaints about uneven gaps.

      For example, we carry Bishop which is similar to Showplace, and also does inset. We seldom sell inset Bishop though, because they charge more for inset cabinetry, and don’t do it quite as well as Brighton – the less expensive custom line that we sell. Because Brighton is a custom line you aren’t charged for all the customizations and upgrades that Bishop charges, so by the time you price out a Bishop Inset kitchen is is almost Brighton pricing. This might also be the case with Showplace.

  42. ArtistMomStar

    Hi Mainline,

    I’d really like to know why Urban Effects rated so poorly. From what I understand, there is an option for all plywood cabinet case – which I’m planning to use and all hardware has been changed to Blumotion. Apart from the fact that they’re frameless, is there a reason why I should stay steer clear of this line of cabinets?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi ArtistMom,
      The Urban Effects cabinetry has only 5/8″ thick sides and a 1/4″ back with a 5/8″ hanging rail. If upgrading them to plywood is possible, that helps, but in a frameless cabinet 3/4″ sides and a solid back are required to meet sensible standards. I’d pick another frameless line. This is just an expensive version of IKEA.

  43. Kyanne Danowsky

    Don’t know if you remember me. I decided to go with a designer for our cabinetry and skip the Home Depot frustartion. So far, going with Medallion. Now because of lead times she suggests either waiting the 20 weeks or I could go with a cheaper brand, Kitchen Craft. Do you have an opinion?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kyanne,
      I’d wait for the much better cabinet brand. Remember to upgrade to plywood.

  44. fahad

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for all your advice here. Just saw your comment about Euro appliances. In general, for a mid priced kitchen for people who don’t actually cook a lot, what are some appliance brands we should be looking at? There’s quite the range out there.
    Also, planning to call you next Friday. We have the drawing from the architect now, would love to get your thoughts on it.

  45. Elaine

    We are making plans to remodel our kitchen and I would love to have rift sawn white oak cabinets with a shaker style door. It appears they are extremely hard to find and would be very expensive. I’m wondering if you are aware of a cabinetry line that offers them or have any suggestions for something similar. I do not want painted cabinets. I love the subtle color & wood grain. Maple cabinets I have seen appear glossy & too smooth. (I fear I am not explaining my dilemma very clearly). I consider you the expert and I would very much appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thank you for sharing your time and talent with all of us all that need your expertise but do not live in your area!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Elaine,
      The finish you want is expensive and even additionally expensive if you want that finish to look cerused. See link
      The only inexpensive choice you will find that looks similar is plastic laminate door and drawers made to look like this finishing technique. Inexpensive brands like CNC will do this but you will need to paying at least 60% more to get the real thing.

  46. Sri

    Thanks Paul. Could you please elaborate further on what design choices Porcelanosa makes which are not good? We are definitely looking to increase the function by changing layout as needed.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Shri,
      First, I’m not a big fan of European cabinet and appliance engineering. Frameless cabinets are less well constructed in general than better made framed lines and European cabinet brands and designers often disregard the limitations that need to be considered when the cabinetry is frameless. European appliances are nice looking but are poorly designed compared to even inexpensive Korean appliances. For example many European Ranges that cost over 20K don’t even have an oven that would fit a turkey or a pizza.

      Next, The Porcelanosa planning guide on their web site LINK HERE shows a complete lack of understanding of how to design a kitchen. It assumes that the customer is capable of measuring and coming up with the design plan that they want. The first step for creating ANY kitchen design requires a professional measuring and examining a home to determine how walls are constructed and what’s in them among many other considerations. For example 60% of the kitchens we design remove walls or move windows or doorways. This approach just makes Porcelanosa an over priced IKEA as far as design itself goes.

      Add to this, that they are not just like an over priced IKEA in their approach to kitchen design but their whole store is the same IKEA business model. IE, Less experienced employees selling all types of products with little knowledge about what they sell or how to install it.

      Lastly they get terrible reviews – at least the store local to me does. See link

  47. Sri

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for putting together an extensive comparison table. We are looking to redo our kitchen and came across Porcelanosa cabinets. What do you think about them?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sira,
      Porcelanosa is a an expensive frameless European brand that specializes in ultra modern styling, but based on their kitchen planning guide, shuns the concept of good kitchen design. If you are considering a slab door style and an ultra modern kitchen look, and you have a large budget, then their cabinetry could be a good choice. However I worry about anyone from this company designing your kitchen. If you have a big budget a modern style kitchen, I would think a designer that sells Poggenpohl Cabinets or Omega Dynasty might be more knowledgeable. If you aren’t getting a slab door style than these brands are not what you should be looking at.

  48. Fahad

    Hello there,
    Thanks for providing such a great resource here.
    I currently have a local architect working on drawings and renderings for a house we just bought. For the kitchen aspect would you still recommend we also get a good kitchen designer too? I was going through your list of cabinet companies, thinking I could then tell the architect or contractor which to use, but read a comment from you that it’s best to get a designer. But the designer may have their own preferences or companies they work with? Should I still use your list and suggest the companies I like?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Fahad,
      First definitely shop first for a good kitchen designer that works at a respected showroom and one NOT recommended by your architect. Most architects are VERY poor kitchen designers and were you to select a kitchen designer that had a relationship with your architect they might not be forthcoming about bad designs suggested by the architect.
      READ this blog for clarification:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/why-are-so-many-of-the-most-expensive-kitchens-so-poorly-designed/
      I would also suggest having me review your floor plans on our help line and podcast. It should set you on a good track. Call 610-500-4071 on a Friday 2-4 pm EST. With the exception of Black Friday and between Christmas and New Years.
      The design is more important than the cabinet brand, so long as the brand isn’t a bad one, and is upgraded as needed.

  49. Kyanne

    We are remodeling and trying to decide on a kitchen cabinet maker. I have looked at Medallion through a designer in town and also looked at Thomasville through the Home Depot. Thomasville is less expensive but the reviews have scared me a bit. I would appreciate any advice you could give.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kyanne,
      Medallion Cabinetry also rebranded as Schuler Cabinetry sold at Lowes, and also essentially rebranded as Yorktowne cabinetry by their new manufacturer ACPI, is a nice nearly custom cabinet brand known for it’s nice finishes. Diamond manufactured by Masterbrands and sold at Lowes and remarketed as Thomasville at The Home Depot, is also sold under other names. Under any name it is a good brand. Diamond/Thomasville is a little less custom then Medallion, and while it has nice looking finishes, they don’t quite reach the looks of Medallion. You must upgrade both these lines to all plywood construction and soft close hardware. You don’t mention the door style and finish you are getting, but if you can’t notice a difference or the difference doesn’t matter to you then Thomasville is a better value for you, and will be just as durable.

      However the reason Diamond and Thomasville get more bad reviews is BECAUSE they are sold at home centers. Home center designers are often inexperienced and the home center environment isn’t a good one for creating a great kitchen. See this blog: https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/why-you-shouldnt-buy-a-kitchen-from-home-depot-or-lowes/

      Home owners usually worry about cabinet quality when they should be worrying about design quality, and designer ability and experience. The kitchen designer you work with literally determines the value of your home with their design. If a homeowner or contractor designed a kitchen, then we know it must be amateurish, and if you are pricing that simplistic design different places you are asking for trouble. See this blog: https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/price-comparing-kitchen-cabinets-and-why-it-is-a-bad-idea/

      It is always my recommendation that people shop for a kitchen designer and a well regarded cabinet dealer, and not for cabinets. You should consider vetting your design with us on our Friday helpline and podcast. Just call 610-500-4071 between 2-4 pm EST. Black Friday there is no podcast.

  50. mick

    My designer is recommending Fabuwood and I do like the product, but the sides of the cabinet really do not match the doors and the face frame of the cabinets, it does not even appear to be painted. Do you have another product where the sides match the front?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Mick,
      Of course, the sides of the cabinet come painted. The designer just has to specify what cabinets need finished sides. This is the way all but very cheap cabinets come. If your designer doesn’t know this, they should not be designing anyone’s kitchen.

  51. Taryn

    Hi there! Thanks so much for your great site. Is the “Wolf” cabinet line you mention above (and give good ratings for) Wolf Designer? Wolf has a few different lines (and you mention Wolf Signature), with Designer seemingly being the best quality but wanted to check if the Wolf Designer line is indeed what you are referring to or if it’s some other line. Thanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Wolf Classic or any of the higher Wolf lines are well-made but the designer line has some custom features that tend not to be great values. Like custom colors etc. Customizing less expensive brands is generally not a good idea. It’s not what the brand does well or price competitively.

  52. Lisa Ungar

    Hi Paul, do you have information about blind corners? There are so many options. I have a l shape kitchen with a left blind corner, Right now, I have 15 inch door opening with a drawer on top that have shelves with no hardware.

    Designer suggesting Lemans which would shrink my 3 drawers base cabinet from 18 inches to 12 inches that is next to it. On the internet I have seen hardware that can be used with 18 inch door opening and even 1 that can be used with a 15 inch door opening. Thinking that I wouldn’t want to go down to 12 inches but maybe do 15 inches as a compromise.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Lisa,
      Blind corners are a last resort in kitchen design. Experienced designers usually change the layout to eliminate blind corners. Since a Lemans is expensive, eliminating the Lemans often pays for enlarging a window or moving a gas line. Be careful too, Lemans, Magic corners and the other blind corner solutions you are looking at often don’t work due to swing restrictions. 12″ drawer bases make no sense. The interior width of the drawers are 7″, only big enough for cork screws and bottle openers. Consider calling into our help line and podcast ready to email your design. Maybe I can find a better design solution. We take call Fridays 2-4 pm EST at 610-500-4071

  53. Pam

    I am hoping to be able to put a GE Cafe Range Top (36 inch) on a 36 inch Fabuwood triple drawer base (DB36) with the top drawer removed and top cross bar removed. I am worried about drawer clearance around the gas line that comes down from the bottom of the range. What modifications need to happen to make this work? Do the drawers need to be modified? It seems like the drawer depth may need to be reduced. Would Fabuwood do something like this? Is there a better way to do it?

    Thank you so much for all the useful information!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Pam,
      I looked at the GE cafe Specs. Everything works as long as the contractor places the gas line towards the middle of the cabinet, away from the drawer tracks and close to the back of the cabinet so that the shut off, regulator, and lines stay close to the back of the cabinet in between the back of the drawer box and the back of the cabinet. Electric should also be located away from the tracks. The nipple of the cooktop will also need to be first attached to an elbow so that the gas line can be directed towards the middle of the cabinet immediately before getting low enough to hit the drawer. Here’s a link to the somewhat incomplete instructions GE gives. https://www.cafeappliances.com/appliance/Cafe-36-Gas-Rangetop-CGU366P2MS1

      The contractor needs to make all the cabinet modifications but these are easy compared to installing ovens, downdrafts, or farm sinks. This is also one of the many reasons that a good kitchen designer is needed to check appliance specifications and ensure that everything works together and to walk the contractor through the installation if he or she is uncertain.

      Kitchens are incredibly complicated. Making sure that moldings look right and reach the ceiling, that doors and panels align, that appliances work safely with the cabinetry, and that the design itself is the best it can be, esthetically pleasing, functional, and safe is far more complicated than non-kitchen designer realize. Appliance companies, building codes, and contractors all overlook and even encourage dangerous installations such as flush mount ovens in inset cabinetry or 30″ tall cabinets with 30″ self-cleaning ovens installed in them. Kitchens are the most dangerous room in a home, not because they are inherently that way, but because of poor and dangerous design. We have many blogs on this subject and a YOUTUBE video titled MURDER, by kitchen design.

  54. Kristen

    I am ordering cabinets from Fabuwood. We want to do an island with a 108 x 44 inch island with closed ends using columns cut down to 20 inches. We would like wainscot panels on the end, but are being told they only come in 24 inch wide for base cabinets so they won’t work unless the island is 48 wide. It seems like this couldn’t possible be true. Can base wainscot panels be ordered in other sizes from Fabuwood? If not, is there any other way to achieve this look?

    Thank you for all the fabulous information you provide.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kristen,
      30″ high wall cabinet doors are used on base panels and come in 11 1/2, 14 1/2, 17 1/2, and 20 1/2 widths that can be used Plus Fabuwood makes custom doors it just takes 10 weeks.

  55. Lisa

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your responses. The reason I am going with frameless cabinets is because I want like keep the interior space that I have with the base drawers today. I have seen it mentioned at houzz that framed based drawers kitchen cabinets could vary in interior dimensions. For example, two different cabinet makers have 18in 3 drawers cabinets, but the interior space to store stuff can be different.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Lisa,
      Here is a blog on the difference in storage space between framed and frameless:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/storage-difference-between-framed-and-frameless-cabinets-lets-do-the-math/

  56. SANDY SILVER

    Have you ever heard of PW Cabinetry (Pentwater Cabinetry) out of Lombard, IL. We have a possible contractor that will do any cabinets but says he uses this company often.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sandy,
      I don’t know the brand and they don’t give enough information to rate them. Plus, I could only guess the pricing. They look like RTA cabinet assembled in the US.

      However you need a kitchen designer BEFORE you need a contractor and if you and your contractor believe you don’t need a designer then he is a bad influence, and because he is, also a poor contractor to work with. I looked at the kitchens on the PW site and they were all poorly designed so there are probably no good designers that work there.

      Every day for over twenty years I have spoken to people that say the same things:
      “My kitchen is small, there’s not much I can do differently”
      “I know the design I want, I just need cabinets”
      “it’s too expensive to move things”
      “My design now is good, I just need to replace the cabinets and countertops”
      “My contractor designed my kitchen and he has been doing this for ages”
      “I have designed several other kitchens before, so I don’t need help”
      “I’m an architect, interior designer, engineer, real estate agent, or idiot savant, and don’t need an experienced professional kitchen designer”

      The list goes on forever. I have always found that the more certain the person is that they don’t need a kitchen designers help, that the more they desperately need it.
      Here is our video that and gently tries to convince people that they are foolish to get no professional kitchen design help on the most expensive home renovation of their lives.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxJgxCeeNTo

  57. Mary

    Thanks for the response on Mid-continent. The other lines that they sell are Starmark, Procraft, Kabinart, Mouser and Wellborn Forest. Any of those better for rentals?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Mary,
      Procraft has a very inexpensive and durable grey stained cabinet that I think is the perfect choice for a rental.

  58. Mary

    Do you have any views on the Mid-continent Pivot line? I’m looking at them for a rental vacation house.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Mary,
      The MDF doors are great for flipping a home but a bad idea if you plan on staying or even worse – renting. They look good but damage easily.

  59. Lisa

    Hi Paul,

    I am looking at installing new Frameless cabinets in a kitchen renovation. The kitchen and bath store is recommending Quakermaid cabinets. I see that it is in your list. The QuakerMaid website isn’t working and haven’t seen recent reviews. Is Quakermaid considered better than Design-Craft? When the person came and measured my kitchen Friday. He suggested upgrading from 30 inch wall cabinets 36 in with molding or 42 inch wall for modern look. The ceiling height is 97 to 97.5 inches high. Is it feasible to do 42in? Going with frameless because the current kitchen was installed with frameless by the previous owner in the late 90s. Over the refrigerator, I plan to change from 12 inches deep to 24 inches deep. For that he mentioned using the pantry and the wall for support, if I want to keep the 18 wide pantry cabinet. Otherwise I need to reduce the size of pantry to add the filler next the refrigerator. I will learn more on Thursday when I see the design.

    Thanks,

    Lisa

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Lisa,
      You should ask the dealers about supply chain issues with both brands. We like QuakerMaid a little more than Design-Craft. 36″ high walls with a two piece crown molding would be better than 42″. I am confused as to why what the last kitchen was installed with should effect what you do now? You could get a better made cabinet than both these brands in a framed cabinet line for less if you were choosing anything other than a slab door style. If you are getting a slab door style they are both OK choices in frameless.

  60. Jeff

    Thank you for all the great information. I am looking to order Fabuwood cabinets. I have a 36 inch gas range top. I would like it to set on a cabinet with two drawers. It seems like the best way to accomplish this is to modify a 36 inch three drawer cabinet. Is there a better way to do this using Fabuwood?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jeff,
      There are several ways to go.
      1) Have Fabuwood disable the top drawer on a 36″ 3 drawer base. Simplest
      2) Have your contractor disable, or modify the top drawer – if the drawer in fact hits the cooktop you selected – some won’t. Only put soft dishtowels and oven mitts in this drawer, you don’t want to be hitting the regulator or gas line with anything hard or sharp.
      3) Use a 2 drawer base if this works with your cooktop.
      4) Take a two drawer base and order a drawer box for a bottom 3 drawer base and switch the top drawer box if this works better.
      5) If you are really creative- Switch the two drawer base top drawer box with the shallower top or middle drawer box of a 3 drawer base. Now order a roll out and have it installed above the shallower drawer box and behind the face of the top drawer. Link to a version below. You have to scroll down to Deep Drawer Base Cabinet With Rollout – Omega
      https://visualhunt.com/deep-kitchen-drawer-organizer

      Which of these solutions work best will be determined by the model cooktop you choose and how accommodating your kitchen designer and contractor are. Lots of calculations are needed to make sure what you choose works.

      Rev-a-shelf will also offer other solutions that will work and would need to be purchased on line.

  61. Jill

    Do Not use Fabuwood cabinets. They are poor quality and the company is horrible to deal with. I have been trying for 1 year to get damaged cabinet doors replaced and I can’t even get someone to return my call or email.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jill,
      If you are calling Fabuwood you are calling the wrong people to replace your doors. No cabinet company does this. You should be calling the dealer that sold you the cabinets.
      Or at least calling the closest dealer to you. Many cabinet brands don’t even have a phone number listed that a customer could find because they do not accept calls from the general public. You don’t call General Motors when your car needs a part. You call the dealer.

      I would disagree with you about the quality of Fabuwood cabinets but you seem confused about more than just this. Our customers are always happy with Fabuwood and we get no complaints.

  62. M P

    Can you please give me you opinion and experience with Brookhaven I vs Brookhaven II line cabinets.
    Thank you in advance

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi M P,
      No matter what I think about the quality of Woodmode and Brookhaven I would NEVER buy their cabinets right now. They have been financially unstable for years and it is too risky to buy a kitchen from them. They came out of bankruptcy where all their customers lost their money only to face a global pandemic. You’d have to be unhinged to give them a big check and hope to see cabinets in 22 weeks.

  63. Daniel

    Hi Paul. Interestingly, a lot of manufacturers say they won’t (or are reluctant) to do 1″ thick doors and frames with inset cabinetry because of the difficulty with hinges and making the proper adjustments for consistent reveal, etc. Others, while willing to do it, have tried to dissuade me for the same reasons. Any thoughts?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Daniel,
      The 1″ thick frames aren’t usually done which is why the doors and drawer fronts sit proud 1/4″ on inset cabinetry. It also negates the problem opening the doors because the same amount of door passes the frame. It sounds like you are driving your kitchen train which is a bad idea. Your job should be to find the dealer and the designer that you want to work with and to let them help you make sensible decisions.

  64. Sandy Kuhn

    Can you please give me you opinion and experience with Kemper cabinets.
    Thank you in advance

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sandy,
      I took the opportunity to reexamine the Kemper line because so many Masterbrand lines are combining and becoming the same brand with just different names for door styles and finishes. This is the case with Kemper. It is now Diamond rebranded. Because of this I increased the ratings and pricing for Kemper to the Diamond levels. I also took the A- ratings off Diamond as during the supply chain problems these type of lines lose a little of their value because you can probably pay just a little more and wait the same amount of time to get a better made and finished cabinet. I would Upgrade to all plywood construction in these Masterbrand lines which costs more and takes away from the overall value. Both lines now receive 4 for price point and B+ B+ for construction quality and value

  65. Daniel

    What are your thoughts on 1” thick doors and frames for inset cabinetry?
    Can you recommend any manufacturers that do this?
    Thanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Daniel,
      While 1″ Thick doors are a nice upgrade in custom cabinetry it will be a big price increase. Some custom lines set doors and drawers 1/4 ” proud of the face of the cabinet to mimic the most common 1″ door look inexpensively. All the most expensive custom brands will do this and they all will be very nice AND very expensive. Certainly you should be working with a very talented and experienced kitchen designer to fist create the best deign before considering this added expense. It makes NO SENCE to do an upgrade like this without moving walls, doors and windows to create the best kitchen design.

      Unfortunately good design is often overlooked when considering the most expensive cabinetry. This is true for a number of reasons. First, because only really good designers will be able to create that design, and if you aren’t a great designer you won’t realize that better designs are possible. Second, because when customers have a really big budget they are often used to getting their way and are less likely to take advice. Third, many designers are wary of alienating customers by telling them that their ideas are bad and jeopardizing a huge sale. Finally, customers with huge budgets often start the design process with architects and so get off to a terrible start. See below:

      All kitchen designers will tell you that the worst designs we see come from architects. This is because a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. It takes many years of exclusively designing kitchens full time to get good at it, and architects have very little kitchen design experience compared to even new kitchen designers, and they know nothing about kitchen cabinetry since they don’t sell it. The best kitchen designers learn quickly to be careful and to worry about the details, while architects are usually trained in school to value their own ideas above cost and what’s sensible. Architects love to draw on paper and let others figure out how to make their sometimes senseless drawings a reality. They are trained to be bold, and on paper, getting more stuff jammed into a tight space is a success. For the people that design and sell the cabinetry the finished functionality and esthetics of the design is what we are judged by, and held accountable for.

      As a kitchen designer, it is very rare to see a good design that came from an architect. And so the kitchen designers that have to create a good kitchen for their customers are hampered by all the work that was done prior to their getting involved. Customers are upset when they hear that the design they worked on with their architect is poor and that they should possibly start from scratch. Telling this to a customer will not only upset the customer but that architect will never bring you any more business.

      Many kitchen showrooms and cabinet dealers specialize in catering to the builder, contractor, and architect trade. The kitchen designers that work at these companies risk their jobs if they correct the mistakes of the professionals that bring their clients to the showroom. This got me into hot water on a regular basis at the last showroom I worked at before starting my own company.

      Main Line Kitchen Design only works with professionals that send us their customers very early in the design process, before major design decisions are made. The builders and the few architects that we work with accept that they are not kitchen experts. The result is that the home owner gets a much better kitchen and everyone involved gets better reviews.

  66. Ali

    Hi Paul,
    I am remodeling my home with white shaker cabinets. I plan to be in the home for a long time. I have been working with a designer who sells ShowPlace, which seems well rated by MainLine. ShowPlace offers “paint grade” with a HDM center panel. They also offer complete HDM doors, which they say is the “most stable choice” for painted doors. On their website they state: “HDM offers significant improvements over the MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) that other brands continue to use today.” Do you know if this is true? Would it be a bad idea to use HDM? Thanks in advance!
    Extra info: We just had a humidifier placed on our HVAC, and a dehumidifer that runs in the summer. 3 soon-to-be teenagers in the house as well.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ali,
      While HDF is denser and less likely to be damaged than MDF it isn’t strong and when damaged is usually unrepairable like real wood. I would always still choose a paint grade hardwood with an MDF recessed panel for any kitchen you want to last. For flipping a home the HDF looks better and costs less. HDF shouldn’t be effected by humidity but water sitting on a painted HDF door over time, say in front of the sink, or the garbage pull out, or steam condensing on doors around the dishwasher, will eventually be fatale to an HDF door. A hardwood door would need to be repainted but could be repaired.

  67. Bill Strutton

    Howdy. I don’t see Barker cabinets listed. I’ve read good things about their quality. I was wondering if you have any experience and if you can compare their quality & value vs fabuwood? Can you recommend a good peer fabuwood dealer in the Detroit metro area?

    Thanks so Much from SE Michigan.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Bill,
      I’ve never heard of Barker cabinets. If you called on a Friday 2-4 pm EST for our helpline and podcast I could research them with, you and also look up dealers in the Detroit area beyond the dealer we presently list below:
      Woodmaster Kitchens Detroit MI http://www.woodmasterkitchens.com/ 586-778-4430

  68. Roger Full

    I dropped RD Henry and brought Shiloh in to our showrooms about 18 months ago. I have not regretted the decision on bit. Every job that we have received from Shiloh has been first class. I don’t understand how they rate a C in your grading. For the selection and customization that they offer, they have replaced two of our more expensive lines.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Roger,
      Shiloh make beautiful cabinetry. What we can’t understand is why they are making such nice cabinetry so poorly engineered. Correcting the bad engineering is easy and inexpensive, but we must rate cabinets as they are made and not by how they can be fixed in the field. There is no question that the hanging rail on Shiloh is insufficient to securely fasten the cabinetry to the wall. I have been hopeful for years that they would simply make their cabinetry like other manufactures that use a hanging rail. OR, maybe they should just make their whole cabinet back 1/2″ plywood. Our reviews must hurt their sales. I just wish they would fix the issue.

  69. Marian

    Dear Paul,
    Have you ever heard of a company called Avance Cabinetry?
    Thank you

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      No Never heard of them. Looked at their website and it didn’t give me enough information to form an opinion.

  70. JanetZ.

    Hey Paul! You are so kind to share your expertise with the masses 🙂 Quick question – what has the typical shipping time you have been seeing recently with Fabuwood (specifically the Galaxy Frost) cabinets? Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Janet,
      We tell our customers that we can deliver Fabuwood to them in 6 weeks.

  71. Laura

    Hi Paul, I want to thank you again for all the helpful advice and education on your blog. I’m grateful for all of it, and am amazed at how much time you devote to answering questions from most of us who live out of your service area. You answered several questions for me over the last year while I was helping my daughter navigate planning a kitchen and bath renovation. I think we read every article on your website and even followed the links to your resources, which were also very helpful, especially the appliance blog. We used your cabinet construction recommendations to choose all the cabinetry, and went with Fabuwood. My daughter is thrilled with the results! She has 8’ ceilings so we went with 36” uppers with a stacked crown moulding to the ceiling. It is really pretty and there is no gap between the uppers and the ceiling. The cabinetry is white Shaker and she loves the Blum soft close drawers and doors. All the cabinets were delivered within two weeks, and only one bath cabinet had an almost invisible hairline crack, which the dealer had replaced within a week, even though we were a few weeks out from starting the bath. The cabinets are so solidly built, no issues with the exterior or interior. It’s been 4 months since installation and no issues have arisen. In the planning stages we tried to learn everything we could about kitchens and baths and what to look for in all the various products, and it was worth the effort. Thank you again for contributing so greatly to our process!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Laura,
      Thanks for the nice post. I’m so glad that our blogs and our content was helpful. If you are ever in need of kitchen design or kitchen product information again, remember that we answer questions and review designs free of charge on our helpline and podcast Fridays 2-4 pm. Simply call 610-500-4071 or our main number and press extension 1 or 2 between those hours and leave a message. I will call back when the lines open and take your call.

  72. Shelly Patten

    I so appreciate all the work you put into this but I am struggling because I live in Oklahoma and many of the brands listed aren’t available here. I was looking at Omega, sold through Prosource but they don’t disclose which line. I spoke with a designer who sells Plato, which I can afford but don’t feel like I need and she sells Belmont. She said Belmont was better than Omega. If I want framless which would you recommend? And, when you show Kraftmaid, is that the brand in Lowes? Or is that a differnt line specifically for them that wouldn’t rate as well?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Shelly,
      Recommending which line is a good fit for you requires knowing the door style, finish, and the design you are planning. Kraftmaid is sold at home centers as well as at private dealers.

  73. Keith

    Hi Paul –

    Seems to be 2 views on Fabuwood especially on Houzz. Either people like them or they loathe them due to being an Asia import and complain about quality. Not much in between.

    Currently planning a kitchen remodel (removing 15yr old Merrilat Classic from builder) and trying to decide between Fabuwood and an American made middle ground line like Medallion Silver. Both lines accomplish the layout, look etc, but my question is the increased cost worth it for the American brand? Does home value have any role? House is worth ~$650-$700k. Plan to be here 5-10 years.

    Thanks,
    Keith

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Keith,
      Reading online cabinet reviews are seldom of value. Particularly on HOUZZ. This is because the people reviewing don’t know what they are talking about and usually blame the cabinet brad for their designer’s, contractor’s or dealers, mistakes. Or ignorance and prejudice drives their opinions. This is why Ikea gets the best reviews from consumers.
      Read this blog we just posted. It answers your questions. https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/made-in-the-usa-is-it-always-smart-to-buy-american-cabinetry/

      And we have put Fabuwood in a 2 million dollar plus home. See photos Here: https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/kitchen-design-gallery/villanova-pa-renovated-barn/

      By the way we sell 8 different cabinet brands from inexpensive brands to the most expensive custom brands. We sell over a million dollars of Fabuwood cabinetry every year and we have zero bad reviews out of hundreds over any cabinetry that we sell. This is because it is the dealer and designer that are at fault for almost all bad cabinet reviews and not the brand, and we are good designers and dealers so we only get 5 reviews, unless I or another designer annoys someone by being honest with them.

  74. Frances

    Thank you so much for all this information. Our builder was using Echelon and we loved their choices. Now using Century saying it is better because no center boards and soft close. However, we feel the center boards help make cabinets sturdier and more durable. Also, when comparing the Echelon and Century Shaker design, we definitely like the Echelon look better. Echelon also offers a beautiful Cafe stain, which Century does not. Is Century truly a better cabinetry than Echelon? They just call it Century, not 21st Century. Thank you.

  75. Bridget

    Thanks for the reply. I saw this comment on Houzz and I was confused. That’s why I was looking for a retailer who assembles the cabinets themselves. Am I reading this guy’s answer incorrectly then?

    “I am a retailer of Fabuwood kitchen cabinets. I would just like to set some things straight on the topic. These cabinets do not come from the plant in New Jersey assembled. It seems that most of the complaints I here or see is do to poor or improper assembly. I have a professional mill work shop assemble all of my cabinets before they are shipped to a home. The average kitchen costs about $175 to have professionally assembled. This year alone I have personally installed 18 Fabuwood kitchens and I have yet to have a single complaint on the quality. The Value of these cabinets is incredible compared to that of the box store lines. My advice is if you are going to purchase these cabinets make sure they are being assembled by professionals who are using the proper tools to do so.”

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Bridget,
      Prior to two years ago, some dealers could buy cabinets flat packed for assembly. These companies never had qualified designers and so they hurt Fabuwood’s reputation. Fabuwood no longer does this. We have always had the cabinets assembled in the factory for the 7 years we have sold Fabuwood.

  76. Bridget

    Hi, apologies in advance if this question has been asked.
    If I order Fabuwood cabinets from a dealer, who does the assembly? Does it come pre-assembled from the factory or does the cabinet dealer assemble it?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Bridget,
      All Fabuwood cabinetry comes assembled from the factory.

  77. Kevin

    Hi Paul –

    So I’m playing GC in our kitchen reno with the help of a good friend who is a custom home GC. The LF price installed was just a reference point of what the cabs plus install will cost to allow for comparison. I have an actual cabinet installer lined up. Confirmed with KD that Koch does build the David Bradley American Collection. I’ll try to call in if I can fit into schedule.

    Thanks,
    Kevin

  78. Kevin

    Question about 2 brands and possible better pick. I’m in Colorado.
    Considering Medallion Silver line (full overlay) and David Bradley American Collection (frameless) both in a painted white shaker.
    The David Bradley American Collection at least appears to be made by Koch? KD advises it’s a nice mid range line and the display I’ve seen looks nice. Price seems to be about the same at ~$450/LF installed.
    Aside from the full overlay versus frameless (preference on our part) any advice on which is better choice from quality/finish?
    Floorplan is fairly straightforward and not much customization of size really needed. We are running stacked cabinets to the 9ft ceiling with glass on top cabs. More drawers in base cabs versus doors, large floor to ceiling pantry. End panels, crown, trim, etc…
    Thanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kevin,
      There are too many variables here and I’ve never heard of David Bradley AC. If you are planning to stack cabinets I worry about the design even more than the brand. Buying cabinets by the linear food installed is unusual. Generally a general contractor would do the cabinet installation along with all the other work. Getting the cabinets installed by the cabinet retailer sounds like an exercise in finger pointing. Particularly with stacked cabinets. I would recommend calling the Friday helpline.
      Thanks,
      Paul

  79. ashley

    Paul-I saw you post about MDF doors. I live in Florida where humidity is high. Is it smart to do an all MDF door or just have the panel MDF?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      If you are flipping a house MDF doors is a good idea. If you will be there for years an MDF panel makes more sense

  80. Lynne

    Paul –
    We are doing a DIY kitchen remodel and we are on a tight budget. Looking at your list and doing some other research, right now I am looking at either J&K or 21st Century cabinets (most likely white shaker). Any reason to go with one over another, we are fine with RTA and it is our forever home. I was also recommended a company called Blue Valley Cabinets, which seems to be new to the market and doesn’t have many reviews. Ever heard of them? I will try to call in to the podcast sometime for you to critique my kitchen layout, but I am usually working during that time.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Lynne,
      Never heard of Blue Valley. J&K and 21st Century are fine inexpensive cabinet brands. I have no idea though how they are doing with the supply chain issues. That and the design itself are far more important than which brand you choose. I would always buy cabinetry assembled from the factory. No professional would buy RTA. It saves little and asks for trouble.

  81. Ellen

    Hi Paul:

    Your blog has so much information, thank you! The kitchen redesign process has been overwhelming. I believe we have narrowed down our search to two lines: Schrock Trademark painted white or Medallion Silver line painted white – the difference between the two is Schrock uses Maple doors while Medallion uses MDF doors – both are box plywood construction. Do you recommend one of the other and why? We are unsure of going with MDF or Maple for the doors because there appears to be pros and cons on both sides. Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ellen,
      For flipping a home MDF doors save money and probably look better. If you plan on living in the home for any length of time I would not recommend MDF doors. They will damage easily and if the door style is anything other than a simple shaker style it will be unlikely that that exact style will exist in just a few years. So the exact replacement doors you will almost certainly need won’t be available because the template and the router that makes that door will no longer exist. Also getting expensive cabinetry and all plywood upgrades makes little sense if you are getting an MDF door. You could have probably paid 40% less and gotten an inexpensive brand that looked the same and was just as durable.

  82. PEG

    Besides your concern on Durasupreme’s warranty performance, what do you think about its framed cabinets? We are considering slab solid wood full overlays. Should we go with inset instead?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Peg,
      You don’t say what color. For stained cabinetry Slab doors are usually a veneer because solid wood looks to “stripey” Also slabs are most often done with a frameless cabinet because the style is contemporary and the frameless looks better with contemporary styles. Inset is traditional and never done with a slab door.

      When you are all over the place with style, and thinking about a brand we don’t trust, it tells me you are working with the wrong designer.

  83. Gina

    Hi Paul,

    You seem to rate Medallion well. I know that your system rates everything based on the highest level of construction for the line, but both the Medallion Gold and Silver come with furniture board if you do not upgrade. Do you have any opinions on the Medallion line without upgrade to all plywood? What about if the exposed sides are upgraded? Thanks for your help. Your website provides very valuable information about cabinets and the process for new buyers like myself.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Gina,
      Medallion is an expensive cabinet brand. Why would you buy cabinetry that is 50% more than better made less expensive brands that come with a plywood box and Blum tracks and hinges and then to save a little have the cabinets made poorly?

      If you want to get technical all the wall cabinets in a kitchen need to be all plywood so that they are less likely to fall off the wall. All tracks and hinges should be Blum soft close, and all exposed base cabinets need to be plywood. So if you just got particleboard base cabinets on the unexposed base cabinet with the drawer and hardware upgrade that would be fine. Now how much would THAT save. The answer is almost nothing.

      Contemplating getting expensive poorly made cabinetry makes me think that you are working with a designer that isn’t very knowledgeable. When that’s the case you will have even bigger problems than this bad decision. Almost always bad kitchen designers just give customers the poor designs that they request without showing them better floor plans that they could afford if they used a less expensive cabinet brand.

      Smart people splurge of good designs first and expensive cabinetry second. You should call into our Friday helpline 2-4 pm ready to email the design you are considering. I’m sure it needs improvement and that there are probably better cabinet brand fits for you than Medallion.

  84. Laura Lewallen

    I believe you indicated that MDF center panels are a good idea but won’t the outside painted wood
    panels show cracks and seams?
    Also, my kitchen designer has shown me
    MDF doors but they are so light and the center panel
    is very thin. Does MDF come in different thicknesses and how thick do you recommend for the center panel to feel substantial? Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Laura,
      Sorry you are confused and have a lot backwards.

      The frame of a door should not be MDF unless you don’t care about how easily damaged your cabinets would be.

      If you are flipping a home or a builder then MDF doors would make sense and save you money and look (at least for a little while, great) If you want your cabinets to last it is a terrible choice.

      Yes some cheaper cabinet lines will show seams on solid wood doors but these doors will not damage easily.

      Center panels do not take abuse so using MDF on the center panel is OK and keeps doors from warping and panels from shrinking.

      MDF is heavier than real wood so MDF panels and doors weigh more than solid doors and plywood panels.

      It is the plywood panels that you are finding so thin I would think.

      You should get the help of a knowledgeable kitchen designer to help you understand these issues.

  85. Patricia McCloughan-Wirth

    Hi Paul,
    We are looking at a 30″ slide-in dual-fuel gas range by Bosch. We have a smallish kitchen. Can we go with a 30″ wood-covered venting hood (by Kraftmaid Vantage) or must we go with a 36″ vent hood. Not sure whether to go with Kraftmaid or Brighton cabinets (which, as you know, are more customizeable). Kraftmaid Vantage only makes in a 30 or a 36 hood for our purposes.
    Thank you for your thoughts.
    Pattie

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Patricis,
      A 36″ hood often looks better and certainly works better. However a 30″ hood over a 30″ range is the more common and standard size. So it’s fine.

  86. Carla Konet

    What do you think of Woodmark Cabinets?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Carla,
      I assume you mean American Woodmark. WE rate American Woodmark pretty well on our cabinet rating blog. See the blog you are on.

  87. Sue

    I am working with a designer that uses Mountaineer cabinets. They seem at the top end of the price range. Do you know if they are worth it?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sue,
      I guess you mean Mountaineer Woodcraft. They are a small custom manufacturer that I don’t know anything about. However if a designer ONLY sells MW then I have problems with that designer. If Mountianeer Woodcraft is just one of the brands that they sell and they are recommending a custom, more expensive brand, for your particular project then that might be fine.

      Dealers that only sell one line are less honorable, less transparent, and generally less experienced. You can not have all of your customers best interests at heart if you only sell one brand. You will also learn very little about the cabinet industry only selling one very small custom brand.

  88. Bob

    Hi, I’m working with a KD who uses Decore-ative Specialties, I don’t see them on your list so any input would be appreciated. I’m also getting quotes from a different KD who uses Showplace Cabinetry. Both designers came up with virtually the same basic layout and I would be using the same installation contractor with either.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Bob,
      I can’t find anything out about Decore-ative other than the employees hate the company. I would always worry about a design the way you describe it. I’d call into our help line on Friday 2 – 4pm EST and we can look at the design and talk about what door style you are getting and if there are better less expensive brands to consider. There’s not really enough here to give advice.

  89. susan eddy

    i Live in Newport, RI. does anyone carry Fabuwood near here? If not what do you suggest?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Susan,
      Just go to the Fabuwood website and type your zip code into the locate a dealer. Link below
      https://www.fabuwood.com/locate-a-dealer/

      Their is a dealer 12 miles away and at least 3 within 30 miles

  90. Sheritta Taylor

    Hello Paul,

    We are in the process of interviewing contractors and kitchen design firms. Two of the design firms that we are most interested in either deal with DuraSupreme or Christiana Cabinetry. What are your thoughts on the two brands? They seem world’s apart. Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sheritta,
      I don’t know anything about Christiana Cabinetry but we no longer carry DuraSupreme Cabinetry because they wouldn’t honor their warranty to one of our customers. We made good on the kitchen but I wouldn’t trust the company.

  91. John carry

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

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi John,
      Usually the cabinet dealer doesn’t inspect the cabinets before you get them as that would mean opening all the boxes which promotes damage. Of course if a box arrives in the dealers warehouse looking damaged then it might be open and checked. No dealers install handles and knobs unless they are installing cabinets.

      Marietta Cabinets seems to be a mom and daughter team that do it all. IE design kitchens, sell cabinets and install them. We believe that these companies rarely do a great job at everything and so it’s better to work with a cabinet dealer on design and cabinetry and the installer on the installation. It also looks like they sell one inexpensive brand of cabinet and so they can’t know much about kitchen design. Good kitchen designers sell several brands of cabinets and know when it is appropriate to use a particular brand and also design 100 kitchens a year vs just several that they are installing.

  92. Dan Scott

    Hi Paul,

    My wife and I are building a home in NJ and we have received quotes for both CNC and Fabuwood. The Fabuwood came in at 30% more and I have read your posts stating that Fabuwood is typically 15% more. I just want to make sure I am getting an accurate quote for the cabinets. Any advice would be appreciated.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Dan,
      Different door styles effect pricing. Most customers don’t understand what they are pricing and don’t have all the information to compare apples to apples.
      So for example Fabuwood Galaxy Frost should be around 15 or 20% more than CNC Elegant white. Fabuwood Galaxy Frost should be 30 or 40% more than CNC Luxor white because it is a smaller overlay door in MDF and not Birch. Never use Luxor white on a home you plan to keep for a long time. The blog below explains why customer comparisons are so flawed and why the more you shop the more likely you are to end up getting ripped off. Customers should shop for a dealer and designer and not cabinetry which they are unqualified to evaluate.
      Read this blog:
      https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/price-comparing-kitchen-cabinets-and-why-it-is-a-bad-idea/

  93. Bille

    What do you think about Forevermark?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Bille,
      We rate them on this review. They are a pretty well made inexpensive brand. Ask your dealer about out of stock and shipping delays, Forevermark has had issues in the past and I don’t know how they are doing presently.

  94. Mike

    Where are the Village cabinets made that are on your list with very good ratings? I see a company in CT and one in PA. Thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Mike,
      It’s the PA company I don’t know the CT company. The CT Village doesn’t even have a website that appears in a Google search.

  95. Fred

    Paul,
    I wanted to get you opinion on soft closing systems. Blum seems to be the top of the line – but in looking at cabinet lines, some use Whisper-close, some use Cushion-Close. I know different brands have their own thing – but do you really see much of a difference between them – or is it just marketing?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Fred,
      Good question. While most of these other soft close systems are fine there isn’t much difference in price between Blum and most of the other higher quality soft close tracks and hinges. And so the better constructed cabinet brands choose the Blum systems while often the poorly built brands use alternatives. So it isn’t the hardware that is making the cabinet line a lesser cabinet but the hardware is symptomatic. Using Blum Hardware seems to be a “tell” for a better made overall cabinet.

      Another issue is that many of these really inexpensive brands are sold at sort of “cabinet dollar stores” and so there is no reliable warranty on the cabinets and no qualified designer helping customers and selling the cabinets. Kitchen renovations are so expensive that saving 20% on cabinetry at these really inexpensive levels usually guaranties poorly thought out kitchens with lots of bad decision making.

      I recommend working with an experienced kitchen designer who works at a cabinet dealership that sells several brands of cabinetry across several price points. They would be the most likely to have the design skill and cabinet knowledge that would protect you from making more serious mistakes. Or call in to our help line and I can vet any design or cabinet brand choice. We also can help find a dealer or contractor that looks good in your area. Call 610-500-4071 between 2 and 4 pm EST on any Friday.

  96. Cheri McManus

    Hello, We are building a studio apt. above our garage that will include a small kitchen. I looked at the door samples at LOWE’s in Portland ME and liked the Schuler- Sugar Creek Maple Dove Appaloosa style and finish. When googling it I found either folks love Schuler or the opposite. Many mentioned quality. You rate them well. Can you give me any insight?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Cheri,
      Schuler is actually Medallion cabinetry re-branded and sold at Lowes. All home center cabinet brands get some poor reviews because the designers are less experienced and the contractors working on these jobs are often less competent. The cabinet brand unfortunately takes the brunt of the consumer complaints even though everyone else is responsible. I wouldn’t worry about the poor reviews.

      What I would worry about is Why are you buying expensive nearly custom cabinetry from a home center? A kitchen over a garage probably doesn’t rate expensive cabinetry and if you are building a studio apartment you should be getting better design advice than an architect or builder can give you. That is certainly not available at a home center. Sounds like you should be calling into our helpline and podcast Fridays.

  97. Jacob

    Hi Paul,
    What’s your general feeling on Medallion cabinets?
    Looking for a very solid wood color cabinets, which lines would you recommend. I have only found cheap looking ones or very expensive like Plain and fancy.
    Any help would be great!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jacob,
      Good question.
      The finish on painted cabinetry can be done well by less expensive cabinet brands. The finish can even be indistinguishable from very high end custom cabinetry.
      This is not true with stained cabinetry. Generally the more expensive the cabinet brand the nicer the stained finish with a few exceptions. For example the less expensive cabinet brand Fabuwood that we carry does two pretty nice grey stains on birch wood as do several other less expensive brands.

      But in lighter stains on woods like maple and cherry the beauty of the stained finish usually closely coincides with the cost of the cabinetry. Medallion has a reputation for having nice finishes close to the beauty of finishes on brands like Plain and Fancy but there is still a noticeable difference. Medallion usually costs about 20% less than Plain and Fancy

      Some less expensive brands that seem to do a nice job for at least 30% less than Medallion, but still nowhere near as nice as Medallion, would be:
      American Woodmark / Shenendoah / Timberlake and Homecrest.

      We sell Bishop, which is usually about 20% less than Medallion, and they do a nice job as do major brands that cost a little more like Kraftmaid and Diamond and Decora.

      Fieldstone, Starmark, and other higher end lines also have Medallion level finishes but they will be very similar in price to Medallion.

      The simple answer is that with stained wood finishes you usually get what you pay for.

  98. Carol

    Hi Paul,
    I have 4 little kids and we are looking to redo our kitchen with Fabuwood cabinets. We like the price point. Will these hold up for as long as Bertch cabinets? That is the other line we are considering. Worth the upgrade? Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Carol,
      Yes they will hold up as well as Bertch. However all painted cabinets are less durable than stained cabinetry so keep in mind the finish you are selecting if durability is particularly important. In most non rural areas paint can be easily touched up by furniture refinishers so if painted cabinetry gets nicked or scratched it can be repaired.

  99. ashley

    Decora lead time is only 9 weeks actually which is impressive considering the times. Thanks for all of your help!!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ashley,
      Yes relatively normal lead time bodes well.

  100. ashley

    Do you know much about Decora? They are 5k more than Designer’s Choice. I have spent so much time researching these cabinets..just dont want to make the wrong choice..thanks for your help!!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ashley,
      We don’t sell Decora but all our designers like it. It is unusual times due to Covid. I don’t know Decora lead times or how well Decora is handling labor, material, and personnel shortages. The designer at the dealership should know that.

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