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

Below are our comprehensive kitchen cabinet ratings for the top selling manufacturers in the United States and how they rank for construction quality and for value considering the price point of each cabinet line. Price point is ranked from 1 to 6 with 6 being the most expensive custom cabinetry on the market. These Kitchen Cabinet reviews were compiled and rated by our team of highly experienced kitchen designers.


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

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

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


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

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


Fabuwood Kitchen

How the ratings work

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

A grade of A for construction quality will not be equal across different price levels, as the more expensive price point cabinets will have far nicer finishes and construction options.

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

The value grade we give is not a rating about the quality of the cabinetry but a rating of how good an investment a cabinet line is considering its cost.

For example, many of the most expensive well-made cabinet lines receive lower marks on value even though as designers we think the cabinetry is the best in its class.

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

Butler's Pantry Highly rated Brighton Cabinetry


Brighton Beaded Inset Butler’s Pantry


Main Line kitchen design acknowledges that we are dealers for the following cabinet lines: Wellsford, Bishop, Brighton, Fabuwood, Legacy Presidential, Timberlake and CNC.  We could be prejudiced towards ranking these lines more favorably, but we have tried to be impartial. However, since the cabinet lines we carry were chosen specifically for their construction quality and value, our ranking them well should not be a surprise. 


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

Outside our service area?


All the designers that gave us input on the cabinet lines below have greater than 20 years’ experience in our industry. When possible, all construction specifics were double checked on the web sites for each cabinet line.

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

  1. Rick "Rude"


    Does anyone know about Charlton Cabinetry? I reside in New York City however I do not know much about the company.

    I am planning on doing a complete gut renovation in my kitchen.

    I am doing business with Chung Hua Kitchen & Cabinet.
    Chung Hua Stone & Kitchen has served many of the east coast areas including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, etc for more than 10 years.

    Since alot of kitchen cabinets are made overseas. Does anyone have any history with them? If you care to share.

    Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Rick,
      Don’t know the brand but Charlton cabinetry looks custom and Chung Hua look less sophisticated. Not a good combination. Having less than 4 stars on all their review sites isn’t inspiring either.

  2. Chamomile

    First of all, thank you for such an informative website. I wish you were closer to my area.

    I’m having a kitchen reno done – walls knocked down, flooring and lighting changed, new cabinets and countertops. I got estimates from 2 contractors. Neither one of them gave me a breakdown for their estimate even though I requested one.

    So here is my question. Contractor A is giving me LifeArt Cabinetry and Contractor B is giving me 21st Century- both in white shaker style. Everything else is the same – quartz countertop and vinyl floors.

    Contractor B’s price is $12,000 more than Contractor B. In your list, both these brands have a level 1 rating for price so they are both inexpensive.

    I know 21stCentury is rated higher in quality so I was wondering if there is that big of a price difference with Lifeart. I cannot tell if Contractor B is just being greedy or if Contractor A is cheaper and might cut corners.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Chamomile,
      Lots of red flags here:
      First good contractors don’t sell you cabinetry. Nor should they be designing your kitchen. Neither you or a contractor are qualified to make good design decisions without the help of a kitchen designer. Particularly if you are removing walls. Secondly both these contractors are pricing the least expensive brands out there, without a designer and without detailed pricing. Get away from both these guys and go to a kitchen place and get your kitchen designed first and pricing for cabinets, countertops, and the other materials you but such as appliances, flooring, fixtures etch. Then get contractor to bid on the construction.

  3. Wilt

    What’s your opinion on JWQ cabinets? I don’t see it on the list. Does that mean it’s not a recommended brand? Thanks!

  4. Josi

    Hi paul,

    another question, does the sink has to be centered to the Window?

    Thank you

  5. Laine Gillespie

    I live in a rural area and options for affordable cabinets are limited. Can you talk about Mantra Cabinets vs. American Woodmark from Home Depot? I am very concerned about buying from HD due to bad press from just about everywhere, but currently they have a local long-standing installer who is affordable and available way before other local contractors.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Laine,
      I don’t know much about Mantra cabinets they are a Masterbrands import I assume. American Woodmark we rate well. Remember to upgrade to plywood sides and soft close doors and drawers. I think that usually American Woodmark gets poor reviews because The Home Depot designers don’t explain, design, and order the cabinets correctly for customers. I’d call in on a Friday during our podcast and have us check the design you are considering.

  6. Josi

    Thank you again. My kitchen is L-shape 6×11 so you think a Microwave hoods over the range is better than Hood. is that correct?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Josi,
      Yes that would be my guess without seeing the design. Make sure to vent the microwave hood outside.

  7. Jeff

    We are looking to do white shakes cabinets. Finish wise, which manufacturer will have the nicest finished – Candlelight, Showplace, Homecrest, or Fabuwood? Is one likely to be more durable than another?

    I have read things about white paint yellowing, specifically with Fabuwood. Have you had any of your clients complain about this issue?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jeff,
      Surprisingly I might pick the Fabuwood for a white shaker door and it’s the least expensive. All brands paint can yellow but the only yellowing I have heard of with Fabuwood has been with their crown moldings. I recomend doing white crown moldings in pine and color match painting with all cabinet brands anyway though. That way moldings can be repainted and touched up as needed when seams open up. With white cabinets seams are instantly noticeable.

  8. Josi

    Hi Paul,

    My KD suggested to put sink in the corner which is a blind corner still next to window and he showed me a few kitchen in the showroom with that setup that looks nice. Also said not a fan of putting Microwave on top of the stove but rather to put hood. Lastly, not to put appliances on top of each other such dish washer next to stove.

    What is your take on that?

    Thank you in advance for the great work

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Josi,
      Kitchens are too complicated to make blanket statements without seeing the space or having any measurements.
      However generally:
      Sinks in the coroner are a bad idea. In only 1 in 100 kitchens would this ever make sense.
      Microwave hoods over the range are a great choice in very small kitchens. In large kitchens a hood is better.
      Ideally appliances should be separated for looks. Certainly you would need at least a dishwasher end panel between a dishwasher and a range to hold up the countertop.

  9. Josi

    Hi Paul,

    How do you feel about Forevermark cabinetry?

    same question for 21st Century cabinets

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Josi,
      We rate booth these lines well in this blog. 21st Century is slightly better constructed however it really is an RTA cabinet so who is putting it together is important. Forevermark has slightly nicer looking finishes but check on availability of both these lines there could be out of stock issues.

      1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

        Hi Josi,
        I’d stay away from SK cabinetry. I know nothing about them.
        Thanks for following our blog
        We respond to questions from outside our service area free of charge either on our blog via comments on the blog or by phone during our call-in podcast most Fridays between 2 and 4 pm Eastern Standard Time.

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

  10. Josi

    Thank you for such great info. We’re in the process of redo our kitchen and we do have a design and on budget. I’ve been to over 15 Cabinet store in North Jersey and countless online research on cabinet and other details

    What would you recommend in term of quality, durability and finish for Raise Panel, Cherry for brand like

    21st Century cabinets
    Select Kitchen In NJ Inc

    And why one over the other. Also, how I do send my design over to you for brief review

    Thank you,


  11. Lisa

    What are your thoughts on Stoffer Home for inset cabinets?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Lisa,
      Their cabinets look beautiful, however I don’t like the 1/4 inch back panel. If they can increase the back to 1/2″ I would like them, otherwise I’d stay away

  12. Diane

    Good morning. We are doing a remodel of a lake house abd the contractors cabinet people are recommending Aristokraft. I do not see very good reviews with these. They also sell Shiloh and Procraft. Which do you recommenc?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Diane,
      Wow these cabinet dealers have selected only one line I think is a good value and that’s the Procraft. However Procrat is a VERY inexpensive brand so it is limited. I would still pick it over Arristocraft but Shiloh is far more beautiful – unfortunately just poorly engineered. I would look for a different dealer. Sometimes when contractors “reccomend” dealers they are in cohoots with them, and getting an independent company to work with that has good online reviews makes more sense. Particularly in this case, where the dealer doesn’t seem to value good cabinet construction, I worry that the contractor will exert presure on the dealer to rubberstamp a poor design that makes his job easy. Making the contractor happy at the expense of the home owner and good design is common with many dealers that specialize in working with contractors or architects. Main Line Kitchen Design always treats the end user as our customer over the company that reffered us. Sadly this is the opposite of many dealers.

  13. Diane

    Good morning. We are doing a remodel of a lake house abd the contractors cabinet people are recommending Aristokraft. I do not see very good reviews with these. They also sell Shiloh and Procraft. Which do you recconebf?

  14. paul mcalary

    Hi Olga,
    Unfortunately Fabuwood no longer does that color. Many of these US owed and built import lines are having stock issues. J&K is one I believe. Possibly Wolf Classic would be an alternative that has what you want and still has stock.

  15. Olga

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for taking my call today and pointing me in the right direction with my design. Regarding cabinetry, I know you sell Fabuwood and also rate J&K highly. For a painted white shaker cabinet, are there differences and is one better than the other? For a similarly priced (if possible), nicely finished stained Shaker cabinet (in a tone like the former Fabuwood Pecan) what would be your choice(s)? I’m on the fence between aesthetics and durability.

  16. Gordon Hall

    What about Strasser cabinets

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I took a quick look online. Strasser Cabinets looks like preassembled, rebranded, ready to assemble vanities sold at The Home Depot. These look like the bottom of the barrel in the cabinet world. Lowes has some better made in stock Vanities.

  17. Dennis

    Trying to decide on new bathroom vanities for three bathrooms between Diamond Reflections, Yorktowne and Bridgewood. They will all be painted any suggestions for which is better?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Dennis,
      All good choices if you are comparing Bridgewood framed cabinets to the others. Make sure to upgrade the exposed sides of the cabinetry to plywood in any line. Beyond that I’d pick the door style and finish I liked the look of best.

  18. Melissa

    We are looking at the Schrock Entra – Ingalis full overlay. Are there specific must-haves or upgrades that we should be asking for before ordering these cabinets? Would you consider this a good investment vs. Forevermark, Fabuwood, and Waypoint?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Melissa,
      Masterbands never tells how their cabinets are made so I’m not sure what the Entra comes with. But you should upgrade to 1/2 plywood sides and soft close doors and drawers. You will have lots of beautiful stains and paints to pick from.

      However, if you are getting a simple white or grey paint I would get Fabuwood. They are a better value for the limited colors they do. They don’t have the slab drawer front.

  19. Emily

    Thank you for the pointers Paul! That’s very helpful.

  20. Emily

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for all the great info on the site. We are torn between several brands and are hoping that you can weigh in. We are working with a sales rep from a retailer who gave us quote on Waypoint painted cabinets initally with upgrade to solid doors. The price tag comes to about 15K. We had concerns whether Waypoint will be durable. So we ended up asking for quotes for Schrock and Omega as well for similar styles and the sales rep told us both would be in 20K range but would think that Omega would be a better choice in that price range. However, from conversation, it seems that the rep was hinting that Waypoint is the way to go. We also got a quote of only 15.5K for Schrock from a different retailer.

    So our questions to you are

    1) Which one would you recommend in terms of value?

    2) Is there any major difference in terms of longevity of the cabinets and how well different brands honor their warranty?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Emily,
      Upgraded to all plywood Construction Schrock is a way nicer line than Waypoint. I think Durability and warranties are’t problems for any of these brands.

  21. JamesB

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the heads up on Brighton. The local dealer also warned me, but we have structural things to do in the house so the timing will be OK.

    On vanities. How would you compare the quality and price of Brighton and Fabuwood to one of the pre-made, big box vanities, such as James Martin. Is it worth the time investment to have custom vanities made, pick out the countertop, sink, faucet, etc. and install everything? How do prices compare?

    Thanks again for sharing your expertise!


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi James,
      Vanities take much less stress than kitchen cabinets and there are usually no wall cabinets hanging on the walls with heavy objects (like plates) inside. As long as the exposed cabinet sides are plywood and the drawers are solid wood I think you are fine. Not sure what type of vanity you are looking for but if it is a furniture vanity then premade will be a better value than custom made. I like Fairmont Furniture vanities and have this one in cherry in our master bath.

  22. Chi

    Good day. This is a great resource! I am facing a bit of an issue. We just settled on what seems to be the ideal cabinet color (Maple Steel Grey) from Merillat, but based on these ratings and some feedback I have seen on another site, I am worried that we will be dealing with serious issues.

    I have not been able to find a similar color (gray/blue/brown tones) from another line. Kind of close is the Duraform Texture Drift (Waypoint), which is a little to woody and obvious multi-colored. Is it best to avoid the Merillat line, or is there an upgrade I can get that helps to mitigate the issues? If the answer is to move on, what is the best way to get a similar looking cabinet?


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Chi,
      First, hyper focusing on color usually means a customer is not focusing anywhere close enough to the more important design and layout of
      Second that color at least on my monitor does not look that unique. Fabuwood Horizon looks close for example.

  23. paul mcalary

    Hi James,
    Fabuwood makes bath Vanities. FYI Brighton is 12 to 16 weeks for delivery

  24. JamesB

    Hi Paul,
    We found our local Brighton dealer and we’ve started the ball rolling. So, thanks for the advice!

    On bathroom vanities, we don’t need custom cabinets or inset doors. I looked at Fabuwood, but they don’t do bath vanities.

    Do you have a recommendation for a good bath vanity company? High quality, full overlay door, painted, but not ultra luxury.

    Thanks again for your advice. I hope other people find my questions useful.


  25. JamesB


    Great response (as always) on the difference between inset and full overlay cabinets. We’re still leaning toward beaded, inset, but don’t want to go with one of the really expensive, luxury brands. Because we aren’t in your service area, I wanted to ask which cabinet manufacturers you would recommend for inset. That way, we can start with the manufacturer and find their dealer/designer in our area — Northern Virginia. We’re looking for nice, but not crazy expensive. 🙂


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi James,
      We sell Brighton as a quality custom cabinet brand that isn’t overly expensive. Medallion, Starmark and Fieldstone would be similarly priced. Less expensive brands that do inset acceptably but not to the same precision level would be Decora and Bishop. We rarely sell Bishop beaded inset. They have a disclaimer on inset. We usually encourage customers to spend a little more and get Brighton. However when adjusted properly most customers might find little difference between Bishop and Decora versus the more expensive brands.

  26. Ashley

    What a valuable website! I’m in PA too, but more west so sadly not an option for me either. If you had the choice between Kraftmaid, Bertch and Schrock, which would you pick and which line of theirs? I see they’re rated close here. Lots of cabinets including a row of tall pantry cabinets. Looking at painting white, but biggest worry is chipping quickly. Is stained white where several of pure white and no grain showing possible? I appreciate your time!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ashley,
      Some cabinet brands will have aa almost opaque stain in a light color that looks almost like a paint and will be more durable. Kraftmaid, I believe still has one of these finishes. We haven’t noticed a difference in durability between any major cabinet brands in painted finishes. However small custom shops where carpenters make cabinetry will always have less durable finishes as they don’t bake their finishes on, or use conversion varnishes. This is why as a cabinet dealer we don’t call these lines “custom” they are “homemade”.

      As always – when cabinet lines are close in quality and price expertise of the kitchen designer and the design itself is what matters most. I would recommend calling in to our podcast with the design you are considering on a Friday 2-4 pm EST. We can help prevent you from making the design errors that we see routinely every Friday.

  27. JamesB

    Hi Paul,
    I am sadly outside your service area, and really appreciate that you share your knowledge. Can you share your thoughts on inset vs. full overlay face-frame cabinets in terms of value, efficiency, and appearance. For example, are inset cabinets more expensive than full overlay? Do drawers work the same way and provide the same storage?

    Are there cabinet makers who specials in inset cabinets, and are better at making them?

    Are there semi-custom inset cabinets, or are they all custom?

    Any thoughts would be really helpful!


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi James,
      Good questions! Inset cabinetry must be bought from more expensive cabinet brands because the very few inexpensive brands that try to manufacture inset cabinetry do a terrible job. This is because inset cabinetry must be made more exactly. In the more expensive semi custom and full custom brands that sell inset cabinetry the inset and beaded inset styles will be additional charges for each. Generally, the more expensive the cabinet brand the better a job they will do building inset cabinetry.

      Inset cabinetry is the “tell” that a cabinet line is higher priced. Some people like the inset look more than full overlay cabinets, it is a more traditional appearance and people “in the know” will appreciate the more custom look. However if you like a more modern full overlay style, buying custom cabinetry could be spending money needlessly if your kitchen design doesn’t require custom sizing or you are getting a type of finish that is easier to do in a less expensive brand. For example, painted finishes in an inexpensive brand like Fabuwood are almost indistinguishable from custom cabinetry in a full overlay door style. Stained finishes tend to improve as cabinetry gets more expensive with very expensive custom brands having stained finishes that look like fine furniture.

      Drawers work the same and are almost always the same size for inset and other framed cabinet door styles. However the hinges work very differently. Finial exposed hinges are far less adjustable than inset 6 way adjustable consealed hinges. The exposed hinges allow roll outs to be wider and access to the cabinetry greater but because they are less adjustable be careful getting inset cabinetry with exposed hinges in damp locations or in any environment where a home might settle. This is why inset cabinet doors and drawers can get out of square and in severe cases rub or no longer open.

      The most confusing thing for customers to understand is that the cost of cabinets and how durably they are made is not related. So some well made inexpensive brands could be more durably built than a very expensive brand. Inset cabinetry is not more durable than full overlay cabinetry and it often requires more maintenance and adjustments as a kitchen ages. In custom cabinetry or inset cabinetry you are paying more for the look.

  28. Marjorie Wax

    Wow – this is the most amazing information on the internet! We have a cabin in Colorado in desperate need of a kitchen update – especially the cabinets. We are working with a designer but having a hard time comparing different brands. She recommends Crystal, Medallion, Plato and Mastercraft. We like the shaker styles using Alder wood. Do you have any opinions about the best, least expensive choice for us?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Majorie,
      Mastercraft is a less expensive and less custom line. They have knotty alder but not a less rustic alder. For alder and for construction I like the other lines better. Medallion or Chrystal will be less expensive than Plato I would think. If she sells all these lines than she will know what line is best for your design and also which lines have the shortest manufacturing delays and problems. Many cabinet brands are experiencing long delays presently.

  29. Jamie

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for offering your time especially in these blog posts and comments. I’m looking at Fabuwood through a local dealer in the DC Metro Area, and noticed they only give a 5 year warranty compared to other companies which give “limited lifetime”. Was wondering if you can comment on that difference, we were worried that the lesser warranty duration might suggest they don’t stand by the quality of their cabinets > 5 years.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jamie,
      Many cabinet brands only give a 5 year warranty. It has nothing to do with how well the cabinets are made. For example Bishop gives a 5 year warranty and IKEA gives a 20 year one. It is a marketing decision concerning how long brands are willing to field crazy customers complaints. Most warranty issues would happen in the first 2 years so real issues rarely come up after that. Retail places like Home Centers and IKEA want customer for the long hall even if there complaints aren’t valid. We warranty all the cabinetry we sell for a limited lifetime warranty even the brands like Fabuwood, because we know we aren’t really giving much away except fielding complaints about nicks and scratches which aren’t covered by anyone anyway.

  30. Jennifer


    Thank you so much for this wonderful resource. My husband and I are in the process of building a semicustom home with a production builder. The builder’s standard is Timberlake cabinetry in the Portfolio line. We can upgrade to any brand the builder’s vendor sells, which are Wellborn, Bertch, Crystal, and Merillat. Price is something we are trying to take into consideration, but we have possibly an extra $7,000 to upgrade cabinets. We intend on going with a super simple shaker door without much detail in either a painted white or a natural finish. If we upgrade to all plywood in Timberlake are these cabinets going to stand the test of time? Or would you suggest just going with one of the other brands the builder’s vendor offers? I see that Bertch and Wellborn are rated better than Timberlake on your website. Thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jennifer,
      Timberlake is an inexpensive brand but well made when you upgrade to a plywood box and soft close everything. For a painted finish the seams will be noticeable on the doors and drawers. It doesn’t mean they are less durable. Just that on a less expensive line the doors are not sanded as smooth as with more expensive lines. For a natural finish the finish differences between Timberlake and the more expensive brands will be less noticeable. If you can see a Timberlake door in the finish you like you should be able to tell if the difference bothers you. Durability is not a factor.

  31. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

    Hi Chris,
    We don’t have enough information to rate Woodland. Stained cabinets are harder to scratch and chip than painted cabinets. All the other brands you list get good reviews across the entire spectrum of pricing. The expensive brands will offer more choices and customization.

  32. Chris

    Thank you so much for your reply.
    I do have great lighting in the kitchen, just not natural lighting. So it looks dark when the lights are off. You would recommend getting a wood stained cabinet over a painted one? Is that why you had said that the gray would be more durable. This is a list of cabinets that my local designer carries
    Woodland Cabinetry
    Decora Cabinets
    Koch Cabinets
    Schrock Cabinets
    Cubitac Cabinetry
    Wolf Home Products
    They have just been approved for the fabuwood

    What do u think of woodland cabinets as they have a very nice slab door one? Are they durable, well made? Pricing? They r not listed on your reviews
    Thank you

  33. chris

    Hi. I live in NY and there are no designers recommended near me. I am really having a difficult time figuring out which cabinet (brand) would be a good fit for me. I am having a light/med gray luxury wood vinyl flooring installed but my kitchen doesn’t get much light so i am concerned that a gray or stained wood would be too dark. I have oak cabinets now that I really don’t like. i have been liking the white cabinets, but am drawn to the new grayish stained ones like the galaxy horizon in fabuwood. i am concerned that it would be too much gray and too dark.
    I have a Home Depot and Lowe’s and maybe two cabinet designers but neither carry fabuwood. i would really appreciate any advice or feedback you could offer on recommendations for a good solid cabinet that will look nice, last and not chip or get damaged easily. i am truly open to suggestions of cabinets that you could recommend. i can find something i like in most lines so i would appreciate any feedback — advice u can offer. thank you so much

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      If you are redoing a kitchen you should be redoing all the ceiling lights and over lighting the room so that the light can be adjusted to any brightness. I don’t worry too much about a light grey vs white in that case and the grey will be more durable. Fabuwood is sold all over New Your so you just need to find a dealer. Home Depot and Lowes both have inexpensive well made lines such as Shenandoah at Lowes and American Woodmark at Home Depot. Upgrade to plywood sides and soft close everything.

  34. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

    Hi LisaMarie,
    You can have a painted kitchen repainted a different color professionally but it is expensive (possibly $8000 for an average size kitchen) and less durable. If you chose a dark color like Navy blue over your white cabinets when you got scratches and chips the original white paint would show through. This is why getting custom colors from inexpensive cabinet brands is a bad idea. The custom color is painted over the original finish making the paint thicker and easier to chip and the original white paint color shows through.

  35. Ally

    Hello! This is a wonderful site. I am looking at Crystal Cabinet works. Want to do white shaker uppers (painted) and walnut (stained) lowers. I want insert style. Can you let me know your thoughts on the brand? Also, I have to choose between MDF painted uppers or painted maple. We live in Colorado and I’m hearing that MDF is best for our climate

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ally,
      Upgraded Chrystal is a great cabinet line. I would get shaker maple doors with a reverse raised MDF center panel on the upper cabinets. Making the whole door MDF will make them too easily damaged and unrepairable.

      Walnut is a beautiful wood but it will be very “stripey” as each piece of walnut is a very different color and grain. Make sure you are prepared for what this will look like and how distinctly different the bottom and the top cabinets will be. Here’s a link describing wood species.
      Below is a link to a walnut kitchen:

  36. LisaMarie

    Hi Paul. Thanks for your response.
    Are you saying that you can never have your painted cabinets professionally painted?
    If I wanted grey cabinets in 5 years would I need to reface or could I get professionally painted!?

  37. Fran

    Hi! Another question. After reading the recent articles about cabinet and appliance delays and microchip shortage in the New York Times and hearing the same in your recent webinar, I am becoming very concerned about signing the contract for the work I was planning for my kitchen. I can’t see paying a large deposit now for work that potentially will not start on time (currently projected for July.) My contractor never mentioned delays in the many conversations we’ve had, so that makes me extra wary. What are your thoughts about starting a kitchen remodel now? (The kitchen is currently perfectly functional and still looks nice enough.) Do you think waiting until January 2022 for a spring start date makes more sense, or will it just put us further down a long queue?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Fran,
      I don’t worry about starting a kitchen now but I do worry about giving a contractor a large down payment. A 20% deposit is the largest deposit we would allow a contractor to ask from one of our customers prior to the demo work on the renovation beginning. Cabinets should be ordered and a 50% deposit is standard although home centers charge 100% up front but that’s fine as they are reliable. You should be able to get reliable lead times from everyone before ordering anything or signing a contract. Never pay contractors too much money up front. They might spend your deposit and not have the money to begin your renovation when the time comes. Why do contractors disappear? They run out of funds and need their next deposit to complete the job they were working on.

  38. Chary

    The pandemic has really resulted in a lot of delays and supply shortages. I am in sticker shock at the price of lumber even cheap particle board. Are we seeing this trend in cabinetry? Should I wait for a kitchen remodel so I can afford the higher quality cabinetry? I am wondering if the cost is significantly higher and I’ll be priced out of a remodel.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Chary,
      Cabinet prices have not gone up that significantly lately. Probably up 5% in the last year. Higher costing cabinetry is not more durable it is more custom. However construction costs HAVE gone up significantly although waiting won’t bring prices down only a recession will.

  39. Thomas Dudley

    I live in Colorado so I’m out of your service area but maybe you can help with this question. I’m looing at Yorktowne which has a decent rating from you, Also looking at Mastercraft but I don’t see your rating for them. Are you familiar with this company? Thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Thomas,
      I looked MasterCraft up and added a review for them to our list. They will be way less expensive than the new revamped Yorktowne. They get B’s using our rating system. They do have some advantages for an inexpensive cabinet brand, such as, they offer Maple and Cherry cabinets and some interesting door styles. They only offer builders grade particle board sides so this is a good line for selling a home, but a poor one to choose if you plan on ling there for a long time.

  40. brenda

    I am struggling trying to pick out cabinets that won’t chip and will last. I’m looking at Waypoint or fabuwood. Any suggestions would help. My dream kitchen is the frameless shiny white cabinets. Any suggestion on the best maker for European cabinets. Any suggestions will help

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Brenda,
      ALL Painted cabinets chip and scratch easily. It doesn’t matter how expensive they are. They can easily be touched up though. Frameless cabinets are not a durably constructed as framed cabinets so they can have hinges fall out, doors sag, and drawer tracks pull out of the sides of the cabinets more easily. However the shiny white laminate slab doors that will ONLY come with frameless cabinets will not chip because they are not paint and will be easy to clean and difficult to damage. So you have to pick your poison.

      Generally the laminate doors will cost significantly more. Since it sounds like you are on a tight budget I would recomend Fabuwood for a framed cabinet and if you really want the laminate and are willing to spend the money then Ultracraft upgraded for a frameless laminate door stlye. An inexpensive alternative with a similar look would be with CNC cabinets in a white gloss foil slab door. They will be much less expensive but the finish will not be as nice looking. We sell CNC and they have had shipping issues lately since they are very busy and their delivery people are inexperienced and often damage the cabinets during shipping. So expect some frustration with CNC.

  41. Stacey

    HI! Thank you so much for the information. My Contractor is recommending Bertch Cabinetry. Your review is A/A-, which is great. When I saw the cabinets in person, they seemed flimsy and poorly made. I cannot find any specs on their website to check on how they are made. Can you offer any insight?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Stacy,
      Most cabinet lines have many different construction levels. Even the most expensive brands can be purchased poorly made if you ask for cheap construction.
      This is why it is so important to work with an expert kitchen designer that can explain our industry to you. Upgraded at their top level Bertch makes a great cabinet. However, as with most cabinets, a unscrupulous designer could sell you junk that looked good if you didn’t know any better. Please read our warning about comparing cabinetry that we give on this blog. Link below:

  42. Ashley

    I am having a hard time deciding on which company to use. So far I have quotes from Bremtown, Kith, Homecrest and Wellborn. One of my companies can also get Holiday and Woodland but havent quoted those yet. Im just concerned about quality. i have kids and we cook ALOT and are always in the kitchen. Just worried about the wear and tear of the cabinets. Dont want any finish coming off etc. Do you have a recommendation based on the brands I am looking at? I have reviewed this chart and It looks like Kith would be my last option based on the quality and Bremtown really worth the extra $? Thank you!!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ashley,
      Contrary to what most people believe there is not a noticeable relationship between DURABILITY of finish and the cost of cabinetry. Even quality and durability of cabinet construction is not a linear relationship. What you pay for in more expensive cabinetry is the ability to customize and many more wood, color, and finish options.

      Since unfortunately most kitchens are designed simplistically it is foolish to spend money on expensive cabinetry when you aren’t taking advantage of the features they offer or working with a good designer. I would stay away from Holiday they are having Covid problems. DuraSupreme we found disreputable when we carried their brand as they didn’t honor their warranties. Kith we rate poorly. The Woodland website doesn’t say how they make their cabinets which I find less than transparent and less trust worthy.Upgraded, Both Wellborn and Homecrest are reliable well constructed cabinet brands so I would stick with them.

      If you are looking for durability then painted cabinetry has a less durable finish than stained cabinetry. And framed cabinets like Homecrest and Wellborn are more durable than frameless.

  43. Larry Stein

    You recommend Fabuwood as a value option. Unfortunately there are no dealers in the Los Angeles area. Is there a comparable brand available on the West Coast.. Thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Larry,
      Procraft is a less expensive line than Fabuwood but if it is factory built and shipped well it can be a less expensive and well built alternative. It is available on the west coast and not so much on the east coast.

  44. Fran S.

    Hi Again!
    Can you recommend a brand that has “thin/skinny/modern Shaker” doors with stained finishes like the cabinets on the bottom in this photo: that are around the same or a little more than Fabuwood? I just really want a “modern Zen” look. As I told you my designer wants me to get these Fabuwood cabinets, which are really nice and I love the color, but the door style is just very generic and traditional for the look I am hoping to achieve.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Fran S,
      These are not shaker doors they are slab doors with an outside trim. They are unusual and will be much more expensive and will always be frameless construction. They are also outdated. I would go with a regular slab if that’s the type look you like.

  45. paul mcalary

    Hi Habib,
    I would need to see a floor plan or talk to you to comment. You can call the podcast today between 2-4 pm EST 610-500-4071

  46. habib george

    I can’t thank you enough for you help earlier! I decided to go with the Fabuwood Horizon around the perimeter. The island is KM Dove white. I had to get the island from another dealer as I had a deposit that I had to use or forfeit. Quick question- I have 37 inch clearance around the island. on one side is the cooktop the other is a bare wall. Is that ok?

  47. Amber

    Is Forevermark cabinets experiencing very long delays? Ordered cabinets 1/11 through a local guy and still no cabinets. He’s saying they are delayed due to COVID. He has no update for me or tracking info. Wondering if it’s really true or am I being jerked around.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Amber,
      Forevermark has been very delayed for a while. How far I don’t know. Fist they planed poorly during the Tariffs now they have Covid issues. Their VP called and complained that we were hurting them by being too specific about delays we were not privy to. So we now say “check delivery times” but that is code for “be careful ordering”.

  48. paul mcalary

    Hi Habib,
    I would not recomend getting a custom color from Fabuwood. It is not what they are good at.

  49. habib george

    thank you!!! Here is the situation. DC carries a stock navy blue that I love. Fabuwood does not and I have to pay a custom charge to paint it in the hopes it looks the same. With the uncharge the prices are the same.

  50. habib george

    How do you rate Designers Choice cabinets vs Fabuwood?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      DC is a more expensive line with more options. For a painted shaker door style Fabuwood is a better value.

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