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If You Are Buying Kitchen Cabinets, Beware!

Recalling a time when the cabinet industry was less transparent. If you are buying kitchen cabinets this blog originally from 2011 is a valuable read.

Note:  Since posting “If you are buying kitchen cabinets, beware” in 2011 many of the Masterbrands cabinet lines changed. They have switched from 3/8″ sides to half inch sides. Possibly due to better consumer awareness. Instead of removing or editing the blog I am keeping it posted as it was to mark the time and place our industry was at in early 2011. We also have a more recent bog below that reviews current cabinet brands:

Cabinet Reviews: Ratings for the top 130 cabinet brands.

Here is the original blog from March 2011

Kitchen cabinet buyers need reputable, professional assistance for many reasons.  Top concerns are safety (see the blog below) and good design.  And . . . there’s probably no less blunt way to say this. . . to avoid being ripped off.

Is Your Kitchen Designer Going to Kill You?

For example, many cabinet companies sell the same product for different prices by having multiple cabinet line names.  Even in the same cabinet line, exact same door styles and finishes will have different names at different locations. 

In 2004 (and again many times after) Consumer Reports was completely duped.  They continually publish cabinet reviews in which they compare cabinets that are actually the same product.   And they always review these identical cabinet brands differently.  Ikea duped them as well – – garnering top ratings despite durability and construction flaws. These flaws only a few years to become problems.

Blue Island Kitchen. While the kitchen shown is a quality cabinet brand consumers should beware when buying kitchen cabinets

Here are some examples of advice Main Line Kitchen Design professionals share with our customers:

Frameless cabinets are much less durable than framed cabinets. Frameless or European Cabinetry can definitely look sleeker and are better suited to the most modern door styles.  However, even the most expensive frameless lines such as Poggenpohl are nowhere near as durable as any well-made framed cabinetry.

When buying kitchen cabinets, it’s important to know that the worst way to make a framed cabinet is with 3/8″ sides and backs.

Quality framed cabinetry has 1/2 or 3/4″ sides and backs with solid wood hanging rails.  Watch out for Masterbrands — They are the largest cabinet conglomerate in the US and produce most of their cabinetry with the less durable 3/8″ sides and backs. Many home builders including Toll Brothers use these type lines because more money goes into the door styles and finishes. Very little resources go into the cabinet’s construction.  These lines include:  Aristocraft, Schrock, Diamond, Yorktowne, and Kemper.


Kitchen with post on the end of the island These are Brighton Custom inset cabinets. Beware when buying kitchen cabinets in lesser made brands

A cabinet by any other name….

Thomasville, a fine furniture company, sold the right to use their name to Home Depot to sell kitchen cabinetry.  Home Depot’s “Thomasville” cabinets are actually 3/8″ constructed cabinetry with the Thomasville name.  At one point Home Depot actually had Mills Pride their least expensive cabinet line making half of the Thomasville line.

Thicker plywood sides, solid wood hanging rail, Ibeam or plywood tops, along with dovetail drawers and Blumotion tracks can be had for less. Higher end framed custom cabinets differ in finer finishes and in the availability of custom pieces  —  not construction and durability.  Kraftmaid, Woodmode Brookhaven and Main Line Kitchen Design’s Jim Bishop cabinet lines for example can all provide the same quality construction as higher priced custom alternatives.

Selecting a Kitchen Designer is just as important as the cabinetry you select.

Unfortunately, accreditation in the kitchen industry is fairly nebulous.  Going to the most expensive showrooms doesn’t assure you of getting a good designer. Or one that has your interest at heart. Architects are also generally less capable designers because they spend so much less time designing kitchens. Nor do they know much about cabinetry because they do not sell cabinetry.

white kitchen with island and column posts. These are well made Bishop cabinets. When buying kitchen cabinets online or elsewhere always be careful
Bishop Collegeville PA Kitchen

The best Kitchen Designers explain as much about buying kitchen cabinets and kitchen design to their customers as time allows. When you know what you are buying, and why and what the negative and positive aspects of your design are, you can make an informed decision about what matters to you most, and where you want to spend more and or less.  Kitchen Designers also add NO COST as the design costs are included almost everywhere in the cost of the cabinetry.

Getting a great kitchen requires one big investment that many customers have a hard time making.  The investment of their own time. 

It always surprises my customers when I tell them that we would prefer them to take more rather than less of our time making their decisions.  It is only the customers that invest too little of their own time that are ever unhappy with their selections.

Watch our very funny video below to see why you need a kitchen designer when you are buying kitchen cabinets.

The Main Line Kitchen Design team wishes everyone a wonderful new year and the best kitchens possible…… and of course Bon Appetit!

Main Line Kitchen Design

721 Replies to “If You Are Buying Kitchen Cabinets, Beware!”

  1. Lisa

    Thank you very much! Showplace it is !! I will check back in once installation is complete, 6-7 weeks I think we should have this project wrapped up ?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Very exciting! All the Best

  2. Lisa smith

    Hello- your blog is so informational. I would really appreciate you help. What is your preference : showplace or dynasty/omega. We have our prices from both design centers but are struggling with which cabinet is better. Price wise they are pretty close, we upgraded the the showplace to birch interior and 1/2 inch plywood. Any input would be appreciated!!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Both these cabinet lines make learning about how their cabinets are made very difficult and that’s always a bad sign especially with more expensive cabinet lines. Both their web site are full of fluff but no valuable information. This is not surprising for Dynasty since they are a Masterbrands product. I would pick Showplace simply for that reason. But make sure you upgrade to 1/2 plywood sides. Sorry – I never have designed in either line so what I know about them is limited.

  3. Stacy

    I am looking at Executive Cabinetry. What do you think about this line?
    Thanks so much!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Executive is a custom frameless line and I’m not a fan of that combination of attributes. Expensive custom cabinetry in my mind should also be durable and although Executive is made as well as a frameless cabinet can be made it still doesn’t compare to the better construction of a well made framed line.

  4. Kim

    Thanks for all of the good information. Can you recommend a good painted cabinet with a glaze and a brushed look for a moderate price.Can you recommend a good painted cabinet with a glaze and a brush look for a moderate price I have a question about a MDF panel on a maple frame door VS a solid maple painted door which one would be better?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kim,
      Answering your questions in reverse order:

      On a recessed panel I think an MDF panel is a tiny bit better than a wood or plywood panel since there will never be any shrinkage. A reversed raised MDF door would be the best choice on a recessed panel. On a raised panel door I would prefer solid wood since a raised panel is more likely to get nicked or scratched and MDF would damage easily. The outside frame of the door is most durable being solid wood. MDF looks better but is less durable which is why some high end lines make entire painted doors out of MDF. Often the most expensive kitchens we as designers sell use painted MDF doors, marble countertops that scratch, stain, and etch, and European ranges that don’t have an oven big enough to fit a turkey. Thankfully nobody is expecting to cook in these expensive showpiece kitchens.

      Brushstokes on a painted glazed door are usually only available in higher end semi custom or custom cabinet lines. Glazing alone can be found in many inexpensive lines. For example, Fabuwood our least expensive line does nice glazing but you need to go all the way up to our 4th most expensive line Brighton or our custom line Wellsford to get the brushstrokes. Brighton is the least expensive line I know of that does brush strokes – but I’m sure there are others at a comparable price point.

  5. David Cooper

    In the early stages of designing and very glad I found this blog. Very insightful knowledge here and explained in a straightforward manner. I have learned far more reading this than I have so far from my designer at the local box store. Thank you for what you do here.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Thanks David. The reference library on our blog page has a lot of great information along with a updated report on cabinets. This blog which is a few years older. Link below:

  6. Susie

    Thanks for this great blog! We are putting in a new kitchen and have been working with a Home Depot designer who we know and are considering Kraft Made. It sounds like you really endorse this product so I feel good about that, but have read so many bad reviews about Home Depot, on the installation end and getting replacements for damaged product. What do you think about that?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Home Centers are reasonable for cabinetry although their designers are often less qualified. They are not a good buy for the installations though. Both Home Depot and Lowes sub contract out to often inexperienced contractors and then mark up the cost approximately 30%. Were you to find the same contractor on your own you would save 30% on installation. The only advantage to using a home center to install your kitchen is that you can be sure that the contractor will not disappear or steal your deposit. If I didn’t know a good installer I would use contractors with great reviews listed on Angies List or on to install my kitchen. Home centers are also usually not organized enough to make an installation run smoothly.

  7. Stacy B.

    First, thank you so much for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions. With so many different brands available, I was overwhelmed trying to figure out which cabinets are worth the money and which to avoid. Your web-site has been invaluable to me.

    We are remodeling our kitchen and have decided to put in painted cabinets. One kitchen designer is promoting Elmwood cabinets. Because the cabinets are painted, he suggested we put on a MDF door instead of wood. (We live in North Carolina and he feels the humidity can cause the door seams to expand and contract leaving unsightly cracks on our doors.) The rest of the box is plywood construction. What is your opinion on Elmwood cabinets and MDF doors?

    Thanks again!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Elmwood appears to be a Canadian Full Custom cabinet line. This usually means that they make both framed and frameless European style cabinetry. We sell both these types of cabinets but always warn our customers that frameless cabinetry is less durable since there are no solid wood fronts to the cabinetry. Here’s a link explaining about these types of cabinets:
      So I would first get the framed all plywood cabinet box from Elmwood.
      As far as the MDF doors go- They will look better over time as far as expansion and contraction goes but they are certainly much easier to damage. It really depends how hard you are on things and how often you cook as to which is the better choice for you. Remember too that if you get solid maple doors and cracks appear then they can be filled with a wax stick to become nearly invisible. And if you get MDF doors you can almost always replace damaged doors later although you may have to pay to color match the doors. Your kitchen will also cost less with the MDF doors.
      What would I do? I would always get the framed cabinetry first. And then since I know how to use a wax stick and I am very rough on things I would get the Maple cabinets. I have customers that have had MDF cabinet doors for 20 years without a single scratch or dent but that unfortunately isn’t me. Whatever you decide to do there will be ways to replace or touch up a well made framed kitchen later which is why I prefer a framed cabinet. If a frameless cabinet is damaged by say when a toddler hangs on a door then the entire cabinet needs to be replaced and that is a huge undertaking with countertops and tile in place.
      Hope that helps,

  8. Stacy

    Oh, and Kemper comes standard with plywood sides.

  9. Stacy

    Was told by the Schrock dealer that they had poor glides, only 3/8 sides, etc. Went back to Kemper, Blum slides and 1/2 wood like Dynasty, felt she was trying to upsellng me to Dynasty which really turned me off. I’ll sp me the star $ for Dynasty if needed, but just not seeing much difference. It appears Schrock is a lesser line.

  10. Stacy

    Looking at Dynasty, Kemper and Schrock. Was told Schrock and Kemper are the same line different price. Dynasty is 25% more. If it worth it?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Decora is a Masterbrands cabinet line like Diamond and Kemper that I like a lot more. All three and it should be close to the Diamond price.

  11. Karen Thomas

    What if you throw kraftmaid into the mix? How does it stack up with Welborn and Schuler?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Kraftmaid is just as well made but the finishers aren’t quite as nice. Krafmaid should also be about 15% less. If you are shopping at LOWES where Schuler is sold, then the kitchen designer will be more familiar working with Kraftmaid then Schuler, which might help in the design process.

  12. Karen Thoams

    Do you have an opinion of Wellborn versus Schuler cabinetry?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Schuler at Lowes is sold under the name Medallion in private showrooms. Both Schuler and Wellborn are high end semi-custom cabinetry lines that specialize in finishes that nearly equal some of the full custom lines. For what it’s worth my extended Family reps for Medallion but I would still pick Wellborn in a very close race. Both cabinet lines have beautiful finishes and great customization ability. Make sure you upgrade these relatively expensive cabinet lines to all plywood construction with at least 1/2″ thick sides. I think Schuler allows you to order particle board sides and they used to be 3/8″ thick. Ordering expensive cabinetry with lesser made construction makes no sense. Keep in mind to that how good the designer is is actually more important than the cabinet line you select in getting a beautiful kitchen. Here’s a newer blog of ours that discusses what makes a well made cabinet:

  13. Megan

    Do you have any recommendations for kitchen designers in the New York City area?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Megan,

      No Sorry I don’t know any designers in Manhattan. You could try LinkedIn. Any kitchen designer on LinkedIn will probably be better than the general population. Or the NKBA website lists designers by region. Any designers that belong to the NKBA are at least paying dues to the organization that represents them. I would rate Linked in over the NKBA as a source since you can also review the profile of the designer on Linkedin.

      Maybe best of all is to find one on, Go to the website and search under the “Find a Pro” category for Kitchen and Bath Designers in your zipcode. I’d narrow the search to 20 miles from my zip codes first and see who looks good and has great projects and recommendations. Angie’s list is better for contractors then Designers.

      Best of luck and you can always email me a design to see if it has any blatant mistakes,

  14. les

    Do you have any info/opinion on JSI cabinets?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I didn’t know JSI cabinetry so I looked at their web site and there is no information on their construction so I don’t know. Use this guide from our web site to help you select cabinetry:

  15. CC

    I’ve always thought of cabinet making as a local industry. Just about every area with any population has a decent cabinet shop. Many “brands” now owed by the conglomerates started out as local shops. However, cheaply made cabinetry will certainly not outlast an expensive granite or quartz counter top. Something else to think about…we are told to source food locally as it is greener, yet we send raw materials (logs) halfway around the world to process into finished goods of questionable quality. How is this “green”. Doesn’t make a lot of sense does it? The solution is to buy local when possible and support local businesses.

  16. lisa

    Hi. we are looking at renovating our kitchen and have talked to many contractors and vendors with various cabinets. Presently have priced out Omega with a distributor, and Kith with a contractor as well as kraftmaid with lowes. Reading thru your comments and seeing you had not heard of Kith, a custom/semi custom maker and have not seen any reviews of Omega. So much valuable information in these posts so thanks for that. Any opinions on cabinets mentioned?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Kraftmaid would be the better choice. Just upgrade to all Plywood construction.

  17. Nancy Keenan

    Do you know anything about Tru Wood cabinets from Alabama? The two contractors we are thinking of using only use this company. Thanks

  18. Robbie

    Wow. Our Kemper rep was here taking measurements and collaborating with our contractor for hours. Got the pictures. Nice! Will get the plywood. Thanks for the tip.

  19. Robbie

    We are undergoing a 3D rendering with Kemper. It’s got the 1/2″ sides, I-Beam, Dovetail full extension soft close, not sure if particle board on sides. After doing some research after the cabinet vendor dropped this brand on us yesterday, we are now doubting after some research. No price yet to compare. We are using a sole contractor and doing all the design with him. Needless to say, we are feeling stress now as we are getting down to final decisions and choices. Our major kitchen remodel budget is $35k with an allowance of $10k for cabinets. Locally, we were told Wolf and a couple others were having shipment damages. Kraftmaid could be an option since we studied a booklet from Home Depot on that brand weeks ago.
    I guess my question is whether we should upgrade to the All Plywood? We will live here in N. Virginia about 8 years, then will sell the house.
    God Bless and Thank you. Robbie

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      No matter what you decide the sides of the cabinetry that are exposed MUST be plywood sides. Otherwise they will be a plastic photo of wood grain that will age completely differently then your cabinets and peel over time. So at least make those sides plywood. There are so many cabinet lines that do plywood construction inexpensively that I would pick one of those lines. Kraftmaid is a better line than Kemper, but if you make the exposed Kemper sides plywood you should be fine. I would never have a contractor design my kitchen though. I would find an experienced kitchen designer maybe even the Kemper person to measure and redesign my kitchen. Contractors are known for poor simplistic designs that they make easy to install but don’t increase the value of your home by as much as a professional designer should be able to. The worst contractors are the ones that believe that they can design your kitchen as well as a professional and they will actually try to prevent you from getting good help in an effort to make their job easier. If the contractor was the one that supplied the measurements to the kitchen designer then this is a very bad sign. I have never met a contractor able to measure a kitchen well enough for me to design it. And I was one of those stubborn contractors that just didn’t know any better 20 years ago. Here is a funny video on the subject:

  20. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

    I do like the I-Beam and it is better but it isn’t a deal breaker for me. All the other elements that go into a cabinets construction are much more important. 3/8 ” sides IS a deal breaker, anything other than dovetail full extension soft close drawers IS a deal breaker. Particle board sides on wall cabinets or on any cabinets with exposed sides IS a deal breaker. So to answer your question I think those specifications with the corner brace is fine.

  21. Vincent

    Hello, What are your thoughts on an I-beam brace vs a Corner brace construction. I know the high end cabinets use the I-beam brace, however is the corner brace truly that much of a step down in build quality if you are upgrading to all plywood construction with 1/2″ sides, 3/8″ back, and plywood corner braces?

  22. Lavender Peony

    I am so amazed by this blog! It is astounding that you are taking the time to continue answering comments FOUR YEARS on since you first posted this! Alas, I live on Canada. If I lived in your area, you would be my pick, hands down. What an amazing public service you’re providing!

    That being said… I don’t suppose you have any insight into Thomasville in Canadian Home Depots? 🙂 If not, I’m learning from your posts that the best way to compare cabinets is to find out the specs on their construction materials and methods? Correct me if I’m wrong: I should be looking for 1/2″ plywood sides, screws and framed boxes.

  23. Namaste

    Thank you

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Home Depot bought the rights to use Thomasville’s name on kitchen cabinets, so whether you are in the US or Canada you aren’t getting the Thomasville Furniture Company’s cabinets you are getting whatever band Home Depot feels like marking up extra and peddling this year as “Thomasville”. This is unconscionable IMO. If you are shopping at Home Depot get Ktaftmaid that’s their best cabinet and around the same price.
      Our web site has all the information you need to judge cabinetry. Here are two great links:

  24. Namaste

    My husband is sold on the Shrock line. We are putting a new kitchen in and our estimate (with %10 off) is around $11,000. I’m not as in love with them. Please tell me why you don’t like them yourself??

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Shrock is better made now then it has been in the past. They upgraded to 1/2″ thick sides (they were essentially shamed into it) but it is still a poor buy for the money. The cabinetry is mostly particle board unless it is ungraded. And when you upgrade to all plywood construction it is more expensive and still not made as well as the least expensive line Fabuwood that we carry and it is almost double the price. Masterbrands Shrock’s parent company focuses on door styles and finishes and has always skimped on construction. Decora is the only Masterbrands line that I respect. There are just so many better lines for less money or the same money. Go to Home depot or Lowes and compare Kraftmaid it will be similar in price and is a better product. Or if you want a Masterbrands cabinet get Decora it won’t be very much more. Just as an example we sell 4 cabinet lines all better made and less expensive and only the full custom lines we carry are more expensive than upgraded Shrock.

  25. jen doering

    Thank you so much for your advice. It really helps to get the advice of an impartial expert. Sadly we are not in your service area or else we definitely be considering main line kitchen since your blog is so helpful.

  26. Jen doering

    Do you have any opinions on the legacy debut line, the estimate I got was significantly below the others but now I am wondering if they are just a good value or if they are poor quality? ( the other cabinet lines we had looked at are Merillat, kemper and wellborn). My head is spinning right now do any help you could provide would be incredibly helpful!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      If it is upgraded to the Presidential or Executive construction cabinet box then Legacy Debut is a better made cabinet then Kemper and Merillat. Wellborn is a more expensive cabinet line with greater ability to customize and with nicer finishes. So it can be worth the money if you are selecting stained wood finishes which will be more furniture grade or if your kitchen design requires the greater ability to customize. Most people however don’t get creative designs and don’t take advantage of what makes a more expensive cabinet line cost more. And if you are getting a painted finish most non designers don’t appreciate the subtle differences in the finish quality. Here is another link explaining about cabinet construction.
      A good kitchen designer helps you understand what you are paying for and whether your design really takes advantage of the better quality cabinetry. Both the Upgraded Legacy and the higher end Wellborn cabinetry will last essentially forever. Whether the cost difference between the two is worth it to you I can’t say. We tell our customers that “it’s all the same money” and while some customers will spend 50K on appliances and 15K on cabinetry or visa versa it is the creativity of the kitchen design and how the designer uses the space that makes the biggest impact on how beautiful a kitchen is. Sadly poor designs are done with very high end appliances and expensive full custom cabinetry all the time.

  27. Joni

    Which is more expensive schrock or aristocraft ?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Schrock. Although I don’t like either line.

  28. Liz

    We are replacing the kitchen cabinets in our beachfront condo, and want to use American-made cabinetry. We prefer Shaker style, white. What brands do you recommend? Also, what is the difference between framed and unframed? Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Just a couple of warnings:
      First, truly “American made” cabinetry that is equal to the best of the cabinetry sold by U.S. companies selling cabinetry made mostly in China will cost at least 25% more. And second, that it is getting difficult to tell what is made in the U.S. and what is not. As many doors styles on American made cabinetry now come from China.

      That being said American Woodmark sold at The Home Depot, Shenandoah sold at Lowes, and Timberlake sold in private showrooms is an inexpensive and well made choice. I would upgrade to plywood sides and full extension drawers. All three lines are made in the same factory and are simply sold under different names.

      Clique Studios is a US company that sells very well made Asian cabinetry on line for at least 20 % less than these choices should you want to compromise on buying strictly American.

  29. Maureen

    Considering Showplace or Yorktowne. I would welcome your opinion. We are planning to go with white painted cabinets

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Yorktowne is a poorly made cabinet in my opinion. Showplace doesn’t show on line the thickness of their cabinets sides or how the back of the cabinet is constructed which worries me. Usually if the cabinet is well made the company brags about it. Hiding things usually means 3/8″ sides and poorly made backs.

  30. Michael

    Thank you very much for your response – this was helpful.

  31. Michael

    Hi – I was wondering if I could get your input on the cabinets. I currently have a price from one local dealer on Schrock and Decora cabinets. We liked the Decora a lot but the price was almost 40% higher than Schrock and much more than we were hoping to spend. Are both cabinets 100% American sourced and made? Should I be concerned about Schrock? Currently waiting on prices from Home Depot on Decora and Kraftmaid cabinets (they have taken forever to get back to us) and also a local dealer is going to give a price on Starmark and Fabuwood. I’ve read only positive reviews about Starmark but I think the price will be high. I found out Fabuwood sources the materials from China – should this be a concern? I’ve found that going to the local kitchen places has been a much better experience than Home Depot and another Home Center. I’m curious about the price HD will give on Decora compared to the local dealer. Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Decora is a better cabinet then Shrock. Never buy a cabinet with 3/8″ sides. Kraftmaid is a well made cabinet equal to Decora. Starmark will be more expensive than the others and is a little over priced and you must make sure you get 1/2″ sides at least. The Fabuwood will be far less than any of these other choices and it is made better than Shrock and is Carb 2 Compliant so no worries that this American company is getting parts from China. There is far less ability to customize sizes and designs in Fabuwood, but since most kitchen designs don’t take advantage of the customization in the more expensive lines it is sometimes a waste spending more when you aren’t taking advantage of the very reason these lines are more expensive. Local dealers can vary greatly in price. Some will be about equal to home centers usually with better service and more knowledgeable designers, and some will also be way over priced. Independent dealers that sell Kraftmaid are often a safe bet to work with since they have to compete with both Lowes and Home Depot who sell Kraftmaid they can’t be over priced.

  32. Trent

    Can you offer your opinions regarding Jim bishop cabinets?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      We are Dealers for Bishop Cabinets so we like them, and the people at Bishop are great to work with. Among their cabinetry advantages are that they are a very well constructed cabinet when you upgrade them and upgrading is inexpensive compared to most other US cabinet lines. They also will do more customization then any other brand I know of around their price point. For example, if I can draw it they pretty much will make it, they do custom colors and will customize all their doors. And they do inset and beaded inset cabinetry. Their down side is that I find that their stained finishes aren’t as beautiful as some similarly priced lines but this is something that customers usually aren’t able to differentiate. Also if any pieces happen to come damaged or defective getting replacements made correctly can take longer than some other cabinet lines. This can frustrate customers. All in all though Bishop cabinetry is a great value and we are proud to carry them.

  33. Dave

    Have you heard of Grand JK Cabinets, Cabinet City, or FX Cabinets? They are priced lower then the Diamond and Kraftmaid cabinets. What are your thoughts?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      No I haven’t heard of those brands. But 6 Square sold in private dealers and also sold as Cliq Studios on line is a well made cabinet at least 30% less than Diamond. Upgraded they are made identically to upgraded Diamond but even with the un upgraded soft close drawer tracks they are fine.

  34. Dave

    Have you heard of cabinet brands J&K Cabinets, Cabinet City, and FX Cabinets? I believe they are california based prefabricated cabinets, probably being made in China. They seem to be priced well below Diamond and Kraftmaid. Any thoughts?

  35. Gig

    thank you so much for responding.

  36. Gig

    i was told that Diamond and Thomasville are the now the same company,is this true.
    If so do they manufacture the cabinets the same? You do not like Thomasville what do you think of Diamond? I am looking for white Shaker with a conversion varnish but here in Calif no cabinet maker can do it. What company make a good quality white Shaker?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      The reason I don’t like Thomasville is that Home Depot is misleading people and making them believe that Thomasville furniture is making the cabinetry and charging more because of it. If you upgrade Diamond to 1/2″ plywood sides they are well made, So assuming you you are right and Thomasville is now being made by Diamond and not American Woodmark you would need to do the same in Thomasville. But Kraftmaid is the better made cabinet of the three and is also sold at Home Depot so why not design your kitchen in Kraftmaid? It should be around the same price. Decora is also a well made cabinet and I think some home Depots carry Decora. I don’t know much about the new Asian made lines Home Depot carries.

  37. Vincent

    Thanks for the info. I don’t have a set price, so I want to make sure I get quality but also don’t want to overspend. Kith is made in USA and they tell you exactly how their cabinets are constructed on their websites. Are they any brands that you particularly like when price isn’t exactly the biggest limitation? I don’t have a million dollar home that need custom built cabinets, but I would pay the extra money for quality and longevity. Thanks again for the info.

  38. Vincent

    Have you heard of Kith Cabinets? Their construction and pricing seems to be pretty good compared to Thomasville quote I got from Home Dept.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I have not heard of Kith. But Thomasville is way overpriced. Home Depot bought the right to use Thomasville Furniture’s name and they sell lesser quality cabinetry under that name. If you are shopping at The Home Depot buy Kraftmaid, Home depot sells them too, and they are the same price and a better cabinet.

  39. Remodeler

    I am looking at schuler cabinets for my kitchen. Do they have 1/2 inch plywood sides. How do they compare to kraftmaid

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Schuler cabinetry from Lowes is the same cabinetry as Medalion from independent dealers. You need to upgrade the cabinetry to at least Platninum plywood sides. They used to only have 3/8 inch sides and I just looked on their web site and it doesn’t say so that makes me cautious. In general the company focuses on great finishes and not on construction quality, much like their parent company Elkay that makes nice sinks but most are 18 gauge and not the thicker 16 gauge. Schuler cabinetry is more expensive than Kraftmaid and certainly not better made than upgraded Kraftmaid. I am also not a fan of buying expensive cabinetry from home centers. Designing in more expensive lines like Schuler is more difficult and the home center designer will be less familiar designing in that line. If you are going to pay more for cabinetry it’s smarter to pay a little more and get a great designer instead and they will be harder to find at home centers, but not impossible. At Lowes I would stick with Kraftmaid.

  40. Ruth

    I am considering Aspect or Waypoint. I just read your comments about Aspect and I hadn’t seen that information. What do you know about Waypoint? Thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Ruth,
      I have never heard of either the Aspect or Waypoint brands. Neither brand shows you how their cabinetry is constructed on their web sites which is almost always a bad sign.

  41. joan

    Hi I have been pricing diamond and Keller cabinets. I was told are the same. Upgraded to all plywood box. Still wondering if they are good cabinets or whet you suggest

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Joan,
      Sorry I missed your comment and just noticed it now, I hope this is in time to help. I believe both Diamond and I think you mean Kemper cabinets are Masterbrand cabinets with similar construction. Lowes sells Diamond for about the same price as Kraftmaid and I prefer the Kraftmaid. As long as Diamond is upgraded to 1/2 inch plywood sides it is a well made cabinet but as I mentioned I do prefer Kraftmaid in that pricepoint.

  42. Camille Vaccari

    What is your opinion on Design Craft and Art Craft? Also, for a humid client do you recommend MDF doors for a painted cabinet? Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Camille,
      Both cabinet lines are frameless so as the article mentions I far prefer a well made framed line. If you are getting frameless cabinetry IKEA is inexpensive and essentially made the same as other European lines so I would save the money and just get IKEA. Modern slab doorstyles do look better in frameless but traditional or shaker doorstyles look great in framed and the cabinetry can be less expensive and better made as well. For example our least expensive line is an Asian import called Fabuwood that is less expensive and far better made.

  43. Betsy

    Thank you so much for your input!

  44. Betsy

    What is your opinion of Aspect cabinets?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I had never heard of them but I looked them up. They are an inexpensive line with particle board sides and shelves. I would say better made than RTA particle board cabinetry or IKEA but there will be less expensive lines that are all plywood construction that I would think were a better value. However they will have Asian made doors which I think is fine but some people will object to. We sell 6 Square and Fabuwood, but there are many alternatives at this pricepoint. Armstrong is a well known line that might be similar in price and is also All Plywood construction.

  45. Susan

    I made the mistake of going with Home Depot and Thomasville cabinets. It is now 7 months since I ordered and my kitchen is still not done. The cabinet sides are mismatched pieced together fiberboard, wrong cabinets are ordered, delivered products are damaged, workmanship is shoddy. And there’s no end in sight.

  46. tania

    I forgot to add I live in Wheaton Il, near Chicago

  47. tania

    Thank you, just saw this. I am building a house and the builder is offering Yorktowne and Wellborne

  48. tania

    So what is a good kitchen cabinet brand I should consider?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Tania,
      What price point you are in and what cabinet lines are available to you from dealers close by and competitive in price determines the cabinet line that is best suited for you. Home centers are near everyone so if you are at Lowes or Home Depot The best cabinet for the money is certainly Kraftmaid. Lower in price but still well made and not a rip off would be American Woodmark at Home Depot and Shenendoah at Lowes. Stay away from re marketed cabinets like Thomasville and Martha Stewart.

      There are hundreds of cabinet lines though that are well made. All the lines we carry are well made. We carry In order of price: Fabuwood, 6 Square, Bishop, Wellsford, Village, and Bremtown.

  49. Terri262

    Schrock/Diamond have 1/2″ sides, top, and bottom. The backs are 3/8″. Not sure if this has changed. Thanks for the tips on cabinet buying.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Terri,
      I amended the blog. You are right! Since it was posted in 2011 many of the Masterbrands cabinet lines have switched to 1/2″ inch sides that if you upgrade to plywood should be pretty durable even with 3/8″ backs. Thanks for reminding me to make the update.

  50. Don Beechler

    I am in the market for a complete kitchen. We are looking at craftmade cabinete and custom made cabinets. We live in calif where they only use water base finishes. Is kraftmade finishes better than water base? And are kraftmade 3/4 plywood.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      If you mean Kraftmaid their finishes will be water based since they are made in the US. You can upgrade to 3/4 plywood as far as I know. We do not carry Kraftmaid. They are sold at Lowes, Home Depot and independent showrooms. They will be on average 20 to 40% less than custom cabinets and their finishes will be less attractive then the larger manufactured custom made brands.

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