Made in the USA. Is it Always Smart to Buy American Cabinetry?

The simple answer is yes. The most reliable and the best value for kitchen cabinets are all American owned companies. However, it is not exactly that simple.

The most labor-intensive part of cabinet production is the building, sanding, and finishing of cabinet fronts. For less expensive cabinetry, you simply can’t get a well-made product that is 100% built in the US. Labor costs in Asia and Mexico are just too low. Accordingly, some American companies manufacture many of their cabinet parts in other countries, before assembling the cabinetry domestically.

For example, Apple is a US company. If iPhones were built in the US, they would be more expensive than they are now. $2,000 for a phone would be a low estimate. To get quality and affordability, you must combine overseas labor with US ingenuity and distribution.

Brighton Beaded Inset Kitchen
Brighton Beaded Inset Custom Cabinetry

When it comes to more expensive custom cabinet brands and higher end semi-custom brands, the customization, and the variety of styles and finishes absolutely can’t be mass produced. These more expensive brands allow kitchen designers to create more intricate and detailed designs. They are also the best option for reaching the ceiling for 9- and 10-foot-high rooms.

Customers who want unusual cabinet styles and finishes are also limited to more expensive brands. The extremely well-constructed, inexpensive brands are inexpensive BECAUSE they can be mass produced with a limited selection. And of course, if a company is going to mass produce a product, it doesn’t make sense to mass produce anything but the most popular door styles and finishes.

Fabuwood Butlers Pantry

For customers choosing popular painted shaker or recessed door styles in white, off-white, cream, grey, or navy blue, inexpensive better constructed cabinetry is easy to find. Slab style doors in a few popular finishes are also available in the most popular finishes inexpensively.

Less popular paint colors, or Cherry, Maple, Alder, Hickory and other stained wood finishes are only available from more expensive custom and semi-custom cabinet brands. And while this cabinetry starts at about 20% more than the less expensive mass-produced brands, the quality of these 100% US brands does not reach the level of the lower priced brands until customers spend about 40% more.

This is true for every dealer and every showroom across the US. Customers simply cannot “have their cake and eat it too!”

For people on a budget, the biggest mistake they can make is to insist on 100 % US made products. These customers will often be selecting styles and finishes that are available in the better-made, less expensive brands but, because of their insistence on buying 100% American, they are getting poor quality cabinetry in less attractive finishes.

Kitchen designers help customers make sensible selections

By the same token customers who want cabinetry in unusual door styles, finishes and sizes. or inset cabinetry, should be selecting from the more expensive 100% US made brands to get quality. It is a huge mistake buying a kitchen in a custom color or with a large number of custom size cabinets from a brand that specializes in less expensive mass-produced US/Import cabinetry. These normally less expense brands will no longer be inexpensive when customized, and the quality of the custom color or custom size cabinet will never equal the more expensive brands.

Kitchen designers help customers navigate our industry. Knowing what each cabinet brand does well is part of designing a kitchen and helping customers make smart cost-effective decisions. Main Line Kitchen Design sells 8 different cabinet brands. All the brands we sell are extremely well built. Each brand we sell was chosen because it offers something the others couldn’t at that price point.

Whether our customers want inexpensive well-made cabinetry to flip a home or rent it, or the most expensive custom kitchen cabinetry, or the brands we carry in between, Main Line Kitchen Design sells a broad range of brands at very competitive prices. Most importantly our experienced designers help our customers choose the brand that’s the right choice for them.

With just a few questions, an experienced kitchen designer can usually tell what type of brand is right for you. Our owner, Paul, also answers questions from anywhere in the US, free of charge, on our Friday help line and podcast. Simply call 610-500-4071 between 2 and 4pm and leave a message. Paul will call you back when your turn comes up.

Main Line Kitchen Design sells the following brands, listed from least expensive to the most expensive.

Cabinet Depot, Fabuwood, Timberlake, Bishop, Brighton Custom Cabinetry, and Wellsford Fine Custom Cabinetry.

Let us help you find the cabinet brand that’s right for you and the kitchen design that makes your home the best it can be.

Join the conversation

TOP
Arrow