What Kitchen Cabinet Brand is the Best for Me?

Let Us Help You Decide Which Kitchen Cabinet Brand is Best for You

Bishop Richmond Medium Stain
Bishop Richmond Door Style in a Medium Stain. Designed by Paul.  Installed by A.D. Panaccio. Photographed by Linda McManus

“What kitchen cabinet line is best?” and “What kitchen cabinet line do you recommend?” are the most common questions we receive. The answer depends on several factors including budget, how fast cabinetry is needed, and how long you want the cabinetry to last.

Every cabinet line is trying to fill a certain niche in the cabinet market. About half of them are trying to compete for contractor and builder business. These cabinet manufacturers and the builders primarily sell to tend to rank construction quality below finish, style, and availability. So, if cabinet durability is a priority for you, these lines should be avoided.

The reason for this is that builders and people renovating to sell homes have less incentive to pay even small upgrades for well-made cabinetry as their responsibility to the seller only lasts 12 months.  A good example of how little home builders value cabinet construction is that an expensive home builder like Toll Brothers uses the lowest construction quality.

Cabinet manufacturers that are trying to sell to homeowners usually make cabinetry that either comes well-constructed or can be upgraded to acceptable standards. The following is Main Line Kitchen Design’s criteria for quality construction:

  • A face frame made of 1 1/2″ x 3/4″ thick solid hardwood.
  • 1/2″ plywood sides, bottoms, and tops with 3/4″ plywood shelves.
  •  A solid wood 3/4″ hanging rail or a 1/2″ plywood back. A 3/8″ back is OK but not preferred.
  • Ibeam construction and wooded corner blocks are preferable to plastic corner blocks.
  • Solid wood dovetail drawers Blumotion tracks, and soft close doors are mandatory.


Example of well constructed cabinet
Example of well-constructed cabinet

It is surprising how many higher cost cabinets do not meet these construction minimums. On the other hand, after meeting these construction minimums cabinetry should last a lifetime so there is very little advantage in paying for cabinetry that exceeds the criteria. Generally, the best choice for most consumers is the least expensive cabinet line with the desired wood species, finish and custom features.

Homeowners and kitchen designers must balance the cost to be in different cabinet lines with how well those lines meet design and finish preferences. It is not uncommon for small compromises to save a significant amount of money. For example, the most expensive cabinet lines are high priced because of their ability to customize or to do unusual finishes. This means if you don’t need cabinetry customization or you are getting a solid painted finish, you could be paying for the availability of features you won’t be selecting. Beaded inset doors, furniture grade-stained finishes, distressed finishes, glazes and paints with visible brushstrokes are features only available in higher priced cabinetry. These expensive and distinctive finishes usually aren’t perceived as superior or more expensive by the general public and aren’t chosen when ordering cabinetry. A homeowner not opting for these features does just as well in a less expensive cabinet line as long as the cabinetry being ordered meets the recommended minimum requirements.

Beaded Inset Cabinetry
Beaded Inset Cabinetry – Doors and drawers are recessed into the cabinet face frame.

Main Line Kitchen design sells 7 cabinet lines and all 7 meet our requirements to be considered well made. The 5 major cabinet brands Main Line Kitchen Design carries are Fabuwood, Bishop, Brighton, and our custom line Wellsford. We selected these lines because all are well constructed, and all do more customization than comparable lines at their price point. This makes each of them a great value for designing more complex kitchens.

Which line is best? Well of course, the most expensive full custom one, Wellsford. Can our customers recognize the difference between Wellsford and even the least expensive line we carry Fabuwood? Surprisingly, most cannot. So extra money spent upgrading to higher cost cabinet lines often goes unappreciated.

On the other hand, almost all our customers prefer and can recognize a well-designed kitchen when we show them one. Most of the designs we see done by designers from home centers and other dealers are poor. Accordingly, homeowners should focus on finding a good kitchen designer over spending time determining “which cabinet line is best”.

It should be noted that European frameless cabinetry is in a class of its own and no frameless cabinets meet our minimum construction requirements for a well-made cabinet. Contemporary and modern door styles look so much better with the ultra-tight gaps between doors and drawer fronts. The ONLY reason to purchase the lower quality frameless construction is if you are getting extremely modern and contemporary door styles. Main Line Kitchen Design’s Bishop line has the greatest door style and finish selection in European frameless construction. Bishop, Fabuwood, and Wellsford all make their frameless cabinetry with 3/4″ plywood sides – the best possible way to make a European cabinet.

Frameless Construction
Frameless Construction Bishop European Cabinetry

Since Main Line Kitchen Design’s customers are 90% homeowners, we put kitchen design and cabinet construction quality first. We only offer cabinet lines that provide our customers the highest quality at the best price.

Here are two other blogs concerning what constitutes a well-made cabinet:



Have a wonderful rest of the summer … and of course …

Bon Appetit!

Paul, Ray, Ed, Tom, and Julie

Main Line Kitchen Design

Replies to “What Kitchen Cabinet Brand is the Best for Me?”

  1. Sue

    Hello, are Hettich glides a decent under mount glide or do you really need to get Blum?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sue,
      I think Hettich undermount soft close drawer glides would be fine. But what brand uses them? I did a Google search, and a Houzz discussion came up. Houzz, HGTV, The DIY network are all terrible places to gather any information about cabinetry or design. The blind lead the blind on these shows and forums. PBS has good shows, SEE LINK, or there are some good podcasts out there like ours.
      For example, in the Houzz discussion the poster says her cabinets are Home Pro cabinets. That is a cabinet dealer and not a brand. So, she doesn’t even know the cabinet brand that she purchased. Home Pro carries 5 brands and from the sound of the cabinetry discussed the brand the poster got was frameless, poorly made, and worst of all WAY overpriced.
      Houzz.com has great photos of kitchens to help homeowners see styles, finishes and design features of kitchens. But the platform, much like The Garden Web of years ago that was bought by Houzz, discourages knowledgeable professionals from even commenting on their discussions. The result is sadly, that much like a lot of what’s found on the internet, the information you get is “fake news”. Getting advice from Houzz on your kitchen is like Aaron Rodgers getting Covid treatment advice from Joe Rogan.

  2. Beth


    I am working on a kitchen addition to my home. My contractor recommended a kitchen company and designer to work with. She has recommended the Diamond Vibe cabinets to me with the All Plywood Construction. They will be painted white with a Shaker style door (Bryant). The quote has come in for quite a substantial amount and i am concerned that the quality doesn’t reflect the price. What is your experience with this brand and line of cabinets.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Diamond Vibe is Diamond’s least expensive line. All cabinetry needs to be upgraded to soft close dovetail drawers and plywood sides, and the ends of the exposed cabinets skinned to get a well constructed cabinet. If you don’t need custom sizing there are much better values for a white shaker door. I think Fabuwood does that best. But there are many others too that will be less expensive and just as nice ad the diamond.

  3. Yelena Meier

    Hi! We have a quote from Countryside cabinets out of Minnesota by De Pere Cabinets, Inc., but you do not have a rating for this company. I wonder why you do not have this company rated.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Yelena,
      Countryside must be a small company that I have never heard of. They do not show how their cabinets are made on their website AND I don’t know how they price out compared to other brands, so it is impossible for us to rate them. If you, or your designer, wanted to email me their spec book and do a design price comparison with another brand we could rate them.

  4. Donna

    I have nine foot ceilings and am having a very difficult time choosing cabinets and deciding whether to just use molding and use fabuwood to touch the ceiling or a semi custom brand. I would appreciate input and a brand if we decided to use stacked.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Donna,
      9 Foot ceilings make designing complex. We have stacked Fabuwood cabinetry but the design must be relatively simple. I would need to see the design to make any recomendations.

  5. Olga

    Good morning,
    I’m not sure how long I will be in my home and need to replace my 25 year old Merillat laminate frameless cabinets. The design is excellent and uses every available inch of the U-shaped kitchen. My contractor, who installed the Merillat before we moved in, recommended the Merillat Classic series. My installer pointed me towards Fabuwood. I would like a raised panel, slab drawer in a color like the Merillat Cherry with Amaretto stain or the Hallmark Pecan. Your thoughts and recommendations on these or any other cabinets?
    Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Olga,
      First if you are replacing a kitchen for resale value you should seriously consider two things.

      First let a professional kitchen designer redesign the space. No matter how much you like what you have it is almost a certainty that it can be improved. Second don’t select a door style and finish without compromising a little and considering what other people like. IE raised panel doors are not popular – recessed panel doors are.

      Fabuwood is a great value but no longer sells the door style and color you want. Partly because those selections are unpopular.

  6. Swati Gohel

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for your prompt reply. Yes the video is funny 🙂
    We are working with a designer. but we are still not able to decide one way or the other on the pantry. So, I’ll try to reach you this Friday.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Swati,
      If you call Friday you can send the design you are considering to Paul@MainLineKitchenDesign.com and we can discuss it.

  7. Swati Gohel

    Hi Paul,

    We are thinking of renovating our kitchen and saw different cabinet lines: Kemper, Shiloh, Ascent, Medallion etc. We have finally narrowed down to Dynasty Omega and the Great Northern Cabinets, Classic line. What is your opinion about these 2 cabinet lines? We are based in NH.

    Also, I’d like a pantry and a peninsula if possible in my kitchen? Would you recommend it? I can send you the pictures.

    I have been following your website & blog for some time now. Thank you for all the recommendations that you put out there..it’s a valuable resource for us.
    Thank you

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Swati,
      We rate both lines almost equally on our cabinet rankings for upgraded framed cabinetry. Blog here:

      When brands are similar and the cabinets well made, customers should be focusing on getting a great design. The designs we get sent on Fridays 2-4 pm when we give free advice are almost always amateurish and poor. However customers almost always believe that they are not only good, but that there are very few alternatives. This is because they just don’t know any better. Our funny video makes the point that people just don’t know what they don’t know:

  8. Paul McAlary

    Hi Eric,
    Here is a link to the construction of Kraftmaid cabinetry. Probably the most popular line that uses a hanging rail. The solid would rail can be seen on the top back of the base cabinet.
    Hanging rails are best being 3/4″ thick solid wood at least 2 1/2″ high and are placed across the top back of base cabinets where the cabinet gets screwed to the wall, and across the top and bottom back of wall cabinets where they are screwed to the wall. These beefed up areas that take the most stress allow the rest of the backs of the cabinets to be simply 1/4″ plywood. The alternative type of construction is having the entire back a thicker plywood of at least 3/8″ thick with 1/2″ plywood preferred.

  9. Eric

    Hi Paul – After researching how kitchen cabinets are built, the one main thing I still don’t understand is how to identify a hanging rail and it’s placement on a kitchen cabinet. What does a hanging rail look like? Where is this placed on a kitchen cabinet?

    Do you have a reference on your site/blog or a picture that you can refer me to? Is there another name for it? Apologies if this is a dumb question. I thought I knew what it was but after browsing the internet I became less sure of my understanding.

  10. Angie Knipstein

    Do you recommend Siteline for cabinets?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I would not recommend a cabinet line that gives so little information on their website. There are documented inexpensive well constructed choices. Why ever buy something the seller leaves you in the dark about how their product is made?

  11. Peter5487

    This website is such a great resource as we’re deciding on our kitchen renovation, thank you! I was wondering- you mention above that “Good designers never design with 24″ wide cabinet doors!” Why is this?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Peter,
      The doors look out of proportion and unattractive.
      The doors sag over time and in a frameless cabinet they can warp the cabinet and the hinges can pull out.
      Wall cabinet doors stick out 10″ past the countertop when they are open and base cabinet door realy get in the way when open.

      For 24″ wide cabinets that are not inset style, good designers use double doors and not single doors.

  12. Judy W

    This is really a wealth of information! We live a little too far to use you, very much appreciate your frank assessment/advice. I went to a local cabinets place by me. They carry Fabuwood, but steered me more towards Diamond Vibe due to the longer warranty. They seemed to say that the vibe series is the stock version and is also reasonable quality. Any thoughts? Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Judy,
      If you upgrade Diamond Vibe to APC all plywood construction it will be constructed equal to or probably slightly better than Fabuwood. Unupgraded it is not close to Fabuwood’s construction.
      Warranties in the cabinet world are meaningless. IKEA is junk and gets a 20 year warranty and Diamond gives the same warranty upgraded or unupgraded. Bishop and some other very well constructed lines offer only a 5 year warranty.

      Contrary to what one might think, marketers have shown time and again in surveys that the longer the warranty the lower the number of warranty claims – independent of the products actual longevity.
      A limited Lifetime warranty for a cabinet line covers hinges and tracks which are warrantied for life by the hardware companies. It also covers warping and peeling which if it were to happen it would almost always happen in the first couple of years. (THERMAFOIL EXCLUDED). Scratches, water damage, fading, and other natural aging of cabinets is not covered under anyone’s lifetime warranty. And even when accepting a claim, labor to replace is not included nor is a guarantee of an exact match. This is why the companies that offer limited lifetime warranties are smarter don’t necessarily make even mediocre cabinets.
      Unfortunately this concept seems to have alluded your designer, but then again most designers take less interest in these type issues, and of course selling the more expensive line is in his or her financial interest.
      For stained finishes the Vibe line has more to offer and mostly nicer finishes. For painted cabinetry there would be little difference between Diamond and all but the Value line of Fabuwood.

      If you buy Diamond remember to Upgrade and since your designer has one strike against them in my book, be careful about the design that they propose. There could be other things that they aren’t paying attention to.

  13. JP


    Thank you for all of your great articles and information. We have been given 3 recommendations from our designer: Fabuwood, Siteline, and Schrock. From my reading it seems like you are happy with Fabuwood at their price point? We need some custom 24″ single doors – not sure they can accommodate…Thanks for any input!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi JP,
      If the 24″ door are appliance panels that’s not a problem. If they are for cabinets you have another problem. Good designers never design with 24″ wide cabinet doors!

  14. Janice B Carmichael

    Hi, First, so glad to find your page. I am just restarting my kitchen plans, and I am terrible at making decisions. I had to postpone it for 2 years due to illness, but now, I am ready.

    My kitchen is not large, but quite sufficient, 13′ usable wall space with ancient 30″ side by side frig & a set of 4 drawers & small cabinet to left of sink, DW to right of sink, sharp corner right turn has 30″ stovetop and 27″ Wall oven cabinet. But there is a 8′ unused wall where I intend to put a counter debth frig & Trash cabinet & another lower cabinet, a counter & above pantry 16″ deep cabinets, move the wall oven to where the frig was, and the DW, get more counter space and cabinets to left of sink (yeh) Where stovetop is now will shift to right where Wall oven was giving me more space on either side to work, and good cabinets below, including use of now dead corners.

    I had a couple of designs done about 2 years ago: a basic but good traditional Shaker design by Home Depot, Kraftmaid Vantage, Fox Chase Maple, ranging from 20,000 to 25,000 depending on hardware etc; Medallion cabinets sold by a local lumber yard, little more pricey.; then Kitchen and Bath Center in Agawam offered to do a design with Fabuwood Fusion or Galaxy or a Fieldstone cabinetry. I am considering going back to them now for a real design and discussion etc. given your rankings.

    Starting again, this year, I went to a great kitchen workshop given by the local Mennoites who build everything themselves, also the design. I learned a lot and covented their work, but at $28,000 just for the cabinets alone, I would be in the 35,000+ range with a new frig and gas stovetop, floor, and counters, Quartz.

    I found another cabinet maker, a neighbor, whose kitchen I really like. He suggest around $24,000 for just cabinets.

    That led me to really hunker down and think budget, time line etc. Resale on these track Starr colonial two story Homes are around 220,000. At 78, I figure I have max -10 more years of cooking & living here. My son also lives here and cooks.

    I figured I could manage around $18 to $20000 for cabinets, quartz counters around 2000, floor 2000, good frig Counter Debth Samsung or Frigidare with middle drawers & French doors, Cosmo vent, $500, $1200+- fpr for 30″gas stovetop Bosch or Frigidaire 30″ 1000+-(could temporariy keep my flat electric for a few more seasons, and floors TBA.

    So now I found a local company, Nutmeg Kitchens and Stairs, Ellington CT and they have done a very nice kitchen design, still a bit of a work in progress, but very close now, using Ascent Cabinetry, • Aspect brand kitchen cabinets: $11,396.00, around $20,000 for removable, install, counters (quartz) no floors or vents, bu basic plumbing and electric. It is within my range:

    o Perimeter of kitchen in Dover White Paint with Latte glaze
    o Island of kitchen in Ginger Stain with Mocha glaze
    o Hanover door style
    o Slab drawer front style
    o Full overlay hinge
    o Soft close feature on doors and drawers
    with a new island with cabinets also, wood counter.

    I wanted to learn more about the company, but can’t find much, just a website with little details.

    Have you heard of them? Is it a decent cabinetry? He says not the top of the line, but solid maple wood painted doors & plywood elsewhere, but I can’t find any details on line dovetail drawers, soft close doors, not sure of tracks.

    I am going to ask him for more specific details and also go back to the Agawam MA Kitchen & Bsath Design Center with Fabuwood to get a real design and price. THoughts? Than ks so much for listening.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Sorry, too many things to address in this comment. And a lot of misconceptions. We answer questions from outside our service area Fridays between 2 – 4 pm EST.

  15. Nicole

    Just came across all the great information on this post. We are ready to order cabinets but cannot decide between the Omega or the Fabuwood. Omega will take at least 4- 6 weeks & Fabuwood about 2wks. my question is… Fabuwood is made in China and assembled here. I’m not so sure about Omega but I’ve been told they are American-made. Any opinions on this? i’ve read some horrible reviews on websites about Omega. My style is going to be the framed white shaker cabinets with the darker island. also, does Fabuwood have less options for spice draw, lazy susan etc?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Nicole,
      Both Fabuwood and Omega make fine cabinetry. Omega would need to be upgraded to plywood construction and a framed cabinet would be much better for your door style. As far as I know Omega cabinet doors and fronts are still made in the US but that really doesn’t matter here. Expect an additional week at least when ordering either line. The designers is quoting you unrealistic timelines from when you place an order to delivery. The interior pull outs etc you want should be available in both lines. For a white shaker door style I would pay a lot less and get the Fabuwood. For a stained cabinet Omega will be much nicer looking but that isn’t what you are selecting.

  16. Susan

    Hi, I live in Ohio and am redoing my galley kitchen. I’m looking at Kraftmaid cabinets and am waiting for a price on Tuscany Hill cabinets from Costco. Are the two cabinets comprable? What do you prefer? Different companies have told me that cabinets will contract and expand and with painted cabinets it can leave lines where the framing is joined. I asked Tuscany Hill about this and they said that their cabinets would not do this because they’re mortar and Tenon joined. I asked if that goes for the frame and they said yes. What is your experience with this? Also the door I picked is Maple and they now use MDF for the panel instead of the maple. They said it does not contract and expand or warp like the solid Maple would. I don’t want to spend a fortune on cabinets but I do want good quality. One more thing! I do want something that is environmentally friendly, low v o c, Etc thank you for your time … I’ve received some really good information from your website

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Buying cabinets at Costco assures that the person you are buying from knows very little about kitchen design or cabinetry. So they are wrong about the mortise and tenon door joints on painted cabinets and probably a lot more. Home depot designers have gotten much worse over the last few years as they cut the salaries they offered kitchen designers in half, same with Lowes. I know you are on a budget but finding an experienced person to work with is most important of all. There are less expensive cabinet lines that are well built and much less than Kraftmaid. But no matter what line you choose working with people that don’t know what they are doing can be the most costly decision of all.

  17. Klyn

    I am looking to install natural cherry shaker style cabinets and will need to have some cabinets in custom sizes. One of the designers I have worked with has DeWillis line cabinets but I have read online horror stories. Home Depot carries Decora and Kraftmaid, but I worry about the Decora line having read this thread. So many of the makers you list seem to be regional, especially the ones with A ratings. I’ve decided to avoid Masterbrand products such as Decora and Omega. Do you have any suggestions for brands that are available in California other than those listed above?

  18. Ann

    We are planning on doing a modern kitchen with frameless cabinets, slab doors. I know from your blog that frameless cabinets are not the best construction, but we like that modern look. Which cabinet manufacturers do you recommend for that modern European look? What about European cabinet companies like Boffi, Snaidero and Alno?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      The most important feature with frameless cabinetry is that the sides of the cabinets are 3/4″ thick and plywoor or plywood core. Many custom lines will do this. Kountry Kraft, and Omega are a couple. Some European lines will some will not. MDF sides are terrible and thinner sides and MDF like IKEA are just junk.

  19. Lisa C.

    What is your opinion on River run cabinets. We’re looking for a budget white shaker cabinet for a cottage, and don’t want to over spend but obviously don’t want junk. The cabinets have soft close drawers and doors and were plywood. The website says the doors are MDF.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Lisa,
      The construction of the River Run cabinet is OK but not great. The 3/8″ hanging rail is thinner than we recommend. So we would probably rate them a B or more likely B- for construction. 5/8″ shelves are OK but 3/4″ are better for wider cabinets like those 36″ wide. The MDF doors will look nice painted but if you are hard on things they will be easily damaged and impossible to repair. I think there are better choices out there but these are certainly not the worst. There are expensive cabinet lines that unupgraded would be inferior to these.

  20. Lisa

    What is your opinion on River run cabinets. We’re looking for a budget white shaker cabinet for a cottage, and don’t want to over spend but obviously don’t want junk. The cabinets have soft close drawers and doors and were plywood. The website says the doors are MDF.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Riverrun is not that bad but there are better lines in that price range. The 3/8″ hanging rail is our issue with Riverrun.

  21. Mike

    Just starting the process of a new kitchen, so I’ve been reading everything you have written and I must say you certainly know your stuff. I had never heard of some of the brands people have asked about and you reviewed. One brand is Fabuwood and my interest was piqued. Unless I missed it in the blogs, I didn’t know they were RTA cabinets. Then I went to their website and started reading about end user issues. I was really surprised at the manufacturer’s responses, often placing responsibility on anyone other than themselves for correcting problems. I read enough of these similar responses that it completely alerted me to go nowhere near Fabuwood. Just thought you’d like to know.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Mike,
      Most complaints about cabinets stem from consumers lack of knowledge about cabinetry in general and about who is responsible for fixing their problem if anyone. This goes for many lines from less expensive lines like Fabuwood to higher end lines like Kraftmaid and others. Consumers typically blame cabinet companies for design, dealer, and installer errors and for there own misguided expectations.
      While Fabuwood can be bought RTA. I would recomend against buying any cabinetry RTA. Assembled Fabuwood is pretty much recognized by every authority in the cabinet industry as the best value in inexpensive cabinetry and as a well constructed cabinet. At KBIS the National Kitchen and Bath Industry Show next week in Las Vegas Fabuwood will have the largest display area and will be the envy of all the other less expensive lines. They are the fastest growing and one of the largest manufactures of cabinets in the US with a brand new 1 million SQ foot plant. Because their cabinetry is so much in demand they may be less responsive to misdirected consumer issues.
      Just to be clear– Any cabinetry you buy as a consumer and any complaints you have should be directed to the cabinet dealer you bought from and NEVER to the cabinet line. Many custom cabinet lines like Woodmode don’t even list an email address or a phone number for consumers to call since their is no reason they should ever be contacting the cabinet manufacturer.
      When I read the Fabuwood or Kraftmaid or American Woodmark reviews by consumers (we only sell Fabuwood but review the other lines well) I can read between the lines and see where the problems arise. Dealers like our company would not get hundreds of 5 star reviews if the 700K in Fabuwood cabinetry we sell in a year was creating problems for our customers.
      The reason we rate 80 cabinet lines on our blog is because home owners could not navigate our complex industry and learn enough to make informed evaluations about cabinetry from the information previously available to them. However even reading our entire web site will never make a non professional an expert on cabinetry or even competent designing a kitchen.
      Yale appliances in New England gives amazing appliance evaluations but you should seek out an appliance expert in your area when buying appliances. The same goes to a much greater degree for kitchen cabinetry. Find a great kitchen designer and cabinet dealer in your area that can help you decide what’s the best design and cabinet line for you. Without the help from a knowledgeable professional you can jump to incorrect conclusions as you just did about Fabuwood.

  22. Sharon Scovanner

    Looking to do a full kitchen remodel. This is our last house, so want to make choices that will stand the test of time. Painted perimeter and stained island. Looking at starmark, holiday, decora, mouser. Would be interested in your opinion on these lines, and how they compare to each other. If there are other lines that would be comparable I would love to hear about them. Thank you so much.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sharon,
      We rate all these lines on our 2018 cabinet review. Upgraded they all get very good marks except Holiday. However, Holiday Kitchens does. Link Below:


      As always the design itself is most important especially when you are picking between well made cabinetry. For example we continue to be sent terrible kitchen designs from people contemplation large scale renovations. The worst all come from architects. These incredibly detailed but ill conceived plans include amateurish design flaws. Examples from just this week include: bathroom doors opening into kitchens, primary sinks on the end of islands, ranges under windows, leaving 36″ of space around islands.
      My favorite craziness from architects of late is rooms or decks that can only be accessed though a bathroom. Ignoring the creepiness, someone locks the door to use your bathroom and you are left locked on your deck, in your office, in your ex exercise room etc.

  23. suzzan

    I’m starting a new construction and need help. I have reserve champagne taste and my house came in higher than I thought it would to build. Therefor I need to lower my cabinet budget without destroying the look of my open kitchen. I originally wanted woodmode or william oh but those are pipe dreams now. I had a bid of $50k for Will Oh in 2006 and I assume it has gone up at least 30% since then. I looked at Decora cabinets at HD and they said to budget about $800lf for them. That seemed outrageous for a HD cabinet. Is Brookhaven a better or equal option? I’m so lost. It seems like $50k should be a generous cost but maybe not.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Sorry Suzzan. You aren’t making yourself clear and are jumping to conclusions without enough information to make sensible decisions. This makes me think that your kitchen design might be in need help, since this is a more complex area than pricing and the less organized the consumer, usually the more help they need with their design. I would seek out a good designer from a well reviewed cabinet company to help you. Link to recommended dealers here. A clue to a good designer would be someone that tells you your design needs help and doesn’t simply sell you what you ask for. Experienced and ethical kitchen designers help customers fix their kitchen designs and never rubber stamp architects or home owners designs.

  24. mmlewis

    Thank you for this site, very informative! We are building a new house and working with a guy who has been in the kitchen design business for a very long time. The two main brands that this shop carries are Schrock and Decora. There is another shop that carries Cabico that we could possibly consider. What is your opinion on price vs. value between these brands? What would the major difference in durability and price? Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I’m a big fan of Decora. Below is our cabinet ratings for the most popular brands:


  25. Nevra

    Thanks for the reco. For my understanding, could you elaborate on the three points below?
    1) wood type for cabinets: maple vs. birch
    2) door construction: solid wood vs. mdf vs. wood frame/mdf veneer
    3) plywood grades in these similar lines from china vs. big box ones ie American Woodmark.
    Thanks bunch!

  26. Nevra

    Thanks for great service. We decided on our style as off-white shaker style full overlay. Our budget is flexible but we do not want to go too much over $6-7K as we will be selling the house within a year. This is pretty much for the resale value. I looked at American Woodmark,J&K, Forevermark, Fabuwood and (now I know it is a mistake) Thomasville.
    1) How important it is to have birch vs. maple and solid wood doors vs. MDF/Veneer doors? J&K has solid wood doors. Fabu and Forever do not have solid wood door frames (they have only in select traditional styles). But I guess the finish quality is highest in fabu and lowest in forevermark. Which would be your pick?
    2)They all have same construction 1/2″ plywood boxes. Should we also be concerned about plywood grade in these?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      For your needs I would recommend Fabuwood or J&K if it is less and you need to stay on budget. They are the best choices here for the money

  27. Kathy

    We would greatly appreciate some input and opinions. We have experienced some water damage and now must replace all of our kitchen cabinets We have been diligently researching and looking There is a granite counter top and Blanco sink oak hardwood flooring The cabinet brands we have been shown and even given quotes on are many. You have already successfully ruled out some. Do you know anything about Woodharbor cabinets ? vs Wellborn and of course you have mentioned the lack or customer contact or response with Woodmode. We do like the “furniture look” particularly for the base cabinets and island. If there are other cabinet brands you might recommend it is appreciated I have probably looked at 30 And lastly, we have a travertine backsplash, would it be “odd” to have the upper cabinets in a pearl or off white color??? thinking wearability and keeping a lighter look ?? Appreciate any and all comments Thank you!!!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Too many questions here to answer in short form. Feel free to call us on Fridays between 2pm and 4pm when we answer questions from people outside our service area.

  28. DJO

    Hi. From your 2017 rating of cabinets, you rate “Solid Wood Cabinets” with a “1” for price and an “A” for both Quality and Value. To my surprise, I happen to have a showroom a few minutes from my home. I have been reading through your blogs and comments. I am wondering if you have worked with this cabinet manufacturer before, particularly their design center? If so, would you recommend use of them? One of the better word-of-mouth kitchen designers in my area does not offer these cabinets, so I am deciding between SWC services or doing further research on local designers, including the word-of-mouth designer. I had pipes burst in my home, have extensive damage, and therefore I am looking to be the most cost effective as possible as I proceed in repairing two-thirds of my home. I am considering using SWC for not only kitchen remodel but bathroom vanity. They seem to offer a quality product at a very affordable price. Your feedback would be appreciated.

  29. Jenny

    Do you have any thoughts on bridgewood advantage, kabinart, us cabinet depot, ultimo by Tuscan hills (Costco), and cabinets.com?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      You are really shopping at the bottom of the barrel. I’m sure you are also shopping a poor design. I’d get help from a place with some experience and integrity.

  30. Laura

    This kitchen blog is the best! The articles and comments are quite helpful! I have a question that I haven’t seen answered. I want to puchase a soft white kitchen cabinets…not a stark white, but not yellowy. For the island, I want to do a medium neutral brown stain on maple. Nothing near as dark as espresso. We are working with an existing oak floor. I found ideal colors in the Wellborn. However, the designer pointed out that unless I go with MDF, there will be seems and many styles have mitered corners. The problem is, the style I like best in the painted doesn’t exactly match a style in the stained options. My question: Is there a cabinet line that makes identical styles so I can mix and match painted in MDF and a stain in maple? Help! I don’t know what to do because I love Glacier and Sable from Wellborn, but then I would have to mix styles? Very disappointing. Thanks in advance!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Change door styles but not designers. Mitered doors should never be painted in light colors. This designer sound knowledgeable and ethical.

  31. Karin

    Hi, Brookhaven is suggested by one kitchen designer, but she mentioned the cabinet is made from particle board. I’ve read plywood is better. Yet you rate Brookhaven fairly high on your list. Was the cabinet upgraded to plywood for the higher rating? Also, have you heard of a cabinet company called Conestoga? Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Yes upgrade Brookhaven to polywood.

      1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

        Understanding our rating system can be confusing. Solid wood cabinets are one of the least expensive brands out there. Assembled they are around the price of IKEA unassembled. So they are rated a 1 for cost. For cabinets that price they are a great deal and in their top construction well made. However you can only expect a low level of quality control and their finishes are no where near as attractive as more expensive lines. Even lines slightly more like Wolf, or Fabuwood will be obviously more stylish and attractive to discerning consumers. But how could you expect to get a well constructed cabinet and everything else for the lower price? If you like the color and style and can live with small quality control issues they are a very good investment “for the money” so they get a A for value. If you are flipping a house they would be particularly appropriate. For our customers staying in their home for years to come we would recommend spending 20% more and getting Fabuwood which is a great cabinet and value at the slightly higher price.

        Be careful too because I have never seen a good design originate from a Solid Wood salesperson. I wouldn’t call them designers, although they are better than the people staffing IKEAs.

  32. Joe C

    Hello, Curious also on the quality/value ratings of Medallion Silverline Wyatt Maple Sea Salt, versus Designers Choice, Euro Wellington Chauk White, versus Legacy Debut Estate Cambridge Ivory, (actually looking for white), all would be the frameless design. Couldn’t find any specific links that compare these 3 manufacturers.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      We can’t rate everyone’s requests. However here you are asking for reviews on all frameless cabinetry so we know they can’t get better than a B for construction. Legacy is also not a frameless line. Sounds like you should be getting help from a qualified kitchen designer to help you navigate the kitchen design and cabinet selection process.

  33. Liz Grier

    We are completely redoing our kitchen, but we want to match with the oak trim that runs throughout our 1963 rambler. The house, which I initially resisted looking at because I hate the period of architecture, was very, very well made with quality materials and we don’t want our modernized kitchen to have a “disconnect” with the quality or look of the rest of the house.
    That said, there seem to be limited options when looking for new, high-quality cabinets to match the strong, framed, 3-ply full overlay cabinets we have now. The contractor we are leaning towards uses Schrock and Decora cabinetry. My gut, an experience 7 years ago, and online reviews (which I know can be misleading) are telling me that Schrock is not a trustworthy line. We want our cabinets to last – I’m 43 and this will be my first and last kitchen remodel. Do you trust the Decora line(I see they are a “4” for value and an “A” for quality on your rating, but hearing it from you would reassure us that the extra 12% cost is worth it. Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Decora is a fine cabinet line. However matching the oak trim that is no longer fashionable is a mistake in my opinion. If you like the look and don’t care that others don’t that’s OK, but you are spending a fortune on this project. Get a good professional kitchen designer to help you decide if this idea makes sense for you and what other choices you have that within your budget. Focus less on the cabinet line and more on getting the help that you should have putting decisions in perspective.

  34. KB

    I really like a particular kitchen designer but he only carries Mid continent and RD Henry that have a traditional white painted cabinet that I want. Which of these is better? Do either meet your min. specs?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Mid Continent is an inexpensive cabinet line that isn’t a great value and doesn’t reach the higher levels of construction for a framed cabinet. RD Henry looks like they make well constructed nice cabinets. We would prefer their framed line. Not sure of where they fall price wise buy they look like a good manufacturer all around.

  35. Joe Weber

    Our kitchen designer has recommended Talora by Decor cabinetry. They are made in Manitoba, Canada. We wondered if you have any experience with this line? Also, we are trying do decide between alder and maple. Any advice much appreciated.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Joe,
      Decor is a frameless cabinet line so one we wouldn’t use unless the door style is very contemporary. Then the door style will only be available in European frameless lines.

      Alder and maple are also very different woods with almost nothing in common so it is odd to be selecting between the two. Maple is a very hard wood with very little grain. Alder is a pretty soft wood with larger grain patterns and is often compared to cherry though cheaper and softer.

      Kitchen designers that steer their customers immediately to frameless lines without the discussion of what the difference is and why you would want one over the other don’t gain my respect because there is such a big difference between the two methods of construction that the advantages of each need to be discussed. We sell both types of lines but we always discuss the difference -especially when selling a frameless line.

      Here are two blogs on cabinet rankings and cabinet construction. Notice that frameless lines can receive at best a B in construction in the 2017 rankings.



  36. Terri K

    Thank you for such a prompt response on a Holiday weekend. And for such practical advice. I really enjoyed reading your blog posts and learned a lot. They are a wonderful resource for help in making the best kitchen design decisions.

  37. Terr K

    We are downsizing to a senior community. The builder specs JSI Cabinets. Accoring to their brochure, the construction meets your minimum requirements. We currently have Medallion Cherry with upgraded construction which we love. I would like to have Cherry again but JSI’s Cherry just looks like paint. The builder strongly encouraged us to use their supplier. They also carry Merillat and Starmark. I know you rate Merillat very poorly. Is there any way to upgrade Merillat to make it acceptable? We are willing to exceed the allowance to get good quality but Starmark may just be too expensive. Unfortunately the kitchen design is set and all we can effectively change is the cabinet door look.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Builders usually only use a single dealer so most likely these will be your only cabinet choices. Cherry wood is one of the more expensive woods and the JSI’s ready to assemble cabinetry will probably not be using real cherry just a cherry stain on birch which never looks very good. You could upgrade the Merillat Masterpiece cabinet line to plywood construction to make it a better constructed cabinet but in a senior community you will also most likely not be very tough on your cabinets.

      If you want the more expensive Cherry wood I would just add real plywood sKins to the sides of all the exposed Merillat Masterpiece regular particleboard cabinets and then everything you can see on the outside of the cabinets will be cherry and age naturally. While your cabinets will be particleboard if the kitchen designer designs the kitchen sensibly and you don’t overload the wall cabinets you should be fine. If you have grand kids hanging on doors or you are particularly hard on things consider the Plywood upgrade.

      All the best on your new home. A senior community can be a wise move for many reasons. Among them is that the down size can give you the chance to free yourself from a lifetime of acquired clutter that many people find liberating. Be brave down sizing, we seldom miss most of what George Carlin called our “stuff” and streamlining can free you up to better enjoy your leisure. I have a duplicate bridge retirement planned for when I down size.

      Happiest of Holidays,

  38. Alice

    We are putting new kitchen cabinets in our house. I would appreciate it if you could answer the following questions. (1)What do you think of a product called thermofuse? (2)Is it better to use birch wood for the inside of a kitchen cabinet below the sink in case the sink would spring a leak? (3) What is the best finish for cabinets – polyurethane or is there a product better than this? I want a finish that will last and easy to clean. (4) If I decide to go with white cabinets, do all white cabinets chip, crack or peel over time? (5) If I go with maple cabinets what type of wood should we use for drawers, under sink area and sides?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Thermafoil is white plastic that cabinet doors can be coated with. It is easy to clean but cheap looking and out of fashion. I never thought it was tasteful anywhere except a laundry room. From your questions I can tell you need a great deal of help from a good kitchen designer. We are assembling a list of good dealers across the United States and will be releasing the first drafts after January 1st. However if you email us your zip code we may have completed our research for your area and have a dealer to recommend to you.

  39. Kristin

    Thank you for all the info. We are about to completely gut and remodel our kitchen. The designer we found is using DuraSurpreme cabinets. We do need a semi-custom line as my husband had his own ideas. We got our estimate and the cost is high. What are your thought ms on the quality of DuraSurpreme?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Read our 2017 cabinet ratings blog. We don’t recommend DuraSupreme. We actually used to carry them but found the company disreputable.

  40. Lisa M

    We are renovating a coop in NYC. Can you please provide your opinion on KraftMaid, Decora, Wellborn? Also looked at Wolf, Hanssem – product seemed cheaper than the first 3 listed. We priced out KM with discount at Home Depot approx 14K. Our coop bylaws require full box (not just sides) plywood construction – no particle board or MDF. Whatever we end up choosing will be upgraded. This is to be our forever home in the BIG City… So, I’d very much like to get the kitchen cabinetry and bathroom vanity right.
    This process is exhausting 😐 I’d appreciate your input. Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      When cabinetry is close to equal it’s that much more important to work with the best designer.

  41. Jane

    Paul, What do you think about Eudora and Prevo?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Eudora is frameless so not tops in our book. I don’t know Prevo and they are close to us so that’s surprising.

  42. Monica Richtsmeier

    I a.m. looking for simple white cabinets. designers recommend against mitered corners for painted cabinets in Colorado due to extreme temperature fluctuations. My realtor recommended cabinets. Com. My contractor recommends forevermark. Cabinets.Com Deerfield line has lifetime warranty forevermark only 2 years on painted cabinets. Hav nit seen any reviews of Deerfield or forevermark on you’re blog. Would love to hear your opinion.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Painted white Mitered doors are always a bad idea wherever you are. Both Foevermark and Deerfield are good for the lowest price level cabinets. There are other lines like the Fabuwood line we carry that are only a tiny bit more and are made better and have nicer finishes. But they may not be available in your area or there may not be a reliable dealer for them near you. The Warranty is not a meaningful thing in the cabinet world and has no relation to how well cabinets are made.

  43. Yvette

    This is what my hardware looks like and this is my drawer. I stopped the contractor before he put this one on. This is a small drawer but others r larger. I would obviously have to get smaller pulls for this one


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Image didn’t come through but it really isn’t needed.

  44. Yvette

    Have just renovated my kitchen and had Decora cabinets installed. I have the reverse raised panel drawers. My designer had the drawer pulls installed above the recessed part rather then in the recessed part and the more I look at it the more I hate it. Can I purchase just new drawer fronts and have them installed or do I need to get new drawers entirely. So upset I just assumed they would go in the recessed part.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      We replied via email directly

  45. Effie Birbilis

    Hi there. We are interested in a white kitchen and are looking at Fabuwood or Omega Dynasty line up until now. I’ve read some scary stories about white finishes and keeping them clean. Do you have any thoughts on this? Also, I’m confused about which cabinets are real wood or particle board construction. Can you recommend any other cabinet lines we should look at ?
    Thank you

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Here is our ratings for 70 popular lines. And yes white cabinets can show everything. They can be cleaned and touched up by furniture refinishers like Guardsman


  46. Forrest

    We are considering showplace cabinets for our new kitchen. What is your opinion concerning the quality of construction and durability of these cabinets?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]
  47. Trish

    The contractor I have been considering for my kitchen remodel referred me to ProCraft. My research turned up that although they are in Nashville, TN this is their warehouse and company headquarters. The wood for all their cabinets is from China, actually a forest in nearby Russia. They also recommended CliqCabinets. Their design center is in the Twin Cities and the cabinets are allegedly manufactured in Connersville, IN. My research turned up that the company has places in Asia (China) they get their “birch species” wood from. If Chinese cabinets are OK, why are some contractors and these companies not transparent about it?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Yes Trish transparency would be lovely but in the cabinet world it is uncommon. Cabinet companies websites are often misleading and dealers can be less than honest with customers. Customers can work the system as much as the manufacturers and dealers by getting free design help from many places and shopping their designs. Often the dealer that gets the sale is not the transparent honest and creative person that designed a customer’s kitchen. Instead it’s the person that told the customer what they wanted to hear and used someone else’s work to save the time designing the space.

  48. dina aguilar


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Not sure if there is a question for us here. In general ask cabinet dealers your questions the cabinet companies don’t speak with customers directly.

  49. dina aguilar

    Hi, Im doing a new kitchen on the big inland hawaii they have medallion,heartwood, and bellmont,cabinents..my problem i need all made in usa wood too harevest here.IT IS MUST only medallion will tell you that im doing cherry or oak on shaker very simple wanted white can`t have paint because it will peel from moisture also im making sure they are making them all wood or plywood inside . I KNOW lowe`s carry medallillion but another name never will i ever buy anything like that from them ..they are terrible to work here in calif. they are nicer
    there BUT i want to stay local and a kitchen is a Big deal the most important part of the home even if it is small it has to be right !So what to do prices are soooo expensive because you need to use the gold line to get white wash !house is very small so you need white to make it look kinda big white quartz counter top with tiny gray vines marble look I hope !wood tile plank on floor can`t use wood THANK YOU !FOR ANY HELP !!!

  50. Jaynee

    Thank you for the thorough material on cabinets. I looked through your 70 best companies and I didn’t see procraft , our designer told us this was a high quality product but it does not make your list. Have you heard anything about this company?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Very small inexpensive cabinet line. They don’t show how they make their cabinets on line which I hate. So I can’t give you an answer other than if you don’t show how your cabinets are made there is probably not much to brag about.

  51. Jill

    Wow! You should charge for questions!! 🙂 I’m so very impressed with the help you offer! You have helped me rule out so many cabinet choices. I am currently shopping lowes and deciding between kraftmaid and Diamond (diamond has more color options) for my base cabinets. I will do all the upgrades so as far as I can tell they are the same in quality with kraftmaid having a better finish. My first question: Is there a difference between prelude and reflections if I upgrade to all plywood? I plan on using RiverRun or Green Forrest for by wall cabinets in order to save some money. My question is will it look awkward if I go with a more detailed door style for my base cabinets (either a smokey blue or brown) and a more simple shaker door for my wall cabinets (in white)?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jill.
      The construction of the wall cabinets is more important in some ways than the base cabinets since they hang on a wall. Cheep cabinetry will pull apart over time with the stress of the weight inside the cabinets. Kraftmaid is better constructed than Diamond upgraded due to how the backs of the cabinets are made. I don’t know the difference between Prelude and Reflections.

      Mixing cabinet styles is unusual and certainly your home will be less valuable if you do something that other people don’t like. Having a darker base cabinet and lighter wall and Tall cabinets is not unusual in the same door style. Mixing door styles that as well as colors I don’t like and I would think that your entire renovation could be valueless if when you go to sell your home the people that buy it don’t like it either and plan on ripping out the kitchen you did. If you don’t care about resale value no problem. If you do care about resale value, I would guess that there are other design issues you might have with the design of your kitchen.

      People that think outside the box usually don’t know the design rules that professionals consider. As Picasso said “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”.

  52. Debbie

    Thank you! Your blog is full of such great information – priceless! We just moved into a new high end home and we are redoing the kitchen and are working with a designer. We have met with a custom cabinet company in the area but were not thrilled with their design and price was a little higher than we wanted. We happened into Lowe’s and saw a cabinet door we liked. We want something easy to clean and have had a Thermofoil door in our last house and loved it. We are now looking at the white Shenandoah Duraform style Province. I was wondering about your thoughts on using a Duraform instead of a painted cabinet and if it will match the quality of the house.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Debbie,
      Thermafoil is great to clean and very durable for about 15 – 20 years. After that it seems to peal and no matter how many assurances we get it still keeps doing it. It does look cheap compared to paint even though it is easy to clean and more durable. It all depends on your timeline and neighborhood. In snobby areas plastic is not going to be respected. If you are moving in 10 years, can the people buying your home even tell the difference? Even kitchen snobs rarely know what they are looking at. Tough call. Plastic cabinets would never be in my home, but i am an admitted snob.

  53. Paul McAlary

    Why only consider expensive or dirt cheep. I think there are well made assembled plywood cabinets sold for only 20% more than Green Forest. Get a good designer first and they can help you spend your money more effectively.

  54. Michelle Webb

    Thanks you, we have a whole first floor remodel going on and have a designer. We have set down with the cabinet dealer and will be meeting again this week. I have also have a quote from a cabinet dealer that works with Green Fosrest. They are plywood construction and dovetailed drawers. MDF. They will assemble. The costs is a 1/3 of the Columbia but they are not custom and less bells and whistles. They both are white shaker and look similar. So much to learn. The cost for the project keeps growing so the savings is looking good.

  55. Michelle Webb

    Thank you for all the information. We have been given a quote for a large kitchen remodel and the designer is working with a cabinet dealer using Columbia. The are with melamine construction, wood-dovetail drawers, no glaze, no custom paint color. It is our first time doing any type of remodel and am finding the price for the cabinets very high. Wondering what you know about Columbia cabinets,


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I don’t know Columbia and I am not impressed with their web site. Too many buzz words and very little information. We recommend getting Plywood construction. Why are you not working with the cabinet dealer directly? Adding the designer middleman is probably costing you money and the designer at the dealer is probably free and more experienced.

  56. Tom

    Thank you for the invaluable information you have provided on this blog. We have a project with a plan to use RD Henry cabinetry. I have seen it mentioned a few times in this discussion, but I have not seen you comment on its quality. Do you have any thoughts? I honestly paid more attention to the design than the brand of cabinet (as you recommend!) to this point. We have Woodmode now and I worry about putting in cabinetry that may look good or hold up for the first year or two and then show its age very quickly thereafter. I appreciate your thoughts. Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I don’t know RD Henry well but the construction looks good as long as it can be all plywood. If it can be an all plywood box it would get an A rating using our criteria.

  57. Louise Chelluck

    Do you know anything about the quality of the Sanibel line from Willow Lane? Do you do kitchen design work in Westchester, NY?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Louise,
      We know nothing about this line but based on their web site they are all about low cost cabinetry first and quality second. There is no information on cabinet construction on their site which is a sure sign that there is nothing to brag about. This is a product marketing to amateurs and contractors looking for nice looking cabinetry on the cheap. For flipping houses in low cost home markets there could be some value here but construction quality and real kitchen designers are available for only 20% more so why go here?

    2. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      To answer your other question:
      Yes we will do design work for projects outside our area but customers are usually better served finding good designers near them so that they can meet with them and have face to face discussions, see colors, door styles, and cabinet lines first hand.

      We charge $150 / hour to do 3D designs and we require a deposit of $500 to start the design process. This covers at least the first set of designs and pricing. Sometimes in remote areas or for particularly tough spaces it can be worth it having someone very good at design at least create the preliminary designs to give less sophisticated cabinetry people a place to start in face to face meetings with customers. Occasionally long distance customers will buy their cabinetry from us as the cabinet lines we carry ship to 48 states. Then our design time is credited towards the cost of cabinetry. And because of our business model we are usually no more expensive then local cabinet dealers. But giving up face to face meetings is a significant compromise and only makes sense when the alternative is worse.

  58. Jill

    We are building a new home and we have the option of fabuwood or wolf classic cabinets. We are doing white shaker doors for the majority of the kitchen and then a gray island. We prefer the gray stain offered by wolf but want to make sure we are choosing cabinets that will last. Which do you suggest or is there another line in that price point we should look at.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      We feel Fabuwood is a better cabinet but Wolf has come a long way and the new grey stain is really nice. I would still get Fabuwood but if you love the grey stain you would probably have to spend 40% more to get anything similar in another line.

  59. Deanne

    Thank you for your insight in all things cabinets! We are replacing kitchen cabinets and have been told (by several realtors) for our neighborhood, painted white is the best choice. We are talking to a Waypoint dealer and have looked at KraftMaid at Lowes. We are looking for a shaker type style with full overlay. We plan to be in this house for 2-6 more years. What are your thoughts? The third contractor quote we got was for mid-continent cabinetry. We are most concerned about quality of finish at seams and wear over these next few years. Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Deanne,
      First here is our 2017 review of the top selling 70 cabinet lines:


      You we see that we rank Kraftmaid the highest in quality and value from the lines you are considering. That being said any cabinet will last the 6 years you are asking for and any nicks and scratches to the white paint can be touched up before you sell by Guardsman Furniture Re-finishers for a few hundred dollars. I would get a less expensive line like Fabuwood for what you are looking for.

      The most important thing about your project is getting a great design. It makes no sense to redo a kitchen for resale value and get anything less than the best design possible. So DO NOT replace your cabinetry as is. There will be a better design than the one you have now and spending more money on expensive cabinetry and expensive countertops and appliances will have little impact compared to changing your kitchens layout. Here is a blog that really begs customers to make better decisions in your situation:

  60. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

    Thanks Andre

  61. Andre

    Many thanks for your thoughtful explanation. Very helpful! If we ever decide to move to PA you’ve got our business!

  62. Andre

    Hi and thanks for a fabulous blog. I appreciate the candid assessments and common sense. My wife and I are looking at putting in a new kitchen and have had some good experiences with Home Depot and the Decora line, and hiring a separate installer (not from Home Depot). However, the contractor we are working with is recommending that we consider using his preferred subcontractor who would source the cabinets from Wood Mode. He thinks that Wood Mode will be a better choice overall and possibly less expensive than “buying boxes from Home Depot”, as he puts it. Aside from the installation costs, how do Decora and Wood Mode compare in your view? Thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Andre,
      Woodmode is a custom cabinet line and more expensive than Decora. However Woodmode’s Brookhaven line and Decora are quite similar. I would make a few educated guesses in this situation:

      First that were you to price Woodmode’s Brookhaven at a private dealer vs Decora at Home Depot that the Brookhaven would be more expensive if both lines were upgraded to the same level. And there is little difference in quality of the product although the designer at the private dealer should be better and that can make a big difference.

      Second that your contractor is getting a kick back from the Woodmode Dealer. When Contractors direct customer to “their” supplier most often this is the reason. If the contractor was to say that you needed a better designer and that was why you should be using their place that could just be their professionalism. But when the cabinets themselves are the reason and the design is going to be the same then this suggests a kick back to me. The “boxes” comment also suggests that your contractor doesn’t know too much about cabinetry.

      Contractors getting kickbacks is not necessarily a terrible thing. We give a 10% referral fee to the contractors that refer us business if we aren’t referring business back to them. The money we pay those contractors is less than we pay for the advertising and other marketing we do to attract “regular” customers. Our customers ALWAYS pay the same price for cabinetry though. This is often not true at other dealer and Woodmode has a reputation for not being transparent. Heck, Woodmode doesn’t even have a listed phone number where a customer can call.

      All this would just put your contractor on my radar. I don’t like businesses that aren’t transparent. And wouldn’t it have been nice if instead he passed his commission on to you or split it with you? It is possible that he just likes that dealer and is getting nothing in return, but it is unlikely.

  63. Jan

    Is there a quality difference between Schular and Karaftmaid? And do you know anything about the Martha Stewart Cabinets?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Jan,
      Schuler sold at Lowes is actually Medallion from regular cabinet dealers. It is more expensive and more custom than Kraftmaid but also needs to be upgraded to approach the quality of construction in Kraftmaid. The Schuler finishes are particularly nice but make sure you upgrade to their most expensive box otherwise they are poorly made.

      Martha Stewart is a re-branded cabinet from Home Depot and doesn’t actually exist. Home Depot can have anyone they feel like make it. Based on the Thomasville line Home Depot has been stealing from customers with over the last ten years I would steer clear of re-branded cabinetry from Home Depot. Lowes sells brands under different names but they aren’t trying to mislead their customers.

      The sales Home Centers have are also usually fabricated unless they come from the manufacturers, like offering free glazes. Selling kitchens with fake names and fake sales is so dishonest it really makes me a little crazy.

  64. Debbie L

    You have answered the million dollar question for us…THANK YOU!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Thanks Debbie,
      The one exception to this is with tiny custom shops. Here is a blog on that topic:


  65. Debbie L

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge of kitchen cabinets. You have offered the most comprehensive information I’ve been able to find on-line. We have pretty much decided on KraftMaid; however we have had a very difficult time deciding on a color. It has been so frustrating…so much so that we’re considering changing cabinet companies in an effort to find the color we want. The kitchens I am drawn to always seem to have been painted with custom colors or cabinets that have been painted with Sherwin William paints. My question is this…is it best to purchase cabinets that have been factory painted? Are they more durable? If so, why is it that most high end kitchens seem to be custom painted? We want the surface of our cabinets to be durable and to last a good many years, but I cannot find the color we need at KraftMaid. Should we be considering another company? We want a company with a good warranty and good customer service in the years ahead. This is such a big purchase and we would be just sick if we made a mistake in our decision. Thanks so much for any advice you can give.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Debbie,
      What a great question! I have never been asked it before and I probably should write a blog about it. Here’s the answer.
      Many high end semi custom companies like Kraftmaid do not offer custom colors. And painting over cabinets is never a good idea unless you have no other choice with an old kitchen and then repainting should be done by a furniture refinishing company like Guardsman.
      However custom cabinet lines and some high end semi custom cabinet lines offer the options of custom colors. These custom paints are often supplied by Sherwin Williams but they need not be Sherwin Williams colors. The paints are not the same paints bought at the paint store they are powders formulated by Sherwin Williams to match any color and sprayed in powders onto cabinets and then melted in ovens onto cabinets. This is the same process most large cabinet manufactures use and the custom paints are just as durable in these custom colors as standard colors. Be careful because even if you select Sherwin Williams colors Sherwin Williams or the cabinet company itself (if they have the Sherwin Williams equipment) must color match even Sherwin Williams colors. So color matches while exceedingly close are never quite exact because the paint is a completely different animal than the liquid paint formulas being matched. Most companies that color match will match pieces of wood or swatches and all Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams colors.

      If you really want a custom color then you need to be designing your kitchen in a more custom cabinet line than Kraftmaid. This is why we carry both the Bishop and Brighton cabinet lines. Both do custom colors and both will do them for about the same price as a Kraftmaid standard color.

      On last note is that often the people fussing the most over exact colors are splitting hairs over off-white finishes. Whites and light off-white colors take on the colors around them and so are dramatically effected by the type of lighting you select. These colors will look completely different when LED lighting is changed from white, to yellow, to blue, or by natural light. Painting the kitchen walls light blue or yellow can make an off-white take on those colors. So even if Kraftmaid doesn’t have the color you are looking for changing your lighting or wall color could shift what the cabinet color looks like past the color you were trying to reach. Bring door sample to lighting stores and carry them around to compare what they look like under different conditions if you want no color surprises when you kitchen is done.

  66. Debbie L

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge of kitchen cabinets. You have offered the most comprehensive information I’ve been able to find on-line. We have pretty much decided on KraftMaid; however we have had a very difficult deciding on a color. It has been so frustrating…so frustrating that we’re ready to change cabinet companies in order to find the color we want. The kitchens I like best seem to always have been painted with custom colors or cabinets that have been painted with Sherwin William paints. My question is this…is it best to purchase cabinets that have been factory painted? Are they more durable? If so, why is it that most high end kitchens seem to be custom painted? We want the surface of our cabinets to be durable and to last a good many years, but I cannot find the color we need at KraftMaid. Should we be considering another company? We want a company with a good warranty and good customer service in the years ahead. This is such a big purchase and we would be just sick if we made a mistake in our decision. Thanks so much for any advice you can give.

  67. Sue

    Do you have any experience or knowledge regarding Siteline cabinetry–part of the Corsi group? My designer likes them and says that upgrading them will be more cost efficient for standard cabinetry than going with the higher end Greenfield line. What specific upgrades should I make sure we get?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I don’t know anything about Siteline but it looks like an inexpensive frameless line from their web site. When cabinet companies don’t tell you how their cabinetry is made that is usually not a good sign.

  68. Kula

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge of cabinetry. I am very confused on choosing my cabinets. So far I looked at Innermost, Bellmont, Dewils, and Kraftmaid. Can you give me feed back on all of these cabinets. Do you recommend any of these brands? I am planning on doing a white shaker style door or plain flat panel in white. If I go with flat panel does it have to be the MDF material? Any feedback is appreciated.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kula,
      For a white shaker door style we would recommend a well made framed cabinet. Both Innermost and Bellmont are frameless. Dewils is a lower grade framed line and so Kraftmaid is the cabinet that is far better than the others you list. Upgrade to at least plywood sides. If you are shopping at The Home Depot as asking about both Kraftmaid and Innermost suggests then American Woodmark would be the best inexpensive line Home Depot carries as far as I know and Kraftmaid the best line over all. Avoid Home Depot’s Thomasville line at all costs.

  69. Kelly

    We are about to start a new build and are looking at shaker styles for our kitchen. Our designer suggested looking at the Eudora like for these. What is your opinion of this line for this application?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kelly,
      Endora is a frameless line. And not only do I prefer Framed lines for their durability but Endora makes a lesser quality frameless line construction wise. They have lots of nice features and upgrades but as far as I know they always use a 1/4″ back panel which is just crazy IMO. I’d steer clear. And your designer worries me too. Often the designers that focus on flash over substance are also challenged when it comes to creating good designs. The spacial relation skills and construction knowledge needed to be a good designer means that if you don’t get what makes a good cabinet you probably don’t get a lot more. I don’t know the gender of your designer but I have my suspicions. And while many of the very best designers are women some of the worst designers are also women that focus too much on style and bring little else to the table. If she mentions shabby chic head for the hills!

  70. Pam

    Found this site while surfing for reviews on kitchen cabinets. We are planning to remodel our small kitchen (8 x 11 x 11 with new cabinets and countertop. I have books from Lowes on Kraftmaid,Shenandoah, Schuler and Diamond. Also picked up one from Home Depot for American Woodmark. We are an older retired couple on a fixed income so trying to match quality with the best price. A simple raised panel option would be fine. In what order would you rate these companies. Also, is it possible that Kraftmaid at Lowes might be priced differently than at competitor? Thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Pam,

      Hope this helps:

      Schuler from Lowes (labeled Medallion at private dealers) is the most expensive cabinet and also needs to be upgraded the most since you can order the cabinet with 3/8 particle board sides. Once upgraded to 1/2″ plywood sides it is a great cabinet but expensive and no bargain.

      Kraftmaid sold at both Lowes Home Depot and Private dealer is the same at all three if upgraded to plywood sides or all plywood construction. Each of the three types of dealers will have different names for the same doors and a few doors that the each don’t carry. Kraftmaid is the best cabinet for the money but still more money than you might want to spend if you are on a budget.

      Diamond at Lowes is my least favorite of the bunch for the money. You need to upgrade Diamond to 1/2″ plywood sides and while the finishes are nice if you are on a budget it is probably not the best pick.

      American Woodmark at Home Depot, Shenendoah at Lowes and also called Timberlake at private dealers is probably the best choice if you are on a budget. Upgraded to all plywood construction they will be made the same as the other lines. The finishes won’t be quite as nice and quality control could be less from a less expensive line but damages can happen in any cabinet line. Doors and finishes will have different names at the different locations and each location will have a few of their own styles exclusive to them. The cabinets will probably cost 20 to 40% less than the other choices and upgraded they are well made so I’d save my money to splurge on something else unless you love a finish in one of the other lines.

      Finally I’ll mention my mantra that spending more on a design that can be better is the most senseless choice of all and the one most often made. Find the best designer that has your interest at heart and buy your cabinets from him or her. Saving 5% on cabinets but working with a poor designer will cost the most in the end because of the advice you will never get. Your kitchen only looks as good as the ability and experience of the person that creates it. This is why designing it yourself or having your contractor or an inexperienced designer create it guarantees that it wastes of money.

      You can email us a design and while we can’t take the time to redesign it we can give you a few tips and catch major mistakes if they exist.

      All the best and as Julia said …

      Bon Appetit!


  71. Susan Elgin

    Exceptionally helpful information on cabinets and designs. Sad that I live too far away to use your company!

  72. Dawn

    Are you familiar with Shiloh cabinetry or their cheaper Aspect line? Do you have an opinion on the quality of their finishes? We initially thought we were going to go with Bridgewood’s Advantage line, but we weren’t impressed with the quality of the sample door we received recently. Thank you for any insights!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Shiloh Cabinetry has some nice door styles and finishes but aren’t a particularly good buy or particularly well made for the money. Their aspect Line I don’t know.

  73. Lloyd

    This is great information and I think all of us are extremely grateful. I just had to leave stock building supply, now owned by BMC, because the designer and salesrep were on two different pages. I wen to a recommended dull service design center and its been a great decision. Im look at the modern and contemporary lines, but hesitant due to the comments above. Ive read your other blogs for the past few months. All the design center has is duraspupreme, belmont 1600 & 1900, and medallion. I do like the duraspreme style and customization, because I have a medium/smaller odd shaped kitchen. Im not sold on durasupremes “lifetime” guarantee. Belmont is pretty spend. My question is your thoughts on the above cabinetry and companies for modern euro styling? If I were to switch and choose a more contemporary modern flare,whats your thoughts as well. Thanks again and your blogs should win an award!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      We don’t recommend Durasupreme. We used to carry their line and they didn’t honor their commitments to our customers. Medallion is a much better choice. Both cabinet lines are pretty expensive though.

  74. Kara

    That’s interesting that you said that the quality of cabinet doesn’t really matter as much as having a great kitchen design. We have visited quite a few kitchen places that feature designers, but weren’t ever truly satisfied with the result. We finally paid for a design and what a difference it makes! I actually feel like we took a step forward; however, when we saw the price quote for what that kitchen would cost us, our hearts skipped a beat. The designers offer 3 levels of choices for cabinets and we chose Dura Supreme. Just wondering if we would be making a mistake by taking the design and to our local Home Depot and ordering Kraft Made cabinets?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      You could interview many home center designers to find the best and closest one. Many showrooms will only be 5% more than home centers and will have better designers. I don’t know where you are located and the style that you are selecting but occasionally it makes sense for customers to buy cabinetry from us long distance. If you know the door style and finish you want and have a design we could price it out. We don’t recommend Durasupreme as a company. We used to carry their line and the company didn’t honor their commitments to our customers.

  75. ANNETTE D.


    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Annette,
      I think Woodmode is a fine cabinet line and we actually investigated carrying the line. Unfortunately one of Woodemodes issues is that neither a customer nor a potential dealer can contact them directly which is a little creepy (as an aside). There is no phone number for the company, customer service #, email address, etc. Everyone is simply referred to the Woodmode representative for your area. The representative for our area was so unresponsive and difficult to work with that both Woodmode and Main Line Kitchen Design were not satisfied working together. If you find a dealer in with a great reputation you will be fine though.

      One thing to consider is that finding the cabinet line is much less important than finding a good kitchen designer. How well your home is designed by the designer will determine how functional and attractive the finished project is and not the cabinet line. Most dealers will carry cabinet lines similar and as well made as Woodmode. For example we carry 4 lines some less and some more expensive than Woodmode but all offering the same options. And we carry 4 other much less expensive cabinet lines that are as well made but without the ability to customize to the extent Woodmode can. Most customers can’t tell the difference between any of these lines by looking at them, but they all can appreciate a better designed kitchen when they see it.



  76. Terry

    What are your thoughts on Bertch Cabinets or the Kemper line with plywood construction ? thanks

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      I’m a big fan of Bertch and not so much of Masterbrand’s Kemper. Although you can probably upgrade Kemper to a decent cabinet nowadays I can’t quickly tell because Masterbrands doesn’t make it simple determining how their cabinets are made.

  77. Kelly

    Wish we could use you but live in the Midwest. I’m not sure of the availability of fabuwood or 6square in our area. I hadn’t heard of them until I’d read your blog. I have a neighbor who can get Kabinart for a great price & in my notes from your blog I’d put them in the yes column. I’ve tried to go back to your blog & see where I got that information but I haven’t been able to find it. On their website, they meet all the basic requirements except for 3/8 inch sides which is not good according to the information in your blog & in consumer reports. The designer I’ve been working with uses the rd Henry cabinet line. I assume she’s using this line because of our budget, which is tight & it is a somewhat large space. We’ve considered doing the some of the work ourselves since we know people in the business, hence, cabinets from lowes or Home Depot. We appreciate your suggestions! Thank you!

  78. Kelly

    First, i’d like to thank you for all the information about kitchens & cabinets. I’ve read it several times & have taken notes! I really appreciate the time you spend educating us regarding this topic. our kitchen remodel has been complicated since we are removing a wall & expanding the kitchen into our dining room. I’ve been to multiple kitchen cabinet designers, all with different floor plans & after a year, we have decided on a plan. I say this because you mention how important design is to the plan. The space is rectangular in shape with a large dining room window that many have said is challenging & complicated.
    Our cabinet options are R.D. Henry, the furniture board of their line or Kabinart. I thought you’d mentioned kabinart in your information but I’ve had trouble finding it again. We’ve also considered kraft maid or schular. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kelly,
      There are lots of alternatives that will be better made cabinets then the ones you are considering but not be near the price of Kraftmaid or Schuler at Lowes. Shenandoah at Lowes would be one or we carry several others lines like 6 Square or Fabuwood that would also be better made and even a little less than Shenendoah.

  79. Paul McAlary

    Hi Eva,
    I’d never heard of Bridgewater but they look well made. Since they don’t even make very contemporary doorstyles there would be no reason I would even consider a frameless cabinet. A framed full overlay doorstyle would be the most popular.

  80. Eva

    What are your thoughts on the Bridgewood Cabinetry Advantage line(framed)?

  81. sara

    i’m a wheel chair user, bump into things a lot, i need something won’t chip and easy to clean

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Sara,

      Independent of personal style considerations the best cabinet function wise for your needs would be a frameless easy access cabinet with a laminate slab door. Designed keeping stress on the cabinetry to a minimum these type cabinets will hands down be nearly impossible to scratch or chip will be the easiest to access and can be cleaned just like a countertop with no crevasses to catch dirt.
      Here’s a link to one of our kitchens done in this cabinet style and type:


  82. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

    We like and sell 6 square but Brighten is a better cabinet. Both are better than Holiday. Frameless cabinetry is less durable and I would never use frameless cabinetry unless the door style is very modern in which case that is the only way the cabinets will be made. If you have children or are rough on things stay away from frameless construction. Here are two blogs on those topics:



  83. ParalyzedinNC

    Thank you so much! Do you have any experience with Holiday Kitchens or 6 Square? It sounds like you don’t like frameless cabinets in general – they seem to have a little greater access (larger space in the drawers for instance) is it a construction issue or a durability issue? Thanks again for your input!

  84. paralyzedinNC

    We are pulling out 20 year old Decora cabinets and replacing with a whole new kitchen – we have talked to 2 kitchen designers and are looking at Omega, Eudora and Brighton cabinets. Do you have thoughts about the quality of those? I saw on the respective websites that Eudora has a one year warranty, but the others have limited lifetime warranties, which obviously sounds better to me. I am interested in the soft close drawers (which I think they all have) and a variety of finishes – although I know I’m going for a white maple with a brown brush glaze. I’m also considering a built in fridge with a panel for the doors. Reviews on line are mixed – lots of bad stories, some good on all. Any advice is appreciated.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Brighton is the only line I like of the three lines. Frameless cabinetry like Endora or available in Omega I would never use. The Pinnacle line in Omega is well made but I dislike Masterbrands as a company. On line stories about bad cabinet experiences are often misleading. It is the reputation of the dealer you are buying from that is the best indicator of what to expect.

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