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Which Cabinet Brand is Best for Me?

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

Bishop Richmond cabinet door style in Medium Stain

“What kitchen cabinet line is best?” and “What kitchen cabinet brand do you recommend?” are the most common questions we receive on our blog. The answer depends on several factors including budget, how fast cabinets deliver, 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 manufacturers, and the builders they sell to, tend to rank construction quality below finish, style, and availability. So, if cabinet durability is a priority, avoid these brands.

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 make cabinets for the homeowner market build cabinets well. Or offer upgrades 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 standards 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.

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.

example of Beaded Inset Cabinet
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 6 major brands Main Line Kitchen Design carries are:

Cubitac, Fabuwood, Timberlake, 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 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.

No frameless cabinets meet our minimum construction requirements for a well-made cabinet. However, contemporary and modern door styles look much better with the ultra-tight gaps between frameless doors and drawer fronts. The ONLY reason to purchase the lower quality frameless construction is if you are getting contemporary door styles. Main Line Kitchen Design’s Bishop, Fabuwood, and Wellsford all make their frameless cabinetry with 3/4″ plywood sides. The best possible way to make a European cabinet.

Frameless cabinet 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.

Below is a blog where we rank the top 100 cabinet brands:

Cabinet Reviews for 2022 | Ratings for Kitchen Cabinet Brands (

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

Bon Appetit!

Paul, Julie, Chris, Ed, Lauren, Jeremy, Juliet, Camilla, and Mark

Main Line Kitchen Design

158 Replies to “Which Cabinet Brand is Best for Me?”

  1. Kim

    Do you have any feedback on Koch David Bradley line of kitchen cabinets? Thank you!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Kim,
      We review Koch classic on the blog below:
      It gets good reviews.
      David Bradley is another line. They are particleboard frameless cabinets and so would not fare as well as Koch in our reviews. I am adding them to our 2024 reviews now.

  2. Crystal Cossu

    Hi Paul,
    We are in the process of updating our kitchen and of course we are coming out over our budget. We had a quote for Yorktowne cabinets which was around $30-$35k and just got a quote from Fabuwood for about $12k. I’m trying to understand the difference in quality vs price! We want good quality but not at that rate. Also any thoughts on Fabuwood being RTA? Appreciate it!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Crystal,
      Fabuwood is not sold RTA. It was possible 6 years ago to buy it RTA at a few original low cost dealers. However, 6 years ago they cut those dealers off and only now sell assembled semi custom cabinetry.

      Yorktowne used to be a terribly made LOW cost brand. The company was sold, and it is now essentially rebranded Medallion. Medallion (like Yorktowne now) is a high end brand that offers very nice finishes and far more customizations than Fabuwood.

      However the cabinets are not built better than Fabuwood and if you were getting a design that didn’t require custom sizes and was a painted finish, you would be throwing money away buying a brand that specializes in things YOU aren’t selecting.

      Be careful, the price difference has something wrong with it. Either the you are not comparing “apples to apples”, so the Fabuwood dealer isn’t including the same extras, moldings, and upgrades, or the Yorktown dealer is overpricing.

      Apples to Apples Yorktowne should be less than double the same design in Fabuwood. A 12K Fabuwood design in Yorktowne should be about 22K. So something is wrong. Probably the Yorktown dealer is including side wainscotting panels, moldings, and roll outs and other extras that the Fabuwood design isn’t including. When you include those extra in Fabuwood the Fabuwood price might go up to 17K. But more is going on here than meets the eye.

  3. Catherine W.

    We are shopping for kitchen cabinets in the Chicago area, have had a design drawn up by architects. The contractor is pushing Schrock. We could also go with Decora or Omega. All are owned by Masterbrands, wonder what your opinion is on any quality changes since these brands have been bought out. There are many online complaints by consumers it seems no matter what the brand.

    We have had Bertch cabinets in the past as well as Shiloh. Were happy with both. We can get Bertch or Dura Supreme through a different dealer, but not with the contractor’s discount. In addition, the lead time on Bertch is currently 9-11 wks, which is a problem. I feel that Schrock is possibly a step down from the cabinetry we’ve had in the past. We are older, will be in the home for the rest of our lives, so quality is our top concern. The kitchen itself is small.

    Do you have any advice on the quality of Schrock vs. Bertch, Shiloh or Dura Supreme?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Catherine,
      I think upgraded to all plywood construction all the brands you mention are fine. Bertch, DuraSupreme, and Omega are more custom brands and so more expensive.

      I would mention three things:
      1) Architects are notoriously poor kitchen designers. Not only are they less experienced but they do not know the space requirements needed between islands, tables and other design elements in a kitchen. Particularly in the type of brands you are considering, designing effectively requires a knowledge not just of kitchen design but in how cabinetry is priced. When architects and contractors send customers to kitchen showrooms the kitchen designers are often not going to correct design mistakes and annoy the person that sent you in.

      I would have us vet your design on our helpline/podcast as there could be problems with the design that either no one is aware of or is not comfortable telling you about.

      2) Second contractors don’t usually get discounts from cabinet dealers. However, they do often get kickbacks, so it is unlikely you are saving any money buying cabinets from a place recommended by an architect or contractor. But they may be benefiting from you buying there unbeknownst to you.

      3) You don’t mention a door style or finish, and I don’t know the height of your ceilings, but the very popular shaker door style in white, grey, or navy would be a poor value to be selecting in the brands you are considering were you to have standard height 96″ ceilings. Less expensive brands than these would do that door style and finish better and be available in the sizing that you needed.

      You could even send us your drawings and I could alert you to any obvious problems. Then if you wanted detailed advice you would have to call into the podcast.

      AS Always – My MANTRA is below:
      People worry about cabinet quality and price far more than they worry about their designs. This is because they aren’t kitchen designers themselves and don’t understand how poor their designs usually are. If you listen to one of our podcasts this is usually a central issue. The Podcast below illustrates this point:

  4. 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. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 and we can discuss it.

  10. 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’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:

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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?

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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:

  28. 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!

  29. 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

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. Jenny

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

    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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

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