Cabinets are the biggest kitchen upgrade you’ll probably ever do, so if you’re in the market for a new set, do yourself a favor and choose quality. To make your job easier, look for a cabinet maker that offers solid wood drawers with dovetail joints, full-extension drawer guides and plywood back construction. The better quality cabinets also have a smooth finish on all interior surfaces and come with a lifetime warranty.
If you’re working with a limited budget, check out a cabinet line that specializes in the style you want. These manufacturers can offer lower prices than custom lines while still offering design freedom. They may have fewer door styles to choose from than fully-custom options, but you’ll find enough to meet your needs.
Stock cabinetry from The Home Depot, Lowe’s and other home centers typically have shorter lead times than custom options and can be a good fit for some designs. These cabinets, however, are usually limited in color and style options.
Semi-custom cabinets (like those from KraftMaid and American Woodmark) are usually assembled in the United States and offer more customization options than stock cabinets. These manufacturers are willing to alter depth, width and cabinet height in 1-inch increments, which gives you more flexibility for your layout. Many also offer a number of door styles and finishes to complement your kitchen design.
Custom cabinetry is the priciest option, but it will give you a one-of-a-kind kitchen. The cabinet makers on our list offer custom sizes and designs, but they’ll also let you add more elaborate details like a built-in pet center or a lighted wine rack.
Before you buy, compare cabinet pricing and features to decide whether custom or stock cabinets are a better option for your budget. You’ll also want to factor in other elements like flooring, countertops and appliances to complete your kitchen remodel.
For a budget-friendly alternative, you can snag ready-to-ship cabinets from online DIY manufacturers. While you won’t get the same finish and wood species as a fully-custom cabinet, these companies can deliver high-quality cabinets in less time.
One company to consider is CliqStudios, which offers ready-to-ship cabinets in more than 33 styles, including everything from traditional to industrial and farmhouse. This manufacturer has a user-friendly website that lets you design your own layout and get a price quote in seconds. You’ll be able to specify the exact dimensions of your space, including wall studs and trim, to ensure a precise fit.
When building Custom Kitchen Cabinets, use biscuit joints instead of screws whenever possible for increased strength and to keep the assembly from twisting. For wide cabinets, build support feet for below or near vertical dividers to prevent sagging. For maximum accuracy, sight across the top edges to ensure they’re straight before you glue. Also, apply a bead of glue on the front edge of any wood spacers that you’ll be joining to the bottom face of the cabinet floor. This increases the efficacy of the glue and helps it set faster.