Buying Guide for Kitchen Cabinets
Stock, Semi-Custom, and Custom Cabinets
There are three kinds of cabinets to consider—stock, semi-custom, and custom.
Stock is the most affordable option. These cabinets usually come preassembled, in standard sizes, and limited styles and colors.
Semi-custom cabinets usually have more options stylistically. These cabinets also have more size and configuration options. Lastly, custom cabinets are the priciest option.
Custom cabinets, as the name implies, are customized. This means you can have exact specs, added features, and custom styles. Consider each of these cabinets as you are planning your budget.
What is most important to you? If it’s custom style and size—it may be worth investing in custom cabinets. However, if saving money is a priority, it’s probably a good idea to go with stock cabinets.
Cabinets come framed or frameless. Framed cabinets are made up of a box and face frame—meaning the doors and drawers are attached. Frameless cabinets don’t have the face frame. They also have doors and drawers attached to the cabinet box. Frameless cabinets are also referred to as European-style—this look is more contemporary looking and has easier interior access.
When picking out or designing your dream kitchen cabinets—don’t forget to consider features. Consider useful features such as pullout trash cans, built-in charging stations, spice racks, etc. Lift cabinets are also a handy feature—these cabinets are built with a spring-loaded shelf that swings out, making it easy to store and access things like a stand mixer or food processor.
Before you get too far into planning, be sure to consider your budget. Stock, semi-custom, and custom are all different prices. The same goes for budget cabinets, mid-level cabinets, and premium cabinets. Features will also impact your price—cabinets with features are about 20% more than average.
After you’ve considered styles, features, budget, and so on, you may have an idea of what kind of cabinets you want. However, to ensure that you get the highest-quality cabinets to look over this checklist.
Fully assembled—if you aren’t familiar with putting together cabinets or woodworking, go for the already assembled cabinets to avoid a headache and potential disaster.
Quality cabinet frames and boxes—face frames help to keep the box in line when the cabinets are shipped and installed. A good cabinet box increases stability and longevity.
Interiors are easy to clean—look for surfaces that are non-porous and easy to clean.
Durable, full-height back panel—this will help ensure an easy installation and a strong cabinet.
Soft close door hinges—no more squeaky cabinets! Look for soft-close cabinets that won’t make a ruckus when opening and closing.
Durable cabinet box materials—ensure that you are investing in cabinets that will last a long time.