So Many Cabinet Brands – What’s Different About Them?
There are literally hundreds of cabinet producers and probably thousands when you include all the local and small – business cabinet makers. While there is skill and craftsmanship necessary to produce quality results, making quality cabinets doesn’t necessarily require highly complex machinery or factory conditions. In other words, you may find a talented carpenter or local cabinetmaker with the ability to produce fine cabinetry.
Given the number of cabinet producers, you’re probably asking what the differences are, if any, among them all. In reality, the differences are really found in the same general categories that make them similar. It’s back to the car analogy again: the auto manufacturers all make vehicles that do the same job; they’re just variations on a theme.
How They’re Similar
• Materials – Cabinets are made from a finite range of materials and finishes so unless someone is making cabinets out of bricks, most if not all will use similar materials (predominantly wood and wood-based products, melamine, laminate and some metals).
• Construction Style – Cabinets fall into two style categories – framed and frameless. Regardless of which manufacturer you choose, they’ll produce either one or both of these styles.
• Options – Just like with cars, cabinet makers offer a varied array of options and price points.
How They’re Different
• Stock / Semi-custom / Custom – How the cabinets are produced will vary among the manufacturers with some offering only custom pieces and others providing only stock or a combination of manufacturing
• Quality – Not all manufacturers are created equal; there are those that offer more premium products in the way of materials, construction and options. Some manufacturers offer several product lines with graduated levels of what would be considered quality features (such as better materials and finishes).
• Access to Market – some cabinet makes are available through big-box home retailers while others are through select dealers or designers. Other cabinet lines are available through the internet with direct delivery to your door. Smaller local cabinet makers may sell directly from their shop.
So what’s the bottom line when it comes down to sorting through all the various cabinet makers? There’s no right or wrong way to narrow down to a short list of candidates but here are some suggestions:
• Start by saving some ads from magazines on various manufacturers that appeal to you. Using the internet is a good way to find out more about them since most brands provide fairly good information on product lines, materials and construction. Most manufacturer websites will also tell you where you can find their products.
• Next, go out and look at some actual product. Even if the brands you like aren’t available locally, still get out and view some cabinets. You can do this by visiting any home-improvement retailer or by visiting some kitchen design firms. This way you’ll actually see the differences in methods of construction and quality.
• Finally, narrow your field of brand/cabinet maker options based on your research and then focus on obtaining cost quotes for the cabinets and installation for comparison purposes