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In a full kitchen remodel, choosing new cabinets is a dominate part of the planning process, and an even bigger part of the budget. While the urge to save money is enormous when it comes to the kitchen cabinets, it pays to remember that the cabinets will be among the most heavily used of all kitchen elements, and thus you need to choose cabinets that are both attractive as well as durable and hardworking.
While the very best way to get exactly what you want is to hire a high-end custom cabinet maker to build and install your cabinetry, this can be astronomically expensive. Most of us will instead be purchasing cabinets from a manufacturer of preassembled or RTA (ready to assemble) cabinets. But this is no easy choice, either. Because this is such a competitive market with a potential for great reward, kitchen cabinet makers and retailers often flourish for a moment, then disappear just as quickly.
A Note on Terminology
Kitchen cabinet manufacturers are often categorized according to how the cabinets are ordered and manufactured:
Pre-assembled cabinets are purchased as preassembled cabinet boxes with the drawers, doors, and hardware preattached. They are shipped in large crates, and the cabinets are simply pulled from the box and installed. These cabinets are manufactured in a large number of stock sizes and configurations, but it's usually impossible to get specialty cabinets made to fit unique spaces, as you can with true custom cabinets.
Ready-to-assemble cabinets are exactly like preassembled cabinets, but they are shipped with parts broken down and packed in flat crates. The buyer must assemble these on-site. While this sounds like a lot of work, RTA cabinets are quite a bit less expensive and shipping costs are much less.
Semi-custom cabinets are essentially pre-assembled cabinets, but they are offered with many, many different style options. You may have a choice of dozens of different wood species, stain colors, and door styles to choose from. These are more expensive, but you have many more options than with standard pre-assembled cabinets.
Custom cabinet manufacturers build each and every cabinet to the exact size and style you specify. Custom cabinetry is usually constructed by local craftspeople, but there are some national companies that specialize in building and shipping these cabinets.
Here are 10 cabinet manufacturers and suppliers who have been solidly present in the business for at least a decade and are well-regarded both for the quality of their products and for long-term customer satisfaction.
Kraftmaid is one of the biggest names in kitchen cabinets, owing to its association with Home Depot, Lowes, and other home centers. Kraftmaid's semi-custom kitchen cabinets can be found at local kitchen design companies, too. Initially offering only a few types of cabinets, Kraftmaid has enriched its product lines to appeal to all tastes. This is one of the better names in semi-custom cabinets.
Building supplies conglomerate Masco owns the Kraftmaid brand, as well as Quality Cabinets, and Merillat. It also owns many other companies unrelated to cabinets, including Arrow, Behr, Duraflex, Milgard, and Cambrian.
Like Kraftmaid, Merillat is another mainline kitchen cabinet manufacturer available through many retail channels, such as local kitchen design companies and home centers. A Michigan-based company, Merillat rarely makes dramatic changes in its product lines, preferring to stick to tried-and-true styles that appeal to a broad base. These cabinets tend to be slightly more affordable than Kraftmaid, since the product options are narrower.
Named after founder and CEO Dario Snaidero, kitchen cabinet company Snaidero USA is known for its high-end, Euro-styled cabinetry strongly flavored by Italian design aesthetics. Products from Snaidero USA's Elegante Bespoke Collection can be found in premium residences and commercial properties that seek super-high-end kitchen cabinetry.
Snaidero cabinets are sold only by consultation with one of 16 North American showrooms. There is no standard retail outlet for these cabinets.
IKEA holds the rare distinction of being one of few brick-and-mortar stores that offer ready-to-assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets in stock, on the shelf, and ready for immediate pick-up immediately. If you have an IKEA store in your metro area, you can start setting up your flat-pack cabinets within a few hours, instead of waiting days or weeks for freight delivery. IKEA's styles rarely change. But you can always be assured of inexpensive kitchen cabinets that come paired with a multitude of other items, such as countertops, sinks, faucets, fixtures, and even appliances.
All Wood Cabinetry, from Ideal Cabinetry
Ideal Cabinetry's All Wood Cabinetry line is an apt description. All-Wood Cabinetry originated in Florida and makes plywood-core semi-custom cabinets for kitchens and bathrooms, most in traditional styles. All Wood Cabinetry's offerings tend to remain middle-of-the-road and on the safe side. This company stands out as the long-time, trusted supplier of cabinets for Costco Wholesale. As a Costco member, savings are to be had when you purchase All Wood Cabinetry products through the Costco site or store.
Since 1973, Porcelanosa has excelled at manufacturing sleek, smooth, and inventive European-style cabinetry. Based in Villarreal, Spain, Porcelanosa's kitchen cabinets are represented by more than 400 official showrooms, associates, and dealers around the world. With solid surface countertops, tile, sealants, flooring systems, and more, Porcelanosa has become a hugely diversified company with a range of products that complement their lines of kitchen cabinets.
Porcelanosa has 14 official regional showrooms. Their products are sold through consultation with affiliated designers and builders.
As one of the more uniquely named kitchen cabinet companies, CliqStudios has managed to extend its idiosyncratic nature throughout its business model. About ten years ago, founder Andy Juang decided that the kitchen design system was broken. After speaking to contractors, kitchen designers, and dealers, Juang decided to found CliqStudios after he learned it was difficult to know what he would get for his money, as Juang puts it. As a result, CliqStudios is all about transparency. At every step of the way, shoppers choose features of their cabinets and keep track of pricing along the way. After 20,000 projects, CliqStudios has become a force to be reckoned with in the field of low-cost do-it-yourself kitchen design and cabinets.
CliqStudios makes it possible for customers to design, plan, and order semi-custom cabinets through online resources.
RTA Cabinet Store
One way to pare down the high cost of cabinets is to purchase ready-to-assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets—a category of cabinetry that barely existed before the internet. Shipped flat-packed, RTA cabinets assemble easily with cam-lock and bracket systems.
After a decade, CEO Gary Nealon's RTA Cabinet Store is now one of the old-timers—and for good reason: They continually hit high marks for customer satisfaction. Also, unlike some RTA cabinet companies that are little more than online intermediaries between suppliers and buyers, RTA Cabinet Store is a full-service cabinet company that stocks all of its cabinets in its Pennsylvania warehouse. This is one of the very best of the RTA cabinet stores for DIYers.
Canyon Creek Cabinet Company
Based in Monroe, Washington, Canyon Creek Cabinet Company's mission is to reconcile affordable with custom cabinet manufacture. Operating since 1981, Canyon Creek creates affordable custom framed and frameless style cabinetry for the kitchen and any room in the house.
Canyon Creek Cabinets are sold through custom cabinet and kitchen design outlets, mostly in the western U.S.
With a name like Astrokraft, this cabinet company might sound prototypically mid-century modern, and it is. Since 1954, this Jasper, Indiana company has been quietly and faithfully supplying American kitchens with cabinets. Astrokraft is not about pushing stylistic boundaries. Rather, this company supplies solid and basic kitchen cabinets in well-loved door and drawer styles, with both natural wood and laminate finishes.
Astokraft has wide distribution through kitchen and bath stores, flooring stores, and independent home centers throughout the U.S.