Ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets have become an increasingly popular option for homeowners looking to remodel their kitchens on a budget. RTA cabinets come flat-packed and require some assembly by the homeowner or contractor. They offer significant cost savings over custom cabinetry, while still providing quality construction and ample design options. But just how prevalent are RTA cabinets in kitchen remodels across the USA? Let’s take a closer look at the RTA cabinet market.

An Overview of the RTA Cabinet Industry

The ready-to-assemble cabinet industry has experienced tremendous growth over the last 20 years. In 2000, RTA cabinets accounted for just 5% of cabinet sales. Today, industry experts estimate RTA cabinets make up 30-40% of the US cabinet market.

Several factors have fueled the rise in popularity of RTA cabinets:

  • Cost savings – RTA cabinets are typically 30-50% cheaper than custom cabinetry. This price difference is attractive for homeowners doing renovations on a budget.
  • Convenience – DIY-friendly RTA cabinets ship directly to the homeowner or contractor for assembly. This removes the need for expensive installation.
  • Customization – Many RTA brands offer custom sizing, storage options, finishes and more. Homeowners can design a custom look for less.
  • Quality – Advanced manufacturing techniques mean RTA cabinets rival custom cabinets in durability and longevity when assembled correctly.

Well-known RTA brands like IKEA, Cabinet Joint, Barker Cabinets and More offer a range of styles and pricing options to suit most homeowners’ needs.

Key Players in the RTA Cabinet Industry

The RTA cabinet industry is diverse, with brands ranging from big box to boutique. Here are some of the major players:

  • IKEA – The Swedish furniture giant is likely the most well-known RTA brand. IKEA offers contemporary, minimalist RTA cabinets at wallet-friendly prices.
  • Home Depot – Through its in-house Hampton Bay line and other partner brands, Home Depot sells a high volume of RTA cabinets online and in stores.
  • Lowe’s – Like Home Depot, Lowe’s deals in major RTA brands and also has its own line of RTA products.
  • Canyon Creek Cabinet Company – This company focuses on classic RTA styles like Shaker, Craftsman and cottage cabinets.
  • Barker Cabinets – An exclusively online brand, Barker offers sophisticated RTA cabinet designs and finishes.
  • Cabinet Joint – Cabinet Joint is an established RTA brand selling products through third-party retailers since opening in 1999.

While these large companies have name recognition on their side, consumers can also look to lesser-known independent RTA brands to find products for specific tastes and budgets.

RTA Cabinet Sales Volume

To estimate the total number of RTA cabinets sold in the US each year, we need to look at industry research:

  • According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, approximately 300,000 kitchen remodels occur in the United States each year.
  • With RTA cabinets estimated to capture 30-40% of cabinet sales, that translates to 90,000 to 120,000 kitchens remodeled with RTA cabinets annually.
  • The typical kitchen remodel requires 20-40 cabinets. So simple math suggests between 1.8 and 4.8 million RTA cabinets are sold in the US per year.

That staggering number speaks to the major inroads RTA cabinets have made since hitting the mainstream market in the 1990s. Homeowner demand for convenient and affordable cabinetry continues to make RTA a go-to choice for kitchen upgrades.

RTA Cabinet Purchasing by Region

RTA cabinet demand is not distributed equally across US regions. Certain areas have adopted RTA products faster than others:

  • West Coast – Kitchen remodels in major West Coast metro areas like Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland frequently feature RTA cabinets. The modern styling of many RTA product lines suits West Coast interior design tastes.
  • South – Affordable housing and cost of living in the South make it a prime region for RTA cabinet purchases. States like Texas, Georgia and Florida contain hot RTA cabinet markets.
  • Midwest – The Midwest’s middle-of-the-road economy combined with a penchant for practicality has driven steady RTA cabinet sales, especially in rural locales.
  • Northeast – Kitchen designs in New England and the Mid-Atlantic still slant traditional. RTA cabinets have made fewer inroads in the Northeast compared to other regions.

As RTA manufacturers expand their styles and branding, they may continue to see growth in regions that have traditionally favored custom cabinetry. But affordability issues will likely keep sales brisk in RTA-friendly areas.

Projecting the Future RTA Cabinet Market Share

Though RTA cabinets now capture 30-40% of the market, is there room for continued expansion? Industry analysts offer several predictions:

  • 50% market share – Some experts believe RTA cabinet sales will grow steadily until RTA cabinetry claims half the market within 5-10 years.
  • RTA market saturation – Others argue the RTA segment has reached maturity. Rather than conquering more market share, growth will stabilize.
  • New competitors – Large retailers like Amazon may begin selling RTA products under their own private label brands. This disruption could shake up market dynamics.
  • Economic factors – A recession cutting into home renovation budgets could stunt RTA cabinet growth. On the other hand, a recession could increase demand for discount RTA products.

While the future is uncertain, RTA brands seem poised to increase their footprint thanks to cost, quality and style advantages that appeal to homeowners. Just be wary of anyone claiming to know exactly how many RTA cabinets will be sold in coming years. Too many variables are at play.

How Many RTA Cabinets Are Needed for a Kitchen?

When purchasing RTA cabinets, homeowners must determine how many they need to outfit their kitchen. Let’s explore the factors that shape cabinet quantities:

Kitchen Size

The dimensions of the kitchen itself dramatically affect the number of cabinets required. For example:

  • Small kitchen (50 sq.ft) – A modest U-shaped layout may only need 15-20 RTA cabinets.
  • Medium kitchen (100 sq. ft) – A mid-sized L-shaped kitchen could need 25-35 RTA cabinets.
  • Large kitchen (200+ sq. ft) – An expansive kitchen with an island may require 40+ RTA cabinets.

Take careful measurements of the floorplan when calculating cabinet needs for larger and complex kitchens.

Cabinet Size

Standard kitchen cabinets come in 3 inch increments, usually between 12-36 inches wide. Following is an overview of common cabinet sizes:

  • 12-18 inch cabinets – Useful for tight spaces like corners or next to appliances.
  • 24-30 inch cabinets – Ideal for typical needs like above counters or base cabinets.
  • 36 inch cabinets – Provide abundant storage, commonly used for pantries and broom closets.

Wider cabinet sizes mean you need fewer to outfit a kitchen, while narrower sizes increase the cabinet count.

Design Elements

Kitchen layout and chosen features also impact RTA cabinet quantities:

  • Islands – Adding an island can require 5-10 additional cabinets.
  • Pantry cabinet – Dedicated floor to ceiling pantry cabinets may replace 1 or 2 standard cabinets.
  • Appliance garages – Cabinets to “garage” small appliances reduce usable cabinet space.
  • Lazy susans – These rotating corner cabinets only take the space of 1 cabinet.
  • Filler pieces – Used to address gaps between other cabinets.

Carefully map out the complete desired design before settling on the total RTA cabinet number.

While every kitchen presents unique considerations, at a high level expect to use 20-40 RTA cabinets for a standard 10 x 10 kitchen. Significantly larger or smaller kitchens may fall outside that range. Carefully calculating your own kitchen’s cabinet needs rather than relying on rough estimates ensures your RTA cabinet purchases provide sufficient storage without overbuying.

How to Choose Quality RTA Cabinets

With millions of RTA cabinets sold annually from dozens of brands, how can consumers identify truly durable and well-constructed options? Follow this advice:

Examine the materials – Quality woods, durable finishes and sturdy hardware increase lifespan. Avoid brands cutting corners with cheap materials.

Learn about manufacturing – RTA cabinets made using modern techniques and optimized materials provide the best results.

Read third-party reviews – Trusted independent sites like Consumer Reports provide unbiased assessments of cabinet durability.

Compare warranties – Better warranties signal the brand is confident in its production quality. Many offer lifetime guarantees.

Evaluate weight – Heavier cabinets tend to indicate sturdier construction. Lightweight products may warp or deteriorate faster.

Inspect design – Look for reinforcements, face frame construction, and solid wood rather than particle board sides.

Order samples – Reviewing real wood samples or door samples first-hand reveals much about overall craftsmanship.

While no shortcuts exist to ensure flawless performance, following the above steps can help zero in on well-built RTA cabinets using quality materials and optimized designs. Paying a little more upfront for durability saves the major hassle and expense of replacing shoddily built cabinets down the road. The millions of Americans enjoying their RTA cabinets during cooking and cleanups take comfort knowing they made the right choice.

Frequently Asked Questions About RTA Cabinets

How much do RTA cabinets cost?

RTA cabinets range from about $50 per cabinet from bargain brands like IKEA to $500+ per cabinet from premium manufacturers. Expect to pay $100-$300 per cabinet for good quality from mainstream brands.

What are the pros and cons of RTA cabinets?

Pros: affordable pricing, wide style selection, customizable sizing, DIY-friendly.
Cons: required assembly, less robust construction vs custom cabinets, missteps during install can affect durability.

How long do RTA cabinets last?

High quality RTA cabinets can last 15-20 years or longer with proper care. Low-end brands may deteriorate after just 5 years. Quality of materials and proper assembly greatly impact lifespan.

Is it cheaper to buy RTA cabinets online?

Online-only RTA sellers can offer slightly lower pricing by passing on showroom overhead costs. But major big box stores also sell affordable RTA online. Shop around for best pricing.

Are RTA cabinets lower quality than custom?

While durability and longevity vary by brand, advances in manufacturing allow quality RTA cabinets to rival custom cabinets in performance while costing far less.


RTA or ready-to-assemble cabinets offer homeowners an affordable DIY-friendly alternative to traditional custom cabinetry. Thanks to their practicality and variety of stylish designs, RTA cabinets now capture a sizeable 30-40% market share equal to an estimated 1.8-4.8 million cabinets sold yearly.

Though more prevalent in hot housing markets like the West Coast and South, RTA cabinets continue to grow in popularity across all US regions. Homeowners remodeling kitchens on a budget find RTA cabinets strike an ideal balance of price, quality and customization. With options available from both major retailers and niche boutique brands, consumers can easily identify well-constructed RTA cabinets suited to their specific kitchen’s size and style. While economic trends make predicting future growth difficult, RTA cabinets appear well-positioned to claim an even greater portion of the cabinetry market in coming years.