Using ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets can save you a substantial amount of money compared to custom cabinetry. Here is an overview of the key factors that determine how much you can save with RTA cabinets.

Lower Material Costs

RTA cabinets utilize engineered wood products like particle board and MDF which are much cheaper than solid wood. They also use thinner materials and laminated finishes to cut costs. The hardware is usually inexpensive as well. This leads to a dramatically lower material cost compared to custom cabinets made from solid wood, plywood, and quality finishes.

You can expect the base material cost of RTA cabinets to be 50-75% less than custom cabinets. For example, RTA cabinets may cost $50-100 per linear foot while custom cabinets can cost $200-500 per linear foot.

Factory Efficiency

RTA cabinets are mass-produced in large factories that can operate very efficiently through assembly line production and bulk ordering of materials. This allows them to minimize labor costs and waste.

Custom cabinets are built individually or in small batches by a local shop so they cannot achieve the same economies of scale. The labor cost for custom cabinets is far higher.

The efficiency advantage of RTA cabinet factories can reduce costs by 25-50% compared to custom shops.

Minimal Installation Labor

With RTA cabinets you have to assemble them yourself. This takes time and effort but saves substantially on labor costs. Custom cabinets are delivered fully assembled and professionally installed, which is very expensive.

Doing your own RTA cabinet install can save $3,000 to $8,000 in installation costs for an average kitchen.

Potential Downsides of RTA Cabinets

While RTA cabinets are much cheaper, they also come with some downsides:

  • Lower quality materials and construction
  • Limited selection and customization options
  • Need for DIY assembly and installation

You have to compromise on quality, looks, and convenience to get the cost savings.

Typical Cost Savings

Here are some examples of typical costs and savings for RTA vs custom cabinets:

  • Small kitchen (10 linear ft lower cabinets + 10 linear ft uppers)
  • RTA Cabinets: $1,500
  • Custom Cabinets: $5,000
  • Potential Savings: $3,500
  • Medium kitchen (20 linear ft lowers + 20 linear ft uppers)
  • RTA Cabinets: $3,000
  • Custom Cabinets: $10,000
  • Potential Savings: $7,000
  • Large kitchen (30 linear ft lowers + 30 linear ft uppers)
  • RTA Cabinets: $4,500
  • Custom Cabinets: $15,000
  • Potential Savings: $10,500

Keep in mind that costs vary greatly based on the quality level of RTA cabinets purchased and options chosen for custom cabinets. But typically you can expect to save 50-75% with RTA cabinets.

Tips to Maximize Savings

Here are some tips to maximize potential savings with RTA cabinets:

  • Purchase mid-priced RTA cabinets from reputable brands to get good value
  • Avoid the cheapest cabinets which are flimsy and do not save much
  • Take time to assemble properly for best finished look
  • Consider doing your own basic installation work
  • Get professional help if you need complex work like tile backsplash modification
  • Use savings to splurge on niceties like glass cabinet doors


RTA cabinets provide one of the most effective ways to save a substantial amount on your kitchen remodeling budget. Take advantage of the lower material and labor costs to potentially save thousands of dollars. Just be ready to put in some elbow grease and compromise on customization. With smart choices you can get a fresh new kitchen at half the price.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of RTA Cabinets?

Ready-to-assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets provide an affordable alternative to custom cabinetry, but also come with some tradeoffs. Here is an overview of the key pros and cons to consider when deciding between RTA and custom cabinets.

Pros of RTA Cabinets

Cost Savings: The biggest advantage of RTA cabinets is the lower cost, with potential savings of 50% or more compared to custom cabinets.

Quick Installation: RTA cabinets can be installed quickly since they only need assembly and do not require complex cabinetry work.

Wide Availability: RTA cabinets are stocked by major home improvement stores, widely available online, and come in many configurations. Custom cabinetry has longer lead times.

Easy Transportation: RTA cabinets ship flat packed allowing for easier and cheaper delivery to your home compared to fully constructed custom cabinets.

Quality Options: While lower than custom cabinets, top RTA brands like KraftMaid offer solid wood doors and quality finishes.

Cons of RTA Cabinets

Lower Quality Materials: RTA cabinets use more particle board, MDF, and laminates compared to solid wood and hardwood plywood for custom cabinets.

Limited Customization: RTA cabinets come in fixed sizes and you choose from set door style and color options. Custom cabinets can be fully customized.

DIY Assembly: You need to assemble RTA cabinets yourself which takes some skill and time versus custom cabinets arriving fully built.

No Professional Install: RTA cabinets do not include professional measurement and installation. You either DIY or pay an additional cost for installation.

Damages More Likely: RTA cabinets are more prone to shipping damage as they are not packaged as securely.

Key Considerations

Consider how much you value cost savings vs. quality, looks, and convenience. RTA makes the most sense for budget kitchens whereas custom cabinets are better for upscale kitchens where appearance is paramount. Storage needs also matter. RTA cabinets have a more limited selection so custom is better if you need specialty storage solutions. Lead time also differs, with most RTA cabinets readily available while custom cabinets can take weeks or months.


RTA cabinets offer dramatic cost savings but involve tradeoffs in quality and customization capabilities. Evaluate your budget, design preferences, skillset, and time considerations to decide if the pros of RTA cabinets outweigh the cons for your particular kitchen remodeling project.

What Quality And Cost Ranges Exist For RTA Cabinets?

RTA cabinets are available in a wide range of quality and price levels to suit different needs and budgets. Here is an overview of the cost and quality tiers that exist in RTA cabinets:

Low Cost RTA Cabinets

Cost Range: $50 – $100 per linear cabinet foot

Materials Used: Particle board boxes with thin veneers or laminate finishes, lower grade MDF, and lightweight hardware.

Brands: Brands sold primarily online and at home centers like Home Depot and Lowe’s. Examples include Hampton Bay, Dynasty, and Decorá.

Quality Notes: The most affordable option but lower quality materials, finishes, and durability. Limited warranty periods. Best for temporary fixes or rental properties.

Moderate Cost RTA Cabinets

Cost Range: $125 – $200 per linear cabinet foot

Materials Used: Thicker plywood boxes, hardwood veneer finishes, and better quality hardware.

Brands: Brands like KraftMaid, Mercury Row, Kettler, and Aristokraft. Sold online and at major home retailers.

Quality Notes: A good combination of affordability and quality. Sturdy construction with nice finishes. Provides the best value for most DIYers and remodelers. Good warranty periods.

High End RTA Cabinets

Cost Range: $250 – $350 per linear cabinet foot

Materials Used: Solid hardwood door frames, all plywood box construction, and premium hardware.

Brands: Higher end designer brands like Bertch, CliqStudios, Canyon Creek, and Poggenphol.

Quality Notes: Offer quality nearly rivaling custom cabinetry. Wide range of styles and finishes. Good for achieving a custom look on a budget. Have enhanced warranties.

Key Takeaways

  • Multiple tiers exist for budgets ranging from $3,000 to $35,000.
  • Stick with mid-priced options for the ideal balance of cost and quality.
  • Lower end helps maximize savings but comes with quality compromises.
  • Higher end mimics custom cabinets for less cost but is still pricy.


With some research you can find the RTA cabinet quality and price point that fits your budget and remodeling aims. Measure your space carefully and read reviews closely so you get durable cabinets that look good and function well in your kitchen’s unique layout.

What Mistakes Should Be Avoided With RTA Cabinets?

While RTA cabinets offer an affordable option for many homeowners, there are some mistakes to avoid to ensure your project goes smoothly. Here are some top mistakes to steer clear of when using RTA cabinets:

1. Ordering the Wrong Size Cabinets

Taking inaccurate kitchen measurements can lead to ordering cabinet boxes and doors that do not fit your space. Double check all measurements and account for uneven walls and floors. Leave wiggle room in cabinet sizes to accommodate small variations.

2. Assuming Installation Will Be Easy

Installation of RTA cabinets is more complex than simply assembling the boxes. Hanging them level, modifying countertops, adjusting adjacent floors and walls, and installing molding requires skill. Be realistic about your DIY abilities before declining professional installation services.

3. Not Following Instructions Closely

RTA cabinets include detailed instructions that must be followed properly, especially for alignment and supporting frames/rails. If directions are unclear, seek assistance from the manufacturer to avoid costly rework. Read all instructions before starting.

4. Forgetting Hidden Costs

There are costs beyond the RTA cabinet price such as shipping, installation tools, countertop modification, new moldings, wiring adjustments, and more. Budget for an extra 20% for miscellaneous expenses that pop up.

5. Purchasing Low-Quality Brands to Save Money

While less expensive, inferior RTA cabinet brands have sizing issues, don’t last long, and damage easily during shipping and installation. Spend a little more for a quality brand to get cabinets that function properly and look good long-term.

6. Not Checking for Shipping Damage

Before Assembly

Carefully inspect all cabinets upon delivery and report any shipping damage immediately. It is much harder to replace damaged components once cabinets are assembled and installed.

7. Forgetting Decorative Touches

RTA cabinet installations often lack final trim, molding, lighting, and hardware if not purchased separately. Factor these into your budget to get a finished, decorator look versus a bare-bones installation.


Avoiding common mistakes with planning, purchasing, assembly, installation, and finishing will help maximize satisfaction and keep project costs under control. Take time to carefully research brands and fully understand the RTA cabinet installation process.

What Are The Best RTA Cabinet Brands For The Money?

If you want quality RTA cabinets at a reasonable price, focus on these top mid-range brands that provide good value:

KraftMaid Cabinetry

Known for durability, KraftMaid uses all plywood construction and thick hardwood veneers. Offers a wide range of styles and finishes. Provides one of the best warranties with limited lifetime coverage. Great selection of storage and organization accessories.

Price Range: $180 – $260 per linear cabinet foot


Focused on modern designs with customization options. Cabinets feature soft-close doors and drawers with undermount roller glides. Warranty includes lifetime coverage on doors and drawers. Easy online ordering process.

Price Range: $170 – $220 per linear cabinet foot

Wellborn Cabinetry

Features quality wood construction and materials like hand-sanded hardwood frames. Contemporary, transitional, and traditional design choices. Known for versatile storage and organization solutions. Limited lifetime warranty.

Price Range: $170 – $230 per linear cabinet foot

Schrock Cabinetry

Offers styles ranging from shaker to modern with stain, paint, and glaze options. Dove-tailed drawers and soft-close hardware. Manufacturer defects covered for lifetime. Very good selection of accessories and inserts for organization.

Price Range: $150 – $200 per linear cabinet foot

Hampton Bay Designer Series

Low prices but better quality and warranties than Hampton Bay standard line. Partial lifetime warranty. Wide range of styles and colors. Frequent sales make pricing very affordable. Convenient availability at Home Depot.

Price Range: $100 – $200 per linear cabinet foot

Focus on this list of top mid-range RTA brands when shopping for the optimal mix of reasonable pricing and well-reviewed quality construction. Always closely inspect specific cabinet lines and warranty terms.

What Are The Best Places To Buy RTA Cabinets Online?

Thanks to expanded online selection, you can now purchase quality RTA cabinets for delivery to your home. Here are top online retailers that offer good value and service:


Extensive selection of RTA cabinets at all price points. Models from top brands along with Wayfair house brands. Free shipping on most orders. Easy online order process with stellar customer service.

The Home Depot

Major selection from trusted brands including Hampton Bay, KraftMaid, Martha Stewart, Diamond, and Glacier Bay. Store pickup or free shipping. Countertops also available. Pro installation services if needed.


Good variety of RTA cabinet lines including top names like KraftMaid, Aristokraft, Diamond, and Allen + Roth. Price match guarantee. Store pickup and delivery options. Discounts and sales frequent.


Very affordable cabinets along with integrated organization systems. Streamlined designs. Must pick up from store locations. Professional installation available but not required.


Focuses exclusively on selling RTA cabinets online. Contemporary, high-quality styles. Configurable and customizable options. White glove delivery service included.

Cabinet Joint

Large catalog of styles, finishes, and storage options. Assistance with design and specifications. Made and shipped quickly in the USA. Satisfaction guarantee and lifetime warranty.

Other Good Options:

  • Target
  • Overstock
  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • Cabinet Direct

When purchasing online, read reviews carefully, understand return policies, and inspect cabinets upon arrival before assembly and installation.

How Long Does It Take To Assemble And Install RTA Cabinets?

Assembling and installing ready-to-assemble cabinets requires some patience as it is not a quick process. Here is an overview of typical timeframes:

Cabinet Assembly

  • Per Cabinet: 15-60 minutes
  • Kitchen Set: 15-40 hours

Assembly speed depends on cabinet complexity, organizational inserts, hardware, size of the kitchen, and your skill level. Set aside at least 30 minutes per base cabinet and 20 minutes per wall cabinet.


  • DIY: 35-75 hours total
  • Professional: 1-3 days

Installation involves hanging cabinets, securing to walls, adjusting countertops, modifying adjacent surfaces, adding trim and hardware. Going the DIY route doubles or triples installation time versus hiring a contractor.

Total Timeframe

  • DIY Project: 2-6 weeks
  • Professional Install: 1-2 weeks

Tackle assembly over 2-4 weekends. Allow at least a full week for installation prep work. Building in contingencies for setbacks and rework adds weeks. Professional installation offers major time savings.

Tips to Save Time

  • Get help from family or friends to speed up assembly and installation.
  • Review all instructions before starting.
  • Prepare all tools and hardware needed beforehand.
  • Focus on accurately measuring and marking cabinet locations.
  • Complete all demo, repairs, electrical and plumbing before install.

RTA cabinets offer cost savings but require a significant time investment. Careful planning and assistance can help shorten the timeline while ensuring quality.

What Tools Are Needed For Installing RTA Cabinets?

Installing ready-to-assemble cabinets is possible as a DIY project if you have the right tools. Here are the most important tools needed:

Safety Gear

  • Safety goggles, gloves, knee pads
  • Ear protection, dust mask

Assembly Tools

  • Phillips and flathead screwdrivers
  • Cabinet Lazy Susan adjustment tools
  • Electric drill with driver bits
  • Level
  • Wood glue
  • Mallet/hammer
  • Tape measure

Installation Tools

  • Stud finder
  • Laser level or chalk line
  • Circular saw
  • Miter saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Wood shims
  • Brad nailer
  • Finish nailer
  • Drill
  • Hole saw set
  • Router
  • Cabinet hardware installation tools

Finishing Tools

  • Wood filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood trim
  • Caulk gun
  • Primer/paint
  • Molding/trim nailer

Having the proper tools allows you to assemble cabinets accurately, get them hung straight and secure, achieve a flawless fit with countertops and walls, and gives a finished look with trim. Renting specialty tools can also save money if you lack certain items. Investing in quality installation tools yields benefits for future projects.

What Are The Steps For Installing RTA Cabinets?

Installation of ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets typically involves a sequence of steps like this:


  • Remove old cabinets, countertops, and flooring
  • Repair walls and floors
  • Complete any electrical, plumbing, venting, or lighting modifications


  • Carefully read all instructions
  • Assemble cabinet frames, faces, and doors
  • Add shelving, drawers, and other interior fittings
  • Attach hinges, pulls, and slides

Hanging Cabinets

  • Mark stud locations and cabinet positions on walls
  • Mount ledger boards and specialty hangers/brackets
  • Hang wall cabinets first using shims to level
  • Hang base cabinets with properspacing from wall for countertops

Countertop Installation

  • Make cutouts for sinks and cooktops
  • Apply adhesive to cabinets