Ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinetry has become an increasingly popular option for homeowners and contractors looking to save on kitchen remodeling costs. 21st Century Cabinetry is one of the leading manufacturers of RTA cabinetry, offering a wide selection of cabinet styles, finishes, and accessories. But is 21st Century’s RTA cabinetry right for your next kitchen project? Here is an in-depth look at the pros and cons of using 21st Century’s RTA cabinetry so you can decide if it’s the best choice for your needs and budget.

What is RTA Cabinetry?

RTA cabinetry, as the name implies, comes ready to assemble right out of the box. The cabinets are shipped flat-packed with all the parts, hardware, and instructions included. RTA cabinets must be assembled on-site, either by the homeowner, contractor, or installation company.

The main advantage of RTA cabinetry is cost savings. Because RTA cabinets ship flat, they are less expensive to produce and transport compared to fully assembled cabinetry. These savings are passed on to the consumer. RTA cabinetry is estimated to cost 35-50% less than custom cabinetry.

RTA cabinetry also allows for greater customization in your kitchen design. You can select the exact cabinet sizes, finishes, and accessories needed for your unique space. Special order cabinets and integrated organizational features can also be ordered.

Overview of 21st Century Cabinetry

21st Century Cabinetry exclusively manufactures RTA cabinet lines. They offer:

  • Over 20 door styles from modern to traditional
  • A wide range of finishes and colors
  • Affordable pricing, 25-40% less than competitors
  • Lifetime warranty on cabinetry
  • Large selection of organizers and accessories
  • Easy assembly with cam lock construction
  • Ships within 3-4 weeks via Fedex

The company has been selling RTA cabinetry direct to consumers since 2000 and has an A+ BBB rating. Their cabinetry is CARB II compliant and meets or exceeds all ANSI performance standards.

The Pros of Using 21st Century RTA Cabinetry

There are many benefits to choosing 21st Century’s RTA cabinet offerings for your next kitchen remodel.

More Affordable Than Custom Cabinetry

The main advantage of using any RTA product is cost savings, and 21st Century Cabinetry is very budget friendly. Their RTA cabinetry costs 25-40% less than custom cabinets from other manufacturers. This can translate to thousands in savings for the average kitchen.

Quick Turnaround Time

Once your order is placed, 21st Century can have your RTA cabinets delivered in 3-4 weeks. This is much faster than the 6-8 week lead time for custom or semi-custom cabinet orders. Fast turnaround means you can start your renovation sooner.

High Quality Construction and Materials

Despite the affordable prices, 21st Century does not compromise on quality. Their RTA cabinets feature plywood box construction, soft-close doors and drawers, full extension drawer glides, and adjustable shelves. Door styles use quality veneers and finishes.

Wide Range of Choices

21st Century offers 20+ door designs in various wood species and on-trend painted finishes. This allows you to find a style that fits your home’s decor. For ultimate customization, they offer hundreds of specialty accessories and storage options.

Lifetime Warranty

The company provides a lifetime warranty on all their RTA cabinetry. This covers defects in materials and workmanship. The warranty is transferable if you sell your home.

Easy Assembly

The cabinets assemble quickly with cam lock construction and pre-drilled adjustment holes. Basic tools are all that’s needed. Detailed instructions with diagrams are provided.

The Potential Downsides to Consider

While there are many benefits to choosing 21st Century’s RTA cabinetry, there are also some downsides to consider before making your purchase.

No In-Person Buying Experience

Since 21st Century sells direct online, you can’t see the cabinets in person before buying. This makes it hard to get a feel for quality, finish colors, and overall look.

Must Be Assembled

While assembly is designed to be easy, putting cabinets together is still time-consuming. If hiring a contractor, assembly labor will add cost. Damaged or missing pieces can also delay assembly.

Limited Sizing Options

RTA cabinets come in specific sizes, unlike custom cabinets that can be sized to exactly fit. Limited choice in heights and widths can make designing some kitchens challenging.

Can’t View Installed Sample Before Ordering

With custom cabinets, you can often view a sample installed in a showroom. With RTA cabinets, you must order first and can only view a sample door. You don’t know exactly how they’ll look until fully installed.

Potential for Shipping Damage

Damage and missing pieces can occur during shipping. This means delays in receiving replacements and having to put cabinets together multiple times. Thoroughly inspect shipments upon arrival.

Short Cabinet Box Depth

The standard cabinet box depth is 13″, while many custom manufacturers offer deeper 15″ or 18″ depth options. If you need deeper cabinets, the selection will be limited with RTA.

Tips for Ordering 21st Century RTA Cabinets

If you determine that 21st Century Cabinetry is the right choice for your kitchen project, keep these tips in mind:

  • Carefully measure your existing kitchen layout and create accurate plans.
  • Determine if you need any specialty sized cabinets.
  • Select a durable door style and finish that suits your home’s style.
  • Add organizers and pull-outs to maximize kitchen storage and function.
  • Consider hiring a contractor to assemble and install the cabinets.
  • Choose modifications like extended heights or depths if needed.
  • Order samples if unsure about finishes and door styles.
  • Thoroughly inspect all cabinet boxes and parts after delivery.

Is 21st Century’s RTA Cabinetry Right for You?

21st Century Cabinetry provides high quality RTA cabinetry at an affordable price point. For many homeowners, the cost savings outweigh the disadvantages associated with RTA products. The fast turnaround, wide selection, and lifetime warranty also make 21st Century an attractive option.

However, for other homeowners, the inability to see the cabinets in person, the need for assembly, and lack of buying experience may be deal breakers. Custom or semi-custom cabinets may better suit your needs, even with the higher prices.

Carefully weigh the pros and cons before deciding. And be sure to accurately measure your space and create detailed plans when ordering any RTA cabinetry. With proper planning and set up, 21st Century Cabinetry can provide stunning results and great value for your next kitchen remodel.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Assembly is Required for 21st Century RTA Cabinets?

Basic assembly with a screwdriver is required. The cabinets feature cam locks, adjustable levelers, and pre-drilled holes for easy construction. Plan to spend several hours for assembly. Hiring a contractor to assemble will add cost.

What Quality of Wood do the Cabinets Use?

21st Century uses high quality plywood for the cabinet boxes, adjustable shelves, and drawer boxes. Solid wood is used for door frames and cabinet face frames.

Can I Return 21st Century Cabinets if I Don’t Like Them?

Unassembled RTA cabinets can be returned within 30 days of delivery minus a 25% restocking fee. Assembled cabinets cannot be returned.

Where are 21st Century RTA Cabinets Manufactured?

Their RTA cabinets are manufactured in China. However, their quality control team is US-based.

Do I Need to Finish or Seal 21st Century Cabinets?

If you choose a painted finish, no additional finishing is required. For wood veneer options, you will need to apply a protective sealer after installation.


21st Century Cabinetry provides homeowners, contractors, and designers an affordable RTA cabinet option with good quality construction and materials. Their streamlined ordering process and quick shipping makes planning a kitchen remodel easier. Carefully measure your space, read all product details, and order samples to ensure you get the perfect RTA cabinetry for your project. With some advanced planning, 21st Century’s RTA cabinetry can help you create a stunning new kitchen while sticking to your budget.