Choosing new kitchen cabinets can be an exciting yet daunting task. With so many options on the market, it can be tricky to decide which style, material and price point make the most sense for your needs. Recently, ready-to-assemble (RTA) white shaker cabinets have surged in popularity for several good reasons. Here’s an in-depth look at why RTA white shaker cabinets are one of the best cabinet choices for many homeowners.

What are RTA Cabinets?

RTA stands for “ready-to-assemble.” RTA cabinets come packed in a flat box with all the pieces, hardware and instructions included. You typically assemble them yourself or hire a handyman to put them together for you.

The convenience of RTA cabinets has made them a top choice for DIYers and those on a budget. Since you cut out the middleman by assembling yourself, RTA cabinets cost 20% to 30% less than custom cabinetry. They also ship quickly, avoiding the 8 to 12 week lead time of custom orders.

Benefits of RTA White Shaker Cabinets

Here are the top reasons white shaker style RTA cabinets are a smart choice for many kitchens:

  • Cost savings – As mentioned, you’ll pay significantly less for RTA cabinets versus custom. Budget-friendly yet still good looking.
  • Ease of assembly – RTA cabinets use simple joinery like cam locks and dowels for straightforward assembly. Most DIYers can install them with basic tools.
  • Wide availability – Many home improvement stores and online retailers sell RTA cabinets in standard sizes. Easy to purchase locally or order online and ship.
  • Quick turnaround – RTA cabinets ship rapidly, usually within a week or two. No need to wait months like custom orders.
  • Simple style – The classic shaker style has clean lines and minimal ornamentation for a timeless look. White finishes enlarge and brighten.
  • Material options – RTA shaker cabinets come in wood, thermofoil or painted finishes. Choose the look you want at different price points.
  • Customization possible – Some RTA manufacturers offer custom cabinet sizes and storage options for a semi-custom solution.

For all these reasons, RTA shaker cabinets present a practical and stylish option worth considering for your next kitchen revamp. Let’s look closer at the timeless white shaker style.

Why Choose the Shaker Style?

Shaker style cabinets are characterized by:

  • A simple, flat recessed or raised panel door design
  • Door fronts that are usually made of solid wood
  • Minimal ornamentation – no elaborate trim
  • Slab drawer fronts
  • Clean lines for a minimalist, functional aesthetic

The Shaker style originated with the Shakers, a religious sect known for their focus on simplicity, utility and craftsmanship. Today, the pared-down, classic Shaker look offers an adaptable foundational style for kitchens of all types.

White Shaker cabinets exploded in popularity within the last decade. The light and airy look pairs beautifully with any color scheme, from bold hues to sleek monochromatics. Crisp white cabinetry makes small spaces appear larger as well.

RTA manufacturers recognized the mass appeal of the failproof white Shaker style. As a result, white Shaker RTA cabinets became widely accessible for the mass market.

Best Materials for RTA White Shaker Cabinets

RTA cabinetry comes in a range of materials at different price points. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Plywood – Offered painted or stain-ready. Durable and budget-friendly.
  • Melamine – Thermofoil laminate resists chipping, scratching and water damage. Affordable.
  • Solid wood – Usually oak, maple or birch. Stain-ready for a rich wood look. Higher end.
  • MDF – Paints and stains well. Contains formaldehyde so ventilate well when cutting.

For white Shaker cabinets, painted finishes work best for a fresh, light look. Plywood and MDF take paint well. Melamine thermfoil provides a built-in white finish.

Solid wood can also be painted, though you’ll pay a premium for the upgrade. Consider your budget and how durable you need the finish to be.

Factors to Consider When Buying RTA Cabinets

Keep the following factors in mind when selecting RTA cabinets:

  • Quality of materials – Plywood boxes are more durable than particleboard. Solid wood doors surpass MDF or veneer.
  • Hardware – Sturdy soft-close hinges and full extension drawers are worth upgrades.
  • Delivery method – Assess packaging well before accepting delivery. Inspect thoroughly.
  • Hidden costs – Budget for tools, shipping, assembly help as needed. Add at least 15%.
  • Lead time – Some companies stock items for quicker delivery. Custom sizes or colors may take 4+ weeks.
  • Replaceability – Can you re-order specific cabinets or door fronts as needed down the road?

Doing a bit of homework upfront helps ensure your RTA cabinets meet expectations and fit your space properly.

What are the Best RTA Brands for White Shaker Cabinets?

While RTA cabinets were formerly considered lower-end, many companies now manufacture attractive, quality cabinetry that competes with custom. Here are some of the best RTA brands that offer white Shaker cabinet lines:

KraftMaid Cabinetry

KraftMaid leads the RTA market in quality and brand recognition. Their Diamond line has excellent reviews. Made of solid maple and birch with dovetail drawers and soft-close hinges. KraftMaid offers custom sizes and organization.

Hampton Bay

Carried exclusively by Home Depot, Hampton Bay is among the most budget-friendly RTA cabinet options. Choose melamine or unfinished cabinets to paint yourself. Quick delivery.

CabinetDirect RTA

For well-made plywood RTA cabinets, CabinetDirect is a great choice. Their Espresso line includes upgrades like soft-close drawers and adjustable shelves. Standard sizes ship quickly.

Barker Cabinets

This RTA company focuses on eco-friendly manufacturing and materials like formaldehyde-free MDF and recycled wood content. Their Essex line features clean shaker styles.

Cabinets To Go

For affordable thermofoil cabinets, Cabinets To Go is a reliable choice. Their York Shaker line comes ready to install with shelves, hinges and drawers.

No matter your project needs and budget, there is an RTA company that can provide quality white Shaker cabinets suited for your space. Be sure to inspect thoroughly on arrival before accepting delivery.

Key Takeaways: Choosing RTA White Shaker Cabinets

  • For a quality, budget-friendly cabinet option, white RTA shaker cabinets are a top choice with wide availability.
  • Simple, versatile shaker style pairs beautifully with any decor. Crisp white enlarges spaces.
  • Stick with durable plywood or solid wood boxes. Upgrade to soft-close hardware when possible.
  • Leading RTA brands like KraftMaid and Barker Cabinetry offer attractive options made of quality materials.
  • Inspect thoroughly and add at least 15% to the cabinet cost for misc expenses like shipping and assembly.

With some savvy shopping, you can score stylish white shaker cabinets for your kitchen at significant cost savings. Take time to carefully measure and browse reviews before purchasing. Soon you can enjoy a fresh, functional new kitchen updated just the way you like.