Ready-to-assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets offer an affordable and customizable solution for renovating your kitchen. Assembling the cabinets yourself saves on installation costs without sacrificing style or quality. With many options to choose from, it’s important to know where to buy RTA kitchen cabinets that suit your needs and budget. This definitive guide provides tips on selecting the best RTA kitchen cabinets and trusted retailers to purchase them from.
What are RTA Kitchen Cabinets?
RTA kitchen cabinets come packaged with all the components and hardware needed to assemble them yourself. The parts simply click and screw together using basic tools like a screwdriver. RTA cabinets provide the same selections as custom cabinets at a fraction of the price since you put them together on your own time.
RTA kitchen cabinets offer styles including:
- Shaker – Classic five-piece slab doors with a versatile and timeless aesthetic. The most popular and affordable RTA cabinet door style.
- Slab – Feature a simple, sleek profile in a range of materials like wood, thermofoil, or vinyl. Cost-effective and easy to clean.
- Recessed Panel – Doors have an inset center panel with a surrounding frame. More ornate than shaker and slab.
- Distressed – Intentionally worn and weathered finishes create a rustic, vintage look.
- Painted/Stained – Available in many painted colors and wood stains to match any kitchen décor.
Quality construction with dovetail joinery, soft-close hinges and drawers, and adjustable shelves allow RTA cabinets to function just as well as custom cabinetry.
Benefits of RTA Kitchen Cabinets
RTA kitchen cabinets provide many advantages over custom cabinetry:
- Cost savings – RTA cabinets cost 50-70% less than custom cabinets, saving thousands on the average kitchen.
- Convenience – Quick and easy home delivery with self-assembly. Avoid wait times and scheduling installation.
- Customization – Mix-and-match cabinets and choose finishes to create your ideal kitchen layout. Modify as needed during install.
- Quality materials – Made from the same plywood, finishes, and hardware as more expensive cabinets. Lifetime warranties.
- Resale value – Kitchen updates recoup over 75% of costs. RTA cabinets increase home value without breaking the bank.
While RTA cabinets do not offer the full customization of cabinets made to order, the quality and options available make them an attractive choice for many homeowners and builders.
Where to Buy RTA Kitchen Cabinets
RTA cabinets can be purchased through three main sources:
1. Local Home Improvement Stores
Retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s offer a small selection of RTA cabinets on display in the store. This allows you to inspect the quality and finish options in person. Products stocked locally also ship faster for quick kitchen remodels.
- In-store shopping to see products first-hand
- Faster shipping when in stock
- Can buy accessories like trim molding together
- Limited style and size options
- Higher prices than online-only retailers
2. Online Specialty Retailers
Online companies like Kabinet King, DIY Kitchen Cabinets, and Morevnice specialize in RTA cabinets with a huge selection of styles and customization options. Shop directly from the manufacturer without showrooms and salespeople to keep prices low.
- Largest selection of sizes, finishes, and door styles
- Custom modifications like added drawers and shelves
- Unbeatable prices relative to quality
- Must purchase without seeing in person first
- Lead times up to several weeks for shipping
Yes, IKEA offers surprisingly high-quality RTA cabinets perfect for contemporary kitchen designs on a budget. Easy to assemble and made to standard kitchen sizes.
- Extremely affordable prices
- Many built-in organizational features
- Lots of matching cabinet accessories
- Limited selection of door styles and finishes
- Short warranty periods
- Might lack soft-close hardware
While IKEA works for some, specialty retailers offer better quality and customization for not much more cost. Use IKEA price comparisons as leverage if negotiating with other retailers.
What to Look for When Buying RTA Cabinets
Focus on these factors when choosing the right ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets for your space and needs:
RTA cabinets come in three main material types:
- Plywood – Highest quality material, made from bonded layers of wood. Sturdy and durable.
- Particleboard – Engineered wood product constructed from wood particles. Prone to swelling from moisture.
- MDF – Medium density fiberboard with stable density and smooth finish. Heavy yet budget-friendly.
Plywood is the best option for longevity despite the higher price. Many manufacturers use plywood doors with particleboard boxes to balance cost and quality. Look for water-resistant finishes to reduce swelling.
Door style impacts the kitchen’s overall aesthetic. Consider:
- Inset vs. Full Overlay – Inset doors have visible cabinet frames while full overlay doors completely cover the cabinet face. Inset has a more classic look.
- Shaker vs. Slab – Shaker features a patterned recessed center panel. Slab doors provide a minimalist, streamlined appearance.
- Paint/Stain Grade – Paint grade doors come pre-primed for painting. Stain grade has visible wood grain to stain.
Mix and match door designs for a custom look catered to your taste.
Pay attention to the hardware details that impact functionality:
- Drawer glides – Look for full extension glides for full access and soft-close to prevent slamming.
- Hinges – Concealed “Euro” style hinges provide a clean, integrated look. Require accurate installation.
- Door hinges – Soft-close hinges prevent cabinet door slamming and broken fingers!
Better hardware improves durability and makes cabinets feel luxurious.
Organization & Storage
Think about how you want to configure and access cabinet storage:
- Drawers – Excellent for organizing pots, pans, and utensils of all sizes. Full-extension drawer glides provide complete access.
- Pull-out shelves – Create easy access to back corners and base cabinets. Great for food, appliances, and cookbooks.
- Wastebasket pull-outs – Hide garbage cans in base cabinet pull-out drawer to save space.
- Glass door cabinets – Display and access glasses, dishes, and décor while keeping dust out.
- Roll-out trays – Use to access items in deep corner cabinet spaces. Easy upgrade.
Allocating cabinet space for your needs results in a more functional kitchen.
Choose cabinet colors and finishes that coordinate well with your countertop selections:
- Neutral painted cabinets suit any countertop from granite to quartz.
- Wood cabinets pair nicely with butcher block, concrete, or stone slabs.
- White thermofoil cabinets create a modern look with solid surfaces like Caesarstone.
- Dark stained cabinets provide bold contrast to light granite or marble counters.
Plan colors and textures to align with the overall kitchen design and color scheme.
Seeking third-party certification helps identify better RTA cabinet manufacturers:
- KCMA Certified – Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association standard indicates rigorous testing procedures were met.
- CARB Compliant – Verifies formaldehyde emissions meet standards for safety and air quality.
- FSC Certified – The Forest Stewardship Council sets responsible practices for sourcing lumber. An eco-friendly choice.
Reputable retailers also offer warranties of 5 years or more as an assurance of durability. Shop with confidence from proven brands.
How Much do RTA Kitchen Cabinets Cost?
RTA kitchen cabinets range from $50 per cabinet up to $300 depending on size, materials, and features. Expect to spend an average of $100-150 per cabinet. Luxury options with custom modifications can reach $500+ per cabinet.
For the average 10 x 10 kitchen, total costs typically fall between:
- Economy – $2,500-$3,500
- Mid-Range – $3,500-$5,000
- High-End – $6,000-$12,000
Refacing just cabinet doors and drawer fronts instead of replacing boxes can save thousands. Expect to pay around 60% of full cabinet costs.
In comparison, custom cabinets normally start at $15,000 and exceed $30,000. RTA cabinets provide huge savings, especially when installing yourself.
Use the number of cabinets needed to estimate total costs for your unique kitchen layout. Accurately measuring and planning your cabinets will result in the best use of your budget.
How to Install RTA Kitchen Cabinets
Assembling and installing RTA kitchen cabinets takes some handyman skills and time but no prior experience is required. Follow these general steps:
1. Prepare the Work Area
Before installation, take time to:
- Remove existing cabinets safely.
- Clean and repair walls/floors.
- Fill any holes and imperfections in the walls.
Cover floors with rosin paper or cardboard to protect from scratches during install.
2. Assemble Cabinets
Following included instructions, assemble cabinets on a level surface in an orderly sequence.
- Start with wall cabinets, then base cabinets and lastly, any specialty pull-out or appliance cabinets.
- Pre-drill screw holes to prevent splitting.
- Use wood glue for stronger joints in addition to fasteners.
- Let glue fully cure before hanging cabinets for best results.
3. Hang Cabinets Plumb and Level
The secret to a successful install is properly hanging cabinets:
- Mark cabinet locations on walls with their opening side widths.
- Use a laser level and shims to hand cabinets in a level and plumb position.
- Pre-drill holes for cabinet screws to Studs for strong attachment.
- Use filler strips to compensate for uneven walls.
- Secure with at least 3 screws through cabinet back or rails into studs.
4. Install Countertops
Once cabinets are secured, lay the countertops according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Place countertops on top of cabinets with overhangs aligned.
- Seal seams between countertop slabs.
- Secure from underneath with brackets, angle irons, or adhesive.
Install any integrated sinks and faucets at this point before next steps.
5. Add Cabinets Together
Fill any gaps between cabinets and complete install:
- Attach adjacent cabinets together with screws through cabinet sides.
- Use various width filler strips to cover gaps wider than 1/4″.
- Install matching trim pieces and molding for a built-in look.
- Slide drawers and shelves into place after adjustments.
6. Finish Steps
The final touches complete your dream kitchen:
- Clean up any caulk, glue, or finish drips.
- Install knobs, pulls, lighting, and any backsplash tile.
- Reinstall flooring trim removed like baseboards, quarter round, and transitions.
Now stand back and admire your beautiful new kitchen and all the money saved!
Where to Buy RTA Cabinets Online
Here are the top eCommerce websites to buy ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets for any project:
Arguably the leading online provider of RTA cabinets, Kabinet King sets themselves apart with:
- 500+ cabinet door styles from 18 brands
- Free custom cabinet design and layout services
- Excellent real wood construction and features
- Reasonable lead times, usually 2-3 weeks
- Competitive pricing with semi-annual sales
- Lifetime warranty on cabinet boxes
Their wide selection ensures you’ll find the perfect ready-to-assemble cabinets for your needs. Customization available.
In business since 2005, The RTA Store offers:
- Large selection of RTA brands like Hampton Bay and Diamond
- Free design software to plan your kitchen
- Painted, stained, and thermofoil cabinet options
- Reasonably fast production and shipping
- Price match guarantee to save money
- Excellent customer service reviews
A long history and wide array of cabinet lines to choose from.
DIY Kitchen Cabinets differentiates themselves by:
- Carrying affordable Primavera and CliqStudios brands
- Offering free design and quoting services
- Focusing on door replacement and accessories
- Providing cost-conscious RTA options
- Shipping quickly, often within 5 business days
- Lifetime warranty on door hinges and drawers
A great option for replacement doors or budget-friendly remodels.
Cabinet Joint features:
- Trendy RTA brands like Ready to Go
- Modern and contemporary door styles
- Discounted overstock specials
- Affordable prices with frequent sales
- Quick 2-3 day production and shipping
- Provides all cabinet hardware needed
Perfect for contemporary, sleek kitchen designs on a budget.
- 200+ door styles including two-toned cabinets
- Free design software with online proofing
- Painted, stained, and thermofoil finishes
- Reasonable lead times, usually 2 weeks
- Lifetime warranty on cabinetry
- RTA cabinets, countertops, and accessories
One-stop shop for cabinets, counters, and sinks at a good value.
Key Takeaways: Where to Buy RTA Kitchen Cabinets
Ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets offer convenience, customization, and huge cost savings for major kitchen upgrades and renovations. Follow these guidelines when selecting and purchasing quality RTA cabinets:
- Stick with all-plywood construction for longevity and moisture resistance.
- Focus on functional hardware like soft-close hinges/glides and pull-outs.
- Work with online specialty retailers for the lowest pricing and widest selection.
- Look for third-party certification to identify better cabinet manufacturers.
- Estimate total costs accurately by measuring cabinets needed.
- Follow proper installation steps for a successful cabinet assembly.
- Kabinet King, The RTA Store, and DIY Kitchen Cabinets rank among the top online retailers.
Investing in quality RTA kitchen cabinets from reputable vendors results in a kitchen remodel comparable to custom cabinetry at just a fraction of the cost. With some research and handyman skills, you can save thousands and still achieve your dream kitchen!