Buying ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets can be an affordable way to get a custom look in your kitchen or bathroom. With so many options available, how do you know which RTA cabinets are the best choice for your space and budget? We’ve compiled tips on choosing quality RTA cabinets, as well as our top recommendations based on aesthetics, value, and durability.
What to Look for in RTA Cabinets
When evaluating RTA cabinets, there are several factors to consider:
- All-wood or wood veneer? Solid wood is more durable but pricier. Veneers and engineered woods like plywood are affordable options that can still provide a quality finish. Avoid particleboard, which is prone to swelling and chipping over time.
- Dovetail joinery? Dovetail joints on the drawers are a mark of quality construction that will last. Avoid stapled joints.
- Drawer glides: Look for soft-close full extension glides for maximum usability. Side mount glides are lower quality.
- Face frame thickness: Thicker face frames (3/4″ – 1″) resist warping better than thinner frames.
- Wood species: Oak, maple, and hickory have attractive grains. Cherry and walnut add richness. Avoid low-cost woods like poplar.
- Stains/Finishes: Look for kitchen-grade finishes that resist moisture, heat, and scratching. Stained finishes show off wood grain beautifully.
- Hardware: Sturdy, soft-close hinges and full extension drawer glides boost functionality.
- Glass: Tempered glass in cabinet doors is durable and easy to clean.
- Door styles: Consider flat panel, shaker, inset, or high-end frames like cathedral. Match your kitchen’s aesthetics.
- Storage solutions: Look for roll-out trays, spice pull-outs, adjustable shelves, and other functional designs.
- Toekick: Matching unfinished toekicks allow for customization like adding molding.
Top 5 RTA Cabinet Brands
Taking all of these factors into consideration, here are our top 5 recommendations for quality RTA cabinets in a variety of styles and price points:
1. Barker Cabinets
- Quality: All-wood construction with dove-tailed drawers, soft close hinges, full extension glides. Lifetime warranty.
- Styles: Transitional to contemporary. Many customization options.
- Cost: $$$. Excellent value for the quality.
With sturdy wood construction and excellent warranties, Barker delivers exceptional quality at moderate prices compared to full custom cabinetry. Their versatile style selection and customization options make it easy to get the exact look you want.
2. Cabinet Joint
- Quality: Solid wood frames, plywood box construction, soft-close hardware. Lifetime warranty.
- Styles: From traditional to modern with unique finishes.
- Cost: $$. Great quality for more budget-friendly prices.
For beautiful cabinets on a budget, Cabinet Joint is a top choice. Their quality rivals custom cabinetry at ready-to-assemble prices. Unique but classic finish options give you creative styling.
3. KraftMaid Cabinetry
- Quality: Solid face frames, dove-tailed drawers, kitchen-grade finishes. Limited lifetime warranty.
- Styles: Transitional styles to suit most spaces.
- Cost: $$$. Good value for solid mid-range cabinetry.
KraftMaid’s versatile transitional aesthetic works in both traditional and contemporary kitchens. Sturdy construction and popular finish options make coordinating your design simple.
4. BarkWood Cabinets
- Quality: Plywood box construction, soft-close hinges and glides. 3-year warranty.
- Styles: Economy shaker-style in limited finishes.
- Cost: $. Most affordable RTA option.
For those on a tight budget, BarkWood offers simple shaker cabinets at an entry-level RTA price point. The quality is still good for the low cost.
5. Home Reserve Cabinets
- Quality: Solid wood frames and doors, soft-close hardware, 5/8” plywood boxes.
- Styles: Minimalist, industrial, contemporary. Very customizable.
- Cost: $$$. Worth it for the custom high-end look.
Home Reserve delivers ultra-modern style using quality materials and soft-close hardware. The contemporary vibe creates a luxe designer feel at ready-to-assemble prices.
Questions to Ask Before Buying RTA Cabinets
Ready to choose your RTA cabinets? Here are some final questions to ask yourself before purchasing:
How do I make sure my measurements are accurate?
Carefully measure your space, allowing for appliances, moldings, and other details. Many retailers offer design services to ensure proper fit.
What installation hardware comes included?
Look for kits that provide sink base support rails, corner bracing, and legs for maximizing durability.
What are my countertop options?
Most cabinet retailers offer coordinating countertops in materials like quartz and laminate to create a unified look.
Does the style work with my decor?
Look for door styles and finish colors that coordinate well with your overall kitchen or bath design and architecture.
What warranty is included?
Look for at least 1-year warranties on hardware and limited lifetime warranties that cover manufacturer defects.
Does the brand have good customer reviews?
Research online customer reviews and check with the Better Business Bureau for brands known for quality and service.
Achieving the Custom Look With RTA Cabinets
The right ready-to-assemble cabinets offer beauty, durability, and customization at budget-friendly prices. Following the tips above will ensure you select well-constructed cabinets in a style perfect for your space. Take accurate measurements, secure proper installation hardware, and choose coordinating finishes to achieve a cohesive aesthetic. With quality RTA cabinets as the foundation, you’ll love showing off your kitchen or bath for years to come.