Ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets offer a cost-effective and customizable cabinetry solution for many homeowners and renovators. With so many RTA cabinet brands on the market, it can be tricky to determine who makes the best RTA cabinets. In this comprehensive guide, we will overview the top manufacturers of RTA cabinets and help you select the best RTA cabinet brand for your unique needs and budget.
What are RTA Cabinets?
RTA cabinets, also sometimes called flat pack or knockdown cabinets, come disassembled in a flat box, with all the parts and hardware included. The cabinets must be put together on-site, usually by the homeowner or a handyman. RTA cabinets provide the look and functionality of traditional custom cabinetry, but at a fraction of the cost.
There are several key benefits that make RTA cabinets a popular choice:
- Cost Savings – RTA cabinets are significantly less expensive than custom cabinetry since no installation labor is required. You save 20-50% over the price of installed cabinets.
- Convenience – The cabinets ship directly to your door in a compact, flat box. No need to coordinate cabinet delivery and installation.
- Customization – RTA cabinets can be customized with different sizes, wood types, finishes, and accessories. This allows you to get a custom look at the cost of stock cabinets.
- Easy Installation – The cabinets assemble quickly with basic tools like a drill and screwdriver. Minimal carpentry skills are needed.
While RTA cabinets offer outstanding value, it’s important to choose a quality brand that will last. Let’s look at the characteristics to evaluate when selecting the best RTA cabinet company.
How to Choose the Best RTA Cabinet Brand
RTA cabinets vary widely in quality and price point. Choosing the right ready-to-assemble cabinet brand ensures you get great quality without overspending. Here are the key factors to consider:
The most important factor is the quality of the cabinet boxes and frames. Look for plywood box construction and solid wood frames for durability. Avoid brands using particleboard or MDF, which are prone to sagging and moisture damage. Dovetail joinery and glued corners add strength and longevity.
Opt for cabinets constructed from moisture-resistant plywood at minimum. Solid hardwood offers a premium look and feel but costs more. Also evaluate the Drawer materials – dovetail joinery and ball bearing slides are highest quality.
Quality hardware includes soft-close hinges and full extension drawer glides. Concealed 6-way adjustable hinges allow precise door alignment. Look for brand name hardware like Blum or Salice.
The finish should be thick and durable – at least a catalzed lacquer on stained cabinets. Melamine thermofoil provides excellent scratch resistance on painted cabinets.
Choose a company known for prompt communication and resolving any issues. Many stand behind their products with multi-year warranties.
RTA cabinets range from $50 – $300 per linear cabinet foot. Consider your budget but know you get what you pay for. We recommend spending at least $150-$200/lft for decent quality.
Keeping these factors in mind, let’s look at the top ready-to-assemble cabinet brands available online and through home improvement stores.
Top 6 Manufacturers of RTA Cabinets
After extensive research into leading RTA cabinet companies, here are our picks for the best ready-to-assemble cabinet brands:
1. Barker Cabinets
Barker Cabinets tops our list as the overall highest quality RTA cabinet brand. Based in Massachusetts, they bring together premium materials, impeccable craftsmanship, and innovative designs.
They use 3⁄4” solid birch wood frames reinforced with pocket screws, 1⁄2” pure birch plywood cabinet boxes, and high-end Blum hardware. Dovetail joinery adds strength and longevity to the drawer boxes.
With 8 collections and over 50 cabinet styles to choose from, you can find the perfect look from traditional to contemporary. Choose from maple, oak, cherry, hickory, and thermofoil finishes. Options like glass doors, pull outs, and lighting allow for a fully customized kitchen.
Expect to pay $250 – $400 per linear foot for Barker’s RTA cabinets. This puts them toward the high end of RTA cabinet pricing, but buyers rave that the unparalleled quality is well worth the investment. Barker RTA cabinets assemble easily thanks to high quality hardware and pre-drilled parts. The company provides exceptional customer service and will quickly replace any damaged or defective items.
In summary, Barker Cabinet’s durable all-wood construction, luxury features, great designs, and helpful customer service make them our top choice for premium RTA cabinets.
2. Cabinet Joint
For mid-priced RTA cabinets constructed with quality and care, Cabinet Joint is a great choice. They are known for combining durability, functionality, and affordability.
The RTA cabinets feature 3⁄4” solid wood face frames attached with pocket screws and 1⁄2” plywood cabinet boxes reinforced by glue and nails. Full extension soft-close drawer slides allow smooth operation.
Choose from classic Shaker, traditional, or contemporary styles in over 50 finishes including wood stains, paints, and thermofoils. Their prices range from $120 – $250 per linear foot, providing good value.
Cabinet Joint receives high marks from customers for clear instructions, complete hardware, and quick delivery across the US. They offer a limited lifetime warranty. Overall, Cabinet Joint hits a nice balance of quality construction, customizable styles, and moderate pricing.
3. Ready To Assemble Kitchens
For the most affordable RTA cabinets, Ready To Assemble Kitchens is a great budget-friendly source. As their name suggests, they specialize exclusively in RTA cabinetry.
The cabinets feature 3⁄4” plywood construction with doweled assembly and nylon corner blocks for stability. Drawer boxes use English dovetailing, full extension glides, and soft-close technology. The faces show visible seam lines from case construction.
Choose from Shaker, recessed panel, and slab style doors in over 40 finishes. Prices range from $60-$150 per linear foot. The low cost makes upgrading to solid wood frames or plywood upgrade affordable.
Customers praise Ready To Assemble Kitchens for straightforward assembly with detailed instructions. They offer excellent value for the price point. Keep in mind the quality reflects the lower cost, but overall these are good DIY-friendly cabinets for a bargain price.
Formerly known as CyberCabinet, Cabinets.com provides a massive selection of RTA cabinet styles and finishes for affordable pricing. They maintain large inventories to enable fast shipping across the US.
The cabinet boxes feature 3⁄4” engineered wood sides with laminated fronts. Drawers come with English dovetails and ball bearing glides. The quality is decent for the low price point starting around $80 per linear foot.
With over 100 cabinet door styles and 50+ finishes, you are sure to find options to match your décor. Choose different cabinet configurations, heights, widths, and depths for a fully customized kitchen.
Customers note that the instructions could be clearer, but the cabinets are straightforward to assemble. Cabinets.com provides a limited lifetime warranty on their RTA cabinetry. Overall, they offer a nice range of customizable and affordable RTA cabinet options. Just don’t expect top notch quality at this low price.
5. The RTA Store
The RTA Store provides an impressive selection of ready-to-assemble cabinets, catering to DIY homeowners and contractors alike. They partner with several manufactures to offer RTA cabinets across various price points.
In addition to standard kitchen and bath cabinets, The RTA Store offers unique items like garage storage cabinets, closet systems, pantry units, and hobby benches. Their knowledgeable customer service makes it easy to pick the right RTA cabinets for your specific application.
The cabinet quality varies depending on the collection selected. The Diamond and Platinum series use solid wood frames and plywood construction for higher end quality and performance. Base level options like Elements and Studio utilize engineered wood over particleboard cores to hit affordable price points.
One downside is that The RTA Store website can feel a bit overwhelming with the breadth of options. Still, the wide selection and customizability make The RTA Store worth considering for your next cabinetry project.
6. Interior Door and Closet Company
Beyond kitchens and baths, Interior Door and Closet Company excels at RTA closet systems, garage cabinets, laundry rooms, and more. They offer solutions throughout the home from one central company.
The cabinet boxes consist of 5/8” melamine coated particleboard with PVC edges. 3⁄4” wood veneer faces adhere to the fronts for an attractive look. The materials stand up well in storage applications. Soft-close hinges prevent slammed doors.
Choose from traditional, shaker, or slab door styles. Their proprietary KD3 assembly system allows super easy installation. Prices range from $50-$150 per linear foot depending on materials and configurations selected.
Customers love that Interior Door and Closet Company provides affordable, quality cabinets beyond just kitchens. They receive praise for prompt shipping and excellent customer service. Overall, this is a great one-stop RTA cabinet source for closets, pantries, garage storage, and utility rooms.
RTA Cabinet Pricing
RTA cabinet pricing depends on the materials, construction quality, door styles, and sizes. Here is a general breakdown of what to expect:
- Economy – $60-$120 per linear foot
- Standard – $120-$200 per linear foot
- Premium – $200-$400+ per linear foot
Keep in mind that larger kitchens can qualify for volume discounts from some brands. Semi-custom options like extended heights, depths, and more adjustable shelves usually add around 20% to the cabinet costs.
Beyond the cabinet price, make sure to factor in the cost of hardware, countertops, installation accessories, delivery fees, and taxes. Carefully calculate total costs when comparing cabinet quotes.
RTA Cabinet Pros and Cons
Ready-to-assemble cabinets offer huge cost savings, convenience, and customization compared to pre-assembled options. However, RTA cabinets also come with some inherent drawbacks to consider:
- Less expensive than custom cabinetry
- Convenient shipping and purchasing
- Highly customizable sizes and designs
- Quick and easy assembly
- Need DIY skills for assembly
- Quality and durability varies
- Limited to standard cabinet depths and heights
- Can’t see or touch prior to purchase
For most homeowners, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, making RTA cabinets an ideal choice for kitchen and bath renovations. Just be sure to select a high quality brand to get the best results from your investment.
RTA Cabinet Installation
Installing ready-to-assemble cabinets is a project a motivated DIYer can tackle over a weekend. Here are some tips for a smooth installation:
- Review the instructions thoroughly before starting. Some brands like IKEA have special tools.
- Ensure the kitchen layout follows the cabinet plan. Check for plumb walls and level floors.
- Pre-assemble the wall cabinets and mark stud locations before mounting them.
- Follow the assembly order in the instructions step-by-step. Do not skip any steps.
- Drill pocket holes and apply glue during assembly for enhanced durability.
- Use a helper for large base cabinets and granite tops. Make safety a priority.
- Work systematically around the kitchen for an organized workflow.
- Label doors and drawers to make matching hardware easy after painting or staining.
- Allow cabinets to rest overnight after assembly so doors and drawers align properly.
Also consider hiring a handyman for the installation if the scope seems too large or complex. While the assembly process itself is straightforward for most RTA systems, accurately laying out and leveling all the cabinets takes skill and patience.
Ready To Assemble vs Assembled Cabinets
Should you choose ready-to-assemble or pre-assembled cabinets? Let’s compare the key differences:
| RTA Cabinets | Assembled Cabinets |
| Lower material costs | Higher grade materials |
| Affordable pricing | Expensive, premium pricing |
| Easy DIY installation | Professional installation required |
| Not seen before purchase | View in store before buying |
| Wider variety of brands | Limited regional brands |
| Must assemble yourself | Ready for immediate install |
| Standard sizes only | More size customization |
| Wait 1-4 weeks for delivery | Faster in-stock availability |
For most homeowners, RTA cabinets provide the best mix of customization, cost savings, and convenience. The trade-off for quality is reasonable when choosing a decent mid-range RTA brand. Prioritize an excellent layout over super premium materials.
Ready To Assemble Cabinets: Final Takeaways
- Focus on construction – solid wood over particleboard and MDF. Plywood boxes resist moisture.
- Doors – Plywood panel over MDF. Veneer and thermofoil cost less but show wear faster.
- Drawers – English dovetail, soft-close undermount glides, full extension.
- Hardware – Concealed hinges, full extension drawer slides. Look for Blum, Salice brands.
- Assembly – Cam locks, wooden dowels, and pocket hole joinery for stable construction.
- Buy from a company with excellent product warranties and customer service. A few missing parts or issues should be easily remedied.
- Expect to pay at least $120 per linear foot for decent mid-grade RTA cabinets. Go lower or higher based on your budget.
- Focus most of your kitchen budget on a well-designed layout. Cabinet quality is less critical than great functionality.
- Hire a contractor or handyman if the installation scope seems overwhelming. The assembly is quick, but accurately leveling and securing cabinets in place is tricky.
Ready-to-assemble cabinets provide homeowners with an affordable and customizable kitchen remodeling solution. Following the guidance above will ensure you select a quality RTA cabinet brand that looks beautiful and functions flawlessly for years to come. Let us know if you have any other questions about the wonderful world of RTA cabinetry!