The question made in America or import cabinets.

The question of what Kitchen cabinets to buy seems to be a never ending one recently, do we save money on imports or spend it on American made cabinetry? I would like to start by saying there are some very good import brands available. They have put a lot of thought into their cabinets, by using better hinges and better drawer slides, they are building cabinets that are recognized for their quality.

As you will find out not all cabinets are made equal.

There are some that should be avoided at all cost, usually the lowest cost cabinets, are the lowest cost for a reason, construction, fit and finish are not up to the standards of American made, or even the better-quality imports. So, what do you buy?

If you’re thinking of just updating the kitchen in your home for resale

Then maybe an import cabinet might be the right fit for you. If you’re working on your dream kitchen and you plan on living in your home for more than 7 years, then semi-custom or custom cabinets would be a better choice. My experience as a kitchen designer selling and designing kitchens throughout the years has given me the opportunity to be involved in many kitchen remodels, and the feedback from my many clients over the years has led me to the conclusion, that American made cabinets hold up better in the long run, that’s not to say that all American brands are equal, some are inferior to import brands at double the cost.

So, what to look for, if your budget is low and the longevity is not an issue.

Stock cabinets are a good choice, American made stock or import cabinets would give you the best bang for your buck. Start with a good kitchen dealer, keep in mind that the service you receive might match the product you get. Ask questions, let them explain how the cabinets are built, examine the cabinets closely, do the drawers open and close smoothly, are the interior of the cabinets tight or are there larger gaps between the floor and back of the cabinets. What’s the warranty on hinges and drawer slides, and what is covered within the warranty? these are a few good questions to ask.

  • Kitchen Design
  • Eclipse Cabinetry
  • Ideal Cabinetry

Most warranties only cover manufacturer defects, manufacturer defects are usually found within a short period of time, ether during installation or shortly after, the factory will usually only cover replacement of the defective part or repair at their discretion. This is common throughout the cabinetry industry, they also do not cover installation of the replacement parts, that’s where a good cabinetry dealer is important, they can assist you with that.

In review, what are we looking for?

One, start with a kitchen dealer that has a good reputation.

Secondly, ask a lot of questions, inspect displays and samples, check reviews of the products you are considering.

Thirdly, if budget allows semi-custom is a great option with more finishes more modifications, and better build quality than stock or import cabinets, and remember you usually get what you paid for, don’t expect high quality from low cost options, they will always disappoint you.

And above all, In the long run if your building your dream kitchen, or plan on living in your home longer than seven years consider semi-custom or custom cabinetry, the actual  additional cost will be worth it, think about a twenty thousand dollar kitchen cabinet cost over a fifteen year period, it would be $1,333 per year for a stock cabinet, a semi-custom cabinet would be approximately $1,867 that’s only a slightly higher cost per year on a cabinet that will last and give you all the options and value you want at an affordable price.

The fifteen-year mark

Is considering the time that most people will upgrade their kitchens or move to a new property.

Import cabinetry

Will give you a lower cost by twenty to thirty five percent, it does come with some limitations.

Semi-custom cabinetry

Has more finishes more door styles more modifications, better accessories and in many cases better build quality. And let’s not forget the kitchen designer, smaller dealers offer a better buying experience and more talented designers working on your kitchen, and a personal service unmatched by the big box stores. I would say cabinets are not perfect, despite cost and brand name they are still assembled by humans, near perfect is a very high standard to reach due to woods limitations, and factors beyond the control of manufacturers and suppliers, but there are some very good options available in today’s marketplace.


Is one of the most important factors, A good installer makes the kitchen look great, an average installer can make a high price custom cabinet look cheap and poorly made, look for companies that offer cabinet installers that only install cabinets, not jack of all trades who may only install kitchens a few weeks out of the year. You wouldn’t let the local gas station work on your high-end European car, that’s not their strength, so don’t let companies that don’t specialize in cabinetry installation, work on your brand new twenty-five-thousand-dollar kitchen because they were slightly less than your kitchen dealer’s price. It does make a big difference in the quality of the installation for your very expensive investment.

I hope this helps getting you started in finding your best cabinetry solution for your home and remember to ask questions and research your brands.

I have been in the cabinetry industry for over twenty years, this is an opinion based on personal experience and client feedback and the information from various sources available throughout the industry.