Sean Ahern | Budget & Design Team | Dean Cabinetry
By Sean Ahern

When considering which cabinets are the best value for you, it is important to consider speed, quality and cost. We’re writing this blog to help explain how to judge cabinet quality.

quality cabinets
Drawer Quality of John Dean Custom Cabinetry

What does quality mean in terms of cabinetry?

Every day people use their kitchen more than any other room in their house. People gather for the holidays at a beautiful island while the holiday meal is being prepared. Few people actually know what goes into making a cabinet, and furthermore what makes a high-quality cabinet. Today we are going to take a look at some key features that set quality apart from cabinets that are barely held together with cheap hardware.

When looking to buy cabinets, remember price should not always be your first priority. You want to find a price point you are comfortable with, while getting a cabinet you can rely on for the foreseeable future. Your kitchen is a big investment, so why buy cabinets that won’t last for years to come? Now that you have found a price point, let’s look at what sets high-quality cabinets apart from the competition.

quality cabinets from dean cabinetry
John Dean Custom Cabinetry Door Materials

What do quality materials look like?

The first thing to look for is the actual building material. Does the manufacturer use all plywood, particleboard, or even a combination of both? Plywood construction will cost more, however, there are a few things that make it a higher quality for cabinetry:

  • Resists moisture better
  • Stronger due to layering wood together
  • Known for withstanding the test of time better than particleboard.

Most custom cabinetry is constructed with ¾” plywood. The industry tends to use a few types of wood while building including maple and birch as the two most common types.

What do quality drawers look like?

Now that you know you want plywood construction, how do you determine which is made better? The industry throws the word “craftsmanship” around when discussing the way the cabinet is put together. One way to tell quality or craftsmanship is to open one of the drawers. If you see what looks to be puzzle pieces interlocking that is called a dovetail. This is a very high-quality construction and has become the industry standard for drawer joints. You may also see a notched joint (rabbet joint) which is usually held together by a few staples. Just the description paints a picture of how over time the dovetail will look better and last longer.

high quality cabinets
High-Quality Self-Close Cabinet Door Hinge
Image: Grass

What does quality hardware look like?

While you have the drawer open, go ahead and take a peek underneath to see what kind of hardware the drawer has. There are a few companies that come to mind with outstanding reputations for their soft close hinges and drawer slides. These companies are Blum, Salice, Grass, and DTC. There are others out there, however these are just a few that really stand out when talking about quality. They have a soft close feature, and they last for many years. Hardware has taken a precedence when discussing quality cabinetry as it should. Opening and closing cabinets are an everyday occurrence and the longevity of your hardware is essential.

How to put this knowledge to work?

Now that we have gone over a few things to look for, you are better equipped with the knowledge of what makes quality cabinetry. When you go out and start shopping around, be sure to ask questions. Cabinet companies are more than happy to explain the differences to you. Do your due diligence and look into the cabinet manufacturer and the quality of their products. You will be happy knowing you are getting a cabinet that lasts for many years down the road.