Kevin Dean | Kitchen Designer | Dean Cabinetry

By Kevin Dean

If you’re looking to save money and you are somewhat handy, RTA cabinets might be a great fit for you. This is an unbiased overview of what they are, and what they are good for.

RTA stands for ready to assemble. This means that the cabinet gets shipped to you in a flat heavy box with hardware and screws and you assemble them.

RTA cabinet review:

From John Dean Custom Cabinetry’s shop floor, one of our Assemblers Zack DelVaglio…

Learn more about our shop team here…about us.

Why are RTA cabinets a good option?

They are a good option for a couple of reasons…

  1. Inexpensive. They are made with simple materials that are mass-produced. This allows companies to sell them inexpensively.
  2. Fast. Again they are mass-produced and easy to store in warehouses. This allows them to be readily available. Some RTA cabinets ship in as little as 2 days.

Why are RTA cabinets not a good option?

They might not be right for you because…

  1. Low-quality. RTA cabinets are made with lightweight materials that allow for mass production and easy shipping. Once assembled, however, the cabinets have thin sides and cheap hardware.
  2. Poor customer service. RTA cabinet companies keep their costs down by limiting their customer service. If you damage a cabinet or need a replacement it is unlikely that you can get spare parts. Rather, you will need to purchase an entire cabinet.
  3. Limited options. There will be very few door styles and finish options.
RTA Cabinet | Source: Wayfair

How do I buy RTA cabinets?

Because they are easy to ship, they often come from foreign countries.

They can be purchased online or through a cabinet distributor. A cabinet distributor will help guide you between the different options.

How much do RTA cabinets cost?

They usually cost between $150 and $200 per linear foot. If you get a quote that is more expensive than $200 per linear foot, you should consider stock cabinetry instead. Stock cabinetry is a better option for this price because they come preassembled and are usually of higher quality.

Some companies will sell RTA cabinets as stock cabinetry and assemble them for you.

Check out this article about how to measure your space for cabinetry.

Zach assembling cabinetry in the Dean Cabinetry shop.

Is it hard to assemble RTA cabinets?

If you are reasonably handy or have experience working with hand tools, you should have no problem assembling them. The parts will come in a cardboard box. You will open them up to find some finished and unfinished parts as well as screws and hardware. There will be a simple set of directions that explains how to assemble the cabinets.

You need at least a screwdriver and a hammer to assemble the cabinets. A drill is preferred to make the assembly faster.

RTA cabinets are not super popular but are easily available. The options are limited, the price is low, and they require some assembly. Talk to a cabinetry designer if you have further questions about this type of cabinetry.

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