7 Ways to Evaluate Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers to Ensure You Get the Quality—and the Design—You Desire

Does any room remodel require as many decisions as a kitchen remodel? You not only have the usual choices to make about things like where the window will go and what color to paint the walls. You also have appliances, countertops, hoods, hardware, backsplashes, sinks, faucets and more to consider—oh, and cabinets. In fact, your cabinets will be one of the most important choices you make!

Now, you might think your first step is to go out and find a cabinet style you like, but we think you might be better off choosing your cabinet manufacturer first. One you’ve found the manufacturer that offers the quality and choices you like, then you can start narrowing down your search to those semi custom cabinets that will be perfect for your new room—without having to worry about quality or warranties.

To help you choose among the many cabinet manufacturers out there, we offer seven qualities to consider:

1. Longevity of the company

You want your semi custom cabinets to last for years, right? So narrow your search down to those cabinet manufacturers who have been around for a while.

2. Durability of the cabinets

Also narrow your search down to those cabinet manufacturers that are doing semi custom cabinets, unless custom cabinets are within your budget. You want to avoid the RTA (ready to assemble) cabinets if at all possible. Choosing a manufacturer that builds semi custom cabinets means getting durable cabinets that will last along with some flexibility in the sizing and design.

3. Warranties on both cabinets and hardware

Speaking of durability, consider the warranties when comparing cabinet manufacturers. No kitchen cabinet can last forever given the wear and tear that happens in the busiest room in the house. But you do want a warranty that protects you against manufacturer defects. Also make sure the hardware—meaning the hinges and drawer guides—area also protected by warranty.

4. American made

Do you really need to limit your cabinet manufacturer choices to those producing American-made cabinets? Not necessarily, but it’s a good way to ensure better quality cabinets in the end. It’s also a good way to support your fellow Americans and keep good paying jobs in the U.S. rather than have them disappear oversees. In addition, you’ll find it’s just easier to deal with a company that’s within the U.S

5. Choice of cabinet styles

OK, now we get to the fun stuff. When you’re checking out cabinet manufacturers, and after you’ve gone over the above criteria, take a look at the cabinet styles offered. Look for a nice variety that’s going to let you choose the cabinet style that can make your dream kitchen a reality. If you don’t see a style that makes your heart beat faster, take that manufacturer off your list.

6. Choice of cabinet woods and finishes

The same can be said of the choice of woods and finishes, and really, these days cabinet manufacturers should be able to offer you just about any finish, color or stain your heart desires. Some even offer custom color matching! As with the door styles, if you don’t see a finish that you love, keep shopping. As for wood, look for a manufacturer that offers a range. Standard woods include oak, maple and cherry.

7. The ability to customize

There’s a reason we call this category of cabinet manufacturers “semi custom.” These kinds of manufacturers aren’t building custom cabinets, but they can modify the cabinets they offer while still keeping the costs far below what truly custom cabinets would cost you. Look for one that offers the kinds of custom modifications you might want or need to fit your space and your vision both.

The choices of cabinet manufacturers can be overwhelming, but start your search there and soon you’ll zero in on a manufacturer you can trust. And from there you can start your search for the perfect style, wood and finish. Fun stuff!