Cabinets can vary greatly in price. Here's an overview of the three types of cabinets in broad price segments that you'll find at stores.
Often called stock, these are inexpensive, off-the-shelf cabinets, ready to assemble and install. Many use frameless construction where the door has no lip or "reveal" around it.
These are a money-saving choice if you aren't too picky about style options or don't demand a perfect fit. More have better drawers, sold-wood doors, and other once-pricey features. And we've found basic models that perform better in our wear tests than some more-expensive models.
Many basic boxes are thinly veneered particleboard, rather than higher-quality plywood. Style and trim options, sizes, and accessories are still limited. And figure on an hour or more of assembly time for each set of base and wall cabinets.
These semi-custom models are a sound choice for most kitchens. Many use face-frame construction, where the solid-wood frame shows around the door and drawers.
Midlevel models offer many made-to-order custom options, including size, materials, finish, elaborate crown moldings and other trim, and accessories such as range-hood covers. That can make them the best-value option overall.
As with basic cabinets, features and quality can vary considerably. Boxes may be veneered particleboard rather than higher-quality plywood.
Short of custom made-to-order cabinets, these semi-custom models offer the most style and storage options.
They generally come with plywood boxes and other premium materials and hardware. Widths may come in 1/4-inch increments, rather than the typical 3 inches.
While generally less expensive than fully made-to-order custom units, models with the most features and highest quality can cost as much as some full-custom units.