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Comparing Kitchen Cabinet Quality Characteristics

February 13th, 2023 | 4 min read

By Isabelle Braeutigam

Dark blue kitchen cabinets and a natural stone slab backsplash

Are you looking to purchase kitchen cabinets, but aren’t sure how to compare quality in order to make the right choice?

As a premier kitchen designer and remodeler in the Mid-Michigan area, we have lots of experience helping clients like yourself choose the right cabinets for their kitchen space.

In this article, you will learn the top 4 characteristics to compare the quality of your kitchen cabinets so you feel confident in your choice:

Kitchen with dark blue cabinets, stone backsplash, and white countertops

1. Cabinet Materials

The material used in the construction of kitchen cabinets is a key factor in determining their quality. Different materials offer varying levels of strength and resistance to wear and tear.

The most commonly used materials to construct kitchen cabinets are furniture boards and plywood.

Furniture Board

Furniture board, also known as engineered wood or hardboard, stands as one of the most frequently employed materials in the construction of kitchen cabinets. Although it might go by different names, these all refer to the same versatile material.

The manufacturing process involves pressing wood particles together using high-temperature and high-pressure techniques. This compression results in a robust and sturdy material that is highly suitable for various applications, including constructing furniture, drawers, and of course, cabinets.

One of the most noteworthy advantages of furniture board is its affordability. Among the materials available for building kitchen cabinets, it is undoubtedly the least expensive. This cost-effectiveness doesn't come at the expense of quality, though. Furniture board can still deliver a durable and functional cabinet, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious homeowners.

While it's an economical choice, it might not possess the same level of durability and resilience as other cabinet materials like plywood or solid wood.


When it comes to kitchen cabinet materials, plywood stands as a stalwart choice cherished for its exceptional qualities. Unlike furniture board, plywood is crafted from layers of crisscrossed wood that are bonded together with robust adhesive. This manufacturing process creates a remarkably sturdy and resilient material that can withstand the rigors of everyday kitchen life.

One of the standout features of plywood is its superior resistance to damage. It's less prone to warping, cracking, or splintering compared to furniture board, ensuring your kitchen cabinets maintain their structural integrity for years to come. This durability is particularly crucial in a room where moisture, heat, and constant use are par for the course.

Beyond its durability, plywood boasts a higher load-bearing capacity. This means it can support more weight without sagging or buckling, making it an ideal choice for kitchen cabinets that are expected to carry heavy pots, pans, and dishes. Whether you're an avid home cook or simply want cabinets that can withstand the test of time, plywood proves its mettle.

2. Drawer Boxes 

Dovetail Construction

How a cabinet is put together will give you insight into its quality. You will commonly encounter cabinets fastened together with either staples, nails, or screws. However, the best quality cabinets are constructed using dovetail joints.

Because more attention to detail and better craftsmanship are required for their construction, dovetail joints are typically found in higher-quality kitchen cabinets.

Side view of dovetail joint on a cabinet

Drawer Rollouts

Drawer rollouts are a high-quality feature that can greatly enhance the functionality and aesthetics of custom cabinetry. They are a popular and innovative storage solution that is designed to make the most of the space available in your kitchen.

The sliding mechanisms are built to withstand regular use and are constructed with high-quality materials that ensure they are long-lasting and resistant to daily wear and tear.

Drawer rollouts on a lower cabinet

3. Custom Cabinet Construction

Unlike mass-produced and stock-sized cabinetry, custom cabinets are professionally built and measured per job. This ensures that your cabinets are tailored to meet your storage space needs and are designed to make your kitchen not only functional but beautiful as well.

Another high-quality feature of custom cabinetry is the virtual elimination of fillers, which are narrow pieces of wood used to fill gaps between cabinets, walls, and appliances. 

Custom cabinetry is built to fit around your refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, and microwave, which results in a perfect fit and seamless integration of appliances in your kitchen.

Custom cabinetry is definitely the way to go if you're looking for the highest quality product. Instead of buying mass-produced cabinets that may not fit your space perfectly, custom cabinets are built specifically for your kitchen.

4. Soft-Close Hinges & Drawer Glides

Soft-close hinges and drawer glides are high-quality features that can greatly enhance the functionality of your kitchen cabinets. They are designed to provide a smooth and silent closing action, which can improve the overall functionality and usability of your kitchen.

Soft-Close Hinges

Soft-close hinges are a hallmark of luxury kitchen cabinets, setting them apart from their traditional counterparts. These hinges operate silently, preventing cabinet doors from slamming shut, which not only adds a touch of refinement to your kitchen but also keeps the peace in your home.

The gentle closing action also preserves the structural integrity of your cabinetry by reducing wear and tear, ensuring that your investment stands the test of time. In a luxury kitchen remodel, it's the small details like soft-close hinges that contribute to a seamless blend of elegance and functionality.

Drawer Glides

Drawer glides, often an unsung hero in luxury kitchen cabinets, play a pivotal role in both aesthetics and functionality. These discreet mechanisms ensure that your drawers slide in and out effortlessly, providing easy access to your kitchen essentials.

In luxury kitchen remodels, you'll often find top-tier drawer glides that are not only exceptionally smooth but also robust, and capable of handling the weight of your finest dinnerware or cookware. They embody the fusion of elegance and practicality, making your daily kitchen interactions a pleasure.

Whether it's retrieving a utensil or storing a cherished piece of china, drawer glides ensure that every movement in your kitchen is a seamless and graceful experience.

Next Steps to Purchasing High-Quality Kitchen Cabinets

If you're about to embark on a kitchen remodel, you've likely realized that kitchen cabinets play a pivotal role in both functionality and aesthetics. Choosing the right quality characteristics is essential.

In this article, we've delved deep into the key quality characteristics to consider when comparing kitchen cabinets. From materials to construction methods, finishes to hardware, understanding these factors empowers you to make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and preferences.

At Custom Built, we're passionate about crafting exceptional kitchens. With our 15+ years of experience, we know that quality cabinets are the backbone of a luxurious kitchen. Our expertise extends beyond this article, and we're here to help you navigate the entire remodeling process.

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Now that you know more about how to compare different types of new kitchen cabinets, let's explore the following articles as you continue to design your remodel:

Isabelle Braeutigam

Isabelle has worked at Custom Built for over 7 years, learning the systems from all sides. She has become an industry advisor in the customer relations software HubSpot, has a keen talent for elements of design, and currently leads the marketing team under the innovative TAYA system.