RTA shaker cabinet
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BWC Basics: Are RTA Cabinets Good Quality?

RTA shaker cabinet

Before you can even decide what cabinet style is right for you, it is crucial to decide whether you want pre-assembled or ready-to-assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets. While most—but not all—cabinet styles, colors, and designs are available in both RTA and pre-assembled cabinets, there are still numerous considerations one has to make before deciding how their cabinets will arrive at their door.  

There are many sources on the internet about both of these cabinet configurations, and many of those may lead you to wonder if RTA cabinets are good quality. The short answer is that it depends—like pre-assembled cabinets, the quality of RTA cabinets depends on a number of factors. In this blog, we’ll explain what to look for on your cabinet-purchasing journey to ensure that you get quality RTA cabinets.  

What are RTA Cabinets?

Before we get into ways to determine an RTA cabinet’s quality, we need to explain what an RTA cabinet is in the first place. The good thing is that the name does most of the work for us—RTA cabinets are cabinets that come to your door ready to assemble, meaning that the purchaser needs to assemble them at home. Unlike pre-assembled cabinetry, these cabinets will be flat-packed for easy shipment, and typically include a set of instructions to help you—or someone you hire—assemble and install them. Additionally, these cabinets will occasionally include hardware that aid in assembly. 

Benefits of RTA Cabinets

Save Money on Shipping & Assembly

One of the reasons why RTA cabinets are flat-packed is that they’re more secure and less likely to be damaged in transit, but a more common reason is that flat-packed boxes are much cheaper to ship than large and bulky packages, meaning that you’re likely to spend much less on shipping RTA cabinets than you would with pre-assembled cabinetry. Moreover, cabinet manufacturers tend to charge an assembly fee for pre-assembled cabinets, which can come out to more than the cost of assembly would be on your own. The only costs that you may need to look out for when assembling your RTA cabinets on your own are hardware fees, if you choose to purchase tools specifically for assembly, or fees associated with hiring someone to assemble and install the cabinets for you. The crucial thing to remember here is that both of these fees are optional—RTA cabinet assembly can also be free.

Customization Options

One of the beauties of RTA cabinets is that they’re easy to DIY. While you can spend an arm and a leg purchasing custom cabinets from a manufacturer, you can also opt for semi-custom cabinetry by mixing and matching some of the many options available for RTA cabinets. Because they’re often mass-produced, you can trust that the most popular styles and colors will be available for you to choose from when you design your dream kitchen. 

Plywood

Quality Materials

While we’ll go into more detail about what exactly makes a cabinet quality momentarily, know that RTA and pre-assembled cabinets from the same manufacturer are typically made with the same materials as one another. The main difference between the two is the quality of assembly, meaning that it’s ultimately up to you how long your cabinets last and how good they look. Crucially, remember that a pre-assembled cabinet will be the exact same quality as an RTA cabinet from the same manufacturer—the only difference is who puts it together.

Are RTA Cabinets Good Quality

As we’ve mentioned before, not all RTA cabinets are the same. Most of the time, the quality of a cabinet will depend on the quality of the cabinet’s manufacturer. Still, we’ll explain what to look for when choosing your cabinets to make sure you get the best quality possible. 

Materials

Most cabinets are made of three different materials: particleboard (sometimes interchangeable with medium-density fiberboard (MDF)), plywood, or solid wood.

Particleboard and materials like MDF are typically made up of wood that has been broken down into fibrous materials and put back together using resin or glue. While these materials can be more durable than plywood, they’re also more vulnerable to heat, difficult to stain, and can handle less weight—all because they’re engineered products, not real wood. 

At a level just above particleboard and MDF, plywood is technically real wood, but it isn’t necessarily solid. Many companies will boast about having real wood cabinets, but what they don’t explain is that plywood is actually multiple layers of thin wood slabs, which are then glued together in different directions. Plywood is more durable than particleboard and less durable than MDF, and most importantly, it is more likely to come apart into the different layers of wood after lots of use (or, in lower-quality plywood cabinets, shortly after purchase).

The best quality material that you can get in cabinetry is solid wood. This is exactly what it sounds like—100% wood with no glue or engineering involved. Cabinets made of solid wood are durable, natural, and easy to paint, stain, and assemble. 

Additionally, pay attention to the materials throughout your potential cabinets. Many companies boast about solid wood doors, but their shelves and cabinet boxes are made of particleboard. The highest quality cabinets will feature solid wood throughout the construction.

Additional Features

Although they’re called additional features, many features, such as dovetail drawers, full-extension drawer glides, and soft-close capabilities, are primarily considered standard in the kitchen design industry nowadays. These features make your day-to-day life easier in the long run, and often they also increase the longevity of your cabinets. 

Dovetail drawers

Why are RTA Cabinets Inexpensive? 

With all of these factors in consideration, the cost of a cabinet is very complex. As we mentioned above, an RTA cabinet will always be less expensive than a pre-assembled cabinet of the same quality because the shipping is cheaper and the assembly is up to you. RTA cabinets, just like pre-assembled cabinets, can have a variety of different qualities, and just because they’re less expensive doesn’t mean they’re lower quality.

RTA Cabinets from Buy Wholesale Cabinets 

Now that you know whether RTA cabinets are good quality and what to look for to find the best quality cabinets, you can begin your RTA cabinet-purchasing journey. To buy RTA cabinets at unbeatable prices from a trusted supplier with amazing customer service, look no further than Buy Wholesale Cabinets

All of our RTA cabinets are flat-packed and feature solid wood throughout, dovetail drawers, full-extension glides, full overlay, and soft-close features. In styles like Shaker white and Shaker gray, you can’t go wrong. Contact us today for a free quote and the best RTA cabinets on the internet. 


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