What Are the Different Types of Kitchen Cabinets?

As you begin your search for the perfect kitchen cabinets, you may be surprised by the many types available. Deciding between stock, stock RTA, semi-custom, or custom cabinetry can be overwhelming. Much of your choice depends on your budget as well as the design of your dream kitchen. Each type of kitchen cabinet has its advantages and drawbacks. Let’s take a look at the different categories. 

Let’s start with the Kitchen cabinets option:

1. Stock Cabinets

Stock cabinets are a popular choice for those looking to update their kitchens. You can find this type of cabinet at home improvement stores, as well as online. They come pre-built, ready to use and come in a limited selection of standard sizes and styles. If you are looking to customize your cabinets, you do not want to go with stock cabinetry. With this type, what you see is what you get. There is a wide range of quality, too, so make sure that you research the cabinet you end up purchasing. 

2. Stock RTA Cabinets

Stock ready to assemble ​or RTA cabinets offer a more affordable option than others on the market. Perfect for DIY aficionados, RTA cabinets provide more versatility than stock boxed cabinetry. With a plethora of choices online, you can have these components shipped and delivered quickly. All you have to do is assemble them, and your kitchen is on its way. The craftsmanship of RTA cabinets has steadily gotten better over the years so that they are now an excellent mix of quality and value.  

3. Semi-Custom Cabinets

Semi-custom cabinets are a happy medium for many designers and remodelers. If your design vision is clear, you can tailor your cabinets to match. Without the full cost of custom cabinets, but still providing you enough license to get creative, semi-custom cabinets can be a great option. You can add on a wide variety of features, including custom hardware, stains, paints, finishes, and moldings. Stock cabinets can be frustratingly limited. With a semi-custom approach, you can fine-tune colors, styles, sizes, and decorative options.  

4. Custom Cabinets

While they are the most expensive cabinet types available, custom cabinets also offer the most freedom to create whatever you have in mind. You can envision, combine, and modify styles. It will cost you, though. Different wood types, finishes, and textures are all possibilities with custom cabinetry. However, quality can vary drastically, which can be frustrating. You pay top dollar for the customizations you had in mind, and not always for the class of the materials. Make sure that you are getting high-quality products and not just a low-grade cabinet with a beautiful façade.     


The bottom line is that no matter the type of cabinets you decide to go with, it all comes down to quality. Many stock cabinets are very reliable, durable, and trustworthy, while others are not well-made at all. The same is true for RTA, semi-custom, and custom components. Whichever cabinet type you end up choosing, make sure you are getting a top-notch product.

John Lang

John Lang is a Certified Arborist, a Certified Treecare Safety Professional, and also a member of the Friendly Tree team[1], a family-owned New Jersey tree care service, dedicated to the thoughtful and careful maintenance of your trees and shrubs. Friendly Tree Service has been in business for 26 years and remains passionate about trees and nature. With a highly trained staff that treats every property as their own and state of the art equipment, Friendly Tree is on the cutting edge of the art and science of Arboriculture.

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