Comparing Kitchen Cabinet Prices

Can I have a quote on this plan?  That’s how people often start a conversation, after introductions of course, with a kitchen cabinet salesperson.  Figuring out, after someone has gotten a few such quotes, which one is the best buy for the money can be difficult though.

Many times the initial kitchen cabinet prices are too high, and the design is changed to get that dollar amount lower.  A final plan is agreed on, and the design stage is over. People then often take the design to another showroom, or website, and ask for a quote on kitchen cabinet prices from them. Sometimes it’s much lower. YeeHaw, right?

Not necessarily. There are many factors that affect both kitchen cabinet prices, and you’d do well to make sure that you’re not sacrificing quality for cost. Compare apples to apples, if you want to get cliche about it. I’ll give an example based on a couple cases I’ve seen.

Brand A costs $7500. Identical layout in Brand B costs $6500. Both are plywood construction, both are maple, both have standard drawer glides, and both have similar finishes. What makes the kitchen cabinet prices different? Well, plywood construction comes in a few flavors. The most common two are all plywood and plywood sides. The former is indeed all plywood, shelves, sides, back, the whole nine yards. The latter usually has a particleboard back and shelves, but plywood sides mean that they can get away with calling it plywood box construction.

Standard drawer glides depend on one’s definition of standard, and can have a radical effect on kitchen cabinet prices. In some manufacturer’s lines, standard is full extension with soft close pistons. In other lines, standard might be side mount 3/4 extension glides.

Speaking of drawers, the drawer box construction itself affects kitchen cabinet prices. Dovetail is generally considered the best and is the default in many cabinet lines. But there are also glued and stapled drawer boxes, and kitchen cabinet prices are lower for kitchens with these kinds of drawers. It’s possible to mix the two. Dovetail drawers with sidemount glides, soft close glides with glue/staple drawer box construction… See what I mean?

Wood species in one line might have an upcharge, but not in another. I picked maple becuase I know this is true for that wood species in a couple of the manufacturers I deal with daily.

One last thing that has an effect on kitchen cabinet prices is the markup itself. If all things are equal but there’s about a grand difference between two quotes, then it could be that the higer priced supplier is just charging more. You just have to make sure, before you decide that this is the case, that all other things are equal.

Also be sure to check if somebody missed something in the cheaper kitchen. One wainscot panel on the back of an island can be in the $500 vicinity, so forgetting that will certainly drop kitchen cabinet prices. Forgetting to add toe kicks and finished sides to exposed cabinet ends can do the same thing, so be wary. Make sure you’ve got detailed lists of what cabinets are actually in the kitchen plan that someone is trying to sell you, and get all of the details that you can about the cabinet line. 

Kitchen cabinet prices are complex with lots of room for error. It’s very easy to think you’re getting a great price on kitchen cabinets when the cost difference is not really just a better price, but also a difference in kitchen cabinet quality.


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