What is the Best Wood for Kitchen Cabinets?

If you’re thinking about buying new cabinets for your kitchen then you might be shocked at all the different options available to you and find it hard to decide what is the best wood for kitchen cabinets.

Wood is a popular choice for kitchen cabinets but there are multiple types of wood available today.

So, let’s discuss what is the best wood for kitchen cabinets.

Best Wood for Kitchen Cabinets: Pros & Cons

When looking at wood cabinets as an option for your home, there are some things you should take into account before pulling the trigger.

Here is a brief list of pros and cons.

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Wood is a robust material that can easily handle the wear and tear of day-to-day life. Things like dings and scratches and easily be filled and painted or restrained to create a like-new look.

There are many types and options of harder and softer woods to create exactly the style and look you’re going for.

There’s nothing like a natural-looking wood finish in a home. With so many options it’s easy to change the look and feel from luxurious to more cozy and rustic.


What is susceptible to humidity which over time can cause it to warp and bow.

Upkeep and cleaning may have to occur more frequently to keep your cabinets looking like new.

Wood can be cost-prohibitive if you’re on a tight budget when updating your cabinets.

Best Types of Wood for Kitchen Cabinets

One of the great things about building your cabinets out of wood is that there are so many options to choose from.

Below we’ve listed some of the more common grains that you can choose for your project.


Pine is a softwood that is popular for cabinetry because it is a lightweight wood that is easy to work with.

Pine dents easily, however, so it is not the best choice if you are looking for a wood that will withstand a lot of wear and tear in daily life.

This pale yellow wood can be stained to create different looks, and it often features knots that can give it a more rustic or country feel.

Some very select semi-custom lines may include Eastern white pines and Western white pines in their builds.


​​Ash wood is as strong and tough as oak, but it has a pale color and more distinct grain.

When it’s given a transparent or natural finish, the wood takes on a modern look.

You’re more likely to see ash in custom kitchen cabinetwork since it’s not as readily available in semi-custom lines.


Birchwood is a strong and durable type of wood grain that is known to be slightly darker in color than maple.

It’s a popular choice for many woodworking projects because it takes finishes well, and it can be stained to look like more expensive woods like cherry or maple.

Although it is prone to some irregular coloring, birch is still a relatively affordable wood compared to other wood cabinet options.


Cherry wood kitchen cabinets are extremely durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear.

They can also give a kitchen a very elegant and dressy look when used for certain classic styles.

However, cherry wood is also very versatile and can be used to create a contemporary kitchen style.

This cabinet material has a deep, rich red hue that darkens over time, providing a beautiful and unique look for your home.

The smooth, fine-grain wood is perfect for cabinets and can be stained for uniformity of color.


Hickory is a beautiful, unique wood that is perfect for those who want a rustic farmhouse kitchen.

Its grain pattern and resilience are quite similar to oak but are lighter in color. This timber has a light, pale golden yellow color which can be stained, but most people choose to leave it with a clean or natural stain to highlight its blonde tones.

Hickory is a rare choice for custom and semi-custom cabinetry, making it a great option for those who want something different in their kitchen.


A hard maple panel has a beautiful light color and a fine texture. It’s slightly more expensive than an oak panel but less dense.

Maple is a popular semi-custom and custom cabinet choice for many people because it can be stained to achieve different looks.

Most often, though, people choose to dress maple cabinets with a clear or natural finish to create a light, contemporary look in their kitchen.

White Oak

White oaks are just as durable as red oaks but need some special attention during the mill.

If you’re going for a period look in your home, white oak is generally the best way to go. However, keep in mind that white oak is usually only available as a custom option.

custom oak vanity

Red Oak

If you’re looking for wood kitchen cabinets that are strong and durable but won’t break the bank, red oak is a great option.

Best Types of Wood for Kitchen Cabinets: Alternatives

We’ve covered this topic before in other articles so we won’t go too deep into it, but just like hardware and hinges, outside of wood, there are plenty of options like eco-friendly cabinets made from reclaimed or recycled materials.

Laminate cabinets, which are compressed wood covered in a synthetic material.

Vacuum-pressed vinyl also referred to as thermofoil cabinets.

And metal cabinets such as stainless steel or aluminum that can give you a variety of shiny or brushed finishes.


Though it’s difficult to answer the question of “what is the best wood for kitchen cabinets?” directly, we hope we’ve given you enough information to help guide you in making the right choice for your own projects.