What to Know When Buying Cabinets: A 4-Point Guide

Buying cabinets for your home, no matter the kitchen or bathroom, can seem like an overwhelming task. What to know when buying cabinets can be very daunting!

We’ve put together a list of some of the most common questions we hear during the planning and purchasing process. 

What are the different types to know when buying cabinets?

Cheaper cabinets use thin panels which then require metal hanging rails with brackets, rails, and a picture frame construction.

Sometimes lesser cabinet makers will actually leave the back panel out altogether, so when you open the door you’re looking at your actual wall. There are smaller and lower kitchen cabinets mostly used in special use cases, and also cabinets that are floor-to-ceiling in your home.

To confuse the issue even further, custom cabinets can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes that are a perfect fit for your needs. There are tall cabinets, short cabinets, and medium-sized cabinets. Though there are “off the shelf” options that come in standard heights and widths, if you step up to a custom build, just about anything you can imagine can be created.

What are the different materials used to make cabinets?

There are a few different types of materials that can be used to make cabinets including particle board, hardwood, and metal.

  • Particle board is a material made from wood chips, shavings, and sawdust that are glued together and then pressed into a sheet.
  • Hardwood is just as the name suggests, a harder type of wood such as oak or maple, but often you see cherry woods as well.
  • Metal cabinets are usually made from stainless steel or aluminum.
  • There are even plastic options that can be found in the market as well.
  • In most cases, pre-manufactured cabinets are cheaper than custom ones.

Sustainable Materials Metropolitan

What are the different styles to know when buying cabinets?

There are two styles of cabinets, preassembled and unassembled.

  • Preassembled cabinets usually cost more than unassembled cabinets. You will have to pay for the time the company takes to assemble the product in case of preassembled cabinets and potentially a higher shipping cost usually as well. Pre-assembled cabinets are the most expensive but they are also the easiest to install.
  • RTA (Ready-to-Assemble) cabinets are cheaper than pre-assembled cabinets but they require more work on your part during installation.
  • Do It Yourself (DIY) cabinets are the cheapest option and they require a lot of work during installation not to mention a handy side and a boatload of tools to fabricate and install.

What are the different sizes of cabinets?

This is really a trick question. There are standard size and height cabinets that you can find in the market, but with custom builds, there are really no restrictions when it comes to size. Deep, tall, short, skinny, most can be made to your needs.

Cabinet sizes can vary between 9 to 96 inches tall.

It all really depends on your particular needs but one of our favorite options to make the most out of your space is tall cabinets as they can accommodate your needs from the very bottom to the very top of your kitchen.

  • Most base cabinets are 34-1/2 inches high (without the countertop) and 24 inches deep.

Below are averages, but custom base cabinets can come in different widths and depths.

  • Cabinet doors can range in size from 30 inches to 42 inches wide and in height from 22 to 28 inches tall.
  • Cabinet widths can range from 12 to 60 inches and can be as narrow as 9 inches.
  • Cabinet widths are usually 12 to 36 inches for drawer base cabinets and 12 to 21 inches for sink base cabinets.
  • Double-door cabinet sizes range from 24 to 42 inches.

Again, these are overall averages, custom cabinet builds will vary.


In conclusion, what to know when buying cabinets is there are 4 main points to keep in mind: type, materials, style, and size. 

By keeping these factors in mind, you will be sure to find the perfect cabinets for your home.