Cabinetry- Custom vs. Manufactured

Let’s face it… all aspects involved in cabinetry can be a bit confusing, custom vs. semi custom, painted vs stained, door style, wood species… where to start? We sat down with our friend and designer, Brenda Higgins of Kitchen Comfort to compile a basic list of pros and cons of both types. While most people have their preference, we thought it would be nice to share the pros and cons of each.

Cabinetry Manufactures-  These are larger scale manufacturers that create mass quantities of cabinets. The price range can be broad but generally speaking they cost less than custom cabinets because of the large quantity they produce. These cabinets can be made to custom sizes within a 1/4″. There are many different styles of doors to choose from.

Cabinet manufactures have a machine that smaller custom cabinet shops typically do not, because the cost is very high. This machine process, applies 2 coats of catalyzed vanish and send the pieces through the baking machine, which deters oils from hands when touched. This is one plus of purchasing cabinets from a cabinet manufacture vs. a custom shop.

  • Generally speaking, less expensive
  • Typical lead time is 4-6 weeks


  • Limited wood species to choose from
  • Generally 25 paint colors to choose from, there is an up charge to select a custom color

Custom Cabinet Shop- These are smaller, local cabinet shops, because of the smaller production, these cabinets generally cost more but are fully customizable.

  • Unlimited custom capabilities
  • Generally no up charge for any paint color
  • More options available


  • More expensive
  • Typical lead time is 6-8 weeks

Wait… Another great option is to mix both! For example, the surround of the cabinets can be from a cabinet manufacture, but you are looking for a very special island in an exotic wood.  Have the island custom made a local cabinet shop to give your kitchen a unique, custom look!

Thanks Brenda!