Rta kitchen cabinets

13 Replies

We have used RTA cabinets from Lowes before. They are good, but not great. Would be fine for a rental property or a lower ARV resale. If you need higher quality cabinets, we really love Ikea. They take a while to ship (if you don't have a store locally) but the quality is great and they're very affordable.

I'm in the middle of building an ikea kitchen and I'm loving it so far! I worked at Lowe's for years and I think their in-stock cabinets are subpar compared to the Ikea ones, unless maybe you reinforce them a bit. It's very affordable, especially during the kitchen event. What I liked about it was the hardware with soft closing drawers and the ability to design the kitchen online. 

I agree with @Johnna F. I’ve looked at the in stock cabs at Home Depot/Lowe’s and they are way less well constructed IMO than Ikea. Some will say but the doors/frames are wood. True, but the boxes are really cheap particle board. IKea is MDF.

Everyone has an opinion on cabs and especially Ikea. I would say go buy one of each and stand them side by side keeping the price in mind. It’s worth the time invested to know what your getting.

Ikea is a different animal than HD or Lowe’s. Getting cabs is a 3-5 hour process for small kitchens by me not including travel time. Then i have to put them together. But even so I chose Ikea every time.

The Chinese RTA are comparable to Ikea. I use them if I only need one cabinet sometimes but they are a step or two below in quality to me(way better than Stock Lowe’s or HD) The plywood is flimsy and cheap to me...but that’s comparing similar priced Chinese RTA to Ikea by me. I’ve seen higher quality RTA but the price is higher than Ikea.

@Johann Jells I know.....When I said everyone I was recalling our past conversations on MDF vs Plywood. Looks like neither of us had changed our opinion or brand we stand by.

Particle board must have a use but I would never use it for cabs.

MDF on the other hand I’ve been using in cabs for over a decade. I keep an eye out for water leaks and drips but I also renovate and remove old plumbing.

To me if I worry about a tenant allowing a leak in a unit I failed in my screening of the tenant.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

To me if I worry about a tenant allowing a leak in a unit I failed in my screening of the tenant.

 I've had otherwise high functioning and dependable tenants be bizarre about maintenance things. One guy had a leak under the vanity and just put a towel there and let it go till it was coming through the ceiling below. In January I had gotten warranty service on the new range of a tenant who just moved out this month. The new tenant says the range doesn't light. I ask the old tenant when it stopped working. She says " the day after it was fixed, I thought I emailed you about it"!!!  People are weird, I'd rather get cabinets that aren't at risk of their weirdness.

More fun with MDF, I have an older kitchen with custom ply cabs but slab "inset overlay" doors of wood frame around a MDF panel. The doors below the sink are shot, the MDF panel is puffed out from water leakage.  I managed to sand, putty, and paint them enough for a while longer. This kitchen was truly lipstick on the pig, with granite tile top, porcelain backsplash, repainting cabs and, later during a turnover,  sticking an 18" DW on the end of the run with a piece of butcher block on top.

If you are still looking, I am a RTA cabinet distributor.  About 9 years ago, I started flipping out of state and could not find cabinets in the local markets that were quality and inexpensive- so I bypassed the online stores, and big box stores and started working directly with the importers. 

Here are my experiences with RTA for both flips and rentals


  • They are all plywood boxes- no swelling
  • They can be shipped anywhere-fast
  • You can either have them shipped flat boxed or prebuilt
  • If you build- screw and glue for durability
  • They are a lot easier to assemble than IKEA 
  •            (not a box in a box, Not a thousand pieces and no Schmoo directions)
  • quick turnaround once ordered
  • Soft close drawers and doors
  • The quality is high enough for 750k homes (in Denver). 
  • Most carry a multi year or lifetime warranty


  • You need to know your dimensions- once they arrive, you can not run to the store to get a piece of filler or scribe
  • Hinge and soft close hardware is not nearly as beefy as Blum. (some do offer Blum)
  • There is a learning curve- the directions are usually crap, but there are videos and not too many parts. It takes roughly 20-30 minutes a cabinet after you get the hang of it. I pay guys $20 per box to glue and screw them for me. This way the cabinets are put together for me and they make money without any whining. The first couple cabinets will take a bit longer (as will utility cabinets), but the average per hour is roughly $40.00. With a cost per box build out you can figure you budget up front and not be at the mercy of a unscrupulous sub.
  • Their inventory is sometimes backed up
  • Selection of sizes and styles is what it is. 
  • They are not custom.
  • Occasionally, they have damage from shipping- slows down production, but only usually by a few days

For the price and time for install, I really like RTA. I have done a few IKEA kitchens and there is a large learning curve- and a lot of parts. If you blow out a cam on the IKEA box, you are screwed. IKEA recommends that you use one of their installers for the build out and they are expensive. THe average per box install cost for a remodel is roughly $100/box (this includes all filler and the like.

If you are interested or have any questions, email or private message me. I do kitchen remodels as well for some of our customers and have no issues using RTA. I always bring a pre-built box out to show the customer and do a side by side. For flips and rentals- these work great and are affordable.

I hope that helps.

Originally posted by @Robbie Stanford :
Does anyone have any experience with using RTA kitchen cabinets? Do you have a good supplier, that makes quality cabinets with quality material?

It depends on if you are a retail customer or a business.. 

For retail customers, kitchencabinetkings.com is probably the best choice

If you have a business and frequently buy, there are companies who offer huge discounts for wholesale customers..

Panda Cabinets out of Tampa or A&M Supply (Artisan Mills) out of Orlando.. Both offer heavy discounts for businesses and cabinets are all wood with no cheap particle board.. They also all have soft close etc.

The cabinets pictured are from Panda.. Assembly per box is about 10 - 15 minutes for someone who is experienced assembling cabinets..

I second CabinetGiant.com.  They are a local RTA cabinet company here in KC.  

The cabinets are super easy to assemble.  You can typically put together a single cabinet in about 5 to 10 minutes.

They also come with all the bells and whistles including all wood construction, soft close drawers, etc.

We have been using IKEA for years in most of our renovations. The exception is the real low end (under 200k) where we go with box cabinets from Home Depot. Quite frankly, I have been in some $500,000 plus model homes whose box cabinets are of a poorer quality that IKEA. With IKEA you get soft close drawers, a tenant – resistant finish, and tremendous flexibility in customizing. And once you’ve been through a few, they are actually quite easy to assemble. Plus no waiting for additional pieces or changes (if you have a store nearby).

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