How to Identify High Quality Kitchen Cabinets From Low Quality Imposto

Is it time to redo your kitchen? If so, this is what you need to look for to tell quality kitchen cabinets apart from low-quality imposters.

Poor quality kitchen cabinets can turn your kitchen upgrade into a nightmare scenario. That's why knowing the difference between quality kitchen cabinets and their cheaper, less reliable alternatives is important when you want to renovate your kitchen.

If you're not sure what makes kitchen cabinets high quality, keep reading. We've outlined all the features you should look for when you're ready to replace your kitchen cabinets.

Plywood Construction vs Particle Board

The first thing to be on the lookout for is the material the cabinets are made out of. Most manufacturers make their cabinets out of plywood or particle board. Out of those two, aim for plywood construction.

Plywood is strong and holds screws tightly. Particle board tends to crumble anywhere you need to attach hardware. Particle board also tends to hold moisture which can cause damage and rot over time.

Full-Height Back Panels

One of the main reasons for cabinet collapse is a weak back panel. Make sure the cabinets you choose have a full-back panel made of plywood that is at least 3/8 of an inch. You'll be able to drill into the panel for wiring with no worry about it breaking.

Low-quality cabinets will use thinner panels that need to hang from rails.

Soft-Close Hinges

Check to see what hinges the cabinets you're looking at have. If they're poorly made or weak, the doors will sag over time and stop closing properly.

The best kind of hinge to have is a soft-close hinge. This is a kind of hinge that forces your cabinets to close softly and helps to ease the wear and tear of slamming cabinets.

Soft-Close Drawer Glides

Drawer glides are as important as the hinges. The glides will determine how smoothly the drawer opens and whether it can open fully or not. If your selected manufacturer uses low-quality glides, your drawers may not open all the way.

The top-quality drawer glides will have steel ball bearings. This will give you a smooth open and close and they will last a long time.

Each drawer should also hold around 90 pounds of weight.

Dovetail Drawer Boxes

You might not expect the construction of the drawer boxes themselves to be all that important, but it is. When the drawer boxes aren't constructed with dovetail joints, you run the risk of the face breaking off or the sides sagging.

Your drawers are a part of your kitchen that sees a lot of wear and tear. They'll be the first place that you start to notice issues if you don't spring for high-quality construction.

I-Beam Construction

I-beams are a beam that is used to provide extra strength to cabinets. They help them hold their shape over a long period of time and during transportation and construction.

Lower quality cabinets may use cheaper alternatives like triangular gussets that are stapled to the sides of the cabinets. These gussets don't add any strength to the cabinet.

Without the I-beam, your cabinets are more likely to change their shape, sag, and bend.

Easy to Clean Interior

Another important factor to look for is how easy the interior is to clean. You want your cabinet interior to be made out of a non-porous surface that is easy to wipe clean. It also has to be able to withstand a lot of use without getting damaged.

Lower quality cabinets have interiors that are prone to staining or are difficult to clean. They may bubble or warp when they come in contact with moisture.

Melamine is a common high-quality material used to make cabinet interiors sturdy and easy to clean.

Framed vs Frameless

Whether your cabinets are framed or frameless may seem like a purely aesthetic decision. In general, both cabinets are equally sturdy and they can both be high quality.

Framed cabinets allow the hinge and other hardware to attach to the solid hardwood frame. This can protect against damage and wear and tear over time.

However, be careful when choosing frameless cabinets. They're usually a little more expensive because of the high attention to detail that is required when installing them. If the cabinet doors are uneven, even the slightest bit, it will cause a noticeable defect.


The toekick area is where the cabinet meets the floor. It gives your feet room to move when you stand at your counter. The toekick should be completely enclosed with a strong joint, glue, and nails.

Don't get cabinets that have plastic legs. They're not as strong or stable as full-box cabinets. Plus, you'll have a new, hard-to-reach area to clean when things get stuck under the cabinet.

Ability to Customize and Modify

Another sign of high-quality craftsmanship is whether or not you can customize or modify your cabinets. When you can make your own choices about your cabinets, you're guaranteeing that they'll fit your kitchen design.

Fully customizable cabinets are more pricey. But they're higher quality and they're tailor-made to suit your kitchen's aesthetic.

Lifetime Warranty and Certification

Providing a warranty doesn't necessarily mean that the manufacturer is going to provide quality kitchen cabinets. But it does show that they are confident that their product will last a certain length of time. Look for a manufacturer that provides lifetime warranties for all the cabinets they make.

Your cabinets shouldn't start showing wear before at least 10 years of normal use. Low-quality kitchen cabinets start to show wear in 5-10 and that's typically when their warranty runs out as well.

It's Time to Update With Quality Kitchen Cabinets

Quality kitchen cabinets are usually a little more expensive. But they're an investment for your kitchen upgrade. If you spend less money on the low-quality alternatives, you'll wind up replacing them more often and you won't love the look and feel of your kitchen as much.

Don't settle for less than the best. If you're in the market for high-quality kitchen cabinets, shop our selection today.