Making a choice between RTA and custom cabinets can be tricky. You may think the primary difference between the two is quality, but it's much more than that. Sure, the delivery is different. Custom cabinets are delivered already assembled, fabricated from the manufacturer, and ready to be installed right out the box.

Custom cabinets require no assembly from the buyer, everything is finished along with the drawers and hardware parts. Ready-to-assemble cabinets are delivered unassembled, or in what is commonly known as “flat packed.” RTA cabinets needs assembling, which requires the buyer to built them then-and-there at the delivery location. A bit of DIY knowledge is essential when you order RTA cabinets; however, you will save money without sacrificing on quality.


The first thing homeowners think about when remodeling their kitchen are the kitchen cabinets and the costs. The price usually runs anywhere from $6000 up to $18,000 and more, for custom cabinets depending on the extras you might want to add to your cabinet's custom design. However today, most RTA cabinets can be ordered in a number of styles, but without the heavy price tag.

RTA kitchen cabinets have been around for some time now, and due to manufacturing improvements during the last couple of years, the quality of ready-to-assemble cabinets have been on par with the best kitchen cabinets you can find on the market today.

RTA Kitchen Cabinet Advantages

The main advantage of RTA kitchen cabinets is the cost. With ready-to-assemble cabinets, you can select the quality you desire, whether it is a bargain-priced material or a more expensive texture. No matter what the quality of the finish, when choosing RTA over custom cabinets you save a considerable sum of money. If you were to purchase the identical type of kitchen cabinet already assembled or in custom manufactured form, you are going to have to pay much more.  

Due to the superior quality to price equation, when you choose ready-to-assemble cabinets, you will more thank likely be able to afford a superior quality cabinet than if you purchased custom cabinets because they cost less. Overall, you are getting a better quality cabinet for less money.

An additional advantage of RTA kitchen cabinets is the ease of assembly. Even, if you have only minimal DIY experience, you can have your new kitchen cabinets installed within a short amount of time. In most instances, your RTA cabinets will come with high-quality hardware, pre-drilled holes, and with brackets and hinges already affixed to the cabinet sides and doors. In order to put the cabinets together, you will need basic tools like a screwdriver and maybe a rubber mallet to get started.

Quality RTA cabinets will usually have “all wood box construction.” This is quite beneficial as the RTA cabinets are long-wearing and just as robust as custom made kitchen cabinets. What's more, because RTA cabinets are sent disassembled, there is minimal chance of damage taking place during the shipping process. 

RTA Kitchen Cabinet Disadvantages

Though RTA kitchen cabinets are less expensive than custom designed cabinets, it's not all smooth sailing. First of all, you will have to put in some effort when you order disassembled cabinets. Though most producers of RTA cabinets have made assemblage quite simple, it will probably take roughly an hour or more to put the first cabinet together. After the experience of putting the first cabinet together, things will move along a little faster with the other cabinets, as you will know just what to do.

You should have a pre-planned layout of where you want your RTA cabinets to go. In addition, you will need to make sure that you are putting each piece in its proper place. There is also a possibility that you could damage the finish on the cabinet while putting them together. Nevertheless, by following instructions carefully, you should be able to prevent such mishaps.

Custom Kitchen Cabinet Advantages

When purchasing custom kitchen cabinets, they are already assembled when delivered and t installation process is basically straightforward. All it takes is a bit of know-how by either you or a service person. The installation can begin immediately as there is no need to assemble them.

Custom Kitchen Cabinet Disadvantages

The main disadvantage of custom cabinets is the cost. Manufacturers add in the labor costs of assembling custom cabinets; however, this cost is not the main expense. It's the shipping that really hikes the price up. Custom cabinets need more space because they cannot be shipped in flat boxes. This increases the cost and in turn makes them much higher than RTA cabinets.

Another thing, custom kitchen cabinets usually take a few weeks to several months longer to arrive than RTA cabinets. Therefore, if you need your cabinets fast, this is an inspect of the differences between the two cabinets that you should take into consideration.


As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages for both RTA kitchen cabinets and custom kitchen cabinets. Contemplating the choices between cost, quickness of delivery, and personal labor, you are better able to make an informed choice. You will probably, like most due to the economy and other factors affecting finances at the moment, choose to go with the most practical cabinet style that will help you cut cost but not scrimp on quality. Moreover, you are probably already aware that not too many things can offer as great a return on investment like a kitchen renovation. Therefore, you want the very best cabinets your money can buy. Luckily, you can find an attractive set of kitchen cabinets for your kitchen without breaking the bank.

There is no reason why you should not have the kitchen cabinets you desire and create your “dream kitchen.” No matter which way you change the equation, RTA kitchen cabinets come out on top, you just can't lose. Make sure to do your homework, and purchase your kitchen cabinets from the best company you can find. This way, you are guaranteed a perfect product with all the features and aspects you have been hoping for. When it's time to renovate your kitchen, go RTA, you won't regret it!