When you are ready to choose cabinets for your new kitchen, it’s an exciting milestone. Of course, you have many options for the cabinets’ style, color, and finish. Did you know that you also have a choice between ready-to-assemble (RTA) or assembled cabinets? When you’re planning your kitchen remodel, the first choice on the docket is whether to go with RTA cabinets or assembled kitchen cabinets. One option will save you money, and the other will save you time.
Here is what you need to know about RTA vs. assembled cabinets.
What are ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets?
Ready-to-assemble or RTA cabinets are shipped to you as unassembled components, with all pieces cut to size, labeled, and complete with pre-drilled holes for hardware. When you order RTA kitchen cabinets, either online or at the store, they arrive flat-packed, complete with all cabinet hardware, accessories, parts, and detailed instructions. As a homeowner, you may plan to DIY the installation. Alternatively, you can hire a kitchen contractor to assemble and install the cabinets for you. RTA cabinets are the same high-quality all-plywood cabinets as assembled cabinets – the only difference is that their assembly takes place onsite, not in the factory.
Their attractive price is the main advantage of RTA kitchen cabinets. Whether you choose to DIY the assembly or hire a contractor, you still save on the extra cost of factory construction. You also save on the shipping as flat-packed RTA cabinets cost less to ship than cabinets that are fully assembled.
What are assembled kitchen cabinets?
When you order assembled kitchen cabinets, they arrive at your home ready for immediate installation. Assembled kitchen cabinets cost more because you are paying for professional assembly by factory craftsmen, plus the extra care and packaging material needed to ship them safely, so they arrive undamaged. You do, however, save time with assembled cabinets as you only need to install them.
Still not sure about which kitchen cabinet is right for your kitchen renovation? Here are the pros and cons of each type of cabinet.
Pros and cons of RTA and assembled kitchen cabinets
Pros of Assembled Cabinets
- Ship fully assembled and finished with top quality craftsmanship — no assembly required before installation.
- Are more durable because factory assembly guarantees the right materials, machines, and tools.
- Feature all-plywood materials; there’s no particleboard or MDF used in cabinet boxes.
- Include Simply Kitchen’s limited lifetime warranty and Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer’s Association (KCMA) certification for premium cabinet standards.
- Have long-lasting, durable dovetail drawers.
- Use adjustable soft-close hinges and full-extension, soft-close under-mount drawer slides.
- Offer customizable cabinet door styles and colors.
- Provide a great option if you have the time and budget because you eliminate missing pieces or improper onsite issues.
Cons of Assembled Cabinets
- Cost more than RTA cabinets, and that could push them out of range for your Kitchen remodels budget.
- Involve additional factory labor and time, so they don’t ship as quickly as RTA cabinets.
Pros and cons of RTA cabinets
The main question we hear about RTA cabinets is: “Are RTA cabinets good quality?” The answer depends on the materials used to construct them. RTA cabinets made with particleboard and MDF will not last as long as all-plywood RTA kitchen cabinets. You also need to watch for other quality indicators such as dovetail drawer joints, I-beam construction for the base cabinets, and no evidence of staples and glue.
When you order semi-custom RTA cabinets from Simply Kitchen, you are buying premier RTA cabinets that feature all-plywood construction, I-beams, dovetail joints, soft-close, full-extension drawer glides, and soft-close door hinges.
Pros of RTA Cabinets
- Provide an excellent option if you’re tight on time or budget but still want new kitchen cabinets.
- Arrive quickly, as they are usually in stock and ready to ship within 24 to 48 business hours from order placement.
- Cost less because you complete the final assembly.
Cons of RTA Cabinets
- You must assemble and install the cabinets onsite in your Kitchen. Or you must hire a kitchen contractor to do this for you, which means extra labor costs, additional time in the schedule, and additional project management.
- With several small parts that could ship in multiple boxes, RTA cabinets can mean extra work to correctly match and attach each cabinet’s components.
- You choose from limited size options when you buy RTA cabinets from stock at a big box store.
- RTA cabinets may not be as strong and durable as fully assembled cabinets. Because you assemble them (rather than a factory craftsman), a successful installation and the long-term durability of the cabinets depends on your process and the assembly materials you use.
RTA kitchen cabinets may have a few more cons than assembled cabinets, but many homeowners and experienced kitchen contractors prefer them because they can count on quality and quick shipping. And when you hire a reputable and experienced kitchen contractor, the differences between each type of cabinet disappears. The decision then comes down to your budget and timeframe.
Can I order RTA kitchen cabinets online?
You can order expertly designed RTA kitchen cabinets online through Simply Kitchen. You can also browse our RTA and pre-assembled kitchen cabinets gallery, where you’ll see a broad selection of cabinets in styles that range from modern to traditional. You can also visit us in person at our showroom if you’re buying RTA kitchen cabinets in Atlanta.
Ready to design your RTA kitchen cabinets?
Most manufactures offer a wide variety of styles and colors in both RTA and assembled cabinets. Visit with a certified kitchen designer about your kitchen remodeling project. The designer can help you design your kitchen layout, choose the right cabinet type and style – and stay within your budget. Contact our certified kitchen designers today. You’ll receive a FREE 3D kitchen design to guide your project planning process.
At Simply Kitchen, our specialty is creating your dream kitchen, anywhere in the U.S., at a price you can afford.