Prefab kitchen cabinets vs custom cabinets [2023]

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The kitchen cabinets you choose for your home are an important decision. Prefab kitchen cabinets vs custom? You want the right look for your kitchen. While both prefabricated and custom cabinetry have their place in the market, deciding which one is right for you can be challenging. You may wonder why someone would choose one over the other, and you’re not alone.

prefab kitchen cabinets vs custom

Here are the key points to consider when deciding between prefab and custom kitchen cabinets:

  • Budget: Prefab cabinets are generally less expensive.
  • Layout and size: Prefab cabinets come in standard sizes and may not fit irregular layouts. Custom cabinets can be tailored to fit your exact specifications.
  • Style and finish: Prefab cabinets have limited options, while custom cabinets can be fully customized.
  • Quality: Consider the materials, construction, and reputation of the manufacturer or cabinet maker.
  • Timing: Prefab cabinets can be delivered and installed quickly, while custom cabinets may take longer to manufacture and install.

Prefab cabinets are a good choice for a tight budget or a faster remodel process. Custom cabinets are a better option for a larger budget and a unique, high-quality kitchen that is tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

Several factors go into picking suitable kitchen cabinets for your home. Doors, appliances, and drawers should fit neatly, and the kitchen’s overall look should also be cohesive. If you’re in the market for new kitchen cabinets, you’ve likely come across prefab and custom options. We’ll help you navigate the pros and cons of each type so that you can make an educated decision on which direction to take when it comes time to remodel or build your dream kitchen.

Prefab vs Custom Kitchen Cabinets: Cost, Installation Time, and Size

Type Average Cost Average Installation Time
Prefab Kitchen Cabinets $4,000 to $9,000 1 to 2 weeks
Custom Kitchen Cabinets $4,500 to $15,000 4 to 6 weeks

What is Prefab Cabinetry

Prefabricated cabinets, also known as stock cabinets, are ready-made cabinets assembled in a factory. They are usually made of solid wood but can also be made of other materials such as plastic and metal.

Prefabricated cabinets have always been a trend in the home design world. These high-quality stock cabinets are less expensive than custom ones, which makes them more accessible to the average homeowner. While they might not be as customizable as their counterparts, they offer an incredible number of style and color combination options.

Pros of Prefab Kitchen Cabinets

Prefabricated kitchen cabinets are an easy addition to your kitchen space without all the hassle. They’re simple, easy to install, and come in various styles and colors. The pros of using prefab cabinets for your kitchen renovation include:

Prefab kitchen cabinets will have premade hardware for all the drawers and doors

Prefab kitchen cabinets are a good option for people who don’t have much time to install their cabinets or those who don’t want to be responsible for installing them. You will also find that prefab cabinets are generally easier to install than custom-built cabinets.

prefab kitchen cabinets vs custom option

If you’re like me and don’t know much about how these things work, imagine your kitchen with all its drawers hanging open. You can see how easily the drawer fronts can fall off after installation. This is where those premade hardware pieces come in handy—all you need is an Allen wrench or screwdriver (depending on what kind of screws you’re using), some pliers, and maybe even a hammer if anything gets stuck along the way.

Cost effective

Prefab cabinets are less expensive than custom cabinets because they don’t require as much labor or material. You can get great-looking cabinets at a lower price with prefab cabinets.

Easier installation

When you buy custom cabinets, you must hire a contractor and wait weeks for them to be made and shipped to your home. With prefab cabinets, you order them online, and they arrive at your house within days! You can install them in an afternoon or two with minimal tools.


Choosing prefabricated cabinets gives you many options regarding style and color—from traditional styles like Shaker style and Craftsman style, to modern styles like industrial chic or shaker distressed white. There are also many different sizes available, so you can find one that fits your space perfectly!

Cons of Prefab Kitchen Cabinets

The biggest drawback with prefab cabinets is that they don’t always fit your space properly. It can be difficult to find a match for your existing cabinet sizes. You might need to make some adjustments to your walls or flooring. You may have to go through several repetitions before getting everything right.

Another drawback is the installation time. Prefab kitchen cabinets take longer to install. Because prefabs are made offsite and brought in by truck or freight train (or even shipped via airplane), they take longer to arrive at their final destination in your home.

What is Custom Cabinetry

Custom kitchen cabinets are built to your specifications by cabinet makers. That means they’re made to fit your kitchen exactly and reflect your style, budget, needs, and space.

Custom cabinetry can be made using various materials (including wood or laminate). With custom cabinets, you have more control over the look and feel of your kitchen than ever before. From the shape to the finish—everything is up for discussion!

Pros of Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Custom cabinetry is built to suit your kitchen’s needs and can be very attractive. The cabinets are made of any material you prefer, such as quality wood, laminate, or metal. Furthermore, cabinet doors can have any size and shape you like; there are no limits on what special features or design choices you can have with custom cabinets.

Aside from the advantage of being a custom cabinet, they are ahead of prefabricated cabinets in terms of storage space, higher quality, and optimal use. Most homeowners will choose custom because they believe it will fit perfectly into their kitchen.

Cons of Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Custom cabinetry is not for the faint of heart. If you want to go the custom route, expect to spend a lot of time coordinating with the custom cabinet maker and waiting for them to finish their work. You’ll also have to order all your hardware (drawers and hinges) and do your installation. Of course, this means that if something goes wrong with your custom cabinets (or even as they’re being built), it’s up to you or someone else on your team who knows what they’re doing to fix it—which could be costly if there are errors in design or construction.

prefab kitchen cabinets vs custom finish

Factors to consider before deciding between prefab vs custom cabinets

After seeing the pros and cons of each, you’re probably wondering if you should go with prefab or custom cabinets. And it’s a good question. There are a lot of factors to consider when making this decision! Here are some things to think about:

How much do you care about the look and feel of your kitchen? Custom cabinets might be your best bet if you want exactly the right color and texture. Prefab cabinets are available in a limited number of finishes, so they may not match exactly what you have in mind.

Do you have any specific size requirements? Custom cabinets can be made to fit any space, so if you need very specific dimensions, that’s one thing to consider when choosing a cabinet maker. If your kitchen has weird angles or odd components (like an island or an oven), custom cabinets will likely make more sense than prefab ones.

Are you short on time? Prefab kitchens tend to take less time than custom ones—but keep in mind that this can vary depending on how many people are working on them at once, how many mistakes there are along the way, etc.

Prefab vs custom kitchen cabinets: Installation time

The installation of custom cabinets is also more time-consuming. Because these are made to order and shipped directly to your home, they will require more manual labor to put together than prefab cabinets. On average, custom cabinets take three times as long to install as prefabricated ones because they require more precise measurements and cutting by a professional carpenter or electrician.

prefab kitchen cabinets vs custom consuming

Prefab vs custom kitchen cabinets: Cost

The cost of each type of cabinet is the same. That said, other factors can affect the overall price tag.

Installation costs: The labor cost to install either pre-built or custom cabinets is the same. However, if you hire professionals for your remodeling project, they may charge more for installing customized units because it’s more challenging and time-consuming than prefabricated ones.

Materials cost: Prefabricated cabinets generally require less material than custom ones because they don’t need extra materials such as special hinges or fancy hardware to make them look good on your kitchen island or wall cabinets.

Prefab vs custom kitchen cabinets: Size

The first thing you should consider when thinking about your cabinet style is the size of your kitchen. Prefab cabinets are available in standard sizes, making it easy to find the right fit for your home. However, with custom cabinets, you can have them made to fit any size kitchen. While this gives you more freedom and flexibility with your design, it can also make it harder to find a good deal on pricing since there aren’t any pre-existing options that are already built into a kit form (like prefab).

prefab kitchen cabinets vs custom standard

Plus, if you go with prefab kitchens, they will cost more than custom ones because they don’t require as much labor or materials during production—which means fewer savings for the company manufacturing those products!

Prefab cabinets vs custom cabinets: The verdict

When considering prefab vs custom kitchen cabinets, you should take into account the cost and installation time. Because of their size and weight, prefab kitchen cabinets are typically more expensive than custom kitchens. However, if you want an extremely tailored look for your kitchen, then it may be worth investing in a custom design (and paying more for it). I hope this helps.

What about semi-custom cabinets?

If you want to be able to choose the style and finish but not the layout, semi-custom cabinetry is a good option. They are basically the midpoint of both choices. Semi-stock cabinetry is made in a factory and delivered to your home, so they’re still custom-made. However, they don’t have all of the customization options that other types of kitchen cabinets do.

This is because manufacturers often make several different styles of cabinets—and since they know those styles will sell well—they don’t need to offer customers much freedom in how those cabinets will look once installed. They’ve already determined what goes where; you choose which style works best for your kitchen (and budget).

Semi-custom cabinets are the best option for people who want to ensure that their kitchen cabinets fit well with their home’s aesthetic but don’t want to pay more than they have to. They’re also a good choice if you need new cabinets but can’t afford custom ones—and don’t mind sticking with one of the styles offered by manufacturers.


In conclusion, we believe that both prefab and custom kitchen cabinets have their benefits and drawbacks. The key is to weigh your options carefully and make an informed decision. If cost is a significant concern for you, then prefabricated cabinets may be the way to go. Still, it might be worth considering building your cabinet designs from scratch if you want something unique or customized.

Ariel Path

With over three decades of experience in food manufacturing and kitchen design, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. My expertise spans across various aspects of the culinary world, from kitchen appliances to cooking techniques, food selection, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. My ultimate goal is to educate and inspire you in creating your dream kitchen, where functionality meets aesthetics. As a trusted source, I strive to provide valuable insights and guidance to make your kitchen remodel an enjoyable and successful experience. Together, let's transform your space into a culinary haven that reflects your unique style and meets your specific needs. See more details here.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Avatar photo
    Madison Jones

    I recently read your article about prefab kitchen cabinets versus custom cabinets and found it informative. It was helpful to understand the pros and cons of each option and to consider the various factors that can impact the cost of a kitchen remodel. I ended up going with custom cabinets for my kitchen renovation because I wanted complete control over the design and fit, but prefab cabinets could be a good choice for someone with a limited budget. It’s important to carefully consider your needs and budget before making a decision on kitchen cabinets. Thanks for the article!

    1. cropped ariel path
      Ariel Path

      We’re glad to hear that you found it informative and that you could make the right decision for your specific situation. Prefab cabinets can often be purchased for a fraction of the cost of custom cabinets, such as $10,000+ for custom compared to $5,000 or less for prefab. However, custom cabinets do offer greater flexibility and customization. Ultimately, the decision will depend on your specific needs and budget. Thank you again for your comment!

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