Prefab Vs. Custom Cabinets – What’s Better For Your Kitchen Update?

3 Locations Serving New Jersey & St. Louis, MO. Our kitchen handyman services can help you make the right decision to fit your needs and budget.

Kitchen renovations aren’t cheap. And one of the most expensive parts of a renovation is new kitchen cabinets. They certainly are convenient, add a lot of storage to your home, and can totally refresh its look, but cabinets are expensive.

So you may be wondering – should you choose prefab (RTA) kitchen cabinets? Or should you invest in custom-built cabinets? At Gateway Home Services, our kitchen handyman services can help you make the right decision to fit your needs and budget.

What Are Prefab or RTA Kitchen Cabinets?

Prefab cabinets are also sometimes called RTA (ready-to-assemble) cabinets. This means the cabinets are delivered to your home in “flat packs” with all the hardware needed to assemble them. You can think of them as IKEA-style cabinets – the idea is very similar to other types of flat-pack furniture.

Most big-box stores like IKEA, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Menards, Costco, and more carry RTA cabinets, and they’re also available online from specialty retailers. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of these cabinets.


  • RTA cabinets are very cost-effective
  • A wide variety of styles & colors are available
  • You may be able to install them yourself, saving more money


  • Building and installing RTA cabinets isn’t easy for new DIY’ers and is very time consuming
  • The quality of products can vary significantly
  • Instructions may not always be clear or easy to follow

What Are Custom Kitchen Cabinets? T

As the name suggests, custom kitchen cabinets are made-to-order by carpenters and woodworkers. They offer unparalleled customizability but tend to be very expensive. Still, they are a great option, particularly if you have a unique kitchen layout or want special amenities to be installed in your kitchen – a wine fridge, for example.

In most cases, your contractor will either build their cabinets themselves or work with a local furniture and cabinet manufacturer to have your cabinets built based on your kitchen’s measurements. Here are a few pros and cons of custom kitchen cabinets.


  • Can be customized to any kitchen layout and use any color, material, and style
  • Typically made of solid wood with high-quality metal hardware
  • Extremely long-lasting with superior durability and longevity


  • Much more expensive than RTA cabinets
  • May take much longer to build and install
  • Repairing and/or replacing a cabinet in the future will be much more expensive

With our kitchen handyman and renovation services, Gateway Home Services can help you choose the right cabinets for your job!

1 thought on “Prefab Vs. Custom Cabinets – What’s Better For Your Kitchen Update?”

Leave a Comment