Kitchen Cabinets Buying Guide

Cabinets Direct has been serving New Jersey for decades as the state’s go-to choice for cabinets and countertops. We understand how overwhelming the process of choosing the right cabinets can be. What should you be looking for? What is the best value for your budget? What features will matter most for you and your family on a daily basis? We’ve put together a guide for our customers to get a sense of what to keep in mind when choosing the perfect cabinets for their home.

Cabinets Buying Guide – What to Consider

Unless you’re a woodworker or a contractor, most people don’t necessarily have a lot of experience when it comes to buying cabinets until they tackle their first kitchen renovation. However, learning ahead of buying can be crucial. Not only will cabinets set the tone for your rooms design – they will dictate what you can store and be a part of your home for years to come. In that case, here’s a brief rundown of what to consider and what to expect when you’re deciding on which cabinet brand you ultimately want to go with.


Cabinet Color Options

More premium brands are going to provide you with a greater variety of shades as well as finish quality. This can range from different shades of natural wood staining to premium color finishes that will hold up better to fading.

Framed vs. Frameless (Inset):

Framed cabinets have long been the staple of American-style cabinetry. These are easy to install and provide a wide variety of options for modification. Frameless cabinets have a larger capacity and a sleeker finish but may have some limitations when it comes to modifications and installation.

Custom vs. Semi custom

Do you have a unique space, project, or specific taste in your cabinets? Full custom cabinets will give you the most flexibility regarding your final project design. Many companies, however, carry a semi-custom version of their premium custom options. These usually give quality that approaches the more premium option but at a nice cost savings.


Materials that you will commonly encounter with cabinets are solid wood, medium density fiberboard (MDF) wood, plywood, and particleboard. Solid wood cabinets will almost always be the most expensive option. MDF, an engineered wood, is a premium alternative that allows for additional customization and provides additional protection against moisture damage, warping, and bug infestation. Plywood has often been considered a popular option because of good longevity for its construction, as well as holding its screws and fasteners effectively. Other than MDF wood, there are particle board options you will find that will likely be the most cost-effective but more prone to scratching and gouged if not properly protected.

Additional Considerations


Cabinets are an investment people only make on occasion. Due to the cost involved, having a warranty that will cover any manufacturing or durability errors can be your saving grace. Length will range from a couple years to a lifetime warranty.


Costs will dictate a project for anyone. For kitchen cabinets, prices vary significantly, from $100 to $1,200 per foot. So a 10 x 10 kitchen will cost anywhere from $2,000 to $24,000. Home Advisor projects that kitchen remodel and cabinet investments will earn you a 65% to 80% return on investment when selling your home.

KCMA Certification

Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) is the standard for third-party cabinet certification. KCMA runs cabinets through a series of tests for durability, function, and environmental/ sustainability factors. Cabinets Direct only carries KCMA-certified cabinet brands and advises customers against buying a brand that does not meet the association’s standard.

Kitchen Cabinet Brands Carried by Cabinets Direct USA

Cabinets Direct works to consistently meet the needs of our customers, whether it’s regarding the latest trends or construction materials. The following are Cabinet Brands that top our list in terms of popularity and quality. 

Understanding the rating system:

Cabinets are rated on a scale of one ($) to three ($$$) dollar signs. This is meant to provide our customers with a general understanding of where a brand may fall in terms of cost and quality.


Decora is the most premium brand offered by Cabinets Direct USA. People value these cabinets for being all wood, American made, fully custom, having an incredible variety of color and style options, and having the highest-level finishes. As a framed or inset cabinet, Decora cabinets are often described as having a more classic or country chic aesthetic. These factors have made the brand the choice of major hotel chain, Ritz Carlton. A lifetime warranty backs up the quality of these cabinets, and for good reason.

Learn More about Decora


Diamond’s main cabinet line presents an extremely popular middle ground for people looking to balance quality and cost. Just like the biggest brands, these are American-made framed cabinets with a large variety of turn-key options to meet your needs. There’s a ton of color and style options, and the semi-custom options allow for custom sizes and mods to depth, width, and height. Diamond Cabinets do not have the full customization options of an Ultracraft or Decora, but they do have many clever style and organization options for you to choose from, such as quick-release cabinet hinges. Diamond Cabinets use all plywood construction.

Learn More about Diamond

Diamond Vibe

Diamond Vibe is one of the newest lines to be carried by Cabinets Direct, and it’s already one of the most popular. An offshoot of the main Diamond Series, parent company MasterBrand created the vibe series to give customers the opportunity to experience Diamond’s excellent cabinetry at a more approachable price point. This has been done, not by reducing build quality, but by reducing the colors, organization features, and customization options. If you find yourself falling in love with a set of Diamond Vibe cabinets, you’re looking at a great deal.

Learn more about Diamond Vibe


A Cabinets Direct favorite. A 100-year warranty graces these fully customizable, American-made and manufactured cabinets. There are near-unlimited style and color options (10,000 plus styles and finish combinations!), which means that you’ll be hard pressed to stump the designers with your desired look. Frameless construction provides you with additional storage and a sleek aesthetic. Ultracraft cabinets exclusively use MDF wood in their construction.

Learn more about Ultracraft

Wolf Classic

Wolf Classic cabinets are one of the most affordable quality cabinet options for you to choose from. Wolf Classic cabinets utilize all maple construction and are American made, with plywood being utilized for siding shelves and wood being used on the dovetail drawers. Wolf’s Classic line keeps things affordable by limiting color and style options, and does not offer true customization like some of the more expensive options. Each purchase comes with a 5-year warranty.

Learn More about Wolf Classic

Wolf Designer

Wolf’s main line brings to the table a quality blend of all plywood construction, 60 stain, paint, and glaze options, and a limited lifetime warranty. Unlike the Classic line, you have 9 wood species to choose from and a wide variety of accessories and finish combinations. Wolf Designer cabinets are made and manufactured in the United States.

Learn More about Wolf Designer

Urban Effects

The newest brand to become part of the Cabinets Direct family, Urban Effects provides you with three different style options and 8 color groups to choose from, with 6 styles of doors and 11 different material choices. This allows you to mix and match to your heart’s content! These cabinets are frameless for maximum storage and a sleek modern style. Urban Effects cabinets are manufactured in Winnipeg, Canada and come with a limited lifetime warranty.

Need More Help? Let’s Talk!

Buying new cabinets can be both exciting and daunting for those who have never had the opportunity. But for rookie and veteran renovators alike, we’re here to create your ultimate home storage solutions. Use the form below to tell us a little bit about yourself and then we can schedule a free design consultation.

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