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Cost vs Worth of RTA Kitchen Cabinets in 2024

Are you considering RTA cabinets for your kitchen renovation? Maybe you’ve seen some ads, done a bit of research, and now you’re wondering if they’re really worth it. In this blog post, we explore the cost versus the worth of Ready-to-Assemble kitchen cabinets. We’ll break down what makes these cabinets a popular choice for homeowners, from their affordable price to their flexibility in design.

Let’s Revisit the Basics of RTA Cabinets…

Before we dive deeper into the cost versus worth of Ready-to-Assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets, let’s first understand what they are and why they’ve become a popular choice for many homeowners.


RTA cabinets are exactly what their name suggests: cabinetry that comes unassembled. They are delivered in flat-pack boxes with all the necessary hardware and instructions needed for you to put them together yourself. This do-it-yourself aspect of RTA cabinets is a major draw for those who enjoy hands-on projects or are looking to save money on labor costs.


RTA Cabinets combined with floating shelves
RTA Cabinets combined with floating shelves


Typically, RTA cabinets are made from a variety of materials, including wood, plywood, MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard), and particleboard. The choice of material often affects both the price and durability of the cabinets. Higher-quality woods like maple or cherry will cost more but tend to be more durable. Meanwhile, options like MDF or particleboard can be less expensive while still providing good aesthetics and functionality.


Design-wise, RTA cabinets come in a vast range of styles and finishes. From modern and sleek to classic and ornate, there is likely an option that fits your kitchen’s design theme. Finishes can range from laminates to wood veneers, each offering a different look and level of durability.


Custom vs semi custom cabinets


The primary advantage of RTA cabinets is cost savings. Since you are handling the assembly and installation yourself, you can often cut the total cost by a significant margin compared to pre-assembled or custom cabinetry. Additionally, the flat-pack shipping reduces shipping costs and the potential for damage during transport.


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Cost vs Worth of RTA Cabinets in 2024

Cost of RTA cabinets is going to depend on the material you choose. Solid wood, the most expensive option, offers durability and aesthetic appeal with prices ranging from about $2,000 to $6,000. Plywood, a middle-range choice, balances cost and quality with prices between $1,500 and $4,500, providing good durability. Particleboard is the most budget-friendly at $1,000 to $3,000 but offers less durability. MDF, priced from $1,200 to $4,000, is a sturdy alternative suitable for painted finishes.


Here's the graph displaying the cost comparison for whole RTA cabinets in a 10x10 kitchen, using different materials.

Read more about this on our last blog post: What Are RTA Cabinets Made Of? Material Quality & Prices Guide


But cost and worth aren’t the same. These terms, though often used interchangeably, actually describe two distinct concepts:

Cost refers to the monetary expenditure required to purchase an item. In the context of RTA cabinets, this is the amount you pay upfront to buy the cabinets. It covers the price of materials, manufacturing, and potentially shipping. Cost is a fixed number that you can quantify at the point of purchase.

Worth is more subjective and broader. It refers to the value that an item brings over time, which can include its functionality, the aesthetic appeal it adds to your home, its durability, and how it impacts the overall property value. Worth can encompass elements like how much enjoyment and utility you receive from the cabinets, how they enhance the kitchen’s functionality, and how long they last before needing replacement or repair.


White and gold kitchen
White and gold kitchen designed with shaker cabinets


In 2024, the worth of RTA kitchen cabinets is significantly enhanced by their potential to increase return on investment (ROI). For homeowners considering renovations, RTA cabinets are a financially savvy choice due to their dual impact on cost savings and added home value.


  • Cost Savings: RTA cabinets stand out as a budget-friendly renovation option. By assembling and installing the cabinets yourself, you eliminate professional installation fees, which can be substantial. This DIY approach reduces the overall expenditure involved in a kitchen remodel.
  • Enhanced Home Value: Kitchens are a critical focal point for home valuation. Modern and appealing cabinetry can transform the appearance and functionality of a kitchen, making the home more attractive to potential buyers. Despite their lower initial cost, high-quality RTA cabinets in stylish designs can significantly elevate a home’s market appeal.
  • Long-Term Investment: The choice of materials like solid wood or plywood in RTA cabinets ensures durability, reducing the need for frequent replacements. A one-time investment in good quality RTA cabinets not only enhances the kitchen’s usability and aesthetic but also contributes to the overall longevity of your investment.
  • Increased Resale Value: Homes with updated, functional, and visually appealing kitchens tend to sell at higher prices. By installing RTA cabinets, you’re likely to see a substantial increase in your home’s resale value, thereby achieving a higher ROI when it’s time to sell.

So, Are RTA Cabinets Worth the Cost…?

From my own experience, investing in RTA cabinets has proven to be a smart choice. They are cost-effective, enjoyable to assemble, and durable enough to handle daily kitchen demands. For anyone on the fence, I recommend RTA cabinets as a worthwhile investment that balances cost, quality, and personal satisfaction beautifully.


Before and After Nelson Cabinetry


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Bottom Line

The debate between cost and worth in the context of Ready-to-Assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets in 2024 offers a clear perspective: while the upfront cost is undoubtedly appealing, the true worth of these cabinets extends far beyond their price tag. RTA cabinets not only save money on installation and offer a variety of aesthetic options but also enhance the overall value of your home through their quality and durability.



As homeowners look to maximize their investment in home renovations, RTA cabinets stand out as a smart choice that balances initial affordability with long-term benefits. By choosing RTA cabinets, you invest in a product that not only meets your immediate financial and design needs but also contributes positively to your property’s market value – an investment that proves its worth over time.

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Nelson Cabinetry

Nelson Cabinetry is an online distributor of high quality kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. We pride ourselves in delivering a high quality product via an easy to use, convenient website. Placing your cabinet order has never been easier and you can do so from the comfort of your home, office or job site.


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Evan Nelson

Evan Nelson is a skilled content writer with over 5 years of experience specializing in kitchen and bath design. His expertise in the field and ability to convey complex ideas in an accessible way have made his articles a valuable resource for homeowners and design enthusiasts alike. Evan's insights have been featured in top publications like Homes & Gardens, Family Handyman, and Real Homes. He focuses on providing practical advice, innovative ideas, and detailed guides to help readers make informed decisions about their kitchen spaces. With a passion for creating content that educates and inspires, Evan's writing helps transform kitchen dreams into reality.

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