Best White and Gray RTA Cabinets in the Business

If you want designers to design your kitchen for you or to save money on your purchase, click here

What are RTA Cabinets Made Of? Material Quality & Prices Guide

RTA cabinets offer the perfect middle ground between off-the-shelf economy cabinets and custom-built, professionally installed units. They arrive in a flat package that, with the right tools and a little mechanical know-how, you can transform into beautiful, functional storage solutions. The type of material used is one of the key elements in any RTA purchase.

Nelson Cabinetry Gray Shaker Kitchen Collection Straight Wall with Plate Rack
Nelson Cabinetry Gray Shaker Kitchen Collection Straight Wall with Plate Rack

If cabinets are on your to-do list, you’re likely to come across the term ‘RTA cabinets’ or ‘Ready-to-Assemble cabinets’, a buzzword in the home improvement game. These off-the-shelf solutions promise convenience, variety, and sometimes, significant cost savings. However, as a homeowner, contractor, interior designer, or DIY enthusiast, understanding the materials that make up RTA cabinets is crucial for determining quality and long-term durability.

What are RTA Cabinets Made Of?

RTA cabinets are typically made from a variety of materials, including solid wood, plywood, particleboard, and MDF, often finished with laminate or wood veneers for durability and aesthetic appeal.


Material Pros Cons
Solid Wood High durability, attractive natural look, adds value to home More expensive, can warp or expand with humidity changes
Plywood Strong and durable, resists warping, holds screws well More expensive than particleboard, can vary in quality
Particleboard Cost-effective, smooth surface good for laminates Less durable, prone to damage from moisture, can sag under weight
MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) Smooth finish good for painting, consistent in strength and size Heavier, harder to work with, can swell and deteriorate with water exposure

Table exploring pros and cons of common RTA cabinet materials


Solid Wood

Panels and frames made from solid pieces of natural wood define solid wood exactly as it sounds. While absolutely timeless and offering a natural, warm aesthetic, solid wood cabinets tend to be the most expensive option. However, you can maintain them for decades if properly cared for.


Plywood, often the next step up in quality and price from particleboard, consists of thin layers of wood veneer glued and pressed together. This construction gives plywood strength and resistance to warping, making it a go-to choice for areas where moisture can be an issue, such as around sinks and dishwashers.


Manufacturers commonly use particleboard in RTA cabinets due to its cost-effectiveness. They make it from wood chips, sawmill shavings, or sawdust, bound together with adhesive resins. The result is a smooth, dense board that does not expand or contract with changes in moisture and temperature like solid wood. While it’s a budget-friendly choice, it tends to be less durable than other alternatives.

MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard)

MDF, an engineered wood product, comes from wood fibers bonded using heat, pressure, and resin. It’s denser than particleboard and lacks the grain patterns of plywood, features that many cabinetmakers and homeowners prefer for a smooth, consistent finish. MDF can appear in everything from high-end cabinetry to the most budget-friendly RTA cabinets.

Cost Comparison of Materials Used in RTA Cabinets

Each material offers different benefits and comes at different price points. Here is a comparison of the most common materials used in RTA cabinets to help you make an informed decision based on your budget and requirements.

Material Cost per Cabinet (approx.) Estimated Total Cost (12 Cabinets)
Solid Wood $250 – $500 $3,000 – $6,000
Plywood $175 – $375 $2,100 – $4,500
Particleboard $120 – $240 $1,440 – $2,880
MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) $140 – $280 $1,680 – $3,360


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

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

IMPORTANT: The cost estimates provided in the graph are based on the average requirement of 12 cabinets for a standard 10×10 kitchen.


See how our designers can create your Dream Kitchen

Free 2D layout icon

Get a free 2D layout

Design & layout with as many revisions until it’s perfect!

3D rendering icon

3D rendering

High quality, realistic 3D rendering of project within 24 hours!

Itemized quote icon

Itemized quote

Quotes are detailed, transparent, and come with 15 day Price Gurantee!

Professional Grade Design icon

Professional Grade Design

Professionalism and quality so good, 15,000+ families have said YES!


Which Material is Recommended for RTA Cabinets?

Experts usually recommend plywood for RTA cabinets due to its excellent balance of cost and quality, providing durability, versatility in design, and ease of assembly, making it the ideal choice for both budget-conscious and quality-driven projects.


Homeowners value plywood for its strength and durability, essential characteristics for kitchen cabinetry. It provides resilient structure at a reasonable price, unlike solid wood, which is more expensive and prone to warping. Plywood’s layered construction also offers better resistance to moisture compared to particleboard and MDF, making it a durable choice for areas susceptible to humidity and frequent use.


Nelson Cabinetry Pull Out Shelves (Roll Out) for Base and Pantry Cabinets
Nelson Cabinetry Pull Out Shelves (Roll Out) for Base and Pantry Cabinets


Aesthetically, plywood offers versatility. You can finish plywood to mimic the look of solid wood or customize it in various styles and colors, allowing homeowners to achieve their desired kitchen aesthetics without sacrificing quality or exceeding their budget.


Additionally, DIY enthusiasts particularly favor plywood for its ease of assembly and handling. It’s less likely to split or break during installation, which reduces the risk of errors and waste. For those considering RTA cabinets as a cost-effective and practical solution for their cabinetry needs, plywood presents the best blend of durability, aesthetic appeal, and value, making it the ideal choice for both new installations and renovations.



Where to Buy Plywood RTA Cabinets?

If you’re looking for top-quality plywood RTA cabinets, Nelson Cabinetry stands out as a leading provider. We offer a wide range of styles and designs, ensuring that you can find the perfect match for your kitchen’s aesthetics. Our cabinets are renowned for their durability and strength, made from high-grade plywood that resists wear and tear, making them a wise investment for any home.


Nelson Cabinetry Gray Shaker Kitchen Collection with Diagonal Sink and Island
Nelson Cabinetry Gray Shaker Kitchen Collection with Diagonal Sink and Island


Nelson Cabinetry makes shopping for cabinets straightforward with our user-friendly website, where you can browse our extensive collection and view detailed descriptions and images. This ease of access helps you make informed decisions from the comfort of your home. Additionally, our customer service team is readily available to assist with any inquiries, providing guidance on measurements, styles, and finishes to ensure your cabinetry fits perfectly.



For DIY enthusiasts, Nelson Cabinetry provides cabinets that are easy to assemble with clear instructions, making the installation process manageable and rewarding. Our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction makes Nelson Cabinetry a top choice for homeowners looking to upgrade their kitchens with plywood RTA cabinets that combine functionality with aesthetic appeal.

Looking for new cabinets? Gray Collection or White Collection

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.


More Posts

Find us on:

Do you want a FREE 3D Kitchen Design?

Hello, we're Nelson Cabinetry. We're determined to make your dream kitchen come true. Let us take you one step closer

Your Cart

Share Cart
No Item Found
Subtotal $0.00
Shipping $0.00
Tax $0.00
Total $0.00

Please enter email to get sharable code


    Request Your Free Estimate Today

    Please prove you are human by selecting the flag.