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Are RTA Cabinets Worth It

Explore the value of RTA cabinets for your kitchen remodel: cost savings, customization, DIY satisfaction, and quality considerations. Are they right for you?

Table of Contents

Evaluating the Worth of RTA Cabinets

RTA (Ready-To-Assemble) cabinets offer a budget-friendly and versatile choice for kitchen updates. These DIY-friendly cabinets cut down costs and allow for personalized kitchen designs. We’ll dive into their benefits and considerations, using insights from key articles, to determine their true value for remodelers.

are rta cabinets worth it

Cost Savings: The Financial Advantage of RTA Cabinets

Direct Comparison with Pre-Assembled Cabinets

RTA cabinets present a clear financial advantage when compared to their pre-assembled counterparts. The most notable savings come from reduced labor and shipping costs. Since RTA cabinets are shipped disassembled, they occupy less space, leading to lower shipping fees. Additionally, the DIY assembly model of RTA cabinets eliminates the need for professional installation, offering homeowners significant savings on labor.

Quality Versus Cost

The affordability of RTA cabinets does not necessarily mean a compromise on quality. While it’s true that the cost of RTA cabinets can vary widely, reflecting differences in materials and design, many high-quality options are available at competitive price points. These cabinets often feature durable materials and sophisticated designs, rivaling the quality of more expensive, pre-assembled options. The key is to carefully evaluate the specifications and materials of RTA cabinets to ensure they meet your expectations for quality and longevity, providing excellent value for the investment.

The DIY Factor: Assessing the Installation Process

Effort and Skill Requirements

The DIY aspect of RTA cabinets is a significant consideration for many homeowners. Assembling and installing these cabinets requires a certain level of skill and effort. Typically, the process involves following detailed instructions to piece together the cabinets before mounting them in your kitchen. While some individuals may find this process straightforward and rewarding, others might view it as a daunting task. The time commitment can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the cabinet design and the individual’s proficiency with DIY projects.

Support and Resources

Fortunately, the rise of RTA cabinets has been accompanied by an increase in support and resources aimed at assisting homeowners through the installation process. Many manufacturers provide comprehensive guides, instructional videos, and customer support hotlines to help troubleshoot any issues that arise during assembly and installation. These resources can significantly reduce the learning curve and make the process more manageable, even for those with limited DIY experience. The availability of such support can enhance the overall value of RTA cabinets, making them a more attractive option for a wider range of homeowners.

Weighing Pros and Cons: A Balanced View

Choosing RTA cabinets for your kitchen remodel comes with a unique set of advantages and challenges. Understanding these can help you assess their overall worth for your specific situation.


  • Cost Savings: The most compelling advantage of RTA cabinets is the potential for significant cost savings, primarily through reduced labor and shipping expenses.
  • Customization: With a wide range of styles, materials, and finishes available, RTA cabinets offer the flexibility to achieve a customized look that matches your personal taste and kitchen design.
  • Quality Options: Despite their lower price point, there are high-quality RTA cabinets available that do not compromise on durability or aesthetic appeal.
  • Learning and Satisfaction: The DIY nature of RTA cabinets provides a rewarding opportunity for homeowners to engage directly with their kitchen remodeling project, offering a sense of accomplishment upon completion.


  • Assembly and Installation: The requirement to assemble and install the cabinets can be daunting for those with limited DIY skills or tools, potentially leading to frustration or delays.
  • Time Investment: The process of assembling RTA cabinets can be time-consuming, especially for larger kitchens or more complex cabinet designs.
  • Quality Variability: The market includes a wide range of RTA cabinet qualities, and navigating this landscape to find a product that offers both value and durability can be challenging.
  • No Professional Installation: Without the option for professional installation included, any errors in assembly or installation fall on the homeowner, which can affect the final look and functionality of the kitchen.

Is RTA Right for You?

Deciding whether RTA (Ready-To-Assemble) cabinets are the right choice for your kitchen remodeling project involves weighing several personal considerations and project goals. Here’s a guide to help you navigate this decision:

Personal Considerations

  • Budget Constraints: RTA cabinets are generally more affordable than their pre-assembled counterparts. If your budget is tight, RTA cabinets can offer significant savings, allowing you to allocate funds to other areas of your kitchen remodel.

  • DIY Willingness and Skill Level: Are you comfortable with DIY projects? Your willingness to assemble the cabinets yourself and your level of handiness should play a crucial role in your decision. While RTA cabinets come with instructions, the assembly process requires time, patience, and a basic understanding of tools.

  • Time Availability: Consider the timeline of your project. RTA cabinets will require additional time for assembly and installation. Ensure you have enough time to dedicate to this task without rushing, which could lead to mistakes.

  • Quality and Aesthetics Expectations: Evaluate what you’re looking for in terms of cabinet quality and design. RTA cabinets offer a wide range of options, from basic models to high-end designs. Make sure the RTA options available meet your expectations for durability and style.

Project Goals

  • Customization Needs: If you’re looking for specific styles, colors, or materials to fit your kitchen’s design, RTA cabinets offer a variety of options. Consider whether the available selections align with your vision for the space.

  • Kitchen Size and Layout: The size and layout of your kitchen can influence the complexity of the cabinet installation. RTA cabinets offer flexibility, but ensure that you’re comfortable measuring and planning the layout to fit your space.

  • Long-Term Plans: Think about your long-term plans for your home. If you’re renovating to sell, RTA cabinets can be a cost-effective way to update the kitchen. If you’re planning to stay long-term, consider whether you prioritize customization and the satisfaction of a DIY project over convenience.

  • Support Network: Do you have friends or family who can assist with the assembly and installation? Having a support network can make the process smoother and more enjoyable.

By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision on whether RTA cabinets are the right fit for your kitchen remodel. Remember, the best choice is one that aligns with your budget, skills, design preferences, and project goals, ensuring a satisfying outcome for your renovated space.

The Verdict on RTA Cabinets’ Worth

RTA (Ready-To-Assemble) cabinets offer significant savings, design flexibility, and the satisfaction of DIY accomplishment, making them a valuable choice for kitchen remodels. However, they require time, effort, and some DIY skill, which might not suit everyone. Ultimately, RTA cabinets are a worthwhile investment for those who value cost-effectiveness and customization in their kitchen project.

FAQs Related to RTA Cabinets

What is the downside of RTA cabinets?

The primary downside of RTA (Ready-To-Assemble) cabinets is the requirement for self-assembly and installation. This can be challenging for those without DIY experience or the necessary tools. It may also be time-consuming, potentially delaying the overall project timeline. Additionally, there can be variability in quality across different manufacturers, requiring careful selection to ensure durability and satisfaction.

Do you save money with RTA cabinets?

Yes, you typically save money with RTA cabinets. The savings come from several areas: reduced labor costs since you are assembling the cabinets yourself, lower shipping costs due to more compact packaging, and often lower prices for the cabinets themselves compared to pre-assembled options. These cost savings make RTA cabinets an attractive choice for budget-conscious homeowners.

What are the benefits of RTA cabinets?

The benefits of RTA cabinets include:

  • Cost Savings: As mentioned, the DIY assembly and compact shipping lead to lower overall costs.
  • Customization: RTA cabinets offer a wide range of styles, materials, and finishes, allowing for personalized kitchen designs.
  • Quality Options: High-quality RTA cabinets are available that use durable materials and construction methods.
  • Satisfaction of DIY: There’s a sense of accomplishment in assembling and installing your kitchen cabinets.

What is the difference between RTA and regular cabinets?

The main difference between RTA and regular (pre-assembled) cabinets is the assembly and installation process. RTA cabinets arrive in flat-pack boxes and require assembly by the homeowner or installer, whereas regular cabinets come fully assembled and ready to install. This difference affects not only the cost, with RTA cabinets generally being less expensive, but also the shipping and handling requirements, with RTA cabinets often costing less to ship due to their compact size.

What are RTA store cabinets made of?

RTA store cabinets can be made from a variety of materials, similar to pre-assembled cabinets. Common materials include:

  • Particleboard or MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard): Often used for the cabinet box and shelves, covered with a laminate or veneer.
  • Plywood: A more durable option for the cabinet box, offering better moisture resistance and stability.
  • Solid Wood: Typically used for door frames, drawer fronts, and sometimes the entire cabinet box for higher-end models.
  • Thermofoil or Laminate: Used for covering doors and drawer fronts to provide a durable, easy-to-clean surface in various colors and finishes.


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