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RTA Cabinets vs Assembled Cabinets - Which is Best for Your Home?

by Gary Wade • September 28, 2023

When it comes to remodeling or renovating your home, one of the most important decisions you'll have to make is choosing the right cabinets. Cabinets not only serve as a functional storage solution but can also enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your space. Two popular options in the market today are RTA (Ready-to-Assemble) cabinets and assembled cabinets. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of both options, compare their cost, quality, durability, installation process, and customization options. By the end, you'll have a clear understanding of which option is best suited for your home.

Pros and Cons of RTA Cabinets

RTA cabinets, as the name suggests, are cabinets that are shipped to you in pieces and require assembly. One of the biggest advantages of RTA cabinets is their affordability. Since they are not pre-assembled, they are less expensive to manufacture and ship, making them a cost-effective choice for homeowners on a budget. Additionally, RTA cabinets are typically made from durable materials like solid wood or plywood, ensuring their longevity.

However, the assembly process of RTA cabinets can be time-consuming and require some level of skill. It may involve using tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, and drills. For individuals who are not well-versed in DIY projects, this can be a challenging and frustrating task.

Another drawback of RTA cabinets is the limited customization options. While some manufacturers offer a variety of designs and finishes, the choices may not be as extensive as with assembled cabinets.

Pros and Cons of Assembled Cabinets

Assembled cabinets, on the other hand, are pre-built and delivered to your doorstep ready to be installed. One of the major advantages of assembled cabinets is the convenience they offer. Since they come fully assembled, you don't have to worry about spending time and effort on putting them together. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who have limited DIY skills or are short on time.

Another advantage of assembled cabinets is the wide range of customization options available. You can choose from various styles, finishes, and hardware, allowing you to create a unique and personalized look for your kitchen or bathroom.

However, the convenience and customization options of assembled cabinets come at a higher price point. They are generally more expensive than RTA cabinets due to the additional labor and manufacturing costs involved.

Cost Comparison: RTA Cabinets vs Assembled Cabinets

When it comes to cost, RTA cabinets are the clear winner. As mentioned earlier, their lower manufacturing and shipping costs make them a more affordable option. On average, RTA cabinets can cost 20-30% less than assembled cabinets. This significant price difference can translate into substantial savings, especially if you are working within a tight budget.

However, it is important to consider the long-term costs as well. While assembled cabinets may require a higher upfront investment, they are often built with higher-quality materials and may last longer than RTA cabinets.

This means that you may have to replace RTA cabinets sooner, incurring additional costs in the future. Therefore, it is crucial to weigh the initial cost savings against the potential long-term expenses when making your decision.

Quality and Durability Comparison: RTA Cabinets vs Assembled Cabinets

When it comes to quality and durability, both RTA cabinets and assembled cabinets have their pros and cons. RTA cabinets are typically made from solid wood or plywood, which are known for their strength and durability.

However, the quality of RTA cabinets can vary depending on the manufacturer. It is essential to choose a reputable brand that uses high-quality materials and employs precise manufacturing techniques.

On the other hand, assembled cabinets are often constructed using more sophisticated joinery techniques, such as dovetail or mortise and tenon joints. This results in stronger and sturdier cabinets that can withstand the test of time.

Additionally, assembled cabinets are usually finished with multiple coats of paint or stain, providing an extra layer of protection against wear and tear.

Installation Process: RTA Cabinets vs Assembled Cabinets

The installation process is where RTA cabinets and assembled cabinets differ significantly. As mentioned earlier, RTA cabinets require assembly, which means you will have to follow detailed instructions and put the pieces together yourself.

While this can be a fun and rewarding DIY project for some, it can be a daunting task for others, especially those with limited skills or experience.

Assembled cabinets, on the other hand, are delivered ready to be installed. This means that you can skip the assembly process altogether and focus solely on the installation. With assembled cabinets, you can hire a professional installer or do it yourself, depending on your comfort level and budget.

The simplicity and convenience of the installation process make assembled cabinets a popular choice for homeowners who prefer a hassle-free experience.

Customization Options: RTA Cabinets vs Assembled Cabinets

Customization is an important aspect to consider when choosing cabinets for your home. RTA cabinets typically offer a limited range of designs, finishes, and hardware options.

While some manufacturers may provide a decent selection, it may not be as extensive as what is available with assembled cabinets. This can limit your ability to achieve a specific style or match your existing interior design seamlessly.

On the other hand, assembled cabinets offer a wide range of customization options. You can choose from various door styles, finishes, colors, and hardware to create a look that perfectly complements your home decor.

This level of customization allows you to express your personal style and create a unique space that truly reflects your taste and preferences.

RTA Kitchen Cabinets: Advantages and Disadvantages

RTA kitchen cabinets have gained popularity in recent years due to their affordability and ease of shipping. As mentioned earlier, RTA cabinets are typically less expensive than assembled cabinets, making them a great choice for homeowners on a tight budget.

Additionally, since RTA cabinets come in pieces, they can be shipped in flat boxes, which reduces the risk of damage during transportation.

However, one of the disadvantages of RTA kitchen cabinets is the assembly process. It can be time-consuming and challenging, especially if you are not familiar with DIY projects.

Also, the limited customization options may restrict your ability to create a kitchen that perfectly matches your vision.

Ready-to-Assemble Kitchen Cabinets: Advantages and Disadvantages

Ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets offer similar advantages and disadvantages as RTA cabinets in general. They are more affordable than assembled kitchen cabinets and can be conveniently shipped in flat boxes.

However, the assembly process can be a drawback for individuals with limited DIY skills or those who prefer a hassle-free experience. Additionally, the limited customization options may not suit everyone's preferences.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between RTA Cabinets and Assembled Cabinets

When making the decision between RTA cabinets and assembled cabinets, there are several factors you should consider:

  1. Budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend on cabinets and weigh the cost savings of RTA cabinets against the long-term durability of assembled cabinets.
  2. Time and Skill: Assess your DIY skills and the amount of time you are willing to invest in the assembly process. If you prefer a quicker installation or lack DIY skills, assembled cabinets may be a better choice.
  3. Customization: Consider the level of customization you desire. If you want more options to personalize your cabinets, assembled cabinets may be the right fit.
  4. Aesthetics: Evaluate the design and finishes available for both options and choose the one that aligns with your desired aesthetic.

By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision that suits your specific needs and preferences.

Making the Right Choice for Your Home

Choosing between RTA cabinets and assembled cabinets is a personal decision that depends on several factors, including your budget, time, skill level, customization preferences, and desired aesthetics.

RTA cabinets offer affordability and durability but require assembly and have limited customization options. Assembled cabinets provide convenience, extensive customization choices, and higher quality but come at a higher price point.

By carefully evaluating these factors and considering your individual requirements, you can make the right choice that best suits your home and budget.

Save time and money with ready-to-assemble cabinets.

If you are looking for an affordable and durable option that allows for some customization, RTA cabinets may be the perfect fit for your home. However, if convenience and extensive customization are more important to you, assembled cabinets might be the better choice. Ultimately, the decision rests on your personal preferences and what you value most in your cabinetry.

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