Are Chinese Cabinets Any Good?

I looked at one internet ad that boasts that you can get kitchen cabinets for your 10×10 two sided kitchen for $1800. They have ¾” thick drawer and door fronts, dovetail drawers, plywood carcasses, and they are made in China. So what’s the catch? The worst thing I have read about Chinese cabinets is that they use formaldehyde based glues, and that the plywood may delaminate in three years.

While I think that such a thing can happen, I have never run into this after using Chinese cabinets on projects for over five years. My recommendation for you if you want to use Chinese cabinets is to use common sense. First, buy from a shop that has been in business for more than a year. These aren’t hard to find. Secondly, look for basic quality: good finish, quality hardware, etc. Finally, avoid assemble it yourself cabinetry unless you really want to do it. Assembled cabinets may cost you 20% more, but they are still way cheaper than regular cabinets.

Chinese cabinets are inexpensive for basic reasons. Chinese labor is dirt cheap, they don’t offer a million finishes, they don’t offer every cabinet size available, and the finish quality won’t rock your world. Also, don’t expect to recognize the species of wood used in the cabinet, even if they call the finish “oak”. It isn’t oak as you know it.

These are bang for the buck cabinets. I have no problem recommending them, as long as you understand that they are not to be confused with better American made ones. However the Chinese cabinets will cost about 25% of what most American made cabinets cost, so….. You get what you pay for.