RTA Cabinets vs Custom Cabinets: Which One Is Right For You?

Custom kitchen cabinets

24 Aug RTA Cabinets vs Custom Cabinets: Which One Is Right For You?

One common question with any new kitchen or bathroom build or remodel revolves around the type of cabinets that you will use: RTA cabinets or custom cabinets? Of course we may be somewhat biased (we do specialize in RTA cabinets after all), but we took a neutral stance on this one and compiled a useful list of pros and cons related to each cabinet option. While custom cabinets are more expensive than ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets, we know that price isn’t always the main driving force behind your decision. This post aims to make the decision-making process a little easier by listing a few pros and cons for both custom cabinets and RTA cabinets.

Custom Cabinets

semi custom RTA cabinetsPros:

  • You don’t do the assembly and installation work. While you certainly don’t have to be a professional to assemble an RTA cabinet, you may just not have the time. If you want to sabe time and don’t want to do the work yourself, then custom cabinets could be a better option for you.
  • Custom cabinets typically have more add-on options available. With custom cabinets the only thing stopping you from creating the exact kitchen cabinets that you want is your budget and your creativity.
  • Because the company that builds your custom cabinets is likely the same one that installs them, they tend to be more flexible with last minute changes. If you initially choose white cabinets and later decide that black would be a better look for your kitchen, that’s typically do-able. Changing your white kitchen cabinets to black kitchen cabinets is easier if all the cabinet company has to do is return the paint or stain and swap it out for a different color.


  • Custom cabinets are a lot more expensive than RTA cabinets. Be prepared to spend a lot of money if you choose to go the custom route. With custom cabinets, you’re paying a higher price because your cabinetry isn’t being sold in bulk and is being built custom for your specific project. RTA cabinets are designed to fit the most common spaces with multiple configuration options, which allows them to be built in bulk, thus requiring a lower cost. You also need to factor in the cost of labor to install custom cabinets, while you can just install RTA cabinets yourself.
  • Custom cabinets typically have a longer turnaround time than RTA cabinets. Some of the specific details of your cabinets and the area where they are being designed to be installed may take significantly more time in custom cabinetry. If you want low cost cabinets with a quick turnaround time, you might consider RTA cabinets. If you have plenty of time then custom cabinets might be a good fit.

RTA Cabinets


  • RTA cabinets are easy to ship because they take up much less space than pre-assembled or custom cabinets. Knotty Alder Cabinets has mastered the shipping process, ensuring that your cabinets are delivered damage-free and exactly as you requested them.
  • If you don’t want to use them right away, you can store them. Maybe you found a good deal on our website, but you’re not quite ready to install them yet. You’re likely to find enough space in your garage to store them for a while because they do take up less space.
  • No labor costs. RTA cabinets are less expensive cabinets partially because you’re assembling the cabinet yourself so you don’t have to pay for labor. RTA manufacturers like Knotty Alder Cabinets can spread the cost over thousands of items with their streamlined machinery, which can lower the cost even more.
  • Although not 100% custom, RTA cabinets still provide a variety of customization options ranging from color and cabinet style to knobs and trim that will meet the majority of buyers’ needs and wants.


  • Self-assembly is required. Although RTA cabinet assembly is a fairly straight forward process, it does require some time and basic skills with a couple simple tools. On average, it typically takes about half an hour to assemble one cabinet.
  • Less customization. For the most part, with RTA cabinets what you see is what you get; however, Knotty Alder’s RTA cabinets come with a variety of customization options to ensure that your new cabinets meet your needs.

Ultimately, the best option for you will come down to your budget, the amount of time that you personally have available to invest into both designing (if you go the custom route) as well as assembling (if you go with RTA cabinets), your personal preferences and the space that the cabinets will fill. Browse our cabinet options to see the level of customization available with Knotty Alder’s vast selection of RTA cabinets. Often our customers are surprised to see what level of customization you can get with RTA cabinets for a great price

Have questions about which type of cabinets would be the best fit for your home? Comment below, send us a message or connect with us on social media and we will be more than happy to help answer your questions!

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