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Things to Know Before Purchasing Ready-To-Assemble Kitchen Cabinets


Ready-to-assemble, commonly known as RTA cabinets is an inexpensive option for kitchen renovation. These are widely accepted by the homeowners on a strict budget even though the units come with a significant labor and time cost. Unlike ready-to-hang kitchen units, parts of RTA cabinets are delivered in a flat pack together with essential hardware required for assembling the same. Since the users assemble them themselves, they can curtail the costs notably.

Before investing in the RTA cabinet, let’s have a look at some important points.

Basics of RTA cabinets

The name is self-explanatory. As you place an order for RTA kitchen furniture, the parts are cut to proper size, holes are drilled wherever required and finishes requested are applied accordingly. Now the parts are serially stacked and properly wrapped. You can bring the units directly from the store if it already has them in stock. Otherwise, the cabinets will be shipped to your doorstep. Once the parts arrive, assemble them and install the entire unit. And to do that, you must follow the manual strictly. You will find drawings and steps to be followed in the instruction booklet. You might also find the link to online videos containing assembly instructions.

RTA cabinet

Places to purchase RTA kitchen units

Of course, you will find such kitchen furniture at the big-box stores. However, for a broader collection, have a look at the online stores. Buying from a brick-and-mortar store lets you talk to the staff who can explain the differences in the various cabinets available in their store. They would also help you select kitchen cabinets depending on your room layout. Nevertheless, some online retailers also offer the same kind of service. The sites offer the facility to create virtual yet custom layouts and portray photorealistic presentations of the room.

Selecting superior quality RTA cabinets

As you see with pre-assembled cabinets, RTA units also cover a complete spectrum, in terms of quality – from poor to outstanding. You may buy cabinetry having each part as beautiful and sturdy as anything you can see in the kitchen showrooms. However, you must have an eye to identify the inferior quality. Don’t choose cabinets that come with stapled particle-board drawers, doors of veneered particleboard or MDF, or in-built rail drawer slides. The key features of a good-quality kitchen cabinet may include the following:

  • A solid wooden drawer that comes with dovetail joinery
  • Full extension drawer slides
  • Brush painted finishing and coating
  • Doors having a solid wooden frame along with panels made of plywood or solid wood

You can check such features by visiting a store in person. However, in the case of an online store, request the retailer to send you a door sample which will be made available against a token refundable deposit and shipping charge. With a small amount of money, you will know what exactly you’re going to buy.

RTA cabinet

Important cost factors

With RTA kitchen cabinets, you can save a good amount of money in comparison to assembled or custom cabinets or cherry wood cabinets. These savings mainly come in two prominent ways,

  1. They arrive in a disassembled condition that costs you less shipping charges while being compared to a fully assembled cabinet because the RTA cabinets take up less space.
  2. You will take care of the assembly and installation jobs and thus you can save significantly on labor charges.

The costs vary notably based on the factors like finishes, materials, degree of completion, and complexity. At the low side of the cost scale, you will find cabinets with melamine-coated, white, particleboard boxes and drawers, unfinished unpainted elements, and flat-panel doors.

Expensive options typically come with veneered plywood boxes, solid wood doors, hardwood frames, and dovetailed drawers. Cabinets in unusual sizes and with angles usually cost more. Also, cabinets with accessories like interior lighting and crown molding are costly.

When it comes to buying RTA kitchen units, consider the aforesaid factors. Also, get a price quote beforehand so you can avoid paying unnecessarily.


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