RTA vs. Pre-Assembled Cabinets: 5 Differences You Need to Know

Kitchen and bathroom cabinets are opened and closed dozens of times on any given day in homes across the globe. Quality in both design and craftsmanship is crucial in order to keep your cabinets performing at their best.

Realtors, builders, and homeowners alike need to know about the different types of cabinetry available and what each type is designed for in order to make the best buying decision for the space. If you’re not sure where to start, this article will teach you the basics and help you see the benefits of both RTA and pre-assembled cabinets.

The Top Two Cabinet Types

There are essentially two categories for cabinets: RTA (or ready-to-assemble cabinets) and pre-assembled cabinets. While the differences may seem straightforward, the manufacturing, shipping, quality, usage, and price all play a factor in kitchen cabinet selection.

RTA Cabinets

As the name indicates, “ready-to-assemble” cabinets are prepackaged and shipped to the job site. They require on-site assembly prior to final installation.

Pre-assembled Cabinets

Pre-assembled cabinets are just the opposite of RTA. They arrive at the job site assembled with all the necessary hardware and are ready for installation right away.

To help you in your selection process, here are five of the primary differences to consider before buying cabinets.

“When buying ready-to-assemble options, you may find you’re able to choose a higher quality bath or kitchen cabinet than you could otherwise afford.”

RTA vs. Pre-Assembled CabinetsSource: Pexels.com

#1: Assembly

This is the most obvious difference between the two options. Pre-assembled cabinets arrive ready for installation and provide the most convenient solution.

Even though ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets and bath cabinets must be assembled before installation, the process is usually simple and doesn’t require a professional’s touch. However, if you can’t or don’t want to DIY this part, you may eat up a bit of the cost-savings by hiring out the work.

If you decide, during assembly or installation, that you want to make a change to the configuration, this could prove difficult for pre-assembled cabinets. The design was settled on weeks or months before they were manufactured. Remodeling the configuration means professional skills, fancy equipment, and more time.

With ready-to-assemble cabinets, you have the flexibility to make some changes spur-of-the-moment and reconfigure the layout as needed.

#2: Materials

Some dealers sell ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets made of mixed materials like particleboard and compressed wood to cut corners. This has given a false sense of inferiority to the ready-to-assemble cabinet market as a whole.

At National K&B Cabinetry, your local source for custom cabinetry in Austin, we only offer the highest-quality solid maple for timeless beauty and function.

Pre-assembled cabinetry can be manufactured out of virtually any type of wood. The most common choices are cherry, oak, pine, and maple.

In both cases, if they’re made using solid wood, it’s possible to refinish the cabinets down the road when you’re ready for a new look and feel to your kitchen.

#3: Cost

When you choose ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets, you’re choosing what is essentially a wholesale option. The cabinets have been pre-produced in large numbers to provide the highest quality product at the most affordable price.

When buying ready-to-assemble options, you may find you’re able to choose a higher quality bath or kitchen cabinet than you could otherwise afford.

Pre-assembled is more expensive to start. In some cases, it’s more than double or triple the cost of RTA. The expense is due to design, production, and shipping. Due to their size and bulk, they can’t be shipped in flat boxes. This results in longer and more costly shipping.

#4: Customization

Pre-assembled cabinets can be manufactured after an order has been placed and be made to fit exact specifications in both configuration, style, color, and material. This also allows for additional design features like pull-outs and lazy Susans.

With ready-to-assemble cabinets, your design and style selection will be more limited at the base level. Custom features such as built-in wine storage, mixer storage and lift, blind corner swing outs, glass door inserts, trash and recycling centers, and drawer accessories can be offered as an upgrade.

#5: Time

Obviously, a kitchen or bath cabinet that arrives ready to bolt in is far more efficient to install than the option with assembly required. There’s little to no waiting — just unpack your pre-assembled cabinetry and you’re in business.

What many buyers forget to consider is shipping time. Depending on the level of customization your designers create, there could be a significant delay in delivery.

Ready-to-assemble configurations can typically be sourced from a local warehouse, or if shipping is required, you’re not waiting on custom manufacturing times. You could have a finished kitchen or bath much quicker if you choose ready-to-assemble cabinets.

Consult Your Local Experts at National K&B Cabinetry — Offering the Best RTA Cabinets in Austin!

It can be overwhelming to consider all the factors that go into designing a kitchen, whether it’s for yourself or your client. We can help take some of the pressure off and walk you through the whole process.

Reach out to the NKBC team today and let’s get started!