Particleboard Or Plywood Cabinets, Which Is Better For The Kitchen?

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Particleboard Or Plywood Cabinets, Which Is Better For The Kitchen?

Having a kitchen without cabinet boxes creates a void that can NEVER be filled, no matter the quality of interior decoration, design, or pieces of furniture you decide to install.

Whether you decide to go traditional or modern for your cabinets, the most crucial question to ask is, which material is better: Particle board or Plywood? Which one is more durable, which one can stand the test of time.

Of course, these two materials are good in their respective ways and can determine the outlook and overall quality of your cabinet construction. Thus, the ideal material depends on certain key factors which we will discuss further as we dig to the full depth of this article.

What Are Involved In Cabinet Construction?

It’s almost impossible to determine which is better between particleboard and plywood cabinets without understanding the parts and tools involved in the kitchen cabinetry.

1. Cabinet Boxes

These are the main body of the cabinet, excluding the cabinet doors, trim, and hardware. In base cabinets, cabinet boxes are made up of shelves, floors, toe kicks, sides, and back and top rails.

2. The Doors Of The Cabinet

The different types of doors for kitchen/bathroom cabinets include solid panels, raised panels, inset panel doors, soft close doors, etc. The door panels determine the design and sometimes the price. Most cabinet companies and manufacturers have their multiple but unique panel designs to satisfy a wide range of homeowners.

3. The Cabinet Drawers And Drawer Fronts

Complete drawer boxes are made up of cabinet drawers and drawer fronts. Of course, these two parts are key to any modern kitchen and bathroom cabinetry.

4. The Cabinet Hardware

The hardware of a kitchen cabinet is the final trim parts, including the drawer pulls, knobs, and hinges.

Factors To Consider When Determining The Best Cabinet Boxes

To arrive at the very best cabinet box construction for your kitchen, a lot of factors must come into play. Some of these factors have to do with construction and installation methods; others have to do with material strength, quality, availability, and above all price.

Let’s explore some of these factors and see how they could affect your cabinet construction.

1. Material And Strength (Quality)

One important thing to consider when it comes to choosing the right cabinetry, whether for the kitchen or bathroom, is the strength of the material. Whether you intend to go for hardwood (solid wood), plywood, or particle board (furniture board), you have to ensure it’s the highest quality and not some thin sheets that wouldn’t stand the test of time. This is because the quality and strength of your kitchen cabinet go a long way to determine if can withstand certain harsh conditions such as moisture, heat, and pressure.

2. Construction Methods and Installation

The material strength of the cabinet box matters a lot, but the most important thing is how you install the material you’ve chosen. A well-constructed and installed cabinet will leave your kitchen looking so elegant that you can’t even tell whether it’s plywood or particle board cabinets.

In other words, much more attention should be on how the cabinets are constructed and installed. For instance, you can decide to buy a solid wood or plywood cabinet instead of a particleboard because of its superior strength. But, if at the end of the day, the layers of plywood are not well bonded during construction or the cabinet is not installed correctly, the solidity of the plywood won’t matter because it will crash down in a few months.

3. Price And Budget

Different types of particleboard and plywood kitchen cabinets come at different qualities and prices. Hence, you must consider your budget and ensure you can afford the cabinet box construction you want for your kitchen before even contacting a dealer.

Plywood cabinets are more expensive compared to particle board cabinets. However, some cabinet manufacturers, unlike many others, sell at far cheaper prices and are more likely to meet your budget with high-quality, water-resistant plywood kitchen cabinets.

4. Availability

While determining the Budget vs Price, you still have to consider availability. Because even if you have money for the best Kitchen cabinet, you still can’t buy it if it’s not available on the market.

Particle board cabinets are a little more available than plywood cabinets. Because in most cases, you hardly find plywood kitchen cabinets that can be ordered and taken home the same day.

Plywood Vs Particle Board Cabinets: Which Is Better?

Coming to the main question of the day: which is better between particleboard and plywood construction?

Although with proper finishing, both of them look similar, a cabinet grade plywood is totally different from particle board when it comes to the buildup. Let’s find out how.

Plywood Construction

A plywood cabinet is made up of thin layers of woods glued together with a strong adhesive and sometimes an edge banding (veneer) to form one solid sheet. This is unlike particle boards that are made of wood fibers and chips that are compacted into one plane of wood.

With such a composite structure and veneer edge banding, it’s safe to say that the most significant factor that determines the solidity of plywood boxes is the number of layers that make up the material

Another factor that can make or mar plywood cabinetry is the type of wood used for each layer. Although it’s more common to use lighter woods for the plywood layers, a combination of hardwood and softwood would be great!

The overall quality of well-constructed plywood boxes is excellent. However, unlike a particle board, they are quite expensive. To minimize the cost of production, most manufacturers compromise the full depth of plywood by using thin layers of expensive wood for the outer coating, with softer (cheaper) woods as the main component within the inner layers.

The typical plywood kitchen cabinet is no doubt of superior quality. However, as unbelievable as it may sound, one tricky fact about plywood is that it absorbs water faster than particle boards. Although, on the other hand, high-quality plywood would typically outlive ANY particle board cabinet (all things being equal). Hence, it’s advisable to always go for quality plywood even it means paying extra money. Otherwise, you are better off using a particle board for your cabinets.

Differentiating low-quality plywood from high-quality ones is always going to be difficult. After all, one can barely tell if plywood is made of soft or hardwood. That’s why the quality of plywood depends largely on the market price.

NOTE: Ensure to upgrade your Frameless Cabinetry to plywood once you can afford to do so.

Particle Board Cabinets

Similar to plywood construction, a particle board cabinet is made up of semi-fibrous pieces and chips of wood compressed together with a mold. Particle board first came into the American market space in the early 50s. Although it was quite expensive and fragile back in the days, over the years, companies have innovated ways to improve the strength yet reduce the price significantly. Today, a particle board is the go-to cabinet solution for most people, not only for affordability but for certain advantages that come with it.

Modern particle boards are built with high compression and high temperature for a much more solid consistency. Most manufacturers like producing more particle board cabinetry since they are easier to work with. Unlike plywood, particle board cuts easily and gives a consistent shape and thickness, and doesn’t warp or twist.

The Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) remains one the best types of modern particle board materials because of the smaller wood fibers (without grains) that make it more solid. However, it can be heavier and more expensive than non-MDF materials.

Is Plywood Good For Kitchen Cabinets?

Plywood Kitchen Cabinets

The simple answer is YES! Plywood is a very reliable choice for your kitchen cabinetry. Using plywood to upgrade your older cabinets can guarantee extended durability because it’s more compatible with bolts, screws, and other mechanical fasteners. Its multiple layers of wood give it the capacity to tolerate more weight and pressure.


  • Better Aesthetics
  • More Durability
  • Solid Construction and better shelving due to the compatibility with screws
  • Lightweight
  • More resistant to dent and scratches


  • More expensive
  • Not always readily available
  • A lot of low-quality plywood cabinet boxes are available on the market (AVOID THE CHEAPEST OPTIONS!)
  • Can twist and warp over time if continuously exposed to water and other harsh weather conditions.

Are Particle Board Cabinets Bad?

Particle board cabinet boxes are not a bad choice either. In fact, just like plywood, they have their advantages and disadvantages.


  • A significantly cheaper option
  • Comes in various sizes to offer you many more styles and dimensions
  • If well installed, particle boards (including the panel) are as beautiful as plywood.
  • Thicker particleboards have better resistance to heat, liquid, and harsh weather


  • Heavier for shelves and doors
  • More difficult to ship
  • A low-grade particle board is disastrous (always stick to higher qualities, or better still MDF, for stronger cabinet boxes)
  • Not quite compatible with fasteners at times because of the grain-like texture (a flat head and pan head screw is the best best for MDF cabinets)

Final Verdict: Which Is Better?

Based on the detailed discussion so far, you’ll agree that both particle boards and plywood kitchen cabinets are quite reliable. It all depends on your budget and preferred features.

If you want durable cabinets with the right panel, thickness, and strength, then high-grade plywood is all you need. If, on the other hand, you seek something cheaper and a little more resistant to heat and moisture, yet look as stunning as ever, a clear coat particle board would suffice.



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