Stock, Semi-Custom, and Custom Cabinets: What These Terms Mean

Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen Cabinets

If you are thinking about remodeling your kitchen, or perhaps if you have already begun the process, you have probably seen many references to stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinets. It can be a little confusing to understand what each of these terms mean, so we’re going to break them down here to help you make a better decision about which type of kitchen cabinets would be best for you.

# Stock

Many people make the mistake of assuming that the term “stock” must always mean “lower quality.” This is not necessarily the case . If you are dealing with a reputable cabinet manufacturer, their standards remain the same whether you are dealing with stock, semi-custom, or custom cabinets.

The only difference is that stock cabinets are mass-produced. Like anything else, this means that they have some pros and some cons. For example:


  • Stock cabinets are usually readily available, meaning your projects can get underway quickly, and without too much fuss.
  • Because stock cabinets are mass-produced, they are cheaper than custom or semi-custom cabinets.


  • There is no customization available on stock cabinets. While you may be able to change out some hardware, or repaint or refinish the cabinets yourself, things such as cabinet depth, size, and angle are all preset and cannot be changed.
  • Stock cabinets purchased from big-box stores may be manufactured out of a lower quality material. Check to make sure you are not actually downgrading when replacing your cabinets.

Consider Stock Cabinets If: you are in a hurry to get your renovation completed, you are working on a tight budget, or if you are renovating your kitchen in the hopes of selling your home.

Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen Cabinets

# Semi-Custom

Semi-custom cabinets are often the most popular choice. Even though they are more expensive than Stock cabinetry, they are still vastly more affordable than custom cabinets. The ability to make small adjustments can mean the difference between a good kitchen layout and a great kitchen layout.

The aspects of semi-custom cabinets which can be adjusted include cabinet depth, or sizing of door fronts or drawers. Many homeowners like having the option of adding a little customization to make sure they get the absolute most out of their kitchen.

Consider Semi-Custom Cabinets If: you are trying to improve the usability of a poorly laid out kitchen, you are redesigning your entire kitchen from the ground up, or if you are doing these renovations for yourself and not in the interest of selling a home.

# Custom

Custom cabinets are by far the most expensive option on this list, but they are also the option that allows the homeowner to have the most control over what the renovated kitchen will look like. Custom cabinets are often popular choices for older homes, or kitchens with odd layouts.

By designing custom cabinetry (it is always advisable to work with a contractor and/or an interior designer for this) you can help to ensure that you get the absolute most out of your new kitchen.

Consider Custom Cabinets If: you are dealing with arched ceilings, curving walls, or any other architectural hurdle that might prevent you from using stock or semi-custom cabinetry. Or use custom cabinets if you are looking to make an investment in your home for your own enjoyment and usability. Custom cabinets are almost never recommended if you are looking to sell your home.

As you can see, there is no real mystery behind these terms. No matter which type of cabinetry you choose to use in your own kitchen, one final piece of advice is to always make sure you are dealing with a reputable company. Good materials and good craftsmanship are the real secret to what makes a kitchen look great.

Author Bio:
Niv Orlian is an online marketer and the Co-Founder of DO Online Marketing, a Chicago based company that helps local businesses such as Planet Cabinets, acquire, manage, and retain local customers online.