Good Better Best: Kitchen Cabinets

If you’ve been to a home design consultation, somebody may have presented cabinet options in good, better, and best categories. For homeowners, this is intended to make the selection process easier. However, it is important that you understand exactly what “good, better, and best” actually means in order to make an educated selection.

As a remodel design company, Lamont Bros. has spent over a decade guiding homeowners through the home renovation process. As one of the most important features in any home, we pay special attention to cabinet selections throughout our process. 

In this article, you’ll learn about why we classify cabinets in either a good, better, or best category, and how each one can affect your remodel, your budget, and your lifestyle. 

What Makes a Cabinet “Good, Better, or Best?”

When presented with “good, better, best” cabinetry options, most people assume the differences among them are the quality of materials. While material quality does play a part in the classification, there are other factors that also influence the way we rank cabinetry.

In fact, the categorization of cabinet lines is most directly influenced by how customizable the cabinetry is. The level to which a cabinet system can be tailored to the individual’s lifestyle will more directly affect the homeowner than the materials used to build them. 

Quality of construction is also an important factor to consider. The higher-end cabinets tend to feature greater attention to detail in the final fit and finish. As a result, better and best cabinetry will have fewer small imperfections by their final installation.

Cabinets come in standardized sizing options – most base cabinets are 24 inches deep and 34.5 inches high. The available width begins at 9 inches and increases to 42 inches by increments of 3 inches in between (i.e. 12 in, 15 in, 18 in, etc).

Making cabinets outside of standard sizes requires additional work by the cabinet manufacturer. This means the cabinetry becomes more expensive the more you customize.

It is worth noting that there are poor-quality cabinets available for lower costs than those listed in this article. However, we don’t include poor or mediocre cabinets in our projects, nor will we discuss them here.

Below is a description of each category, as well as a price range for what they would cost in the average-sized kitchen with 30 linear feet of cabinetry.

Good Cabinets – $15,000-$25,000

Good level cabinets are an excellent entry-level option, providing quality and functionality at a budget-friendly price.

Key Features:

  • Finish Options: These cabinets offer a limited range of 5-7 door styles and around 10-15 finish options, including white paint and natural stained oak.
  • Construction Quality: Made with plywood box construction, dovetail drawer boxes, and soft close hinges.
  • Minor Imperfections: “Good” cabinets may have some fit and finish issues, such as unsanded dovetail joints and unfinished undersides of wall cabinets are common.
  • Customization: Available in standard sizes with customization limited to depth adjustments.
  • Accessories: Limited to basic options like trash pullouts and rollout shelves.


  • Affordable Upgrade: “Good” level cabinets provide a cost-effective way to enhance your kitchen’s appearance and functionality.
  • Basic Functionality: These cabinet options offer essential features and a range of basic finishes to suit various preferences.
  • Durability: Despite minor imperfections, these cabinets are durable and built to last.

Who are these for?

Good level cabinetry is ideal for homeowners on a budget who need a durable, long-lasting product and are willing to overlook some minor imperfections on fit, finish, and customization options.

Better Cabinets – $30,000-$50,000

Better level cabinets offer a step up in quality and customization compared to good level cabinets. These cabinets are classified as semi-custom, providing more flexibility in design and features.

Key Features:

  • Finish Options: Better-level cabinets come in foil and laminate finishes, offering both solid colors and wood-look options. Foil finishes are less expensive and easy to clean but less durable, while laminate finishes are more durable and provide a wider variety of appearances.
  • Door Styles: While still limited compared to best level cabinets, there are more door styles available than in the good category.
  • Customization: These cabinets allow for semi-custom sizing, meaning there are more options for adjusting the depth, height, and width to better fit your space.
  • Construction Quality: Better cabinets often feature enhanced construction techniques and materials, improving durability and aesthetics.
  • Accessories: More options for accessories are available, including various organizational inserts and specialty storage solutions.

Things to consider:

  • Mid-range cost, up to 50% more than “good” cabinets.
  • More door styles, finishes, and customization options
  • High-quality, durable laminated finish
  • Improvement in fit and finish from “good” level, but not completely perfect
  • Good balance between price, quality, and customizability

Who are these for?

Better-level cabinets are great for someone who doesn’t need a premium or fully custom product, but still wants a good balance of more options, cost, and quality of fit and finish.

Best Cabinets – $55,000 – $80,000+

Best level cabinets represent the pinnacle of quality and customization, offering the most extensive range of options for materials, finishes, and features.

Key Features:

  • Finish Options: “Best” cabinets come in prefinished wood veneer, stained, and painted finishes. They offer the widest variety of colors and styles, allowing for maximum personalization.
  • Door Styles: An extensive selection of door styles is available, catering to virtually any design preference.
  • Customization: These cabinets are fully customizable, allowing for precise adjustments to depth, height, and width, as well as the inclusion of unique design elements and features.
  • Construction Quality: Made from the highest quality materials, best cabinets feature superior craftsmanship, ensuring longevity and premium aesthetics.
  • Accessories: A vast array of custom and unique accessories are available, including high-end organizational solutions, specialty storage options, and advanced hardware.


  • Unmatched Quality: The use of top-tier materials and craftsmanship results in cabinetry that is not only beautiful but also exceptionally durable.
  • Unlimited Customization: Homeowners can achieve a truly bespoke kitchen with cabinets tailored to their exact specifications and preferences.
  • Enhanced Aesthetics: With virtually unlimited finish and style options, these cabinets can create a stunning focal point in any kitchen.

Who are these for?

Best level cabinets are perfect for homeowners who want the highest quality and are willing to invest in fully custom solutions. They are ideal for those seeking a luxurious, personalized kitchen with no compromises on materials or craftsmanship.

Choosing the right cabinet category for you

After reading about how cabinets are classified, you may be wondering, “Should I get good, better, or best cabinets for me?” Of course, there are several factors to consider when choosing which cabinet line to go with. Here are a few things you should think about.

Which category fits my budget? 

If you’re remodeling on a budget, one of the best ways to save money is by going with good cabinets. The build quality is still excellent, but there are more limitations on the aesthetic options and available sizes.

Cabinetry is the most expensive line item in most kitchen remodels, so keeping the cost low here is one of your most effective ways to save money.

Does my kitchen need any custom-built cabinets?

Any time a kitchen requires custom-sized cabinetry, you should automatically rules out the good category.

Since good cabinets only come in standard sizes, you need to figure out if a cabinet system of entirely standard-sized cabinets will fill your space out the way you want. If not, you’ll need to step it up to better or best cabinetry. 

How long do you plan to live in the house you’re remodeling?

If the home you’re in is your forever home and you want to live there the rest of your life, then you probably won’t regret spending a few thousand dollars more to make sure your cabinetry fits your needs and lifestyle.

In this case, we recommend going with either better or best cabinetry – the available options are far greater, and you’ll have a better chance of finding cabinets that work well for you. If you’re going to live with them forever, don’t be shy about spending a little extra to make your cabinets exactly the way you want them.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to sell your home shortly after remodeling, you’re likely to get the highest return on your investment by spending less money on your cabinetry. Therefore, good cabinets would be the best choice if this more accurately describes you. 

Do you have or expect to have young kids living in the house?

Unfortunately, it’s often true what people say about kids and nice things: you can only have one. Part of growing up is learning, and part of learning is destroying mommy and daddy’s precious cabinetry in as many creative ways as you can find. 

In all seriousness, be aware that children tend to be unnecessarily rough on any finished surface. If you want to install your forever cabinets, maybe wait until the kids are old enough to understand why cheese graters shouldn’t be used on your cabinet doors. 

If you just can’t wait that long, then consider going with at least a “better” level cabinet line. Many cabinet makers in this category offer laminate doors, so your cabinetry might stand a fighting chance.

For more information on cabinet door durability, check out this video!

Ready to learn more about kitchen design? 

Now that you understand how we categorize our cabinetry into good, better, and best tiers, take the next step! Check out our Ultimate Kitchen Remodel Guide, where you can learn everything you need to know about remodeling your kitchen.

Curious about cabinet lines and want to talk with a design consultant about how some new cabinets might look in your own home? Click the button below to schedule a conversation, and we’ll get back to you by the end of the day.