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Plywood vs. Particle Board Cabinets: Which is the better choice for your Kitchen Cabinets?

Plywood and Particle Board Cabinets have different Pros & Cons.
Kitchen Cabinet Materials

Are you struggling to choose between Plywood vs. Particle Board Cabinets? Discover the differences and find out which one is the ideal choice for you.

Confused about choosing between Plywood and Particle Board for your kitchen cabinets? Don't worry, we've got you covered! Unravel the battle between Plywood and Particle Board Cabinets with us. Join us as we discuss the construction of kitchen cabinetry and materials. We will guide you toward making an informed choice for your kitchen cabinets.

Table of content:


How Are Kitchen Cabinets Constructed

Before diving into the cabinet materials, we want to look at the construction of cabinet boxes. Several cabinet components play a vital role in creating a functional and appealing kitchen. The cabinet boxes provide the box structure and give strength. Fronts and side panels add style, while drawers and cabinetry hardware create functionality.

Overview of the 5 Kitchen Cabinet Elements
Kitchen Cabinet Elements

The best material choices can differ for the various elements. We focus on the cabinet box since it is the structure of your kitchen. Let's explore the ideal material for your cabinet box! If you want to learn more about choosing the best kitchen cabinets for your kitchen renovation read our blog posts on: 8 Things to consider when choosing your Kitchen Cabinets [Guide]


Popular Kitchen Cabinet Materials Used for your Cabinetry.

There is a wide range of materials used to create durable kitchens. Let's explore some common materials you might encounter:

  1. Solid Wood Natural Wood is the base for cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and decorative elements. They offer excellent durability and can be refinished if needed.

  2. MDF (medium-density fiberboard) Wood fiber and resin form the base of MDF panels. It offers a smooth and consistent surface that makes it ideal for painted finishes. MDF is used for cabinet doors, drawer fronts, side panels, and interior panels.

  3. HDF (high-density fiberboard) HDF has higher density and strength than MDF. It is used for cabinet door panels and other elements that need extra durability.

  4. Plywood Plywood is layers of wood veneers glued together. The material offers strength, stability, and resistance to warping. It's a popular choice for cabinet boxes and carcasses. Quality Plywood cabinets count 7-12 ply layers of wood veneer. The core layers provide strength and stability. The quality of plywood cabinets depends on the type of plywood used. Core furniture-grade plywood is a preferred plywood material option. It's important to recognize the differences between plywood. Not all plywood options are the same. Low-quality plywood will impact the durability of your high-quality plywood cabinets.

  5. Particle Board / Furniture Board Particle board cabinet boxes are made from wood chips. While wood fibers are long and thin strands, wood particles are small fragments or chips. They vary in size and shape. Chipping or grinding of large wood pieces get the needed chips. The chips of wood compressed together with resin create a sturdy material. Modern particle boards come in various types, including high-quality options. Basic particle board cabinets are an affordable option. Yet, opting for quality particle boards ensures a durable and eco-friendly choice. It's a sustainable option used for cabinet shelves, interior parts, and cabinet boxes. It is often covered with laminate or veneer for a finished appearance.


Why has Particle Board a bad reputation?

Particle board has a mixed reputation in the US. It is often perceived as being of lower quality compared to other wood-based products. A main criticism is that it may swell or break down when exposed to moisture or excessive humidity. The usage of lower-grade particle boards by US manufacturers in the past contributed to the reputation. This is why it is often perceived as being of lower quality compared to other wood-based products. Yet, that doesn't mean, that you can't get high-quality kitchen cabinets built from furniture boards. To create durable and sturdy cabinet boxes, you must use high-grade particle boards. Further, it is important to use advanced construction techniques. These measures ensure high-quality and long-lasting cabinets for your kitchen.


Particle Board Quality Grades

There are different quality grades available. Learn about the different types and their pros and cons before making a choice. It affects the cost and quality of your cabinets.

3-Layer Particle Board

Standard Particle Board

Moisture-Resistant Particle Board

Fire-Resistant Particle Board


Consists of three layers of wood particles bonded together with adhesives

Basic type of particle board

Manufactured with additives for moisture resistance

Treated or manufactured with fire-retardant additives for improved fire resistance


​Increased strength and stability

Reduced warping and bending

Cost-effective and widely available

Suitable for non-structural applications

Better resistance to moisture and humidity

Suitable for areas prone to occasional moisture

Enhanced fire resistance and safety

Meets specific fire safety regulations


​Higher cost compared to standard particle board

Lower resistance to moisture and humidity

Prone to sagging and deterioration over time

May still be susceptible to water damage if exposed to prolonged or excessive moisture

Higher cost compared to standard particle board

Limited aesthetic options due to fire-retardant treatment

Main Areas of Use

Furniture, cabinets, woodworking projects

General applications, low-cost furniture, shelving

Kitchens, bathrooms, areas with moderate moisture exposure

Commercial buildings, public spaces, areas requiring fire protection

Cut through a Kitchen Cabinet with a Particle Board Material covered with a laminate finish.
Particle Board Kitchen Cabinet Box


Factors to Keep in Mind When Selecting the Ideal Kitchen Cabinet Boxes

US and European cabinet manufacturers use different materials for their cabinet construction. You will find quality cabinets from multiple cabinet companies. Yet, you should know what to look for when trying to find durable cabinets for your dream kitchen. Ask your cabinet supplier what your kitchen cabinet boxes are made out of before making a choice. Further, you should ask more about the following:


1. Quality Grade of Material used:

Choosing a durable cabinet material is essential for durable kitchen cabinets. The quality of materials used for your cabinets ensures durability and long-lasting results. Opting for high-quality materials ensures better material strength, structural integrity, and durability. Whether Plywood or particleboard boxes are the more durable options depends. Keep reading to find out which one is the better option.

Wood Material Type & Strength

The type of wood used impacts the quality grade of the material and its strength.

Low-Quality Materials

High-Quality Materials


Softwood species are generally lighter, less dense, and have a faster growth rate.

Hardwood species are generally denser, heavier, and known for their durability.

Wood Types

Pine, Spruce, Cedar, Fir or Hemlock

Oak, Maple, Cherry, Mahogany, Walnut, Birch and Ash.

Weight and Density

Higher-quality plywood and particle board tend to have greater weight and density. Such are indicating a more solid and durable composition. These characteristics can contribute to enhanced strength, stability, and longevity in cabinet construction. Take a closer look at the materials—ask for a sample to examine the inside, feel its weight, and assess the density. By doing so, you'll be better equipped to make an informed decision.

Kitchen Cabinet build with Plywood material by a woodworker.
Craftsman working with Plywood


2. Fabrication of Manufacturing Techniques

When it comes to high-quality cabinets, the way they are made is as important as the materials used. Paying attention to fabrication and manufacturing techniques ensures durability and reliability. They will make your cabinets last longer and serve you well in the kitchen.

Cabinet finish & edges of cabinet boxes

Make sure your cabinets show strong glue joints and durable cabinet finishes. They contribute to the longevity and resilience of your kitchen. It is the most important factor in protecting against damage from moisture. Water exposure will damage the best material with poor finishing. Potential contact with water makes considering materials and techniques that are water-resistant important. Consider laminated finishes over veneer, especially in areas close to water. Avoid cabinets with unfinished edges and exposed plywood or particle board.

Cabinet Construction

In terms of durability, cabinet construction is vital. Attention to detail in construction techniques ensures sturdy and reliable cabinets. Have a closer look at the cabinet box. Is the box enclosed all around? How thick are the cabinet walls? How thick is the cabinet box and how are the sides joint together? A sturdy construction ensures long-lasting functionality and satisfaction in your kitchen.


3. Other Factors you should consider when making a choice

When choosing cabinets, there are other factors to consider beyond material and construction. Think about the environmental impact, your budget and availability.

Environmental Impact

Look for sustainable options that reduce your carbon footprint. When it comes to sustainability, plywood has drawbacks. It requires cutting down trees. In contrast, particle board utilizes wood waste, making it an eco-friendly option. Other alternatives include recycled wood and bamboo-based boards.

Price, Budget & Availability

Those plays a crucial role in choosing the right cabinets. Consider your financial constraints. Explore options that fit your budget while ensuring availability for a timely installation. Finding a balance between quality and affordability can be difficult. Yet try to make choices that align with your values and fit your budget.


Plywood vs. Particle Board Cabinet Cabinets: Which One Is the Better Fit for Your Kitchen?

Still not sure whether to choose particle board or plywood cabinets? Check out our easy-to-understand table for a detailed comparison of the materials. It will help you to make the right choice. Have a look at our Side-by-Side Comparison of Plywood vs. Particle Board Cabinets:


Particle Board


  • Durable and long-lasting.

  • Resistant to warping and shrinking.

  • Provides a solid base for hardware and fixtures.

  • Made from recycled wood particles, reducing waste.

  • Lighter in weight, making it easier to handle and install.

  • Resistant to warping and shrinking.


  • Susceptible to moisture damage if not properly sealed.

  • May have visible grain patterns, which may or may not be desired.

  • Heavier than particle board, making installation more labor-intensive.

  • Prone to swelling and damage when exposed to moisture.

  • Difficult to repair if damaged.

Factors that impact the quality

  • Wood Material Type (Hardwood vs. Softwood)

  • Material Strengths (amount of layers and fabrication)

  • Density & Weight (higher density is more durable)

  • cabinet finish & edges of cabinet boxes (all edges and surfaces should be sealed)

  • cabinet construction

  • Particle Board Quality Grade (Standard, 3-layer, or water-resistant)

  • Density & Weight (higher density is more durable)

  • cabinet finish & edges of cabinet boxes (all edges and surfaces should be sealed)

  • cabinet construction


Making the Right Choice: Plywood or Particle Board Cabinets - Unveiling the Winner

When determining which material is the better choice the individual situation matters. Both plywood and particle board have their strengths and weaknesses. Factors such as

  • your budget,

  • availability,

  • Quality Grade of the material

  • and the quality of fabrication

should guide the decision-making process. You control the budget and your timeline. Yet the Cabinet quality is unique with each supplier. Thus, check the quality grade of the material and the fabrication with each kitchen brand. This will help you to make an informed decision.


Do you need help?

Ready to transform your kitchen with the perfect kitchen cabinets? Don't navigate the decision alone. Seek guidance from Kitchen Design NYC and its expert kitchen designers. With their experience, they'll help you make the best choice for your dream kitchen. Take the first step towards your dream space. Contact Kitchen Design NYC today for a consultation. Let their expertise guide you toward the cabinets that will bring your vision to life. Your dream kitchen awaits – reach out now!


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