Are you a new homeowner who wants the best kitchen for your new home but is hesitant about which brand of kitchen cabinets to buy? Are IKEA kitchen cabinets good quality and worth the savings? I, too, struggled to find decent quality kitchen cabinets that balanced cost with durability. Unfortunately, I had to trust my gut as there were little to no resources available for me at the time.
So, I wrote this article that I wished I had, and I hope that it will help you determine whether IKEA kitchen cabinets are of good quality and worth buying.
IKEA kitchen cupboards are much more affordable than other brands or custom-made cupboards. Excluding installation, an entire IKEA kitchen will only cost you around $10,000. In contrast, a custom-designed kitchen will cost you at least $30,000 — approximately three times higher than IKEA kitchen cabinets. The reason for IKEA’s low price lies in its pricing strategy.
Firstly, IKEA mass produces a fixed range of furniture in various colors, sizes, and shapes. Secondly, IKEA uses engineered wood, MDF, rather than solid wood in their products. Thirdly, IKEA decides on a cost price first and then designs its products around that price. Finally, IKEA’s products are cheaper because they provide customers the option to install the furniture themselves.
Option for self-installation
You could further save costs by assembling the cabinets yourself. However, going through dozens of boxes of assembly parts can be time-consuming and confusing. We recommend paying for IKEA’s installation service because it will save you more time than you would save money.
IKEA’s kitchen planner
IKEA offers a free kitchen planning service where you can create a 3D layout of your existing kitchen. Then, you can add, delete, or adjust the furniture however you want before placing the order. You can even book an appointment with a professional planner for a small fee to assist you throughout the process.
Designing the kitchen yourself can be quite a headache as it may take hours, even with a professional planner involved. However, it’ll save you thousands of dollars, and you get to decide for yourself how the kitchen will look like.
Shorter lifespan but good enough
IKEA kitchen cabinets are not as durable as custom-made cabinets due to the materials used. IKEA mainly uses medium-density fibreboard (MDF) for its cabinets, while custom-made cabinets are made of hardwood. While MDF is a decently strong material, it cannot outlast the longevity of hardwood.
Hardwood kitchen cabinets will last for up to 100 years. Unfortunately, nobody knows for sure exactly how long IKEA’s MDF cabinets will last. However, IKEA does provide a 25-year warranty for their kitchen cabinets which you may use as a reference point.
MDF vs. solid wood
There is an ongoing debate on whether MDF or solid wood is better. Whichever material you prefer, it is important to note that MDF is a common material used in kitchen cabinets and is not exclusive to IKEA only.
Solid wood pros and cons
➕ Significantly longer lifespan (100 years) ➖ Prone to bug infestations
➕ Solid wood furniture will increase the value of your home ➖ At least 3x more expensive than MDF
➕ Custom-made to your kitchen preferences ➖ Temperature-sensitive and not waterproof
➕ More aesthetically pleasing
MDF pros and cons
➕ Withstands heat and humidity changes better ➖ Easily scratched
➕ Much cheaper than solid wood ➖ Shorter lifespan
➕ Does not warp or crack ➖ Absorbs idle water quicker than wood
➕ Easier to repair or replace parts
You can easily replace any IKEA cabinet doors, drawers, hinges, and other spare parts through an IKEA store. This is due to IKEA’s efforts to integrate ‘the potential to repurpose, repair, reuse, resell, or recycle’ into every IKEA product. IKEA shops are also warehouses that store thousands of their products, allowing for accessible part replacements worldwide.
On the other hand, after-sales service and repairs for custom-made cabinets are not as accessible as IKEA’s. Solid wood cabinets may last 100 years, but you’ll have to hope that your custom cabinet maker is still in business after all that time. Nonetheless, you could do some minor repairs by yourself. Thankfully, solid wood cabinets are built to last, so you probably don’t need to do anything after installation.
Other aspects of IKEA kitchen cabinets
Hardware made by Blum
The door hinges, drawer slides, and other moving pieces of IKEA kitchen cabinets are made by Blum. If you don’t know, Blum is one of, if not the best, kitchen hardware suppliers in the industry. Not only that, but Blum also integrates their soft-close BLUMOTION into their hinges. This allows the drawers and cabinet doors to close softly — vital for avoiding loud smacks and waking your entire family.
Customizable but not custom-made
Unlike custom-made cabinets, IKEA kitchen cabinets are ready-made. This means that its height, width, and length are preset during the manufacturing process. However, you can utilize IKEA’s kitchen planner to minimize gaps and ensure everything fits in your kitchen space.
While the dimensions may be fixed, you can customize other aspects of your IKEA kitchen cabinets. For example, you can customize the KASKER quartz countertops by selecting from the provided options of edges and color.
Moreover, you can make further modifications using IKEA’s kitchen planner. For example, you can select your preferred cabinet doors, handles, cover panels, shelves, and more. Best of all, the 3D layout will give you a good idea of how your kitchen will look without relying on imagination.
Thorough product testing
Every piece of IKEA furniture that passes through the design phase will enter a rigorous testing process. Details about IKEA’s product testing are top-secret. However, IKEA assures its customers that its products are safe from a health and environmental perspective.
However, like all businesses, IKEA is not perfect, as shown by the several product recalls in the past decade. Most notably, IKEA recalled its Kullen dressers after tip-overs killed several children. IKEA has never recalled its kitchen cabinets, but it did recall its HEROISK and TALRIKA plates, mugs, and bowls. These kitchenwares were brittle and caused multiple injuries, including two that required medical attention.
IKEA kitchen cabinets are fairly new to the scene, having only entered the market the past few decades. These stylish cabinets may be affordable, but they are not as durable as their solid wood counterparts. As such, we recommend buying IKEA kitchen cabinets if you intend to change them once every 25 years. However, if you have the budget and prefer something more long-lasting (75+ years), you should invest in solid wood kitchen cabinets.