Which is the best kind of wood for kitchen cabinets?

Red Oak wood is said to be the best kind of wood for kitchen cabinets. It is suitable for this job because it is a strong and durable variety of wood. It is also inexpensive compared to the other types of wood that are used for kitchen cabinets. The sapwood of red oak comes in a white to light brown shade, whereas the heartwood is pink-red kind of a brown. It is straight-grained and has a coarse texture to it. Red oak wood is hard and heavy. It has about medium bending strength and also possesses high crushing strength. It is very easy to find and is the most extensively used species of wood. This abundance of red oak makes it inexpensive and an affordable option for all while also providing great quality. Not only that, but it performs well with machines. It is also available in various styles and finishes and has evident grain patterns, which adds more to the look. Therefore red oak wood is the best option; it is hard and sturdy, and efficient for your pocket. 

Kitchen Cabinet Materials Pros and Cons

1) Wooden Cabinets


  • The scratches they might get over time are easy to repair
  • They are easy to paint again or can be re-stained without much effort to give your kitchen a fresh look.


  • High humidity could be dangerous for wooden cabinets and eventually make them warp in the future.

2) Laminate Cabinets


  • They add to the aesthetic value of your house and kitchen.
  • They are durable and last pretty long, which save you repair costs.
  • They also protect the look of your kitchen by ensuring there are no stains or scratches.


  • Even though laminate protects from minor damage, any major damage done to it will require you to change it, and hence it is not easy to fix.
  • It is a little on the expensive side when it comes to pricing, which can vary greatly depending on the variety, and that makes it difficult to select the one you like and also stay within budget.

3) Thermofoil Cabinets


  • It gives your kitchen a fancy look but is pocket-friendly compared to other materials that give a similar semblance.
  • It comes in numerous style options which provides you with a wide range of designs to choose from.


  • It is susceptible to heat which means that if your cabinets are near the oven, you might have to spend some added cash to get heat shields.
  • If the vinyl layer is subjected to any damage, then it is not repairable.

5) Metal Cabinets


  • They are very efficient because they are unaffected y both humidity and heat.
  • They are extremely durable.
  • It is exceptionally stain-resistant and easy to clean.


  • It is costly because it is durable, but it is comparatively expensive to other materials that provide similar durability.
  • It is very much prone to scratches and dents, which is hard to fix.

Best Materials for Kitchen Cabinets

1) Solid Wood

It is one of the most common kinds of material which is used for cabinets. A significant advantage is that it is non-toxic and very easy to stain and varnish. There are many varieties to choose from, which makes it a great choice. The different grain types and textures make it more appealing to the eye. It is also a very adaptive type of material and suits both traditional and modern styles.

2) Laminates

Laminates are thin sheets sandwiched together. The layers consist of plastic resin. These are a printed layer of various patterns then have an overly tough plastic film. It is recommended that you get high-pressure laminates (HPLs) because they are more durable, resistant to moisture and extremely sturdy compared to low-pressure laminates (LPLs). They come in various designs, from matte to high gloss and unicore. It is a great option if you focus more on aesthetics.

3) PVC

Poly-vinyl chloride sheets are made up of composite sheets of plastic which contribute to a tough finish. This makes it easy to install them as they don’t require any substrate. It is also inexpensive and extremely simple to install. It has additional perks, like being waterproof and oil proof. It is available in lighter colours, which makes the kitchen pleasant.

4) Stainless steel or aluminium

Then metal cabinets are strong and durable. Even though they are a little expensive, they provide a unique look. They are sturdy and resistant to rust and stains. They also last long as humidity and heat do not affect them. Cleaning is also effortless.

Cabinet Woods Types and Costs

Since wood is one of the most basic and go-to options for kitchen cabinets, we will now discuss these various wood types’ pricing and features. 

1) Birch

Birch is finely grained and has a very even texture. It is hardwood and has a light colour to it, which practically makes it the best looking if you want a light colour option. The surface is smooth, and it features dense wave patterns, which add to its beauty. This makes it a little more expensive than standard wood.

2) Cherry

It has humbling warm undertones which fall in the deep red to a reddish-brown category. This kind of wood stains easily, which creates an eye-catching depth. Over the years, the colour tends to fade to reveal reddish-brown and yellow shades. Therefore it is a costly species of wood.

3) Walnut

It is smooth grained and has wavy or curly patterns. It has a coarse texture, which means that it is excellent at accepting a finish. The colour range is from deep coffee brown to a hint of reddish-brown. Since it has a high density and great strength, it tends to fall on the expensive side.

4) Maple 

It is smooth in texture and has a uniform fine grain. It is light-toned and comes in shades of creamy white to a light brown. It has mineral streaks and a few minor knots. It is heavy, dense, resilient hardwood, and it is a great choice for houses with small children. It is said that it might be the most versatile wood as the smooth texture is ideal for painting and glaze. It is considered to be in the middle range of prices compared to others.

5) Alder Wood

This is a straight-grained hardwood and has a uniform texture that provides colour stability. The medium density of the wood allows the colours to range from light browns to reddish shades. It has natural periodic curves and mineral streaks and falls in the middle price range.

6) Hickory

It has very prominent and easily noticeable grain patterns and has drastic colours, from light creamy shades to dark browns. It has a few depressions and random knots. It is dense and has both open and closed wood grain. This type of wood grain enhances the colour diversity of the wood.

It also tends to fall on the inexpensive side of the wood species. 

Best Wood for Painted Kitchen Cabinets

 Painted cabinets are a way to go if you want timeless cabinets that don’t require much effort. You can customise them the way you desire to match the rest of your house without looking odd. These cabinets easily blend in and can help you furnish your kitchen if it is traditional and modern. But it would be best if you remembered that only a few specific types of wood work well with paint. There are two types of wood, open grain wood, and close grain wood. Open grain wood is not recommended for painting because it has a porous and prominent texture, which tends to show through the paint and creates a rough finish. But if you insist on using open grain wood, a few remodelers use putty or a sealer to fill the wood grain or sand the surface to make it totally smooth, which is honestly a lot of work and will cost you a lot too. Types of open-grain wood are red oak, white oak and ash. On the other hand, closed-grain wood is ideal for painting because of its smooth surface. The grains a non-porous and hence the texture of the grains and the commonly seen patterns do not show up on the cabinet and give it a sleek finish. This kind of closed-grain wood includes cherry, birch, hard maple and soft maple. But out of these, maple is considered a better choice as it has light shades and is sturdy. Even though it is called soft maple, it is considered a hardwood. It is a tough wood and can be harder than Alder, African mahogany and poplar and is the best choice for painted cabinets overall. 

Best Wood for Modern Kitchen Cabinets

If you are refurbishing your house, or just planning to redo your kitchen, picking out the right materials is essential. If you want a contemporary kitchen, wood is a great option, and it also offers you a wide variety to choose from.

1) Maple

It is one of the most trendy types of wood for modern kitchens, and the light colour makes it effortless to stain. The closed grain provides a smooth texture to the wood, and it gives a sleek and uniform look to your kitchen.

2) Cherry

Cherry wood is an excellent option for families with young children. The wood is durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear. It is also a good option as the light colour gets darker with time and hence gives your kitchen a totally different look.

3) White Oak

It is the stronger oak and gives off rustic and comfy vibes. It has a soft grain, which makes it popular among homeowners. If you are looking for sturdy cabinets that don’t look heavy, white oak is a great choice for you.

4) Red Oak

It is considered the most versatile type of wood and takes almost all finishes well. It also prominent grain, which gives a more wood-like look.

5) Ash

It is an even grain wood that looks clean and sophisticated. You can customise it with a matching finish, and you will have an amazing looking contemporary kitchen.

6) Pine 

Even though it is a softwood and less durable, it is a great option for modern kitchens. It has a light colour and dispersed tree knots, which add to the look.

7) Birch

Birch makes your kitchen look fancy, and the light colour gives you the freedom to paint it the colour you desire. It also has a fine grain and is extremely durable.

What is the most durable wood for kitchen cabinets?

When you are selecting wood for wooden cabinets, your goal to find a type of wood that is sturdy and fits your necessity, but you also need to ensure that the material is durable. So here is a list of woods that are immensely durable.

1) Oak Wood

Both red oak and white oak are inexpensive and not too heavy. They also have an easy to clean surface, and they are the most durable. White oak has a slightly high edge over red oak, but both are a great choice in terms of durability.

2) Rift Oak

This is a more expensive kind of oak but is worth the price. It has linear grain patterns, which greatly compliment your kitchen. It also gives you the freedom to use it in any direction you want. It is a dense wood, which makes it hard and hence increases its durability.

3) Walnut

This is a rare wood and costs a lot of money. It is gorgeous and even in texture and has a great diversity in colour. The only drawback is that it is not pocket friendly. The wood is strong and hard, which, in turn, makes it durable, so you need not worry about it for a long time.

4) Cherry Wood

It is a little more expensive than the other standard types of wood, but the price is justified by the durability it offers. The darker colours of the wood give your kitchen a luxurious look, and it also absorbs stains better. Therefore it is a fantastic choice if you are willing to pay a little extra cash.

5) Hickory Wood

This is a rare wood, but it is more affordable than cherry. It has knots and a natural colour, which only needs to be sealed to prevent any damage. It is also harder than red oak, and hence you are guaranteed durability. 

6) Alder Wood 

This is an inexpensive option because it is on the softer side, but it has a remarkable resemblance to cherry wood. The natural knot patterns are a great plus point for this wood. It has its reputation for being durable and long-lasting.

7) Maple Wood

Maple wood is one of the best options out there. It is known for its strength, its durability, and its longevity, and hence we can conclude it is the best option you have.

Best Wood for Kitchen Cabinets in South Africa

Black Stinkwood or Ocotea Bullata is an excellent option for cabinets in South Africa. It is cost-effective too because the wood originates in South Africa and hence is readily available and cuts down on any shipping or transportation costs. It is named the black stinkwood because of the awful stench it produces when it is first cut. The wood of the tree is widely used by craftsmen to make various kinds of furniture, including cabinets, dressers, doors, gun stocks, various kinds of fine furniture and bed frames. The tree also has numerous medicinal properties, which are traditionally used to make medicines in South Africa. The wood has fine and tight grains, which are typically straight and provide the wood with a smooth and sleek texture, which is similar to teak wood, and hence it is usually compared with teak wood. It also has a similar durability to teak wood, which can cause confusion between the two. The heartwood colour of black stinkwood is black to a very dark brown and can become light as a medium brown with a hint of a reddish shade. The sapwood colour can be easily identified and distinguished because it is a pale yellow, which is totally opposite to its heartwood shades. Despite the high density of the wood, it has very cooperative working properties, making it even better to work on. It has a natural luster to itself and has gorgeous finishing characteristics due to the fine grain and ties the look of the cabinets beautifully together. The extensive use of this tree’s wood to make furniture and cabinets has made it a protected tree in South Africa.

Best Wood for Kitchen Cabinets in the Philippines

It is suggested to use hardwood from trees like molave, kamagong, narra, and yakal in the Philippines. So let us now compare these trees one by one.

1) Molave 

The scientific name of the tree is Vitex Parviflora and belongs to the Verbenaceae family. It can grow up to a medium length up to 30 m tall in height. It is popular for the strong and durable wood that it provides. The wood is so strong that it is used for bridges and shipbuilding too, and hence you do not have to worry about replacing it.

2) Kamagong

Its scientific name is Diospyros Discolor and belongs to the Ebenaceae family. It is a native tree of Phillippines and is known for the strong timber. The wood it provides is hard and dense, and popular for its dark shades. It is often referred to as “ironwood” because it is so strong that it is almost unbreakable. Kamagong wood is used for making furniture and cabinets, and the export of the products is closely monitored.

3) Narra

The scientific name of the wood is Pterocarpus indicus. The heartwood is a golden colour to reddish-brown, whereas the sapwood is a pale yellow colour. It has an interlocked grain and a medium to coarse texture. It is often used for Veneer, cabinets and small wood items.

4) Yakal 

Its scientific name is Shorea Astylosa and it belongs to the Dipterocarpaceae family. It has darkish brown hardwood, which can range up to a yellowish shade. The wood is strong and durable, and great for working with. The word is used for making furniture and is an excellent choice for cabinets due to its durability and nature for taking a lot of wear and tear without much damage.


Remodeling your kitchen or buying a new home and looking for a perfect fit, it is essential that you research and know about the different options which are made available to you. When you pick a material, you to make sure it is exactly how you desired to ensure there are no regrets or complaints later. Wood is supposedly the best and most efficient material you could opt for. It blends right in with paint or glaze and gives your kitchen a chic look. When you select a type of wood, you need to make sure you get the details about the grain patterns and the texture, as it will be crucial to the finishing look of your kitchen. You should also ensure that the wood’s durability is good, and it will last you a long while, so it will save on repair costs. Therefore you should be careful about picking the materials so that you are totally satisfied with your kitchen’s look and have no worries about repairing for replacing and adding to your yearly costs. Wooden cabinets provide a safe and pocket-friendly option and can help you get a traditional or modern look without having to spend much of your savings.