One of the big decisions you’ll need to make if you are doing a kitchen renovation is whether to get stock or custom cabinets. 


Stock cabinets may cost less upfront and arrive quicker, but custom cabinets are usually better quality, made to fit your space perfectly and designed to your specifications. 


Find out more about the difference – talk to our experts to order your cabinets today.

stock vs custom cabinets which should you choose

Stock vs Custom Cabinets Comparison Chart

stock vs custom cabinets chart

What Is Meant by “Stock Cabinets”?

Stock cabinets are cabinets that have already been manufactured in standard sizes. The term “stock” is a bit misleading because it makes you think that they are actually in stock on the store’s shelves, however they are in stock at the place where they have been manufactured. Although some of the parts of the cabinets may be on the actual store shelves such as the hardware, you will still have to place your order and wait for your cabinets to come in.


Stock cabinets come in standard sizes that are usually divisible by 3. For example, you could order cabinet widths that start at 9″ wide and go up by 3″ to 12″ wide, then 15″ wide and so on. Usually the largest size available is 48″ wide.


You generally can order two heights: 30″ or 33,” although sometimes you can find a manufacturer that will offer taller cabinets.


Stock cabinets will usually last anywhere from 10 to 15 years.

stock cabinets

Stock cabinets are pre-made and come in standard sizes

What Is Meant by “Custom Cabinets”?

Unlike stock cabinets, custom cabinets are not pre-manufactured; they are made once you put your order in. Custom cabinets are cabinets that have been built especially for your kitchen. The design and size of your custom cabinets are chosen by you to fit your vision for your kitchen and they are made to perfectly accommodate even odd shaped spaces.

You also choose the type of materials, including the colour, the finishes, the texture, and any extra features you would like.


Custom cabinets will last 15 years or more depending on the types of materials you choose and the quality of their construction.

custom cabinets

Custom cabinets are made to your exact specifications

Pros of Stock Cabinets

Low Price: Stock cabinets are usually the lowest priced cabinets you can find. If you are on a really tight budget then they may be a good choice. Just remember that you get what you pay for.


Short Wait Time: Even though you need to order your stock cabinets, they are usually already in stock at the manufacturing plant which means that delivery should be faster.

Cons of Stock Cabinets

Limited Sizes: Because stock cabinets are made in 3″ increments, it will be difficult to get a perfect fit for your kitchen. For example if you have 17″ between your stove and the wall, then you will only be able to get a cabinet that is 15″ wide so you will have to deal with covering up a 2″ space.



Limited Designs: Stock cabinets come in a limited number of colors, finishes, and shapes. You may find it difficult to find the exact design or colour that you were hoping for and may have to settle for something that you are not completely happy with.



Lower Quality: Most stock cabinets are made from melamine or plywood with veneers. They are simply stapled together so they aren’t as strong and durable as cabinets that have dovetail joints. They are built to the manufacturer’s standards which means that the quality may not be the best in order to cut down on costs.

Stock cabinets are often made from lower quality materials to save on costs

Pros of Custom Cabinets

Unlimited Sizes: Custom cabinets can be built in any size which means that they will fit your kitchen like a glove. You won’t have to put up with awkward spaces as your cabinets will be made the exact size of your kitchen.


Because sizing is not limited, you can also order oversized cabinets with fewer or no partitions to accommodate your larger kitchen items and small appliances.


Extensive Design Options: With custom cabinets, your kitchen can be as unique as you are. You can include special design features such as drawers for your pots, pull-out pantries, glass inserts, crown moulding, extra large cabinets, and more. The choices are endless.

Plus you’ll have an extremely wide range of colours, textures, hardware, and materials to choose from.


Higher Quality: If you order custom cabinets, you can choose higher quality materials such as solid wood and furniture grade plywood. Solid wood will last a lifetime and can be professionally refinished without having to be replaced.


Custom cabinetry usually means that the joinery is better and more durable. Quality custom cabinet makers will use dovetail joinery which is much stronger than standard joinery.

In addition you can also get higher quality hardware such as handles and hinges that come with great warranties.

Custom cabinets will be better with techniques like dovetail joinery – Source: Wikipedia​

Cons of Custom Cabinets

Higher Price: Custom cabinets do cost more than stock cabinets. But what you are paying for is higher quality materials, a unique design that you love and cabinets that will fit your space perfectly.



Longer Wait Time: Custom cabinetry will usually take longer than stock cabinets to arrive. This is because it is being made especially for you. Even though it does take a few weeks longer, it is worth it for you to get exactly what you want and not have to settle for something that is second best.

However, even though you may wait a bit longer for your custom cabinets to be made, the travel time may be less, especially if you are dealing with a a local company. This will have environmental benefits. Less travel for the product means less carbon used and a longer lasting product doesn’t lead to landfill clutter.

custom cabinetry

Cerwood Custom Cabinetry: Local Experts You Can Trust

You can trust Cerwood to make you beautiful custom cabinets you’ll love for years to come. At Cerwood Custom Cabinetry we have been servicing the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, and Stratford region with exquisite custom cabinetry for your entire home for more than 25 years!


All of our custom cabinetry is manufactured locally in our New Hamburg facility, which means that when you choose us, you will receive quicker more efficient service and you will be supporting your local economy.


All of our custom cabinetry is backed by numerous manufacturer warranties, along with Cerwood’s own 1-year in-home warranty. Hinges & drawer slides all hold lifetime warranties (25 years).


We will provide you with free estimates by our professional designers including a design package complete with a quote and 3-D drawings of the proposed finished look.

Services We Offer

Cerwood offers you a wide range of services including custom cabinetry for your:


We can also provide you will quality servicing for your existing cabinets. Contact Cerwood today for your free, no obligation estimate.


“I recently had your cabinets installed in my kitchen, by your employee Derek and his assistant. I am pleased to inform you that the work was done on time and in a very professional manner. I wish to congratulate you and your company on a job well done.”

Gaby T.


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