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Plywood Vs. Particle Board Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are an important component of your decor that contributes to the overall aesthetic and beauty of your cooking space. They are also functional additions that allow you to tuck away and hide items in the kitchen, such as dishes, appliances, food and spices. Kitchen cabinets are most commonly made of either plywood or particle board. The two materials have very different characteristics, so it’s good to become familiar with the pros and cons of each before choosing your kitchen cabinets.


Plywood Cabinets

Plywood is a sturdy material made from wood sheets that are compressed and then covered with a veneer. It has a polished, trim look and is a great material to use in kitchens as well as other areas of the house because it tends to stand up well to wear and tear.


Plywood tends to cost more than particle board and is considered a higher-end material, often used in more expensive cabinets. It can come in a variety of price levels but is generally higher quality and more attractive than particle board.


Plywood is a very durable material that stands up well over time to stress and movement. This makes it a great option for kitchens that get a lot of use or cabinets that you'd like to maintain for a long period of time.


Plywood can generally hold nails, screws and other fasteners very well and is also great for holding glued joints together. Because it is a higher-quality material, it is usually employed in glued-joints applications.


Plywood is generally very moisture resistant. It doesn’t stand up well to long-term exposure to water, but it will maintain structural integrity for a long period of time with minimal water exposure.


  • Strong and durable
  • High quality
  • Moisture Resistant
  • Holds nails and glue well


  • Expensive

When to Use

Plywood is an excellent option in almost all kitchen cabinetry situations if you are not concerned with cost and if you want cabinets that will stand the test of time.

Particle Board

Particle Board Cabinets

Particle board is made from composite sheet-wood combined with wood chips and particles that are bound together with a glue or resin and then shaped with a mold. It can come in many different sizes and densities.


Particle board is a very affordable material because it's composite parts are less expensive than solid wood. The process is easier than making plywood, and the materials used are very cheap.


Particle board isn’t as strong as plywood, but if you purchase a higher-quality line, it can still be durable. However, it is more likely that it will get more dents and scratches than plywood.


Particle board is smooth and less likely to warp than plywood. However, it doesn’t hold nails and glue as well as plywood; glue and screws tend to come loose over time. It's a good option if you are considering outfitting a kitchen for a short time or replacing the cabinets with higher quality material after some time has passed.


Particle board is very susceptible to damage from moisture and will swell if it is sitting in water for an extended period of time. This means it makes a good short-term solution but won't stand up well in areas that experience a lot of standing water.


  • Affordable
  • Doesn't warp
  • Durable
  • Easy to install


  • Doesn't handle moisture well
  • Not long lasting
  • Doesn't hold nails and glue well

When to Use

Particle board makes a great quick fix for kitchens and is very low cost so it's a good solution for when you are trying to keep costs down.

Are Plywood Cabinets or Particle Board Cabinets Better?

It depends on the situation! Most cabinetmakers offer both particle board and plywood options, but be aware that plywood can cost 10 to 20 percent more than particle board. Figure out what your price range is and how sturdy and moisture-resistant you want your cabinets to be before choosing the cabinet material for your kitchen.

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