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Kitchen units - the differences between them

(12 Posts)
HiawathaDidntBotherTooMuch Mon 09-Feb-15 18:10:40

I am in the very early stages of planning a new kitchen. We are probably a couple of years off doing it, as it will be part of a bigger project. So I am just gathering info at the moment and learning. But I know I would like painted hits, shaker type style.

I was passing Wickes and went in. I saw a kitchen I liked. Heritage oak painted units, in various colours. Very nice. It is at the top of their price range, but obviously that is a budget end manufacturer, and there are much, much more expensive options.

But what are the differences in quality between budget and mid range and higher end? We could afford to spend more than Wickes prices, but I need to understand what I would be paying the extra for. Is it choice eg sizes of cabinets? Finish? Better hinges? See, I told you I was at the learning stage!

HiawathaDidntBotherTooMuch Mon 09-Feb-15 19:47:41

Painted units, not painted hits

wormshuffled Tue 10-Feb-15 07:51:48

Don't forget to add in plinths , end panels, cornice etc into your calculations. When they say in the broucher this kitchen costs x amount, it actually doesn't. Wickes will move on price if you get similar style quotes cheaper elsewhere.
Check if the units come pre built , as this will make a big difference to fitting costs.

frumpypigskin Tue 10-Feb-15 08:21:23

I'm not an expert but I am in the middle of kitchen hell.

Have a look at what the carcasses are made from. I think some price difference comes from the materials used to make the carcasses and the finish on them. However, there may be a difference in how the inside of your cupboard looks but that may not translate into how long your kitchen will last. I would expect an IKEA cabinet to last a good 10 years.

You will pay more for an inframe design and painted.

You will pay more for drawer cabinets.

Be aware that many places use the same door supplier but use their own carcasses so the kitchens may be called 'second nature' the carcasses may not be the same.

When you pull drawers out you will see a difference between price points i.e. it may be a metal insert or a wooden dovetail joint.

More expensive kitchens can sometimes be more bespoke i.e. rather than standard sizes they may be able to create cabinets to fit your space.

The best thing to do is decide your budget and then have a good look around.

Good luck

MillyMollyMama Tue 10-Feb-15 09:07:20

The price differences are often in the range of sizes of cabinets. It is also whether the cabinets are bespoke or standard sizes. The inside of the cabinets also adds to the price. My drawers are lined in oak, for example and I have an oak lined larder unit. There is an oak pull out shelf below my coffee machine to put the cups on. You will pay more for design aspects like this and moves a kitchen out of the high street ranges. I expect my kitchen to last a well in excess of 20 years and it can be repainted if I tire of the colour. The cost of a work surface can be a significant expense but granite, for example, can make a cheaper kitchen look expensive but it is not cheap. All bespoke kitchens will have expensive work tops.

A more expensive kitchen range designer will spend time in your home making suggestions and should have lots of previous projects to show you. The other big advantage we valued was that our kitchen company had their own cheerful, hardworking, workforce who actually thought about how to overcome any issues while they were fitting. Having had freelance fitting teams in the past, decent, intelligent, fitters is a real bonus! What you pay for a kitchen should also be linked to the relative value of your house. Ours is at the higher end around here and the kitchen is in an oak framed orangery so we felt a high street kitchen would not have the same impact or design features to make the most of the space. In some properties, it would be a gross overspend.

housepicturesqueclub Tue 10-Feb-15 09:09:30

Buy direct from a manufacturer, don't buy from the likes of B&Q or Wickes, they are middlemen selling overpriced rubbish.

I hate fitted kitchens now, with chipboard cabinets covered in plastic, they soon discolour or get damaged/chipped. Awkward to fit too.

My next kitchen will be solid wood standalone units with legs, i.e you can see underneath them and the kitchen floor is wall to wall.

Corale Tue 10-Feb-15 10:54:37


Am new to this site and this is my 1st post (hope I don't mess it up).

We are at the beginning of building a new house and have started to look at kitchens, what a mine field it is!

The quality of some of the companies we have looked at is very poor.

We have had an appt with a company that sells Shuller German kitchens and are going back next week to see the design and to find out the cost. The quality of the Shuller kitchen was so much better than what we saw in Magnet, Wren, B&Q etc.

We want a high gloss finish but all the painted units seem to have an orange peel effect so we are looking at an Acrylic door, we have an idea of how much it is going to cost but not the final figure yet.

It is definitely a time consuming job and we are glad that we have started now as we won't be ready for the kitchen until Autumn time.

We had a quote from Wren so it will be interesting to see what the difference is, also the sales person in Wren told us that it would cost about £6000 for fitting!!!!!!!!!!!! where they pulled this from I do not know!!!

Can keep you posted on what the quote comes out at in a couple of weeks.

nikki1978 Tue 10-Feb-15 11:00:00

If you like the Wickes kitchen go to Benchmarx - if you know anyone with a trade account use that.

mandy214 Tue 10-Feb-15 13:20:47

I think you need to be clever. I agree that the kitchen needs to reflect the house, but its not as simple (in my view) as saying expensive house must always equal expensive kitchen. If you play on the internet, there are lots of blogs / articles etc about cutting corners and achieving a high end (and quality) kitchen without spending silly amounts of money.

I have also seen a relative's relatively high end kitchen (think Martin Moore, Tom Howley etc) and the carcasses were MDF (no different than my much cheaper kitchen)! Things to look out for are the measurements of the panels (18mm or upwards) so they are sturdy etc. So you don't necessarily get better quality by spending more - yes, you'll get a good design, you'll get designer features (which you can ultimately take away and get copied / match) but ultimately you're getting the name.

WellTidy Tue 10-Feb-15 15:29:13

Thanks all for your input.

mandy What does measurement of the panels mean? The thickness of the door, sides of the cupboards etc?

This is the one I like in Wickes. It says that it is oak. I like the curvy corner units, the simplicity, the fact that there doesn't seem to be lots of bits that would gather dust etc, but I don't want glass fronted doors, as I don't want to have to keep the things inside the cupboards tidy. I like the plinths at the bottom as I dont want to have to clean underneath.

I don't really need or want designer features. I don't want in built microwave, coffee maker etc. I do want a warming drawer though, if possible.

But I do want it to be good quality. No saggy shelves or doors/drawer fronts that drop etc. I am happy to look after it! I think we would go for a tiled floor and silestone or granite worksurface. No idea of budget as yet, as we don't really have a price in mind. I suppose we want to see what we get in different price ranges and then choose one.

Where else should I be looking? I think part of the problem is that i don't know what is available to me. We are in the south east, outside London but within M25. Kitchen is about 16 feet x 12 feet (v rough estimate) to include a kitchen table somwehere.

mandy214 Tue 10-Feb-15 17:34:31

Yes the 18mm is for cabinet thickness. Some manufacturers don't have panels that thick. Also some will have thinner back panels - so for example the cheap as chips range at B&Q is 3mm thick whereas others are 8mm thick. Not sure that helps very much.

Do you have a local FB group or an active local site on MN? Could you ask for recommendations locally?

I'd also look around for local suppliers (and internet suppliers) for your worktops. We have quartz and found suppliers that were quoting 3 times the price of the company we eventually went with.

PigletJohn Tue 10-Feb-15 21:09:38

Unless you are looking at the bottom of the market, you will not often see flatpacks. They will be more wobbly than rigid-build and are usually quite poor quality. You can improve rigidity by gluing all joints. The only time they are preferable to rigid is when you have to manhandle them up or down stairs and through narrow doorways, the moving will flex and weaken rigid built units.

The back panel, once the unit is in place, is only to keep draughts out so I don't believe its thickness matters. If the units are firmly on the floor, with adjustable feet, and preferably tacked to the wall near the top, they won't move.

When a mass-market supplier says their units are oak, they mean the doors are (either solid or veneered). The cabinets are just chipboard, unless you have them made by a joinery company. Press your thumbnail into the cabinets to make sure they have a hard durable coating and not a vinyl wrap.

The biggest factor in the quality of your kitchen will be the skill and care of the fitters.

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