Are Particle Board Cabinets Bad? Everything You Need to Know

Particle board kitchen cabinets are one of the more popular and readily-available kinds of kitchen cabinets on the market, especially in big box stores. This is because they’re affordable and easy to manufacture—but does this mean that they’re cheap and poorly constructed? 

In this blog, we’ll dive into what particle board is, the pros and cons of particle board, and whether particle board cabinets are bad before providing some similar alternatives. 

What is Particle Board?

Particle board is a waste wood product, meaning that it is made of particles generated as a by-product of the wood product manufacturing process. Typically, the waste wood used for particle boards is sawdust, which is then bound together using resin or another chemical binder to form large, smooth boards. While particle board is partially made of real wood products, it is not considered wood because of the size of the wood particles and the amount of resin in the final product. 

The process of particle board manufacturing makes it easy to mass produce and sell at low prices, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that particle board cabinets are bad. We’ll discuss the many advantages and disadvantages of particle board cabinets now. 

Pros of Particle Board


Particle board cabinets are the least expensive kind of kitchen cabinets on the market. Whether you need kitchen cabinets in a pinch or are on a budget for your kitchen renovation, particle board cabinets are an affordable option that you can spruce up with a bit of elbow grease.


While particle board cabinets may look textured and clumpy when painted, they will look smooth and sleek when a layer of wood veneer or laminate is added to their surfaces. Numerous videos online demonstrate how to apply laminate and veneer to particle boards. It is often as simple as sanding down the particle board and gluing the surfaces together. There are countless laminate colors and wood grain textures available!


Because particle boards are typically made of sawdust, they tend to be lighter than their plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), or solid wood counterparts. This means they’re easier to transport and install than other cabinet types. 

Cons of Particle Board

Less Durable

The construction of particle board cabinets can also be referred to as low-density fiberboard, meaning that the wood particles are not densely packed before they’re encased in resin. This means that particle board cabinets are often less durable than other kinds of cabinet construction. Particle board cabinets are prone to warping when exposed to moisture, which can be an issue above stoves or beneath sinks. Moreover, the lack of density between the fibers means that particle board is less capable of holding nails and screws so installation can be difficult, and this type of construction is not recommended for frameless cabinets.

Malleable Materials

Particle board cabinets are softer than other types of cabinets because of how loosely packed the wood particles are. This means that bumps and scrapes are more likely to alter the appearance or shape of the cabinet face, and the cabinets may break from heavy use more easily than solid wood or even plywood cabinets. 

Short Shelf-Life

Because of the above reasons, particle board cabinets typically break or become unsuitable for use more quickly than other kinds of cabinets. 

Potentially Dangerous 

One of the most common types of glue used to bind particle board cabinets is urea formaldehyde. While this glue is safe when the particle board is properly sealed, unsealed particle cabinets may leak formaldehyde, which may lead to a number of symptoms or even cancer. 

Are Particle Board Cabinets Bad?

Despite these cons, particle board cabinets are not necessarily bad. If you are on a budget or don’t plan on hosting any dinner parties anytime soon, properly sealed and laminated particle board cabinets are an affordable option for the average kitchen owner. That being said, there are numerous alternatives that may be better suited for your needs. 

Affordable Particle Board Alternatives

Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is similar to particle board but is slightly higher quality. Rather than being made of sawdust, MDF is made of small wood chips which are bound together with resin or industrial glue. Cabinets made of MDF are more water resistant than particle board but still lack durability in terms of withstanding installation hardware and weight. 


Plywood cabinets, unlike particle board and MDF cabinets, are made of real boards of wood, which are sliced thinly and glued together in opposite directions for extra strength. Though they are not the most durable kind of cabinets, plywood cabinets are more resistant to water damage and can handle higher weights. Typically, cabinet boxes are made of plywood because the material is inexpensive and durable enough to withstand normal use. 

Solid Wood

Solid wood is the most high-quality kind of cabinet, made of solid planks of wood. These cabinets are highly durable, water resistant, and customizable with stains and paints. While many kinds of wood are expensive, there are more affordable types of wood that you may consider, such as pine and cherry wood.  

Affordable Solid Wood Cabinets at Buy Wholesale Cabinets

Now that you know more about particle board cabinets and the options available in your home renovation journey, you can begin seeking affordable and high-quality cabinet options.

Solid wood options are available for those who aren’t looking to break the bank on their new kitchen. Buy Wholesale Cabinets believes in offering wholesale prices for everyone and refuses to compromise on the quality of their customer service or cabinets. With free quotes available and various options for RTA cabinets in Shaker white and Shaker gray, Buy Wholesale Cabinets is proud to offer unbeatable prices for solid wood cabinets with features such as dovetail drawers, full-extension glides, and soft-close drawers. Contact us today for a free quote, or visit our website to see the world of cabinetry at your fingertips.