Cabinet can revitalize your house’s appearance. When redesigning your house, think beforehand about the best wood for cabinets as they will be installed in various parts of the house from the Kitchen to wet areas.

Reasons to be careful while choosing the type of wood for cabinets:

  • They provide aesthetic beauty to your house.
  • They make the first impression on the visitors to your home.
  • They play an important role in keeping your house tidy and clutter-free.

Beyond appearance, their durability, quality, and strength matter to a great extent. Make sure the wood you choose for the cabinet should withstand denting, scratching, and humidity.  

You are in the right spot if you are remodeling your house and confused about choosing the best wood for cabinets.

The purpose of the article is to dissipate your confusion and highlight the best woods for cabinets, their features, pros, and cons.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Wood For Cabinet

You need to consider more than one factor to choose the exact matchable wood for your cabinet. Go through the following points to make a better decision.

1. Style & Design of the kitchen

Do you want a modern, small, or modular kitchen? 

Do you prefer simple or intricate designs? 

Choose wood as per your desired kitchen cabinet design. You can inspect the bending properties, durability, and suitability of wood for your kitchen design.

2. Climate & Humidity

The most effective factor concerning wood is climate and humidity. Enquire about the water resistance of wood and its suitability to the climate of your place. Install the appropriate wood to the climate and humidity level of the space to have long-lasting work.

3. Personal Preferences

What kind of style do you want? Is it classic or modern? Your desirable color and design for cabinet doors? What is your priority: beauty, durability, or both? 

So, your personal preferences matter a great deal to choose the best wood for cabinets.

4. Maintenance & Care

Must inspect for whether the chosen cabinet wood demands regular maintenance or not. Some woods are required to be inspected once in a while whereas others barely need to be maintained. It depends on their natural traits.

Top 10 Best Wood For Cabinet & Doors (Kitchen & Bathroom)

1. Maple

The best thing about maple is that it is a versatile wood used in all styles: modern, traditional, and contemporary.

Maple is a dense and sturdy wood with an eye-catching appearance. It has straight grains and a plain texture with a non-porous fiber structure. Maple is diverse in colors, it varies from darker shades to white and honey colors.

The sapwood of maple wood is used more widely than its heartwood. Maplewood is easy to paint and stain, thanks to its closed-grain structure. Various finishes like 2-Pac and melamine polishes can be applied to obtain appealing finishes.


  • Durable wood.
  • Repels water. 
  • Even grain wood.
  • The best suitable for contemporary choices.
  • Resistant to moisture, warping, and shrinkage.


  • Maple cabinets’ color turns yellow because of UV rays. You can prefer applying a shield as protection.
  • Prone to insect attacks.
  • Tough to stain the maple wood. For this, the reason is its tight grain.

2. Oak

Strong and stable oak is the best wood for cabinet doors. The water-resistant properties of oak wood make it a great choice for kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Oak is a go-to wood for cabinets to store heavyweight goods. You can easily sand the discolored and damaged part of the oak.

Oak wood has generally two types:

1. Red Oak

Red oak varies in color from reddish brown to wheat and pink color. It is solid hardwood with 1260 Ibf of Janka hardness ranking. And, it is not possible to stain light colors on the pink surface of red oak.

Red oak is widely used for cabinets and furniture owing to its strength.

2. White Oak

White oak is indeed harder and more durable than red oak. Additionally, it is recommended for outdoor cabinets due to their resistance to rot. The eye-popping look of white oak with a little darker and grey hue grabs the attention.

White oak is preferred over red oak for cabinets though both are the best suitable for this purpose. It is the best wood for cabinets as it stains well and repels destruction. The reason for its density is its slow growth.

Both oak types look attractive with stains. The thing worths noting is White Oak is easy to stain because of its light color as compared to red oak.


  • Strong & durable wood.
  • Up-to-mark strength.
  • Oak withstands cracks and scratches. 
  • Resistance to wear and tear.
  • Less maintenance is required.


  • High-priced wood.
  • Hard to cut and screw.
  • Darken with time.

3. Cherrywood

The stunning reddish appearance of cherry wood will excite you the most. The wood has an even and vertical grain with red shades. Cherry wood changes its colors from light to dark with time.

Moreover, it repels hard knocks and surface damage. Despite being softer than other woods, it is a long-lasting hardwood.

If your priority is to give a natural reddish touch to your home then Cherrywood is an excellent choice. 

Choosing Cherrywood for the kitchen may be an expensive choice but it is worths a single penny.


  • Easy bending properties.
  • Temperature resistance: No contractions & expansion of MDF in changing temperature.
  • The stability of wood is worth manufacturing cabinet doors.
  • Moisture resistant.


  • Expensive wood.
  • Darkening of color over time.

4. MDF

It is the most popular choice for modern kitchens. MDF is an engineered wood made from the residuals of softwood and hardwood. Eco-friendly is the unique aspect of the wood as it is made from recycled wood fibers.

MDF is ideal for cabinets because of its density and smooth leveled surfaces. The smooth surface of MDF makes it an ideal choice for paint and stains.

MDF does not possess the natural properties of wood. It does not expand and contracts with thermal variations hence it has fewer changes of visual cracks on the surface.


  • The painted finish is long-lasting on an MDF surface.
  • Strong wood with straight grain.
  • Requires less maintenance.
  • It repels contracting and warping.


  • Prone to scratches.
  • Not suitable for external uses as its main input materials get damaged in sunlight exposure.

5. Plywood

Plywood is the most common and ancient type of engineered wood. Plywood is one of the most popular woods since it is a power pack of benefits.

The high sturdiness and stability of plywood increase its reliability. Highly used wood for construction work, from kitchen and bathroom furniture to cabinets.

Cabinet-grade plywood has a smooth finish and double plies. Most plywood cabinet doors contain a veneer coating.


  • The best suitable wood for cabinet doors.
  • Lightweight wood.
  • Effortless to install, stain, and paint.
  • Bending properties.
  • Great moisture resistance.


  • It comes with the cons of standing and painting difficulties.
  • Less durability.
  • It is a bit expensive.

Check marks while choosing plywood for cabinets

  • Graining pattern
  • Width of edge
  • Flatness of plywood

6. Walnut

The strong and durable walnut wood is the best suitable for cabinet doors. It is a dense and hard wood with a Janka hardness rating of 1010 Ibf.

The uniqueness of walnut is its intricate grain style and color whirls of dark shades. It is perfect for bathroom cabinets, and you can wipe out the walnut cabinet surface to keep it tidy.

The pretty appearance of the wood as its color varies from reddish brown to creamy gray.


  • Water & mold resistant.
  • Straight & attractive grain pattern.
  • Best suitable or modern styles.
  • Resistant to dents and scratches. 


  • Hard installment process.

7. Alder

Alder has a superb blend of features of both hardwood and softwood. Despite being a hardwood, it is exceedingly soft. It has a straight and plain texture with medium density.

Alder comes with a similar color appearance to cherry wood. It has excellent workability using woodworking tools

The smooth texture and straight grain give an aesthetic look to the cabinet. And wood is gaining popularity in the U.S.

You can use a pre-stain wood conditioner prior to painting and staining alder wood to avoid blotches in Alder wood.


  • Excellent finishing and working properties.
  • Give desirable shape and style to wood.
  • The appealing natural beauty of Alder.
  • Affordable wood.


  • Fail to withstand shear & wear, scratches, and dents owing to its softness.
  • It is not recommended to load heavy items in it.

8. Ash

Ash is a sturdy wood since it bears the heavy weight of goods. It repels damage and cracks, being resistant to shock. Easy to paint, seal, and stain wood. You can customize it and carve shapes as per your choice.

Ash is eco-friendly since no emission of any severe chemicals while using it. Such favorable features make it the best wood for cabinets.


  • Pocket-friendly wood.
  • Excellent working properties. 
  • Attractive light shades.
  • It bears heavy loads.


  • Rare availability.
  • Prone to insect attacks.
  • Required proper care and maintenance.
  • Flammable wood.

9. Birch

Affordable and durable birch wood with robust strength is the best suitable for cabinet doors. You will love looking at birch cabinets having light brown and golden hues.

Birch cabinets give a farmhouse and modern look to your kitchen cabinets. A perfect match to modern kitchens. You can prefer using light stains over their dark color to keep the wood surface smooth and even. It has amazing finishing properties due to its porous fiber structure. It absorbs paint and stains very well.

However, its uneven texture leads to blemishes following the staining of the wood. The solution to avoid bleaches and marks is to put a pre-stain wood conditioner.


  • Easy availability.
  • Versatile wood.
  • Comparatively less costly.
  • Natural resistance to decay.
  • Great workability.
  • Firmly withstands dents and scratching.


  • No moisture and weather resistance.
  • Liable to cracking and warping in a dry climate.

10. Hickory

Hickory cabinets last for years due to their robustness and durability. It has a fascinating look due to its distinct striations, dark knots, and grains.

Hickory cabinets add to the beauty of your house. In addition, use them for heavyweights. It is strong and hardwood but has poor resistance to water. So, avoid using it for bathroom cabinets.

You can choose the color of hickory cabinets matchable to the furniture as it is available in a wide range of colors, from white to reddish-brown.

Avoid using chemical cleansers which can lead to finish removal and discoloration. The solution is using natural cleansers on hickory cabinets.


  • Durable and strong wood.
  • Appealing appearance.


  • High-priced wood.
  • Liable to scratches and marks. So, proper care and maintenance are required.
  • Prone to insect attacks.

Additional Recommendation

Maple, plywood, birch, and pine wood are not suitable for staining. 

If done, it could result in streaks and blotchy marks.

Their hardness and density do not allow them to pierce the stain pigments into these woods.

Winding Up

Consider all the mentioned factors to choose the suitable wood for cabinets. Through the curated list of the 10 best wood for cabinets, you may get an idea of which one to install. 

Know about the cost, durability, strength, and appearance of the wood to come to a wise conclusion. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Oak and hickory are the strongest and most decent woods. Their cost is worth the benefits. They meet your requirement for long-lasting cabinet doors which repel warping and damage.

Solid natural woods are top-ranked for long-established kitchen cabinets. These are Woods like maple, oak, birch, walnut, and cherry which are usable for decades.

The cheapest cabinet wood is pine. Point to be noted, consider factors like durability, strength, and wood type beyond its costs if you need quality and long-lasting work.

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