Shaker vs Raised Panel Cabinets

Shaker Cabinets

   PROS
  • Contemporary style
  • Less expensive
  • Readily available
  • Often found in frameless construction
  • Many wood species and finishes available
  CONS
  • Potentially more maintenance
  • Fewer decorative options
  • May require taller cabinet to reach ceiling
$4,706

(for 10x10 kitchen installed)

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Raised Cabinets

   PROS
  • Traditional style
  • Many decorative options
  • Potentially less maintenance
  • Many wood species and finishes available
  • Rail and molding options available
  • Readily available
  CONS
  • More expensive
  • Difficult to find in frameless construction
$5,392

(for 10x10 kitchen installed)

Get free advice and estimates from kitchen designers in your city.

The style of your kitchen cabinets sets the tone for the appearance of the rest of the room. Cabinets make up the bulk of your kitchen design, often filling two or more walls and offering both function and aesthetics for the room.

Two of the more popular styles of cabinets include raised panel and shaker. Both can be found in a number of wood species and finishes, and both will give you a beautiful kitchen. We’ll outline the differences between them below, so that you can make a more informed decision for your kitchen.

Style and Appearance

For all intents and purposes, the biggest differences that you’ll find between a shaker cabinet and a raised panel is in the appearance. Raised panel cabinets are one of the more formal designs, used predominantly in traditional-style kitchens. In a raised panel, the cabinet is made up of a center panel and an outer rim or overlay. The center panel is carved or raised in the middle, and then slopes backward to the edges. The overlay around the panel is generally grooved or has some type of decorative edge on the interior and exterior. The entire effect is to make the cabinet door look as though it was carved out of a single, large plank, and it’s often subtly decorative in style.

A Shaker cabinet is much more simple in design. It also has a center panel and an overlay around the edge. The difference between the two, is that the Shaker panel and edge are completely plain and minimalist in design. There is no decorative carving or raising in either the panel or the overlay. The center panel itself is completely flat, like a slab cabinet door, and the overlay around the edge is very sleek and plain.

While a raised panel cabinet may change slightly in design from a cabinet door front to a drawer front, doing away with the overlay on the edge on the drawers, a Shaker cabinet door and drawer will be identical in style.

On the whole, Shaker cabinets tend to be more contemporary or transitional in style and design, often used in modern or rustic modern kitchen designs, while raised panels are used in more traditional settings.

Installation

Both Shaker and raised panel cabinets refer only to the style of the cabinet door and drawer front, rather than to the cabinets as a whole. Both types of cabinets may come in framed or frameless construction with full or semi-overlays. If both styles of cabinet are constructed in the same way, meaning both framed or both frameless, then installation will be identical for both.

Framed or Frameless Construction

There are two styles of cabinet boxes that both Shaker and raised panel cabinets can be found in - framed cabinets, which use a supporting frame around the front of the cabinet box that the door is then hung on, and frameless, which does not use a supporting frame. The door is hung right on the side of the cabinet itself.

You can find both styles of cabinet in both types of construction, however, Shaker cabinets are often preferred by homeowners creating a modern look in their home. Frameless cabinets have a sleeker, more contemporary design, so they often pair well with Shaker doors. Framed cabinets have a more traditional appearance, which pairs better with raised panel doors.

Costs

In most cases, Shaker doors tend to cost less than raised panel doors of similar style and design. Most cabinets are priced in several ways, the box construction, wood species, and finish all make up at least part of the cost. The labor cost for building the door then differs based on style. In this case, the Shaker door is the less expensive of the two, costing about $16 in labor fees vs roughly $30 for a raised panel door.

A 10x10 kitchen with all plywood construction, painted white in Shaker cabinets costs roughly $2,706 for the cabinets, while the same size cabinets with all plywood construction, painted white with raised panel doors tends to cost around $3,392 for the cabinets. The cost to install either set of cabinets is around $2,000, making a Shaker kitchen around $4,706 for the cabinetry installed, and a raised panel kitchen of the same construction around $5,392 for the cabinetry installed.

Availability

Both types of cabinets are very readily available. You may find, however, that if you are looking at frameless cabinet construction, that the Shaker cabinet is more widely available. This is because most frameless cabinet makers tend to make more contemporary or modern cabinet styles, while most framed cabinet makers tend to work in the more traditional styles.

However, both styles are popular depending on region, and both can be found in both stock and special order cabinetry from a variety of manufacturers.

Maintenance

The maintenance on both styles of cabinet is the same. Both types of cabinets tend to collect dust and grime along the edge of the panel. This may be slightly more pronounced in a Shaker cabinet, depending on the size of the lip on the overlay, but both cabinets do need to be cleaned there.

Both types of cabinets can also be installed in varying heights, including going to the ceiling. However, a raised panel cabinet has the option of also using a molding between the cabinet and the ceiling to keep cabinet costs down. In this case, the molding fills the empty space. Shaker cabinets of the same height have no molding, and this gap between the cabinets and the ceiling can collect grime, which may increase maintenance unless a taller cabinet is installed.

Resale Value

The style of cabinet you choose will impact the value of your home less than the quality of the improvements you choose. Solid materials in a kitchen style that is in keeping with the rest of the home will have the biggest impact. Both raised panel and Shaker doors can fit in well with a variety of kitchen styles, and both have areas of popularity which may make them a better fit than the other. As long as the style is in keeping with the rest of the home, the style of cabinet won’t have much impact on resale.​

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Cost to install shaker or raised panel cabinets varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Attalla, AL
-27%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Baton Rouge, LA
+19%
Carlsbad, CA
+13%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Dacula, GA
+1%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Daly City, CA
+51%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Easton, PA
+13%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Grand Rapids, MI
+7%
Hawley, PA
-11%
Houston, TX
+24%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Katy, TX
+63%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milpitas, CA
+33%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
New Orleans, LA
+35%
Norristown, PA
+44%
Oakland, CA
+36%
Omaha, NE
-10%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Portland, OR
+11%
Redding, CA
-12%
Riverside, CA
+13%
Rochester, NY
+6%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
Saint Louis, MO
+16%
Saint Petersburg, FL
-11%
San Antonio, TX
-4%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Francisco, CA
+53%
San Jose, CA
+33%
Sandy, UT
-6%
Santa Ana, CA
+20%
Seattle, WA
+9%
Sherman, CT
+24%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Tampa, FL
-2%

Labor cost in your zip code

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