What does it cost to install or replace kitchen cabinets?

Give your room a great new look. This is what it costs to install stylish brand new kitchen cabinets or replace your old ones.

pale blue kitchen with white worktops
(Image credit: Neptune)

If it’s time to update your kitchen, you’ll want to know about the cost to install kitchen cabinets. Swapping tired or old cabinets can be a great way to remodel the room, and if the current layout works just fine, it can be a relatively simple makeover.

Whatever your top kitchen cabinet ideas, before you decide replacing them is the best room remodeling option for you, it’s important to be aware of how much to budget for the job. And while you might be confident to fit the cabinets yourself, it’s worth being aware of how much you’ll pay for labor.

We’ve asked the experts to share what you can expect costs to total if you’re replacing kitchen cabinets so you can take the first step in your project.

Cost to install kitchen cabinets: what you need to know

If you’re considering replacing your kitchen cabinets, there are a few factors that will weigh into what the cost will be. The first is the type of cabinets you select, which might be stock, semi-custom, or custom designs.

Also important is the hardware you select for the cabinets – and whether you fit this yourself.

We’ve put together all the knowhow you need about the different elements of the total cost of cabinet replacement – along with some alternatives you could consider.

How much do stock cabinets cost?

The first option you might want to consider for your kitchen cabinets are stock versions. These are readymade and come in a range of styles and finishes. The disadvantage of choosing stock cabinets is that you can’t customize them, plus you’ll have to make them work for the space, which may involve using fillers. On the upside, there should be no wait involved if you go for these and, importantly, they will prove the least expensive route to cabinet replacement, and the best choice if your budget is tight. 

‘Stock cabinets usually cost under $5,000, making them great for low budget projects and small kitchens,’ says Bailey Carson, home care expert at Angi. ‘The exact cost of stock cabinets depends on the size you need. Larger cabinets will be more expensive, while smaller cabinets will be more cost effective.’

How much do semi-custom cabinets cost?

Although they come in standard sizes and finishes like stock cabinets, semi-custom designs bring the opportunity to customize to some extent, changing sizes, dimensions and appearance, for example. Bear in mind that this means you’ll have a longer wait than with stock cabinetry.

And what will the extra options mean when it comes to the final cost? ‘Semi-custom cabinets cost between $5,000 and $25,000,’ says Bailey. ‘Small cabinets will be closer to $5,000, while large cabinets can go up to $25,000. These cabinets are a great option for projects with a moderate budget because they give you lots of flexibility without breaking the bank.’

How much do custom cabinets cost?

Custom cabinets are built to fit your kitchen – and therefore come with costs that reflect this.

‘If you have a large budget, fully custom cabinets can be a great addition to your home,’ says Bailey. ‘These cabinets can cost $30,000 or more, but they often include unique features like outlets and pull-out shelving. If you choose to go the custom route, you’ll need to work with a contractor to create your dream kitchen.’

How does cabinet material influence replacement costs?

The material from which a kitchen cabinet is made matters when it comes to the final invoice. 

‘For a lower end cost, you can opt for particle board which averages $60 to $150 per cabinet,’ says Adam Graham, a construction industry analyst at Fixr. ‘Mid-range costing materials include wood veneer ($70 to $250) and MDF ($70 to $250). Higher end materials like metal will set you back between $700 and $1,500.’

How much does kitchen cabinet labor cost?

What about the labor involved in fitting kitchen cabinets? ‘The labor cost to install kitchen cabinets can vary,’ says Adam. ‘Oftentimes, you may be quoted for installation only and the assembly of the cabinet box itself may be separate. 

‘The cost of labor can also depend on the type of professional you hire, whether it is a handyman or cabinet installer. A cabinet installer will charge on average $50 to $100 per hour, whereas a handyman will cost you $70 to $200.’

How much does cabinet hardware cost?

It’s important to remember that cabinet hardware – in other words, knobs and handles – also plays into the costs of kitchen cabinet replacement, and you may be surprised by the difference between the lowest and highest price you can pay.

‘New cabinet hardware can start at $100 and go up to $10,550, depending on the materials you choose,’ say Bailey. ‘Ceramic, wood and plastic hardware tend to be the cheapest options, usually costing less than $500 to outfit an average-sized kitchen. If you have a larger budget, you can opt for glass, stone or resin hardware, which costs between $500 and $2,000. If you have a budget of over $5,000, you can look into fully customizable hardware.

You might consider DIYing to make your budget go further. ‘One way to save money on cabinet hardware is to install the hardware yourself,’ Bailey says. ‘This can save you up to $300 on labor costs, depending on the complexity of the installation.’

Are there alternatives to replacing kitchen cabinets entirely?

If the existing cabinet boxes are sound, an alternative to replacing the cabinets in their entirety is to install new fronts – and this can work out less expensive. 

It’s a strategy interior designer Jonathan Berger recommends to many clients. While the actual pricing can vary widely depending on the size of the kitchen and number of cabinets needed, he finds that replacing the cabinet fronts can be about 20 per cent of the cost of replacing and installing new cabinets.

As well as replacing doors and drawer fronts, cabinet refacing might include covering existing cabinet boxes with a veneer to match them. ‘Cabinet refacing can range anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000 plus, depending on the size of your kitchen, door style and finish you choose, and scope of the project,’ says Chase Vincent, owner of Kitchen Tune-Up in Louisville, KY.

‘Refacing projects can often include a cabinet modification or the addition of a new cabinet or two,’ he adds.

What does kitchen cabinet replacement cost in the UK?

If you’re based in the UK and replacing kitchen cabinets, prices for the cabinets themselves varies according to whether you opt for standard or higher quality units. 

‘The cost of a standard kitchen cupboard unit will be around £20 to £70 and £20 to £50 for a wall unit,’ explains a spokesperson for Checkatrade. ‘Higher quality units will be between £70 to £130 for a base unit and £70 to £100 for a wall unit.’

As for installation? ‘It’s estimated that a kitchen cupboard installation will cost around £225, not including the material cost,’ says the expert.

Sarah Warwick
Freelance Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For Realhomes.com, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.