How to Buy Used Kitchen Cabinets and Save Money


With the cost of living on the rise, more and more homeowners are looking for ways to save money on home improvement projects. One area where major savings can be found is in the purchase of kitchen cabinets. Buying used kitchen cabinets, rather than new, allows homeowners to get a high-quality and customized kitchen while sticking to their budget.

When planned and executed properly, installing used kitchen cabinets can result in a kitchen that looks and functions just as well as a brand new custom kitchen would, but at a fraction of the price. This comprehensive guide will provide tips and advice on how to buy used kitchen cabinets and save money.

How to Buy Used Kitchen Cabinets and Save Money

Purchasing used kitchen cabinets may seem like a daunting task, but armed with the right knowledge it can be easy and lucrative. Follow these steps for finding and buying quality secondhand kitchen cabinets on a budget:

Determine Cabinet Layout and Measurements

Before setting out to purchase used kitchen cabinets, have a solid plan for your new kitchen’s layout. Consider traffic flow, number of cabinets needed, and your family’s needs. Take detailed measurements of the kitchen including wall lengths, window and door placements, ceiling height, and available floor space. These measurements will be needed when assessing if used cabinets will fit your space.

Carefully measuring and planning ahead of time allows you to purchase used cabinets that work with the dimensions of your kitchen, rather than trying to make your kitchen work for random used cabinets. It also prevents buying too many or too few cabinets.

Check Classified Listings

One of the best places to find bargain-priced secondhand kitchen cabinets is right in your local classified ads. Check listings on sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for sellers offering kitchen cabinets and related items. Listings often include product details like manufacturer, dimensions, color, etc.

You can search using keywords like “used kitchen cabinets,” “pre-owned kitchen cabinets,” or “salvaged kitchen cabinets.” Save interesting listings to review and follow up on later. Don’t hesitate to broaden your search area – sometimes great deals can be found in neighboring towns.

Contact Cabinet Resellers

Businesses that specialize in reselling used cabinets and architectural salvage can also offer quality products at reasonable costs. These resellers remove kitchen cabinets from homes during renovations or foreclosures and resell them from their warehouses. Visit their showrooms to view available cabinetry and hardware in-person.

Many resellers also list their current cabinet inventory on their websites or sales platforms like eBay. Browse online listings before visiting a physical store. Reputable resellers will provide information on cabinet sizes, conditions, and pricing.

Look for Cabinet Lots

If you need a significant number of used cabinets, purchasing a pre-existing cabinet lot can save you time and money. Homeowners remodeling their kitchens or contractors performing renovations will often sell all existing cabinets together in one transaction.

Check classified platforms as well as construction and remodeling liquidators for these kinds of listings. Cabinet lots allow you to buy in bulk rather than piecing different sets together. Just be sure to fully verify dimensions and cabinet conditions first.

Check Habitat for Humanity ReStores

For those looking for extra savings, Habitat for Humanity ReStores sell a wide range of used and surplus building materials (including cabinets) donated by building supply companies and individuals. Visit your local ReStore to see available cabinet inventory.

Selection varies greatly based on current donations. Be prepared to act quickly on desired cabinets, as stock moves swiftly. ReStores also frequently offer steep discounts on large purchases. Always check cabinet dimensions before purchasing.

Avoid Big Box Retailer Closeouts

Big box home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s sell leftover discontinued stock and open box appliance closeouts at a discount. However, these closeout cabinets are not always a bargain compared to other resale options.

Closeout cabinet prices only drop a small percentage from original pricing. Name brand closeout cabinets actually tend to hold their value and sell for higher costs. With limited sizing options, new closeout cabinets may also require significant kitchen layout changes. Generally more savings can be found going used.

Inspect Cabinets Thoroughly Before Buying

When dealing with used cabinets, diligent inspection is an absolute must. Look over each cabinet carefully to check for damage, wear and tear, or signs of structural instability. Open and close doors and drawers to test operation and fit. Scrutinize both cabinet interiors and exteriors.

If possible, remove a drawer entirely to inspect the cabinet box construction. Check corners and joints for water damage or separation. Look for broken hinges, doors, or drawer glides that will need repair or replacement. If cabinets have existing hardware, ensure knobs and pulls are sturdy.

Properly examining used cabinets before purchase helps avoid getting stuck with cabinets that are unsalvageable or require excessive work. Be willing to walk away from cabinets that are too worn or structurally unsound.

Measure Twice, Buy Once

When sourcing used cabinets, extra care must be taken to verify all measurements before making a purchase. Every inch counts when cabinets need to seamlessly fit an existing space. Bring a tape measure and carefully measure cabinet dimensions:

  • Height – Floor to top
  • Width – Side to side
  • Depth – Front to back
  • Door/drawer widths

Double check corners for squareness. Inspect how cabinets were attached previously – floating, on legs, etc. Mismatched measurements mean you’ll be stuck retrofitting or returning cabinets. Don’t rely solely on seller provided dimensions.

Buy Extra Cabinets

It’s smart practice when buying used cabinets to purchase a few extra cabinets than initially needed. Having a surplus of cabinets allows you to swap out any beyond salvaging or replace those damaged during installation.

Stocking up on extra used cabinets also gives you more options to work around tricky kitchen layouts. You can return or try to resell any unused, quality cabinets. It’s better to overbuy than realise mid-project you don’t have enough cabinets.

Negotiate Cabinet Pricing

One major advantage of buying used kitchen cabinets is the opportunity to negotiate pricing. Don’t be afraid to bargain with sellers, especially if buying multiple cabinets. Highlight any damage or missing hardware to request a lower price. Offer to take large cabinet lots off the seller’s hands as a package deal.

Many sellers expect buyers to negotiate pricing for used cabinets. Start lower than asking price and meet somewhere in the middle. Pay close attention to comparable cabinet prices on other listings to help negotiate fair pricing. Just take care not to insult sellers with excessively low offers.

Arrange Transport Carefully

Used cabinets require proper care and adequate protection during transport to avoid sustaining further damage. Use a truck or trailer large enough to fit all purchased cabinets flat and fully supported. Prevent shifting by securing cabinets tightly together with ratchet straps or rope.

Pad corners, edges, and faces with moving blankets, foam, or cardboard furniture protectors. Wrap hinges and handles to prevent scratches. Keep cabinets dry with tarps. Hire professional movers for tricky warehouse retrievals or cabinet lots too large to move yourself.

Improperly transported used cabinets often arrive in worse shape than purchased. Taking measures to cautiously transport cabinets saves you from having to repair damages that occur in transit.

Where to Find Used Kitchen Cabinets

Looking to buy used kitchen cabinets? Here are some of the best places to find quality used cabinets for your kitchen remodel:

Habitat for Humanity ReStores

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores that sell new and used building materials, furniture, home accessories, and more at 50-75% off retail prices. Many ReStores have a great selection of used kitchen cabinets in various sizes, styles, and conditions. Shop early for the best selection.

Classified Listings

Check classified ads on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, and other sites. Listings often include photos so you can get an idea of the cabinet’s condition. Arrange to see the cabinets in person before buying.

Estate Sales

Well-maintained kitchen cabinets are often available at estate sales when people are selling the contents of a home. Visit early for the best selection.

Cabinet Dealers

Some cabinet dealers specialize in selling quality used kitchen cabinets from home remodeling projects and cabinet showrooms. They offer a wide selection of cabinet styles and sizes.

Architectural Salvage Stores

Salvage stores sell a variety of reclaimed building materials. Call ahead to ask if they have any used kitchen cabinets in stock.

Kitchen Contractors

Ask kitchen remodeling contractors if they have quality used kitchen cabinets available from recent job sites. Some will remove and resell cabinets from kitchen projects.

Online Marketplaces

Search online sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace for sellers offering used kitchen cabinets. Read reviews and check ratings.

What to Look for When Buying Used Kitchen Cabinets

When shopping for used kitchen cabinets, take time to carefully inspect them. Here are the key things to check:

  • Condition of doors and fronts: Look for any signs of damage, cracks, dents, or wear. Small flaws can be repaired but be cautious of cabinets with excessive damage.
  • Drawers and shelves: Test drawers and shelves to make sure they slide in and out smoothly. Look for any cracks, water damage, or other defects.
  • Cabinet boxes: Examine the sides, top, bottom and back of the cabinet box. Seek cabinets with sturdy construction and no damage. Avoid cabinets with swollen wood or signs of water damage.
  • Hardware: Make sure all hinges, drawer glides, and other hardware are in good working order and not broken or heavily worn. Replacement hardware is inexpensive.
  • Finish: Look for worn or faded areas in the paint or stain finish. Minor wear can be refinished but be wary of excessive scratches, chips or peeling finishes.
  • Doors, drawers, shelves: Count to make sure you are getting the correct number of each cabinet component.
  • Odors: Smell inside the cabinets for musty, smoky or pet odors which can be difficult to remove.
  • Proper set: Make sure you are buying a full proper cabinet set with no missing pieces.
  • Modifications: Inspect cabinets for any modifications or alterations. Customized pieces may not work in your space.

Thoroughly checking used kitchen cabinets beforehand helps avoid disappointments or costly repairs down the road. Take time to carefully assess each cabinet prior to purchase.

Average Cost of Used Kitchen Cabinets

The cost of used kitchen cabinets varies widely depending on where you purchase them, brand, condition, materials, size and other factors. Here are some typical used kitchen cabinet price ranges:

  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore: $50 – $150 per cabinet
  • Classified Listings: $75 – $250 per cabinet
  • Estate Sales: $100 – $250 per cabinet
  • Cabinet Dealers: $100 – $300 per cabinet
  • Online Marketplaces: $200 – $500 per cabinet

High-end cabinet brands like SubZero and Wolf can sell for even higher prices from some sellers. Expect to pay 20% to 60% less for used cabinets compared to the cost of new. Measure your kitchen space carefully so you buy the correct cabinet sizes. Be prepared to act quickly if you find an ideal set of used cabinets in good condition at a great price.

Preparing Used Cabinets for Installation

Once you’ve sourced quality used cabinets at reasonable prices, some reconditioning is required before installation. Proper preparation preserves longevity and aesthetics. Follow these steps:

Clean Thoroughly

Give every cabinet and component a thorough deep cleaning before beginning installation. Use a degreasing cleaner and scrub interior and exterior cabinet surfaces to remove grease buildup and dirt. Pay close attention to tackling grime in corners and crevices.

Clean all doors, shelves, and drawers. Also clean all hardware like knobs and hinges. Remove all debris and dust with a vacuum. Proper cleaning lets you begin installation with a blank slate.

Replace or Repair Parts

Examine each cabinet part for any damaged or defective components needing replacement. Switch out broken hinges, doors, and drawer glides that are beyond repair. Replace missing knobs or pulls with new hardware.

Check shelf pins and inserts and replace any that are bent or corroded. Purchase used or aftermarket replacement parts to keep costs low. Swap new parts before installation for ease. Having fully functional cabinet components ensures a successful kitchen cabinet installation.

Sand Away Imperfections

Use 100-150 grit sandpaper to sand down any scratches, gouges, or marks marring cabinet surfaces. Sand evenly over affected areas until smooth and uniform with the rest of the cabinet. Avoid oversanding, which can damage the wood.

Fill any cracks or holes with wood filler and sand smooth once dry. Sanding provides an even, flawless look. Be extra thorough sanding cabinet frames that will be exposed with open shelving.

Freshen Up Finishes

Used kitchen cabinets may have worn or outdated stained and painted finishes. Freshen up the look with these options:

  • Strip and stain – Use chemical stripper to remove existing stain or paint completely. Once stripped, sand cabinets to roughen up the woodgrain before applying new stain.
  • Sand and restain – No need to fully strip stain, simply scuff sand cabinets to degloss, then apply the new stain directly over.
  • Prime and paint – Lightly sand and use bonding primer before repainting cabinets.

Apply new finishes evenly across all cabinet surfaces. Allow proper drying time before installation. Enjoy your updated cabinet style!

Label Cabinet Parts

To avoid mixups later during installation, clearly label each individual cabinet and corresponding parts. Masking tape works well for labelling. Mark cabinets as upper or lower case. Number them 1, 2, 3 etc.

Do the same with doors, shelves, and drawers. Label left and right doors. Careful labelling prevents having to sort through cabinets like puzzle pieces later.

Installing Used Kitchen Cabinets

When installing used kitchen cabinets, extra diligence is required for a seamless finished look. Follow best practices:

Assess Layout

Before installing, recheck your kitchen layout using the exact used cabinets purchased. Look for potential spacing or size issues. Make any minor layout tweaks needed to accommodate the used cabinets. It’s much easier to shift layout before installing than trying to make cabinets fit a mismatched space.

Shim and Secure Properly

Used cabinets won’t have perfectly uniform dimensions, so shimming becomes vital during installation. Shims level cabinets and fill gaps between cabinets or with walls. Place shims under the cabinet base and behind wall cabinets.

Check for secure attachment to wall studs. Screw cabinets together through interior side gables using proper cabinet screws. Misaligned or gappy cabinets make even high-quality used cabinets look shoddy.

Scuff and Caulk Seams

Minor inconsistencies between used cabinets are common. To help visually minimize uneven gaps or overhangs, use painter’s caulk along all seams after installing. Lightly scuff sand caulk for a smoother finish once dry.

Conceal Irregularities

Use trim, molding, or innovative storage solutions to mask or draw the eye from any dents, scratches, or irregularities on used cabinet surfaces. Concealing flaws helps used cabinets look cohesive rather than piecemeal.

Take Added Steps for Corner Cabinets

Properly joining used corner cabinets during installation can prove tricky. Take precise measurements and time applying shims and clamps until front faces align evenly. Using scrap wood spacers also helps bridge small gaps between uneven corner cabinet backs.

Replace Doors and Hardware

For used cabinets in good structural condition but with severely marred or outdated doors, consider replacing cabinet doors and hardware. New cabinet doors from a hardware store and trendy hardware knobs and pulls help achieve a fresh, updated look while still saving with used cabinet boxes. Watch out for mismatched new and used hinge placements.

Final Used Kitchen Cabinet Install Tips

  • Go slowly, have patience, double check measurements.
  • Always lift and handle cabinets by their sides, never by doors or fronts.
  • Ensure cabinets are properly secured to avoid accidents after install.
  • Add supports like plywood reinforcements for heavy contents like ovens.
  • Use wood filler, sanding, and touch up paint to perfect any rough edges.
  • Wait to install countertops after cabinets for a precise fit.
  • Use removable caulk and filler during install for easy cabinet removal later.

Cost Saving Tips for Used Kitchen Cabinets

Beyond the initial savings on the cost of the used cabinets themselves, you can realize further savings by:

  • Buying cabinets that need minimal work, but still at a bargain price.
  • Using beadboard or glass to conceal the interiors of more damaged used cabinets at a lower cost than purchasing pristine cabinets.
  • Shopping at discount home improvement stores for deal prices on supplemental new materials like shims, screws, paint etc.
  • Sourcing discount quartz, butcher block, or other lower cost countertop options.
  • Doing demolition and prep work yourself rather than hiring additional labor.
  • Installing cabinets yourself if experienced. If not, hire an affordable handyman vs designer.
  • Choosing economical hardware and fixtures.
  • Mixing in new lower cabinets with used uppers to balance cost.

FAQs About Buying Used Kitchen Cabinets

How to Buy Used Kitchen Cabinets and Save Money?

You can save big money buying used kitchen cabinets vs new by checking classified listings, used building supply stores, online resellers, and salvage specialists. Inspect thoroughly for damage before purchasing. Measure cabinet dimensions twice for proper fit. Negotiate pricing. Carefully transport cabinets home. Clean, make repairs, then install.

Where to Find Used Kitchen Cabinets?

Great places to source quality used kitchen cabinets include Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Habitat for Humanity ReStores, architectural salvage companies, and construction/remodeling liquidators. Listings provide cabinet sizes, condition and pricing details. Visit warehouse showrooms to browse and inspect used cabinet inventory in-person.

What to Look for When Buying Used Cabinets?

When buying used kitchen cabinets scrutinize for broken components like hinges and drawer glides. Check cabinet boxes and doors for chips, cracks, water damage or separation at joints. Verify cabinets are structurally sound. Evaluate if stains and paint are worn, peeling or scratched. Confirm all cabinet parts are included. Measure cabinet dimensions; width, height and depth.

How Much Do Used Kitchen Cabinets Cost?

Used kitchen cabinets typically cost a fraction of new cabinetry, ranging from about 25-50% less. Prices vary greatly based on type, size, design, condition and seller. Simple hardwood cabinets start around $50-75 per linear foot. Fancy custom cabinets run $200-300 per linear foot. Brick and mortar resellers offer better pricing than online markets.

Should I Buy Used Kitchen Cabinets?

Buying used kitchen cabinets can save you 50% or more over the cost of new. Used cabinets are an affordable option for achieving a custom look. However, used cabinets require more assessment of condition, repairs, diligent installation and some compromise which may not work with all budgets and timelines.


With some diligence and DIY elbow grease, installing used kitchen cabinets allows homeowners to save thousands of dollars remodeling their kitchens without sacrificing style or function. Follow the guidance in this article for how to properly source, purchase, prepare and install pre-owned cabinets for a stunning kitchen at a fraction of the cost.

Happy hunting for the perfect used cabinets to make your dream kitchen a reality!