Your garage is a place specifically made for storage. Garage cabinets serve the same function as your kitchen cabinets. They allow you to store and organize your tools, hardware, and hobbies. But garage cabinets are sturdier than kitchen cabinets because they often have to cope with heavy objects like power tools and buckets of paint. In choosing cabinets for your garage you need to take a few things into consideration like cost, materials, construction, shipping time frames, and style. We offer many different cabinets made specifically for garages, let's explore their differences.
Garage Cabinet Costs
We offer a wide variety of garage cabinets with costs that can range from inexpensive to credit card melting. So you really need to have a budget in mind when you begin the process of looking into how you’d like to outfit your garage. You may want to start with a specific area of your garage to set up first and possibly adding on to it later. The most common starting point is to have base cabinets, a workbench above them, and some wall mounted cabinets above the workbench. Next may be adding on some large locker cabinets on each of the sides of the workbench, and/or lining a side of your garage with a row of lockers. Keep in mind cabinets with drawers are going to be more expensive than ones with doors.
Also a big factor with cost is the shipping. You’ll see our web site offer free shipping, but of course the freight companies don’t work for free. As with all retailers who offer free shipping, the cost of the freight is averaged and added to the price of the products. So what you’ll see is a single cabinet with free shipping is going to be a lot more expensive than if you purchase a large set of cabinets with free shipping. This is because the freight cost on a group of cabinets will only be a percentage more than the freight cost on a single cabinet, so it’s less expensive to ship many cabinets together as opposed to shipping them individually.
The other major factor with cabinet cost is the materials used to make the cabinets.
Garage Cabinet Materials
What the cabinets are made of directly impacts the cost. Let’s take a look at the different cabinet materials available with some of their pros and cons:
- Plastic Cabinets
- Plywood Cabinets
- MDF Cabinets
- Steel Cabinets
- Stainless Steel
- Aluminum Cabinets
- Diamond Plate Cabinets
Plastic cabinets work well for small storage lockers where the main objective is to protect the contents from the weather. They are often used outside the garage as more of a shed than inside the garage. Plastic does do well against the weather, but performs poorly as a structural cabinet to store heavy objects. There are many different grades of plastic, but the higher grades that are less prone to cracking are expensive. Strong durable plastic cabinets are made, but they are expensive and usually used in medical facilities and not in garages.
Wood is a price conscious option for garage cabinets. As a manufacturing material, wood comes in a few different forms. Solid wood pieces are usually used as a decorative finish, such as showing off beautiful wood grains or structural lumber like a two by four. It is not common to find large sheets of solid wood, both because this would require very wide trees, and it would be prone to cracking. Wood that has been made into plywood or MDF are much better options for use in manufacturing strong cabinets for garages.
Plywood Garage Cabinets
Cabinets made from plywood are usually a DIY type cabinet that can support a lot of weight for a relatively low cost. Plywood as a material is constructed of layers of thin wood that have been glued together with crossing wood grains. This sandwiched wood creates a strong material that prevents warping. Inexpensive plywood is often rough around the edges though. So although plywood is a commonly used structural wood, it’s not usually used as a finished product. If you want to make your own garage cabinets to save money, plywood is a great choice.
MDF Garage Cabinets
MDF stands for medium density fiberboard. What it basically consists of is sawdust that is glued together under pressure. It’s a very common material used in furniture because it’s relatively strong for its cost. It can also make a very nice finished product with smooth surfaces and edges. MDF does not like moisture because the wood will absorb it. We sell very nice MDF cabinets made specifically for the garage that come with a thermal fused laminate keeping them sealed from moisture. The thermal fused laminate is similar to how you might get a picture laminated to protect it from water. These cabinets are the best option for your garage where you want a lot of storage space for a reasonable budget. The laminate comes in many different colors, the cabinets ship flat and are easy to assemble with simple tools like a screwdriver, and the cabinet are designed specifically for the garage with extra thick MDF shelving and supports.
Steel Garage Cabinets
Steel as a cabinet material is the most inexpensive for the highest strength. There’s no secret that cars, furniture, and appliances are made out of steel because it’s abundant and strong. The downside of steel is that it’s heavy, and it’s prone to rust. Heavy garage cabinets aren’t a problem. Once you set them up you’re not going to be moving them around unless they are on wheels which we offer on many of our cabinets. The steel cabinets we carry are also powder coated to seal the steel from moisture. Unlike paint, powder coat is baked on giving a harder finish that’s less likely to be scratched. Overall steel makes very nice sturdy cabinets. You may already have a tool box which is probably made of steel.
Stainless Steel Garage Cabinets
Stainless steel is an alloy of steel meaning that it has some other elements added to it changing its characteristics. Most people associate stainless steel to being rust resistant, which is true, but there are different grades of stainless steel with different rust resistant properties. The highest grade stainless steel is 316 which is the most resistant to rusting, but you will rarely find this used in manufacturing because of the high cost and because it’s hard for manufacturing machines to process. Most often stainless steel is used on cabinets because it’s left exposed for a visually appealing look, so the back of the cabinet may be steel with stainless steel used for the doors. The downside of stainless steel is the cost and fingerprints. If you plan to have greasy fingers in your garage, and you put those fingers on that stainless cabinet door, be ready to be wiping off those fingerprints later.
Aluminum Garage Cabinets
Aluminum is a fantastic material to use for making cabinets and tool boxes. Aluminum does not rust, and it can be powder coated, painted, anodized, or polished giving it many different looks. Aluminum is not as strong as steel, but to compensate for this, thicker pieces of aluminum are used in cabinet making. The downside is that it is a more expensive material than steel, and more is used in making the cabinets, so the aluminum cabinets are very expensive. If you are a full time auto shop, or a serious race team, or just want the best of the best, aluminum cabinets are the top. These cabinets will most likely outlive you, and when they are installed in a home or shop they become a permanent fixture to the building. We often make custom cabinet sets from aluminum to the exact dimensions of where they are being installed accommodating windows, doors, and electrical outlets for a custom fit.
Diamond Plate Cabinets
Real diamond plate is made from polished aluminum. You will see fake diamond plate at other retailers that are made from stamped steel. Diamond plate is a great cabinet material because it has all the advantages of aluminum mentioned earlier. It also has a rugged look that doesn’t show the bumps and bruises that may happen over the years, and because it’s shiny it can brighten up a dark space quickly.
Overall a cabinet is a box of air. The corners of the box need to be joined, the doors need to open, and depending on where the cabinet goes it may need to be leveled or rolled around. Let’s look at the basic options for cabinet construction:
- Cabinet Frames
- Door Hinges
- Closing Mechanisms
- Bases for Floor Cabinets
There are two options for cabinet frames that you should be aware of as you research your purchase. Some cabinets are going to ship flat which is called RTA (ready to assemble) furniture. By shipping the cabinets flat there is a significant savings in the cost, but you will need to take some time to assemble the cabinets. The cabinets have been manufactured to make assembly easy with some basic tools. The other option is to purchase cabinets that have welded frames which come to you already fully assembled. As you can imagine, shipping boxes of air is more expensive than shipping flat panels, but the increased strength of the cabinets being welded at the manufacturer is usually worth the extra cost. Typically the MDF style cabinets are going to ship flat. We also carry some metal cabinets that ship flat. The more expensive metal cabinets are going to come to you fully assembled.
Cabinet door hinges are usually going to come as either European style hinges or full piano hinges. The distinction is usually related to the above mentioned way cabinet frames are structured. If the cabinet frame is set up to be assembled when they arrive, they will usually come with European style hinges because they are adjustable after assembly so that you can level and space the doors properly. If the cabinets come to you fully welded and assembled when they arrive, they will usually come with a full piano hinge on the door that was installed at the factory.
There are many different ways different manufacturers address keeping the doors closed on the cabinets. Some cabinets, like ones with the European style hinges, may just use the spring loaded tension from the hinge to keep the door closed. Other cabinets may have a turning handle that connects to rods on the back side of the door which slide into the frame of the cabinet to keep the door closed. And others higher end cabinets have locking mechanisms built into the handles that release when you pull on the handle. You will also want to keep in mind some cabinets have keyed locks which can give you peace of mind from theft or children getting into trouble.
Bases for Floor Cabinets
Cabinets that are to rest on the floor often come with some options for how they sit on the floor. You can place the cabinet directly on the floor if you’d like, but if your floor isn’t level, or if you may get water in the area, it’s best to put a base on the bottom of the cabinet. The most common option for floor cabinets are leveling feet. As the name implies, leveling feet allow you to adjust them by turning them so that you can level the cabinet on uneven floors. They also raise the cabinet off the floor so that if water puddles in the area, the cabinet is off the ground. Depending on the cabinet manufacturer, some also have kick plates which usually have leveling feet built into them. The kick plate is similar in appearance as the base moulding is under your kitchen cabinets, and is there to add a finished look. Another option is to put caster wheels under the cabinet allowing you to move it around. Being able to move the cabinets comes in very handy when you want to move a bunch of tools to a project, or you want to clean under the cabinets. It’s easy to wheel the cabinets out of the garage, hose the floor down, and wheel the cabinets back inside.
Time to Ship
The amount of time it takes for the cabinets to arrive at your garage depends on a few things. The largest factor in time depends upon the cabinets being ready to ship or if they are custom built after they are ordered. Most of the cabinets that you will assemble when they arrive are ready to ship when you place your order. These cabinets will get to your door the fastest. The cabinets that are welded and fully assembled are rarely ready to ship when you place your order. This is because the volume of warehouse space it would take to store welded cabinets (boxes of air) is unrealistic in today’s business environment. So if you’re in a rush to get your garage outfitted with cabinets, we have options in both MDF and steel cabinets that we can usually get to your garage within about a week. If you have more time and a larger budget, and are looking for a higher quality cabinet, there will be about a three week delay before your cabinets are shipped out because they are being custom made for you.
The cabinets in your garage are going to be a big part in shaping not only your personal organization, but also in how your garage looks. So keeping in mind budget, materials, and construction, you’re also going to want to have a garage you enjoy going inside. Honestly, style is where most people start shopping for not only cabinets but everything. We offer many different types of cabinets, and hopefully many of them appeal to your eyes. We also do a lot of custom work. So if you like the diamond plate cabinets, but want to add some color to them, contact us. We can do things like get the doors powder coated to match the color of your car. Of if you see a set of cabinets you really like on our website, but you want to change some of the cabinets around, give us a call and let us know what you’d like to do. We will do our best to accommodate your style.
We’ve been selling garage cabinets since 2006. We’ve seen a lot of different ideas and manufacturers over the years, along with getting requests from customers for all types of different features. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the different aspects, you can simply give us a call. We’re here to help. We can go through the web site together. We can point out different things in the pictures you may not see at first glance. We can even do 3D mock ups of your garage with the cabinets installed so you can really get an idea of what your garage can be transformed into. Please get in touch with us, and let us help you with making your garage another room in your house.
For further information, check out our garage cabinet FAQ