When planning to do a kitchen remodel, it's very important to think about the whole project ahead of time, and budget accordingly. There's Cabinets, countertops, flooring, appliances, plumbing fixtures, paint, and the labor to do all these things. Of all these items, there's really only one thing that can't be re-done again in a few years if you decide to upgrade, and that's cabinetry. Think about it, you would have to remove everything else to do them, Plumbing, counters, flooring, paint. With some luck you could re-use your appliances, but that's about it. Keeping that in mind it's important to get the right cabinets for your project, because you don't want to throw away 5,000.00 worth of granite counter tops trying to replace 2,500.00 worth of cabinets.
There are so many different types of cabinets out there these days, that it's hard to know what you want. If you do a little shopping around and educate yourself, you'll see that for the most part you get what you pay for. Some shops charge more than others, but if you do a little comparative shopping you will find some basic categories that all shops charge either more or less for. There are the imported stock cabinets, the entry level American made cabinets built for cheaper housing, mid-level semi-custom cabinetry and the higher end American factory made custom cabinetry. There are also craftspeople who make their own custom cabinetry locally, it's hard to say where these cabinets fit in, because it depends on the individual making them.
The first things to consider when budgeting for cabinets is why you're doing the project in the first place. Is this a starter home, remodel, your dream house, a spec home, a flipper etc. Another thing is how long you want the cabinets to last, there's a reason cabinets come with different warranty periods. On a side note when it comes to warranty, you can basically figure the most you're going to get out of an imported cabinet is a few years. The most! There are too many factors that make them unpredictable, and there is no real warranty from the manufacturer, so the warranty comes from the seller as long as he can get a replacement and match the finish of a cabinet made in a factory that's 8000 miles away. The last thing, and one of the most important to consider, is the value of the property you're installing the cabinets in. There's no point in putting a 50K dollar kitchen in a 200K dollar home! And unless your planning on flipping the home, putting cheap cabinets in an area with million dollar homes probably isn't a good idea either. Friends, neighbors and potential buyers can spot those things pretty quickly.