Boxing Match: Which Drawer Box Hits the Hardest?
With so many different drawer boxes offering a multitude of positive features, each new unit that comes across our workbench is closely examined. From the dovetailing to the storage capacity, every detail and dimension is measured and considered when determining what unit (or manufacturer) presents to us the highest quality drawer box.
And it’s no wonder why: a drawer box is essentially the most tangible artifact from a unit embodying the overall quality of a cabinet. It is a compact illustration of what you can expect from a B15 cabinet unit as far as durability and care for the product on behalf of the manufacturer. For this comparison, we have whittled the choices between drawer boxes down to the best six. In Picture 1 below, they are aligned as follows: (Top Row, left to right) BOC White Shaker, Ice White Shaker, Arlington White Shaker; (Bottom Row, left to right) Malibu Shaker, Aspen White Shaker, and the Vanilla White Shaker. So without further ado, let’s take an in-depth look at the best of the best in our Drawer Boxing Match.
Dimensions and Storage
Drawer box dimensions are a direct visual representation of storage capacity. The depth, width, and length of a box will directly show you how many items can be kept within the available space. We have seen several drawer boxes with an underwhelmingly shallow depth, a feature that immediately tells us a cabinet will prove less functional in storing items. In consolidating our wide selection of white shaker units down to the top drawer box dimensions, we chose to focus on 3 boxes (Pictured Below): the Ice White Shaker (Forevermark), Arlington White Shaker (GHI Cabinetry), and the BOC White Shaker.
The Forevermark, GHI, and Best Online Cabinets models, which all 3 meet the industry standard measurements, are perfect examples of drawer box depths that will sufficiently store ladles, spatulas, whisks, and the gamut of other kitchen utensils. Each meets a 3-inch depth, which is plenty adequate for storage. Anything less than 3 inches we dismiss, as it illustrates an inability to perform the basic functions of a cabinet.
Length of a drawer box is another telling dimension of how many corners a manufacturer is willing to cut in order to save expenses in producing an RTA cabinet. For the B15 models we use as examples in the reviews here on our website, industry standard dictates an average length of around 22 inches. Combined with full-extension abilities, this length will satisfy the storage needs in any kitchen. The BOC white shaker comes just shy of meeting that standard length by 1.25 of an inch at 20.75 inches, as you will see in the picture on the left.
This minimal difference will likely make no difference but is still important to note when examining every detail of these drawer boxes. The Forevermark, seen on the right above, meets the standard length but we can confidently say both of these boxes will reliably meet your storage needs.
Although the BOC may be shy of the industry standard length, the drawer box redeems itself with a width of 13 inches (Picture 7). This is a full 2 inches wider than the industry standard 11 inches exhibited by the Forevermark as well every other drawer box that has come across our workbench (Picture 8). This extra width is preferable to the length, as it utilizes the area of the cabinet box that would otherwise be wasted to negative space. We here at RTA Cabinet Reviews are firm believers in maximizing the space available in a unit to utilize as much storage possible. In the BOC White Shaker’s drawer box, we see just that and as a result, award this unit with the most efficient Dimensional Storage.
Material and Aesthetic
The material implemented in the construction of a white shaker unit plays a major role in determining the overall aesthetic of a cabinet. What we examine in this category is the type of wood (or wood composite) that makes up the drawer box itself, the style of drawer face, and the paint/finish on the box interior as well as exterior drawer face. These features will show prospective clients the visual potential of a unit and whether or not the model will provide a quality presentation to the kitchen.
Although they may not be in the overall top position within this category, the Arlington and Vanilla Shaker drawers have interior finishes worth mentioning. GHI Custom Cabinetry manufactures the Arlington, and their drawer box has a smooth finish with a warm, sand-colored natural wood grain that absorbs light and cleans up easily. The Vanilla Shaker is striking for the unique interior finish job, which is painted to match the cabinet body and face, unlike every other white shaker drawer box that has come across our workbench. While both are visually appealing and materially dependable, they fall short compared to the Forevermark and BOC drawer boxes in other ways.
There are two styles we see of the drawer box face: a five-piece cope and stick front and the slab-style front. The five-piece drawer front is modeled after a traditional cope and stick door seen on all white shaker cabinets, with stiles and riles framing out a middle panel. When constructed and painted properly, the simple look is efficient and conventional. Seen here on the left, the Ice White Shaker drawer face is constructed in this fashion, with the frame of the drawer face being composed of birch hardwood and the center panel an MDF composite wood (Picture 10).
MDF (medium-density fibreboard) is utilized in order to avoid warping, which ultimately is an inevitability as the aging process will expand and shrink the wood over time. This is where the benefit of the slab-style drawer truly shows its superiority: in being one solid piece, warping is completely avoided. The BOC drawer box is constructed in this fashion, composed of solid rubberwood and touting a smooth, even finish. Additionally, the sleek look of the slab style door creates a modern look and works as an ideal canvas for any hardware a prospective buyer wants to fit onto the cabinet face.
The interior finish of both the Ice White Shaker and the BOC white shaker drawer boxes are a natural wood grain with impressive veneer finishes across the side, bottom, and back panels. Forevermark drawer boxes, such as the one found in the Ice White Shaker, are notable for the consistency of their product which is why it is in the top tier of our comparison. It is the BOC drawer box however that we give the award for the highest quality aesthetic value for the slab-style drawer face and warm natural grain interior finish.
Wood Cuts and Assembly
Forevermark has an undoubtedly quality build to the panels constructing the drawer box. Measuring 3/4 inches thick on the side and back box panels, the Ice White Shaker not only has clean cuts and finish but also consistent dovetailing that bites fast, holding the joints together in each of the four corners. GHI Custom Cabinetry and the Vanilla White shaker’s each respective drawer box panels measure the same width but do not bite so strong at the corner joints (Pictures 14, 15, and 16). All of the side and back panels we have chosen here are cut to have flat tops as opposed to the arch-top molding seen with models such as the Brilliant Shaker.
Dovetailing of the corner joints is pivotal in the assembly and overall strength of a drawer box. Several drawer boxes we have assembled (namely the ones with the arch-top molding along the tops of the side panels) have weak dovetails, such as the Vanilla Shaker seen above and the Brilliant Shaker’s panels in the picture to the right (Picture 17). This arch-top molding creates loose dovetailing and therefore the corner joints can easily be pulled apart with a little pressure by hand. The true mark of a quality drawer box is the strength of its dovetailing, as these cuts will illustrate not only the investment of a manufacturer into the quality of the product but also the strength of the box itself.
Both the Forevermark drawer box of the Ice White Shaker and the BOC white shaker’s drawer box exhibit quality dovetailing with minor differences. While the Forevermark’s corner joints are undeniably strong and reliant, there are only 4 teeth on the side and back panels interlocking the corners versus the 5-on-4 interlocking teeth of the BOC drawer box. The strength of the BOC white shaker is noticeable immediately when assembling the dovetails: the amount of force exerted by the rubber mallet is enough for us to say with full confidence that the BOC drawer box will hold its integrity for many years to come. The only drawback to the BOC drawer box is the need to attach the front panel to the slab-style drawer face, which takes a bit of extra time but is made easier by the marks on the back of the slab drawer face.
By the end of Round 3 in our Boxing match comparing the best drawer boxes that have crossed our workbench, we have boiled the competition down to two drawer boxes: the Forevermark drawer box from the Ice White Shaker and the BOC white shaker drawer box. Both undeniably have their merits, listed below:
- Both display industry standard drawer box depth at 3 inches
- What the BOC drawer box lacks in length it more than makes up for in width, exhibiting 13 inches wide versus the typical 11 inches seen on the Forevermark drawer box
- The slab-style drawer face of the BOC white shaker, with its clean look and ability to avoid warping from weather conditions
- Strong dovetailing found in the corner joints of all three units, but with the BOC we find more teeth interlocking for a stronger connection
A few of the negative characteristics worth mentioning in our final round of the sparring match between these two cabinet drawer boxes are the following:
- The shorter length of the BOC shaker drawer box compared to the Forevermark’s extended drawer body for ample storage space
- A five-piece traditional shaker-style door on the Ice White shaker’s drawer face with an MDF center panel, susceptible to warping
- Less teeth holding together the dovetailing at the corner joints on the Ice White Shaker than the BOC White Shaker
- The need to separately assemble the front panel of the drawer box to the back of the slab-style drawer face of the BOC White Shaker
With such stiff competition, this has by no means come down to the KO we originally expected our Drawer Boxing match to be after 4 rounds. Based on the clean finish of the drawer face and natural wood grain interior, extra width of the box, slab-style drawer face, and impressive dovetailing at the corner joints, the jury has deliberated and come back with the decision that the BOC white shaker has the dominant drawer box. Of all the units we have reviewed on RTA Cabinet Reviews, the BOC white shaker has impressed us the most with all of its unique features and quality engineering. After a long-winded and exhausting slobber-knocker, the BOC dominates the squared circle of Ready-To-Assemble cabinet units.