Pros and cons of dovetail drawer boxes

While dovetail drawer boxes are durable and unique, they might not be your best option. Learn about the pros and cons of dovetail drawers.

Two natural birch dovetail drawer boxes in a light grey cabinet.

It is always important to take time and think through buying decisions carefully and choosing accessories and products for your kitchen is no different. So, if you are considering purchasing dovetail drawer boxes, you should ensure they are the right choice.

At Cutting Edge, we make and sell dovetail drawers. However, we understand that they aren’t the best option for everyone. Instead of selling you a one-size-fits-all solution, we want you to have the information you need to understand your options and make a well-educated choice.

In this article, you will learn about the pros and cons of dovetail drawers, when they might be right for you, and when to consider other options.

Pros of dovetail drawer boxes

Dovetail drawer boxes are a popular product – but why? There are several reasons people choose dovetail drawers over other options.

1. Strong and durable

Dovetail drawer boxes have dovetail joints. Each dovetail joint has interlocking tails and pins. Those tails and pins are angled and look like a dove’s tail (hence the name of the joint).

An infographic showing the parts of a dovetail joint used in dovetail drawer boxes.

Because of the angle of the dovetail joints, they hold up well to horizontal forces like opening and closing a drawer. 

2. Made with high-quality products

Usually, drawer box manufacturers make dovetail drawer boxes with solid wood sides and a plywood base. Solid wood holds up better over time than veneers; it is harder to chip, dent or scratch. 

And, because dovetail drawers are both an upgrade and a custom option, you can choose specific wood types to improve durability. For example, you could select Maple drawer boxes; because Maple is a hardwood, it is difficult to chip, dent, or otherwise damage.

3. Linked with high-quality craftsmanship

Most people consider dovetail drawer boxes evidence of high-quality craftsmanship. Opening a drawer and discovering a dovetail drawer box subconsciously elevates your opinion of the overall kitchen.

While we can’t say that all suppliers put the same level of care and craftsmanship into their dovetail drawers, the dovetail joint has a deserved reputation for quality. It takes more time and effort to assemble a dovetail drawer box instead of a simpler option.

4. Customizable

While dovetail drawer boxes aren’t the only customizable option among all the drawer box styles out there, they have some unique opportunities.

You can customize dovetail drawers in several ways:

  1. Selecting a custom shape; for example, U-shaped drawer boxes fit around plumbing in a cabinet
  2. Adding a hand scoop, which is a curved cutout along the top edge of a drawer box that takes the place of hardware
  3. Choosing from a variety of materials. For example, you could select a Maple front and back and Walnut sides to enhance the appearance of the drawer boxes. In this scenario, the lighter Maple dovetails would stand out against the Walnut sides. Or, you could select Maple sides (Maple is a durable hardwood) to improve your drawer box’s resistance to wear and tear and a thicker plywood base to increase the weight your drawer box can support.

5. Distinctive appearance

Dovetail drawers have a unique appearance thanks to the dovetail joint. This uniqueness makes them an eye-catching feature in a kitchen.

Cons of dovetail drawer boxes

Although we at Cutting Edge produce dovetail drawer boxes, we still understand that they aren’t perfect. There are two drawbacks to dovetail drawers that might mean they aren’t the right choice for you.

1. Price

Dovetail drawers are more expensive than other drawer box options. The price for a dovetail drawer box can range from around $40 to over $100 per box, depending on the wood type and other options you select.

As you are well aware, the price is a significant factor when it comes to making a buying decision. While some people or customers might have a budget that allows for dovetail drawers, others don’t.

2. Little added value

Comparatively speaking, there’s not a lot of benefit to dovetail drawer boxes despite the price difference. While your drawer box might last longer, it won’t save you much time, space, or money.

When it comes right down to it, it might make more sense for you to spend more money on other features, like more expensive appliances or storage solutions, rather than purchasing dovetail drawers.

Storage solutions, like the one shown in this picture, may be more valuable as an upgrade than dovetail drawer boxes.
Image provided by Chris Murray Custom Cabinets, customer

When dovetail drawer boxes might be the right choice

Having said all that, dovetail drawer boxes still might be the right choice; you should consider purchasing them if:

  1. You have a budget that allows for dovetail drawers and all the other features and accessories you want in your kitchen.
  2. Your kitchen gets a lot of use, and you need a drawer box that will withstand a lot of wear and tear.

When dovetail drawers might not be a good option

However, dovetail drawers might not be the best option if you have a limited budget. You should make sure you can purchase all your need-to-haves before you allocate money for upgrades like dovetail drawer boxes.

Learn more about the cost of dovetail drawers

At the end of the day, we’ve all had to make purchasing decisions, and it can be hard to be certain that your choice is the right choice. This already complex problem becomes more tricky when there are many options available.

And when it comes to kitchen projects, there’s no shortage of products and options, of which drawer boxes are one. So, how can you ensure you choose the right type of drawer box?

While we at Cutting Edge can’t (and shouldn’t) make your buying decision for you, we can give you the information you need to make an educated choice.

Now that you have that information and are ready to decide if dovetail drawer boxes are the right choice, your next step is to learn about the cost of dovetail drawer boxes.

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