What types of drawer boxes are available?

There are many types of drawer boxes – from dovetail to metal. How can you ensure you choose the right one? Learn about drawer box options.

A sander and glove in front of a stack of three drawer boxes.

Because you opened this article, it’s safe to say you need to know what types of drawer boxes you can choose from. Whether you are a homeowner working on your kitchen renovation, a designer sourcing drawer box options, or a cabinet maker looking for a drawer box supplier, you need to know what you can choose from.

At Cutting Edge, we make and sell two options: box joint and dovetail drawer boxes. However, we know these aren’t the only drawer options out there, and they might not be the best option for you.  

So, here’s some basic information about six popular drawer box options to help you make the right decision.

  1. Box joint
  2. Dadoed
  3. Dovetail
  4. Doweled
  5. Melamine
  6. Metal

Let’s dive in!

Description of the 6 common types of drawer boxes

You will find four pieces of information about each drawer box option: a brief description, an explanation of the assembly method, some benefits and drawbacks, and where you can purchase them. 

1. Box joint drawer boxes

Box joint drawers are a unique option with a joint visible from the front and sides. You will usually see box joint drawers in open cabinet designs, where no doors or drawer fronts hide the drawer boxes.

A box joint drawer box.

Assembly method

Box joint drawers have box joints – square or rectangular interlocking pieces. Manufacturers reinforce the box joint with glue for extra strength.

Benefits and drawbacks

A box joint drawer box is unique and distinctive, providing a high-quality feel for luxury or custom kitchens.

While the box joint is strong once glued, it doesn’t resist horizontal forces (opening and closing the drawer) as well compared to other drawer box options. In addition, they are an expensive option due to the high-quality materials and custom craftsmanship.

Who sells them?

Box joint drawer boxes are a new trend in the woodworking and cabinetry markets, so only a few cabinet makers and suppliers produce them.

However, they require minimal machinery and setup, so most woodworking and cabinetry shops could produce them if you ask.

2. Dadoed drawer boxes

Dadoed drawer boxes are a widely used option. Many cabinet makers utilize them because they are inexpensive. At the same time, you can purchase dadoed drawers in a variety of options, from solid wood to plywood. 

A black dadoed drawer box.

Assembly method

Dadoed drawers have a dadoed joint. The maker cuts a dado (a narrow square cut) into the front, back, and sides of the drawer box to make lining up the pieces easy. Then, they reinforce the joint with glue and pin nails.

Benefits and drawbacks

You can choose dadoed drawer boxes in many wood types without breaking the bank. However, they aren’t the most durable option; they rely on glue and pin nails for support. Thus, you may have to replace them sooner than a more expensive drawer box option.

Who sells them?

Most woodworking and cabinetry shops can produce them.

3. Dovetail drawer boxes

Dovetail drawer boxes are a traditional option with a distinctive joinery method. Usually, you will find dovetail drawers in custom or luxury kitchens. 

A dovetail drawer box.

Assembly method

Dovetail drawers use a dovetail joint. A dovetail joint has interlocking pieces shaped like a dove’s tail. This joint is naturally strong because the interlocking pieces are angled.

Benefits and drawbacks

A dovetail drawer box is an extremely durable option, easily lasting the lifetime of a kitchen (10-25 years).

However, they are more expensive than many other drawer box options because they require custom craftsmanship.

Who sells them?

Dovetail drawers require specialized material to produce in a cost- and time-effective way. For this reason, cabinet door suppliers usually produce dovetail drawers because they already have the needed machinery. However, some cabinet makers also make and sell them.

4. Doweled drawer boxes

Doweled drawers are a low-cost item, usually sold with preset options to keep the cost down. Typically, you will find them in lower-end kitchens, where price is more important than uniqueness.

A white doweled drawer box with brown and white dishes inside it.

Assembly method

Doweled drawer boxes use a butt joint reinforced by dowels and glue.

Benefits and drawbacks

If you need a cost-effective drawer box, this is a good option. However, they aren’t the most durable option available. Also, you can’t customize doweled drawers as much compared to more expensive options.

Who sells them?

Again, most woodworking and cabinetry shops can produce them upon request. Only a few suppliers offer them as a standard option.

5. Melamine drawer boxes

Melamine drawer boxes use a melamine product instead of wood or plywood.

A white melamine drawer box.

Assembly method

The drawer box maker cuts the melamine material to the correct size and assembles the drawer box, using either a butt joint or a dadoed joint. They reinforce the joint with glue, pin nails or screws. Then, they cover any raw edges with a matching edge banding.

Benefits and drawbacks

Melamine drawer boxes are cost-effective; they require little labour, and the melamine material is much less expensive than wood. However, they are not a durable option. It is easy to chip, dent, or scratch the melamine. In addition, the joint relies on glue, pin nails and screws for support, making them more susceptible to failure.

Who sells them?

Most woodworking and cabinetry shops can produce them if you ask.

6. Metal drawer boxes

Metal drawer boxes might be the best option if you want a modern and durable drawer box.  

Hettich makes metal drawer boxes, like the one shown here containing towels.

Assembly method

Metal drawer boxes are factory-made in specific sizes by a couple of suppliers.

Benefits and drawbacks

They are unique, modern, and extremely durable. However, because they are factory-made items, they have limited customizations. For example, you may have to choose from a range of standard sizes.

Who sells them?

Three companies make and sell metal drawer boxes: Blum, Hettich, and Richelieu.

Learn more about Cutting Edge’s drawer boxes

When it comes to kitchen projects, whether your own or your clients, it’s vital to make the right choice every time. Choosing the wrong option can unnecessarily increase the cost of your project or lead to buyer’s remorse.

And drawer boxes are only one out of the list of kitchen components you need to select.

So, now that you have discovered and learned about the popular drawer box options, it’s time for you to learn more about the choices from Cutting Edge. Which is better – box joint drawer boxes or dovetail drawer boxes?

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