MDF vs. Particle Board: Which Makes a Better Cabinet?

Posted on: October 4, 2022

Building cabinets, bookshelves, or alternative home fixtures have recently been built using particle board and MDF. These are low-cost alternatives to solid wood and are sturdy enough to perform the same functions. These materials are from pressed-wood products mixed with synthetic adhesive to put them together. However, there are differences between these two materials that affect manufacturers and homeowners who want to build pieces of furniture out of them.

This article will discuss their main differences, key characteristics, and more. We hope you will take notes to help you decide which material to use in your home or kitchen remodeling project.

These materials differ in weight and strength and are often used for lower-end cabinets. The particle board type is less expensive but tends to be heavier than its MDF counterpart.

The Wood Fibers

Manufacturing an MDF consists of the use of wood fibers that are granular to achieve a homogenous density. This makes the end product a smooth, tight-edged wood plank known for strength and versatility. On the other hand, a particle board uses wood fragments that are less refined. Thus, making it a lower-priced material and an alternative to plywood or solid wood.

Project Use

If you plan to DIY your kitchen cabinets or shelves, MDF is a good material, especially when you have to mold types of furniture. They are known to match projects that can be complicated or involves elaborate forms. MDF can have wood finishes using laminate, veneer, or paint less prone to chipping or tearing.

Particle boards, in this case, can be used primarily for flat projects. This means molding or bending can result in tearing or snapping the material. One can use this on projects such as cabinets that don’t require molding, doors, temporary partitioning, underlays, countertops, or flooring substrates.


If you have a budget, Solid wood and plywood are the best choices.  But if you are looking for an alternative, MDF is generally more affordable than the earlier options. However, if you are tight on budget, particle board is a reasonable alternative in many cases as it is known to be engineered wood that is the cheapest on the market.


When it comes to drawbacks, both materials still differ in this area. MDF tends to deteriorate quickly in damp conditions and water exposure. Because of their high density, it’s also not advisable to use them as hanging cabinets. On the other hand, particle boards do not warp when the temperature changes. They are also lighter compared to MDF which DIY builders love. However, it can expand when exposed to moisture, which is why it is not advisable to use it outdoors.


Judging the two materials based on the mentioned criteria, to say which one makes a better cabinet is an underestimation of their characteristics. Choosing which material to use for your home, bath, or kitchen remodeling will depend on the following factors and your current needs.

Are You Looking for a Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Service?

Let us help you uplift the look of your kitchen cabinets with our cabinet refacing service! Visit our website at or call us at (800) 581-0694 to learn more.