What makes a great quality cabinet may seem somewhat subjective or a matter of opinion but in my experience it's really pretty black and white. Over the years I've worked with many different cabinet brands, and I can tell you that even though they all have nice displays and samples. There is huge difference in overall customer satisfaction levels between the different brands and types of cabinets available on the market.
When a potential client contacts us for the first time, we ask them questions about the project, time frame, and style of cabinets their looking for, so we can can get them the best products that will reasonably fit within their budget. We know that the more satisfied they are with the product the more likely they are to come back the next time they need cabinets.
So what is is that makes a great quality cabinet? There are several different factors that go into it. First off I can tell you that the specs on cabinets can be somewhat midleading. Many of the lesser lines of cabinets will have specs that sound good such as soft close doors , drawers , plywood boxes, etc. And while these are all nice features they don't always point to a high quality cabinet. What is generally missing from the spec sheets is what the face of the cabinet is made of and how it's finished.
High quality cabinets will usually have doors made of higher grade hardwood such as Cherry, Maple, Alder, Walnut, Mahogany, etc.
What the door and frame of a cabinet is made of is far more important to a cabinet's over all quality than whether the box is made of a plywood or engineered wood. Which are both actually engineered woods if you think about it. And a trip to the local homecenter's lumber department will give you an idea of just how many grades of plywood are available. By the same token not all dovetail drawers are created equal either. Some use grade A clear Aspen or Maple hardwood and smooth and finish all the joints to perfection. Where as some will use lower quality woods and not sand the joints at all, leaving them quite rough
High quality cabinets will usually have doors made of higher grade hardwood such as Cherry, Maple, Alder, Walnut, Mahogany, etc. Whereas entry level cabinet doors will be made of Birch. A high quality cabinet will then be sanded well and finished by qualified professionals and state of the art equipment in a well equipped factory, where the finish can be cured or baked into a finish that will stand the test of time. Last but not least quality control is of the utmost importance to the overall quality of cabinets. Conscientious workers make a huge difference to the quality of cabinetry that will never show up on the spec sheet. Most experienced kitchen designers know about the quality differences within different lines of cabinets available on the market today, and when you visit one of their showrooms, they will readily show you the good, better, best of what they offer.