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Expert Shopper Bed & Bath

Best surface-mount medicine cabinet

Which surface-mount medicine cabinet is best?

A medicine cabinet not only provides a safe place to keep medication and first-aid supplies, but it is also useful for any small items that need to be kept at hand yet out of sight or away from small children. Medicine cabinets are ideal for storing makeup or toiletries and often incorporate lights or mirrors.

Medicine cabinets are available in various sizes and styles. A surface-mount cabinet is uncomplicated to install and can easily be retrofitted to bathrooms, powder rooms or downstairs lavatories. The Fine Fixtures Bathroom Medicine Cabinet is an excellent choice with twin mirrored doors and integrated LED lights. It is available in two sizes and has three adjustable tempered-glass shelves.

What to know before you buy a surface-mount medicine cabinet


First decide where you would like to install your medicine cabinet. Above the sink in bathrooms and washrooms is the most common location. However, the variety of designs and materials available nowadays means a medicine cabinet can easily be used elsewhere in the home, too.


Once you have chosen a location for your medicine cabinet, then you can decide on size. Cabinets that are designed to mount above a sink are usually quite shallow and similar in size to a vanity mirror. Alternatively, corner-mounted or floor-to-ceiling cabinets will generally offer much greater capacity.


Medicine cabinets may have one, two or three doors. Mirrored doors are the best choice for cabinets mounted above a sink, whereas solid, paneled or glass doors may suit other locations better. Because unhindered access to your medicine cabinet is crucial in an emergency, locking doors are not advisable.

What to look for in a quality surface-mount medicine cabinet


Some medicine cabinets are available with built-in lights. Mirrored cabinets may be backlit or have an illuminated border, whereas other designs incorporate spotlights, LED panels or downlights that can be adjusted in hue and intensity.


The depth and number of shelves is another key factor when selecting a medicine cabinet. Compact cabinets may only have one or two narrow shelves, which limits functionality. Look for a cabinet with adjustable and removable shelves, as this allows them to be placed at the ideal height or removed completely to accept taller items such as shampoo bottles.

Optional extras

Many cabinets can be upgraded with additional features such as dimmable or multicolored lights, touchless controls and Bluetooth speakers. Some can even be controlled via your mobile phone. However, many of these features require the cabinet to be permanently wired to your home’s electrical system, which may make the installation more challenging.

How much you can expect to spend on a surface-mount medicine cabinet

Basic medicine cabinets with a solid door can be found for as little as $50. For a model with a mirrored door for use in a bathroom, expect to pay up to $300. A high-quality cabinet with dimmable lights and touchless controls can easily cost more than $1,000.

Surface-mount medicine cabinet FAQ

Is a surface-mount medicine cabinet difficult to install?

A. This depends on the type of cabinet and the location. Most cabinets can be installed with two or four fasteners. Bathrooms, however, often have tiled walls, so this will require the use of a special drill bit. If the cabinet has lights or other electronic features, then a power supply will also need to be connected, which may require professional installation.

What height should a medicine cabinet be mounted?

A. As a rule of thumb, cabinets above a bathroom sink should be installed 72 inches off the floor. Elsewhere in the home, it is a matter of personal choice. If you have small children, then ideally it should be installed well out of their reach.

Can a surface-mount medicine cabinet be recessed into the wall?

A. Many medicine cabinets can be recessed or surface-mounted. The main difference is recessed options have unfinished sides, which may look unsightly if surface-mounted. Before installation, make sure that the door isn’t hindered in any way and can open fully.

What’s the best surface-mount medicine cabinet to buy?

Top surface-mount medicine cabinet

Fine Fixtures Bathroom Medicine Cabinet

What you need to know: Made from moisture-resistant aluminum, this cabinet has twin mirrored doors with built-in LED lights.

What you’ll love: It is available in two sizes and has three removable glass shelves and an internal light.

What you should consider: The lights are not adjustable and may be too dim for some.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top surface-mount medicine cabinet for the money

Pegasus Silver Medicine Cabinet

What you need to know: This versatile cabinet can either be surface-mounted or recessed. It has a mirrored front door.

What you’ll love: At 5 inches deep, it is suitable for use over a bathroom sink. It has adjustable shelves and a soft close door.

What you should consider: This model does not incorporate any lights.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

Design House Richland Cabinet

What you need to know: Available in various sizes, this modern cabinet is made from oak with a waterproof sealant.

What you’ll love: It has three mirrored doors with a row of six lights above. It has two full-length shelves inside.

What you should consider: The shelves can't be removed or adjusted in height.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

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Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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