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Updated May 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best kitchen pantries

According to most people, there’s no such thing as enough kitchen storage. That’s why many decide to maximize their storage with a kitchen pantry.

A kitchen pantry is a tall freestanding storage unit designed to house items that normally go in pantries, from canned goods to cereal boxes. Many designs have adjustable shelving to accommodate items of different sizes, like taller liquor bottles. Some kitchen pantries are expandable, in which case they can easily be joined to matching units to create a series of cabinets.

In addition to food storage, another reason people invest in kitchen pantries is for the storage of other items. For example, a kitchen pantry that is no longer needed in the kitchen could be repurposed for storage in the laundry room, bathroom, or even the bedroom.

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Create a self-serve snack station for your household inside your kitchen pantry. Keep individually packed snacks or homemade trail mix bags in a spot that’s accessible for everyone.

Key considerations

Building vs. buying a kitchen pantry

Because kitchen pantries are essentially long-term storage fixtures, many consumers wonder if they’d be better off simply building a pantry. While that is certainly an option, building a pantry can be expensive, and you’d need to commit to new construction in the most popular room in your home for several days to several weeks. What’s more, if you’re planning to sell your home, a pantry won’t add as much resale as some other updates.

Buying a pre-constructed pantry is a budget-friendly way to boost your storage space. You can get them in many shapes and sizes, and the flexible shelving is oft-utilized and appreciated.

Deciding what to store in the pantry

Most people store shelf-stable foods in their pantries. This includes dry kitchen staples like flour, sugar, and spices as well as canned goods, cereal, and snacks. Bottles of soda or other liquid may also be stored there.

Deeper kitchen pantries lend themselves to small appliance storage. For example, a pantry may be the perfect place to stash that blender or waffle maker that always seems to be sitting out on the counter. Kitchen pantries also have sufficient space to store attachments and accessories for small appliances that won’t fit in drawers.

Assembling the pantry

Nearly all kitchen pantries require assembly. They’re shipped in large boxes that include the sides, shelves, and hardware. A few kitchen pantries come with basic tools for assembly, such as an Allen key or basic wrenches.

Notably, a lower-quality pantry may serve as a source of frustration during assembly if the instructions aren’t clear or parts are missing or damaged. In addition, lower-quality pantries sometimes have ill-fitting pieces that require creative problem-solving to put together.

Expert Tip
Avoid getting acidic or corrosive liquids on the surfaces of the shelves or on top of a shorter kitchen pantry. Items like alcohol, lemon juice, egg whites, and oils can permanently mark the surfaces, and they can transfer the mess to the bottom of another item, spreading it around.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Features

Size

Kitchen pantries come in a variety of sizes, which makes it easy to find one to fit your space. Generally speaking, they range from 4 to 7 feet tall and are anywhere from 20 to 48 inches wide. Depth ranges from 8 to 20 inches.

As you prepare to make room for a kitchen pantry, the footprint isn’t the only concern. Keep in mind you need ample space for the doors to open. As a result, you’ll need to add a foot or more to the kitchen pantry’s depth to account for clearance.

Shelves

Kitchen pantries have anywhere from three to eight shelves. Some offer adjustable shelving by way of pegboard. In these pantries, the pegs are simply moved to your preferred location to make room for taller items.

Material

The majority of kitchen pantries are made with medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, or engineered wood. These materials keep costs down because they cost less to produce. However, they are not as solid, sturdy, or stable as traditional wooden furniture. It’s important to pay attention to weight capacity to prevent the shelves from sagging. Weight should be evenly distributed in these units to prevent the pantry from destabilizing and tipping over.

Premium kitchen pantries are often made with a few wood parts, but they’re rarely made entirely of wood. They’re considered more durable and offer much higher weight capacities. It comes as no surprise that the better construction also results in a higher price tag.

Finish

Most kitchen pantries are available in more than one finish. This makes them incredibly versatile and easy to match to cabinets and kitchen décor.

If you aren’t able to match a kitchen pantry to either of these, many interior designers recommend investing in a white design. It’s neutral enough to blend in with cabinets of different finishes, especially if the knobs or handles match. Another option is to select a kitchen pantry whose finish matches the furniture in the kitchen, such as the dinette or butcher block.

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Expert Tip
Avoid storing foods like beans, sugar, flour, etc. in the bags they came in. A clear container with a stable base helps you see how much you’ve got on hand as well as saves you from needing to push floppy bags around to access other items. Stackable containers also create more room in your pantry.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Kitchen pantry prices

Inexpensive

Entry-level kitchen pantries cost $150 and below. They’re mostly made from MDF and have cardboard back panels. As expected, they’re not very durable and have lower weight capacities than pricier options.

Mid-range

Mid-range kitchen pantries run between $175 and $350. Many of these designs have better aesthetic quality, which allows them to blend well with kitchen cabinets and décor. They’re also built better than entry-level pantries.

Expensive

Premium kitchen pantries cost $400 and above. These designs closely resemble real furniture and are often made with real wood components. They’re usually much heavier than other options and also have a significant weight capacity.

Expert Tip
Store liquids as low as possible within a pantry. If something leaks on a high shelf, it could drip down onto other items or shelves compromising sanitation and paper food containers like boxes.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert

Tips

  • Check the box before beginning assembly. Even a single missing piece can make your project come to a screeching halt.
  • Stock up on groceries when sales happen. Track weekly deals on shelf-stable items so you can stock up when they’re at their lowest prices. With a kitchen pantry, you’ll have plenty of room to store those extra cans.
  • Upgrade the hardware. To give your kitchen pantry a mini makeover, simply upgrade the hardware to pieces with new or unique designs.
  • Assemble with power tools. To cut assembly time in half, use power tools to put your kitchen pantry together.
  • Distribute weight evenly. To prevent a kitchen pantry from tipping or leaning to one side, distribute the weight of your items evenly inside it. The shelves at the bottom, for example, should be much heavier than those toward the top.
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Invest in shelf organizers or small storage containers to organize smaller items in your kitchen pantry.

FAQ

Q. Should I line the shelves of my kitchen pantry?

A. Yes, and it’s recommended to use self-stick contact paper. The lining protects the shelves and makes them much easier to clean, especially in the event of a spill. Some consumers opt for light-colored contact paper to make the items stored inside the kitchen pantry more visible.

Q. Can I replace the cardboard panel in the back of my kitchen pantry?

A. Yes, and it’s a fairly straightforward process. Simply remove the cardboard panel and use it as a template on a piece of MDF or plywood. Follow the outline with a circular saw or reciprocating saw, and then nail the cut piece to the back of the pantry.

Q. Do I need to secure my kitchen pantry to the wall?

A. It’s a good idea because kitchen pantries are tall pieces of furniture that may tip over if they’re top-heavy or if someone bumps into them. Furniture straps or anchors are affordable and easy to install. Many straps and anchors come in sets, so you’ll have spare ones to secure other furniture around the home, like bookcases or televisions.

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