Types Of Medicine Cabinets You Should Know Update 05/2022

types of medicine cabinets

When it comes to your medicine cabinet, you really don’t want something cheap. What you really want is a solid, reliable and easy to maintain unit. That’s why it’s so important to know the types of medicine cabinets available and how they differ. In this guide, we’ll discuss the most common types of medicine cabinets and what you should look for in each.

Types of Medicine Cabinets

Recessed Mount Medicine Cabinets

Recessed Mount Medicine Cabinets

Recessed mount medicine cabinets are usually installed into the wall with a built-in opening that allows access to the medicine cabinet. The face of the medicine cabinet will be recessed within the wall and covered by a decorative panel.

Although this type of cabinet is simple and easy to install, it does not provide a very large storage capacity. Another thing to consider is that a medicine cabinet with a recessed mount tends to collect dirt and dust from the air. This is especially true if you have children or pets in the house. Also, if there is moisture in the air, the wood panel covering the medicine cabinet may begin to swell and eventually rot. This problem is less likely to occur if you use treated lumber for your construction project. 

Surface Mount Cabinets

Surface Mount Cabinets

Surface mount cabinets are designed to be mounted onto the surface of a wall. The cabinet has a decorative panel that covers the entire front of the unit. There is an opening behind the panel that allows access to the medicine cabinet. The medicine cabinet is then attached to the wall with mounting screws. The face of the medicine cabinet will be flush with the outer surface of the wall. This type of cabinet provides the most amount of storage space of all the types we’re going to discuss. However, it also has some disadvantages. One disadvantage is that this type of cabinet is not very sturdy.

Also, this type of cabinet collects dust and dirt from the air. If there is moisture in the air, the wood panel covering the medicine cabinet may begin to swell and eventually rot.  A deflector panel is a piece of material that is designed to cover up the opening of a medicine cabinet. It is attached to the outside of the medicine cabinet with a mounting bracket. The deflector panel has an opening that is slightly smaller than the opening of the medicine cabinet. This allows air to flow underneath the panel but keeps dirt and dust from accumulating on the bottom of the panel.

Styles of Medicine Cabinets

Mirrored Medicine Cabinets

Mirrored Medicine Cabinets

A mirrored medicine cabinet will have a glass or mirror front that will allow you to see your bottles and containers. It will also act as a magnifying glass so you will be able to see into the darkness of the medicine cabinet more easily.

Mirrored medicine cabinets are extremely popular because they have two important features. They make it easy to see what’s in your medicine cabinet. Some people think a mirrored medicine cabinet is an extravagant purchase.

Framed Cabinets

Framed Cabinets

Framed cabinets have a picture or decorative molding around the outer edges of the cabinet. Sometimes, the frame has a stained glass effect. This type of framed cabinet has a more elegant look than a plain, solid-colored cabinet. A framed cabinet will cost about $15 to $20 more than a plain, unadorned cabinet.

The disadvantage of a framed cabinet is that dust and dirt can accumulate on the surface of the frame. The accumulation of dust and dirt will eventually make the surface of the frame look unsightly. Also, if there is any moisture in the air, the wood in the frame will begin to swell and eventually rot.

Aluminum Cabinet

These cabinets are made from lightweight aluminum instead of wood. They are about 10% lighter than wooden cabinets but about 40% stronger. Because of this, an aluminum cabinet can be just as durable as a wooden cabinet. These cabinets have a pull out shelf attached to the inside of the door.

This allows you to add or remove items from the top of the cabinet without having to open the door all the way. Pull-Out Shelves are convenient because they allow you to access items without having to bend down. However, pull out shelves can create problems if they are not installed properly.

Wood Cabinet

Wood Cabinet

Wood cabinets are extremely strong and durable. They are also easy to clean and maintain. The disadvantage of a wooden cabinet is that it is heavier than an aluminum or glass cabinet. 

A wooden cabinet will weigh approximately 10 to 15 pounds more than an aluminum or glass cabinet. This extra weight makes a wooden cabinet difficult to move around. Also, wooden cabinets tend to deteriorate over time if they are not cared for properly. Wooden cabinets should be refinished at least once every five years. If the cabinet is refinished professionally, the finish will last for about 10 years. However, if the cabinet is refinished by a do-it-yourselfer, the finish will wear off much sooner. 

Plastic Cabinet

These cabinets are made from a type of plastic called “polycarbonate.” Polycarbonate is much stronger than regular plastic and it is resistant to scratches and dings. These cabinets have a pull out shelf attached to the inside of the door. The door can be opened from the outside and there is a small handle on the inside of the door for easy access. This type of medicine cabinet is extremely light weight and can be easily moved around. These cabinets come in various sizes and are available in different colors. 

Stainless Steel Medicine Cabinet

Stainless Steel Medicine Cabinet

Stainless steel-framed medicine cabinets are better and durable than wood or plastic ones. These types of medicine shelves ensure protection against harmful pests, bacteria, and germs.

What’s more appealing is that these cabinets ensure maximum shine, making your medicine cabinet appear brand-new all the time.

If you are thinking about buying a new stainless steel medicine cabinet, there are a few things you should consider. The first thing you need to consider is the size of the medicine cabinet. It is very important that you get the correct size medicine cabinet for your needs. If you are getting a new house, it is a good idea to measure the space where you plan to put your medicine cabinet. 

Frameless Medicine Cabinets

Frameless medicine cabinets also offer the user more storage capacity. Since there isn’t any frame occupying any additional space, the interior of these frameless styled cabinets is spacious and plenty of products can easily be stored.

Accordingly, if you are someone who frequently buys various types of medicines, these types of medicine cabinets are best for you. There are two types of frameless cabinets- one with a pull out shelf and other without a pull out shelf. The former has a small drawer on the bottom which contains miscellaneous items. These drawers are not very deep and cannot be used to keep bandages, first aid supplies, and similar items. Thus, if you are getting a frameless medicine cabinet with a pull out shelf, it is advisable that you get one with a deeper bottom drawer.  

On the other hand, if you don’t need a pull out shelf, then you should go for the latter style which has no such feature. It is constructed in the same manner as the former style except that there is no drawer in the bottom. This means there is extra space to keep all those bulky items such as large bottles of medicine and bandages.

Custom-Designed Medicine Cabinet:

Custom-designed medicine cabinets are best for people who want something totally unique. Since these cabinets can be designed with almost any layout and features, they are often the choice of people who have a unique or odd shaped space to work with. Also, since these cabinets are designed specifically for your needs, they offer much more storage capacity than the standard built-in cabinets. 

Vintage Medicine Cabinet:

This type of cabinet is suitable only for people who want the charm of a vintage look without sacrificing functionality. These types of cabinets are constructed with a lot of character and are truly one-of-a-kind. They are usually made with stained veneers and have a more weathered appearance. Some even come with an old fashioned key lock which adds to the overall charm of the cabinet. Some of these cabinets have glass doors while others have solid wood doors.


What is the best material for a medicine cabinet?

Wood cabinet is a durable material, it lends utmost strength to the medicine cabinet preventing it from sagging. If you’re looking for a strong and sturdy cabinet, a wood-framed medicine cabinet is your ideal choice. Just make sure that you opt for a high-quality wood.

Where should I put my medicine cabinet?

When you know what cabinet you want, you have to settle on its exact placement. A general rule of thumb is that the top of the cabinet box (not the door trim) should be 72 inches off the floor.


Most of us have a medicine cabinet in our bathroom. This cabinet has many uses such as holding toothbrushes and combs, hairbrushes and other grooming items. Above are the types of medicine cabinets that you can refer to.

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