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Best Cabinet Screws For Installing Cabinets and Hardware

In woodworking there is a specialty screw for every task. And, not surprisingly, when woodworkers reach for the best cabinet screws for installing hardware (or the cabinet itself) there are preferred screws for the job.

For example, most screws that come with cabinet drawer slides are inadequate as they are too small and lack an aggressive head for decades of holding power.

Or, for screwing the cabinets to the wall a standard drywall screw isn’t best as it wasn’t designed for the shear strength. And, importantly, doesn’t have an oversized head that  professionals prefer.

In this article learn about:

  • What kind of screws to join cabinets together
  • Difference between cabinet screws and wood screws
  • What size screws to use
  • Best cabinet screws for installing hardware
  • Cabinet to wall screws
  • And, a few specialty screws and accessories to hide the screws once the installation is done.

ScrewProduct Desc.Shop
Best cabinet screws - cabinet to wallBest Cabinet to Wall: FastCap Power Head 2.5″CHECK PRICE
Best cabinet screws - cabinet to cabinetBest Cabinet to Cabinet: FastCap Power Head 1.25″CHECK PRICE
Best cabinet screws - frame to frameBest Frame to Frame: GRK Trim HeadCHECK PRICE
Best cabinet screws - frame clampFace Frame Clamp: Bessey cabinet claw to hold frames during installationCHECK PRICE
Best cabinet screws - hide screwsScrew stickers: FastCap stickers to hide screw headsCHECK PRICE

Warning: Installing cabinets is a high risk project that could involve injury or damage. If you aren’t sure, hire a kitchen professional to do the job for you.

Buying GUide: Cabinet INstallation Screws

Woodworking Tools and Hardware Review

While some woodworking tasks can get by with any screw that is the right length that just doesn’t work with cabinet installation.

Which is why professional installers will select screws specialty built for their size, strength and thread design. Because after all, just a few screws can end up suspending hundreds of pounds for years and years.

Cabinet Screw Features

  • An aggressive thread design for extra hold
  • Self tapping for penetration without splitting
  • Square drive or torx head for firm grip
  • Large head for holding the cabinet backing firmly
  • Variety of lengths for cabinet-to-wall and cabinet-to-cabinet

Top Cabinet Screw Brands

When it comes to cabinet installation screws there are really just two brands:

  • GRK CABINET SCREWS are a torx screw from one of the most popular woodworking screw manufacturers. Available in bronze and white.
  • FASTCAP CABINET SCREWS feature a  popular square head that sticks to your driver, and (optional) cover caps to hide the screw.

There are other brands and screws that will work, but GRK and FastCap offer the most complete line-up.

Types of Cabinet Screws

Cabinet to Wall Screws

Cabinet to wall installation screws


The first and MOST IMPORTANT screw you’ll need is one that will hold the weight of the cabinet (and it’s contents) against the wall. 

A few things to consider:

  • Total screw length  is key as every house can be different. Consider at least thickness of the cabinet back, wall surface thickness (plaster/lathe, drywall, etc) and then stud thickness.
  • Stud construction on metal vs. wood studs
  • Quantity – I like to plan 4 screws per every foot of upper and base cabinets. So a 25-foot long kitchen will take 100 screws. 
  • Screw head designs are typically a large, flat surface screw that offers maximum holding power against the cabinet back.

I typically start with 2-1/2″ screw and work my way up from there but, again, check your cabinet construction first.

Concerned about hitting the studs? Use a cabinet hanger like these EazyHang hangers (affiliate link) that will let you install a secure hanger to the wall FIRST. These are a great DIY  option for upper cabinets.

Cabinet to Wall Screws with GRK Screws

Cabinet to cabinet screws for lateral connections

Cabinet to cabinet installation screws


When installing cabinets I have a preferred tool for any face frame installation that will GREATLY IMPROVE your finished installation: the  Bessey Cabinet Claw. These clamps quickly go on, hold cabinets in position and let you worry about the screws. Not the alignment of the frame. 

As you likely know, connecting the cabinet sides together is a must to hide any gaps between the cabinet sides or face frames. 

And, not surprisingly, there are a few custom screws and methods that will let you achieve the best results. In fact, there are three types of screws you’ll want to use depending on the construction of your cabinets.

Frameless Cabinet Installation Screws

Frameless Cabinet Hinge
Frameless cabinets have a 3/4" sidewall

Frameless cabinets, as you may know or have guessed, lack a face frame on the front of the cabinets. And, for cabinet screws this gives you TWO options during installation.

Option 1 is using post screws that have a male and female side that connect from either side of the two cabinets. It’s common to install these in the top and bottom shelf pin holes to blend them in them. 

Tip: while a tight installation usually works, some installers will use Loctite to make these screws hold extremely tight (removable, but essentially locked).

Post Screw

Option 2 is using a shorter version of the cabinet to wall screw we just reviewed.  And, with most frameless cabinets having a 3/4″ sidewall a 1-1/4″ length should work in almost all installations. But if your sidewalls are 5/8″ just shorten up to a 1″ screw.

Finally, for holding a frameless cabinet during installation you’ll need a heavy duty clamp like the FastCap Jack of All Trades. Skip the cheap bulk packages of squeeze clamps as they will slip. 

Face Frame Cabinet to Cabinet Screws

Face Frame Cabinet Hinge
Face frame cabinets have a 1-1/2 to 2" frame covering the cabinet sides

Face frame cabinets are both easier and harder to install.

Because the frame allows you to adjust the fit of the cabinets to each other and the wall you can make-up for imperfections (I use a belt sander and scribe for that job).

But they are harder to install as the face frame fit is a must since the cabinet doors won’t lay as close to the seam in most cabinets of this style.

Using Cabinet to Cabinet Screws Behind the Frame

Cabinet To Cabinet Screws GRK

There are two schools of thought on this. First, either install trim head screws in the frame (only). Or, second, install trim head screws in the frame AND use a screw just behind the frame.

But, I like insurance so I do both. And, as noted above with the cabinet claw, you can quickly close the gaps in your cabinet frames with a shorter version of either the GRK or FastCap screw. 

Connecting Cabinet Frames with Trim Head Screws

Using Trim Head Screws And Cabinet Claw to Install Cabinets

After your first cabinet is installed and the second one is balanced in the air, hopefully on a cabinet jack, you’ll want to use that cabinet claw to secure the frame.

Then, using an extra long 1/8″ drill bit (4-5″ or more) you’ll drill a long hole using the guide bushing on the cabinet claw complete through the first face frame and partially into the next.

Last, you’ll install a trim head screw, like the GRK, at least 1/2″ into the adjacent cabinet or filler strip.

By using a trim head screw directly in the face frame you’ll have maximum control over the grip of the frame. While a cabinet-to-cabinet screw behind the frame can work, it won’t have the same holding power.

Cabinet Hardware Screws

Drawer Slide Screws

It’s surprising to some that you’d even need to consider this type of screw.

After all, the cabinet hardware you just purchased should have came with the right screws. Right?

Unfortunately, I’ve had bad luck with being able to use all the screws (both wood and machine screws) that come with cabinet hardware.

Stock up on machine screws for drawers

Cabinet Handle Screws

After the cabinets are screwed to the wall you’ll likely end up drilling cabinet knob hardware and installing knobs and handles.

And guess what?

There are specific screws for this job as well. After hacking and cutting many machine screws I’ve learned to always have a box or two of 8-32 x 1-1/4 inch  and 8-32 x 1-5/8  machine screws in your toolbox.

Why? Because most custom cabinet fronts are 3/4″, drawer sides are 5/8″ and knobs needing about 1/4″  of screw length a 1-5/8″ machine screw can make the installation smoother. And hardware manufacturers just don’t supply what you’ll need.

Installing drawer slides requires buying your own cabinet screw

Installing drawers requires a mix of skill and the right Rok #8 screws 

In fact, as I found in our guide to the best soft close drawer slides, beyond inadequate drawer slide screws some manufacturers just plain send the wrong screws. 

Lastly, for face frame cabinets you will almost certainly need screws in the frame. And almost all hardwoods will require a pilot hole, best done with a self centering pilot hole bit, to avoid splitting the wood (or worse – breaking the screw). But for the record, I rarely drill pilot holes in softwoods. 

Cabinet Assembly Screws

While most traditional plywood and face frame constructed cabinets are glued and nailed there are uses for cabinet screws in construction. 

Cabinet screws to join melamine and particle board

If you’ve ever assembled IKEA furniture you’ll know what this is about. And, personally, I think their systems for connecting furniture and cabinets is ingenious.

But I still prefer to build plywood cabinets.

So how do you join melamine (aka particleboard) at right angles? With a confirmat head screw, as pictured below:

Confirmat Screws for Melamine

What is a confirmat screw? A confirmat screw is a special cabinet screw that leverages a large thread design suited to particleboard cores and a recessed flat head that can be concealed.

However, to use this type of screw you’ll need to invest in a specialty confirmat countersink .

Frequently Asked Questions for Cabinet Screws

Frequently Asked Questions

How long are screws to attach cabinets to the wall?

While wall construction determines the length most screws are a minimum of 2-1/2″ up to 3-1/2″.

What screws are used to connect cabinets together?

There are three types of screws for connecting cabinets together. Face frame cabinets utilize trim-head screws drilled through the frames. While frameless cabinets use either shorter screws or Chicago bolts to connect the cabinet.

How many screws do I need to install cabinets?

For wall screws plan for 4 wall screws per foot of cabinet and then four screws per cabinet box for connecting cabinets together.

Three Cabinet Screws to Avoid

So I promised three screws you should avoid.

And here they are:

  1. Drywall screws are NOT to be used for installing cabinets. Please, just don’t do it.
  2. Drawer manufacturer screws shouldn’t be counted on – instead buy an appropriate length Rok #8 screw used. And to be clear, I’ll only use manufacturer screws in face frame connection points. Otherwise, what they send just won’t hold up to years of weight and slamming.
  3. Deck/outdoor screws (see #1)

Summary: Cabinet Screws

Hopefully this article was helpful in understanding the subtle differences in screws you’ll need while building and installing cabinets. While not the most exciting purchase, a good assortment of cabinet screws will make an installation go smoother.

And prevent need for future adjustments caused by the wrong screw.

Manufacturer Links

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6 thoughts on “Best Cabinet Screws For Installing Cabinets and Hardware”

  1. When using the GRK Low Profile screws to fasten cabinets to the wall, will they self-countersink so it sits flush with the back of the cabinet? Or do I need to counter sink with a drill bit first? I have an open floating cabinet and I want to use fast caps to conceal the heads of the screws. These screws look like they will not sit flush.

  2. Hi Brandon,

    You are correct: the GRK has a rounded head and will not recess into the wood due to it’s washer head design. I wouldn’t recommend countersinking, but as an alternative you can look at the Fastcap cabinet screw which feature a flat head designed for the Fastcap screw covers. https://amzn.to/37xGPaQ


  3. Eric,

    I’m having trouble finding a good drill bit for drilling pilot holes for attaching face frames. (You suggested a 4-5 inch long 1/8″ bit). Can you please provide a recommendation for a good bit for this purpose (and an Amazon link if you have it)? I would also love a recommendation (and link) for a countersink bit for these face frame pilot holes.


    Scott P

  4. Hi Scott –

    You can search Amazon with the ID “B00B1C8OTU” and there’s a 6″ 1/8″ bit there that should work.


  5. We recently started a carpentry business and came across this article. We specialize in cabinet building and totally agree with your article. Thanks for the good read.

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