Cabinet hanging rail systems and brackets are capable of making any kitchen installation faster. Because the guesswork of installing screws to the wall is removed most installers find the end install sturdier as well.
While the traditional approach requires measurements, drilling and cabinet jacks a cabinet hanger lets you skip that. By attaching a rail you simply lift the cabinets in place and connect them together.
Things to look for:
- Complete kit featuring all the nuts, bolts, wall anchors and screws
- Heavy duty design for supporting cabinet weight
- Slim profile
Lastly, be sure to consider other cabinet installation accessories like clamps, lifts and cabinet jigs to make the entire process easier.
Our Top Picks
Best all around:
Garage cabinet system:
Face Frame Clamps:
Choosing a Hanging System
Even for woodworkers, cabinet hangers are one of those cabinet hardware accessories that are hard to find.
While many ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets come with them standard, cabinets you may make or buy and want to hang with a cabinet rail system are hard to come by.
Features To Look For
- Heavy duty construction
- Aluminum is preferred as it will not rust in salty environments
- Extendable rails
- Cabinet clips
- Leveling shims
- Wall anchors where studs aren’t available
Best Cabinet Hangers
When it comes to cabinet hangers there unfortunately are NOT a lot of options. But, after hours of research and testing out a few of these, here are what I’ve found as the best cabinet hangers on the market:
1. EazyHang Hang It Yourself Cabinet Hanging Rail (Best Overall)
There just are NOT a lot of great cabinet hangers on the market.
Which makes the Eazy-Hang a one-of-a-kind in it’s features:
- Long lengths from 60″ to bundles that cover 250″+ installations (that’s five to twenty or more feet)
- Extra long rails that are easy to install and level as ONE connected unit
- Heavy duty aluminum rail construction
- All-in-one package include all the shims and screws you’ll need
Eazy-Hang Cabinet Hangers
2. Hangman Cabinet Hanger (French Cleat)
For smaller cabinet installations where a french cleat is desired and a full wall of cabinets is called for, the Hangman option is worth considering.
- The cleats are mounted separately
- Minimal cabinet clearance is required
- Simple design that can be used for mirrors, shelving, headboards or other wall mounted wood projects
3. Orange Aluminum Cabinet Hanger with French Cleat Design
For custom cabinets or factory cabinets with the proper clearance, the Orange Aluminum hangers features:
- Thin design
- Fast removal
- Support for #8 screws
- Founded in 2007, long history of making products
4. Gladiator Garage Cabinet hanging Rail System
Installing cabinets in a garage? Or, making wood garage cabinets and want to use a hanging system to take your cabinets down (perhaps you’re moving in the future)?
Since many home garages use a cleat system for storing tools and other shop supplies (an excellent way for visual organization!) a cabinet hanging rail system will fit into the design. And offer quick installation without locating studs.
How to Use a Cabinet Hanging Rail System
- For custom cabinets, determine style of cleat and installation requirements.
- Find high and low spots in ceiling using a laser level (measuring up from line)
- Identify position and height of wall hanging rail. Remember the cabinets will not sit flush to the ceiling and leaving room for crown molding or other trim.
- Set the laser level to the required cabinet hanging rail height
- Use a stud finder to mark stud locations to attach rail
- Install wall rail using appropriate cabinet rail screws (manufacturer specified)
- For IKEA-like systems attach the rail mounts to the cabinet sides
- Lift cabinet in place and over the wall rail
- Ensure cabinet is level and properly positioned using the laser line and a 6′ cabinet level.
- For cabinets that support bottom screw installation install wall screws
- Install cabinet filler strips if needed
- Screw cabinets together with cabinet screws
Why Cabinet Hanger Systems Are Useful
While quite a few RTA, or ready-to-assemble, cabinets require a cabinet rail there are a lot of semi-custom cabinets that don’t come with hangers.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the flexibility and simplicity of installing cabinets with a cabinet rail system.
So, versus directly screwing cabinets to the wall, cabinet hanger systems offer this advantages:
- Secure holds since you can more clearly see the wall stud location WITHOUT the cabinets in the way
- No need to hold heavy cabinets in the air with a cabinet jack while screwing cabinets to the wall
- Complex measurement transfers are eliminated as you won’t need to map wall stud location to the back of the cabinet and pre-drill a hole.
- Leveling cabinets is easier as you only need to level the rail.
- Shimming cabinet bottoms is easier as the cabinet top can’t move.
Lastly, the only drawback to a hanging system is you won’t be able to flush mount the cabinets directly to a ceiling. Due to cabinet hangers requiring a “lift over and set” space you’ll need (usually) at least 1″ of clearance.
But, fortunately almost ALL cabinets now use a crown molding that require a 1″ or more offset from the ceiling.
Cabinet Hanger Installation Considerations
How much weight can a cabinet rail hanging system support?
The weight that can be supported is determined by your cabinet construction and the maximum weight capacity rating of the cabinet hanging system rail hardware. For a cabinet rated system the typical weight supported is about 125 pounds per foot, but this must factor in screws, studs, distance between studs, and the weight of the cabinet.
Will a cabinet hanging rail system work with any cabinet?
It depends and you must follow the manufacturers installation specifications.
Factors for deciding if a cabinet rail will work:
- Cabinet back – will the cabinet back support a rail securely fastened to the back of the cabinet (and the wall)?
- Manufacturer specifications – strictly follow the manufacturer guidelines such as IKEA, Kraftmaid, or other lines of cabinets.
- Gap or no gap – if a rail system is supported, beware that a gap of up to 3/8″ of an inch from the wall can be expected. Not likely an issue if the cabinets are fitting between walls but a consideration if an end panel will be visible.
- Fit to ceiling – most rail systems require a 1 to 2″ clearance to allow the cabinet to be “lifted” over the rail and set. Take this into consideration upfront. For most installations this is fine as you will install crown molding to hide the gap.
Building your own? You have the option of including a recessed rail support and designing for it upfront.
What screws do I need to use?
The good news is most rail systems include the screws.
If not, the screws required will vary so take into considerations:
- Size of screw head – the rail may limit the size of the screw head. However you will find most cabinets use a wood screw with a broad pan head that allows even, non-sinking support. Lastly, cabinet rails act as a washer themselves.
- Grip into cabinet – a strong grip with deep threads that won’t tear out the cabinet material.
Need more help? For screws needed to connect the cabinets to each other check out our cabinet screw guide for more screws and what to order.
Will a cabinet hanging system work with IKEA or KraftMaid cabinets?
Can I hang garage cabinets with a cabinet Hanging rail?
Usually, but follow the manufacturer recommendations and instructions.
But, there are systems like the popular Gladiator Garage System that are made to be installed with a cabinet hanging rail system – and support many other attachments for rake, shovel and tool storage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it difficult to hang cabinets?
First, if you aren’t sure of your capability to hang cabinets it’s a job best done by a professional. If, however, you are able to follow the installation instructions and have the tools this is a difficult but very doable DIY project. Key considerations in hang cabinets include lifting, using levels, measuring precisely and having all of the right cabinet installation tools.
Do you install upper or lower cabinets first?
While this is a preference, I always install upper cabinets first as I have the freedom to walk around under the cabinets to install screws. And since I use a cabinet jack to hold the cabinets in place I’m not trying to position myself or tools over already installed cabinets. Plus, the risk of damaging the lower cabinets is greatly reduced as they won’t be in the way.
Should my kitchen cabinets go to the ceiling?
It’s generally not advisable to push you cabinets all of the way to the ceiling. Instead, use a crown molding that you can custom fit to the curves and slope of the ceiling. And, when all is done, I like to use a very thin bead of caulk to hide any gap.
- About the Author
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Eric has been a professional woodworker for over thirty years and has worked in small cabinet shops making everything from kitchen cabinets to hand-made furniture. Now working from a home woodworking shop Eric is sharing his passion for woodworking, tool advice and how-to knowledge from his Minnesota-based woodshop.