Walk-In Pantry vs. Pantry Cabinet

written by Kasey White
last updated: November 14, 2023
blue wellborn kitchen cabinets

A pantry is a sought-after kitchen feature that gives homeowners a place to store nonperishables like pasta, rice and canned goods. It makes your space tidier and easier to organize. If you want a pantry, deciding what kind to add is critical when building a new home or redesigning your kitchen.

Homeowners can decide between two types of pantries — walk-ins and pantry cabinets.

  • A walk-in pantry is a closet added to a kitchen to store your goods. While these vary in size, they are all roomy enough to step into, and they have plenty of shelves for storage.
  • Pantry cabinets are large storage spaces for your goods. While you can't walk in them, you can pick tall or wide ones with customized colors and designs.

Many homeowners choose cabinets for food storage and walk-in pantries for storing more than food.

Walk-In Pantry Pros and Cons

Walk-in pantries are ideal for many homeowners, as they offer plenty of storage for organization. However, they can also be inconveniently located or limit the space in your kitchen. A small walk-in pantry can fit into almost any kitchen, but you will have less room to store food and other items. Learn more about the potential advantages and disadvantages to determine if one is right for you.

The benefits of walk-in pantries include the following.

  • More organizational options: Installing shelves, drawers or cabinets gives you versatility.
  • Extra storage space: Walk-in pantries provide a significant amount of space for storing anything you want, including pots and pans, spices, canned goods, paper towels, cookbooks, utensils and appliances.
  • Bigger size: Walk-in pantries are roomy enough to keep large items and appliances like microwaves or toaster ovens in, letting you clear off your countertops.
  • More open shelves: These pantries tend to have racks and open shelves, allowing you to quickly see your food and equipment.

Walk-in pantries also have some possible downsides to consider.

  • Requires ample space: You must sacrifice some of the square footage in your kitchen to accommodate a walk-in pantry. An alternative option is to choose a location other than your kitchen, but that will force you to make frequent back-and-forth trips.
  • Items are more spread out: You might forget where you've put things in your walk-in pantry. Taking longer to find the items you need for dinner can be frustrating when you and your family are hungry.
  • Requires more upkeep: Extra space and shelves give you more surfaces to clean. Additionally, you must have a set organizational system and put everything in designated places, or your pantry might become cluttered and disorganized.
  • Narrow shelving: Many walk-in pantries have narrow shelves, hindering your maneuverability. It also prevents you from placing items behind each other, preventing you from maximizing your space.

Pantry Cabinet Pros and Cons

benefits of cabinets vs a pantry

Pantry cabinets offer extra storage for your goods without requiring as much square footage as a walk-in pantry. So, they work well as a pantry in a small kitchen. Another space-saving idea is a wall pantry cabinet. However, you probably won't have enough room to store large appliances in any pantry cabinet. 

The pluses of pantry cabinets are as follows.

  • Compact storage solution: Pantry cabinets have a smaller footprint than walk-in pantries.
  • More accessible: You can store items deep in the cabinet and access them more readily. Everything is right in front of you, so you don't have to scan shelves or rummage around to find what you need.
  • Installation flexibility: Since pantry cabinets require less space, you have more placement choices. You can also install several small or large pantry cabinets.
  • Beautiful designs: Pantry cabinets have more design options than walk-in pantries. Choose a size, shape and color that seamlessly integrates with the rest of your kitchen.

The minuses of pantry cabinets include the following.

  • Less counter space: When planning your kitchen layout, you must include the pantry cabinet. Depending on where you want it, you may have to plan for less counter space than you'd like. You can remedy this by including a kitchen island or changing your pantry's location.
  • Smaller size: Their compact size prevents them from accommodating some items. Generally, you can only store food items, small appliances and other goods in pantry cabinets.
  • Less storage space: Though pantry cabinets offer plenty of room for small goods and commodities, they lack the ample room of a walk-in pantry.
  • Additional costs: You can maximize your pantry space by installing additional shelves, but this will cost more.

What Is Right for Your Kitchen?

All pantries serve the same purpose — storing goods and keeping them organized. However, walk-in pantries are spacious. Pantry cabinets match your kitchen design and only require a little space. Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding between a walk-in pantry or a cabinet. 

  • How much storage space do you want? If you plan to store many supplies and appliances, a walk-in pantry is right for you. Choose a pantry cabinet if you're only storing food items and want it to be more convenient.
  • How much space do you have available? A large home with lots of extra space can easily house a walk-in pantry. But if your kitchen is small, you should use a pantry cabinet to maximize space.
  • What does your budget look like? Walk-in pantries tend to cost more than cabinets.
  • How much accessibility do you want? Choose a pantry cabinet if you want convenience in your kitchen. If you are OK with making multiple trips, go with a walk-in pantry.
  • How much pantry maintenance is ideal? If you need a low-maintenance storage solution, pick a pantry cabinet. Opt for a walk-in pantry if you're fine with organizing and cleaning it regularly.
  • Which factor matters most to you? Weigh all the pros and cons to determine your highest priority.

Plan Your Kitchen Project With Wellborn Cabinet

Wellborn Cabinet can help you design your dream kitchen. You won't have to worry about storage space with our high-quality pantry cabinets. We offer multiple options, allowing you to design what you want and need. Start planning your project today or find a dealer near you. You can also browse our cabinet options by requesting a catalog. We look forward to helping you with your kitchen project!

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