Howdens vs Wren Kitchens? A Look at Design, Pricing, and Fitting

Howdens vs Wren Kitchens

When it comes to renovating or building your dream kitchen, choosing the right company to bring your vision to life is crucial.

With a myriad of kitchen companies, such as Howdens and Wren Kitchens, offering a range of styles, materials, and services, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is the best fit for your specific needs and preferences. This is where the importance of comparing two kitchen companies comes into play.

Key Takeaways

  • Wren kitchens are often better designed and manufactured, frequently using better materials.
  • Howdens kitchens are significantly cheaper for identical kitchens and winners of Which 2023 Best Buy award.
  • Wren also outperforms Howdens when it comes to fitting and installation.

For this article, we reviewed two identical kitchen models from our competing kitchen companies – the Howdens Clerkenwell Gloss and the Wren Kitchens Infinity Plus Handless.

Below we take you through a step-by-step guide of our direct comparative analysis to cover every aspect of purchasing a new kitchen from one of these companies.

Howdens vs Wren Kitchens – Design & Quality

Doors

When it comes to kitchen units the first sign of quality is found in the doors and whether they are painted/wrapped, or if they are edged. A wrapped or painted door is a single piece of material (wood, MDF, etc.) These are higher quality than edged doors.

Edged doors have a separate edge that has been fixed to the door, these are easily visible as they are made from a different material to the door itself. 

Comparison

  • Howdens = Edged
  • Wren = Wrapped

1-0 to Wren.

Gloss Finish

The next indicator of good quality is the gloss finish. Again there are two options; the units will either have a mirrored effect (higher quality) with a totally smooth surface, or they will have an Orange Peel effect (lower quality).

A mirrored effect is just as it sounds – you will be able to see the reflection of the room’s surroundings in the units. An orange peel effect refers to the little dimples you see on an orange skin. If you look closely at the units and they are dimpled or “bumpy”

Comparison

  • Howdens = Orange Peel
  • Wren = Mirrored

2-0 to Wren.

kitchen doors in various woods and colours

Door Thickness

Very simple this one: the thicker the unit, the better the quality. Both Howdens and Wren have an 18mm unit.

Comparison

  • Howdens = 20mm
  • Wren = 22mm

3-0 to Wren.

Are the Drawers Integrated Soft-Close?

Integrated soft-close hinges are considered a prerequisite of kitchen units in this day and age.

Comparison

  • Howdens = Yes
  • Wren = Yes

4-1 to Wren.

What is the Depth of the Pan Drawers?

The deeper the drawer, the more space and the greater number of storage options you have.

Comparison

  • Howdens = 43cm
  • Wren = 48cm

5-1 to Wren.

Do the Cabinets Have Hinge Holes on Both Sides?

Again this speaks to a greater number of options when you are designing your new kitchen. New cabinets that sport hinge holes on two sides rather than one always afford greater flexibility after the new cabinets are installed.

Comparison

  • Howdens = Yes
  • Wren = Yes

6-2 to Wren.

Howdens vs Wren Kitchens – Fitting

Number of Items

The very first thing you notice when you purchase either of these kitchens is how many items make up the delivery. This is a good indicator of the economy of work and the efficiency of the company you are dealing with. Generally speaking, the fewer items, the better (remember these are identical kitchens).

Comparison

  • Howdens = 20 items
  • Wren = 10 items

7-2 to Wren.

Are The Cabinets Rigid Assembled + Glued and Dowelled?

Essentially, this means they come pre-assembled (higher quality), making the installation process much easier.

Comparison

  • Howdens = Yes
  • Wren = Yes

8-3 to Wren.

Are The Cabinets Sturdy?

Comparison

  • Howdens = A bit wobbly
  • Wren = Sturdy

9-3 to Wren.

Howdens vs Wren Kitchens – Prices

One of the most important factors when choosing a kitchen, the price! So, how do the 2 companies compare? The prices below are for a fully fitted, like-for-like kitchen;

Comparison

  • Howdens = £2659.99
  • Wren = £3414.39

9-4 to Wren.

Wren Kitchens – Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Good Quality
  • Rigid Assembled + Glue and Dowelled
  • Low Number of Items in Delivery
  • Deep Pan Drawers
  • Integrated Soft Close Hinges

Cons

  • Feet Base Not Attached (Not Protected)
  • Unsightly Hinge Hole Covers
  • Fewer Colour Options
  • More expensive

Howdens Kitchens – Pros & Cons

grey kitchen cabinet

Pros

  • Significantly Cheaper
  • Which 2023 Best Buy Award Winner
  • Rigid Assembled + Glue and Dowelled
  • Integrated Soft Close Hinges
  • Drawers Already Attached

Cons

  • Edged Doors
  • Orange Peel Gloss Finish
  • Thinner Doors (Less Load Bearing)
  • Shallower Drawers
  • No Feet or Bases Attached
  • Separate Hinges, Doors, and Inserts

Who Installs Howdens and Wren Kitchens?

a kitchen being installed

Good Question!

Howdens is a trade-only company. They do not provide installation services of any kind, meaning that you will have to hire a specialist Howdens kitchen fitting company to have the kitchen installed, unless you plan to do it yourself.

Wren, on the other hand, does provide their own installation service. So, you can either have Wren do the fitting (for an additional fee), or you can hire a professional kitchen fitting company or DIY as with Howdens.

Wrapping Up

Are Wren Kitchens Better Than Howdens?

From our analysis of identical kitchen unit set-ups from both companies, we feel confident to say that Wren Kitchens does appear to be of a higher standard and quality than Howdens.

They have a higher build quality, a better finish, and more space in corresponding units.

Is Howdens Cheaper Than Wren?

Yes, and quite a lot cheaper. Wren beat Howdens on nearly all metrics of our comparison, but for many people, this is the single most important aspect of buying a new kitchen.

Namely, the price. Howdens total of £2659.99 is a whole £754.40 cheaper than the Wren kitchen. This means you will need to pay nearly 30% more for a kitchen that is practically identical in every manner.

You will have to decide if the additional build quality and space are worth the significant additional expenditure.

Are Howdens and Wren the Same Company?

No. Howdens is owned by Howden Joinery Group PLC. Wrens is owned by the West Retail Group Ltd.


In our analysis of Howdens and Wren Kitchens, Wren emerges as the superior choice in design and quality, offering higher-grade materials and finishes. However, Howdens stands out for its affordability, significantly undercutting the cost of an equivalent kitchen from Wren.

While Wren excels in quality and robust construction, Howdens appeals to budget-conscious consumers with its competitive pricing and reliable quality, evident from its Which 2023 Best Buy award.

Ultimately, the choice between installing a kitchen from Wren or Howdens hinges on individual priorities of quality versus cost.

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