Predominately, medium density fibreboard (mdf), melamine faced chipboard and birch faced ply are widely used within the furniture making industry with each having their own attributes and drawbacks.
I commonly use the brand Medite for my mdf requirements as I find that it machines well and receives painted finishes far better than other manufacturers. With regard to painted/sprayed finishes, my preference is moisture resistant (m.r.) mdf. The reason being is that the face fibres do not raise easily compared to standard mdf thus giving a superior finished face.
I generally use prefinished boards for my cabinets as I find that the extra cost of the board initially, is far less than the time taken to paint them. White melamine faced mdf/chipboard are the most used with oak veneered boards close behind. Brands such as Egger are a particular favourite.
The most superior boarding material in my humble opinion is birch faced ply. When I was a child (many moons ago), my Mother purchased a free standing wardrobe for my bedroom. The wardrobe was made from birch faced ply and had a lovely unique odour. Every time I start cutting birch faced ply today it reminds me of that wardrobe I had as a child in the 70`s.
Birch ply is the favourite amongst most cabinet makers because of it`s structural integrity, being stronger and more stable. It also has aesthetic appeal with its exposed edge veneers showing through.
The birch ply boards come in various grades which relates to the front and back faces.
The cost of these boards are high in comparison to mdf/chipboard and therefore over looked for low budget projects.