The major difference between medium-density fiberboard and particleboard is that MDF is made using wood fibers whereas particleboard is made using wood dust. Both are composites made by heating and compressing wood together with an adhesive. However, the fibers in MDF form a stronger structure than the dust in particleboard.
Particleboard is a wood-waste product. It is very inexpensive and light weight but not as strong as MDF. Particleboard is particularly vulnerable to distortion and discoloration due to moisture. It is a common choice for ready-made furniture.
MDF is more expensive than particle board, although it is still less expensive than many other construction materials. It is smooth and doesn't splinter; however, it is quite heavy. It is ideal for higher-end furniture and cabinetry.