My question is simple -

Why is/was there a need for Vanishing Cabinets when you can simply disapparate?

edit: I don't believe, as mentioned in both replies below, that 'A vanishing cabinet can take you to a place where Apparation/Disapparation is not possible' is relevant, simply because the reason they were used was to escape Death Eaters at a moment in time, so where they went wasn't important. They just needed to escape.

I'm also not convinced that there would be many developed/adult witches or wizards who couldn't disapparate.

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    Not everyone can disapparate. Even Ron regularly fumbles it. – Radhil Apr 19 '17 at 10:37
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    It seems to me like the best use for a Vanishing Cabinet is transporting non-wizard objects. Like in the movie when Malfoy sent an apple, how else could you get an apple from Hogwarts to Diagon Alley that fast? – DaaaahWhoosh Apr 19 '17 at 14:10
  • @DaaaahWhoosh - or magic objects, for that matter, doesn't have to be non-wizard objects. Anything where you need to move stuff - especially lots of, or heavy, stuff - it would be more convenient to shove them through a cabinet and unload on the other side, with magic doing the heavy lifting, rather then apparating - which would require them to physically haul what they were taking and limit them to what they could carry one trip at a time – Megha Apr 20 '17 at 3:44
  • @Megha Yeah, by 'non-wizard objects' I meant objects that are not wizards. But I see now how that was ambiguous. – DaaaahWhoosh Apr 20 '17 at 13:25
  • Vanishing cabinets were used to bring the Death Eaters TO Hogwarts, not to let them escape. Their destination WAS important. – TimSparrow Jul 7 '17 at 11:09

A vanishing cabinet can take you to a place where Apparation/Disapparation is not possible (eg. Hogwarts). Malfoy used it to help Death Eaters to get into the castle undetected.

From "Harry Potter and Half-blood Prince" , chapter The Lightning-Struck Tower

Malfoy looked as though he was fighting down the urge to shout, or to vomit. He gulped and took several deep breaths, glaring at Dumbledore, his wand pointing directly at the latter’s heart. Then, as though he could not help himself, he said, “I had to mend that broken Vanishing Cabinet that no one’s used for years. The one Montague got lost in last year.”

“Aaaah.” Dumbledore’s sigh was half a groan. He closed his eyes for a moment. “That was clever. … There is a pair, I take it?”

“In Borgin and Burkes,” said Malfoy, “and they make a kind of passage between them. Montague told me that when he was stuck in the Hogwarts one, he was trapped in limbo but sometimes he could hear what was going on at school, and sometimes what was going on in the shop, as if the cabinet was traveling between them, but he couldn’t make anyone hear him. … In the end, he managed to Apparate out, even though he’d never passed his test. He nearly died doing it. Everyone thought it was a really good story, but I was the only one who realized what it meant — even Borgin didn’t know — I was the one who realized there could be a way into Hogwarts through the cabinets if I fixed the broken one.”

“Very good,” murmured Dumbledore. “So the Death Eaters were able to pass from Borgin and Burkes into the school to help you. … A clever plan, a very clever plan … and, as you say, right under my nose.”

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    Yes. Can you provide any evidence for this? – Gallifreyan Apr 19 '17 at 10:57
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    There is one important thing that is not mentioned here. Many (most?) wizarding dwellings have spells to prevent Apparition/Disapparition placed upon them. As such, one could use this to escape from one's own house, while retaining the benefits of protections against Apparition. – Adamant May 6 '17 at 4:50
  1. Some people find Apparating/Disapparating a challenge

    For those who face difficulty in mastering the so-called '3 Ds' of Apparation, vanishing cabinets can be used to help them.

    Vanishing Cabinets were highly popular during the First Wizarding War; in the event of a Death Eater attack, one could simply disappear to the other cabinet until the danger had passed.

    Harry Potter Wikia

  2. Some people want to visit a place or leave where Apparation/Disapparation is not possible

    For those who want to enter a place which has an Anti-Disapparation charm, vanishing cabinets are their solution. However, there must be 2 cabinets on-hand: one at user's location and another at the place which has the A-D charm.

    The Hogwarts Vanishing Cabinet was later moved to the Room of Requirement and in 1997, Draco Malfoy successfully repaired it to allow a group of Death Eaters, including Fenrir Greyback, to enter Hogwarts from the Borgin and Burkes Vanishing Cabinet, in order to accomplish his plot to assassinate Albus Dumbledore.

    Harry Potter Wikia

  • Where is your first quote (about the Wizarding War) from? – Longshanks Apr 19 '17 at 13:29
  • A vanishing cabinet might also be a way of escaping if you have been placed under an anti-apparition jinx. – Harry Johnston Apr 20 '17 at 3:27

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