I don’t think I’ve spent as much time visiting hardware stores as I have in the last eight months. Our local hardware store is an Ace, which we use for small parts and screws. It’s a bit pricier than the big box stores, but it’s also only a half mile from our house. We also do some garden shopping at OSH. However, our main hardware stores are Home Depot and Lowe’s. The nearest Home Depot is five miles away and the nearest Lowe’s is ten miles away. We’ve found that both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Home Depot vs. Lowe’s Prices
It really depends on what you’re looking for. Some items are cheaper at Lowe’s, others are cheaper at Home Depot. Overall, I’d say that Home Depot is probably cheaper for most of the items we’ve purchased, but not so much cheaper that we’d automatically choose one store over the other.

Customer Service Comparison
Lowe’s customer service is light years ahead of Home Depot’s. While I can sometimes find good help at Home Depot, often I find myself wandering to even find someone who can help. Our local Home Depots seem to have a lot of clueless teens working there. For example, when we moved into our house, neither of our fireplaces had screens. It was August, but we thought we might be able to find something. The kid at Home Depot said, and I’m not making this up, “What’s a fireplace screen?”

When I shop at Lowe’s, there are always knowledgeable people on hand to help me find what I need. If the person I ask doesn’t know the answer, he’ll find someone who does. (Yes, it’s always a man. I’ve never seen a woman anywhere except the register.)

Selection Comparison
In general, Home Depot has more products, but Lowe’s sometimes has a better selection in specific categories. I prefer Lowe’s garden and lighting departments, but Home Depot’s tool and lumber sections are better. Doors and windows are about the same, but Home Depot has more appliances.

Organization
Lowe’s seems better organized. It’s much easier to find items and prices for them. I usually end up wandering around for a while in Home Depot until I find what I need.

Home Depot Coupons vs. Lowe’s Coupons
This isn’t even a contest. Lowe’s wins. When we moved into our house, our real estate agent signed us up for Lowe’s mailing list. In addition to a 20% coupon that was good for three months, we received numerous “project” coupons, usually for 10-20% off. I signed up for the Home Depot coupon new homeowner 20% coupon, which was only good for about two weeks after I received. The store still accepted it, but it was a bit more of a hassle. I signed up for additional newsletters to get more coupons, but they tend to be discounts on particular products I don’t need.

Paint
I found the paint color options at Lowe’s to be much better than Home Depot’s. Home Depot’s colors always seem just a little bit off, and they don’t have a wide selection. Lowe’s has several paint collections and I found several great colors there. They also have small sample pints that are very cheap. I didn’t end up actually buying my paint from Lowe’s, but I had two of their colors paint-matched at our local Benjamin Moore store so I could use Aura paint. Lowe’s green paint colors were the best I found anywhere.

Overall, Lowe’s is better for the new homeowners and small-time DIYers. If you need home décor hardware, Lowe’s is a good choice. If you know exactly what you need or have a big project, opt for Home Depot.

Comments

36 Responses to “Homeowner Help: Home Depot vs. Lowe’s”

  1. Kyle C. on May 13th, 2010 5:35 am

    Personally I prefer to shop at Lowe’s. The main reason is that their stores are generally all laid out the same. If I know where nails are in one store I know where they are in all of the stores. It makes my shopping that much easier if I can easily find things. At Home Depot I always seem lost. The problem is there are just some things you can’t find at Lowe’s so you have to go to Home Depot, and vice versa.

  2. Aryn on May 13th, 2010 4:23 pm

    I agree, Kyle. I just prefer the feel of Lowe’s overall. I always know exactly where I am.

  3. Kevin Groce on May 14th, 2010 8:00 am

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-Home-Depot

    Home Depot Steals Ideas of inventors! I will never shop at this place again!

  4. Julie on June 10th, 2010 1:19 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article. The comparison of hardware stores is signigicant in the areas of price, customer service, and store layout.

  5. Cheyenne on October 10th, 2010 2:33 am

    Working for home depot we actually accept lowe’s coupons. and we always meet AND beat their price by 10%. everybody does have their own opinion but not all of these home depot are as clueless as you think. depends on the store.

  6. TFHackett on October 19th, 2010 11:45 am

    Home Depot has been here in NJ longer than Lowe’s, and I had always been a Home Depot customer. But the customer service has been increasingly hit-or-miss at HD, so lately I’ve been giving Lowe’s a try. There are a Lowe’s and a Home Depot near me, a half-mile from each other. It’s taking some getting used to but I find myself liking Lowe’s. In Home Depot’s favor, there are 3 or 4 stores not far from me (one across the street from my office) vs. only one Lowe’s in the area. Good point though about all Lowe’s stores being laid out the same. The HD’s that I shop in vary quite a bit…sometimes I forget which Home Depot I’m in. It’s confusing!

  7. Roni on December 7th, 2010 1:36 am

    I agree with the customer service issue. We have both Home Depot and Lowe’s in our town, and not that far apart. The customer service at Lowe’s beats Home Depot- no contest. I have been at Lowe’s with plumbing issues on a 110 year old house that I bought, everything in the house was rigged with whatever the previous homeowner had I guess. I went to HD first. The “helper” had no idea what i had (I brought the pieces with me. At Lowe’s I had two guys that spent 30 minutes with me figuring out different options to fix, all with advice on price, longevity, and ease of installation. They are my go to guys now!

  8. Matt on January 10th, 2011 3:31 pm

    This post is bias!! lowes is better at everything blah blahblah..home depot is better. period.

  9. Matt on January 16th, 2011 9:04 am

    I work for The Home Depot and I know what we offer and I have to do comp shops at the lowes down the street. I have had friends and family shop at lowes just to see how good they are, the result is that we both offer a lot of the same things but The Home Depot always comes out on top. I get customers on a daily basis that just came from lowes and now are at my store to get what they need.

  10. hl on January 17th, 2011 11:21 pm

    Finally went to Lowe’s for the first time after 10 years of patronage at HD. HD’s selection is wider but Lowe’s quality is MUCH BETTER. I was quite stunned at the difference.

    For generic, utilitarian items, HD is fine. But if it’s for something more presentational/ decorative, Lowe’s is definitely it.

  11. HDLWho on January 28th, 2011 12:07 pm

    I dont understand people. You can’t come to a conclusion on whose better by visiting one of each store. If I go to the HD or Lowes closest to my home the service is completely different to the stores in the next town over. Lowes is a womans store, not that its a bad thing but they have a lot more decorative items than home depot. So for you to say RaRA Lowes for having curtain rods, think for a second… Home depot presents itself as a warehouse setting as they advertise..people need to stop choosing the craziest things to complain about. OMG the music sucks, or gosh i can’t believe there is one person ahead of me i have to wait..and i love when YOU!!! go choose a NON RETURNABLE paint color and hold up the returns line for 20 minutes to complain that its not fair you dont like the color YOU chose. WOW PEOPLE!

  12. wxduff on January 29th, 2011 10:01 pm

    Most people think the two stores are supposed to be marketed towards the same people, but they really aren’t. Home Depot is aimed more at contractors and professionals, while Lowes is aimed at homeowners. Lowes is also more a home “finishing” store, while Home Depot is more a general construction and home improvement store.

  13. Morris on March 1st, 2011 11:50 am

    I went to Home Depot to find a furnace hot surface igniter and showed the greeter what i needed. He promptly directed to me to another gentleman who takes care of that area. He told me they don’t carry them. I left and went to Lowes and the exact same thing occured. I ended up buying it at a heating place for $80.00. I went Back to Home Depot to price out programmable thermostats and low and behold my hot surface ignitor was right there for $45.00. It was already too late to return the expensive one and I have not checked lowes to see if they actually had one.

  14. Brian on April 27th, 2011 12:34 pm

    I just think that the empoyees at Lowe’s are better trained on both product AND customer service

  15. Diera on May 1st, 2011 11:43 am

    I worked for Lowes for 4 years and I LOVED it there, I had at least 5 plus people a day tell me they hated the service and selection at HD andthen I went and experienced it myself,,, I was looking for a new microwave, and just to have a fair comparison I went to HD and when I got there I was not impressed at all, they only had 2 to choose from and I coulddnt even get to them because of a stupid forklift that was sitting right in front of them and not an associate in site ANYWHERE to get it out of the way, I left and only if I am EXTREEMLY desprate will I ever go back but I will ALWAYS try every other store in town first!!!!!! LOWES ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Frostbite on May 25th, 2011 1:18 am

    I work at Lowe’s, their training program is pretty much more in depth than HD’s, but it’s really up to the person to absorb it or not. I like HD and their selection better in general for what I do, but Lowe’s for instance has superior paint selections in my opinion. It’s all about the person to person, no real way for me to say either is better. I love my co-workers at Lowe’s though, they’re all down to earth people and get along with most customers in a natural way. HD is the same way with more seasoned folks, no real difference. Guess I have no preference or loyalty in me when it comes to billionaire giants.

  17. Cheff on August 7th, 2011 3:33 pm

    CUSTOMER SERVICE-

    LOWES- I can walk into a lowes and literally walk by 8-10 associates with out even a greeting or eye contact. I was lookin at a directory off the store on a sidecap, and two associate walked right by me and headed to the break room. Obviously I didnt know where to find my products. Its not like there was a line of customers. Not all stores are the same, but the standards are. Lowes loses on this one.

    HD- Dad in and Day out i can walk into a store and if im not being handed an ad or greeted by someone a cashier is askin if im finding everything okay. I always reply “well, i just got here” When i do need help i have no problem waitin my turn for service. But i tend to notice later in the day they have young people workin that dont know what the are doing. I noticed a new smart phone they have that can check the price of anything and see inventory info for them and any store. beats goin to a computer or not havin an answer.

    INSTOCK-

    LOWES- They have a wider variety of odds and ends stuff, but lack JLQ. Working retail you can see a true picture of how a store is doing by the over stock and the receiving. Lowes overheads and shelves are bare, very little product behind front facing. Receiving looks like a skate rink. In my eyes it is very unimpressive and kind of turns me away not knowing how they are going to cater to someone else with my same needs

    HD- They lack the bells and whistle, but have plenty of the highly bought items. They tend to have freight every where on the floor which is nice to see but sometimes get in the way. puttin more attention in organization will go a long way.

    STORE APPEARANCE-

    LOWES- biggest thing is their show rooms are vary bigger and the store is well lit. They have the same size aisle as HD but HD has boxes and wing-stacks in ever aisle. It is always clean but i never get service so maybe thats what they are doing instead of helping us. Lowes is definitely more for the DIY-er and Woman. It feels more like a walmart that builds houses.

    HD- It is a working Warehouse, just like Costco. I dont expect it to be sparkly clean and it definitely caters towards the contractors and DIY-er with time to do it right.

    All in all HD is gonna be around longer because they are making a name for them selves. Lowes is easily mimicked. If they dont focus on the PRO side they can start to see the racking.

  18. Dedra on September 13th, 2011 8:53 pm

    I work at HD and have been there for 3 years. I believe that HD will continue to make more money from Contractors and others Pros. The truth is Lowes beats HD in the areas of customer service and organization. Not only is customer service ugh but so is most of the management. They simply lack the passion of enjoying their jobs. I enjoy helping customers and getting them what they need for their projects. I have worked at a couple different HDs and in different states. But it seems the attitudes are the same. The scheduling and hours are not the most desireable and there are other things behind the scene that affect how the employees deal with the customers. If Lowes expanded to provide more of the products HD has available, cater a little more to Contractors and keep their employees happy and well trained (which is why the customer service is so good) I see them blowing HD out of the picture almost completely. Just my opinion.

  19. Kel on September 26th, 2011 7:05 pm

    I have worked for both companies and HD is far better employer than Lowes. Also, while working for Lowes customers were always complaining and my dad who still only has the option of shopping at Lowes, cant stand it but still goes there. The HD I am at now also has a Lowes just around the corner. Some of my coworkers had gone to work there and I’d say 9 out of 10 of them cant stand it. We also comparison shop Lowes weekly and when you walk the store, you may have one associate out of the 20 working speak to you. I know for a fact that our associates (in my location and hopefully all the others)speak to all customers. Matter of fact, some customers actually complain because they get so many trying to help them.
    Of course, if something has happened at either place that has pissed you off, then of course you will WHO-RAH the other. Every one has their preference, but I truely believe Lowes has something to fear when it comes to HD.

  20. Aryn on September 28th, 2011 11:42 am

    It seems like it varies by each Lowe’s or HD! And by who you find each location!

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  22. Harry Howe on November 15th, 2011 5:34 am

    I prefer True Value Hardware were there is good service and prices. Big is not always better.

  23. Mikel on November 15th, 2011 6:34 am

    In general, I prefer Home Depot.

    In my town they are literally across the street from each other.

    In comparison, they are more alike than different. They seem to gear the items they carry and their prices to what the other is doing regardless of different brands. That’s annoying. What’s even worse, if I cannot find a particular item in one store, it’s likely I won’t find it in the other either.

    The service, however, is hands down in Home Depot’s favor. We went to Lowe’s on a Monday for a quote for replacement windows for our house which they had measured and were told that they’d have a solid quote for us by Thursday of the same week.

    We went to Home Depot at the same time. Home Depot has actually installed our windows at this time and we are still waiting for the Lowe’s quote after several calls – no lie.

  24. Inger Otter on November 15th, 2011 7:22 am

    While Home Depot serves its purpose, I prefer Lowes. Greater ease in finding products; good customer service (CS). CS varies in both stores based on the department you are seeking products or service but overall I have found (and I have shopped at many of these two stores in different states) that Lowes is consistently better in organization and service. And yes, I do prefer the products at Lowes; and no I am not in building and construction. So Lowes does appear to appeal more to the home owner.

  25. John Adams on November 15th, 2011 7:34 am

    Re one of the comments the author made about the “teens” in Home depot. If ANYBODY is working it’s a good thing–however. I have a small handyman service and I’m usually running from one job to another. I stopped at a Home Depot up in the NE heights of Albuquerque a while ago to get some matches/prices on patio paint. Although the young man I first asked admitted he was not familiar with the product (and he was working in the paint dept.) he directed me to another (young) man who “can take care of you.” Yeah, right! Pointing off in a general direction the second person told me the color charts etc were “over there” and then they both went back to playing grab ass and joking around. This happened to be on a Saturday—one of their busiest days I would imagine. My attitude, and this does not matter if it’s Home Depot or Lowes, is if you want to joke around and play grad ass DO IT ON YOUR OWN DAMN TIME and DO NOT waste my time with your stupid crap. The men AND women at Lowes have always gone out of their way to assist whenever I’ve need help. Now? Lowes gets all my business. Oh! Why didn’t I report this to a manager while there? Couldn’t find one for one thing and if their managers are too busy, ignorant or blind to see what the hell is going on, they deserve the negative attitude of former customers and they SURE AS HELL should not be a manager.

  26. Mike Reaves on November 15th, 2011 7:53 am

    Lowe’s is far superior to Home Depot in all areas, especially customer service

  27. Ed Sabin on November 15th, 2011 8:04 am

    Think the assessment of HD being more geared toward the contractor than Lowes is correct. No question HD has a much greater selection of items than Lowes, but, not every person is out there looking for a $2k pipe threader or 13 KW generator. Inexperienced employees don’t affect someone dealing with the “pro desk” as they do the average customer who isn’t quite as product knowledgeable. Prices and choices matter and each seems to offer bargains or quality items the competitor doesn’t. Very big selling point for me was finding that extended warranty programs at Lowes run consecutive with manufactures warranty, not concurrently as they do at HD.
    Been my experience that management sets the tone for employees job satisfaction and their willing involvement with customers. On one occasion I had a scheduled delivery foul up and without missing a beat an employee located the item in stock, put in on a truck and delivered it to my door. I made it a point to approach the Store Manager and tell him how impressed I was with the “above and beyond” response; not to mention the bucks it saved me in not having a crew return another day…only to find out later that the manager never relayed the message. Giving a pat on the back costs nothing, failure to recognize excellence and innovation cost you valuable associates and customers.
    IMO…if you’re looking for the biggest/best selection of hand/power tools or adding an addition to the house, go to HD. If you’re looking for new appliances or customer assistance in remodeling that new addition, go to Lowes. Everything else, from lawnmowers to lighting and toilets to toggle bolts, do a bit of comparative shopping. And don’t forget to visit their websites…often the same item in the store can be had for a substantial discount online, IF, you’re able/willing to wait a week or so for delivery.

  28. Larry Best on November 15th, 2011 8:15 am

    Both Lowes & Home Depot are within 5 miles from my house. I prefer shopping at Home Depot for a couple of reasons: 1 their prices are better, and 2. I can always find immediate help at Home Depot. I can wander Lowes for 30 minutes before I can spot an employee somewhere else besides the register. Home Depot has greeters at the door to point you in the right direction. Customer service nakes a huge difference to me.

  29. Tom B on November 15th, 2011 8:25 am

    HD will NOT display any Christmas items in their store because of “customer complaints”. I do not shop there any more for this reason. If HD management opts to remove Christmas decorations because of less than 1% of their customer base complaining is bad form!

  30. Ron on November 15th, 2011 8:47 am

    Remember when you could walk into McDonalds and have 20 cashiers give you a greeting? I’m telling my age now!
    Wake up people it’s all about the bottom line.I worked for Lowe’s five years,made Dept.Mger in one by the time five years went by I was Dept. mgr. of four dept. Every time a mgr. quit some poor mgr was given that dept. So as not to hire a replacement. Stay or go,who needs a job right!The over all picture on both, next time you go in one or the other take a look at the apperance of the employee’s. Do they carry them self and look like a professional,well groomed and well dressed,all that money those two make on not having employee’s to wait or give you a simple thing as good mourning,must be busting at the seam’s.Good and complete Customer Service went out the window about three generations ago.If they are taking care of the little thing like a greeting then the other things fall in line. And yes the answer to your question, is my parents brought me up right. Work environment is every thing.

  31. Darrell on November 15th, 2011 10:38 am

    To me HD vs Lowes is like Walmart vs Target. Target is a bit more upscale, better quality stuff in some specific areas, but overall Walmart takes the cake for 75% of the stuff I need. That’s why Walmart whips Target in the market, and HD whips Lowe’s.

  32. brandon on May 12th, 2012 6:03 pm

    Lets be honest here people, we have closing down lowes stores one by one since frank blake took over and its gonna continue that way until corporate lowes in general goes completely bankrupt. everyone has their own opinions and bias’s but the truth is what matters in the end, and that is that lowes is going under because the home depot offers much better quality of service and quality of products. Hence why our corporation is thriving during the recession and lowes is doing the exact opposite. All hail HD….and yes I am a hd employee.

  33. Steve Lew on May 27th, 2012 8:03 am

    Very good article. I think that HD is a bit cheaper because they have less overhead compared to Lowes. The products each sell are similar but priced differently. Some items you get at HD and not at Lowe’s and visa versa. Check their websites to see what you want before you go there and the brands you need.

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