Mid-May is the perfect time to hunt for an apartment or a temp job. ...
Lowe's or Home Depot
Do-it-yourself season is that time of year when you suddenly feel compelled to organize the garage, do something about your outdated kitchen, build a deck, or apply a fresh coat of paint. Whatever the project or task may be, chances are you'll check the offerings at Lowe's and/or Home Depot.
These big-box bigwigs are highly successful and fiercely competitive, making it impossible to pick a winner based on the cost of merchandise alone. Although prices at Home Depot and Lowe's sometimes fluctuate, they're often exactly the same, and the differences we noted typically were slight. In the end, the service and overall experience we got for our money earned Lowe's the title of value champ.
The aisles at Lowe's were easy to navigate.
Overall, prices were cheaper at Lowe's by mere pocket change. The pre-tax total for the 39 items on our general shopping list was $1,924.08 at Lowe's compared with $1,925.35 at Home Depot. When pricing out the deck project, Lowe's again proved cheaper: $1,507.32 versus $1,542.56 at Home Depot. In percentage terms, however, the price differential on some items (same products but often different brands) was substantial. For example, a 16-ounce steel claw hammer with a $4.98 price tag at Lowe's was more than 40% cheaper than the $6.99 version at Home Depot. For a one-off purchase of a small item, such price differences may not matter much (given the price of gas, you may decide it isn't worth driving farther to the store with the cheaper merchandise just to save a couple of dollars). But if you're working on a project that calls for multiple pieces of a given part -- tiles, say -- a price difference counted in pennies quickly adds up.
Home Depot's free clinics are popular.
Home Depot offers some distinct advantages, however. For one, Home Depot regularly holds free weekend workshops designed to familiarize DIYers with basic home improvement projects, such as installing a faucet or painting a room. Lowe's offers nothing comparable, although associates will demonstrate techniques upon request and online video walkthroughs and project manuals are available on the company website. Tool rental is another point of differentiation. Most Home Depot locations rent a variety of power tools, such as tile saws and floor strippers; Lowe's does not provide this service.
Roger Saunders, a marketing expert, extrapolates market research data that echo some of our findings. In a recent Retail Wire discussion, he comments that Home Depot wins with consumers in the areas of store location, project tips, and knowledgeable store associates. (In our visits to both retailers, we found Lowe's associates to be more knowledgeable.) Lowe's, he continues, comes out ahead in service, overall store experience, and product selection and quality.
In short, Home Depot and Lowe's are both good home improvement resources for the average consumer, and sometimes even for the pro. Each retailer is relatively easy to find; Home Depot operates more than 1,900 stores in the U.S. to Lowe's 1,725-plus locations in North America. But at the end of the day, your experience will depend on what you're looking for and on the way your local store is stocked, staffed, and managed.
Best Hardware Stores
Headquartered in Morresville, North Carolina, Lowe's is the second-largest hardware chain in the United States. Lowe's consistently ranks well with consumers when it comes to customer service, product selection, merchandise quality, and in-store experience... Read more »
Home Depot is the hometown darling of Atlanta, Georgia and the largest hardware chain in the United States. Geared towards professional builders and contractors as well as the intermediate-to-expert do-it-yourselfer, Home Depot has built a reputation for having the most convenient store locations and superior project expertise, although we were not wowed during our shopping expeditions... Read more »
April showers bring May flowers, and savings are already sprouting. ...
Since most people will judge your home by it's landscaping, why not spruce it up with these cheap gardening ideas.