Home Depot vs. Lowe's: Which Store Is Better?
Do the differences go beyond which is closest to home? Experts weigh in.
Home Depot and Lowe's may feel like a second home to contractors and serial DIY-ers. But nearly everyone has a reason to visit these stores eventually, whether it's to pick up a new showerhead or grab gardening supplies. Both home improvement stores' sheer size and seemingly endless bounty of hardware, tools, and appliances may seem identical, but the two chains do have their differences. From the brands they carry to what sort of credit card and loan programs they offer, retail experts weigh in on their pros and cons. Keep reading to find out which is better—Home Depot or Lowe's.
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Both stores stock popular name brands–but not the same ones.
An important factor in any retail choice is whether you can find the brands you prefer. Both Home Depot and Lowe's carry many popular brands, but often the two stores don't carry the same brands.
Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com, explains that, for example, Home Depot sells Ryobi tools but Lowe's doesn't.
And brand options extend well beyond tools: Lowe's sells Pella windows for new construction, while Home Depot stocks Andersen windows. Home Depot sells the popular Behr and Glidden paint brands, while Lowe's stocks Valspar and Sherwin-Williams paints.
On some items, Lowe's has lower prices.
According to Ramhold, Lowe's has a slight advantage when it comes to competitive pricing. "Both stores will price match each other, except on exclusive brands or items that only one sells; Lowe's will price match Home Depot on the same products and it also price matches Amazon, which Home Depot doesn't do."
If you're looking at truck rentals, Lowe's has better rates, whether you need it for a day or a week. "Even though Lowe's doesn't state a weekly rate, if you opt for the daily rate of $119, an entire week is $833, which is still cheaper than Home Depot's quoted weekly rate," explains Ramhold.
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Home Depot has the online advantage.
Ryan Meagher, business development and lead estimator at construction company BVM Contracting, says Home Depot has a better setup for online shopping.
"It's easier to filter for items, and their on-page search works really well," according to Meagher. "You can see inventory levels for whichever location you are looking to buy from (along with the location in the store), which gives you a very seamless shopping experience when walking around the store trying to find something."
Matt Hagens, founder of Obsessed Woodworking and Obsessed Lawn, also favors Home Depot for its mobile app. "It's user-friendly and has helped me locate items in the store without any hassle."
Lowe's offers workshops and coupons.
Lowe's has an advantage when it comes to showing customers how to actually use what they've purchased. Ramhold explains that the store offers coupons for attending free workshops in a program called DIY-U, which offers a variety of classes (that you can also attend virtually).
For attending each workshop, you'll receive a $10 coupon to use on your next purchase of $75 or more.
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Both stores offer good credit cards and loan programs.
Home improvement projects can be costly, so you may need to finance them through low-interest loans or credit card programs.
The two stores offer competitive financing options, but Meagher favors the Home Depot Project Loan program. "I have used the loan twice to fund various projects and it is a very easy-to-use loan."
For comparison, at the time of publication, Home Depot was offering 7.42 percent APR on 66 monthly payments, while Lowe's was offering 7.99 percent APR for 84 months. (Of course, this is all dependent on your loan amount and credit approval.)
When it comes to their credit cards, Ramhold prefers the perks and discounts offered by Lowe's. "The Lowe's Advantage card offers the choice of either five percent off purchases in-store and online every day or six months of special financing on qualified purchases," she explains. "There are also exclusive cardholder events and limited-time offers; for instance, right now new accounts will also receive 20 percent off their first purchase made through January 31, 2024."
Your customer service experience may vary.
Helpful store employees can be heaven-sent, whether you know what you need and just can't find it, or you're completely in the dark. This, however, may vary on the specific store you visit and who's working at the time.
Hagens, however, gives Lowe's the edge "Personally, I prefer shopping at Lowe's for my gardening and lawn care needs due to their superior customer service and focus on improving the overall shopping experience."
Meagher, on the other hand, says he's found staff to be more helpful at Home Depot. "Even if you don't need help, people are always checking in to make sure you are finding everything you need."
So, which store is better?
If the store nearest you is a Home Depot, that's likely to be the one you'll frequent most often—unless, of course, Lowe's carries the brand of paint, tools, or windows you're looking for.
All in all, for infrequent shoppers, either store is a great option. For professionals and major DIYers, which store will be the better choice depends on your specific needs.