Blind Shopping Price Comparison: Home Depot vs. Lowe’s

August 24, 2011 | by Ethan (email) |

A couple of weeks ago I ran a short post asking people which big box supplier they preferred: Lowe’s or Home Depot. There was some great debate about brand loyalty, customer service, knowledgeable staff, and more. A few people even chimed in that they prefer Menards. Too bad they’re only found in the midwest.

I enjoyed reading the back and forth, but I’d argue that the majority of people would sacrifice those desirable traits listed above for a consistently better price. So which retailer has the better prices? That’s a tough question, and to attempt an answer, I did some covert shopping.

In my very simple, non-scientific price survey, I selected a bunch of random products that I expected both retailers to carry. I narrowed my search to tools and accessories, and stayed away from retailer specific brands like Kobalt and Ryobi. This comparison was done in-store only for the currently listed price. Online deals and sales may be different.

DeWalt 12″ Dual Bevel Compound Sliding Miter Saw

  • Home Depot price: $499
  • Lowe’s price: $499

Irwin Vise-Grip Groovelock Pliers

  • Home Depot price: $17.97, $14.97
  • Lowe’s price: $19.98, $15.98
  • VERDICT: Home Depot

Stanley Powerlock 30′ Tape Measure

  • Home Depot price: $13.67
  • Lowe’s price: $11.48

Bosch JS470E Jigsaw

  • Home Depot price: $159
  • Lowe’s price: $139

Porter Cable 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor

  • Home Depot price: $169
  • Lowe’s price: $179

Irwin 8pc Speedbor Bit set

  • Home Depot price: $19.97
  • Lowe’s price: $17.97


If you look at the price differences, both stores are very competitive to the point that it may not be worthwhile to run back and forth. Online shopping makes it easy for people to compare prices, but waiting days for a package to arrive won’t always cut it. Maybe the take home message is that when you’re shopping at these retail giants, prices don’t really matter. It’s only things like customer service, knowledgeable staff, and convenient location that set a store apart.

Extreme How-To surveyed 1 million people on which home improvement centers have the highest customer satisfaction. Guess which one leads the pack? See the answer here.

What’s your experience with how prices compare? Do you make an effort to shop at local stores even though they probably don’t have the best price? How much more would you pay for superior customer satisfaction?

10 Responses
  1. paintergal says:

    I have come to realize that most of the employees in these stores are just that, employees. They aren’t experts in the area they work in. (Most of them) So, if I have a question I don’t bother asking them, unless it’s where something is located. Hopefully, they will know that!
    Sad. The smaller hometown hardware stores are where the expertise is hidden. But then, the prices are higher and the selection less. It is definitely a trade off.

  2. Did you do any checking on lumber prices? I realize there are a ton of options as far as boards go but just curious if there’s a difference between 2x, ply, or osb prices at those two places. I usually hit lowes for my big lumber purchases because I can usually scrounge up a 10% off coupon if given enough time.

  3. carol lewis says:

    We just prefer Lowe’s. The reason is the returns are easy but NOT at HD! Just has not been good there. I also like Lowe’s better because we have had EXCELLENT service and not at HD. Also Lowe’s has A/C and HD is hot and stuffy! So we usually go to Lowe’s but sometimes will go to HD to see the prices. Sometimes HD doesn’t have what we are looking for either. Just not a fan.
    But for something like lots of lumber we will compare.

  4. Erin M says:

    We also prefer to go to our local True value whenever possible. They are always knowledgable and friendly. We also like to support locally owned businesses. For certain things the price difference isn’t worth it though (pool chemicals were twice as much).

    Interestingly….This spring I was comparing prices on patio furniture at Lowes and HD and was amazed the the prices at HD were more than 30% cheaper and there was a much better selection.

  5. Donna Hollingsworth says:

    I like both stores. I like the paint selection at Home Depot as well as the molding department. I like the flooring department better at Lowe’s.

    I also like the fact that either store will match their competitors price on items. All you have to do is ask.

  6. MissFixIt says:

    I like Lowes they have better stock and prices in my experiences. I have got attitude from different Home Depot employees when looking for things for the home. When they didn’t have the dummy set for a Wiser Door Handle I wanted to purchased and I inquired about ordering it(Wiser told me they could). I got told “Well sometimes you don’t get everything you want in life” REALLY this came from a 50 year old Employee I’m not yet 30 and female not sure if that was the issue but I highly doubt he would of said that to someone closer to his age. Ever since I have been shopping at Lowes never get comments like that from employees.

  7. MelissaT says:

    It makes sense that the prices are pretty close. We tend to favor one store over the other depending on what sales are going on. Home Depot tends to run more specials, so we seem to shop there more often.

  8. caleb says:

    I think it must depend on the local store. Prices are comparable but the service and knowledge are much worse at our Lowe’s than HD which is backwards from the national opinion. It used to be the other way around.

  9. poiboybf says:

    I like the local True Value, although they don’t stock ANY lumber at the one in my town. I think I prefer Lowe’s overall, but HD is much closer for me, so that’s where I end up more often than not.

  10. HANDYMAN51 says:

    Menards is popular here in Iowa, though I haven’t comparison- shopped these products there.

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