Comparing Prices at Lowe's and Home Depot

You've been to one big box store, you've been to them all. There's not a big difference between the look and feel of a Target and a Walmart or a Borders and a Barnes & Noble, in my opinion. But many times where you do find differences is in price. I found this out when I compared prices at Petco and PetSmart.

As someone who's preparing a house to sell this spring, I've spent a lot of time at Lowe's and Home Depot lately. In an effort to find the cheapest hammer or a good deal on a kitchen faucet, I compared prices on the same items at the two stores. I looked at a few random items from gas grills to garden tools to painting supplies. The stores tend to sell different brands, making my price comparisons tough. Lowe's is big on Troy Bilt lawnmowers but Home Depot has a huge selection of Toros. Home Depot sells American Standard faucets and Lowe's sticks with Delta and Moen. And when they do have the same brands, they carry completely different models. Comparing what I could, I concluded that in a few cases, Lowe's had the lower prices. But in general the stores are close.

When it comes to gas grills, both stores carried the same Weber Genesis Three-Burner gas grill for $699. Home Depot had a slightly lower price on a Weber four-burner gas grill.

The stores practically matched each other dollar for dollar on gardening supplies. Home Depot had a slightly better deal on Black & Decker's 24-inch Hedge Hog electric hedge trimmer at $69.97, compared to Lowe's $74.96 price tag.

Lowe's had a few better deals on kitchen and bathroom faucets. The Lowe's price on a Kohler kitchen faucet was $108, compared to Home Depot's price of $130.84 on the same faucet. Lowe's also appeared to have better prices than some online stores: A certain Moen kitchen faucet model was $188 at Lowe's, compared to $224.58 on Amazon.com.

Lowe's had better prices on shelving as well. A ClosetMaid 6-cube organizer was $44.88 at Lowe's, a few dollars cheaper than online prices for the same product. Home Depot didn't carry this one, and its prices on Rubbermaid wire shelves were a few dollars higher than Lowe's.

Lowe's even had better deals on even more random items like blue painters tape. The store offered a 1-inch thick roll for $1 cheaper than Home Depot's same roll. And the same Klein wire stripper/cutter was $4 cheaper at Lowe's.

So where do you shop for tools and other hardware? Are there any mom and pops that have good deals? What about online stores?

By Tania Anderson |  February 19, 2009; 12:00 AM ET General Interest , Home Improvement
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Lowes in my opinion is definitely the better store. Sometimes you need to not just look at exact item price matching. If you look at the overall price range, the quality of the items they carry seem to be much nicer.

Also, the store feels less claustrophobic and is lit better.

Posted by: peonymom | February 19, 2009 11:51 AM

I have fought this battle in my head 100 times and every time for the DIY or Contractor - Home Depot is the superior choice. I am primarily referring to the real construction and maintenance, where one gets their hands dirty...the type of person that knows how to plumb a connection from a clay sewer pipe to a ABS pipe, the real stuff instead of cosmetic, Home Depot is the best. Especially when it comes to finding someone either in Electrical or Plumbing that actually has experience, Lowe's has not even come close. I don't even bother asking the acne faced boys and girls that work at Lowe's, if I want to know real guys that have done real work - look for those with some gray hair in those departments at Home Depot. It might take a few minutes more to track them down but they really know what they are talking about. Lowe's is okay for superficial cosmetic things, but Home Depot ROCKS when it comes to real work........

Posted by: SamBeagle | February 19, 2009 4:09 PM

I prefer to go to McLean Hardware. I may pay a few cents more here and there, but I get actual expertise from people who know their stuff. And they don't try to sell me more expensive products or more than I need.

Posted by: xenophilia | February 23, 2009 9:23 AM

I've identified some of the same results you found.

For lighting, Lowe's has the better selection over Home Depot. Another place to shop for lighting online is bellacor.com

For hardware buys on the web, most times, amazon.com has great buys on tools and mowers.

I agree with another poster that for lumber, plumbing, nuts, bolts,screws, electrical, Home Depot is by far the better place to shop with better prices on drywall, interior and exterior doors, studs, brackets, glue, paint brushes,etc.

But Lowe's does have the better paint department and also makes keys faster. They also have a more accessible tool corral and prices are generally comparable with HD. I also feel that for carpeting, they are comparable, but HD has the better pricing on shelving.

HD has the superior garden section and better prices on plants, fertilizers, etc.

So I guess, for garden,hardware, electrical and plumbing basics, Home Depot is the better place for price and selection, whereas Lowes is better for custom orders on lighting and plumbing fixtures as well as paint selection.

Posted by: ziggyzippy | February 24, 2009 9:38 AM

We shop at Home Depot simply because there are more of them in the Northern Virginia area. I can think of 3 within 7 miles of my house, while the closest Lowe's is twice as far from us!

When we don't find what we want at one of the very convenient Home Depots,we tend to go to Fischer's Hardware in Springfield. It's closer to our house than any HD, but the prices are a little higher. As one of the previous posters said, sometimes the experience and array of items almost always outweighs the little extra you have to pay for the items.

We sometimes make the trek to our nearest Lowe's, and have found that their selection of shelving, lighting, and rugs is a little better than Home Depot's.

Posted by: earlysun | February 24, 2009 10:17 AM

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