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Old 01-17-2011, 10:57 PM   #1
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Lowes or Home Depot?

They both seem to carry pretty much the same stuff (like wood for frames, cabinets, beds, etc; hardware; wire, lighting, small appliances; flooring, insulation, PEX tubing, plumbing, pumps, etc). And for the DIYer, I'm planning on using them for a LOT of my materials for my build.

I was just curious as to your go-to giant superstore of choice and why? I have both of these local to me, but was wondering if one is better overall (products, prices, variety, customer service, etc) than the other? Or if you'd get certain things at a particular store, and go somewhere else for other things?

Thanks for your opinions and input!
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:54 AM   #2
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Re: Lowes or Home Depot?

I just spent yesterday going from one to the other and going to another one because the store I was in did not have enough of what I needed. Lowes seems to have nicer things in some areas. You will have to research the item you want.

They have some simular products but by a different manufacturer. For example; Lowes has "place and press" vinel flooring in 12" squares, some different than Home Depo and in 4" X 36" wood plank looking "place and press" flooring that Home Depo does not even carry.

For example, Lows carries a floor leveling/crack filling that takes 24 hours to dry and Home Depo carries one that you can lay a floor down within 4 hours.

You will get to go from one to the other just like me - the one I go to first is always the one that does not have the item or the brand I want.

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Old 01-18-2011, 08:56 AM   #3
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Re: Lowes or Home Depot?

What's your favorite color: orange or blue? They both stock much the same stuff and I have never found much difference between them in terms of service, though they each have their devotees who will fight to the death to prove that one or the other is infinitely superior. If politics is of any concern, the HD has a pretty strong right-wing PAC that donated predominantly to Republican and conservative causes and the HD is quite anti-union. Lowes on the other hand donates predominantly to progressive and Democratic causes. More info can easily be found with a few clicks and your favorite search engine.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:18 AM   #4
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Re: Lowes or Home Depot?

Seems like I allways need to hit both to ever get everthing I need.
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:15 AM   #5
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Re: Lowes or Home Depot?

Lowes. No contest.

HD specialized in screw heads that snap off just before they get tight and bolts that have the threads filled with zinc.

HD is 3 blocks from my house. Anything I want, I drive 3 miles to Lowes.

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Old 01-18-2011, 10:57 AM   #6
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Re: Lowes or Home Depot?

I think I read somewhere that most HD stores are right at 100,000 ft2 and most Lowes right at 160,000 ft2. In the stores around here, it seems HD has a bit larger selection in the hardware dept., while Lowes has a bit larger selection of finish products like lamps and appliances, and maybe a bit larger nursery/garden section. Both can carry a few products that are regional, for example, we found a lot more southwest style area rugs in HD and Lowes when we were in Flagstaff, Albuquergue, and Santa Fe. The Sacramento stores don't carry anything in that style.

Often I don't find specialized hardware I need at either. I then check OSH. If they don't have it, I check online with Grainger or other online specialty hardware businesses like northerntool.com, smallparts.com, boltdepot.com, constantines.com, etc. Same with appliances, lighting, plumbing finishing, etc.-I often find better selection and prices at specialty stores, either brick and mortar or online.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:48 PM   #7
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Re: Lowes or Home Depot?

In our area H.D. is heavier into building materials then Lowe's. So for lumber and such I go to H.D. For pre-mades: lighting fixtures, appliances, and such Lowe's is the winner in selection. But if I can't what I am looking for in the one, I will always visit the other.

I do have three local mom & pop hardware stores that carry many much needed low volume things that the high volume big box stores do not bother to carry. They are always a JOY to hunt through.
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:19 PM   #8
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Re: Lowes or Home Depot?

HD is 10 minutes closer, so it is my go to store. I like a lot of things they carry, but like Mike said the hardware is junk, I finished out my home shelving with some tiny screws from them and they just didn't have the tip to bite and start. After about a dozen I was done with the shelves and just want to pitch the rest. Maybe I'll take them back tomorrow.

HD also had super cheapo shelve brackets, so I went to Lowes just for that, but bought everything else at HD, since I'd spent an hour picking everything out. I have left full carts at both before due to their lack of some essential piece.

Lowes for paint and painting supplies, but they make you ask for every 1 paint stirrer and SELL the paint can openers, so I grab a handful at HD from time to time.

Then again HD has a 51 wood cut off rack, and sometimes you can find some real deals on there. In the end I just wind up going to both, and then back twice in the middle of a project and once again to return all the stuff I don't need.

Let's see, Home Depot recently got rid of all it's vendors and now has roving sales teams, so sometimes the store is super packed with employees, whereas Lowes vendors NEVER stock anything so all those specialty hardware drawers are 70% empty.

The last thing about Home Depot, everybody at mine is SUPER friendly. You can hardly walk by an employee without getting asked if you're finding everything- they will even drop a conversation with another employee as you pass to "check in". Lowes on the other hand only bothers me if I'm their with my wife and somebody is trying to hard sell me a kitchen install while I'm shopping for lumber...I stopped going to Lowes for a few months over that, and they don't seem to be doing it any more.

Overall I guess I just like the attitude at HD more, which is part of the reason I always go there first and Lowes is only my backup- but I have to remember not to buy hardware there.

Speaking of, best thing for hardware though is a farm store like Tractor Supply Co or Big R- nothing like graded hardware by the pound!
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:22 AM   #9
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Re: Lowes or Home Depot?

there are some perks to living on the northern most tip of land on the oregon coast...BUT... selection of retail outlets is not one of them! We just got a home depot about 4 or 5 years ago and no Lowes without a 100+ mile drive into portland. doing a home build is a challenge in our little soggy paradise ,(
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:37 PM   #10
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Re: Lowes or Home Depot?

I'm sure it will depend on the area you live as to the products stocked and quality. But personally forget Lows for actual lumber. I am so sick of the very very low grade shit they have and high pricing. HD is better in that area, but not by much. Hardware I try not to use either, go to Ace or Sears Hardware. The rest seems to be on par with each other.

You mentioned lumber in your build as a main item, personally I'd find your local lumber supply and buy there, the quality you get for the same price will be 10x better, and when you are using ply and such starting off with quality material will make everything so much easier. On many occasions I've cut into ply from Lows and it's not been laminated correctly in the center, and / or huge holes in the inner laminates.
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