When it comes to home improvement, Lowe’s and Home Depot are likely the most recognizable names in the industry. Both offer every manner of home improvement tools from faucets to timber framing, paint to patio furniture. Whether you want to build a deck, redo the bathroom, or beautify your garden, you’ll find all the tools and supplies at either store.
But how are they different? And which one will save you the most money. Just like the debate of Wayfair vs Overstock, Lowes vs Home Depot is an age-old question.
In some ways the two stores may appear identical. Both offer warehouse-size spaces with robust staff to service your every construction whim. But a closer look reveals some differences that may have you thinking twice about where you spend your money on your next DIY renovation.
Which Store is Right For You?
Choosing which hardware store to shop in can depend on all manner of factors—location, customer service, coupons—but the data suggests that more Millennials go with Home Depot when given the choice. InvestorPlace reports that “Home Depot has been quite successful in capturing this key demographic and getting them to open their wallets.”
Why do Millennials prefer Home Depot? Three key reasons:
- Tutorials on DIY projects and basic repairs
- Adding more online offerings
- Embracing in-store pickup
Millennials have been sold convenience and a DIY shopping experience, and Home Depot has leaned into these marketing and social media efforts.
The demographics look a bit different for Lowe’s. The “more saving, more doing” store, according to CivicScience, attracts more married individuals (that honey-do list isn’t going to do itself).
Its shoppers tend to fall under these categories:
- Live in the suburbs
- 55+ and older
Which is Bigger, Lowe’s vs Home Depot?
According to the Charlotte Business Journal, the average Lowe’s store measures 116,000 square feet. That’s only slightly bigger than Home Depot which, according to Time magazine, clocks in at an average 100,000 square feet.
Does bigger equal better? That depends on who you ask.
Age Over Beauty
Does the years a company has been in operation make a difference in the quality and price point of its products? It’s a good question. When it comes to Home Depot vs Lowe’s, let’s take a look at the numbers.
Home Depot – Home Depot has been operating for 42 years. The mega home improvement store got its start in Los Angeles when Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank came up with the superstore.
Lowe’s – L.S. Lowe opened his first local general store in 1921, but it wouldn’t become Lowe’s as we know it until 1946. It was incorporated in 1952 with the goal of going national. Bottom line: Lowe’s has been serving customer’s hardware needs in some capacity for 99 years.
How does that add up? Both companies have years of experience fine tuning their floors, displays, and customer service, and numerous sources show that due to the competition, their products are often within cents of each other.
So, how can you optimize your savings when you’re choosing between the two?
Is Lowe’s More Expensive than Home Depot?
When it comes to the great debate over which retailer is more affordable—Lowe’s or Home Depot—the truth is, both retailers constantly adjust prices on hundreds of products to stay competitive. This makes it difficult to say definitively which building materials retail store is more expensive.
The great news for smart shoppers who always double check prices for products across multiple retailers to see who has better pricing, however, is that both Lowe’s and Home Depot will match prices of their competitors.
In the case of Lowe’s you just need to “show a printout, photo, smartphone display or app,” and they will match their price. For Home Depot the policy is very similar. If you’d like to get a price match there, you must “bring the ad, printout or photo to the register for validation.”
That’s not the only way to save at the hardware superstores. You can also:
- Haggle with managers for extra discounts
- Check each store’s daily deals
- Sign up for emails to find bonus coupons
- Check the local paper for deals
- Compare online and in-person shopping
- Sign up for text alerts
- Use the store’s app
- Open a store credit card through the Lowe’s store or Home Depot
- Utilize rebates with RebateKey
1. Embrace Haggling
Haggling may bring images of flea market negotiations, but it turns out that you can haggle at both Lowe’s and Home Depot.
At the former, associates have the greenlight to take up to $50 off certain products. At Home Depot there’s wiggle room on price tags as well. CBS News reports that while associates don’t necessarily have authority to approve a discount, you can ask a manager for a deal.
2. Check Daily Deals
New Home Depot and Lowe’s deals are available each day. You can find them online at each of their special landing pages. In the case of Lowe’s, the promotion is called Daily Deals and highlights a deeply discounted product, for instance 70 percent off Kichler wall sconces.
Home Depot, on the other hand, has Special Buy Savings, a series of marked down items, like outdoor power tools. In both cases, the sale items are on a countdown clock so customers have to act fast to secure the deals.
3. Sign Up for Emails
If you want to stay as up-to-date as possible on any upcoming Lowe’s or Home Depot promotions, one of the best options is to sign up for email alerts. Both Home Depot and Lowe’s sometimes include coupons in their emails.
4. Check the Paper
Although local newspaper subscriptions have plummeted in the past decade, big-box stores still use them to place weekly ads. But even if you don’t subscribe, you can still find these deals online. Lowe’s posts its weekly newspaper ad on a special landing page which you can navigate by location, so you get deals specific to your area stores.
Likewise, Home Depot has a similar landing page you can find by searching “Home Depot Weekly Ad” with its circular deals for each week.
5. Shop Online
Sometimes staying put and logging on the internet can reap big rewards and such is the case with both big box construction emporiums. Check for price differences between online and in-store and if you find a difference, negotiate with each store to match the price you’re after.
6. Get Mobile Alerts
Text message deals bring the latest sales and promotions directly to your pocket and are arguably the easiest way to keep up with your favorite retailer’s offerings. The same is true for Home Depot and Lowe’s. But each company tailors their mobile alerts differently.
At Home Depot you can expect to receive deal notices, DIY project ideas, and how-to guides.
Alternatively, Lowe’s SMS notifications promise exclusive savings, special offers, and DIY videos.
7. Get the Apps
According to Statista, by 2024 a whopping 187.5 million U.S. users will have made at least one purchase via mobile app. And Lowe’s and Home Depot are well aware of this statistic. Both have apps that can make purchasing products from the convenience of wherever you are, simpler.
For Lowe’s, its app has been praised for offering product locator technology with integrated maps to help customers avoid aimlessly wandering through stores.
Home Depot’s app also features cutting edge technology. In their case, voice search allows you to call out what you’re looking for while pushing your cart.
Naturally, the apps offer promo codes and deals as well to help customers save money.
8. Open a Credit Card
Lowe’s and Home Depot both have not one, but multiple credit card options. Why open another credit card? The retailers would argue they’ll save you money on big projects as a card holder. In Home Depot’s case, having an HD card can get you money off every purchase. At Lowe’s, the Advantage Card comes with exclusive offers for card holders in addition to special financing.
9. Get a Rebate: Save on Both
All of the above hacks are a great way to save at both Lowe’s and Home Depot, but if you really want to get your money’s worth, look to rebates. Home Depot has a Rebate Portal to get your rebates fast. Lowe’s has a Rebate Center where you can check the status update of your rebate.
Or, you can use the equally easy RebateKey to get money back on dozens of home improvement items from Lowe’s or Home Depot. RebateKey offers deals and coupons at both stores. The way it works is when a shopper finds a product on RebateKey, they buy it on its e-commerce site at full price, then record the Order ID number with RebateKey. A mere 35 days later, the customer receives their full rebate via mail or their PayPal account.
To start saving, simply:
- Create a RebateKey account
- Find the Lowe’s or Home Depot item you want to purchase
- Click on Buy Product, it will display the instructions
The hardware mega stores may have their differences, but the savings you can get from both via RebateKey is the same. To find a Home Depot or Lowe’s deal, visit RebateKey.