It’s no secret that Lowe’s and Home Depot offer a wide variety of products at competitive prices, but which one truly offers the better and cheaper solution? Making the wrong choice can lead to overspending or subpar materials for your project.
In our in-depth Lowe’s vs. Home Depot comparison, our industry experts help you navigate these two retail giants by analyzing their key differences and similarities.
Company History and Size
Lowe’s Companies, Inc. was founded in 1946 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, by Lucius S. Lowe. The company originally started as a small hardware store and has since grown to become one of the largest home improvement retailers in the world.
The first Lowe’s store was a modest 30,000 square feet indoor retail space, but the company expanded rapidly, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. By the 1980s, Lowe’s began to focus more on home improvement and shifted its product offerings accordingly.
Lowe’s operates over 2,187 stores across the United States and Canada. The company employs approximately 300,000 people and offers various products and services for house improvement, construction, maintenance, and repair.
In addition to its brick-and-mortar locations, Lowe’s also has a robust online presence.
The Home Depot was founded in 1978 by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank in Atlanta, Georgia.
The first two Home Depot stores opened in 1979. The company quickly revolutionized the home improvement industry by offering a wide range of low-cost products in large warehouse-style stores.
This innovative approach to retail allowed customers to find everything they needed for their projects under one roof. Home Depot operates more than 2,317 stores across the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
The company employs over 490,000 associates and offers an extensive selection of products and services for homeowners, contractors, and other professionals in the construction and house improvement industries.
Like Lowe’s, Home Depot also has a strong online presence, allowing customers to shop from the comfort of their homes.
Store Size and Layout
The Lowes vs Home Depot store size debate is hard as they share many similarities, including their large, warehouse-style buildings.
They both have a spacious and easy-to-navigate store layout, with products organized into various departments such as lumber, plumbing, electrical, paint, tools, and home decor.
In addition, they both feature a Garden Center that offers plants, gardening tools, and outdoor living products to cater to the outdoor living and gardening needs of their customers.
Lowe’s store atmosphere brick-and-mortar has a total area of approximately 112,000 square feet, including an additional 32,000 square feet exclusively used for an outdoor garden center.
While Home Depot’s store atmosphere starker warehouse has a total enclosed space of about 104,000 square feet, in addition to an outdoor garden area of roughly 24,000 square feet
Lowe’s stores tend to have a central customer service desk and checkout area, whereas Home Depot stores may have several scattered throughout the store. However, these differences do not significantly impact the overall shopping experience for customers.
Regarding customer service, Home Depot and Lowe’s have knowledgeable associates and home improvement professionals.
But the average Home Depot store seems to employ more knowledgeable associates and can offer expert advice in electrical and plumbing areas. However, the level of expertise and availability of associates can vary by location.
Additionally, Home Depot employees participate in the shareholder system, which can be helpful when seeking assistance in-store.
Staff Advice and Friendliness
Home Depot and Lowe’s aim is to provide knowledgeable and friendly customer service to their customers.
While employees at both stores have varying levels of experience and expertise, they generally have a good grasp of home improvement basics. They can provide information about product availability, pricing, and store layout.
The main difference between the two stores is that Home Depot employees may have added incentives for providing attentive customer service due to their shareholder system and direct stock purchase plan.
These stores offer a vast selection of products for all kinds of house improvement materials. You can find everything you need for DIY projects, renovations, and repairs. Both stores carry a variety of popular and exclusive brands.
Lowe’s and Home Depot provide tool rental services at affordable prices, presenting a cost-effective option for customers seeking tools for temporary use.
They have well-known brands, including Kobalt, Task Force, and Metabo HPT at Lowe’s, and Husky, Ryobi, and Ridgid Power Tools at Home Depot.
Plants and Landscaping
They both offer a wide selection of plants, seeds, planters, and other yard essentials and gardening supplies at competitive costs.
While Lowe’s has a larger variety of plants available, both companies ensure a substantial quantity of products during the warmer months.
Garden centers may be open year-round in some areas, but in colder regions, they may close for several months, except for holiday sales. Both stores sell healthy plants, and discounted plants that show signs of weathered growth are often available for purchase.
Lumber and Construction Materials
Lowe’s has recently improved by stocking more inventory and large quantities of building materials and lumber available for purchase on pallets.
The Home Depot remains the go-to store for professionals needing materials quickly. Overall, both Lowe’s and Home Depot offer quality building materials, and you can choose depending on your needs and location.
Electronics and Home Improvement
At Lowe’s, you can find appliances, lighting fixtures, plumbing supplies, heating and cooling systems, and a range of home automation products.
Home Depot has a similar selection of electronics and home improvement products, including smart home devices, heating and cooling systems, and a range of lighting fixtures on their tall shelves.
Lowe’s and Home Depot have knowledgeable staff who can provide information and advice about their products. Additionally, they offer installation services for some of the more complex products they sell, such as heating and cooling systems.
One key difference between Lowe’s and Home Depot is that Lowe’s has a larger selection of organization products and home automation products, such as smart thermostats and security cameras. On the other hand, Home Depot has a wider variety of lighting fixtures available.
Regarding brand opportunities, Lowe’s and Home Depot differ in their offerings. While Lowe’s carries Pella windows and Valspar and Sherwin-Williams paints, Home Depot offers Andersen windows and Behr and Glidden paint brands.
This means that customers with a particular brand preference may choose one store over the other based on the exclusivity of the brand they prefer.
Lowe’s and Home Depot offer relatively flexible return policies  for new and unused merchandise, with a 90-day return window and proof of purchase required.
In most cases, you can expect to receive cash refunds, but there may be instances where exchanges are offered instead. With a credit card receipt, you may be able to receive full refunds even without a physical receipt of the original purchase date.
Ultimately, the return policies at both retailers provide you with the flexibility and options you need for your home renovation projects.
Online Shipping and Pickup
Lowe’s and Home Depot offer online shopping and online purchases with the option for in-store pickup to make the process more convenient for customers.
You will receive notifications when your items are ready for pickup, but delays can occur depending on the store’s staff and customer traffic.
Occasionally, online purchases may be canceled if an in-store customer picks up the last item. The quality of materials employees select can vary, but heavy items like fence panels and lumber can be delivered from local retailers.
Smaller item purchases like hand tools are delivered from warehouse distribution centers through parcel post services like UPS, FedEx, or USPS.
Prices and Discounts
They both provide volume discounts for individuals who have served in the military and have an honorable status, as well as for active service members.
Lowe’s provides a discount of 10 percent on the majority of its full-price products without any restriction on the number of times it can be availed in a year.
While Home Depot’s discount applies to select items online, in-store, and through their app, with a 400 USD maximum annual discount.
Both Lowe’s and Home Depot require verification through ID.me or SheerID, respectively. Additionally, they both have loyalty programs that offer discounts, freebies, and incentives for repeat shoppers.
Home Depot marks clearance items with .03 tags and lower prices on .06 tagged items after six weeks, giving them an edge in the bargain hunter market.
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Black Friday Deals
Lowe’s and The Home Depot offer attractive Black Friday deals and doorbuster offerings to entice customers.
The sales dates for 2022 are set to run from November 25 to December 1, with loads of discounts on gift guide items, power tools, major appliances, and seasonal offerings.
You can expect bold discounts, the lowest price, and free upgrades like removing old appliances and free delivery.
Early deals can be found on Samsung refrigerators, DeWalt tools, and Google Nest smart home devices. During their Black Friday and Provember sales, Lowe’s has a dedicated Cyber Deals section where fresh deals are introduced daily.
In addition, Lowe’s Last Chance Deals and Home Depot Savings Center sections offer rock-bottom pricing of up to 70 percent off retail pricing on items from previous seasons. It’s important to keep an eye on these sections for hidden gems.
Revenue and Sales
Although Lowe’s home improvement retailer has more seniority and larger physical stores, Home Depot dominates in revenue and sales.
According to Statista, Lowe’s reported $89.6 billion in sales in 2020, while Home Depot reported $132.11 billion, a difference of $42.51 billion. In 2016, Lowe’s reported $65.02 billion in sales compared to the $94.06 billion of Home Depot.
In 2011, Home Depot generated $70.4 billion in revenue, more than Lowe’s, whose revenue was $50.21 billion. Although Home Depot outperformed Lowe’s in terms of sales and revenue, both brands are growing and strong.
Home Depot’s stock price is $408.81 a share, while Lowe’s is $255.05 a share, but according to The Motley Fool, both brands essentially have a “duopoly” on the market, and there may be more long-term potential in investing in Home Depot.
Will Lowes beat Home Depot prices?
Lowe’s beating Home Depot’s prices is not guaranteed, as both two retailers are competitive and regularly adjust their costs and deals to stay competitive.
However, Lowe’s offers a Price Match Guarantee that matches the price of identical products from competitors in-store or online.
Are prices negotiable at Lowes?
Prices at Lowe’s may be negotiable in some cases. For example, if you are purchasing a large quantity of items or have found the same item at a lower price at a competitor, you may be able to negotiate with a store manager or sales representative to receive a lower price.
As seen in our Home Depot vs Lowe’s comparison, both retailers offer a wide range of products and services for home improvement projects, and their costs and discounts are highly competitive.
Ultimately, you should consider the specific products and services you need and the availability and quality of those offerings in these local stores to make the best decision for your house improvement needs.
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