- Home Depot is the largest home-improvement retailer in the United States.
- But that doesn’t mean you should shop there for all your home needs.
- What’s worth buying from Home Depot, and what should you skip? We asked experts with firsthand experience to share their picks.
Home Depot is a big-box home-goods store and the largest home-improvement retailer in the United States.
But that doesn’t mean you should hit up the superstore for all your home needs. While Home Depot stores often offer competitive prices, it doesn’t always, nor do its products always have the best quality or aesthetic appeal.
It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that the mega-chain offers a 110% price-match guarantee.
“If you find an item for less elsewhere, they will not only match the price but will take an extra 10% off,” Sara Skirboll, an expert on shopping and trends at RetailMeNot, told Business Insider. “Just make sure to provide proof of the other retailer’s price.”
Home Depot also offers financing on big-ticket items such as large appliances and power tools.
“These features make it attractive to our design clients in the midst of a renovation and home redesign, where budget is such a big factor,” Brian Garcia, an owner of the design firm D & G Interiors + Design in Hoboken, New Jersey, told Business Insider. “On the other hand, there are some cons like poor customer support – employees often lack the knowledge and training to answer straightforward questions, explain installation, or even make simple suggestions.”
Garcia also said that unlike most local appliance centres and hardware stores that are usually able to help customers directly, at Home Depot, once you purchase your goods, you’re left to deal with the manufacturers and third-party service centres when problems arise.
So what’s worth buying from Home Depot, and what should you skip? We asked experts with firsthand experience to share their picks.
“There is no beating the selection of lightbulbs Home Depot offers and keeps on hand,” Garcia said. “Not only are you bound to find the type of bulb you’re looking for, but their pricing is always sharp and lower than the hardware store.”
Diana Weinstein, the founder of Diana Weinstein Design, suggested buying multipacks – LED bulbs, in particular.
“I always make sure I have a variety of kelvins, but between 2700 and 3000 kelvins, which is the colour of the light. Anything under 3000 is warmer,” she told Business Insider. “It drives me nuts when clients buy the wrong LEDs and the light is so blue it feels like a hospital or school.”
“In general, Home Depot’s pricing structure isn’t as competitive as local stone yards and/or fabricators,” Garcia said.
“Also, by shopping at a stone yard or fabricator, you can sometimes find unbeatable remnants deals,” he said.
“We had a client who insisted on pricing out a quartz countertop at Home Depot for a 72-inch vanity we had designed, and they were quoted $US1,100. After visiting one of our recommended fabricators for a second bid, we found a piece of quartz that worked perfectly in size and colour for $US750.”
Buy: Lismore grey glazed ceramic floor and wall tile
Thinking about remodeling your kitchen or bathroom?
“Lismore ceramic floor and wall tile is affordable and high-quality,” Nicole Pomije, who spearheads the development of new locations for the fast-growing bakery she owns, The Cookie Cups, told Business Insider.
“It works for commercial or residential projects and will last for years. They even have an install team that will do the whole project for you.”
Skip: KitchenAid professional mixer
It may be convenient, but at Home Depot, small kitchen appliances aren’t your best deal, Pomije said.
Skirboll also recommended purchasing kitchen appliances elsewhere.
“You can find a wider range of brands and options at a retailer like Bed Bath & Beyond or a department store,” she said. “Plus, at Bed Bath & Beyond, you can always get 20% off one item, both in-store and online. Those savings can really add up.”
Buy: Hampton Bay LED square low-profile flush-mount light
Whether you’re looking for new lighting for your home or your storefront, Home Depot is a great choice, according to Pomije.
“They have hundreds of options,” she said. “Specifically for our business, we always need kitchen lighting that will pass the food and building-code inspections. I like these flush mounts for a kitchen, and you can use these in a home kitchen as well.”
Skip: Dyson Ball Animal 2 upright vacuum cleaner
“This vacuum cleaner is not your best deal – price-compare on Google, and you can get the same one cheaper,” Pomije said.
Buy: Nest smart learning WiFi programmable thermostat
“Using a smart thermostat at your home or business is a smart move,” Pomije said.
“It will help you save on your electric and gas bills, and the newer ones, like this one by Nest, have some really cool features built in. Home Depot is offering up to $US100 in rebates on this model as well.”
Skip: US Traveller Rio two-piece expandable carry-on luggage set
“While this luggage set may seem like a great deal, this is not high-quality luggage and will not stand the test of time,” Pomije said.
For just a little more money, you can get durable pieces from iFLY.
Buy: Samsung french-door refrigerator
Need a new refrigerator at home? Redoing your entire kitchen?
“Home Depot has great product lines and offers amazing warranty packages,” Pomije said.
Buy: Hampton Bay Riley three-piece metal outdoor sectional set with Charleston cushions
“I love this collection from Home Depot,” Pomije said.
“It’s competitively priced, trendy, and comfortable. If you don’t like this one, there are a ton of other great patio options to choose from.”
Skip: Nearly Natural 65-inch UV-resistant indoor-outdoor fiddle leaf tree
This tree is designed to look real, but it isn’t – and at nearly $US160, it’s expensive for what amounts to a plastic plant, especially since it doesn’t look convincingly real.
“This is not a good deal,” Pomije said. “You can do better if you look at Amazon.”
Buy: Christmas tree
If you cringe at the idea of a fake tree, especially around the holidays, check out Home Depot once Christmas rolls around.
Pomije said she spent $US25 for a six-foot tree, “and it was amazing.”
“They even load it on top of your car for you,” Pomije said.
Skip: Plumbing fixtures
“The myth of big-box stores selling inferior plumbing fixtures made with cheaper parts and materials has never been debunked – why take the chance?” said Garcia, who recommended paying a little bit more at a plumbing-supply house for peace of mind.
Buy: Garage systems
“Garage systems are great for tidy and stylish garages and even basements; there’s a line called Gladiator at Home Depot that’s very chic and industrial looking,” Weinstein said. “Home Depot is the logical place to find them.”
“Don’t even think about Home Depot for these items,” Garcia said.
“There’s nothing aesthetically pleasing about dogs playing poker – seriously, their art selection is always stagnant, and the pricing is not great. You can most likely score a better deal at stores like IKEA, HomeSense, or HomeGoods.”
“I highly recommend buying tools at Home Depot, from hand tools to power tools,” Garcia said.
“Chances are, whatever you need, they carry it, and at a good price.”
The only rug you should consider buying at Home Depot, according to Weinstein, is a doormat.
“These rugs never look good, and they’re almost always made from cheap, synthetic materials,” Weinstein told Business Insider.
Buy: Picture-hanging supplies
“OOK is my favourite brand for hooks. You can also find metal wires in all weights, and Home Depot has great prices and variety,” Weinstein said.
“Home Depot also has a good variety of Command strips for hanging light things without destroying walls.”
Skip: Bathroom vanity
“While I know bathroom vanities can be expensive, the ones I have seen at Home Depot, while really well priced, are pretty poor quality,” Weinstein said.
“The vanity gets a ton of abuse in a room with steam, water, and opening and closing of doors. If you need to save money, search for a better-quality vanity and find remnant for the countertop.”
Buy: Toilet and sinks
“You can find the same brands you would find at plumbing stores, like Kohler and Toto, at Home Depot, with the same quality and at a great price,” Weinstein said.
Skip: Decorative accessories
“Home Depot is a great place to buy supplies for DIY home decor, but for finished products, I recommend going elsewhere,” Skirboll said.
“Off-price retailers like HomeGoods or TJ Maxx offer a great selection of on-trend home accessories at affordable prices, and if you’re looking for something specific, I recommend trying sites like Wayfair or Hayneedle.”
While the plastic ones are overpriced and not exactly appealing, Home Depot has a great selection of real, living plants.
“Every year, Home Depot offers a Spring Black Friday sale, typically in April, where you can score amazing deals on everything you need to kick off the warmer months,” Skirboll said. “Plants are a huge part of this sale. Find everything you need to spruce up your home at great prices.”
Skip: Cleaning supplies
While Home Depot has a wide assortment of cleaning-supply brands, you’ll find a better selection and better prices at retailers like Target, Walmart, Amazon, and even your local grocery store.
Gilles Clement, an interior designer, told Business Insider that Home Depot also fell behind the times in the cleaning aisle, carrying products full of toxic chemicals.
“Target does a much better job of devoting shelf space to natural alternatives like Mrs. Meyer’s, Caldrea, and Clorox’s GreenWorks line,” he said.
“Grills are also a part of the Spring Black Friday sale,” Skirboll said. “Home Depot offers high-end versions and low-end versions, so you can be sure to find one that fits your needs at any price point.”
Garcia also told Business Insider that you can often score free assembly and delivery, depending on the promotions the retailer is running.
Skip: Everyday items
“For smaller, everyday items like batteries, you can save some money and a trip to the store by purchasing on Amazon,” Skirboll said.
Same goes for things like vases, candle holders, throw pillows, and blankets.
Buy: Behr paint
“If you’re looking for quality paint at a great price, this is the way to go.”
Skip: Indoor furniture
“Unless you’re buying for your outdoor shed, keep walking,” Weinstein said.
For budget options with more style, head to IKEA, West Elm, or CB2.
Correction: An earlier version of this article included a suggestion to buy a Buddha statue in Thailand, which is illegal without certain permissions in that country. That slide has been removed.
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