It's no secret Home Depot, and Lowes are the 2 most popular home improvement stores there are in America.
And while it is best to get your equipment from an authorized dealer, these two stores offer selection and convenience that is simply not available anywhere else.
But which retail outlet is the preferred shopping spot for lawn care and landscaping professionals?
Well, we did some research and reached out to many experts in order to decide once and for all...
Which is better; Home Depot or Lowes?
I. Introduction Lowes v. Home Depot
It’s true, when it comes to buying materials, tools, and products for my lawn care company, I tend to shop the local nurseries, dealers, and suppliers for the best results.
However, sometimes a major department store like Lowes or Home Depot can offer a wide selection of products in one store. So inevitably, we as landscapers often find ourselves pursuing the aisles of these major department stores; not only for convenience but also to find better deals.
And today, we will be doing a deep dive into the differences between the two largest home improvement stores in America. We will weigh in market research, expert opinions from lawn care and landscaping professionals, as well as my own insight to determine once and for all which is the greatest home improvement retailer.
A Brief Overview of Lowe's and Home Depot
Overview of Home Depot
Home Depot is a home improvement store that was established in 1978 by its co-founders Bernard Marcus, Arthur Blank, Ron Brill, Pat Farrah, and Ken Langone. The company sells a wide range of home improvement products, including tools, building materials, appliances, and more. Home Depot is known for its low prices and its wide selection of products. And also offers a variety of services, such as installation and repair. Home Depot is often favored among contractors.
Overview of Lowes
Secondly, we will look at Lowes, a store that needs no introduction. Lowe's is an American home improvement retail company that operates a chain of over 2,200 home improvement and hardware stores in the United States and Canada. The company was founded in 1946 by Lucius Smith Lowe and his son, Robert L. Lowe, in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Lowe's is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the United States, after The Home Depot. Lowes tends to be favored among homeowners.
Purpose of the Article
The purpose of this article is to compare and contrast the pros and cons of Home Depot and Lowe's, two of the largest home improvement retailers in the United States. We will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each company, as well as their similarities and differences, and most importantly, we will look to the opinions of 100s of lawn care and landscaping experts.
To decide once and for all, which home improvement store is better; Lowes or Home Depot?
DISCLAIMER! We do not endorse Lowes or Home Depot In fact, we strongly agree with a majority of lawn care professionals in that you should always get your equipment, plants, and material from local suppliers when possible. most offer better discounts, customer service, and quality than either Lowes or Home Depot.
II. Product selection
First, let's look at the product selection offered by each store and compare and contrast the differences between the products available at Lowes and Home Depot.
Quality and Variety of Plants, Trees, and Shrubs
Victor: Lowes (Expert Opinion vs. Personal Experience)
“In terms of quality and variety of plants, trees, and shrubs, both Lowes and Home Depot offer a wide variety of plants that cater to every gardener's preferences.” -Jamie Irwin, Editor and Landscape Designer at Windproof Gazebos
When it comes to plants and shrubs, Home Depot is typically the preferred outlet among lawn care and landscaping professionals.
However, I was disappointed by the variety of plant selections at my local Home Depot. There was a limited selection compared to Lowes, and many of the plants that were available at my Home Depot were not looking very happy. Additionally, the layout of my local Lowes was far better than the layout at Home Depot when it came to plant selection.
For example, I found comparable Arborvitae at Lowes and Home Depot. Not only did Lowes offer more varieties than Home Depot, but they also offer a discount for contractors who buy in bulk. While I typically go to local nurseries for most of my plants and shopping. Lowes is hands down my preference in this category.
Range of Gardening Tools and Equipment
Victor: Lowes (3 Expert Opinions)
Expert Opinion Favoring Home Depot
“I think Home Depot has the best gardening tools and equipment. During a landscaping project last summer, I found the perfect cordless hedge trimmer at Home Depot, and it's been a game-changer for my business. Their variety and quality of products never let me down.” -Matt Hagens, founder of Obsessed Lawn
2 Expert Opinions Favoring Lowes (2 Points for Lowes)
"When it comes to gardening tools and equipment, I prefer Lowes. Their selection is extensive, catering to both beginners and pros, and their products are durable and efficient, which speaks to their commitment to quality.” -Amber Noyes Gardening Chores
“Lowes and Home Depot have a wide selection of gardening tools and equipment, but Lowes has a better reputation for their garden tools.” -Aaditya Bhatta Editor and Founder of Plantscraze
I am going to have to weigh in with my personal experience here. When it comes to the selection of tools and equipment available, this is an easy one for me. Lowes offers a far better selection at my location. Not only do they have a wide range of my favorite pruning tool brand Corona, but they also had a much greater selection of tools and equipment entirely.
This is crazy, but my Home Depot fazed out all gas-powered small engines this year. This means if I want to get a gas-powered string trimmer or leaf blower, my only option is Lowes.
I will say, however, that Home Depot does offer Milwaukee products, which are some of the best battery-powered tools on the market for cleaning up the yard, and most lawn care professionals prefer Milwaukee tools as compared to Lowe's leading brand, Ego. More on this later!
Yet, one brand simply isn't enough to swing this category into Home Depot's favor, and the experts have spoken. The win in this category goes to Lowes.
Here are some of the leading brands available at each retail outlet.
Availability of Landscaping Materials (mulch, rocks, and pavers)
Victor: Home Depot (Expert Opinion)
I would recommend Home Depot for landscaping materials. They have a wide selection of mulch, rocks, and pavers to choose from at competitive prices. They offer delivery services to their customers with large orders so they don't have to worry about transporting the material. -Lindsey Hyland, a landscaping expert and the creator of Urban Organic Yield.
When it comes to garden supplies like topsoil, potting soil, mulch, and stone, Lowes and Home Depot are truly neck and neck.
Personally, I prefer to get my landscaping material in bulk from my local supplier, but some landscapers prefer to get bagged products.
For example, some landscapers find that it is significantly easier to apply bagged mulch, rather than dealing with the complexities of dealing with a bulk product.
When it comes to a product like mulch, I found that Lowes and Home Depot have exactly the same deal, which is 3 bags containing 2 cubic feet of mulch for $10.
We are going to call this one in favor of Home Depot based on the expert opinion offered by Lindsey Hyland.
Ego vs. Milwaukee: Which do lawn care pros prefer?
Victor: Home Depot (By Popular Vote)
Finally, we wanted to know which of the two leading battery-powered lawn care tool platforms lawn care pros and landscapers trusted most. So we reached out and asked lawn care pros whether they preferred Ego or Milwaukee.
And the results clearly suggest that Home Depot also has one of the best battery-powered tool platforms for lawn care pros which received 76% of the votes from the pros we polled.
However, I was recently shocked by how much power Ego's leaf blower offers. Their handheld blower is stronger than my Husqvarna backpack blower, which offers one of the leading backpack leaf blowers.
Despite this, Milwaukee is still top-rated among lawn care pros, likely due to the versatility of the product line they offer compared to Ego. As you can see from this Facebook comment here.
Most Lawn Care Pros Say they Would NEVER Buy a Lawn Mower from Either
Victor: Local Dealers
Most lawn care professionals would never buy any mower from Lowes or Home Depot. While some may purchase a push mower in a pinch, most lawn care pros would never buy a mower from either big box store. And those that have often regret it.
Here's the deal, unlike local dealers, Lowes and Home Depot offer inferior customer support, especially if things go wrong with the equipment. When you are purchasing big equipment, local dealers are the choice among lawn care pros.
One lawn care pro told us about a nightmare experience he had when he bought a Cub Cadet lawn mower from his local big box store.
While on the other hand, several lawn care pros say they had great experiences buying a push mower from Lowes or Home Depot. Like this one:
Finally, many lawn care pros are adamant that you should get lawn care equipment from local dealers. Like this one here:
Comparison of Prices For Popular Lawn and Garden Tools
Victor: Home Depot (Based on 2 Professional Opinions)
Home Depot offers a no-hassle price match so there’s really no need to go back and forth between the stores looking for the best price. This includes purchases made at online retailers like Amazon. -Ron Henry (Owner of Golf Course Lawn Store)
Two votes for Home Depot in this department, so the win ultimately goes to Home Depot. But there may be a bit more to the matter, check this out.
When it comes to pricing in the year 2023, there really isn't any way to operate a large box store without being competitive. And in our research, we found that when it comes to price comparisons between Lowes and Home Depot, it really depends on what you are looking for.
For example, the cheapest shovel at Lowes is much less than the cheapest one at Home Depot. However, when it comes to leaf rakes, Home Depot's cheapest option is significantly lower than Lowes' comparable rake.
Further, when we dug deeper into online pricing, we found that the prices are nearly the same in most if not all, cases.
For example, these 2 Corona bypass pruners, with identical model numbers, are exactly the same price online.
Because of the neck-and-neck competitive pricing between Lowes and Home Depot, we were initially going to call this one a tie, but the 2 expert opinions caused us to call this point for Home Depot.
Loyalty programs and Credit Cards
When it comes to these hyper-competitive big box stores, it's simply a tie. Once we get into financial banking, we all know the banks run the show. So there really isn't much of a difference between the two companies' loyalty programs and credit card offerings.
IV. Customer service
Availability and knowledge of staff
Victor: Home Depot (Personal Experience)
“When it comes to choosing the best tool or product for a given task, the nod goes to Home Depot. For example, we were shopping for flexible drainage piping to fix a flooding problem in a customer’s lawn. The Home Depot team member not only showed us where it was, but also highlighted the drilled and non-drilled drainage in case we were looking to create a French drain type solution.” - Ron Henry (Owner of Golf Course Lawn Store)
Hands down, this one goes to Home Depot.
In my experience, Home Depot's staff seems always to be willing and ready to lend a hand, much like in the story Ron Henry illustrated above. Granted, it can be difficult to find help in certain departments. However, that also stands true for Lowes. Over the years, I have found that Home Depot consistently has much better and much friendlier customer service and a larger staff ready to lend a hand in any way they can.
This is a huge reason that I, and many other lawn care veterans, prefer Home Depot, it has a more professional feel about it.
V. Store experience
Store Layout and Organization
Victor: Home Depot (Expert Opinion)
Home Depot. I prefer how the store is organized and how consistent the product selection is from store to store. -Ron Henry (Owner of Golf Course Lawn Store)
I prefer Home Depot’s layout. All the garden supplies and lawn care tools are on one side of the store and have their own dedicated checkout. There’s always someone at the garden center checkout, unlike Lowes, which closes its department much earlier.
We have to agree with Ron Henry on this one too!
Another point for Home Depot!
Parking and Accessibility
Victor: Home Depot (Expert Opinion and Personal Experience)
“Parking can be tricky when loading heavy items but we always seem to find a spot at our local Home Depot. It has dedicated sections for loyal customers and for those with additional needs. We make trips to Home Depot at least once a week and often more during busy periods, so as landscaping professionals it's important that our experience is quick and hassle free.” -Nick Farnborough Founder of BetterPlaceGravecare.ca
When it comes to parking and loading accommodations, Home Depot is the clear victor.
Not only have I always had excellent experiences with Home Depot when it comes to loading my purchases, but their staff is also always willing and ready to lend a helping hand when needed. And for these reasons, we have to give the point to Home Depot.
In-store events and workshops
Victor: Tied (Comes Down To Personal Preference)
“Home Depot is known for its popular Do-It-Herself workshops, which are geared toward women and cover topics such as tiling, painting, and home decor. Lowes also offers workshops and clinics on woodworking, plumbing, and electrical work. The best option depends on the types of workshops and events that interest you.” -Aaditya Bhatta Editor and Founder of Plantscraze
Here’s the deal, Home Depot has mastered the art of online workshops, whereas Lowes has focused on in-person workshops.
This one is really a personal preference for most individuals. Some people may prefer to learn online in the convenience of their homes, and others may prefer to have the in-person experience. And Aaditya makes a great point that it's simply up to which workshops interest you most, as each platform offers such a unique take on the issue.
Therefore we are forced to call this one a draw.
Looking for some great landscaping tips?
VI. Pros and cons
So, when it comes to these two giant home improvement stores, we can see that they each offer their own strengths and weaknesses.
Lowes tends to offer a wider product selection for lawn and garden tools, as well as a wider selection of plants in their nursery.
On the other hand, Home Depot offers a much better overall experience with superior customer service, high-quality tool brands like Milwaukee, and a preferable store layout.
And yet one has to wonder just how much of the favoritism lawn care pros have for Home Depot is based on that iconic orange color.
After all, many major lawn care and landscaping tool brands offer product lines that utilize that bright orange color. Such as Husqvarna, Stihl, and even Echo, which makes the industry's leading string trimmer.
In conclusion, Home Depot is the overall preferred choice among most lawn care pros and even working professionals in general.
While there are certainly many occasions I do go to Lowes as well, Home Depot is typically my go-to choice as well.
But I do my best to stick with local nurseries, suppliers, and dealers. After all, neither Lowes nor Home Depot will deliver me yards of mulch, sand, or stone.
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