In the competition of big-box home improvement stores, there’s a big battle for which is cheaper: Lowe’s vs. Home Depot.
That’s the question I set out to answer. I broke down both stores’ policies, tool prices, truck rentals, best deals, coupons, and exclusive brands, and though they’re pretty evenly matched — one store consistently gave me more chances to keep money in my pocket.
1. Remember that Lowe’s and Home Depot price match each other.
If you’re shopping for brand-name appliances (LG, Samsung, GE, and Whirlpool), power tools (Dewalt and Bosch), or vacuum cleaners (Dyson, Bissel, Shark, and Robot), then you need to know that Home Depot and Lowe’s price match each other.
To get a price match from Home Depot or Lowe’s, simply show an employee a picture or an ad proving the exact same make and model is cheaper from a competitor, and you’ll be set. Of course, this means exclusive brands like Ryobi power tools (only at Home Depot) or Valspar paint (only at Lowe’s) aren’t eligible for price matching.
Although it legitimately looks like Lowe’s and Home Depot copied and pasted each other’s price match policy, I think Lowe’s has the friendlier policy. That’s because Lowe’s price matches Amazon (Home Depot only price matches brick-and-mortar stores).
So, Lowe’s is on the board first: 1-0, Lowe’s.
2. Lowe’s truck rental beats Home Depot by $40.
Between Lowe’s and Home Depot truck rentals, one is the clear winner. Let me break it down for you:
- The Home Depot Load N’ Go truck gives you 75 minutes for $19, and $129 for the full day.
- The Lowe’s pickup truck gives you 90 minutes for $19, and $89 for the full day.
If you have an all-day moving job and want to save $40, definitely go with the Lowe’s truck. That is, unless you have a strong preference between driving a Ford F-250 (go with Home Depot) and driving a Chevrolet Silverado (choose Lowe’s).
But if we’re going purely on price, Lowe’s jumps out to an early lead. It’s 2-0, Lowe’s.
3. Rent tools with Lowe’s instead of Home Depot, especially if it’s a big project.
If you only need tools for four hours or one day, then Home Depot and Lowe’s are priced about the same on most equipment I saw (give or take $5 in either direction). And both stores charge a $50 deposit on most rentals.
But if you need rentals for 1 – 4 weeks, then I’d shop from Lowe’s. On rare occasions, Home Depot offers cheaper rates on short- and long-term rentals (like this 20V paint sprayer), but most of the time Lowe’s is more than $100 cheaper for 4-week rentals.
Check this out:
Despite price differences in long-term rentals, The Home Depot does have a much bigger selection when it comes to tool rental.
Still, this competition is about who’s the cheapest. More often than not, that’s Lowe’s. That makes this 3-0 Lowe’s.
4. Buy Lowe’s or Home Depot appliances — price matching makes it a tie.
When I compared Lowe’s and Home Depot appliances, I noticed that almost every appliance was priced the exact same. And, whenever one store would beat the other, it would be by roughly $50. For example:
- Lowe’s Whirlpool Electric Dryer $649, regular price vs. Home Depot Whirlpool Electric Dryer $699, regular price
- Home Depot Frigidaire Built-In Microwave $413, sale price vs. Lowe’s Frigidaire Built-In Microwave $459, regular price
But with both stores’ respective price-matching policies, these differences in prices are usually irrelevant for the big-brand appliances both stores carry. Just bring in proof of the other store’s lower price and they’ll adjust the total for you.
It’s a tie, so Lowe’s is holding on to their 3-0 lead.
5. Buy Home Depot exclusive tool brands as they tend to be cheaper.
When it comes to Home Depot and Lowe’s tools, both carry some exclusive brands. For example, Home Depot carries Ryobi and Ridgid while Lowe’s carries Kobalt and Metabo HPT.
Ryobi is Home Depot’s cheapest tool brand — a Ryobi six-tool combo kit is almost $200 cheaper than a Ridgid three-tool kit — so I compared Ryobi to Metabo HPT, which is Lowe’s cheapest brand. The verdict? Ryobi’s usually $30 – $90 cheaper than what I saw from Metabo. This cordless drill from both brands is a perfect example:
Home Depot is finally on the board — it’s 3-1.
6. Home Depot’s Special Buy of the Day has better selection than Lowe’s Daily Deal.
Both Home Depot and Lowe’s run a 24-hour sale with items that change daily — Home Depot’s Special Buy of the Day and Lowe’s Daily Deals. With Lowe’s, I expect to save 25 – 40% through their Daily Deal, but the best deals I’ve seen are through Home Depot’s Special Buy of the Day.
That’s where I found this Ridgid three-tool combo set for 60% off regular price:
Buy 1 Ridgid 18V 3-Tool Combo Kit with 2 Batteries, Charger, and Bag (reg. $486.94), $199 sale price
Free shipping on orders totaling more than $45
Final price: $199
At Home Depot I still expect to save at least 25%. These are the deals we’ve seen lately:
- 41% off the Shark Navigator Vacuum
- 39% off the Husky Air Compressor
- 25% off entire Husky cabinet sets
But Lowe’s is no slouch. Their recent Daily Deals still would have saved me :
This round has to go to Home Depot, which means they’re only down by 1. 3-2, Lowe’s.
7. Easily find 10 – 15% off coupons online for The Home Depot.
While both Home Depot and Lowe’s offer coupons, Home Depot has plenty available immediately. Here are a few you can get right now:
- Home Depot email list coupon for $5 off of $50
- Home Depot Garden Club coupon for $5 off of $50
- Home Depot workshop coupon for 15% off your purchase
Lowe’s, on the other hand, doesn’t have any immediately available coupons outside of the 10% off moving coupon from the USPS moving packet.
We’re tied at 3-3.
8. Save $1 per gallon when you buy paint from Home Depot.
Home Depot and Lowe’s each have two exclusive paint brands — Behr and Glidden for Home Depot; Sherwin-Williams HGTV paints and Valspar for Lowe’s — and like we saw with tools, Home Depot offers much more affordable rates for their cheapest paint.
I know there are a lot of different ways to prepare paint, but for the purposes of this article I went as basic as I could: One gallon of flat/matte interior paint. By those metrics, Home Depot barely edged out Lowe’s for the cheapest paint.
Buy 1 Gallon Glidden Essentials Flat Interior Paint, $15.98 per gallon regular price
Final Price: $15.98
Compare to 1 Gallon Valspar 4000 Flat Pastel Interior Paint from Lowe’s for $16.98
Home Depot now leads 4-3.
9. Do more with Home Depot’s exclusive brands, which span more departments than Lowe’s.
If you wanted to shop only brands that are found solely at Home Depot or Lowe’s, then you’ll find a wider range of items are available to you at Home Depot. Here are all the departments you could shop with Home Depot’s exclusive brands, and below I’ll compare that to Lowe’s.
- Garage shelving and storage — HDX, Everbilt
- Tools, tool storage — Husky
- Plumbing, toilets, faucets — Glacier Bay
- Patio furniture — Hampton Bay, Home Decorators Collection, Stylewell
- Home decor — Hampton Bay, Home Decorators Collection, Stylewell
- Lighting, electrical — Hampton Bay, Home Decorators Collection
- Kitchen, bathroom — Hampton Bay, Home Decorators Collection
- Flooring — Home Decorators Collection, Lifeproof, Traffic Master
- HVAC, cleaning — HDX
- Holiday decor — Home Accents Holiday
- Landscaping — Vigoro
- Deck, lumber — Weather Shield
- Bedding, pajamas — The Company Store
- Doors, doorknobs, closet doors — None
Here’s what you can buy with Lowe’s exclusive brands:
- Garage Shelving and Storage — Blue Hawk
- Tools, tool storage — Kobalt
- Plumbing, toilets, faucets — Aquasource, Project Source
- Patio Furniture — Allen Roth, Garden Treasures
- Home Decor — Allen Roth, Harbor Breeze
- Lighting, electrical — Utilitech, Portfolio
- Kitchen, bathroom — Project Source, Aquasource, Allen Roth
- Flooring — None
- HVAC, cleaning — None
- Holiday decor — None
- Landscaping — Garden Treasures
- Deck, lumber — Top Choice
- Bedding, pajamas — None
- Doors, doorknobs, closet doors — Reliabilt
Home Depot wins this round, as they covered 13 departments with their exclusive brands, whereas Lowe’s brands accounted for 10 departments.
Home Depot jumps to a 5-3 lead.
10. Lowe’s credit card offers better rewards than you’ll get from Home Depot.
The best perk Lowe’s offers credit cardholders is 5% savings whenever they shop at Lowe’s, but that’s not the only benefit. Cardholders also get 20% off their purchase (up to $100 in savings), and one year of no interest for six months on appliance and HVAC purchases.
Meanwhile, The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card is pretty weak on rewards. New cardholders get $25 off their first purchase of $25 – $299, $50 off a purchase of $300 – $999, or $100 off a first purchase of $1,000 or more. That’s it, that’s the list.
The only reason to get The Home Depot consumer card is for the 0? interest for six months (as long as you spend $299 or more), but you’re better off using another credit card with points or rewards.
This one’s easy: Lowe’s wins, but is still down 5-4.
11. Home Depot provides more free services than Lowe’s.
Home Depot and Lowe’s both provide a good amount of freebies, including: free paint shaking if you purchase paint from their stores, free battery recycling, and they’ll both cut your lumber for no charge.
But Home Depot offers free carpet installation when you buy more than $599 in carpet — this includes ripping up and hauling away old carpet, moving furniture, and carpeting your stairs. Lowe’s, on the other hand, will charge you for the padding that goes underneath the carpet.
This round goes to Home Depot, and they lead 6-4.
12. Register for free Kids’ Workshops from Lowe’s once a month.
Kids’ workshop kits are a good way to get your kid thinking creatively and get them away from screens. And best of all? They’re totally free from both Lowe’s and Home Depot, which have been offering take-home kids’ workshops kits ever since the start of the pandemic.
But these workshops run differently at each store. Whereas Lowe’s requires registration for their kits one month in advance, Home Depot runs their program on a first-come, first-served basis on the first Saturday of each month. Lowe’s also caps their age limit at 11 years old — Home Depot has no age limit.
Here’s what tilts the scales toward Lowe’s for me: Lowe’s lets you take home more than one kit, which means more members of the family can enjoy doing each project.
Lowe’s is back on the board, but Home Depot is leading 6-5.
13. Get free shipping by spending at least $45 at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
Spending at least $45 will also earn you free shipping from Lowe’s. Lowe’s also will deliver large appliances for free if you live within 75 miles of a brick-and-mortar store. They’ll also haul away your old appliance.
You’ll get Home Depot free shipping on all orders over $45 with two-day delivery. Home Depot also provides free standard delivery and installation on all appliances $396 and more.
Home Depot will take care of your old appliance, but they just ask that you unplug and disconnect it prior to their arrival. That means this round goes to Home Depot!
Home Depot is winning, 7-5.
14. Auto-ship items from Home Depot and Lowe’s and save 5%.
Both Home Depot and Lowe’s offer subscriptions you can use to save 5% on purchases that you know will be recurring, like air filters for your HVAC system. Plus, neither store charges for shipping on subscribed purchases.
It’s a lot like Amazon’s Subscribe and Save. You put qualifying purchases on a Home Depot or Lowe’s subscription and never think about it again. Both stores require you to sign up for an account, and from there you can manage, pause, or cancel your subscription at any time.
This one’s a tie. Same discount. Same items. Home Depot’s still holding on to their 7-5 lead.
15. There’s no limit to how much you can save with Lowe’s military discount — unlike Home Depot.
Home Depot and Lowe’s both offer 10% off regular priced items for active military members and their spouses, and both stores allow service members to use the discount online and in store. But the key difference is that Home Depot caps how much you can save through the military discount at $400 per year.
Lowe’s, on the other hand, has no annual savings limit.
This round goes to Lowe’s, and now they’re closing the gap. It’s 7-6, Home Depot.
16. Lowe’s has the friendlier return policy; they don’t need receipts.
Home Depot and Lowe’s mirror each other on nearly every aspect of their respective return policies. Both stores allow you up to 90 days to make a return, and neither store will leave you on the hook for return shipping. Plus, Home Depot and Lowe’s allow customers to return dead plants, shrubs, and perennials for up to one year.
So, it comes down to the little things. Like the fact that Home Depot updated their return policy to require a receipt or other proof of purchase in order to make any return. Lowe’s does not require a receipt.
To make a return at Lowe’s, all you need is your ID, the original credit card, or your phone number. If you don’t have any of those, and you’re nice to your cashier, you may still receive in-store credit for the item’s current selling price.
Lowe’s wins this round. Great. We’re tied at 7-7, and now I have to think of another tip.
17. Text Lowe’s customer service line for quicker assistance than you’ll get from Home Depot.
I wasn’t going to bring this up, but this can’t end in a tie. Purely from my experience, I’ve had the quickest service — not to mention helpful answers to my questions — via Lowe’s customer service text line.
All you have to do is download the Lowe’s app and tap the “Chat” icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. From there, it’s, well, texting. The app will open your text messages and store the conversation, which I found useful when I was trying to remember what they said. Point: Lowe’s.
That means Lowe’s has taken the tiebreaker.
If you’d like to dispute any of the rulings, I request that you file a formal complaint in the comments below — I’ll get back to you as soon as I can! Thanks for reading.