Lowes vs Home Depot – Which store is better?

After reviewing power tools and hand tools for over a decade, we are asked the question Lowes vs Home Depot a lot. To determine whether Lowes or Home Depot is a better store, we need to cover a lot of ground. Looking at both home improvement warehouses, I don’t think you can really pick a loser. However, interviewing the office as well as several of our Pro Reviewers, we definitely like one over the other, just for various and different reasons. Let us know if you agree or disagree in the comments section below.

Company Stories from Lowes and Home Depot

Lowe’s Company History

Lowe’s North Wilkesboro Hardware Store was founded in North Carolina by LS Lowe in 1921. In addition to hardware and building materials, the Lowes General Store sold sewing accessories, dry goods, horse gear, and even groceries. It wasn’t until 1946, six years after Jim Lowe (son of LS Lowe) took over the hardware store, that Lowe’s began to truly target home improvement products.

lowes general store 1921

Three years later, in 1949, Lowe’s opened its second store in Sparta, North Carolina. While co-owner Carl Buchan took over the business as sole proprietor in 1952, the stores retained their name.

The company went public in 1961, although it did not list on the NYSE until 1979. The company was serving one million customers by 1964. By 1982, it had reached $1 billion in sales with $25 million of profits. Shortly thereafter, Fortune magazine named Lowe’s one of its “100 Best Companies to Work For in America.”

In 2002, Lowe’s joined the Fortune 100 with $22 billion in sales and opened stores in Canada and India in 2007 and 2015 respectively. 2021 marks Lowe’s 10th anniversary.

The Home Depot Company History

Interestingly, The Home Depot (yes, the company name actually includes “The” in front) started much later than Lowe’s – about 57 years later, in fact. It all started when two men, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, were fired from Handy Dan Home Improvement Centers in 1978. Two months later they started The Home Depot Inc. A year later they had already opened two stores, both in Atlanta, Georgia. By the end of the year, they added their third store and employed 200 associates.

Home Depot First Store Memorial Drive Atlanta Georgia

The Home Depot went public on NASDAQ in 1981 and they expanded into Florida. Their Pro focus didn’t come until around 1986. Three years later, they had opened their 100th store. It was located in Monrovia, California.

By that time, they had eclipsed all other home improvement retailers, becoming the largest in the United States. With the acquisition of Total Home, the company expanded into Mexico. In 2005, The Home Depot opened its 2,000th store, this time to celebrate in Riverdale, Georgia.

By 2017, THD had surpassed $100 billion in sales and increased its commitment to veterans’ causes to $500 million.

Lowes vs Home Depot Company Size

When you compare the sizes of Lowe’s and Home Depot in terms of store size and employees, you find some surprising things. First, The Home Depot has 2,006 stores in the United States. It also has 182 others in Canada and 129 in Mexico (2317 in total). THD employs approximately 490,000 people across its network.

Lowe’s has about 1,737 stores in the United States and about 450 in Canada (about 2,187 in total – it closed its Mexican stores in the late 2010s). They employ approximately 300,000 associates in total.

Associates WE Canada Mexico
Lowe’s 274,000 (91.3%) 26,000 (8.7%) – –
The reception deposit 437,000 (89.2%) 34,100 (7%) 18,000 (3.7%)
The data has been compiled from numerous sources and represents general figures from 2022.
Stores WE Canada Mexico
Lowe’s 1,737 (79.4%) 450 (20.6%) – –
The reception deposit 2006 (86.6%) 182 (7.8%) 129 (5.6%)
The data has been compiled from numerous sources and represents general figures from 2022.

The average Home Depot store has about 104,000 square feet of enclosed space with about 24,000 more square feet of outdoor garden.

Lowe’s averages approximately 112,000 square feet, plus an additional 32,000 square feet dedicated to outdoor garden center space.

lowes vs home depot company size

If we do the math, Home Depot has approximately 241 million square feet of indoor retail space and 55.6 million square feet of outdoor yard space. Lowe’s clocks in approximately 245 million square feet indoors and approximately 70 million square feet of outdoor garden center space.

Most retail spaces: Lowe’s (international), The Home Depot (in the US) – both a hair’s breadth
Most associates: The reception deposit

Lowe’s vs Home Depot Customer Service

Home Depot’s slogan is “How Doers Get More Done”. Lowe’s goes with “Do it right for less.” Start at Lowe’s”. As such, both stores focus on both repair and maintenance, as well as professionals and advanced users looking to build or remodel homes. As a result, Home Depot and Lowe’s stores house large amounts of lumber, roofing, siding and trim, and appliances where customers can load pallets of materials.

home depot aisle

Want help and advice for your plumbing project? You could get lucky and find a Home Depot associate who used to work in the trades. However, you can also find someone without a ton of hands-on experience who can just point you in the right direction.

Compared to Lowe’s, however, I personally found Home Depot to have more knowledgeable plumbing and electrical associates. It’s useful if you’re looking to get your hands dirty on a project and need a nudge in the right direction. Of course, that doesn’t mean your region won’t have the opposite effect – after all, people are unique across the country.

In terms of volume, The Home Depot has many more associates per square foot, and that matters when you’re looking for a helping hand. I certainly walked the aisle of both stores without finding anyone in the immediate vicinity who could answer a question.

Best customer service: The Home Depot (based on employee volume)

Another huge differentiator between Home Depot and Lowes centers around the power tool brands they sell in-store. This can lead to serious favoritism if you use a particular manufacturer or brand. If you’re like me, you like to keep tabs on tool deals and sales. Find out which manufacturers sell each home improvement chain in their physical stores (abbreviated list of power tool and outdoor product brands):

Lowes tool brands and manufacturers

  • Rams
  • Bosch
  • Artisan
  • DeWalt
  • EGO+ power
  • Flexible tools
  • Honda
  • Husqvarna
  • John Deere
  • Kobalt tools
  • Metabo HPT
  • skil
  • Solar Belt

Home Depot Tool Brands

  • Bosch
  • Cub Cadet
  • DeWalt
  • Dremel
  • Echo
  • Homelite
  • Honda
  • John Deere
  • Klein Tools
  • makita
  • Milwaukee Tool
  • Rigid power tools
  • Ryobi
  • Toro
  • Troy Bilt
  • Garden machinery

We feel the need to mention, however, that Lowe’s and Home Depot offer free “ship to store” options. This greatly increases the number of manufacturers and products you can buy from each. However, you can’t deny the convenience of walking into the store when you need something – and you’re not as likely to walk out with a tool that was on sale if it’s not present in the store. actual store. When comparing Lowes to Home Depot, pros and homeowners tend to stick to the brands they already love and use.

When we compare Lowe’s and Home Depot, we notice that DeWalt appears in both, but the addition of TTI brands such as Milwaukee, Ridgid Power Tools and Ryobi instantly gives THD an edge over the most popular tools. Add to that Makita, Cub Cadet and Toro and you start to see Depot take a decisive lead.

On the Lowe side, their tactical placement of Metabo HPT gives them an edge in the pneumatic nailer category, and the FLEX 24V tools have certainly caused a stir in the industry, especially with their Founders Lifetime Warranty. When it comes to outdoor power equipment, EGO alone gives you a great reason to shop at Lowe’s. They consistently show up in our best lawn mowers and best cordless leaf blower review articles and roundups.

Most popular brands: The reception deposit

Lumber and building materials

If you want or need lumber or building materials, Lowe’s has really caught up with Home Depot in many ways. The Home Depot and Lowe’s are definitely going after the professional tradesman and local builders and remodelers looking to head to the store for much-needed supplies. Both stores have even become more competitive in the areas of lumber, siding and roofing materials. Presumably, they leveraged their vendors and volume discounts to achieve this.

Recently we have also seen a change at Lowe’s where they are doing a much better job of stocking inventory, despite global supply issues. It’s not uncommon to walk into a Lowe’s store and see pallets and pallets of building materials and piles of lumber readily available for purchase.

As such, we’re at an impasse as to who provides the best building materials at this point. Home Depot remains the choice of professionals when they need something on the fly to complete a job, while Ace Hardware remains a great place to pick up the small parts you need for landscaping, painting a room , do a plumbing or electrical repair.

Building supplies and materials: ATTACHED

Conclusion of the Lowes vs. Home Depot debate

As we like to say, we like competition. In the Lowes vs. Home Depot debate, which store is better depends on many factors. We happen to have both stores in close proximity, so having the ability to quickly access either allows us to take advantage of each retailer’s strengths.

If you love checking out the latest tool deals, you probably favor the store that carries your favorite brand. Other than that, check which store in your area has the most helpful (and knowledgeable) employees – it could really help you the next time you’re working on a DIY project.

About Charles Holmes

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