Lowes vs Home Depot

shopping aisle in Home Depot

They're both massively successful and extremely well-known home improvement stores, two well-established names in the retail game that pretty much everyone has spent money with at some point. But when it comes to Lowe's vs. Home Depot, which one is better, cheaper, and more worthy of your hard-earned money and time?

Are there big differences between these two...or are Lowe's and Home Depot pretty much the exact same?

The Lowe's and Home Depot Legend

According to a popular online myth, Home Depot and Lowe's were once the same store. It was a single home improvement chain owned by a married couple.

When the two had a bitter divorce, they turned their home improvement chain into two different home improvement chains. As part of the divorce agreement, they were required to build new stores close to each other.

None of this is true, of course. As is often the case with most things, the truth is far less interesting than this colorful (and totally, completely made up) story.

Is Lowe's Owned by Home Depot?

Home Depot is unquestionably the biggest name in the home improvement game. In fact, Home Depot is expanding faster than Wal-Mart and together with Wal-Mart, it is the biggest employer in the entire world.

Lowe's hardware store

A Quick History of Lowe's

But compared to Lowe's, Home Depot is the new kid on the block. Lowe's was actually founded by a man named Lowe, Lucius Lowe, in Wilkesboro, North Carolina in 1921.

His brother Jim Lowe ended up buying the business and, working with his brother's son-in-law, expanded the store into the massive retailer it is today. By the late 1970s, Lowe's was the do-it-yourself store.

Right around the time Lowe's was hitting its stride as a family-owned hardware store turned global brand, a newcomer entered the scene. In 1978, Home Depot was founded...and everything was about to change.

How Did Home Depot Start?

Two men, Bernie Marcus and Authur Blank, founded the Home Depot after they were fired from Handy Dan Home Improvement Centers. This firing was the only motivation they needed to strike out on their own.

They opened two Home Depot stores in 1979. Little did they or anyone know, back then, that the brand was about to take the world by storm.

Fast forward to today, when Home Depot has stretched across the globe and has managed to employ more than one million people.

Who Owns Lowe's Home Improvement and Who Is Home Depot Owned By?

Home Depot does not own Lowe's and Walmart doesn't own Lowe's, either. Both companies are publicly traded corporations, which means that anyone who can afford it can purchase shares of Lowe's or Home Depot.

Is Lowe's the Same As Home Depot?

Both Lowe's and Home Depot are hardware stores, also known as home improvement stores. Both are considered to be "big box" retailers because the stores are huge and they have locations everywhere.

Both these stores sell a great many of the same or similar products. You can shop for appliances, bathroom faucets, building supplies and materials, doors and windows, electrical items, flooring, hardware, heating and cooling items, home decor, kitchen items, lawn and garden items, outdoor living items, paint, smart home items, and tools at both brands.

When it comes to products offered at both stores, there is very little difference between Home Depot and Lowe's. The only real difference is that both stores have their own exclusive brands that are only available at one or the other.

Another difference is with tool and equipment rental, which is a service Home Depot does offer at some locations. Lowe's, by contrast, never offers this service at any location.

The only other real difference between the two, on the surface, is the way the stores look. Home Depot has a more warehouse or industrial look to it, while Lowe's looks more like a polished, finished retail space.

But aside from product selection and looks, are there other differences between these two retailers? How about pricing, work atmosphere...and is one of these retail chains actually better than the other?

Is Lowe's Bigger Than Home Depot?

Both Lowe's and Home Depot stores are incredibly huge, because they need plenty of space to hold all those products. Both retailers also use outdoor space for their respective home and garden areas.

But which store is actually bigger? On average, any Home Depot you walk into will have around 104,000 square feet of indoor space, with about 24,000 additional square feet of outdoor garden space.

Lowe's, on average, is around 112,000 square feet of inside space and 32,000 square feet of space in the garden center outside.

This means that, generally speaking, Lowe's stores are a little bit bigger than Home Depot. However, you probably already know that the design for these two stores is wildly, vastly different.

Home Depot stores are usually much more open and stuff here is packed right to the rafters of the ceiling. Lowe's has a more finished look.

So when it comes to actual product and retail and stopping space, Home Depot may actually make use of the space it has better than Lowe's using the space it has. The finished elements that Lowe's includes in its stores, such as much nicer floors and walls, take up a little extra space that Home Depot doesn't use.

Which Is Cheaper, Lowe's or Home Depot?

Now, this is a question worth asking. Is Lowe's cheaper than Home Depot?

Since both these stores are clearly in direct competition with each other, both engage in competitive pricing. In other words, these two retailers definitely try to undercut the other and offer better deals to customers.

Because both are attempting to offer the lowest price, you may find a less expensive option at Lowe's or Home Depot on any given day no matter what you are shopping for. However, the difference in price is most likely to be pretty small.

Is Lowe's cheaper than Home Depot? Sometimes...and sometimes, Home Depot is cheaper than Lowe's.

Both companies price their products at pretty close to the same amount, so the question of who's cheaper, Lowe's or Home Depot, actually changes on a day-to-day basis. The truth is, the prices are so close at both places that it's pretty hard to tell which is cheaper.

If you're looking for the most affordable prices out there, wait for one of these stores to have a sale and do your buying then. This will help you save more money on top of the already highly competitive and low prices you will find at both stores.

Home Depot store

Is Lowe's or Home Depot Better?

So, which one of these two massive retailers is actually the best one? That all really depends on who you ask and what you think "better" means.

Lowe's has around 2,200 stores throughout North America. Home Depot has just a few more, with about 2,300 stores all over North America.

Lowe's provides very good customer service. The company hires experienced plumbers to work in the plumbing department, for example, and they look for other skilled professionals to work in the various departments of the store.

Home Depot also provides customer service in specific sections of the store. If you're trying to pick out counters or cabinets, you will have no trouble finding someone in these areas.

Elsewhere in the store...well, there are times when you might have trouble finding staff members to help. Home Depot has a bit of a reputation for providing not-so-great customer service outside of a few key areas of the store.

Does Home Depot Have Price Match?

Both Home Depot and Lowe's engage in price matching. This means that if you find the same item for sale at another store and it costs less, Home Depot or Lowe's will match that price and sell the item to you at that price.

What Time Does Home Depot Open?

Home Depot stores generally have the same hours in all locations. Going by the local time for where the store is located, Home Depot is open from 6 am to 9 pm daily.

Lowe's maintains the exact same hours.

What is the Home Depot Return Policy?

Both Lowe's and Home Deport have return policies and at both, it is 90 days after the date of purchase.

Is Home Depot Better Than Lowe's When It Comes to Jobs?

In so many ways, Home Depot and Lowe's are extremely similar when it comes to the products they offer at the prices they are sold, their hours of operation, the size of the stores, even return policies and the number of stores they each have across North America.

So where is the big difference between these two retailers? Perhaps it boils down to how they treat employees.

When it comes to jobs, is Home Depot better than Lowe's...or is Lowe's the better place to work for?

How Much Do They Pay At Home Depot?

According to hiring site Indeed, Home Depot pays employees anywhere from $20,000 annually (for cashiers) to more than $115,000 annually for outside sales representatives. Between these two pay ranges are a huge variety of jobs that are available through the company in a big range of fields, including marketing, operations, and supply chain positions.

Payscale says that the average hourly rate for Home Depot employees is $14.19 per hour, with a range of about $11 to $19 and up per hour for in-store employees.

How does that compare to Lowe's and what do they pay employees? Again according to Payscale, Lowe's pays, on average, $14.54 per hour.

A cashier at Lowe's makes around $19,000 when starting out, but the average annual pay at Lowe's is just over $30,000. That's about $15 per hour.

Who Is Better to Work For, Lowe's or Home Depot?

Wondering which of these companies is better to work for? Don't base this decision on hourly or annual pay alone.

Consider also the benefits packages each of these famous stores offers.

The Home Depot offers an extremely comprehensive benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance. They provide vacation pay, perks for parents, and financial planning assistance that includes 401k plans.

Home Depot also provides insurance benefits to employees and their dependents and spouses, even including domestic partners and same-sex partners. This is a pretty nice range of benefits, but how does it compare to what you will find at Lowe's?

Naturally, Lowe's offers an extremely similar benefits package to what you will get as a Home Depot employee. Choose Lowe's instead and you will get health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance, along with paid vacation days, sick leave, and a pretty nice associate discount program that makes it highly affordable to buy Lowe's products.

Lowe's also has an employee stock purchase plan, something Home Depot also offers to its employees.

tool aisle at Lowe's

Which Is Better, Lowe's Or Home Depot?

Is Home Depot better than Lowe's? It's time to settle the Lowe's vs. Home Depot debate once and for all.

The truth is, these two retailers are extremely similar. So similar, in fat, that they are just about interchangeable.

There simply are not enough differences between Home Depot and Lowe's, no matter what kind of measurement you want to take or how you want to compare these two. These stores are practically carbon copies of each other down to very small details, with only superficial differences that are hardly different at all.

When you're deciding which one is better, it's really all about you and which one of these you happen to like better. Choose your own reason and pick your own horse in this epic home improvement store battle, because you're going to be backing a winner whether you choose to love Home Depot or Lowe's just a little bit more.

Lowes vs Home Depot FAQ

Who pays better, Home Depot or Lowe's?

Going by average pay rates and based on average yearly and hourly salaries, Lowe's and Home Depot actually pay employees very close to the same amount. However, according to the numbers, Lowe's typically pays employees a few cents more per hour than Home Depot.

Who has better plants, Lowe's or Home Depot?

Both Lowe's and Home Depot maintain large garden and outdoor shopping areas in all of the store locations. Which one of these retailers has better plants tends to vary based on where you're at in the world but if you want to know which one of these choices will reliably have better plants overall, the answer isn't so simple.

Many, many consumer experts say that buying plants from Home Depot isn't a great idea. Many plants you will find here are chosen for looks, rather than for geography, meaning that the plants you purchase may not even be suitable for your geographic region.

Because of the plant choices Home Depot makes, you may find that the plants here are more attractive or prettier overall. They are chosen for their visual appeal, as opposed to how easy they are to grow and the climate conditions they are suited for.

Lowe's has a better selection of plants, carrying a much wider variety. Lowe's carries all varieties of plants, in fact, including annuals, where Home Depot offers a good selection of a couple of different varieties of plants.

So the plants at Home Depot may look visually more stunning. However, you are more likely to get a better selection of plants that are better suited for the area where you live at Lowe's.

Who has the better paint selection, Lowe's or Home Depot?

Home Depot and Lowe's both offer an enormous selection of interior and exterior paints. And while the two chairs carry different brand names of paints, you can expect to find a relatively similar price range for paints at either.

You'll also find a pretty similar color selection and paint type selection no matter which of these stores you choose to shop with. But on average, you will find more affordable paints at Home Depot and you will get slightly more expensive, but somewhat better quality, when you buy paint at Lowe's instead.

Home Depot has an advantage here: they will re-mix and re-tint all paint, even paints purchased through other supplies. Lowe's will only mix and tint paint that you purchased at Lowe's.

Further Reading

7 Best Home Improvement Investments

7 Cheap and Easy Ways to Improve Your Home

8 Home Improvements That Raise Your Home’s Value

Refine Your Skill Set with The Home Depot

What Makes a Quality Paint?