What Should You Not Buy at Home Depot?

smiling salesman handing customer a hammer in a hardware store

Home Depot is one of the biggest companies in the world, selling billions of dollars in products every single year. It's considered to be a DIYer's dream store... but what should you not buy at Home Depot?

There are lots of great bargains at the Home Depot and many brands you won't get anywhere else. But there are some items you absolutely shouldn't get at Home Depot, no matter how much the flashy displays might tempt you in that direction.

Bigger Than Wal-Mart

Home Depot is one of the few retail chains that continue to grow in spite of the public drive toward internet shopping. When it comes to expansion, Home Depot is even bigger than Wal-Mart.

That’s a pretty big claim to fame, but it’s pretty easy to see the secret behind Home Depot’s success: people have to repair stuff around the house. And now that more people are learning how to do their own DIY projects to improve their homes, Home Depot is more popular than ever.

The DIY Playground

The chain is featured frequently on home improvement shows geared toward DIYers, and it's a favorite among those who like hands-on projects. There are lots of items you can purchase here, along with the tools to do the work with.

According to experts and shoppers, however, there are some items you just shouldn't buy at Home Depot. While it's true the store can be a haven for DIYers, you shouldn't buy absolutely everything you find here.

Things Not to Buy at Home Depot

Home Depot stores are also warehouses, an interesting model that serves a lot of practical purposes. Because the stores are positively huge, they have room to hold a massive amount of items.

It’s easy to get seriously overwhelmed. But when you know where not to go in the store and which items to avoid, your trip to Home Depot will be way more productive.

Basic Hardware

Though there's a huge section devoted to it and lots of people go to the Home Depot to buy it, don't get basic hardware items here. Washers, nuts, screws, hinges, all those little odds, and ends are here, but you shouldn't buy them at the Home Depot…no matter how tempting.

You won't get a lot of help when it comes to picking out the right washer at Home Depot.

Unless you know precisely what you need down to the exact dimensions, you stand a good chance of buying the wrong thing or buying multiple sizes of the same thing because you're just not sure about the specific size of the little piece of hardware you're trying to get.

This is a real hassle. When the only thing that stands between you and fixing that leak is a tiny washer, and you can’t get any help at the enormous Home Depot, it can be super frustrating.

Go to a smaller store where you can talk to a person, and it’s more likely you will get what you need.

Big Appliances

It's hard not to be dazzled by the huge selection of big appliances at Home Depot, but you must resist. According to consumer reports experts, you'll get better ongoing service by shopping for appliances just about anywhere else.

When you buy a big appliance from Home Depot, they'll give you a manufacturer's 800 number and forget all about you. By going to an appliance store, you'll get more personalized attention, and it’s likely you’ll get better information regarding maintenance and repair.

Kitchen Cabinets

Yes, Home Depot has a big cabinet selection. The array of options and the space devoted to kitchen cabinets at Home Deport is stunning.

You can get lost looking at the options and trying to do that math.

But if you spend just a little bit more, you'll end up with cabinets that look much better. Home Depot's prices are affordable, yes, but you end up with very...affordable-looking cabinets.

Other retailers, including furniture juggernaut Ikea, make affordable cabinets that look much better than Home Depot’s designs and they really don’t cost that much more.

Doors, Windows, and Trim

Many experts advise against buying doors, windows, and trim at Home Depot. You can have difficulty finding the right size for these items and if you do end up purchasing the wrong size, trying to return the item for a new size is a real pain in the neck.

You'll get more personalized attention and likely the right size item you need if you go to a smaller specialty store. It’s worth the extra time and a little bit of extra money to get doors and windows that fit perfectly…unless you like taking multiple trips to the Home Depot for the same item.

Cleaning Products

You probably don't think of Home Depot when you need something to clean your floors with, but you can find cleaning products here. You just shouldn't buy them when you see them.

The name-brand cleaners here typically cost more than they do at the grocery store. This is a rare example of something Home Depot sells that isn't more affordable than similar items you can find elsewhere.

Just stick to getting cleaning products at the grocery store, or better yet the Dollar General if you really want a great deal, and forget about the marked-up stuff you can find at the Home Depot.

Countertops

It's so tempting and oh-so-easy to buy countertops at Home Depot, and they will gladly help you with this process. But you're going to save a lot of money if you skip right past that section and choose counters from somewhere else.

The trouble is, Home Depot doesn't have a lot of big-name competition when it comes to counters. It's one of the only major retailers offering a huge counter selection, so it seems like a natural to buy one here.

It’s easy, you have a ton of options, and you don’t really know where else to go, anyway.

Because Home Depot doesn't have a lot of competition in the retail counter arena, the prices are way higher than they need to be. Home Depot can just about charge whatever they want, and they know it.

This is no good for the consumer.

Instead, go to a stone yard or a fabricator, or even a smaller hardwood store to find your counters. Get creative and get to shopping because you will end up saving money by choosing an option other than Home Depot.

You can save hundreds of dollars on a counter by buying from someplace other than Home Depot. Since counters are typically a huge home improvement expense, it’s a huge money-saver if you can spend hundreds less on this purchase.

Home Decor

Home Depot sells all the stuff you need to improve your home, including the items you might want to decorate it with. You can go here to find rugs, wall art, candlesticks, and all sorts of little odds and ends used to dress up any space in your home.

Don't buy it. It's a pretty universal opinion among decorators that home decor items from Home Depot are overpriced and tend to be tacky.

You can find more affordable and better-looking items to decorate your home with at other retailers. Home improvement and home decorating are two different fields, and so far, Home Depot has only really succeeded with one.

Cookware

Home Depot has grilling accessories, cooking utensils, and pots and pans, something many shoppers here don’t know. Well, don't buy them.

Cookware items from Home Depot are notoriously poor in quality, something you don’t want in an item you use to cook your food with.

You will get a much better deal on these items at other big box retailers, who sell name-brand cookware sets that are very nice. The deals at Home Depot are impressive, but it's okay to spend a little bit more on products that are higher in quality.

Plants

So it seems super weird, but you need to avoid all those plants from Home Depot, no matter how pretty. That's because they're more likely to die than thrive once you get them home, and that's not even your fault.

Lots of the plants from Home Depot are shipped in bulk, and many of them aren't even suitable for the climate where they're being sold. They're picked for flashy looks and to tempt customers, not based on the environment where they will actually be growing.

This can leave you feeling frustrated and upset when all your Home Depot plants die. It's totally not your fault when this happens, however.

Instead, forget about the Home Depot plants and purchase directly from a nursery. You can talk to professionals and actually choose plants that are going to work well for you by doing this.

No matter how flashy the plant, the prettiest plant is always the one that’s going to grow healthy and well in the environment where you put it.

Are There Items You Should Always Try To Buy at Home Depot?

There are some items you don't want to buy at Home Depot, but this big box retailer does have amazing deals and options on lots of other stuff. There are some items you absolutely do want to buy here rather than go somewhere else.

Look for lightbulbs at Home Depot, because you're not likely to find better prices or a better selection anywhere else. There are so many lightbulb options here, it’s a little dizzying.

You can also find a great selection of quality tools at Home Depot. When it comes to getting the tools you need to complete your DIY projects, you can do pretty well buying from here.

There are lots of great items you can buy at Home Depot, from sinks to paint to all kinds of stuff you need to realize your home improvement dreams. When you know what to avoid, you know that everything else you buy at Home Depot is going to be a good product at a pretty good deal.

Can You Buy Home Depot Brands Anywhere Else?

Home Depot works with a lot of brands to fill the stores with a wide range of products. Well-known names like Eddie Bauer are available here.

However, Home Depot also has several of its own brands that are exclusive to Home Depot. You won't find them anywhere else.

These brands include Garrison, Behr Pro, Glacier Bay, and Peak.

What’s the Drawback of Buying at Home Depot?

Though some items at Home Depot are great buys, there are things you've got to avoid when you’re shopping here. What's wrong with buying these Home Depot "no-no" items?

In a few cases, you will end up with a product that doesn't have great quality when you could get something much, much better by spending just a little more at a different store or supplier. Saving money is only a good thing when you're not compromising too much quality.

Some items at Home Depot cross that line by putting price ahead of quality. But if you avoid these not-so-great items, you'll buy just the good stuff and end up with only quality items in your home for all your projects.

Further Reading

A New Trend in Kitchen Countertops

Building Cheap Kitchen Cabinets

How to Paint Your Countertops

How to Remodel Kitchen Cabinets