Avoid: Cleaning Products
Looking to save some money when you go to Home Depot? Avoid the cleaning aisle. While the products are fine, they’re 5% to 10% higher than if you were to swing by Walmart. For example, Scrubbing Bubbles at Home Depot is $3.69. That’s not too bad, but when you know Target and Walmart are just $2.84? That price looks steep.
What’s even better is if you skip name brands altogether. The dollar store typically offers fantastic cleaning options on a budget. Many cleaning chemicals aren’t expensive to make, and companies are betting on you wanting to get the brand name. Always look up the best way to clean something before wasting $5 to $6 on brand-name products.
Avoid: Basic Hardware Items
Do you need a new gasket or washer for your faucet? Home Depot might seem like a great place…if you know what you need. There are over 100 replacement options, and if you’re like us, you went to Home Depot, stared at the wall, and went home with the wrong one after several minutes of deliberation.
For this one, you’ll save a lot of money and time – which is often more important – by swinging by your local hardware store. These local stores are often staffed by very competent employees that are a jack of many trades. Home Depot? It seems like they’ll hire anyone at this point.
While much of Home Depot is outed, the mirrors are actually pretty on-point. There are some fantastic minimalist mirrors that can either go in a hallway or in your bathroom. The better part is that during sales like Black Friday, you can often catch these mirrors on a decent clearance.
Occasionally, the mirrors will just go on clearance to make room for new stock. At the end of the day, a mirror is a mirror, and if you find one that you like, there’s no better or worse quality to concern yourself about. The best part is that Home Depot typically has a lot of styles, including medicine cabinets.
We’re all reminded to grab batteries at the checkout lane, but don’t be tempted to grab any at Home Depot. There’s a steep convenience “tax” thrown in there. Home improvement stores regularly jack up the price for batteries as much as $1 each, while you can get them at bulk stores for $0.40 cents per battery.
Heck, even Walmart and Target often have better options than home improvement stores like Home Depot. For common, everyday items, it’s always best to shop around and check out Walmart or Target. The prices will be much more competitive and that can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Avoid: Bathroom Vanities
Do the bathroom vanities at Home Depot look good? Sure. They do look pretty good, but you know what you’re paying for? Low quality particleboard and laminate coverings. The doors may not align properly, and God forbid, you get it wet. We say that as a joke because we know bathroom vanities will get wet.
You can just check out the examples in the stores. They don’t even hold up with no moisture and no regular use! Can you imagine what it would be like in a home where people are using it regularly? Disastrous. When in doubt, go to a local millwork place. They’ll offer a custom product that will actually last your lifetime.
Buy: “Oops” Paint
Need to paint something for a project or even a room? You could pick a custom color, but an even better option is to check out the “Oops” paint. These are paint colors that were mixed for other customers that they weren’t so satisfied with. Typically, the shade is just a little off, or they didn’t like the color after it dried.
You know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Some of the colors are really great, and if you aren’t too picky on the color, you might find a great gallon of paint for as much as half the price. Considering the price of paint nowadays is sky-high, any savings is good savings.
Avoid: Kitchen Items
We’re going to have to be brutally honest – kitchen items at Home Depot are beyond subpar. Pots and pans typically end up destroyed before the end of the year. Then there’s the fact that the prices are so much more expensive. The prices need to be that high since most people don’t purchase stuff like this there.
If your store actually carries storage containers, consider yourself lucky because most don’t. We’re not talking big plastic bins, but smaller acrylic containers for organization. Then there are the out-of-style utensil holders that are double the price of anything you’d find at Kohl’s, Macy’s, Walmart, or Target. Overall, pass on the kitchen items.
Avoid: Grilling Accessories
Avoid getting your grilling accessories at Home Depot. It’s tempting, we know. You’re just walking the aisle, and boom! There’s a 20-piece stainless steel tool set, which would be perfect for your summer get-together. It might seem like a decent price at $36, but in reality, that same thing can be purchased for $25 on Amazon.
Walmart and Target also offer great prices on grilling accessories in the summer. That’s the only catch is that it has to be summer to find them in store. The best rule of thumb is that if everyone needs it, don’t buy it at Home Depot. Check Walmart, Amazon, Target, or even a local shop near you.
Buy: Tool Combo Kits
Home Depot has fantastic deals on tool combo kits, but you have to keep an eye out for the sales. Don’t just walk up and buy a kit. All year ‘round, Home Depot will send out various deals for drills, brand-name lithium batteries, and yard equipment. It’s even the bigger brands like Ryobi and Milwaukee.
Some of the best times to grab these deals is the Spring Black Friday around April, Father’s Day, Back to School, or Black Friday. You’d be surprised the discounts they offer. At this point, no one should pay full price for a tool even if it comes with a dozen other items with it!
Avoid: Flooring Services
It might seem tempting to use the flooring services at Home Depot, but you’d be doing yourself a big disservice. The problem with this is that Home Depot doesn’t typically do the work themselves. They hire out a third party to install your flooring. This third-party contractor will often do a very poor job.
Whether it’s tile or hardwood, it may be best to do it yourself or go with an actual flooring company. Many customers have reported that their flooring jobs were done poorly, which resulted in damage to their homes. You don’t want to spend thousands to learn you have to spend more to get it redone.
Avoid: Small Appliances
At this point, there’s no reason we shouldn’t all be purchasing our small appliances at Costco and Sam’s Club. They’ve pretty much cornered the market on small appliances, whether you want a microwave or a knock-off KitchenAid. You can get a decent Microwave at Costco or Sam’s for $50 or less. That same microwave at Home Depot? Easily $60 to $80.
That goes double for things like food processors. Even if they’re on sale, they can be artificially jacked up. Nowadays, companies are putting things on “clearance” with a price that’s not even a real sale. They just mark the price as red, throw the label up, and pretend like it’s on sale. The best bet for small appliances is to shop around.
No one is denying that Home Depot is convenient. You can get everything you might need for your home improvement in one place, but…(there’s always a but). But you can actually save money by checking around what’s local to you – countertops are a great example of this.
Home Depot offers slabs for countertops and half-custom countertops. The problem is that the store will get their countertops at a wholesale slab yard! You’re paying just for Home Depot to store the product. By the way, them storing the product could also mean it might get damaged in the process. The more hands it passes, the riskier it gets (and more expensive).
Avoid: Major Appliances
Every now and then, you might look at the major appliances at Home Depot and think, “Hm…maybe.” Do yourself a huge favor and stop yourself. If you care about service, you’re going to want to go with a local store because most people who purchase appliances at these big box stores are incredibly unhappy.
The products are fine, but the delivery service? Yikes. Most people find that their appliances are damaged in transit. The installers try to skip out on basic services like removal of the old appliances. Finally, you might realize the appliance doesn’t offer the feature you originally purchased it for. That’s because the sales people know very little about what they’re selling.
Avoid: Kitchen Cabinets
Are kitchen cabinets at Home Depot cheap? Absolutely. They’re incredibly cheap, but there’s a reason. The quality is incredibly awful. Most of them will end up scratched up within a year or two, meaning you’ll need to replace the fronts of your cabinets. Considering how quickly Home Depot rotates stock, that’s not good.
You might find that the product is no longer sold, and you have to replace all your cabinet faces! That doesn’t even touch that the cabinets are typically out of style. While going to a local cabinet shop is more expensive, you’ll get a product that will last a lifetime. You can also refinish cabinets that are actually made of wood and not MDF.
Buy: Garage Systems
Setting your garage up to be your workshop? Look no further. Home Depot has some amazing options whether you want to turn it into a place for carpentry or somewhere to work on your vehicle. There are even options to store your lawn equipment if you choose to keep it in your garage. There are several lines and lots of applications.
While the heavy-duty racks and toolboxes can be a great investment (as they last for a really long time), you might also look at full lines like Gladiator, which offers everything in one. Home Depot really did a great job upping their game on organization for the garage, and we applaud them for that.
Many of the products at Home Depot aren’t too bad quality. No, they’re not the best of the best, but they’re good enough for most people in their homes. As long as you don't toss things against your tiles, consider purchasing Home Depot tiles. The styles are pretty great, and you can get a decent discount if you track the prices for a few months.
The only thing we have to say is that you should skip the installation crew. Like the flooring, those installing your tile may not have your best interest at heart. Think of it this way: a good company will want to get its name out there. Not to mention, installing tile isn’t too difficult to begin with for any DIYer.
Home Depot has some fantastic grills and smokers you can grab all year ‘round – you read that right. Unlike other places that only put grills out during seasonal times, they realize the weather might be right in December to throw some chicken or hotdogs on the grill. Not only that, but the prices are very reasonable.
Naturally, there are some special days (or weeks) that they put their grills on sale. Black Friday is a huge week, but there’s also the Spring Black Friday event that goes on around April. You’ll catch both low-end and high-end outdoor cooking equipment going on sale during both of these time.
Avoid: Home Décor
Home Depot may not have the worst items on the market, but you’ll sure pay a pretty penny to get them. We’re going to use curtains, for example. While Home Depot can have some pretty nice styles, they can cost around $30. However, IKEA might have the same design (or similar) for as low as $10!
We could all use $20 extra in our wallets. This price difference can go for a lot of stuff at Home Depot, from vases to fake plants and even sheets! The only exception is if you manage to get some of this stuff on clearance, but even then, you may want to check around to make sure a similar item isn’t half the price elsewhere.
Buy: Clearance Holiday Items
Have you ever checked out Home Depot when the holiday items go on sale? You’re missing out otherwise! Some of the best discounts you’ll ever find at Home Depot are when Christmas items go out of season. Immediately after the holiday, discounts can be as low as 30%. However, if you wait, you can get even better deals.
As little as two weeks after Christmas, you can pick up lights and other Christmas décor for 70% off. Stores like Michaels will have better indoor décor, but Home Depot is the place you should go to stock up on lighting or outdoor items. The tough part is remembering what you already have at home, so you don’t double up on some stuff.
There’s a reason carpenters tend to shy away from Home Depot. Not only are the products subpar, but you’ll also find issues with the measurements. You could measure your door a million times, and when you purchase the door from Home Depot, it won’t fit. Why? They typically aren’t cut properly!
Don’t even get us started on custom doors. If you have a specialty door in mind, you’ll end up with delays, return issues, and the measurements will still be off. The best bet is to go local. Find a shop near you with qualified experts that can insure their product and stand by what they deliver.
Windows often run into the same issues you’ll find with doors – they aren’t high quality. The measurements can be off sometimes, too. If you aren’t installing it yourself, you’ll run into even more problems since the quality of the installation is poor at best. At worst, you’re looking at thousands in damages after it rains.
For windows, go local. Not only will these places have qualified experts that can help you find exactly what you’re looking for, but they also know their products like the back of their hand. They can guide you through any concerns you might have, and you’ll end up with something perfect for you home. After all, windows aren’t something you can easily replace.
Buy: Patio Furniture
There’s a caveat with patio furniture: get it while the going is hot. Home Depot typically takes away its patio equipment in the winter when most people aren’t going to be outside. However, you can still find some decent deals for patio furniture online if you want to purchase something for the upcoming spring or summer.
The most aggressive sales go on during the end of the season when Home Depot is desperately trying to clear out all the bulky furniture to make room for the new holiday décor that’s already come in. Black Friday is also not a bad time to check out any patio furniture deals, but that’s exclusively online.
Avoid: Common Plants
Want to get a nice pothos or fern? We’re going to say that you should avoid the common stuff at Home Depot simply because the prices are obscene. You can pay as much as $6 for a small pothos when most plant hobbyists are giving away cuttings for free! Sure it takes a little longer, but you could also pay a few bucks for a full six-inch pot.
Heck, some plant groups are even willing to give you large trees like a fiddle leaf fig for free. It definitely doesn’t hurt to ask! If that doesn’t pan out, check out your local plant stores. They’ll offer common plants for dirt cheap since they’re typically easy to grow, and they have a massive stock of them. Remember when buying plants: check for pests.
We’re not talking about lightbulbs because, typically, bulbs are cheaper at Walmart and Target. We mean the specialty lights like specialty LED bulbs, string lights, or the kitchen lighting. All of these items are cheaper than in any other store, and there are tens of options to comb through.
Home Depot will also have those weird sizes that Walmart and Target may not have – the super big or the super small lights. Our favorite deals are the Christmas lights because they often go on deep discounts that the regular stores can’t even touch. Check out your Home Depot for lights.
Buy: Picture Hanging Supplies
It honestly makes sense to find good picture-hanging supplies at Home Depot. Sure, Walmart has some options, but if you want something more than screws and Command hooks, then a home improvement store is the best place to go. There are full kits that offer ways to hang canvas, picture frames, and so much more.
Many of these kits are also designed to cut down on damage done to your wall, unlike anything you’ll find at Walmart or Target. Some kids also offer metal wires and weights to ensure the pictures are straight. By the way, Command strips? Home Depot has a larger selection of them as well.
Buy: Gardening Supplies
Walmart isn’t an awful place to purchase gardening supplies, but your best bet is going to be Home Depot. There are sales all the time for basic things like mulch, soil, and garden beds, especially at the beginning of spring. You can get bags of soil for half the price of what they’d normally charge!
Another great thing is that they offer soil testers all year long, as well. Planting hydrangeas and want a specific color? Better test your soil! There’s also a massive selection of gloves that actually protect your hands – unlike the stuff you’ll probably find at Walmart. The gloves also come in a huge variety of sizes so you’ll 100% find gloves that fit you.
All sinks are the made the same! Well, not quite. We all know what happens when you buy a cheap, knock-off brand of something on Amazon. Maybe it breaks faster, and that’s fine, but for sinks? Water isn’t something to mess around with because water damage is serious. Go with Home Depot.
Home Depot carries all the top brands like Kohler and Toto. Better yet, Home Depot carries American brands, so you can ensure that the quality is there. Just don’t get the sink and vanity combinations because that just sets you up for a bad time.
Buy: Christmas Trees
Fake or real – it doesn’t matter! Home Depot and other home improvement stores have a fantastic selection of Christmas trees. For real trees, the prices can be as low as $50 or as high as $80. That might seem like a lot, but pop-up Christmas tree sellers charge more than $100 for a small tree that’s… not great. For $100, that thing better be perfect.
For artificial, Home Depot has really stepped up its game. There are tons of fantastic features you won’t find at trees sold at Walmart or Target. This can include twinkling, color changing, timers, and so much more. You’ll want to grab a tree with the most branch tips, and Home Depot can offer trees with up to 6000 tips.
Buy: Clearance Plants
Clearance plants? Heck yeah! The thing about Home Depot and other home improvement stores is that they don’t have employees that typically know how to take care of plants. They are given locations to place them and told when to water them, but many plants end up waterlogged or dried out.
That isn’t necessarily bad for you because you can let it dry out (or water it), and the plant may bounce back better than ever. Some plants can be as low as a dollar once they “look” ugly. You may also be able to ask for some plants to be discounted because they aren’t necessarily healthy.
Honestly, Home Depot toilets are pretty great. When they say they can flush a bucket of golf balls, they aren’t joking. We’re not sure when you would need to stuff that much crap down your toilet – pun intended – but knowing your toilet won’t back up all the time is pretty great. Better yet, their toilets won't chip or tarnish easily.
Our favorite thing is that many of the products offered at Home Depot are American made. You don’t have to worry about grabbing yourself a toilet and even installing it yourself if you’re feeling especially adventurous. All the equipment is right there, and it’s actually easier than you may think.