Target vs. Walmart, Costco vs. Sam's Club: The top retailers all have their worthy competitors. In the home improvement arena, the two giants are Lowe's and Home Depot. If you're looking to complete a spring project on a budget, is it better to head to Home Depot or Lowe's?While the merchandise, prices, and selection are comparable, Lowe's edges out Home Depot by a small margin due to better customer service and store experience, according to our firsthand research. However, Home Depot offers weekend workshops and rents out power tools -- services useful to any weekend warrior. Home Depot may also be a better source for professionals, with a dedicated Pro Desk, while Lowe's is best for basic home improvement projects and renovations.
We dispatched a researcher to outlets of both retailers and graded Lowe's and Home Depot on a variety of criteria including price, return policy, customer service, and overall experience. Undertaking an identical home improvement project -- building a deck -- at both stores yielded clear results, as Lowe's provided far superior project support and lower pricing.
Read our full comparison of Lowe's and Home Depot to find out how they rank on different features and see what customers have to say about the two retailers.