We're now entering peak spring gardening season, when everyone is snapping up plants, pottery, new grills, and patio furniture.
Or perhaps someplace else?
Home Depot and Lowe's have been battling for our dollars since 1978, hard to believe. But when it comes to which store is "better," there's still no clear winner after all these years.
That's because the biggest difference is cosmetic, according to the financial site Investopedia.com.
Home Depot is best for...
Investopedia says Home Depot has what it calls an "industrial esthetic," with its orange color scheme, emphasis on power tools and equipment rentals, and a feel that it's geared toward professionals.
If you want to build a house, you might feel more comfortable with Home Depot. If you want to rent an insulation blower, Home Depot may be the only option for miles around.
Lowe's is best for...
Lowe's, Investopedia says, is more for "first time home improvement customers," with it's blue color scheme, lower shelves and larger floor displays of appliances, patio furniture, grills and holiday items.
If you are decorating your back patio for the summer, Lowe's typically has a larger and better displayed selection of chairs, pillows, and umbrellas.
But from the "doesn't that stink" file: assuming these two big chains always have the lowest prices on everything they sell.
The most recent Marketwatch survey a couple of years ago found prices on cleaning supplies, small appliances, and batteries are often higher at Home Depot and Lowe's, compared to big box discount stores.
Grab some batteries without checking prices and you might say "doesn't that stink."
Marketwatch found Duracell AA's for 30 percent less at Walmart and Costco.
Finally, while Home Depot and Lowe's are fully stocked with outdoor gear this time of year, don't expect huge markdowns. If you really want a bargain on outdoor furniture and grills, you may want to wait till July, when patio gear is marked down to make way for fall items.
That way you don't waste your money.
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