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10 Surprising Things You Shouldn’t Buy at Home Depot or Lowe’s

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Large hardware stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s provide tons of essential supplies for any homeowner interested in DIY work to improve their living space. Whether it’s a new faucet or wall paint, most basic upgrades can be handled with the help of a home improvement store. Not just home renovators love Home Depot and Lowe’s because other shoppers will also enjoy the wide selection of items from these stores. Although many home improvement projects can benefit from a trip to Home Depot or Lowe’s, it’s safe to say that some items should be purchased elsewhere.

Check out the following surprising things that you shouldn’t buy at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

1. Plants and Flowers

Plant Section at Home Improvement Store

Greenery is often used by homeowners to enliven their spaces. Plants and flowers bring a sense of freshness to any decor style. That being said, it’s probably best to avoid home improvement stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot if you’re searching for high-quality greenery to bring into your home. Plants and flowers at these stores tend to be delivered in bulk and many of them can’t handle the American climate.

Plants bought at Home Depot or Lowe’s lack the usual resilience of those purchased at more specialized stores. Due to the huge numbers of plants sold by these retailers, there’s simply not enough time or personnel to take proper care of more specific needs. All plants are usually watered in the same way which leads to serious issues for many tropical species used in home decor. Going to plant shops is therefore recommended instead of buying your greenery from home improvement stores.

2. Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen Section at Home Improvement Store

Although this comes down to personal preference, most interior decor experts agree that kitchen cabinets from home improvement stores don’t look very attractive. Their main selling point is the low price tag. However, it can be worth it to spend a little extra at a specialized furniture store to get a considerable style upgrade. Kitchen cabinets from Home Depot and Lowe’s can’t compete with the sophistication and elegance of IKEA’s cabinets, for example.

3. Exotic Hardwood Flooring

Exotic Wood Texture

There’s nothing wrong with getting your hardwood flooring from home improvement stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot. You just need to pay extra attention when selecting certain materials that are considered more exotic. These retailers don’t have particularly high quality control standards when it comes to non-native woods used in hardwood flooring. This means that you should probably avoid shopping here, especially if you’re worried about poorly made planks that can be susceptible to termite damage.

It can be tempting to cut down on some costs for your flooring projects by shopping at Home Depot or Lowe’s. We recommend sticking to specialized wood flooring retailers that are much stricter when it comes to sourcing their exotic hardwood materials. They’re usually very careful about any pest signs to prevent selling rotten boards or even some planks that harbor an active termite infestation.

4. Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning Products Section at Home Improvement Store

Whether you need a solid all-purpose cleaner or some handy wipes, home improvement stores offer a generous selection of cleaning supplies. Retailers like Lowe’s or Home Depot tend to be more expensive than big-box stores, on average when it comes to buying these things. This is particularly the case for brand-name cleaning products.

If you have a favorite cleaner that you often use in your home, it’s best to not shop for it at home improvement stores. You can save some money by visiting Walmart or Target which also include inexpensive generic alternatives that often work just as well as brand-name options. Another advantage is the wider selection of products considering that big-box stores provide more eco-friendly cleaners compared to Home Depot or Lowe’s which tend to stock only chemical-laden options.

5. Countertops

Countertop Section at Home Improvement Store

Due to high prices, countertops shouldn’t be bought at Home Depot or Lowe’s. You’re better off shopping for this kind of item at a stone yard or a fabricator. If your home remodeling project includes a countertop, it’s typically quite convenient to buy it at a home improvement store along with all your other supplies. But if you want to save some money, it’s worth doing some research because countertops can be found cheaper somewhere else. Going for a stone yard instead of Home Depot might often mean stumbling upon remnants deals that can potentially reduce costs even further when you buy a countertop.

6. Batteries

Disposable Electric Batteries

Home improvement stores lack a competitive pricing structure when it comes to items such as batteries. These items are typically grabbed by consumers out of convenience without too much attention to the expense. It turns out that you can buy batteries to power various appliances much more cheaply at warehouse stores or big-box stores such as Costco or Walmart. If you use up lots of disposable batteries in your home, it’s not advised to get them at home improvement retailers like Lowe’s or Home Depot.

7. Home Decor

Home Decor Section at Home Improvement Store

Lots of interior remodeling projects require home decorations for a quick aesthetic upgrade. However, the selection and quality of decor items from Home Depot and Lowe’s can leave a lot to be desired. Aside from more limited options, you might also be faced with higher costs on certain items such as frames, rugs, and curtains. It seems surprising to many people but it turns out that home improvement stores don’t offer very competitive prices in the home decor department. It’s recommended to visit big-box stores or shop online in specialized stores for stylish and cost-effective decorations.

8. Small Appliances

Kitchen Blender Section at Home Improvement Store

Although home improvement stores provide excellent choices for big appliances, the selection of small appliances is much poorer. Whether you need a microwave oven or a food processor, it’s safe to say that you should visit other stores like Costco or shop online to grab the best deals. Home Depot and Lowe’s find it hard to compete in this particular segment. Small kitchen appliances should be bought somewhere else where you can also take advantage of a greater range of brands and products.

9. Grilling Accessories

Grilling Accessories Section at Home Improvement Store

Lots of shoppers choose Home Depot or Lowe’s when planning to purchase a brand-new grill. While the retailers are recommended to find great deals in this department, you should avoid buying accessories for your grill. It’s the same issue of convenience because consumers are tempted to grab everything in one place but this isn’t always a smart financial decision. Get your fancy grilling accessories from somewhere else if you care about making the most money savings.

10. Bathroom Vanity

Bathroom Vanity Section at Home Improvement Store

Similar to kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities are just not worth buying at home improvement stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot. Bathroom vanities tend to be poorly built and not as stylish as options from specialized furniture stores. Upgrading to a new bathroom vanity can be quite a costly project but you might regret picking the cheapest options from Home Depot. Keep in mind that durability is very important for this item so it’s recommended to avoid making too many compromises when shopping for bathroom vanities.


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