I shopped at Home Depot and Lowe’s, the top home improvement stores in the US, and Lowe’s was the clear winner

Lowe's (left) was much more organized than Home Depot (right).

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Lowe’s (left) was much more organized than Home Depot (right).
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I went to Lowe’s first, and I found that it provided a better shopping experience than Home Depot overall.

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A Lowe’s storefront in Brooklyn, New York.
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The first thing I noticed about Lowe’s was how it mentally took me right back to the suburbs. Walking up to the door, I felt like I could have been in the middle of suburbia because of all the open space.

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The entrance of a Lowe’s storefront in Brooklyn, New York.
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Home Depot felt more urban because what was empty space in front of Lowe’s was a parking garage and garden section in front of Home Depot.

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While both stores provided interactive shopping experiences …

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A Home Depot in Brooklyn, New York.
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… Lowe’s had a slight edge when it came to its low prices and atmosphere.

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The display area at a Lowe’s in Brooklyn, New York.
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Sometimes when a customer finds an item at another store for a lower price, companies will sell the item to the customer for that same lower price. This is called a price matching policy.

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A deal on a Samsung dryer at a Lowe’s in Brooklyn, New York.
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Source: Home Depot, Lowe’s


Both Lowe’s and Home Depot offer price matching but Lowe’s has a slightly better policy. While both stores give customers an additional 10% off of that lower price…

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Kobalt hardware products at a Lowe’s in Brooklyn, New York.
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Source: Home Depot, Lowe’s


… Home Depot’s policy has more restrictions than Lowe’s’. Home Depot requires you to have a lower price when purchasing the item.

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Pick-up lockers for online orders at Home Depot.
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Source: Home Depot


Lowe’s’ policy gives customers 30 days after purchasing the item to find a lower price. This way customers can focus on purchasing the best product for them and worry about getting the best deal later on.

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The entrance to a Lowe’s in Brooklyn, New York.
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Source: Lowe’s


Lowe’s had a better atmosphere than Home Depot too, thanks to its use of color and cleanliness.

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An LG refrigerator on display at a Lowe’s in Brooklyn, New York.
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Colors have emotional effects on people, and Home Depot’s color of choice is orange.

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Home Depot’s logo is orange and so are most of the signs in the store.
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Source: Business Insider


Now don’t get me wrong — I love orange. It’s my favorite color …

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Home Depot’s logo is orange and so are most of the signs in the store.
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider

… but seeing so much of it in one place made me feel like I was supposed to be in a hurry.

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Home Depot’s logo is orange and so are most of the signs in the store.
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider

That’s because orange sends an aggressive message. It gives the customers a sense of urgency or a call to action.

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Home Depot has orange carts too.
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


Meanwhile, at Lowe’s, the color blue creates a sensation of trust and security.

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Lowe’s’ logo is blue and so are most of the signs in the store.
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider

If I was working on a home improvement project, I’d like to feel comfortable taking my time.

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The display area of a Lowe’s in Brooklyn, New York.
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Lowe’s’ blue branding gave me a sense of calmness as I roamed the store. But it wasn’t just the color that kept me calm.

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Lowe’s’ logo is blue and so are most of the signs in the store.
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Lowe’s was also significantly neater than Home Depot.

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At Lowe’s, everything was in its place.
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The display area was clear of any extra stuff that’s not meant to be displayed …

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At Lowe’s, everything was in its place.
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… like the packaged appliances which were too close to the model kitchens at Home Depot …

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I struggled to fully examine the refrigerator and stove because there were boxes of huge appliances so close to them.
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… or the backs of refrigerators that were visible in Home Depot’s display area.

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The display area at Home Depot.
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The display area at Lowe’s was like a shiny walkway with shelves of products neatly surrounding it …

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The display area at Lowe’s.
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… while Home Depot’s display area was more like an actual maze, with random opened boxes creating dead-ends.

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The display area at Home Depot.
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Overall, Home Depot was a bit of a struggle to get around.

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The display area at Home Depot.
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Like in the indoor plant section, where large plants were placed sporadically on the ground …

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The indoor plant section at Home Depot.
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… blocking the aisles …

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The indoor plant section at Home Depot.
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… which were already quite narrow.

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The indoor plant section at Home Depot.
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A couple of plants were out of place at Lowe’s, too. But the wider aisles made it less of an issue.

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The indoor plant section at Lowe’s.
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Sale sections at Home Depot were seemingly randomly placed.

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A sale section at Home Depot.
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In fact, a lot of products seemed to be randomly stacked on the floor, blocking walkways.

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Products stacked at Home Depot.
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This made the store appear sloppy …

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Products stacked at Home Depot.
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… especially since every aisle was so specifically labeled.

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Aisle labels at Home Depot.
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While Lowe’s and Home Depot have their differences, both stores provided a guided and interactive experience.

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Deals at a Lowe’s in Brooklyn, New York.
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Both stores had clearly labeled aisles and items.

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Aisle labels at Home Depot.
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But Home Depot has an app that directs you to the item you’re looking for.

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A sign for the Home Depot’s app in-store.
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Through research, I found out Lowe’s has an app that does the same thing. It’s just not well-advertised in-store.

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A Lowe’s in Brooklyn, New York.
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Source: Digital Trends


Both stores also provided directions for setting up most of their products.

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Directions for installing an LED at Lowe’s.
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And both stores had interactive elements to draw the shopper in, but some were more practical than others.

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An interactive advertisement at Lowe’s.
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For example, Lowe’s had carpet and flooring samples that you could hold in your hand …

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A carpet sample at Lowe’s.
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… which is great, except that I would never have the desire to touch the bottom of a carpet in my own home. I’d rather just feel it against the surface of something else.

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A carpet sample at Home Depot.
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Luckily, I could do that at Home Depot with their more practical display.

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A carpet sample at Home Depot.
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Lowe’s had a more interactive shower display.

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Showers on display at Lowe’s.
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They had many backlit tubs and showers on display for different types of homes.

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Showers and tubs on display at Lowe’s.
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And they were all at floor-level, so you could stand inside of them.

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Showers on display at Lowe’s.
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Meanwhile at Home Depot, only three showers were at floor-level.

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Showers on display at Home Depot.
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One was on the top shelf, so it was difficult to even see, much less stand inside.

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A shower on display at Home Depot.
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But both stores had adequate interactive displays of products you can control with your hands.

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Sampling light bulbs and dimmers at Lowe’s.
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It was especially nice to be able to see how touch-control products felt, like the thermostats on display at Home Depot.

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Sampling thermostats at Home Depot.
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But Lowe’s took it to the next level with a drill sampling station, where customers can drill holes into this wood plank to test out the products.

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Lowe’s had a drill sampling station.
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider

While both stores will get you started on your next home improvement project, the organization and price points at Lowe’s will make you feel more at ease while doing it.

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The display floor at Lowe’s.
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider