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12 Secrets to Shopping at Home Depot

Apr. 10, 2017 Kiplinger

Home Depot is probably the first retailer to come to mind when you’re thinking “ubiquitous big-box hardware store.” The rise of these orange-hued home-improvement centers was a revelation to those who grew up with small, neighborhood hardware stores in the 20th century and who became adult homeowners and DIYers in the 21st.

Imagine. Every tool under the sun, building materials, flooring, roofing, lighting, appliances, lawn and garden supplies—all in one cavernous warehouse. Amazing! Home Depot has been a boon to consumers but a bane to the mom-and-pop hardware stores of our youth, driving many out of business and leaving only Lowe’s Home Improvement as its head-to-head competitor.

What’s left to discover? Plenty. Here are 12 ways to get more value out of your next visit to Home Depot. Have a look:

Go Online Before Going to the Store
Case in point: Recently, I was in the market for a few plants, some seed and mulch for the yard. Who knew I could land a 16-channel, Q-See 1080p 2TB video surveillance system to oversee my fine landscaping work, with eight bullet, two dome and two auto-focus cameras for only $700–a $500 discount from the full price? This happened to be the online deal of the day.

“These limited [daily] discounts are almost always the best individual deals that Home Depot offers,” says Brent Shelton of, a deals website. “Shoppers will often get 50% off.”

Once you get to the store, check out the in-store overstock section, which can boast top-brand tools and more at discounts of up to 50%.

Says Benjamin Glaser of the deals website DealNews, “If you’re really lucky, you’ll find a coupon code that will stack on top of existing discounts.”

Hint: Lighting is a big selling area at Home Depot, so bounce over to that aisle. Promotions are often rampant.

Look to Price Match
“Home Depot will price-match any major competitor that has the same item in stock,” consumer-finance expert Andrea Woroch notes. “What’s more, as long as the lower price isn’t a special or sale, Home Depot will beat the competitor by an additional 10%. So it pays to shop with them when you find a better deal elsewhere.”

Just bring in the print ad or pull it up on your smartphone at the register. This may entail Home Depot customer service checking out the competing price. And note: Online purchases are not eligible for Home Depot’s in-store low-price guarantee.

Check for Rebates
Before heading out to Home Depot to make your purchase, check the online rebate center to see if you can get an additional discount.

When I clicked on the rebate center, it was loaded with deals on home furnaces and Wi-Fi-enabled smart thermostats.

Often, says Shelton of FatWallet, the rebate center features offers on remodeling and building materials, home appliances and Energy Star products.

“Some of the bigger rebates will get called out on the FatWallet Hot Deals forum, especially during seasonal sales, when Home Depot offers 30% to 40% off major appliance purchases,” says Shelton.

Take Advantage of the DIY Workshops
At every entrance to every Home Depot, there’s a chalkboard with a menu of upcoming workshop sessions in the store (and if you aren’t old-school-chalkboard, find the workshops online). These 90-minute sessions provide how-to classes from remodeling pros on home repairs, installation, paint tips and more.

These can save you money or time by letting you know what to buy in advance and how to properly budget a home repair project. After all, it will be much more expensive to bring in a contractor after botching a home improvement project you informed your significant other you could do perfectly fine on your own. (Yes, I’m speaking from firsthand experience here.)

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