For most residential homeowners and general contractors, Home Depot is a one-stop-shop for every material and tool that they could possibly need. From lumber and building materials to tools, plants, prefabricated structures, appliances, and more, they have it all. The real question that I’ve been asked time and time again though is, “Is Home Depot expensive?”
Home Depot is a bit expensive when compared to other online hardware stores, and even some other “budget stores.” However, when you consider the fact that you can save time and buy everything you need in one place, you have to admit that Home Depot isn’t quite as overpriced as it may seem at first glance.
Another important fact to keep in mind is that hardware and building material prices across the country are increasing. This means that it’s not just Home Depot that’s getting more expensive; it’s everywhere! In today’s post, I’ll be answering some of the most common questions regarding Home Depot’s pricing and fees as well as how they compare to other popular hardware stores.
Aside from lumber prices, most of the products at Home Depot are about the same price as they were pre-pandemic, which is to say that they’re a little higher than bargain hardware stores but still cheap enough to be worth it.
The truth is that Home Depot’s prices will vary based on your geographical location but they tend to keep their prices more reasonable than mom and pop hardware stores. This is because Home Depot sells enough volume to have smaller margins on their products than other stores.
It wasn’t too long ago when I used to shop at Home Depot all of the time. Then, almost out of the blue, prices began to increase astronomically. This was especially true of Home Depot’s building materials such as flooring, roofing, siding, and other lumber products.
In fact, once I had to walk out of the store after realizing that the project that I had budgeted $200 for was now going to cost me almost $500! In confusion, I decided to do a bit of research. In my mind, there was no legitimate reason that a sheet of plywood should jump from $25 to $60 seemingly overnight.
As it turns out, though, there is a legitimate reason why Home Depot’s lumber prices have become so expensive in the past year. In fact, there are two factors that have greatly contributed to the insane price of lumber today:
- Disruptions in the supply chain (mostly due to the pandemic).
- Dramatically increased demand for building materials (also thanks to the pandemic).
Let me explain.
So, the first factor that has contributed to higher-than-usual lumber prices is the disruption in supply chains. During COVID, many large lumber mills and transportation companies experienced labor shortages as well as temporary shutdowns. This, in turn, meant that lumber wasn’t being delivered on time and some orders couldn’t be fulfilled.
The second factor is the greatly increased demand for lumber. During the lockdowns, people were shut into their homes, getting free money from the government.
Many people decided to use the extra time and money to get started on long-awaited home projects and repairs.
When you combine decreased supply of lumber plus increased demand for lumber, you get higher prices. And that, my friends, is basic economics. It may suck for consumers like you and me, but unfortunately, until demand goes back down and there’s a surplus of lumber, we can expect Home Depot’s lumber prices to remain higher than usual.
Now, if you’re a smart shopper, then you may be wondering if Lowe’s is any cheaper than Home Depot. Unfortunately, the case is the same at Lowes. The high cost of lumber and building materials isn’t just a Home Depot problem. It’s a problem that’s hit hardware stores and lumber wholesalers across the entire United States.
Now, if you’re looking at other items like tools, screws, nails, or home appliances, then you’ll likely find that prices haven’t changed too much. Sure, there’s been a bit of an increase due to recent inflation. However, the cost of a screwdriver or drill hasn’t tripled in the past year the way that lumber prices have.
So, in the case of these items, both Home Depot and Lowes have near identical pricing. One store may decide to run a special or a deal on certain items, but other than that, there’s no discernable difference between the two stores.
Is Home Depot still a legit choice compared to small, local hardware stores? I would say that it is. While I’ve always been a fan of shopping local, I’ve found that my local hardware stores have increased their pricing as much, if not higher, than Home Depot and Lowes.
One of the features I’ve always loved about Home Depot is the fact that they deliver almost any item that they sell in their stores directly to your front door or the job site you’re working on. Not only do they deliver, but their delivery prices are very fair (and cheaper than most other lumber wholesalers I’ve worked with in the past).
They offer free shipping on most orders over $45, with the exception of extra-large orders. For example, if you order a ton of lumber or large home appliances, you’ll usually pay a set fee based on the weight of the order. This is because they’ll need to hire larger trucks to deliver the order to you.
Although Home Depot (and almost all hardware stores, for that matter) have gotten more expensive over the past year, there are a few different ways to get better rates and save money. Here are some of the most common methods that I’ve used to get great rates, both on my home projects and carpentry jobs I’ve been contracted for.
If you own a small contracting company (electrical, building, plumbing, repairs, landscaping, etc.), then I highly recommend you sign up for Home Depot Pro. You’ll get cheaper pricing on large bulk orders, a special members-only line and parking spots at the store (shorter wait time), and other perks. You’ll even be able to purchase hard-to-find materials that aren’t available in-store!
If you shop at Home Depot a lot, then you may consider applying for a Home Depot credit card. You’ll get cashback on purchases and be eligible for in-store deals. This can definitely decrease your bottom line when it comes to large orders or regular shopping.
Last but not least, I have to recommend checking Groupon. They offer a number of deals that allow you to save big on certain single items and large orders alike!
I’ll be the first person to tell you that Home Depot has become a lot more expensive this past year. However, it’s not just them; it’s almost every major and minor hardware store across the country. Supply chain problems combined with an increased demand for lumber and building materials have caused extreme inflation. As it stands, you should expect to see the same prices in the near future.