In 1978, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank were fired from Handy Dan Home Improvement Centers -- and that might have been the best thing to ever happen to them. Fourteen months later they opened the first two Home Depots, the start of an international success.
Today, The Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement retailer with 2,300 locations in North America. But while the store might offer some of the best deals on home improvement products, some of its products are less-than-stellar deals. Learn about the best and worst Home Depot deals.
The 10 Best Deals at Home Depot
From grills to light bulbs, The Home Depot is home to some of the best deals for home improvement items. Here are 10 Home Depot deals you don't want to miss.
1. Plants and Trees
When you buy perennials, trees and shrubs - and even vegetables for your garden - they come with a Home Depot guarantee. The generous return policy is one year for perennials, trees and shrubs; cut flowers and floral arrangements aren't included. Keep your receipt, and you'll get a refund if your greenery isn't thriving before the 12 months are up.
The store's "Grow a Garden Guarantee" applies when you buy Bonnie brand plants and use Miracle-Gro plant food and/or soil with them. If your plant doesn't produce a bounty of tomatoes or peppers in the March-October growing season, take it and your receipts for both your Bonnie and Miracle-Gro purchases to the store for a refund within 180 days.
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2. Toro Snowblowers
In the snowblower category, the Toro brand captures three of the six top-ranked two-stage machines. The Home Depot carries a line of Toro products, including the Toro Power Max 826 OAE 37799 model, which got high marks from Consumer Reports. It sells for $1,299.
3. Weber Gas Grills
A durable gas grill is a big investment, and you'll want to make sure you get a good one. The Home Depot stocks a line of Weber Genesis and Spirit models, which rated with four-plus stars for each on the retailer's website. Consumer Reports is high on them, too, ranking five Weber models among the eight best in its recent reviews.
4. Tool Rentals
If you're a DIY fanatic, you'll love The Home Depot's dependable and affordable tool and truck rentals. If your lawn reno project requires a professional-grade tiller, for example, you don't have to spend $600 or more on one.
Instead, a similar tiller costs $70 a day, or $280 per week, to rent. Unless you're going to lay new sod every year or for the whole neighborhood, you're better off renting.
5. Truck Rentals
You'll need to find a way to get that tiller home. And if you don't have a truck, you can rent that, too, at The Home Depot. A pickup rental is $19 for 75 minutes - long enough to unload your rental at home and get the truck back to the store. Cargo vans cost the same.
6. LED Bulbs and String Lights
The Ben's Bargains website advises shoppers to turn to The Home Depot for LED lightbulbs - the best deal is on multipacks -- as well as holiday string lights. The Home Depot's plans aren't known yet for this holiday seasons, but in many years the store has offered credit through a trade-in promotion. Even without the promotion, The Home Depot beats the competition on light strings. Last Black Friday, a pack of 300 LED lights for the Christmas tree or outdoor decorating cost $17.88.
7. How-To Workshops
The pandemic halted The Home Depot's in-person weekly workshops, which gave homeowners instructions on everything from installing a kitchen faucet to laying new flooring. For free. But you can still receive tips from the pros. The popular workshop series has moved online with its DIY workshops via livestream. Register in advance to take part and learn how to repair drywall, create a garden bed, replace light fixtures and more.
8. Behr Paint
The Home Depot's Behr paint brand is a winner according to Consumer Reports. When it comes to interior paint, Behr products captured four of the top five spots in its rankings, starting with Behr Marquee and continuing to its Dynasty, Ultra and Premium Plus labels. The most expensive of the paints at about $53 for a gallon of satin, Marquee, was No. 1 in the study, thanks to its one-coat coverage. In the end, you'll pay less for a project if you only need one coat.
9. Patio Furniture
The Home Depot has a wide selection of furniture for patio and outdoor use. And if you don't need it immediately, watch for the post-summer sales. Prices on remaining items will drop in the fall to make way for holiday merchandise.
10. Military Discount
Don't forget: The Home Depot offers discounts for military personnel.
"Home Depot used to limit the military discount to holidays such as Veterans Day and Memorial Day, but in recent years the discount was changed to be valid year round," said Regina Conway, consumer expert for SlickDeals.net. It also extends to veterans. Anyone who is eligible must preregister via The Home Depot app to receive the 10% discount year round.
The 10 Worst Deals at Home Depot
Despite its vast inventory, the store shouldn't be your top choice for certain items. Grilling accessories and home décor are among the worst deals at The Home Depot, for example. See what topped our list.
1. Grilling Accessories
If you buy a Weber Genesis grill at The Home Depot, head to Walmart's website for the cover. The Weber 7131 grill cover for the Genesis II four-burner grill costs $54.99 when purchased through Walmart. The same model at The Home Depot sells for $40 more.
2. Wall Art and Home Decor
Remember that the place where you shop for hardware probably isn't the best spot to buy wall art and home décor. The selection is small, and you can find better values at places like HomeGoods or Michaels. HomeGoods has a selection of stylish, framed artwork for living spaces and kids' rooms starting at around $20.
3. Cleaning Supplies
It might be convenient to grab laundry detergent or other cleaning supplies while shopping at The Home Depot, but you'll find better prices elsewhere. For example, a 141-ounce jug of All Liquid Laundry Free Clear detergent is $11.97 at Walmart -- $2 less than at The Home Depot.
4. Off-Sale Dirt and Mulch
If you have a vegetable garden or a lawn or yard you want to see in tip-top shape, you'll need potting soil, garden soil and mulch. And a lot of it. The best time to buy it is at The Home Depot's preseason sale, such as its Spring Black Friday. In April, The Home Depot featured Vigoro garden soil at $10 for five bags (regular price $4.47 each), and both Scott's and Vigoro mulch at four bags for $10 (regular price $3.97).
5. Glidden Paint
While Behr paint is an excellent value from The Home Depot, the lesser-priced Glidden brand isn't worth your dollars, based on the Consumer Reports ranking of interior paint. While four Behr labels scored 86 or higher, no Glidden paint scored above a 60. That was the Glidden Diamond, which costs about $31 a gallon, and was dinged for its ability to resist staining.
6. Heritage Mill Engineered Wood Flooring
The Home Depot has so many choices of flooring from wood to carpet to luxury vinyl tile that it can boggle the mind of the consumers. As you wander the flooring department and grab the small carpet and flooring samples, Consumer Report's ranking of three Heritage Mill engineered wood flooring should send you in another direction. On the other hand, the Home Legend laminate flooring at The Home Depot got high marks. Check the ratings on The Home Depot website before buying, too.
7. HDX Paper Towels
If you thought a specialty paper towel from a home improvement store would be tough, think again. Consumer Reports puts the HDX brand towels from The Home Depot near the bottom of its rankings, giving it a 36 score. Instead, Consumer Reports ranked two Bounty products at the top of its list.
8. Kitchen Accessories
Buying things like frying pans, silverware and knives at a giant warehouse that also sells everything from lumber and toilets to plants and fertilizer might not be your best move. For example, Amazon sells a 12-inch OXO Good Grips skillet for $49.99. An almost-identical pan is $10 more at The Home Depot, and the selection isn't nearly as good at other retailers, either.
They're another convenience item you can pick up at the register, but batteries aren't a great deal at The Home Depot. Consider a 36-pack of Energizer Max alkaline AA batteries, selling for $21.87 - or 61 cents per battery. Consumer Reports gives the Amazon Basic AA batteries a higher rating, and you can buy 48 for $13.29, which is just 23 cents apiece.
10. Not Checking Out the Deal of the Day
One of the best bargains at The Home Depot is the Special Buy of the Day, and one of the worst things to do is not check it out if you have a purchase planned. You never know what you'll find. The specials cover both lower-priced and major purchases. One recent day, The Home Depot offered 30% off high-end garage storage systems - a deal that resulted in a savings of $3,000 on a $10,000 product.
The Home Depot is the place to turn for many of your home-improvement needs - but not all of them. Comparison shop online before you head out because you just might find a better deal elsewhere.
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Jami Farkas contributed to the reporting for this article.