5 Things You Shouldn’t Buy at Home Improvement Stores

Home Depot

If you just purchased a home or working on a home improvement project, you will probably spend lots of time at your local home improvement store.

As enticing as it can be to walk the many aisles of items from crown molding to appliances, there are items you should purchase at other places. Here are five items Realtor.com says you can find a better deal at other places.


It’s tempting to just grab the batteries hanging out near the checkout when you spot them, but stop!

“The best place to buy batteries is at a warehouse store like Costco, which offers the best bang for your buck,” says money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. “Otherwise, Walmart or Target is your next best option in a pinch.”

Cleaning products

Skip the cleaning aisle at the hardware store, and you’ll save a bundle.

“You’ll pay 5% to 10% more for name-brand cleaning products at a big-box hardware store,” says Woroch. “Walmart and Target offer better deals on the same brands, plus even cheaper generic alternatives. You can even find no-name cleaning brands at the dollar store for rock-bottom prices.”

Home decor

While Home Depot and Lowe’s may excel at home improvement, their home decor items could really stand for some improvement—in quality, selection, and price. Take curtains, for instance: At Ikea, curtains are priced as low as $10–$25 a pair, while Lowe’s charges $36 a panel for a very similar style. Meanwhile, a framed Melissa Van Hise “Sassy Cat” print sells for $98 at Home Depot and only $84 at Walmart.


It takes a little DIY ingenuity, but if you’re willing to put in the effort, you can definitely beat big-box store prices on gorgeous new countertops.

Woroch explains: “I got a better deal on new granite countertops by picking out a slab from a wholesale slab yard. I found a fabricator to cut the piece to the exact measurements and install it directly. By cutting out the middleman—Home Depot or Lowe’s—I cut out another party who had to get paid and got a much better price. Plus, I negotiated a better deal by offering cash!”

Small appliances

At this point, warehouse clubs such as Costco and Sam’s Club have cornered the market on small appliances. This is particularly true around the holidays, when “warehouse clubs typically stock more small appliances and prices are extremely competitive,” says Coupons.com savings expert Jeanette Pavini.