14 things you should always buy at Home Depot - and 14 things to avoid at all costs

Home DepotLM Otero/AP Images

  • Home Depot is the largest home-improvement retailer in the United States.
  • But that doesn't mean you should shop there for all of your home needs.
  • What's worth buying from Home Depot and what should you absolutely skip? We asked experts with firsthand experience to share their picks.

Home Depot is a big-box home supply and goods store and the largest home-improvement retailer in the United States.

But that doesn't mean you should hit up the superstore for all of your home needs. While Home Depot stores often offer very competitive prices, it doesn't always, nor do its products always have the best quality or aesthetic appeal.

It's worth bearing in mind, however, that the mega-chain offers a 110% price match guarantee.

"If you find an item for less elsewhere, they will not only match the price but will take an extra 10% off," Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot, told Business Insider. "Just make sure to provide proof of the other retailer's price."

Home Depot also offers financing on big-ticket items such as large appliances and power tools.

"These features make it attractive to our design clients in the midst of a renovation and home redesign, where budget is such a big factor," Brian Garcia, co-owner of Hoboken-based design firm D & G Interiors + Design, told Business Insider. "On the other hand, there are some cons like poor customer support; employees often lack the knowledge and training to answer straightforward questions, explain installation, or even make simple suggestions."

Garcia also said that unlike most local appliance centers and hardware stores that are usually able to help customers directly, at Home Depot, once you purchase your goods, you're left to deal with the manufacturers and third-party service centers when problems arise in the future.

So what's worth buying from Home Depot and what should you absolutely skip? We asked experts with firsthand experience to share their picks:

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Buy: Light bulbs

Buy: Light bulbs

"There is no beating the selection of light bulbs Home Depot offers and keeps on hand," Garcia said. "Not only are you bound to find the type of bulb you're looking for, but their pricing is always sharp and lower than the hardware store."

Diana Weinstein, the founder of Diana Weinstein Design, told Business Insider that she suggests customers buy multi-packs — LED bulbs, in particular.

"I always make sure I have a variety of kelvins, but between 2700-3000 kelvins, which is the color of the light. Anything under 3000 is warmer," she said. "It drives me nuts when clients buy the wrong LEDS and the light is so blue it feels like a hospital or school."

Skip: Countertops

Skip: Countertops

"In general, Home Depot's pricing structure isn't as competitive as local stone yards and/or fabricators," Garcia said.

"Also, by shopping at a stone yard or fabricator, you can sometimes find unbeatable remnants deals," he said.

"We had a client who insisted on pricing out a quartz countertop at Home Depot for a 72" vanity we had designed, and they were quoted $1,100. After visiting one of our recommended fabricators for a second bid, we found a piece of quartz that worked perfectly in size and color for $750."

Buy: Lismore Gray Glazed Ceramic Floor and Wall Tile

Buy: Lismore Gray Glazed Ceramic Floor and Wall Tile

Thinking about remodeling your kitchen or bathroom?

"Lismore Ceramic Floor & Wall Tile is affordable and high-quality," Nicole Pomije, who spearheads the development of new locations for the fast-growing bakery The Cookie Cups, where she is also an owner, told Business Insider.

"It works for commercial or residential projects and will last for years. They even have an install team that will do the whole project for you."

Skip: KitchenAid Professional Mixer

Skip: KitchenAid Professional Mixer

It may be convenient, but at Home Depot, according to Pomije, small kitchen appliances aren't your best deal.

Skirboll also recommended purchasing kitchen appliances elsewhere.

"You can find a wider range of brands and options at a retailer like Bed Bath & Beyond or a department store. Plus at Bed Bath & Beyond you can always get 20% off one item, both in store and online. Those savings can really add up," she said.

Buy: Hampton Bay LED Square Low Profile Flush Mount Light

Buy: Hampton Bay LED Square Low Profile Flush Mount Light

Whether you're looking for new lighting for your home or storefront, Home Depot is a great choice, according to Pomije.

"They have hundreds of options," she said. "Specifically for our business we always need kitchen lighting that will pass the food and building code inspections. I like these flush mounts for a kitchen, and you can use these in a home kitchen as well."

Skip: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Skip: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum Cleaner

"This vacuum cleaner is not your best deal — price compare on Google and you can get the same one cheaper," Pomije said.

Buy: Nest Smart Learning Wifi Programmable Thermostat

Buy: Nest Smart Learning Wifi Programmable Thermostat

"Using a smart thermostat at your home or business is a smart move," Pomije said.

"It will help you save on your electric and gas bills and the newer ones like this one by Nest have some really cool features built in. Home Depot is offering up to $100 in rebates on this model as well."

Skip: U.S. Traveler Rio 2 Piece Expandable Carry on Luggage Set

Skip: U.S. Traveler Rio 2 Piece Expandable Carry on Luggage Set

"While this luggage set may seem like a great deal, this is not high-quality luggage and will not stand the test of time," Pomije said.

For just a little more money, you can get durable pieces from iFLY.

Buy: Samsung French Door Refrigerator

Buy: Samsung French Door Refrigerator

Need a new refrigerator at home? Redoing your entire kitchen?

"Home Depot has great product lines and offers amazing warranty packages," Pomije said.

Skip: Oriental Furniture Laughing Buddha Decorative Statue

Skip: Oriental Furniture Laughing Buddha Decorative Statue

"Resist the urge to impulse-buy at Home Depot pieces like this overpriced Buddha Statue, which retails for over $300," Pomije said.

You're better off putting that money towards a trip to Thailand and actually buying an authentic one.

Buy: Hampton Bay Riley 3 Piece Metal Outdoor Sectional Set with Charleston Cushions

Buy: Hampton Bay Riley 3 Piece Metal Outdoor Sectional Set with Charleston Cushions

"I love this collection from Home Depot," Pomije said.

"It's competitively priced, trendy, and comfortable. If you don't like this one, there are a ton of other great patio options to choose from."

Skip: Nearly Natural 65 in UV Resistant Indoor Outdoor Fiddle Leaf Tree

Skip: Nearly Natural 65 in UV Resistant Indoor Outdoor Fiddle Leaf Tree

This tree is designed to look real, but it isn't — and at nearly $160, it's very expensive for what amounts to nothing more than a plastic plant, especially since it doesn't actually look convincingly real.

"This is not a good deal. You can do better if you look at Amazon," Pomije said.

Buy: Christmas tree

Buy: Christmas tree

If you cringe at the idea of a fake tree, especially around the holidays, check out Home Depot once Christmas rolls around.

"We spent $24.99 for a six-inch tree, and it was amazing. They even load it on top of your car for you," Pomije said.

Skip: Plumbing fixtures

Skip: Plumbing fixtures

"The myth of big-box stores selling inferior plumbing fixtures made with cheaper parts and materials has never been debunked, [so] why take the chance?" said Garcia, who recommended paying a little bit more at a plumbing supply house so that you can have piece of mind.

Buy: Garage systems

Buy: Garage systems

"Garage systems are great for tidy and stylish garages and even basements; there's a line called Gladiator at Home Depot that's very chic and industrial looking — Home Depot is the logical place to find them," Weinstein said.

Skip: Art work

Skip: Art work

"Don't even think about Home Depot for these items," Garcia said.

"There's nothing aesthetically pleasing about dogs playing poker — seriously, their art selection is always stagnant and the pricing is not great. You can most likely score a better deal at stores like Ikea, HomeSense, or HomeGoods."

Buy: Tools

Buy: Tools

"I highly recommend buying tools at Home Depot, from hand tools to power tools," Garcia said.

"Chances are whatever you need, they carry it, and at a good price."

Skip: All rugs

Skip: All rugs

The only rug you should consider buying at Home Depot, according to Weinstein, is a doormat.

"These rugs never look good, and they're almost always made from cheap, synthetic materials," Weinstein told Business Insider.

Buy: Picture hanging supplies

Buy: Picture hanging supplies

"OOK is my favorite brand for hooks you can also find metal wires in all weights, and Home Depot has great prices and variety," Weinstein said.

"Home Depot also has a good variety of Command Strips for hanging light things without destroying walls."

Skip: Bathroom vanity

Skip: Bathroom vanity

"While I know bathroom vanities can be expensive, the ones I have seen at Home Depot, while really well-priced, are pretty poor-quality," Weinstein said.

"The vanity gets a ton of abuse in a room with steam, water, and opening and closing of doors. If you need to save money, search for a better-quality vanity and find remnant for the counter top."

Buy: Toilet and sinks

Buy: Toilet and sinks

"You can find the same brands you would find at plumbing stores, like Kohler and Toto, at Home Depot, with the same quality and at a great price," Weinstein said.

Skip: Decorative accessories

Skip: Decorative accessories

"Home Depot is a great place to buy supplies for DIY home decor, but for finished products, I recommend going elsewhere," Skirboll said.

"Off-price retailers like Home Goods or TJ Maxx offer a great selection of on-trend home accessories at affordable prices, and if you're looking for something specific, I recommend trying sites like Wayfair or Hayneedle."

Buy: Plants

Buy: Plants

While the plastic ones are overpriced and not exactly appealing, Home Depot has a great selection of real, living plants.

"Every year, Home Depot offers a Spring Black Friday sale, typically in April, where you can score amazing deals on everything you need to kick off the warmer months," Skirboll said. "Plants are a huge part of this sale. Find everything you need to spruce up your home at great prices."

Skip: Cleaning supplies

Skip: Cleaning supplies

While Home Depot has a wide assortment of cleaning supply brands, you'll find a better selection and better prices at retailers like Target, Walmart, Amazon, and even your local grocery store.

Plus, interior designer Gilles Clement told Business Insider that Home Depot falls behind the times in the cleaning aisle as far as carrying products that are full of toxic chemicals.

"Target does a much better job of devoting shelf space to natural alternatives like Mrs. Meyers, Caldrea, and Clorox's GreenWorks line," he said.

Buy: Grills

Buy: Grills

"Grills are also a part of the Spring Black Friday sale," Skirboll said. "Home Depot offers high-end versions and low-end versions, so you can be sure to find one that fits your needs at any price point."

Garcia also told Business Insider that you can often score free assembly and delivery, depending on the promotions they're running.

Skip: Everyday items

Skip: Everyday items

"For smaller, everyday items like batteries, you can save some money and a trip to the store by purchasing on Amazon," Skirboll said.

Same goes for things like vases, candle holders, throw pillows, and blankets.

Buy: Behr paint

Buy: Behr paint

"Behr paints are sold exclusively at Home Depot, and they were just rated No. 1 for interior paints by JD Power for 2019," Skirboll said.

"If you're looking for quality paint at a great price, this is the way to go."

Skip: Indoor furniture

Skip: Indoor furniture

"Unless you're buying for your outdoor shed, keep walking," Weinstein said.

For budget options with more style, head to Ikea, West Elm, or CB2.

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