I went to Lowe's first, and I found that it provided a better shopping experience than Home Depot overall.
The first thing I noticed about Lowe's was how it mentally took me right back to the suburbs. Walking up to the door, I felt like I could have been in the middle of suburbia because of all the open space.
Home Depot felt more urban because what was empty space in front of Lowe's was a parking garage and garden section in front of Home Depot.
While both stores provided interactive shopping experiences ...
... Lowe's had a slight edge when it came to its low prices and atmosphere.
Sometimes when a customer finds an item at another store for a lower price, companies will sell the item to the customer for that same lower price. This is called a price matching policy.
Both Lowe's and Home Depot offer price matching but Lowe's has a slightly better policy. While both stores give customers an additional 10% off of that lower price…
... Home Depot's policy has more restrictions than Lowe's'. Home Depot requires you to have a lower price when purchasing the item.
Lowe's' policy gives customers 30 days after purchasing the item to find a lower price. This way customers can focus on purchasing the best product for them and worry about getting the best deal later on.
Lowe's had a better atmosphere than Home Depot too, thanks to its use of color and cleanliness.
Colors have emotional effects on people, and Home Depot's color of choice is orange.
Now don't get me wrong — I love orange. It's my favorite color ...
... but seeing so much of it in one place made me feel like I was supposed to be in a hurry.
That's because orange sends an aggressive message. It gives the customers a sense of urgency or a call to action.
Meanwhile, at Lowe's, the color blue creates a sensation of trust and security.
If I was working on a home improvement project, I'd like to feel comfortable taking my time.
Lowe's' blue branding gave me a sense of calmness as I roamed the store. But it wasn't just the color that kept me calm.
Lowe's was also significantly neater than Home Depot.
The display area was clear of any extra stuff that's not meant to be displayed ...
... like the packaged appliances which were too close to the model kitchens at Home Depot ...
... or the backs of refrigerators that were visible in Home Depot's display area.
The display area at Lowe's was like a shiny walkway with shelves of products neatly surrounding it ...
... while Home Depot's display area was more like an actual maze, with random opened boxes creating dead-ends.
Overall, Home Depot was a bit of a struggle to get around.
Like in the indoor plant section, where large plants were placed sporadically on the ground ...
... blocking the aisles ...
... which were already quite narrow.
A couple of plants were out of place at Lowe's, too. But the wider aisles made it less of an issue.
Sale sections at Home Depot were seemingly randomly placed.
In fact, a lot of products seemed to be randomly stacked on the floor, blocking walkways.
This made the store appear sloppy ...
... especially since every aisle was so specifically labeled.
While Lowe's and Home Depot have their differences, both stores provided a guided and interactive experience.
Both stores had clearly labeled aisles and items.
But Home Depot has an app that directs you to the item you're looking for.
Through research, I found out Lowe's has an app that does the same thing. It's just not well-advertised in-store.
Both stores also provided directions for setting up most of their products.
And both stores had interactive elements to draw the shopper in, but some were more practical than others.
For example, Lowe's had carpet and flooring samples that you could hold in your hand ...
... which is great, except that I would never have the desire to touch the bottom of a carpet in my own home. I'd rather just feel it against the surface of something else.
Luckily, I could do that at Home Depot with their more practical display.
Lowe's had a more interactive shower display.
They had many backlit tubs and showers on display for different types of homes.
And they were all at floor-level, so you could stand inside of them.
Meanwhile at Home Depot, only three showers were at floor-level.
One was on the top shelf, so it was difficult to even see, much less stand inside.
But both stores had adequate interactive displays of products you can control with your hands.
It was especially nice to be able to see how touch-control products felt, like the thermostats on display at Home Depot.
But Lowe's took it to the next level with a drill sampling station, where customers can drill holes into this wood plank to test out the products.
While both stores will get you started on your next home improvement project, the organization and price points at Lowe's will make you feel more at ease while doing it.