Shown above is Home Depot’s 2020 winter holiday shopping season “gift center,” featuring top cordless power tool brands such as Dewalt, Milwaukee Tool, and Ryobi.
I’ve been visiting my local Home Depot stores to scout out their Spring and Father’s Day 2021 tool deals, and once again I left with a sense of “I’d buy that!” over so many things. I’m also annoyed – this gives me so much more work to do.
This is usually a good measure of a retailer’s tool deals – how much I groan about the work involved with writing things up.
(Home Depot is currently a ToolGuyd sponsor, but this post is outside that scope.)
I would say that Home Depot’s various tool deals fall into either of two categories: predictable special buys, and WOW that’s a great deal!!
For example, they currently have a Milwaukee Fastback utility knife 2-pack special buy right now where you can get well more than your money’s worth for $15 with free shipping. Although the Fastback knife deals change from time to time, I would consider this a somewhat predictable promo.
Skip the Fastback deal, and another one will pop up, either around the winter holidays or perhaps sooner.
And then there’s Milwaukee’s Father’s Day 2021 hand tool deals:
Buy 3 of these basic every-use hand tools, get 1 free (or 25% off your total). That’s more of a Wow that’s a great deal! promo. This is the first time I can recall seeing a Milwaukee Tool deal like this, and we might not see something like this again.
I was at the local Home Depot to pick up something in a hurry and found myself doing double-takes at the Milwaukee M12 and M18 cordless power tool deals.
Some of Home Depot’s deals are discounts, bundles, or special buys centered around products you typically don’t see on sale, such as the new Milwaukee M18 Fuel Packout vacuum. They also had promos on the Milwaukee M12 Surge kit, M18 Fuel stubby impact wrench, and different “buy this, get that” types of cordless power tool offers.
With yesterday’s visit, I couldn’t leave without picking up the Dewalt Atomic laser distance measurer or stud finder to try out. Granted I was shopping for ToolGuyd purposes, but I try to follow my intuition with such purchases. If I find a deal to be very compelling, some of you might feel the same, and so picking up a review sample on impulse is usually worth it.
I remember when Sears had the biggest and best holiday shopping season display. They had promos on the broadest selection of tools, and they always introduced new brands each holiday season. But, they seemingly stopped caring about anything and all aspects of the store fell apart.
Lowe’s has been trying new things, and I feel that things are a little different now compared to what I’ve seen in recent years, but their promos aren’t as vast or compelling. They had a better showing last winter holiday season, and I hope they continue to improve.
What about Walmart and their Hart Tools? From the start, Walmart and Hart said they’re not really focused on promos.
Amazon just announced Prime Day 2021, which will take place on 6/21 and 6/22. What can we look forward to here with respect to tool deals? Their Prime Day 2020 was decent, but they don’t seem to be putting much effort into things anymore. Most of their promos these days are on no-name brands that pay for the visibility and placements.
At Home Depot, some of their seasonal deals are predictable repeats, but there are always enough new promos to keep things interesting.
I know there are a lot of “eh, they’ve got nothing I need” sentiments about Home Depot’s seasonal deals, and I usually feel the same outside of promos on core tools and consumables. But if viewing Home Depot’s promos through the ideas of someone looking to start or expand a tool kit, well, HD cannot be easily beat.
As mentioned, I always end up with strong “I’d buy that” sentiments, and you can also gauge this by how many of the deals and promos I end up posting about.
If I were starting from scratch and needed to build up a cordless tool kit, I think that Home Depot would stretch my dollar the furthest.
Shop Home Depot Father’s Day Tool Deals
I tend to spend a lot of time sorting through my observations about tool retailer trends, changes, and patterns, but I’m also limited to the retailers I can visit. Are there any retailers you’d say offer better or more compelling tool deals?
Also, here’s an interesting question I ponder at times – what would I do differently?
How about a special Home Depot-exclusive Leatherman multi-tool? A special edition Husky-branded Maglite flashlight?
I can’t help but agree – Home Depot does the best job of any major retailer here in Canada too. There are killer deals to be found elsewhere too – but nobody offers so many good deals on so much stuff.
Personally I am often disappointed in the promos – but that’s because I don’t really need any “core” power tools, basic mechanics tools, etc. However, I can usually find one or two things to buy during any special promotion – and that’s something.
Ryobi days are on right now in Canada. I picked up the cordless rotary tool. Been eyeing that cheap bluetooth speaker too (but I don’t listen to music much and I’m not sure my wife wants to hear my podcasts blaring in my shop). Also got a couple Milwaukee organizers from the “gifts for dad” promotion. Point being – even though a lot of the promotions are predictable or don’t appeal to me, I’m still finding stuff.
P.s. Make that a special HD edition Olight and I’m in.
– special edition Estwing hatchet perhaps? It’s camping season and the “Fireside Friend” looks like something I should own.
– HD-branded Knipex Pliers Wrench! With orange handles on the black phosphate finish maybe? I’m always evangelizing the pliers wrench – it’s awesome and HD should feature it.
I am in FL for the week, stopped at a local HD and was shocked to see probably triple the powertool selection compared to my local HD store in NNE. A HUGE prominent Ryobi battery OPE / gardening tools isle, with everything they make, two end caps and part of an isle facing you as you walk in. It was like Lime takeover vs where any other brand and random tools used to be. Seasonal section full of Milwaukee & Ryobi.
Lowes had a major powertool reset. New displays for Bosch ( flexiclick is no chameleon ) new display for Flex, less space for craftsman
Yeah, it’s not even close. Lowes might have a good tool line up, but they never run sales that motivate me to spend. Home Depot, however, has ruined my wallet this year. I’ve been able to make moves on items that I’ve wanted but not at full price.
I agree, too. I buy most of my tools at HD. The only thing that I wish would change is their Special Buy claims on some of their items. On several occasions, the Special Buy price is the same as the normal price. Other than that, HD is my go to store for tools….. and Lowe’s for everything else (since it’s a few hundred yards closer…without having to cross a nightmarish intersection). Location…. Location…..Location
I wish it were easier to browse sale items on Home Depot’s web page. When at the store, I normally walk all the aisles in the “gift center” and very quickly scan for anything interesting. It goes quick because everything is in one place. If only I could do the same on the web page. There are some people on YouTube who record while walking the aisles, and I appreciate their effort, but I just don’t have the attention span to watch the whole video.
Yeah, and it doesn’t help that HD’s website makes me feel like I’m back on dialup. I don’t know what’s wrong with that site, whether it’s server-side trouble or just poorly optimized page design, but browsing is so slow as to be uncomfortable.
I have to know what I’m looking for, and seek it out specifically. I can’t just window-shop for fun the way I can with a faster site like McMaster.
It sucks because I really like their brands and prices, too!
I have hated HD for decades, especially when I lived in LA and the Bay Area.
For example, there were armed security guys in the parking lot, but they still allowed the guys who mob your truck looking for work in the lot and into the store. They would literally try and take your cart out for you, so they could help you load.
Add the fact that none of the employees care about their job or customers in any way, made me search out any alternative. Even Lowe’s was better.
After I moved to a much smaller town, and am self contracting & building my house, I occasionally used HD for some items. During Covid, HD really stepped up and made curbside delivery super simple and reliable. That, combined with free shipping on a lot of items has earned a bunch of my business this year.
I went from spending less than $100 a year at HD to spending many thousands the last two. Their Milwaukee sales have gotten $1,000 or more in impulse purchases.
I find almost everything is cheaper on Amazon.
Really, look at the Milwuakee tools on Amazon…
Those are from people that buy and separate Home Depot deals for resale…
No, in order to sell a Milwaukee tool on Amazon, you have to upload a purchase order from a distributor (not a retail store) which shows you bought the tools in quantities of 10 or more to sell them on Amazon. I have a seller’s account and I tried it recently because I bought a combo for a good deal on two tools, one of which I already had.
Glad you framed this as Opinion. Don’t buy it. There is literally no empirical data to support the assertion. Just like every other retailer, they mark em up to mark em down. When you have near/exclusive relationships like Rigid and Ryobi, controlled house brands like Husky and large % share of DeWalt and Milwaukee, you are the market and you set the price. Measuring a deal off an illusory regular price is folly. Customers just think the deals are good. The best that can be said is they don’t keep every product on sale 8 months out of the year. A weak Lowe’s is their biggest advantage in creating the impression of good pricing.
I tend to be very aware of regular and promo pricing, taking note of any patterns and shifts throughout the year, every year. Home Depot typically does not have artificial pricing, they have regular pricing and they have super-aggressive discounted pricing. There’s a big difference.
For instance, Milwaukee has a brushless drill kit priced at $99, but it’s only available for maybe 2 months out of the year, sometimes a little longer depending on holiday season timings. Outside of these “special buy” periods, you cannot buy it.
Yes, Home Depot controls the pricing of Ridgid, Ryobi, and Husky tools, and can sometimes arrange for special pricing or even special configurations of other brands’ offerings – such as an exclusive Empire Level 2pc level set.
But the ratio of good deals vs. perceived deals is extremely high.
There are some “not really deals,” and I tend to point them out in special buy deal of the day posts and anywhere else where they stand out to me.
For me the measure of a deal is the “I’d definitely buy that at this price” factor, and Home Depot has been excelling here.
I would like to say that Home Depot fills a huge need for a great many people. However, I do not shop with them. Personal preference and, I am currently in my 18th year in the business of selling building materials. No disrespect if you shop there, though. They are essential.
Having sold tools exclusively for a family owned business for 7 years, I can tell you, with great assurance, that HD buys their products at a discounted price far below that of any “local” stores. But they price their products according to their competitors’ pricing, which is based on the highest cost per tool.
So, for example, “Ma & Pa’s Hardware” buys 6 DeWALT DWS780 miter saws for $499 so that they can get the “Buy 6 saws, get 6 DWX724 stands for free” deal from DeWALT. HD gets the same deal, except that they buy 12,000 saws at $359 and they get 12,000 stands for free. Ma & Pa’s sells the saw for $567.99, turning a 12% profit, roughly. HD sells it for $567.99 as well, because they want to be “competitive.”
To make matters worse, Ma & Pa’s sells the saw with the stands for the same price, as that’s really the ONLY way they can “compete” with Big Orange. HD sells the combo for a higher price but not more than the saw and stand would cost if purchased separately. Then, during peak buying seasons, the “discount” the saws to $499 and “throw in” the stands for free. The same saws that they bought for $359. That is about a 28% profit margin.
Now, imagine if Ma & Pa’s wanted to actually make a little money off of selling tools, like, maybe 20%. That would put them $55.76 over the HD price of $567.99 because, remember, they are buying them at $499 each.
This extends to everything that they sell and I will not get in to how they compensate their staff, as it does not pertain to this post. So yes, they may have the “Best Deals” but they are still making a HUGE profit.
I want to say that HD “maybe” is doing a good job by pricing their stuff accordingly with their competitors.
Actually, if HD did not do so, the small guy (competitors) would be crushed, and no more competitive pricing is needed here!
And then, HD would set the prices the way they want to!
Last, HD is still doing a good job by pricing their exclusive stuff. Just for a quick comparison, look to Ryobi vs. Kobalt, and you will see the difference. Ton and ton of “free” tools and battery for Ryobi. On the other hand, no luck finding a decent kit “deal” from Kobalt!
Thanks for sharing the insight about the PO from HD and Ma & Pa. I didn’t know the power of a big PO could affect the cost that much!
So when you are in a market like that what you did not mention is that to get there HD has to sell 12,000 saws where you are only selling 12. So even if 9 out of 10 customers goes to HD instead, you still made your money and there is still plenty of demand because they have to sell 1,000 times as much product to maintain their competitive advantage over you. Don’t forget their much higher advertising costs, the dividends they pay, and most likely higher retail space costs. Huge parking lots aren’t cheap. And million dollar executive salaries don’t come cheap. So gross margin may be higher but net not so much. You can even see exactly how much they make from the SEC filings. And increasing sales by 10% for HD means selling another 1200 saws but for Ma and Pa it’s just one saw.
That volume game is how HD chips away at Lowe’s. Unquestionably Lowe’s caters far more to DIY than contractors. But this difference extends way beyond retail. HD Supply is a division of HD that carries bulk raw materials on things like municipal water and sewer pipe. They are one of the biggest names in the business. This gives them even more buying power but also a distribution network far exceeding Lowe’s lowering their internal costs tremendously. Obviously that advantage extends to Ma and Pas as well. So if you play that game if Lowe’s can’t win, you won’t either.
The free market guarantees the lowest price for the consumer but as a seller free markets are terrible because it kills your profits. Having the lowest prices in any market makes the job of a salesman easy because out of the three things you can compete on (price, quality, availability) you dominate one. And by far it is the easiest to change. As the OP said retailers constantly mark things up and down probing the market.o make it look even better or try to up sell to a more expensive one with a bigger dollar discount but smaller percentage.
So why would anyone ever do this? This is marketing 101 here but as a Ma and Pa you need to find another niche. First consider selling Festool. Why? Because HD doesn’t and because it is much higher price and quality. So HD sells a saw for $560. You are selling a saw for say $800. If you only marked it up 12% you make far more money. The underlying cost is immaterial and again you are selling 12, not 12,000. Market size is immaterial. And if they decide not to buy the Festool they can buy Dewalt on the spot or make a special trip to HD. Impulse buying at its finest.
Along the same lines bundle it with a stand. Maybe a cheap stand not the Dewalt one. Look at the dozen extras Amazon retailers sell with cameras. It’s mostly cheap add ons but it’s the bundling game. Maybe if someone asks you knock the bundled price down to the $560 bare tool price. Still exceeds HD but customer has to make an extra trip. Maybe they buy that, maybe the bundle. You make money both ways.
Then there’s the haggle. Or many other sales schemes designed to play on the emotional sale. They all work to some degree but require more staff than HD can afford,
I really appreciate the arguments put forth here. They are really making me think about my own beliefs.
I understand that HD setting their pricing at the same level as the “competitors” helps keep the small guys in business. However, it’s usually the other way around. The small guy has to set their pricing according to HD, and is, therefore, lowering the small store’s gain.
As of February 2, 2020, Home Depot had 1,984 locations. So, the “they need to sell 1,00 times the amount” argument doesn’t hold water when you compare 1,984 to 1. They would need to sell just over half the amount of saws.
Regarding the overhead faced by HD vs. Ma & Pa, the per capita overhead at HD is high, no doubt. Factoring in their costs for ads, rent and shareholder dividends, yeah I could see them squeezing their profit margin. I don’t even want to touch on the “executive” salaries. However, Ma & Pa’s overhead cuts into an already smaller profit margin. And if you factor in the fact that they too need to pay for “local” ads, rent and, if they are an “employee owned” business, their shareholder dividends as well, what’s left? They cut into those budgets to ensure that they can pay their staff enough to keep working. With HD Supply being in the mix, they are adding to their own revenue stream. I have never seen an ad for this service, though I knew of it’s existence from being in the industry.
The problem with going the Festool route is that THEY set their pricing, with no ability to sell at any discount, which could be why HD does not sell any of their stuff. So, if you want to “discount” that $1,500 KAPEX, you would first need to start at a higher price. This is a niche that Ma & Pa probably can’t afford to get into, especially with their $25,000 minimum buy-in and $2,500 per order minimum, with no guarantee for any buy-back on their part. This would mean that they would be buying something that might not ever sell, which cuts into their profit even more.
Saying market size is immaterial is like saying the cost of the property your business sits on doesn’t matter, especially when it’s somewhere like New York, L.A. or Chicago.
The reason I chose the 12,000 DWS780’s is because 5 years ago, HD and Lowe’s bought 10,000 of them each. Unfortunately, DeWALT only manufactured 20,000, leaving everyone else high and dry for 6 months. So, now they have two of the three thing to compete on, the third (quality) being static. At the time, that saw was the number one selling tool in my store, outselling SKIL even. That revenue stream dried up. We had to let two people go. This was not HD or Lowe’s fault. It’s the cost of doing business. Both went to HD, got jobs making less than what they had started out making at my store, which was already below a “living wage” here in California.
Like I said, Home Depot fills a very large need for a great many people. And they also have the best deals on a large assortment of products. I just wish I could move the needle from 1 out of 10 customers that shop at Ma & Pa’s to 2.
Nobody who looks at this stuff with any regularity is comparing sale prices to non-sale prices and falling for the illusion of a good deal… We know what the typical sale prices are and we are aware of what things are selling for in other markets such as eBay and Facebook marketplace. Further, there is plenty of empirical data… Have a look at Slickdeals and search for the brand or tool you want. You’ll see not only previous deals, going pretty far back but also conversations among those who know the prices better than the store employees. Finally, these stores don’t set the prices, prices are set by consumers based on what the market will bear, especially on high-volume tools… HD can say a Milwaukee impact driver is worth $1000.00 and put it “on-sale” for $900.00, it won’t sell and Milwaukee will start laying off employees soon after. Real-time examples of this are all over the place and they can be empirically measured.
I agree that this can be empirically measured. This article doesn’t do that. It is an early 70s touchy-feely qualitative assessment with nearly no analysis-just some anecdotes. What makes it especially disturbing is Stuart’s admonishment- HD is a sponsor just ignore that on this one ie the Wizard of Oz saying ignore the man behind the curtain.
This site does a spectacular job on data analysis very often. Given the inherent conflict on sponsorship, posts like this are best avoided unless they are based on actual data-eg I analyzed the drill category and let me demonstrate why HD has the best deals. This post is too sweeping and undercuts credibility of years of hard work that have gone into this site. I didn’t need to read the admonishment-as soon as I read the headline, I knew what I was getting which I found disappointing.
“This post is too sweeping and undercuts credibility of years of hard work that have gone into this site.”
I don’t think it does any such thing. The post was labeled as “Opinion” in the title and Stuart mentioned HD is a sponsor in the beginning. What else do you want? Him to have a Home Depot jar that he puts a nickel into each time he mentions them?
I can find some pretty sweeping statements in your post, not backed up by any data either. However, I don’t necessarily feel everything on Toolguyd needs supporting evidence in the form of charts and graphs, so I’m ok with you stating, well, your opinion 🙂
(Maybe it’s a mistake, but if there’s a current sponsorship, ALL posts mentioning the sponsoring brand or retailer receive labeling, as well as mention if they’re included or external to the scope.
That’s what I like to see, and so it’s what I try to do.)
Also, I *could* make charts and graphs and what-not, and then someone will come along and say “but eBay…” This would end up a discussion about opinions anyway, so why not simply start with an opinion?
The data is all there. If you want just one example, look at last season’s winter holiday deal coverage. Or 2019’s, 2018’s, or all the various deals of the day.
There are usually Father’s Day deals, but I don’t remember the deals being as broad and aggressively priced like this before. It’s as if they’re treating this like Black Friday.
If it’s an interesting internal observation, it’s worth posting about.
There’s no need to turn my perception and opinion into a blown out scientific study. What would that accomplish besides wasting ink and paper?
I’m a Craftsman guy and I buy the majority of my tools and hardware at Home Depot.
One of the alluring things about the Craftsman brand was the constant sales that Sears would run ALL OF THE TIME! Say what you want about Sears, but they knew how to market the brand and get a lot of people in the door back in the day.
SB&D/Craftsman at Lowe’s… there’s rarely ever a sale and if there is, you don’t know about it or it’s not good enough to motivate me to drive there.
I was recently in the market for a new drill/impact driver combo and after looking at the Craftsman, I wound up buying the Milwaukee M12 combo at Home Depot. I felt that it was a better deal for the money. I purchased some other items during that same trip and walked out around $580 lighter. That’s $580 Lowe’s didn’t get and they’re 3 miles closer to my home. If that doesn’t say a lot, I don’t know what does.
Home Depot just had better sales, period.
For Milwaukee almost every single offer you find at other retailers are also found at HD. Very very rarely a Milwaukee-sponsored offer will coincide with another deal at another retailer and you can double dip – but if you have the HD credit card they’re always sending out a 10% coupon.
I like to compare prices at different retailers. Example: Dewalt 20v sheet sander, on Amazon about $89.00. While it runs $129.00 at HD.
It’s ALWAYS a good idea to price-shop.
“Shown above is Home Depot’s 2020 winter holiday shopping season “gift center,” featuring top cordless power tool brands such as Dewalt, Milwaukee Tool, and Ryobi.”
Conspicuously absent from this sentence is Makita, which is between Dewalt and Ryobi in the photo….
My brain is starting to see a pattern…
Last time we went down that road it just turned into a big argument. Best to just get information on the other brand elsewhere
*This* omission was because there were very few Makita deals at any of the Home Depot stores I checked last holiday season. It was surprising, and strange. It was the same at all the stores.
All of the Home Depot stores I checked had a large floor display for Milwaukee, another for Dewalt, and one shared between Diablo and Husky. All Makita had was a small section on the wall.
Even now for Father’s Day, there are only 2 Makita deals among a sea of Dewalt and Milwaukee displays – just a cordless saw and a corded air compressor. Maybe more are coming? But when? – it’s already June.
They had a Feb accessories promo https://toolguyd.com/makita-impact-xps-socket-sets-deal-022021/ but I don’t recall seeing anything for the winter holiday season, or anything power tool accessories-related now either.
I agree, even the spring promo floor display for Makita was lackluster outside of those impact sockets. Makita just doesn’t seem to work with Depot very much on aggressive promos anymore.
This ought to tell you about real vs faux deals. HD creates illusory deals on products where they are the market ie captive brands. The appearance of a deal isn’t really a deal.
I think that’s what Stuart was getting at in the article though. He is obviously well-informed about prices generally through all the work he puts into deal posts, especially during Christmas and Father’s Day sales periods.
He points out that some “deals” are recurring cyclical prices, or just “perceived” deals. The yardstick he’s using, albeit a subjective one, is based on his knowledge of market prices, whether he want to make a purchase at that price. I’m not sure how else you could talk about a subject like this.
I think some of the points you’ve made are valid – it’s weird to talk about a Ryobi “deal” for example, when Home Depot is the only retailer and sets the prices. They’re free to have “regular” prices higher than they should be and then mark down for limited periods of time to drive sales.
On the other hand, to conclude there can be NO analysis seems to go way too far. The most obvious reason is that Ryobi isn’t the only player in the game. When considering whether a Ryobi deal is artificial, wouldn’t the obvious place to start be to compare that type of tool to something from a competitor?
If Home Depot plays games with the pricing, buy some Craftsman from Lowes. If they play games with Dewalt or Milwaukee – well there’s tons of other places to shop.
If Home Depot is higher priced than you can find at other retailers during the non-sale parts of the year, but then dips below them for promotions – that is the kind of deal Stuart is pointing out. He even often includes a link to other competitors in the deal posts.
Home Depot might have that kind of pricing strategy to make a deal look even better than if you shopped around – but I feel like Stuart is pretty reliable about doing thoughtful comparisons and has the expertise about tools and the market that his opinions are useful.
But cyclic deals aren’t a bad thing, they’re just a little more predictable.
I wanted to buy a new camera lens, but it was full price. Okay, I’ll wait. It went on sale but was backordered. Darn, but I’ll wait. Now it’s back to full price. It’ll be discounted again, and I’ll snag it then.
Look at Milwaukee Packout – you *know* the 3pc combo is going to be on sale every year. It was last season, but there were other deals as well. I didn’t need a combo but I took advantage of other discounts and bundle offers.
The Dewalt Atomic drill kit is $99 again. Once the season is over it’ll either go up on price or sell out and not return to $99 until October.
That doesn’t mean this is an illusion.
Lowe’s though… I refuse to buy any of their gift center deals in November, because I KNOW it’ll be less expensive starting the first week in December. They have been getting better about this though.
I find that my HD is a very poor Makita dealer. Yeah, they have some of the tools, and some of the accessories, and if you shop online the selection is deeper. But they clearly aren’t doing Makita any favors, and my guess is the Makita sales force isn’t doing the HD any favors back.
Keep in mind that Home Depot is the customer and Makita the supplier. Might it be that Makita is a poor seller?
My assumption would be that Makita promo sales are lower than for other Home Depot brands such as Dewalt, Milwaukee, Ryobi, and Ridgid. Brands with fewer interest/sales/impact would logically receive less shelf space and floor space for promos.
BUT, I would say that have a fairly proportional regular tool display section. I have only noticed a decrease in floorspace for deals and promos.
Makita has tried to compete in this space, with $99 drill kits and impact driver kits, and value-priced starter combo kits. Perhaps it’s not enough to compete with Dewalt and Milwaukee offerings when it comes to customer sales? But that also doesn’t explain why there haven’t been any accessory promos as of late.
Look at Home Depot’s Black Friday 2020 sales flyer – https://toolguyd.com/home-depot-black-friday-2020-tool-deals/ – there were plenty of Makita deals there. Maybe it’s just an impulse-buy effect where the Makita discounts work better online than in stores?
HD does have the better sales.
….but I seem to find better “clearance” items from Lowes.
Clearance is a joke at HD. They mark things down 75 cents from full price and call it clearance. I’d love to know if anyone has any insight how this pricing works. I always look at the clearance endcaps yet have never been inspired to buy. It almost seems like a scam to call it “clearance.”
Once in in a blue moon, my local HD will put out tables and tables of hodge-podge real clearance items. (i.e., 50% markdown or more). But I think I’ve only seen that 3-4 times in 10 years.
HD has a 26 week clearance cadence that goes along these lines:
.When an item goes on clearance the price will initially be reduced by little or nothing for about six weeks, but the price tag will be yellow.
There will then be another minimal reduction that will last for 14 weeks. Then things get interesting.
With six weeks left in the cadence there will be a significant price reduction, around 25% to 50% off. The sticker price will end in .06. This phase of the cadence lasts three weeks.
With three weeks left in the cadence you see the biggest price drop, on the order of 66% to 95% off. The sticker price will end in ,03.
After the final three weeks has passed, the cadence ends, the price drops to a penny (an accounting protocol) and the merchandise is removed from the floor, not to be sold. It will either be destroyed or donated.
The good deals ending in .06 or .03 are usually seen on seasonal items or merchandise that was lost in the overheads where it didn’t sell, kicking off the clearance cadence. The cadence is generated from corporate and can’t be ignored at at the store level.
Last year I picked up a Rigid air compressor (sku 1002236453) for $83.03. I’m certain it went to clearance because it was forgotten in the overhead. The same store now has that compressor for $319.00
This is a great answer – thank you. Explains why the “clearance” looks more like B.S. for 20 weeks.
You’re welcome! It’s hard to blame the store for trying to cut its losses, but ultimately the deals will materialize. Clearance price tags will often have a date that indicates the beginning of the cadence, so you can reasonably guess when the .06 and .03 tags will drop.
Another thing: clearance end caps at HD get neglected and tags are often out of date. You won’t be able to tell if a clearance price has been reduced by looking either online or via the app. Take a stale looking clearance item to a register for a scan and you might be pleasantly surprised.
I’ve seen Home Depot put a yellow clearance sticker on an item and raise the price. I’ve seen them advertise a deal in their flyer that is higher that the regular price.
Don’t get me started about “Dollar Days” at several stores including Target, where they sometimes take the normal price and round it up to the nearest dollar and imply that it is a sale.
Stores are using every psychological and marketing tactic in the book to get people to buy more. Unfortunately in the US, we don’t have any type of consumer advocacy with teeth, other than buyer beware.
I also don’t understand how Menards can have 11% off every week without running afoul of state laws on sales. I know in my state if you advertise a discounted price long enough, you can’t call it a discount anymore.
Seconded! I’m pretty loyal to HD being I’m bought in on Ryobi and Ridgid, but clearance there is silliness…
I agree, I watch the sales and promos a lot and HD usually does the best of HD, Loews, and Menard’s (who never does anything).
You’re missing the 2×25′ Fatmax for $20 deal and the 2×4.5″+2×6″+2×12″ Dewalt clamp set for $30 deal as well.
I don’t think I’ve seen a 6pc Dewalt clamp set, only a 4pc set. I haven’t seen the FatMax deal this season yet.
The 6 piece clamp set has popped up in several Facebook groups I’m in, so hopefully it’s coming to a Home Depot near me. The tape measure deal is in all the stores around me, they just aren’t the US made ones.
After seeing some big sales, i decided to watch some video reviews of the product. Reviews mentioned what they paid for exact same item one year ago. They paid $500.00 less than today’s super sale price. Current sale price $2999.00, they paid $2499.00 one year ago.
One year ago, a 2×4 was $2 and change, now it’s $8.
I didn’t buy a smoker during a Black Friday sale because they had a better deal last March and I thought I could get a better deal if I waited. Well, it’s now June and there haven’t been any deals on that product at all since November.
Price variations will happen from time to time.
Clearly Home Depot has a lot of buying power which may be used to command good unit prices from their suppliers. They do seem to pass more of that on to their customers – in the way of special buy pricing – than do Lowes. I also note that Amazon (with certainly more buying power than HD) seems to often drop some prices to match HD. That may be increasing now that HD is offering “free” shipping on many items. The actual cost (even if it is way lower than what it would cost us) of that “free” shipping naturally has to be built into both HD and Amazon’s prices. An advantage that HD has in their “free ship to the store” option is that they get your foot traffic (and potential additional purchasing) into the store for pickup.
In my experience with local HD’s and Lowes – the online shopping and in-store pickup processs – plus returns if needed are all a bit smoother at HD.
philip s john
HD on line quantity was an absolute joke before covid. Because most would pick it up once ordered…NOW HD online and ship to your house is as good as Amazon .
I can only hope Walmart and other big box stores have finally sorted their website out. Why it took so long was strange.
The market research was clear that the Amazon way was taking over.
>> I can only hope Walmart and other big box stores have finally sorted their website out. Why it took so long was strange.
I purchased an item from WalMart back in December, and attempted to return it to the store. The experience was bad enough that I’ll never again order from WM online.
It took 4 months and hours of my time to get $400 back from them. Even the CS reps told me to never try and return an online item to the store – because they are idiots.
Matt the Hoople
First, with the current state of inflation and the soaring cost and sketchy availability raw materials, it may not be fair to compare today’s deal against last years regular price (see Stuart’s reference above to the price of a 2×4 stud) for certain items.
Second, I normally prefer to shop at Lowe’s for regular priced items as the military discount is on almost everything they sell. Home Depot’s discount seems to be more sporadic in my experience.
However, Since Home Depot and Lowe’s in my area are always just a few blocks apart, I usually stop into HD just to check out the sales. Often I do find something I’ve been wanting but holding off on(the list is long).
Looking at the Father’s Day deals, I wish I needed more batteries (either Dewalt or Ryobi). I’d jump on the Dewalt 4 batteries for $159 if I didn’t already have a whole bunch. On the Ryobi side, I’ve been wanting the 18v fan but can never justify $50 on a fan that will only see occasional use. Again, if I needed more batteries, I would jump on the deal with 2 4.0 batteries and the fan for $99. That or the similar price me with the angle grinder.
Almost all of my Dewalt and Ryobi tools were purchased during these type of deals (including Lowe’s Black Friday sale). Generally I use Dewalt for the heavy use tools (drill,driver, circ saw, recip saw) and Ryobi for all the other “once in a while” stuff (inflator, one hand recip saw, work light, hot glue gun, palm sander, etc, etc.) APMOST ALL OF THE Ryobi tools were purchased as impulse buys to to such sales.
Bought a Jeep. Wanted a decent socket set to throw in the back…old Jeep and wheeling in the far country. No real sales at Harbor Freight on socket sets. Home Depot had a practical chest on sale for $99. The case was terrible however. Two blow mold plastic drawers and a top lid. Bunch of the sockets were scattered in the case when I opened it up. No worries…harvested exactly what I wanted and transferred them to a tool roll. Everything else is going in my backup bin.
My experience generally agrees. Over the last 3-4 years I purchased a lot of cordless tools since my work shifted away from being in the fabrication shop where I’d use mostly stationary and pneumatic equipment to more in the field where I use cordless portable tools. I’m also doing renovation in a new home that required some tools I didn’t own previously. I shopped around aggressively before each purchase. I’d say that of the tools I bought (a variety of Dewalt 20V Max/Flexvolt and Milwaukee M12), Probably about a third of them came from Home Depot, a third from big online tool vendors like CPO and Acme Tool, and the remaining third split between Lowes, Ebay, and Amazon. From time to time Lowes would have an excellent deal on a tool but they were usually not the best option to buy from. Meanwhile Home Depot would have their periodic “Buy more, save more” sales which Lowes did not have anything to compete with. I might snap up one tool from Lowe’s here or there but when HD is running a good sale I might drop in and buy three or four. And likewise the big vendors like CPO and Acme would often have similar deals, or perhaps buy-one-tool-get-another tool free deals. Home Depot and Lowes both have freebie deals from time to time but the “free tool” you got was always something that I didn’t need–and usually a low end model–meanwhile those vendors were offering remarkably nice tools as the “freebie”. I got a 20VMAX flathead grinder and a Flexvolt stud-and-joist drill as freebies with other tools–those are not the typical low-end tools that the big box stores often give away as promos.
That said HD is not perfect. I strongly dislike their website, it is very slow and is packed with all kinds of extraneous stuff while the core content I actually want to see takes ages to load. I’ve gotten to where I use google’s “Site:” search feature to browse HD’s website. It’s really annoying to search from HD’s site: type the model number in of a tool that HD carries and you might not even get that tool in the search results, but you’ll likely get hundreds of unrelated items. Also, HD does monkey around with their pricing to some degree. For example, earlier this year I had M12 straight and 90-degree die grinders on my wish list. I had been shopping around for months so I knew that nearly everybody, HD included, was selling them for $159 each, or a combo pack could be had for $299 for both bare tools. I waited to see if something better might come up. Then HD had their “buy more save more” sale in March earlier this year. Both tools were available for the promo but suddenly their prices had been marked up to $179 each while their competitors were still selling them for $159. I did end up taking advantage of that sale for some other items but I did not buy the die grinders there.
There’s a joke saying around here that seems to hold true: you go to HD to build your house and Lowes to decorate it.
That said, the one thing almost every retailer miserably fails at is single-item tool sales and deals. Everything is a bundle or promo directed at new buyers in some way and those bundles are never quite good enough when you already have a selection of tools and you’re looking to expand in a specific way.
Inevitably when I want a single power tool or accessory, I find myself buying at Acme, ToolNut, or Tractor Supply (strange, right?) because they either have the best price, or they’re running a promo that’s actually worth buying. Amazon occasionally will have a competitive price, so I’ll avail myself of Prime shipping.
I agree. I think HD/Lowes has some awesome deals on combo kits if you’re a new buyer just getting into a new tool line. But if you already are into a particular system most of their combo deals are of little interest: you probably don’t need or want yet another basic cordless drill, last year’s brushed model impact driver, etc. I like how Acme (and the others) often have combos or freebies involving more than just the basics. I can’t help but feel that those promos are often ways that a retailer can get rid of old inventory whenever a new model comes out. For example, I recall that once Milwaukee announced their Fuel series of cordless ratchets the older (non-Fuel) models suddenly appeared in a ton of combo deals at HD. Likewise for the basic (non-Fuel) Hackzall. HD had a ton of combo deals earlier this year for M12 tools, but the freebie or the add-in were always older SKUs that had had been largely made redundant by newer brushless models. Same with batteries: they had a variety of battery freebies for M12, but never with the compact 3 amp or the extended 6 amp batteries.
Ha, I know what you both mean. So many times it’s deals like “free battery” or “bonus tool” but only if you buy this drill/driver combo.
Sometimes those deals are great – I’ve used them to enter into new cordless systems or getting free tools in combo deals. … but I was up to six cordless drills and four impact drivers at one point before I finally got my act together and sold most of them off cheap.
Home Depot has run some start kit deals with bonus tool (e.g. buy this battery and charger, get a free tool). I like those better – but they still restrict which tools are eligible and I’ve never actually taken advantage of those deals. The tools I want are not the regular suspects! I want a grease gun, maybe a caulking gun, a stapler etc. Don’t just give me the basics!
Yes I would say that Home Depot has more sales more often, and they usually have something useable in their front of story sale bins. Like the coast headlamp I got -price was right, function was right picked up 3.
I often walk though there. Now near me my HD is twice the size ore more of the Lowes near me. but I go to Lowes more often because of the better materials and supplies.
For regular sales I would agree, but at least where I am at Lowe’s almost always has better deals on clearance. For stuff that never goes on sale (like Knipex) Menards is usually better if they are running the rebate or when they do their annual bag sale.
My go to retailer for tools is HD. Lowes doesn’t carry Milwaukee (my only battery platform) so I rarely go there. Amazon Prime days has never impressed me for things I’m looking to purchase so there’s little excitement from me about their upcoming discounts I just don’t think they will have anything I want but I will look again.
The only advantage Lowes has is clearance. But that’s so hit-and-miss and random as to not even be worth considering unless you can score a lucky deal.
We have a local tool store really is a good place to buy tools, even specialty tools. They were more expensive but nothing crazy, 5-10 bucks, but they had a great warranty, full-time covered parts and labor until factory warranty ran out and then only charged for parts for the lifetime of the tool. They changed that this year, now it’s only covered for manufacturers time. However, since they are a certified repair center they will repair under warranty anyway.. So because they never run promos they give me no reason to buy power tools anymore, other than specialty tools or I need it now purchase. Home depot destroys them in promo prices, and they are always running something. Unfortunately being a small business they might not have a choice. Still go there for hand tools though.
HD for tools, milwaukee and makita. Wish lowes sold them too. Yes you can find deals better sometimes on Amazon (which I try to buy very little from) or ebay but have to think about warranty too. I like the fact if it does not work I take it back to the store.
Most power tools are not warranted of you buy from Amazon.
I don’t like dewalt and the other power tools at lowes. I do like some of the hand tools there though.
90% of the Milwaukee tools I have were bought at my local HVACR supply house and other construction materials supply houses. I’ve taken old cordless tool kits to trade in and the final cost was much less than HD. When the sales reps show up for a customer appreciation day, we can get deals that are 10-20% less than HD.
Also, I actually get to try out the tools first.
nope Northentools because whatever sale or promotion you can stack a $20 off $100 coupon.
I agree HD is the best deal for me,95% of the time.
The sales are very cyclical, I buy packout,consumables (bits/ blades/tape measures/knives) for the year on bf.
Also have bought about 8 Makita x2 tools kits with 4 batteries on sale in the spring .
6 -10 years ago Amazon had the best deals on good tools,now its off-brands I don’t care much about.
I have 2 local hardware stores that I buy materials (and not from HD), but never any tools due to the price.
My closest HD is 40 miles away,but I typically am working near it,and always check the clearance section.
I leverage my money to get the best deal I can,whether online or brick and mortar store.
I don’t grocery shop for the food I want to cook,I cook food from my pantry/freezer that I bought on sale previously.
The mom and pop hardware store analogy, is like gas station prices vs grocery store vs online.
You pay more for convenience ,and direct service.