When it comes to home improvement shopping, it often feels as though we have two options: Home Depot and Lowe’s.
However, the third-largest home improvement retailer in the country is a prime contender (if you’re lucky enough to have one in your area).
That would be Menards, which has been around even longer than both big box stores.
If you have never been, you might wonder how it stacks up against a Home Depot, one of the largest general retailers in the country.
Here is Home Depot Vs Menards, an interesting duo from the same industry but with a vastly different ethos.
Home Depot Vs. Menards
Home Depot Vs Menards: Company
Home Depot was founded in the 1970s by a group of four men in Georgia who wanted to create a home improvement superstore.
They succeeded, and Home Depot has become one of the biggest retailers in the entire country – not just in the home improvement sector.
With well over 2,000 stores in all 50 states, Canada, and Mexico, Home Depot pulls in well over $100 billion per year in revenue.
Menards was founded in the 1960s by John Menard Jr. and calls Eau Claire, Wisconsin home base.
Menards, a private company, maintains 335 stores in 15 states, all concentrated in the Midwest and Great Lakes region.
Despite its diminutive reach (compared to Home Depot), Menards is currently ranked 31st on the list of largest private companies in the U.S.
Menards sees revenue of about $10 billion per year.
Home Depot Vs Menards: Stores
Menards might be a smaller company, but their stores can run almost twice as large as Home Depot’s!
That’s right – in 2013, Menards introduced a new store model with well over 200,000 square feet of space.
Home Depot’s large warehouse-style locations in general top out around 105,000 square feet.
Despite their larger size, Menards store interiors still maintain a less utilitarian appearance than Home Depot’s interiors.
Menards feels like a more general retail experience, while Home Depot stores keep that purely hardware/aimed-toward-home-improvement-professionals vibe.
Home Depot Vs Menards: Products
Home Depot and Menards sell some very similar home improvement products.
These overlapping departments include:
- Doors and Windows
- Heating and Cooling
- Building Materials
- Lighting and Ceiling Fans
- Storage and Organization
- Outdoors Living
- Flooring Options
One commenter on a Quora post, who appears to have a great deal of expert authority, commented that Menards is his first choice for home improvement.
He said, “It’s as close to an actual lumberyard as you will find.”
He went on, “It also has a better than average selection of parts related to plumbing, electric, and carpentry.”
But, the commenter continued, the one area where Menards lags in the product category, compared to Home Depot, is tool selection.
Both Menards and Home Depot carry a lot of house or exclusive label brands, too.
For Menards, that includes Midwest Manufacturing, Masterforce, DAKOTA, Grip Fast, and Tool Shop (among others.)
However, perhaps accounting for the extra 100,000 square feet, Menards carries quite a few things that Home Depot doesn’t.
These include pet products, like dog and cat food and toys, fish supplies, bird supplies, and even rabbit and guinea pig items.
Additionally, Menards basically has a whole other store attached – one with home goods, furniture, luggage, apparel, and groceries!
The groceries include many pantry staples, like dairy and eggs, condiments, cookies, pasta, soup, canned goods, and bread. Menards even carries emergency/survival food!
Home Depot Vs Menards: Prices
It appears that Menards generally has the better, lower prices.
Let’s compare a few of the most common items people head to home improvement stores to buy.
Starting with 2×6 pressure-treated deck boards, you will pay $7.18 at Home Depot; but at Menards, they are only $5.78.
Next, let’s look at the cheapest options for one-handle, pull-down kitchen sink faucets.
At Menards, that is the Tuscany brand model, for $35.59.
At the Home Depot, you won’t pay less than $42.51 (for an item that’s on sale) or $48.19 (the cheapest non-sale faucet).
Finally, everyone could use more freezer storage space. I compared the prices for the 15.7 cu. ft. upright freezer by Maytag.
While initially, Home Depot and Menards advertise the same price, $719, Menards was running a deal on it – only $639.91, for a savings of almost $100.
Clearly, Menards can’t compete in terms of locations, but they stay competitive with their pricing, undercutting Home Depot in many departments.
I should also mention that because competition between Home Depot and their main rival Lowe’s is so fierce, Home Depot participates in price-matching.
I don’t see there being a lot of overlap between products at Home Depot and Menards, because Menards appears to carry a lot of private-label goods.
But if you do find an exact match cheaper at Menards, you can very likely get Home Depot to come down on price.
Home Depot Vs Menards: Services
Both Menards and Home Depot offer tool rental services for those larger jobs, like floor sanding or construction.
They also allow customers to rent vehicles (like trucks and trailers for shoppers with only a sedan).
And both offer home installation services, although it appears you work with Home Depot, and they subcontract the professional.
Menards appears to maintain a list of approved contractors through which shoppers can obtain installation services.
I’m not totally sure how Menards vets their installation partners, though, or if there is much of a vetting process.
Home Depot Vs Menards: Customer Service And Satisfaction
Menards covers a much smaller area geographically and has many fewer stores than Home Depot, but their customer service and satisfaction overall does not look great.
Many people have complained of faulty products, reaching out to Menards for resolution and then never receiving a response.
A customer on one of their Google business pages also wrote, “This store has simply the worst customer service I have ever dealt with.”
Still, many reviewers like the stores, had good interactions with salespeople, and thought the size and cleanliness of the interior were great.
Home Depot’s reviews are all over the place, especially considering how large the company is and how spread out they are.
With Home Depot, I think it comes down to individual stores and staffing. If you have a good store with a helpful and friendly staff, appreciate it!
Home Depot Vs Menards: Return Policy
Unsurprisingly, Home Depot has a generous return policy, allowing for the easiest returns within 90 days of purchase with a receipt.
Items must be new and unopened, and refunds will be returned via the original payment method.
(For Home Depot’s complete return policy, click here.)
At Menards, many items can be similarly returned within 90 days, with a receipt, for a full refund via the original payment method.
For returns after 90 days, Menards allows for in-store credit to be given.
Their website states, however, that Menards cannot give refunds to customers who have no receipt and do not bring any government-issued form of ID.
(You can find all the fine print here.)
Home Depot Vs Menards: Website, Mobile App And Store Pick-Up
As a major nationwide U.S. retailer, Home Depot has a strong online presence, with a detailed website and a truly robust mobile app.
I personally love Home Depot’s app, but I find its website to be a bit cluttered and not always the most intuitive.
Menards has a great, clean website and an app that can be used for estimating project costs and scanning barcodes in-store.
However, the Menards app does not appear to support online shopping (yet?). Their website does, however.
One thing that I think is really cool and useful to home DIYers is Menards’ cabinet designer.
On their website, this feature allows shoppers to specify room dimensions and design their dreams’ cabinetry.
It helps you visualize how different cabinets would look in the space, which can be difficult when just picturing it in the mind’s eye.
When it comes to store pick-up options, which many find convenient, Home Depot’s got their process down pat.
I especially appreciate how simple their app makes curbside pick-up; you park, check-in on the app and enter the parking space number.
Menards offers curbside pick-up, but you have to call the service desk and give them information, which I find leaves things open to human error.
While Menards will likely never catch up to Home Depot in terms of company size, I would guess that isn’t their aim (the way it might be for Lowe’s).
Home Depot does what it does well, targeting home DIYers and home improvement professionals with high-quality tools and materials.
Menards might not have the same selection or the highest-grade quality items, but their stores are good for DIY hobbyists and novices.
Plus, with their additional groceries and home goods, visiting Menards has more of a “destination” feel to the shopping experience.
Whether you choose Home Depot Vs Menards simply depends on what you’re looking for!