Ace Hardware is the biggest hardware store in America, and you know that. With 5000 stores worldwide and their extensive customer services, we quickly look away when it comes to alternatives.
It deems itself “the helpful place” and therefore is naturally geared towards after sales support. Ace Hardware tends to offer more repairing and maintaining services than renovation.
If you’re looking for various tool brands or building supplies, perhaps look away from Ace Hardware sometimes. Don’t get this wrong; it has more stores than most of its competitors. But the devil is in the details. Some stores are too small, while others have a different feel to them from the inside.
However, one thing that’s consistent across all stores is their customer service. If you need assistance for your swimming pool project, it’s more likely that you’ll find exactly the kind of help you’re looking for in one of their specialists.
The least you would get would be someone to draw you a clear framework for your ambitious fountain project. When it comes to customer service, “the helpful place” delivers all the help you can get.
1. Home Depot
Home Depot is one of the more outstanding competitors of Ace Hardware. Although they have about half the number of stores (2,200 stores), they provide a great deal of quality and service. Moreover, the number of stores is a false demonstration of Home Depot’s competitive capabilities.
In truth, each Home Depot store is much bigger and roughly three times the size of a regular Ace Hardware store. There, you’ll find more supplies and materials than multiple Ace Hardware stores combined. Home Depot is where you go when you want to renovate your place or when your office building needs some work.
Now, when you take the sheer size of an average Home Depot store (approximately 105,000 sq. ft.), you can only begin to imagine the vast pool of choices you can pick from.
They are like Walmart, and you find everything there. Home Depot also boasts more power tools brands than any Ace Hardware store easily. From Black & Decker to Ryobi and Milwaukee Tool, it’s all nicely placed in one of their aisles, you bet.
- Biggest stores in America
- Comprehensive allows source for various brands, supplies, and materials of all kinds.
- Most power tool brands are available than other stores can offer.
- A higher number of building supply brands available than other stores can offer.
- Lower prices relative to competitors for most products ranging from electrical to building and plumbing tools, etc.
- They are geared towards home renovation over repairing and preservation. You’re likely to find the latest products here.
- Home Depot’s corporate structure varies from Ace Hardware; each store the former offers is corporate-owned, whereas the latter offers franchises. This means Ace Hardware is more customer-oriented than Home Depot and allows them to continue providing excellent customer service.
- It’s more likely that you’ll find replacement parts for your antique furniture in an Ace Hardware store than at Home Depot.
- Due to the enormous size of Home Depot stores, their customer service isn’t as meticulous as their competitor’s.
- Because Home Depot is more focused on renovation, they lack that regional taste. Their corporate structure plays strongly into this lack of communal influence.
Lowe’s is in the middle between Ace Hardware and Home Depot in terms of size and features. They have about 2,370 stores in North America, and, like Home Depot, they are also corporate-owned.
To create a clear picture of a Lowe’s store in your mind, it is much closer in size to a Home Depot, much unlike your neighborhood hardware shop, an Ace Hardware store. But a Lowe’s store feels more personal and cozy than a Home Depot.
The big difference is that you’ll feel a Lowe’s store, much like an Ace Hardware store, is geared towards its customers, which are individuals like yourself. Home Depot, in contrast, feels more like a store for professionals, industrial contractors, etc., that know their business.
You’d find a Lowe’s store more friendly in the sense that there are more labeled shelves, aisles, workshops, and materials. You won’t feel the need to constantly google what nut or bolt size you’re looking for and won’t need to be a specialist as well.
Lowe’s doesn’t have as much supply as Home Depot and generally has smaller aisles and sections when it comes to products. For instance, their gardening sections are smaller, and there are fewer paint options, fewer lighting choices, etc.
- There are model kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc., in a Lowe’s store.
- You can get professional designers’ to assist you in deciding how to decorate your home, store associates to answer any queries, etc.
- There’s overseas shipping, pick-up options, and workshops for those willing to learn home-improvement work like installing a new roof, etc.
- Lowe’s has numerous year-round discounts, coupons, free shipping, return services, huge discounts on year-end sales, Black Friday offers, etc.
- Customer-oriented stores don’t feel too overwhelming with choices.
- It has a welcoming and well-informed area inside to navigate through.
- More assistance for personal projects.
- Online stores are available as well as online store-finders.
- Has a smaller collection of supplies and materials than Home Depot.
- Fewer power tool brands, lighting, and paint choices than Home Depot (but enough)
- Similar offers like Home Depot and Ace Hardware.
- Corporate-owned, therefore, lacks the personalized experience of an Ace Hardware store.
- Customer service is not on par with Ace Hardware stores.
3. True Value
Ever since True Value Company’s change from their co-op business model to a genuinely independent wholesaler of home-improvement supplies in 2019, their growth has seen a resurgence. They remain the only hardware store in the industry that’s completely independent.
Now, independent retailers and small store-owners no longer require a membership to avail the services of True Value Hardware. This meant for customers all around America to have the benefit of True Value products readily available in every local hardware shop in their areas.
Actual Value has been leading in terms of customer satisfaction along with Ace Hardware for years. Their stores offer a similar experience to Ace Hardware because there’s adequate and fast assistance and an easy-to-navigate area.
Moreover, they serve 4500 stores globally and have thirteen distribution centers in America. With year-round discounts, a variety of choices, and cheaper products because of broader availability, True Value remains one of the top hardware stores in the States.
- After ACON Investments’ acquisition in 2019, they are no longer a cooperative business. This makes them widely available to local retailers, customers, and more in tune with community needs.
- Numerous affiliates, including General Paint & Manufacturing and Home & Garden Showplace, make them stand out in terms of physical presence and choice.
- Discounts and coupons are available all year long.
- Online shipping is inconsistent across other countries.
- Many replacement parts are sometimes unavailable in their online stores.
- Online customer service is poor relative to in-store customer service.
4. Do It Best
Do It Best is another hardware giant in the United States. They are a co-op business and have members selling out of their retailers and shops across the country. They are famous for their hardware variety, lumber supplies, and building materials.
Do It Best is different because its focus is equally strong on its online presence. Their online store provides every product you’ll possibly find in physical stores. They provide DIY assistance for home-improvement projects and help with developing project ideas into a reality.
- Most products are available online, so you can shop from the comfort of your home while enjoying domestic and international shipping.
- Offers and discounts, as well as flash sales, are common.
- Strong online presence in America.
- Stores are available in most regions in America.
- Competitive prices relative to Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.
- Online customer service is below par according to various customers
- Shipping inconsistencies abroad
- International service needs an upgrade
Menards is a relatively smaller hardware company with 335 stores all across the Midwestern states like Illinois, Kansas, and Kentucky. They have almost everything from groceries in their larger outlets to plumbing and building supplies.
Their online presence is significantly handy as they aren’t big on physical stores. You get nationwide shipping, buying online, and picking up the product at your nearest store. With a store locator, you can find the nearest Menards around where you live. In addition, they provide adequate assistance on DIY projects online with how-to clips and videos.
- Menards has its own mobile app for both iOS and Android devices.
- The app has an AR (Augmented Reality) function that lets you virtually decorate your home by placing furniture and various products to get an initial outlook.
- Menards’ Big Card lets a customer purchase products over $299 for an interest-free six months, as well as, credit cards, and other finance options.
- Menards is relatively helpful with any assistance you may require. From online support through emails to direct offline support, they are a call away.
- Overall, Menards has a broad and comprehensive list of products available both online and offline, and with competitive pricing, they are a great alternative.
- Its biggest disadvantage is the meager number of physical stores relative to its competitors. Only fifteen stores across the American Midwest cuts them off from expanding their customer base.
- Some customers find the customer service to be subpar on multiple occasions.
To Summarize Things: A Conclusion
Hardware shopping is a big deal to customers for various reasons. We always need some fundamentals to rely on for a happy living.
A home-improvement store around the block that’s got the necessary replacements you’d possibly need, or an alternative online hardware retailer that’s not your go-to but has better options, these are ultimately choices we should be able to make.
Ace Hardware is one of the bests in America, Home Depot is one of the biggest, and likewise, all these alternatives fulfill some requirements that we may need at some point in the future to add a little flexibility in our lives and make buying decisions well-informed and comfortable.