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View Full Version : Does Home Depot sell inferior power tools?


boytyperanma
01-13-2007, 12:22 PM
I spent over five years working for Home Depot. A few times during which I ran the hardware department. I never saw any evidence that Home Depots power tools were not built the same as the same power tool sold at another business.

I know with Dewalt for instance, they make different drills sold at primarily Home Depot that are less expensive do to plastic gears and such. These drills have different model numbers then Dewalts main line. As someone price shopping I would know I'm not comparing apples to apples.

Are there any examples proving Home Depot or other major retailers sell an inferior product with the same upc/model number as competitors?

WhyNot
01-13-2007, 12:36 PM
We had a thread about inferior fixtures once, I think it was toilets, and the answer seemed to be that the model numbers are very slightly different - enough that you're technically correct, but the consumer is unlikely to notice. A higher end model available only to contractors at a wholesale place might be Widget 7284, and the Home Depot version would be Widget 7284c.

Sorry, but Search Hamster doesn't like me right now. I will try different ablutions and sacrifice some lettuce later, or maybe someone else will have better luck.

Phlosphr
01-13-2007, 12:37 PM
I spent over five years working for Home Depot. A few times during which I ran the hardware department. I never saw any evidence that Home Depots power tools were not built the same as the same power tool sold at another business.

I know with Dewalt for instance, they make different drills sold at primarily Home Depot that are less expensive do to plastic gears and such. These drills have different model numbers then Dewalts main line. As someone price shopping I would know I'm not comparing apples to apples.

Are there any examples proving Home Depot or other major retailers sell an inferior product with the same upc/model number as competitors?
Funny - I buy nearly all of my tools from sears, because I heard something every similar to what you are saying. I was chided many times for paying more for the same tool at sears then HD. But in my experience, HD is out for selling mass quanities and not exactly the best stuff. This is only empirical evidence, and very anecdotal... I could be simply fooling myself by buying from sears...

thirdname
01-13-2007, 01:07 PM
I don't know about model numbers, but I had a porch lighting fixture break, an old one from the 1970s. I went to Home Depot and they had one that looked identical, high up on the wall. The old one was cast iron I think, but when I opened the new one it was just black plastic, maybe with some aluminum. It was also slightly smaller in a few dimensions. It doesn't look as good as the old one. I'm disappointed, but I probably don't have money & time to go hunting around for a better one.

Jake
01-13-2007, 01:50 PM
<Snip> [The] Search Hamster doesn't like me right now. I will try different ablutions and sacrifice some lettuce later, or maybe someone else will have better luck." <Snip>
So THAT'S how it's done! Hmm... Romaine or Iceberg lettuce?

WhyNot
01-13-2007, 03:44 PM
<Snip> [The] Search Hamster doesn't like me right now. I will try different ablutions and sacrifice some lettuce later, or maybe someone else will have better luck." <Snip>
So THAT'S how it's done! Hmm... Romaine or Iceberg lettuce?
*munching salad*

Baby Bib, apparently! Or maybe this nasty curly bitter stuff.

Here's the thread in question. (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=318151&highlight=home+depot+toilet) It goes on for a while on this very topic, starting with post 5, the main point in my post made in post 26, and the argument ensuing without getting very satisfying cites in either direction for several pages. I suppose we can start the argument all over again here if you're bored.

I'll start: Yes, they do sell inferior product, but it's SKU'ed and labeled just ever so slightly differently to try and fool the consumers but not the lawyers!

:D

Carnac the Magnificent!
01-13-2007, 08:09 PM
Home Depot sells all price points, from bare-bones models that a DIYer might use once every three years to a high-end, bells-and-whistle models that withstand continual use and periodic abuse.

Many homeowners aren't interested in purchasing overkill, they just want a chainsaw to cut up the storm-tossed tree in their backyard--and then won't use the chainsaw again for 5 years. Same goes with reciprocating saws, air compressors, hammer drills, etc. For many DIYers, a two-year warranty means little if the tool is used two hours total during the covered period.

rbroome
01-13-2007, 09:02 PM
Related to this are parts.
What I have found is that HD is continually striving to reduce the cost of the items. For instance, I had a valve go out on me a few years ago. I decided to replace all of them in the house (hose bibs for those who want the details). I happened to have one in the spare parts box, went to HD to get the rest. I was able to see an interesting progression. The old one I had in the spare parts box, then there were two kinds in the store-a lone valve that was obviously a remmant, and the full stock of new valves. They were all functionally the same design. Same shape, same function, same name. Don't know about the UPCs. My oldest valve was significantly heavier and IMO better built. The lone valve was lighter but not too bad. The new ones were very thin metal, thinner shafts, not as nice a exterior finish, etc. Functionally the same, but clearly more cheaply made. I went ahead and replaced four valves and all have worked well. However, given a choice I would have paid more to get the old-fashioned kind.

I have heard, but cannot confirm, that Walmart is really bad this way. They tell a company how much they will pay and how to to label the device to make it look like a name-brand item. The company has no choice but to produce a cheap product and put their name on it. It is certainly legal, but highly deceptive IMO. I just assume everything in Walmart is junk and buy accordingly. When I don't mind cheap stuff, I head for WallysWorld. When I want a quality device, I keep shopping. I just wish HD and Lowes would push their quality items. At least describe their high-end products so that I know what I am buying when I buy cheap.

Rick
01-14-2007, 12:35 AM
Doing a quick comparison between Home Depot and Amazon, I find that each and every Dewalt cordless drill part number I found at HD is also listed at Amazon (and the Dewalt website for that matter)
If you still maintain that HD has tools with the same part number, but of a lower quality may I bring up the point I brought up in the other thread

danceswithcats, are you implicitly saying that the exact same model numbered product can be sold in two (or more) different levels of quality?

Example A
885x- from BB = piece of shite
885x- from Distributor = better quality

Example B
885x- from BB = shite
885xe- from distributor = better quality

I've seen B but never A. You've seen A?
I would be turned on ear if that were the case.

My thought exactly. Furthermore, let's take example A one step further. You are now the warehouse manager for American Standard. You have 10,000 model 885X toilets in stock. Half of them are the low budget model slated to be sent to the Home Despot.
Pop quiz: How you ensure that the guy running the forklift gets the good toilets to the plumbing supply stores, and the pieces of shit to Home Despot if all 10,000 are labeled 885X?
The answer is obvious he would not have a clue. Furthermore Mr. Murphy being the asshole that he is,chances are the cheap ones would get shipped to the plumbing supply houses by mistake.
Common sense would dictate that example B is the only logical option here.
Now since the part numbers are exactly the same on the Dewalt Products I checked, I can only assume that the quality is exactly the same.

Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party
01-14-2007, 05:35 AM
My thought exactly. Furthermore, let's take example A one step further. You are now the warehouse manager for American Standard. You have 10,000 model 885X toilets in stock. Half of them are the low budget model slated to be sent to the Home Despot.
Pop quiz: How you ensure that the guy running the forklift gets the good toilets to the plumbing supply stores, and the pieces of shit to Home Despot if all 10,000 are labeled 885X?
The answer is obvious he would not have a clue. Furthermore Mr. Murphy being the asshole that he is,chances are the cheap ones would get shipped to the plumbing supply houses by mistake.
Common sense would dictate that example B is the only logical option here.


Not that I disagree with your point, but IME warehousing generally doesn't work like that. I used to work in Europe's largest warehouse, Heinz's at Wigan. Everything had a barcode on it, with details of where the product was going, when it was leaving, who was to take it etc. Losing the barcode for a crate was a sacking offence.

I don't think, in the world of computerised warehouses, that differentiating products with the same product code would be all that big of a deal.

AskNott
01-14-2007, 01:38 PM
When Consumer Reports tested some power tools a few years ago, they explained that most tool makers have different grades of stuff for different grades of use. The fellow who goes to the Home Depot or Lowe's, looking for the cheapest drill he can get is going to leave with a low grade tool. The carpenter knows better than that. He's going to the other end of the shelf, and he'll buy a more serious drill. The homeowner could buy that one, if he wanted to, but it would be overkill for his needs.

Sam Stone
01-14-2007, 01:48 PM
Also, many companies put different model numbers on their equipment destined for different retail outlets, even if the equipment itself is identical. They may do it for tracking purposes, or because the warranty terms are slightly different, or to protect the pricing models of their existing high-end retailers from competion from discount stores and big-box retailers. It's a way to maintain price discrimination and efficient pricing which getting the same product into multiple distribution channels aimed at different types of consumers.

justrob
01-14-2007, 02:42 PM
One other reason retailers use slightly different SKU's are to protect themselves from price matching. I'm not sure if place like HD or Lowe's do price matching but Best Buy and Circuit City do. It's pretty hard to bring in a lower advertised price from a competitor if the SKU you are selling is only sent to you.

An ABC123 big screen TV from BB is different than an ABC123x from CC. It may actually be the same television from the manufacturer but since the SKU is different, voila, they don't need to refund you the $20 less CC advertised the TV for.

Philster
01-14-2007, 05:19 PM
Companies like Home Depot 'encourage' even the high-end tool makers who normally make commercial grade tools (like a drill that will be used 350 days per year) to manufacture non-commercial-grade tools that will appear to a broader range of consumers, but might not be commercial grade (but still be a damn fine tool for someone pulling it out 26-52 times per year). These tools are price points for advertising and some can be exclusive to each retailer to further confuse you.

The best gauge is to compare features. Look for metal gears, or commercial-grade notations. Also, serious buyers will know from reading reviews or being in the industry. And...'you get what you pay for' holds true, but don't pay for what you don't need, either.

I set tile about 5-6 times per year. W/out Home Depot, I'd only have $400 commercial- grade tile saws to choose from, but with Home Depot types, I can grab an $88 tile saw that is absolutely, postively a great great saw for 88 bucks, very capable of a half dozen or so jobs per year. I've done a dozen jobs on my 88 dollar saw, and I've run my all plastic Ryobi drill into the ground as a part time handy man.

Big box stores work with mfgrs to expand the line ups. Sears might have been the first biggie to move from a line up of all commerical-grade tools from Craftsmen to a company that realized the do it yourself boom meant that consumer grade tools would have to be sole to keep revenue and margins up.

It is mostly good news, since we have outstanding products/choices at good prices. And many inexpensive tools outperform yesterdays commercial grade stuff.