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ShopSmart Reveals the Best and Worst Things to Buy at Home Centers

What to shop for and what to skip at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sears, and Walmart

ShopSmartYonkers, NY – Big-box retailers such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sears, and Walmart carry many of the same home items, but they also offer private-label brands exclusive to their store that vary widely when it comes to price and performance.

ShopSmart’s March 2015 issue features findings from its tests of some of these exclusive products and reveals which ones are great buys and those to avoid.

“Private-label products at home centers may all look like a good deal, but not all of them are,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart.  “Like store-brand foods in the supermarket, some of them are cheap for a reason.”

Below is a list of some of the home center product brand exclusives, as well as some of the winners and losers in ShopSmart’s performance tests.

For more details on what brands and models made the cut and which ones were found lacking, check out the March 2015 issue of ShopSmart.

  • Lowe’s. Valspar paint, Kobalt tools, and Troy-Bilt outdoor power and lawn equipment are among the private labels available at Lowe’s.
    Pick it for: Heavy-duty snow blowers and generators.
    Skip it for: Air purifiers and leaf blowers.
  • The Home Depot. Home Depot is the exclusive retailer of Behr paints, a winner in ShopSmart’s test. Its EcoSmart lightbulbs are another smart buy. Plus, it’s the only home center that carries exclusive lines of Honda and Ego lawn gear.
    Pick it for: Lawn mowers and Behr interior paints.
    Skip it for: Flooring and Glidden interior paints.
  • Sears. Craftsman and Kenmore are two of Sears’ brands that often do well in ShopSmart tests, but their private-label paints and stains don’t.
    Pick it for: Refrigerators and laundry appliances.
    Skip it for: Cordless drills and interior paints.
  • Walmart. Walmart’s house brand is Great Value. The store also carries exclusive products from big brand names like Bissell and Char-Broil.
    Pick it for: Lightbulbs and gas grills.
    Skip it for: Vacuums and coffeemakers.

For the full list of ShopSmart’s home center product winners and losers, as well as a roundup of store-brand everyday product winners, pick up the March 2015 issue on newsstands now.

About Consumer Reports

Consumer ReportsConsumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications.

Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

About ShopSmart Magazine

ShopSmartLaunched in Fall 2006 by Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon the publication’s celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. ShopSmart features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists.

It’s ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at www.ShopSmartmag.org.


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