Friends who shop Menards and Home Depot a lot more often than I do say that Menards' prices are usually lower than Home Depot's, but you can find higher quality goods at Home Depot.
As a bargain shopper I like that Menards offers scores of sale prices each Sunday in its circular. A lot of Home Depot's prices in its circular are regular, not sale prices. What makes Menards even better, its sale prices run Sunday to Sunday, so you can shop two weeks' worth of sales on any Sunday.
But one of my complaints about Menards is that they often seem to be out of stock of the item I want. Yesterday I took a halogen under-the-kitchen-cabinet light bulb (base size GY6 35 watt 120 volts) into Menards in Richfield. The price for the bulb by Feit Electric was $3.99, but they were out of stock.
So I drove a few blocks to Home Depot in Bloomington where the same bulb by Feit Electric was $7.79 each, nearly double Menards' price.
I spent a few seconds marveling at the price difference, but I picked up four anyway. I took them to the Home Depot cashier (not self service) and told her that Menards' price is $3.99 I didn't have proof and expected the cashier to ask me for some or check with a supervisor but without comment she did a price override and saved me $15.20 on the four bulbs.
Lowe's price, by the way, is $4.98 each on the same bulb, according to a price check by phone this morning.
My point? Shop Menards for price, but don't hesitate to ask Home Depot or Lowe's for a price match if Menards is out of stock. Anyone else want to comment about hardware store comparison shopping? I still think it's remarkable that a single item can have such a price variance. I haven't checked yet, but I can probably find it even cheaper online.