Many of us are buying appliances at big retailer chains, because we get to save money and chances are that what we want will be in stock. Today, we look at the eight top stores in the U.S. and find out whether buying vacuum cleaners at these pays off or not. We also see what items you should avoid and how good is the customer service for each of these. Ready? Let’s go!
If Walmart is known for anything, it’s for saving people money, especially for those interested in buying appliances at big retailer chains. I used to work here, so I know what I’m saying. Some items are worth picking up from them, while others are simply not. That applies perfectly in the case of vacuum cleaners. They have a reasonable refund policy, sometimes too reasonable. If you simply got to hit the Walmart, do it on Black Friday (if you can suffer the crowds). Vacuum cleaners get discounted even by 50% during that period of the year. Other then that, Walmart always has online coupons that you can download and apply online or even bring to the store in order to redeem them. You can find here Dysons, Hoovers, Sharks and even Mieles.
- Electronic goods – this includes 40” TV’s, digital cameras and so on. Consumer electronics are excellently priced at Wal-Mart, this includes household electronics like vacuum cleaners. Now you know why people are often found of buying appliances at big retailer chains.
- Smartphones – Walmart has excellent savings thanks to its partnership with mobile operators like AT&T
- Laundry detergent – because Walmart is concerned about the environment, and only packages its detergent in eco-friendly bottles.
- Coffee – you can buy fair trade, organic coffee at the same price as the supermarket brand stuff. It’s a far better deal and makes for a tastier coffee.
- Gaming bundles – if you want to get a console such as a PS4 or Xbox One, grab it from Walmart – it seems to offer heavy discounts with console and gaming bundles.
- Games and toys – Amazon and other online shopping portals seem to beat Wal-Mart by a large margin in this regard. More often then not, the savings are $7-10 more.
- Ground beef – stores such as Aldi regularly beat Wal-Mart pricing by 15% or more. Why waste the money when you can save over $1 per pound?
- Organic vegetables and fruits – stores like Trader Joe’s simply best Wal-Mart when it comes to organic fruit prices.
- Seeds and nuts – again, stores like Aldi and Trader Joes are often a full dollar cheaper than Wal-Mart’s stock, so it’s best to stick to those alternatives.
- Batteries – these can cost up to twice as much at a Wal-Mart, whereas stores like Costco will sell them at warehouse prices.
Target is an excellent store with decent customer service, especially for online queries. And for those who are looking into buying appliances, Target is an excellent choice. Check out its vacuum cleaners especially, as these are often discounted. Many price cuts are recommending this store. Point of fact, most of the goods at Target are often on discount, so scout around online and you’ll be sure to find incredible deals before you go shopping.
- Children’s bedding – Target often has special offers and kids bedding is usually included for a great fee.
- Photo frames – there are hundreds of styles and many bargains to be had, Target seems to be the best store for this.
- Kids clothing – Target has the specific Circo clothing brand. Parents tend to like the cool styles and discounts.
- iTunes cards – as they are often 10% cheaper at Target stores.
- Makeup – the best reason for purchasing makeup at Target is because you can apply two coupons to your deal. Stacked coupons! Need we say more?
- Cookware – Target’s non-stick products are anything but that. They tend to burn food, as the non-stick coating doesn’t last as long as competing store brands.
- Coffee – the coffee lacks taste and complexity, leaving quite the bitter taste. It also costs double that of other store brand coffees.
- Salad dressing – it’s best to avoid this, as it can’t compare to the same offering from Walmart, especially the Market Pantry variety.
- Laundry products – especially the bleach, as it seems to leave streaks in clothing.
- Wine – The boxed wine is average at best, and for $6-8, you can pickup better at your local grocer.
Here is the best retailer in the home improvement game thanks to its efficient processes and clever marketing schemes. It’s simply the first place people think of when it comes to making some household changes. Home Depot’s staff is also quite knowledgeable when it comes to their equipment on sale, and each staff member has been trained to answer tough questions. The vacuum cleaner selection is quite impressive, but you can find most on the items online, for less. Occasionally, there are vacuum cleaners with lower prices. My tip: go check it out, at least because you get to actually see and feel the model you’ve been waiting to buy on Amazon, Ebay or on any other place on the web where you’ve spotted a better deal. Some of the best and worst things to buy include:
- Cacti – correct, if you want to purchase cactuses, get it from Home Depot cheapest
- Wallpaper – again, you’ll save a fortune by shopping there.
- Carpets and carpeting – but don’t do it yourself, a professional should install any carpet
- Fencing – it’s super cheap at Home Depot
- Swing sets – the kids will love you forever if you buy it here. Thankfully it costs next to nothing at Home Depot
- Grills – Home Depot sells expensive grills that don’t function as well as the cheaper options.
- Paint – tests have found that the paint at Home Depot is susceptible to staining and doesn’t paint as smoothly.
- Humidifiers – they cost on average $50-100 more than competing brands
- Paper towels – again, too expensive.
- Flooring – have scored the flooring quite low, and as such, they are quite privy to dents and scuff-marks.
Being one of the oldest department stores, Sears makes it easy for those interested in buying appliances at big retailer chains. Whatever you want is in stock at Sears and if it’s not, they will most likely source it for you. Despite having a great social media presence, customer service seems to be lacking. There are many discounts to be had, making Sears one of the cheaper chain stores to shop at. Let’s see what Sears has got going for itself.
- Vacuums – be it bagless, upright or canister, Sears has excellent and well-priced brands such as Kenmore. For roughly $350, you can purchase an excellent vacuum cleaner from them.
- Snow blowers – there are some superb choices on offer at discount prices (especially in November).
- Refrigerators – Sears has many of the best brand name fridges and freezers.
- Car batteries – for just under $180, the world’s best car batteries can be snapped up at Sears, This includes brands like EverStart.
- Cleaning appliances – laundry machines, washers and dryers, whatever you need, Sears has it for a knockout price.
- Leaf blowers – at over $300 for a Craftsman model (the only one in stock), Sears cannot compete with the other stores.
- Lawn mowers – consumer reports have not been kind to sears, and its lawnmowers are below par
- Paints – rather trust in Home Depot for a better, cheaper selection.
- Cordless drills – Again, we have the Craftsman products that cannot compete. Run-time is below average and the price (over $60) just isn’t worth it.
- Cooking equipment – stoves, microwaves and more from Sears rate lower on consumer tests and in this regard, buying appliances at big retailer chains doesn’t pay off.
For one of the better customer experiences, Lowe’s pans out. It also has many store brands that are far better than its competitors. Expect to find discounts at Lowe’s every weekend, which is also the best time to shop. Scout around online to discover any coupons for Lowe’s. As for our business, at Lowe’s you can find one of the wildest selection of vacuum cleaners. The amount of models is insane for the untrained eye, however new models arrive last and the prices aren’t very low.
- Generators – a 700-watt generator sells for just under $900. An excellent price overall.
- Cordless drills – Lowe’s has many exclusive drills that rank high in consumer tests
- Light bulbs – there’s an excellent selection of both indoor and outdoor lighting
- Interior paints – Lowe’s house brand, Valspar is one of the best interior paints in the U.S.
- Lawn tractors – many of the top rated models in the country are stocked at Lowe’s, for a reasonable price.
- Leaf blowers – of the models reviewed at the stores, none seem to make the grade.
- Air purifiers – there’s only two models sold at Lowe’s and both are sub-par.
- Vacuum cleaners – Lowe’s has a large markup on these products, however, it doesn’t discount them often.
- Exterior paint – Other stores sell them at a far lower price, and the quality at Lowe’s leaves much to the imagination.
- String trimmer – the models at Lowe’s have been shown to fall behind the competition at stores such as Sears or Walmart.
Is a Costco membership worth the effort? Those who want to buy in bulk should consider it and there are some decent savings on offer. One of the issues with Costco, as it is such a large chain, is that the customer service can sometimes be lacking. But it’s hard to argue when the prices are so good. As for the vacuum cleaners section, unfortunately, Costco doesn’t offer a wide variety. You can still find a good deal every now and then, but overall, if you’re only shopping for a vac, save time and look somewhere else.
- Dog food – you can spend just under $30 for over 40-pounds of dog food. That’s a huge saving in any dog lover’s books.
- Seasoning and spices – yes, purchasing an enormous container of spices works out cheaper at Costco. The store even specializes in genuine vanilla pods.
- Organic cleaners – buying these in bulk saves a lot of money in the long run. Stock up on vinegar (that’s right) and use it as your new fabric softener.
- Wine – Costco stocks some decent house wines for well under $7 per bottle. It makes an enormous difference when it comes time for entertaining.
- Cheese – across the U.S., Costco stocks some of the cheapest cheese there is. It’s hard to beat its prices, even the gourmet brands.
- Fresh flowers – these are kept frozen and when removed, tend to die within the day. Stick to the local sellers at the farm stalls.
- Office stock – don’t waste your money at Costco; it seems to mark up these prices. Rather buy online or wait patiently for a sale day.
- Books – again, rather purchase these online. It’s just a far cheaper option then having to deal with paperbacks.
- Cereals – the local grocery stores will always and without fail have better prices. Besides, cereals are fairly unhealthy.
- Body items – shampoo, razor blades, conditioner and so on cost a fortune at Costco.
It’s one of the largest retail stores around, excellent for groceries and pharmaceuticals, as you can save big at Kroger. Kroger’s employees are trained to handle many issues and as such, it’s been voted one of the friendliest retail stores to shop at over the last decade. As for vacuum cleaners, you can’t rally find them here, but you can find a lot of vacuum bags, lots of models and brands, including Dirt Devil, Hoover and Rug Doctor. You can also find a lot of cleaning supplies. As for the groceries, let’s see what Kroger has to offer:
- Peanut butter – Kroger has its own in store house brand that costs far less then competing brands from the other stores
- Lettuce – this brand is far cheaper and is often only $1 for a full bag of crisp, green lettuce.
- Grated cheese – these packets of cheddar, gouda or otherwise taste just as good the Kraft brand and are generally on sale (on days close to the weekend).
- All organic foods – Kroger’s brand “Simple Truth” is one of the best in the U.S. and manages to undercut most other stores.
- Seafood – this is shipped in fresh daily and is often on sale
- Brand chicken – this chicken has apparently been pumped full of water. It’s better to stick with Foster Farms, especially when it goes on sale.
- Oreo rip-offs – it’s called Kroger’s Double Filled Kids O and according to reports, tasted just a little bit “off” when compared to the real deal
- Processed cheese slices – these are highly processed and barely taste like cheese at all
- Vacuum cleaners – buying appliances at Kroger doesn’t pay off, as it marks up its prices.
- Cereals – quite pricey at Kroger, and the store almost never offers coupons for them
Here is the largest retail drug store chain in the U.S. Walgreens has excellent customer service and its staff is trained to handle complaints. There aren’t many discounts to be had at Walgreens though and as such, it remains as one of the more expensive chain stores to shop at. And the vacuum cleaner selection is very poor. One thing though, the handhelds Black+Decker are cheap.
- Black & Decker handheld vacuum cleaners – for just under $80, you can pickup an excellent cordless handheld model that will be sure to suck up the dirt. It’s priced cheaper then at other stores.
- Garbage bags – Walgreens has excellent quality ones at low prices.
- Diapers – They are often on sale, costing less than 20-cents per diaper.
- Hair color – there’s a wide variety, and for less than a big name stores as well
- Toothpaste and toothbrushes – if you combine these with your coupons and the pharmacy reward programs, you can get them for a steal.
- Drugs – ironic that drugs at Walgreens are more expensive then at Costco or Walmart.
- Food – the prices are insanely marked up, almost 25% more than at a grocery store!
- Cosmetics – prices are on average, $1-2 more at Walgreens than a Walmart or similar store.
- Cleaning goods – Walgreen’s just charges more, so don’t stick these in your basket.
- Office supplies – stick to the dollar stores, Walgreens will outright rip you off with the pricing.
So, what do you think? Have I nailed everything? Have a different opinion? Had a shareable experience with some of the retailers listed above? I’d love to read your story, use the form bellow to send it!
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I’m Jason Moe Roberts, an appliances expert and blogger. I’ve worked at Walmart for more than 15 years, in the house appliance department. I love to use home equipment and I spend a lot of time testing the best products and reviewing them. My family and friends also recommend me as a caring person, a great dad and a loving husband.