Rating local hardware stores

(Home Depot/MGN Online)

During the summer months, it seems like I’m always headed to the hardware store

When it comes to price, the two big guys – The Home Depot and Lowe's – are the obvious choice, according to the latest price survey by

"We found that Home Depot and Lowe's have really low prices,” said Checkbook Executive Editor Kevin Brasler. “They beat all the independents and the other chains in the area by about 20 percent on price, on average, which is a pretty big difference."

But Home Depot and Lowe's fell short on customer service.

"Unfortunately, the customers we surveyed for those two big chains rated them really poorly for things like quality of advice offered,” Brasler told me.

By comparison, McClendon Hardware got high marks for advice.

“McClendon rates really well for quality. This time around for price, it's prices were about average compared to all the other stores in the area,” Brasler said.

Want to save money? Ask about discounts. Some independent stores give 5-15 percent discounts for large purchases, Checkbook noted.

You may also pay less if you use a store charge or credit card.

More Info: Hardware Stores: Nailing Down the Areas Best & Worst

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