Dare to Compare

I often find myself running to The Home Depot and Lowe’s for specific items and brands, having already done extensive research comparing items until I find the style and price that best suits my needs. However, this past weekend as I helped a buddy add a utility shed and bathroom out by his pool, we found ourselves looking for the cheapest non-white vanity cabinet available, and we ended up in the same position as most home improvement consumers- having to decide between the same $88 offering at both The Home Depot and Lowe’s. So how do these budget bathroom vanity combos stack up?

The two cabinets that interested us were made by two leading manufacturers, so we felt comfortable purchasing one cabinet from each store to take a closer look and compare some of the discreet, yet very important differences between the two. The two contestants are the Glacier Bay 24 In. Vanity with AB Engineered Composite Top with White Finish (GB2418P2-O) and the ESTATE by RSI 24″ Oak Richmond Bath Vanity Combo (C14024A).

Comfort Height

The first thing we noticed was the difference in height between vanities. The Home Depot unit was over an inch taller, which may not seem like much, but accounts for a 2.7 sq.ft. increase in storage space; the number one consumer need when remodeling a bathroom. Also, the added height of the Glacier Bay vanity makes it a little more comfortable to use than the shorter vanity. I am average height and notice a difference, so anyone in the 6ft. range will likely find the RSI vanity from Lowe’s to be uncomfortable, as you have to reach down lower to get your hands into the sink space.

Height

Durability

Next, we took a closer look at the particle board used for 80% of the construction of both cabinets, including the side walls, cleats and base. The 1/8″ difference in board thickness we found seemed miniscule, until we picked up the cabinets to move them into position and experienced how wobbly and loose the Lowe’s vanity felt. Which brings us to our next point…

thickness

Construction

In low-cost cabinets such as these, glue and dowel should be the standard method for holding everything together, as it is the strongest way for these types of manufacturers to build, without getting overly complicated and expensive. That said, we were very surprised to find that the RSI unit at Lowe’s was put together with pin nails and essentially fell apart once we pulled the back cleat from the right side wall. The Glacier Bay unit was held together with 1″ long by 1/4″ wide wooden dowels that, combined with the thicker particle board, create a much stronger cabinet.

Construction

Finishing

Finally, both vanities have a very similar oak finish with slight variances in the tone, but nothing that would cause us to purchase one over the other. We did, however, take issue with some of the un-sanded edges on areas like the toe-kick (see photo below). Although we were going for minimal expense, we still wanted something that would look nice in the end.

toe kick

Ultimately, we recommend that you do what we did and go with the Glacier Bay unit from The Home Depot. For the same $88 that you would spend at Lowe’s, you get a taller, more durable and higher quality product at The Home Depot.

We hope this article helps. If you have any questions or comments, please make yourself heard!

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About JRotsheck

Josh Rotsheck is a Product Specialist for St. Paul Home Products, an avid San Diego Chargers fan and an accomplished artist.