Where to buy electrical supplies

I'm finishing my basement, and I'm about to do the electrical rough-in work. Are places like Home Depot and Lowes a rip off when it come to buying things like romex wire, outlets, and lighting fixtures? Should I head to a specialized electrical supply store instead?
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I'm sure it varies from area to area. The most common supplies MAY be slightly cheaper at HD, but I'd make a list and check with local electrical supply houses as well
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RBM wrote:

It depends on what you need. I found that the local supply house was cheaper on things like conduit bodies and boxes of EMT connectors and about the same on wire.
I found that 'Depot beat everyone on special order Square D QO parts by a significant amount. For a 125A 32 space QO load center, a 125A 2 pole QO breaker to feed that panel, a surge breaker and a QO generator interlock kit, 'Depot beat both Lowe's and the supply house by more than $100 on the order.
And of course when you find you're short a part or two on a weekend evening, the big boxes win since they are open and you can get what you need and continue the project.
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Must be Murphy's law, but I have 4 HD's and 1 Lowes within 15 miles of my house, and when I need a part, any part at an off hour, I spin around, guess at which one to go to, and almost always find they don't have it. No, I don't waste time trying to call first anymore, as no dept ever picks up the phone. I do find that if I go online and get a HD - SKU # off the website, the CS person that answers the phone will look it up and check store stock. Much as they frustrate the hell out of me, I'd rather have them then not. If for nothing else, they keep hardware prices competitive
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locally the electrical supply stores are closing, contractors largely buy at home depot
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locally the electrical supply stores are closing, contractors largely buy at home depot
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Expensive when you think about it. You are paying the electrician $60 an hour to go shopping instead of having the supply house deliver to the job site or his office/shop.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Probably in CT, not here in north Texas. We still have a lot of industry here and Depot / Lowe's doesn't carry the type of supplies needed for most industrial work.
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Pete C. wrote:

Not in PA either. A contractor isn't going to go to the big box store to get part of what they need and then go to the real supply house to get the rest.
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wrote in message

Actually I do shop around for the best prices. I am always comparing prices when I go to the box stores with the supply companies. At the supply house the price of copper wire changes daily. Home Depot's price on Romex doesn't fluctuate that often. Consequently depending on the pricing cycle, I can sometimes get Romex cheaper at Home Depot than at my regular supply companies.
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dpb wrote:

CT has little industrial left. What industrial is left is large enough to buy their supplies direct and have plane electricians. Most of CT is now residential and light commercial.
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wrote in message

In the burbs of NYC, electric supplies have been opening and closing long before HD came to town. What they have done is raised the prices of much of the less common items that HD doesn't sell
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RBM wrote:

I'm lucky enough that the Depot and Lowe's are across the highway from each other, and the electrical supply house is about 1 mile further. Distance wasn't an issue though for my project since it was large enough that I did a lot of prep work and gathering materials before I started the actual work. A week or two of prep before a Saturday afternoon of work.
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There's one place that you won't beat for breakers and breaker panels. Even your deal will be beat by the 'breakerguy' on ebay.
I've bought QO stuff from him several times.
steve

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I would think that Romex, junction boxes, outlets, conduit, connectors, etc. are commodity items - interchangable.
Light fixtures, I dunno. Probably you'd find better quality and greater selection at a lightinng store.
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Those "commodity" items can be had at a better quality at the electrical outlet though. You can buy switches and outlets for 99 at Wal mart, but they don't hold up as well as the $3 commercial grade units.
I've not done any comparisons for electrical supplies, but a circulator pump from the plumbing supply store was $45, while at HD and Lowes it was $60. While cheaper, the supply store has a 15% re-stocking charge if I buy the wrong item and they close at 1 PM on Saturday, the big box stores refund your money and are open late 7 days a week. Depends on your needs.
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On 4/18/2008 4:50 PM snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com spake thus:

My answer is to buy at both places.
Cable and such will probably be cheaper at Home Despot, and it's easy to just grab what you want. Same for standard boxes, switches, outlets, etc. However, I'd go to a *real* electrical supply house for the rest of the things you need. You might actually pay a little more for them there (but you may pay less); the real reason is that the people at the electrical place will actually know what the hell they're talking about, and will have a much larger variety of stuff, which could end up saving you $$$ in the long run.
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On Apr 18, 5:50 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Thanks for all the responses. Great info to have. rj
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