Quality is very important to me and I’ve made the commitment to reviewing products when I can. As a reviewer there are certain things needed to ensure the review is useful and true. Thus, I was able to explore the question “Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?” with a real world experience. That is, it was with great shock and frustration that I encountered Home Depot’s archaic online review policy (homedepot.com, homedepot.ca).
The Background – On the Hunt for an LED porch light
I’ve been on the hunt for about 5 years for an “LED porch light”* but just saying that doesn’t do it justice. If you’ve ever shopped for LED light bulbs, you’ve probably been overwhelmed with the number of specifications you need to keep in mind. Lest you buy the wrong bulb and spend endless trips to the store to find the right one. So, our specification for an LED porch light are:
- “suitable for damp locations”
- have a temperature rating of at least -20C (ideally more of course since we live in Canada)
- at least 100W incandescent equivalent (1500 lumens or more)
- “A” shaped bulb (A19/A23) – this is the classic bulb shape
- Medium or standard base (“E26”) – the standard North American light bulb screw-in socket size of 26mm diameter
- dimmable since most porch lights are on a low-level light until they detect motion and output more lumens
- colour temperature of 2700K (like an incandescent bulb)
For the last 5 years there have been absolutely no bulbs with these specifications at Home Depot and I’ve been testing various inexpensive LED bulbs from Amazon; some are even only indoor rated! Suffice it to say, they start flickering in the 6-18 month range.
* As an aside, commercial building’s parking lot lights face a similar complex situation and there are specific outdoor LED light bulb considerations.
LED Porch Light Found at Home Depot
Until recently when I was looking again at Home Depot, I found the “Ecosmart 100W Equivalent Soft White (2700K) A19 Dimmable LED Light Bulb (3-Pack) – ENERGY STAR” (Model # B6A19100WESD01)”. The Home Depot site link for this product can be accessed by clicking here.
It looked good on paper and the online reviews looked ok. The cost per bulb was $7.42 CAD. Quality indoor bulbs are a bit cheaper than this so this seemed reasonable for an outdoor capable bulb. Upon connecting it the first day it seemed to work ok. I posted this review thinking I could modify it later when I had more operating data:
“Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Subject: Not Listed as “Outdoor” But…
Body: I bought these to use as porch lights; so outdoor. The box says “Indoor” which is opposite from the online listing. It does say “Minimum starting temperature -20 C (-4F)” and “Suitable for damp locations; do not use where directly exposed to water”. I suppose it may be able to be used outside so I’m giving it a try. I’ve installed the bulb in summer and I’ll try to post again how it does through a Canadian winter (-30 to -40 C). It’s really hard to find 100W equivalent 2700K outdoor LED bulbs so beggars can’t be choosers!”
LED Porch Light Goes Wrong
However, within 2-3 days, it started flickering immediately on start-up. With LED bulbs this indicates a shoddy/inexpensive LED controller which is a common issue of cheaper LED bulbs. I’ve encountered this issue with LED bulbs many, many times and because of this it’s rare to achieve the “long operating life” promised by LED bulbs.
The solution, of course, is to source a more expensive bulb. This is usually from specialty lighting stores that are not local. I found a replacement on 1000bulbs.com, which is a site that has a good filtering/search mechanisms for bulbs, and then sourced a somewhat more favorable price on amazon.ca once I knew what I was looking for. The replacement bulb cost $14.07 CAD. The cost, being approximately double, the bulb also came with a -30C rating and a 25,000-hour bulb life (15,000-hour is the typical bulb life). When I plugged it in, you can tell right away it has a quality LED controller.
Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?
Back to my home depot review and answering the question “Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?”. I was excited, so I provided a more favorable review of the the Ecosmart bulb than I should have. But when I asked Home Depot Chat Support to modify or delete it, they quoted me this:
“Home Depot does not guarantee that you will have any recourse through Home Depot to edit or delete any content you have submitted. Ratings and written comments are generally posted within two to four business days. However, Home Depot reserves the right to remove or to refuse to post any submission for any reason.”
This means if a reviewer submits a review, they cannot edit or delete it after. As in my situation, say the product works great day 1 but by day 3 it’s not working, the reviewer has no recourse. You can’t go online and edit your review. You can’t take your review down by deleting it. Instead, you get to look like a chump if you think the product is great and days later it’s a piece of crap. Basically, Home Depot owns your review. Sure, Home Depot is allowing you to “make an honest review written by a customer” but it’s static, which makes it useless. Home Depot moderates all reviews anyhow, so I don’t understand this requirement.
Conclusion on Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?
When I raised the issue of “Are Home Depot Reviews Trustworthy?” on reddit, user ShinyYoshi surmised “I suspect they don’t allow editing or deletion of reviews because they don’t want positive reviews being changed to negative ones or vanishing. From what I have heard, negative reviews don’t even get approved for posting. I would recommend posting/trusting reviews from other sources.”
My recommendation: Avoid Home Depot reviews until they address this issue and rely on reviews on other sites. Amazon comes to mind. You can run Fakespot (fakespot.com), ReviewMeta.com or any other review analyzer to determine the overall trustworthiness of the specific URL’s reviews since fake reviews can creep into any review site despite the sites trying to moderate all reviews.
About the Author
Trevor Textor loves, loves, loves quality products. So much so that he’s been accused of having ugly things that work really, really well. On his journey for quality he has shared his knowledge as a reviewer as a Google Local Guide, which can be viewed by clicking here, and as an Amazon Reviewer, which can be viewed by here. If you’d like to get in touch with Trevor click here.