I have a part-time job at THD, but am not biased on the subject of equipment, who has the better stuff?
It's not my intent to bash other brand saws, I know husqvarna and echo both have some decent saws, stihl is just my personal preference. As for other gear the only thing worth buying at a box store, in my opinion, is maybe a rake. Even then I'm one of those power rakers and go through those handles like it's nothing. Only the groundskeeper 2 has held up to me for any measurable amount of time. For tree work there are better options than home depot and Lowe's. Once you get used to the feel of some stable braid or other quality ropes, the stuff that they sell just feels bad in your hand. It does not instill confidenceTHD has better guarantees than other local stores; if you get similar name brand stuff cheaper, I see no problem with that. But they have mainly homeowner saws, not much in the way of commercial ones, same thing with Lowes. Major Stihl and Husky dealers have sky high pricing on saws, so I see no alternative for most except smaller contractors but to buy used.
Yeah some odds and ends for sure... Air compressor for blowin out saws, tool storage, crap like that, sure thing. Gloves if the price is right, Super Hawg for the GRCS! Stuff like that, but most things that get touched or used on site day in and out hell no.My hand pruners that I use for roots came from Lowe's. Coronas are not bad...they don't get the everyday use that the Felcos do, but they aren't bad. Sawzall from HD gets root duty too. Not many other tree tools that I can think of that came from big box.
I have a small company and the way I see it is that I can't afford down time... so I cannot afford less than professional grade chainsaws (most of mine are Husqvarna...not gonna argue brand preference) or hand saws (Silky.). Being down for an extra day because I saved a couple hundred on a chainsaw will cost me more than that savings. I do have a 455 Rancher Husqvarna than can be had from Lowe's...but I won that in a drawing. It has been a great saw-no complaints, but if I needed a new saw in that size class I'd probably buy a 550XP. Pro saws tend to have better power:weight ratios, are built better usually less vibration, etc... Sometimes is is simple stuff like not needing to unscrew the cover to clean the air filter.