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Pros And Cons Of Buying Versus Renting Tools

When you need equipment to complete a home-improvement project, should you buy the new tools, or just rent them for a few hours — or a few days? 
Our highly rated experts offer some advice:

Why buy?

Patrick Smith, owner of A-rated Dunn Hardware & Home Center in Cleveland, says he sees more people buying tools and equipment than renting them.

"It really depends on what you're doing," he says. "We tell people that if they're going to use something more than four times, they might want to purchase it. For example, a good cordless drill is about $40 and rents for about $9. By that fifth time, you're better off purchasing it."

Sam Adams, manager of highly rated Action Rentals in San Francisco, agrees. "If you're using it continually, you have storage space, and you can maintain and service it over the long run, it might be good to make a purchase. You could buy a power washer for a couple hundred bucks, up to maybe $400 or $500."

Why rent?

"You may just be using something one time," says Dennis Shea, manager of highly rated Rent All of Boston Inc. "Or you may have limited money or storage space. Some customers will rent lawn mowers off me every Saturday. It costs $18, maybe $20, and they pick it up, go cut their grass and bring it back two hours later." Adams says power washer rentals can be about $50 or $60 for 
a full-day rental, depending on the type.

Weigh your options

Whichever way you go, do some thinking before you (permanently or temporarily) pick up that power tool. "Some people will rent something, then later they'll want to buy it," Smith says. "It's a good tool, and you might not realize how much you'll use it until you rent it."

Think quality

If you later decide to purchase a tool, get one that's comparable to what you've rented. "You can buy a power washer for less than $100, but quite frankly, it may be junk," Smith says. "You might rent a [nicer] one, then buy one for $100 and realize it wasn't what you needed."

Communication is key

Many stores offer both sales and rentals, so seek advice from the store's employees. Adams says he asks the customer what they plan to use the equipment for — and how often they plan to use it. "Occasionally someone will rent something for a week or two, and then realize they have an extended, long-term need," he says. "We try to find out up front what customers' plans are so they aren't disappointed."


This article originally appeared on Angie's List.

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