Pros and Cons of Buying vs. Renting Tools

Lydia Schapiro
Written by Lydia Schapiro
Updated December 21, 2021
A woman wearing protective glasses assembling a closet by using an electric screwdriver
Photo: triocean / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Whether you buy or rent power tools depends on the specific project

  • Buying tools tends to be more efficient for long-term projects

  • Renting is often more flexible than buying

Anytime you’re getting ready for a home project, you’ve got to consider equipment. Since specific projects sometimes require specific power tools, you may not have everything you need. The next question to ask is, to rent, or to buy tools? Your answer will depend on several factors, and below are some of the key things to consider. 

Buying Tools Pros and Cons ​

Buying your own tools makes you in control of the equipment, which can be both negative and positive. 

Pros of Buying Tools

When you buy tools, it’s a one-time investment—if you’re planning a long-term project, buying materials tends to be more cost-effective since renting over and over again will add up. Not only will you save money by buying, but you’ll save time. You won’t need to wait on anyone since you’ll already have all the equipment. 

Another benefit to buying power tools: you are in charge of them. This means you can get any repairs or work done on your time, when you want. You also have the option to sell equipment when you’re ready, which could allow you to make some of your money back

It may be easier to buy tools than rent them since you don’t have to deal with any agreements or contracts. Also, leasing’s availability won’t limit you, so you have control over what types of materials you choose. 

Cons of Buying Tools

While on the one hand, it's nice to be in control of managing your equipment’s maintenance. On the other, maintenance costs can get pricey. It will also cost more, initially, to buy your tools. On the flip side, it might be easier to budget lower monthly payments. 

When you buy tools, it’s up to you to make space for storing your equipment since many stores don’t have the option to do this for you.

Renting Tools Pros and Cons​

A man using an electric screwdriver
Photo: Rawpixel.com / Adobe Stock

Renting tools takes some pressure off your back but, over time, can add up to a lot of money. And, for some everyday repairs, like common toilet repairs, having tools on hand may be the better option. 

Pros of Tool Rental

If you’re working with equipment that regularly needs to be updated, renting is probably your best option. Renting your tools prevents you from being stuck with the same equipment when it may become outdated, or if it’s for a rare project, like roof repair, you likely won’t need roof repair tools too often.

Renting also can be more flexible; initial high costs won’t restrict you, so you may have more options for what tools you acquire. 

Finally, a benefit to renting your tools is that you don’t need to worry about maintenance costs. This is up to the equipment company, so it’s one less thing you have to worry about. 

Cons of Tool Rental

Although it’s going to be less expensive initially to rent your tools, over time, the costs usually come out to be higher than they would be if you bought the tools. Plus, you’ll have to consider that many equipment renting companies will require you to pay interest over time. 

Another downside to renting tools is that you don’t have equity. This means that since you don’t own the equipment, you can’t sell it back, and so you’ll gain no money back. 

Buying Tools vs. Renting Tools

If you’re trying to decide whether to rent or buy tools, you’ll want to consider which option better suits the specific project and your needs.

Tool Rental and Buying Options and Availability

Renting is more flexible, since if you need to update a piece of equipment or specific tool, you can. Getting a specific tool at the drop of a dime can impart some challenges when you own your tools. 

Tool Maintenance

Some equipment and tools require higher levels of maintenance than others. This will be more expensive if you own your tools since you’ll be responsible for all maintenance costs. 

When you rent tools, companies typically have maintenance teams that will do this work. Plus, even if you need to pay some maintenance fees as a renter, they’re more predictable if you own the equipment. 

Tool Price​s

Buying tools will cost you more upfront than renting. The most cost-efficient option depends on the project you’re undertaking. Renting tools will probably be more inexpensive than buying them with a small-scale project. 

However, buying tools is more cost-effective than renting tools in the long run.