Renovation tools: When to rent and when to buy

Nov 1, 2012 at 4:57 a.m. ET

Getting ready to tackle a home renovation project, but not sure if you should rent or buy the tools for the job? Here are a few questions to consider before deciding if tool rental or purchase better suits your needs.

woman with electric drill

Which costs less?

The best place to start is by calculating the cost difference between buying a tool and renting the same tool. Head online and do some comparison shopping to find the best rate for rental as well as the lowest purchase price. Some renovation projects require you to need a tool for longer than you might think. Add a little padding to your estimated rental cost just in case you take longer to complete the job than originally planned.

Will you use the tool in the future?

If you think you'll use a particular tool again in the future, make sure you account for this in your your cost comparison. You don't want to find yourself cursing your decision to rent when you end up needing the same tool next year and realize you would have been better off buying the tool in the first place.

Do you have a place to store the tool?

Some tools can be easily stashed in a storage room or on a pegboard. However if you need an enormous tool and storage is at a premium, the size of your space might make tool rental a better choice. Get out the tape measure and make sure you can give your tool a permanent home before deciding to buy.

Is the rental tool available?

Pick up the phone and find out if the tool you're interested in renting is available. If it isn't immediately available for rental, you'll need to take a look at your project timing and decide if you're willing to wait. If waiting for a tool throws off your entire renovation timeline, you may be better off purchasing the tool and getting started right away.

Is the tool easily transportable?

If you're thinking of renting a tool, make sure it fits in your or a friend's vehicle. If not, check with the rental company and ask if they have trucks or trailers you can rent to deliver the tool. If you just can't swing transportation, you might want to go ahead and purchase the tool for the convenience of having it delivered directly to your home.

Quick Tip

Don't forget to call and reserve the tool ahead of time, and test the tool before taking it home to make sure it works!

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