DIY Tools

The Home Depot Just Expanded Its Equipment Rental Program—But Should You Rent Your Tools?

Tool and equipment rental from the mega-retailer just got easier, but renting gear isn’t always the best answer. Here’s the lowdown on which tools it makes more sense to buy, and which ones you don’t want to store long term in your garage or workshop.
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DIYers and pros have been relying on rental tools to help them get jobs done for years. From earthmoving equipment to concrete mixers, some tools are often too expensive, cumbersome, or too infrequently used to justify the purchase, so renting can be a smart alternative.

The Home Depot recently expanded its rental program, which is great news for homeowners. The company now allows DIYers to reserve equipment rentals online up to 30 days in advance, and offers in-store pickup, job-site delivery, and curbside pickup for some tools. With that level of rental convenience available, it got us thinking: Which pieces of equipment are best to rent, and which tools will we probably need again and should just buy outright? This guide will help.

Rent: Concrete Mixer

There are a lot of DIY projects that require a concrete mixer, but owning one can be a bit of a hassle. It’s usually not the price that makes owning them prohibitive, it’s that storing one is kind of a pain. Concrete mixers that are large enough to be useful are too big for most DIYers to keep tucked away in an average-sized garage shop. Smaller concrete mixers aren’t easy to store either, and they’re far less useful, so renting is usually best.

Buy: Chainsaw

Renting a chainsaw from a local equipment dealer can be affordable, but it’s usually far better to buy a chainsaw. These versatile saws come in handy for cutting firewood, yard cleanup, and emergencies, but there can be a learning curve to using them. Using your own chainsaw better ensures that you know how the machine works, how it’s maintained, and its capabilities.

Rent: Demolition Tools

Plenty of renovation jobs have to start with the destruction of what was already there, and the tools for the job can be expensive. While a frequent DIYer usually owns a sledgehammer and wrecking bar, heavy-duty demolition tools like power breakers (think jack-hammer, but smaller) and power demolition hammers aren’t often owned due to their expense. They’re also job-specific, which means there aren’t many uses for them once the demolition is done. Justifying that purchase can be tough, so renting might be a better move.

Buy: Lawn Mower

This might seem like common sense, but plenty of equipment rental places will rent a lawn mower to a customer. The thing is, grass grows quickly. Even if it’s just to freshen the curb appeal at an investment property before selling, the grass will grow back well before any closing can happen. And, with quality lawn mowers as affordable as they are, renting might not make much sense.

Rent: Wet Tile Saws

Tile jobs might take a few days, and the rental fees do add up, but it might not be worth owning a tile saw. Equipment rental companies lend heavy-duty saws that can make quick work of very large tiles, which means faster work of long, difficult cuts. Also, unless the DIYer is tackling several tile jobs within a short period of time, buying and storing a tile saw might not be practical; there just aren’t enough uses for these material-specific tools.

Related: 10 Things You Had No Idea You Can Rent

Buy: Power Tools

It’s possible to rent any handheld power tool that a DIYer might need, but it rarely makes sense. The cost to rent these tools is usually minimal, but the hassle of driving back and forth to the rental shop can be a headache. Plus, they see a lot of use. DIYers who invest in one brand’s lineup of battery-powered tools can often purchase bare tools (power tools without the battery required to run them) for a fraction of the regular price.

Rent: Earthmoving Equipment

Tractors, post-hole diggers, bulldozers, and backhoes are certainly very cool, but the typical DIYer doesn’t really need one. Unless it’s for a large property, farm, ranch, or something similar, renting this equipment is usually much more cost effective.

In most cases, the projects that require these heavy-duty tools also require planning, which leaves plenty of time for you to line up the rental. However, earthmoving equipment can dramatically cut the time and effort it takes to get a job done, so they’re certainly worth renting.

Related: 10 Tools Every Lazy Gardener Needs