Because tillers aren't typically used every week like lawn mowers are, you may think it's less costly to rent one when you need it.
Surprisingly, that's not often the case. In some cases, the cost of renting twice in a year can cost as much as buying a brand new tiller.
Of course, it depends what kind of tiller you need and how much you use it each year. We'll break down the cost comparison for you, and you can decide if owning is right for you.
Cost of Owning vs Renting
The first question you want to ask yourself is, "How many days would I rent a tiller for each time?" The second question you should ask is, "How many times per year will I till?"
If you will be using a tiller twice per year for a week at a time, your annual cost of renting would be approximately equal to the cost of buying your own brand new tiller. Hence, you could buy a brand new tiller every year for the cost of renting.
If you'd be using it for two days each year, approximately 4 1/2 years of renting would be equal to the cost of owning your own brand new tiller. In most cases, buying a new tiller is much more cost efficient than renting, especially if you plan to use it annually for your garden.
This estimation is based on a low-end rental cost of $86/day or $344/week, though rental prices can be much higher. There are also rates for 4-hour rentals and half-day rentals, but we don't recommend renting for such short periods of time. Partial-day rentals put you in a stressful situation where you're rushed to get the job done, and rental time includes the driving to and from your home or garden location.
Disadvantages of Renting vs Owning a Tiller
Something many people don't consider right away is that you need to have a means of transporting a tiller from the rental location to your garden. If you don't own a truck, you'll have to either borrow one or rent one. Renting a truck to transport your rented tiller will add to the cost, and loading and unloading (along with the transport time) will cost you a sizable portion of the time you're renting it for.
In most cases, rental tillers are not new. This is to be expected. However, you can't predict what issues the tiller may have; and because you're stuck renting whatever model(s) they have available, you may not get the features you want. Your options are limited, and the quality and performance of the rental tiller will be questionable based on how previous renters have used it.
Also, if you rent a tiller while it's sunny out, but then you're faced with an unexpected rain storm, you won't get a refund. This will lead to renting for another day and eating the cost of the day you couldn't use it.
Owning a tiller means you can wait out the storm and do your tilling when conditions are just right. There's no travel time, loading or unloading, or rushing to complete the job within an allotted time.
Deciding What's Right for You
As you can see, if you're planning to till and maintain a garden for years to come, it's definitely worth investing in your very own tiller. If you're just looking to till once per year for a very limited time, and you're not decided on whether or not you'll continue to garden in the future, it may be worth renting a tiller for the first year or two.
In most cases, making the investment in a new tiller is the best choice. You can have it delivered to your home, so there's no need to rent or borrow a truck. It'll have the features and performance you choose, because it's brand new.
There's no need to wonder how it's been treated in the past, no settling for features that are available at the time, and you can take your time tilling when the conditions are right. If you're ready to take the plunge and invest in your own tiller, we can help walk you through the selection process.
Buying vs Renting a Tiller - Find out How to Decide Whether to Buy a Tiller or Rent a Tiller. Our roto tiller how-to library can help you pick the perfect electric cultivator, gas cultivator, front tine rototiller, rear tine garden tiller or garden tiller accessory.