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What equipment to own vs to rent

Discussion in 'New Divers & Those Considering Diving' started by riceowls, Apr 12, 2021.

Is it worth owning (vs renting) for an occasional recreational diver? (Check for yes)

  1. Mask/fins

    138 vote(s)
  2. BCD

    87 vote(s)
  3. Regualtor Set

    94 vote(s)
  4. Basic Wetsuit

    114 vote(s)
  5. Collection of different thickness wetsuits

    23 vote(s)
  6. Dive light

    80 vote(s)
  7. Weights

    17 vote(s)
  8. Tank

    10 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. CanadaDan

    CanadaDan DMC ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Winnipeg, MB Canada
    Along with what you have a BCD is a great investment. As other have said you will learn your gear and weighting.

    As for the regs and it not "paying for itself"... From a purely financial standpoint you're probably right but diving doesn't make much financial sense sometimes lol. I've spent a LOT of money for the number of dives I've done but the per dive cost diminishes with every dive. There really is something to be said for always diving your own gear.

    And I dare say if you're here and asking... you're likely to get you money's worth out of your own gear :wink:
  2. VikingDives

    VikingDives Mostly Harmless ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: New Mexico
    Lots of good advice here that I won't repeat. I assume you're diving locally since you are thinking about tanks. Unless you have some particular need or want, tanks are usually just a money pit. You pay ~200 for an AL 80, then say $30 a year for visuals, then 70 every five years for hydros (at least that about what it costs locally) and in all likelihood you're paying just as much for fills as you would to rent the tanks.

    My suggestion on what to rent vs buy is to look at the total cost. If the number of dives you plan to do times the cost of rental exceeds the cost of buying, then buy the item.
  3. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    Yes, I have figured in what you point out. When I rented tanks in FL it was $8 per and $6 for just a fill. Since we were there 3 months (snowbirds), the shop gave me a deal that for an extra $40 I could just keep a couple of their tanks in our condo and use them as if they were mine (they knew me well). In a normal situation, the real advantage to owning your own is convenience. Normally to rent you have to first pick them up at the shop, then have only a certain time allowed to return them (same day--thus a longer day for you) or next day (another trip to the shop, costing you time and gas).
  4. Hoag

    Hoag Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: SW Ontario - Just outside of the GTHA
    IMHO, there are variables other than purely financial considerations that may come into play when looking at Renting vs Buying.

    One of these is that if you own, then you absolutely know whether the gear was maintained and how well/often. Another factor is familiarity, knowing how to operate the gear and knowing what to expect from it. This may not be so critical in a wetsuit, but using the same computer and knowing it well does have its advantages. (Yes I see you have a Computer.)

    On the other hand, when just starting out, there is something to be said for renting different types of gear. Take the BCD for example. There is a lot to be said for renting at the beginning. Try different styles. Seek advice, but find out what works best for you. Try a Jacket Style, a Back Inflate and (if possible) a BP/W. See what you like. After you have tried a few different types, then you will be able to make an informed decision based on what you like.

    If I were starting out today, and had the "wisdom" of what I now know, I would likely buy in stages.

    Mask, fins (& booties), and snorkel (Usually these are required for the course)

    Reg/Octo set

    Wetsuit and vest (both for thermal protection, but also for protection from scrapes, abrasions and jellyfish depending on where you dive)

    Dive Light (this can be rented if you don't do a lot of night diving)
    BCD (find out what you like by renting & get what suits you)

    Weights & tanks (I was certified in the 1990s and I am a vacation diver. I still have had no need to buy my own weights & tanks)

    Keep in mind, this is nothing more than my opinion, but that is how I would likely buy my gear if I was just starting out today. Of course everyone's situation will be different and a different order may make sense. I would have everything down to (as a minimum) the Computer and Reg/Octo set before my 1st trip with the other gear purchases as budget/trips dictate.
    Ontwreckdiver and rhwestfall like this.
  5. hilljo88

    hilljo88 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: nyc
    So no need to buy tanks, the annual inspection cost and periodic Viz inspection outweighs rental fees IMHO.
    Also no need to buy weights. Impractical to travel with. I have bought weights for local diving when someone is cleaning out their dive locker and is just getting rid of them. I couldn't pass them up when the price got to $1 per pound. Keep an eye on CraigsList or other local source.

    If you are "standard" size, there's really no need to own anything for travel. I know some experienced divers who do warm water dive trips with just their own swim suit, tee shirt and reef safe SPF (and credit card!). I would make the exception of a DC, because there is a learning curve to each make.

    If you don't fit well in "standard" size mask, fins or wetsuit, you will be much more comfortable buying your own. Once you go down this road, you will probably have separate dedicated checked bag for dive gear, and depending on budget you can consider adding full kit of BCD, reg set, line cutter, surface signaling device, light, mask defog. Advantage is that you know how everything works, it all fits and may be cheaper in the long run, depending on rental costs versus life of service. In practice, many of us don't keep the same gear long enough to realize any savings over renting.

    In considering the cost, it sounds like you may be doing roughly 20 dives per year. Most of the gear should last you 5 years. You could think of the cost per dive being about 1%. So if you spend $1000 on this gear, its about $10 per dive for the full kit. $2000 is $20 per dive. If you do more dives the cost per dive goes down correspondingly.
  6. Julius SCHMIDT

    Julius SCHMIDT Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Alexandra Headland

    I wouldn't buy a zac more until you've done a couple of trips
  7. Belzelbub

    Belzelbub Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Largo, Florida
    I voted for owning all but the multiple wetsuits option, but a basic wetsuit suited for where you dive most is a good idea.

    For the rest of the items, provided it won’t cause financial hardship, it can make sense. Especially if you dive frequently. Diving in your own gear helps you to be a better diver. Each time you dive, you get more and more familiar with your gear, which is good.

    A couple of the items (regulator and tanks) have some regular maintenance, so that needs to be factored in.

    I prefer owning rather than renting because the weather can be unpredictable. I’ve been out on my boat, and decided it wasn’t a good day to dive, either due to weather, or vis not being good. In those cases, I didn’t lose any rental fees, and could dive the next day if I wanted to.
  8. DreadnoughtNH

    DreadnoughtNH Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Portsmouth, NH
    I own all, but only after a s###load of expensive trial and error.

    IMO, out of the gates purchase a high quality mask, fins, boots, and wetsuit that all fit you perfectly and are comfortable.

    Then try out/rent as many different BCs and regs as you can to determine what you like (and more importantly DON'T like). If possible, go someplace with a lot of dive equipment shops to try on and test out equipment (if you can). I'm lucky and have access to a shop with a year long return policy on most gear.

    The 'right' equipment to own is the equipment that works best for YOU.
    Bob DBF, Ontwreckdiver and Hoag like this.
  9. smackboy1

    smackboy1 Registered

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    I'm an occasional warm water vacation diver. After MFS, I like to own equipment that's difficult to rent and will increase the chances of going home after the dive:

    Cutting tool
    Small backup dive light
  10. stretchthepenn

    stretchthepenn Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    I've had the opposite experience. I've never had an operator or liveaboard supply a light. That being said, my liveaboard experiences have been limited.

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