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Scuba Gear - Rent vs. Buy Calculator
Greg - 6/08/2013 7:27 AM
Category: Equipment
Replies: 11

I would like to create another scuba calculator that provides divers with a cost comparison of renting vs. buying scuba gear. I have generically told new divers that if they plan to dive more than 10 days per year, they should buy their own gear. This estimate is based on the average cost of a set of scuba gear plus the maintenance and depreciation...vs. the average cost to rent a set of scuba gear for a day.

I know what scuba gear costs, but can you provide feedback on the expected lifespan of the different components (ie: regs, BC, mask, tank, etc.). What does it cost to rent gear and tanks in your area? How much does your shop charge for reg maintenance, tank inspections, and hydro? How much to rent gear?

For example, I bought some cheaper BCs that lasted only about 3 years of active use before they began to leak too much. Reg service in the Houston area will cost about $40 per stage. Tank vis costs about $25 and Hydro about $35. And I can rent a BC, regs and tank for $60 for the weekend.

Provide any other thoughts on the subject that will help me create the scuba gear rent vs. buy calculator.

NOTE: If you own your own gear, you will dive more. The gear will fit better and will usually be in better condition than rental gear. I strongly encourage all divers to own their own gear, with the exception of maybe a tank (you have to pay for air fills anyway, and renting a tank for a few dollars more comes with a full tank of air, but you don’t need to worry about inspections, transportation and storage).
lerpy - 6/08/2013 12:20 PM
I agree with buying means you will dive more, I considered the costs of renting to buying, and the biggest factor for me was if I buy I will dive more because I will do shore dives more often. I am probbly not going to spend 40$ to rent gear for a shore dive, or rarely. I dive 2-3, sometimes more, times a week and I would not be doing that if I rented.

The shop I work with here is 65$ a day for a full set of gear. It costs me 75$ to get my full reg set serviced every year. I have scuba pro regs and have the parts of life so that helps with the cost of annual maintenance. A vis costs 20$ for me here. This is Canadian pricing.

I find spending a little more on gear means longer life. I have a dive rite soft harnes and it was given to me by a friend that used it for probably 5-6 years, and now I have been using it for 3 years and it is still in good shape. I did replace the bladder at a cost of 80$

I also find having my own gear good for travelling as well, first because then I don’t need to rent everyday, and second especially when it comes to regs I am confident in the servicing and maintenance of the equipment.
DiveBuddyChgo - 6/09/2013 7:11 AM
Better yet.. Is there anyone out there that can take a sample of the air/water inside a rental BC. Take it to the lab and have it analized of what bateria, germs and spit from the 100’s of diver who have orally inflated that BC. Sitting in a warm dive shop or on the boat in the hot sun. I wonder what is growing inside that bladder.
bronxdiver - 6/09/2013 7:43 AM
I own my own gear that being said, i feel it depends on where you do your diving. I live in NY, renting gear for a weekend or day trip to the quarry at Dutch Springs,PA can add up. there for it pays to own. When i first started diving i dove predominantly on vacation usually 3 days of 2 tank dives. Depending where you go some places like Mexico gear is included in the $85 for a 2 tank dive. Doesn’t pay to own IMO. Other places charge small amounts per gear item that over a year time will add up but yearly service costs might call it a wash. Then factor in initial cost to buy and with scuba we are always buying stuff. Think it all goes back to what you can afford, and how often you dive. I dnt mind spending on my gear but thats me, i will never use someone elses gear if i dnt have too. Not too be a germaphob but a used reg in my mouth in the caribbean is gross same with a used peed in wetsuit. Starting out by me the local shop made me buy fins, mask, snorkel for open water class, that being said id buy my reg and octopus and gauge/computer next based on what i could afford, then BCD, tanks last. Btw hydro and visual u have to be diving alot to make ur money back. I own everything cause i dnt want to rely on the dive shop being open if at the last minute i want to go diving.
Greg - 6/09/2013 1:57 PM
I think we all understand the importance and benefits of owning your own gear. However, it’s not always an option for some people so I want to create a calculator to compare what’s best for them based on their expected usage, gear costs, rental costs, etc.

What does it cost to rent gear and tanks in your area? How much does your shop charge for reg maintenance, tank inspections, and hydro? How much to rent gear?
Agojo - 6/09/2013 6:52 PM
I think cost of rental gear will vary so much depending on location that it might be best to make the calculator where they have to put ALL of the numbers in it. i.e. they can put in the cost of rental gear in the area they plan to dive. You could put default numbers in but have them available to edit. I also usually get a discount by negotiating with charters that include gear in their cost when I bring my own.
Green_Achers - 6/10/2013 8:35 AM
The bad news is that all gear (including your own) is full of bacteria. This is part of life and is best demonstrated by this: (1) Take a slice of bread out of a loaf and putting it into a zip lock and set it on a window sill. (2) Take another slice and drop it on the floor, pick it up, place it into a second zip lock and set it next to the first slice. (3) Watch the growth over the next few days.

The good news is that washing the gear will greatly reduce the bacteria so your natural protection will not lose a battle with it. It doesn’t matter that it is your bacteria or not... your body will lose all the same if you don’t reduce the dirt by washing.

The economics and becoming familiar with your gear on the other hand is where I draw my lines. Don’t forget the extra trip(s) required when renting gear compared to owning. I think most everyone goes to a dive shop at least once per day of diving (to refill their tanks). Since I have not bought my tanks, it takes me two round trips. My bride is still deciding on a suit so that’s two round trips plus getting different suits and those hassles. We know she needs to buy but buy what? Wet? Semi? Dry? We just haven’t found what makes her happy yet. When we do, my wallet has to be happy as well.

Best wishes, Greg, at putting a numerical value on all these factors so we can decide the best route. LOL
Greg - 6/10/2013 11:39 AM
I will provide input text fields to adjust gear purchase and rental rates. I’d like to have avg numbers to start with and the avg expected lifespan of regs, BCs, etc.
Bryant - 5/25/2019 4:25 PM
Did you ever make this calculator or does anyone know of one?