Rent tools for DIY home improvement projects
Ready to tackle a home improvement project? That takes gumption. It also takes tools – tools you might not currently own.
Before you start shopping online for an expensive new device, ask yourself:
- How often will you use the tool your DIY project requires?
- Do you know how to use the tool?
- How much does it cost?
- Where will you store the tool?
Your answers to these questions may point the way to another option: renting the tools you need instead of purchasing.
Renting is a cost-effective, low-risk way to get going. There are several local rental places with everything you need (and we mean EVERYTHING). And if you could use a little advice, the rental place – as well as several local tool-sharing organizations – have people who can help.
How often will you use the tool?
This is a sod cutter (aka a sod kicker) — an essential, no-fuss tool for removing turf grass to make way for a new garden. With a kick on the crossbar, you cut the roots, leaving the top sod layer. Roll the grass up like a carpet and post the sod for free online. Someone is usually looking for sod and you didn’t want to waste it, so that’s a win.
But really, how often will you use a sod kicker? Probably a few times. That’s not worth spending the couple hundred dollars on a new one. But here’s the good news: You can rent the manual version at a local Reddy Rents for $25/day. They also rent gas sod cutters, which require less physical kicking, but you do need to pay for the gas and convenience, $110/day. Still cheaper than buying a new one.
Reddy Rents is a local operation, with locations in St. Louis Park and Minneapolis.
Hiawatha Reddy Rents
4411 Hiawatha Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55406
J&F Reddy Rents
3320 Republic Ave.
St. Louis Park, MN 55426
Do you know how to use the tool you’ll need for your project?
Some tasks, like welding, require specialized knowledge and equipment. First there’s the safety gear—the welding mask, fireproof gloves, and apron. Then add a hot gas torch, giving off sparks as two pieces of metal are melting together. Suddenly your little DIY project is looking like serious business.
You can try welding at home—it’s a great skill and hobby. But why not rent your tools and get some support until you’re good at it?
Mpls Make community workshop offers members a free welding classes every Wednesday night. The membership fee is a chunk of change, $220/month, but you get free access to torches, many other tools, and the workshop with compressed air plumbed throughout. That’s a huge convenience, and an enormous bargain compared to purchasing your own equipment and taking separate classes, all for a potential one-time project.
3757 3rd St NE
Columbia Heights, MN 55421
What’ll it cost to purchase the tool you need?
Depending on the tool, prices will be all over the map – but one thing is certain: For one-time or occasional use, you’ll save a ton by renting versus buying (just remember, though, that you’ll probably pay by the hour, so make sure you’re ready to go when you pick up the rented tool).
Let’s say you want to sand your deck. How much will you save? At most national chains like Home Depot, you can rent a belt sander for under $25 for a half day. Compare that to almost $250 to buy new.
Local stores like the Twin Cities-based Jerry’s Hardware and Rental also have belt sanders and many other tools for rent. Jerry’s Hardware and Rental: Locations in Edina, St. Louis Park, Maple Grove, Eden Prairie and Bloomington.
The Minnesota Tool Library has belt sanders, as well as classes, available to members. The membership is an investment—but with 5,000 tools available to check out (yep, 5,000), it’s an excellent entry point to DIY home improvement.
The Minnesota Tool Library has locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
1620 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
St. Paul/Midway Branch
755 Prior Ave N
St. Paul, MN 55104
Where will you store the tool you’re considering purchasing?
If you’re an urbanite, storage capacity can be an issue even for something as small as a shovel or a pickaxe. Tool libraries can save the day for people who’ve reached capacity in their apartment or condo. But practically everyone will run into storage problems when they need truly big tools.
Take that skid loader you’ve had your eye on. Got a shed for it? If you’re like 99% of users whose answer to that question will be a resounding no, don’t despair! Several local places not only rent the machines, but they’ll also deliver them to you. All you need to do is ask if they’ll rent you a can for the diesel fuel skid loaders require. Then, when you’ve completed the task, simply return it. No storage required.
Here are a couple of places that rent large equipment for home projects:
Broadway Rental Equipment Company
6800 West Broadway
Brooklyn Park, MN 55428
3607 Shoreline Dr.
Wayzata, MN 55391
Tool rental: Benefits beyond convenience
The North Portland Tool Library (NPTL) in Oregon knew it was providing a valuable service, but the leadership wasn’t sure exactly how to measure it. So, they conducted a study several years ago, in 2013. On average, they estimated the library saved users approximately $60 per tool loan. In an accompanying survey, two-thirds of respondents reported that if tool rental were not an option, they would have purchased a new tool for some projects. That’s a great example of the power of providing access vs. forcing purchases. Moreover, as part of the same study, “researchers found that the NPTL tool loans resulted in a savings of between 143-200 metric tons of CO2E in upstream impacts” (USDN Sustainable Consumption Toolkit).
Beyond leading to a reduction in the number of tools that are purchased and eventually enter the waste stream, tool sharing facilitates urban gardening – which may reduce food packaging production and potentially benefit people in places where nutrient-rich foods hard to come by. Tool sharing also makes it easier for lower-income homeowners to maintain their properties, thereby enhancing housing security. Moreover, tool libraries may also prompt other types of borrowing and sharing initiatives involving kitchen tools, skill sharing, and toy sharing.
What challenge do you face with DIY tools?
Whatever your situation, odds are there’s an available solution – one that’ll save you money while sparing the planet the cost of our producing new goods that really aren’t needed. From buying used devices, to renting, borrowing and sharing them, there’s a strong likelihood that the tool you need is just waiting to be used.
For more ideas about renting DIY home improvement tools, visit the Choose to Reuse website: Home Improvement and Repairs
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