For many gardeners, it may seem unnecessary to purchase your own rototiller when you can find a nice rototiller rental in your area for your once or twice-yearly till. But which method is really worth it for your garden? In many cases, buying your own rototiller could be a more worthwhile investment in the long-run. Think about these factors as you decide between renting and purchasing a rototiller for your garden this year.
Probably your first concern is about the cost of the machine. While rototillers can be expensive, so can be the combined cost of renting one year after year. Consider this: if you were to rent an average-sized walk-behind rototiller once a year for a single day, you would pay anywhere from $85 to $200, depending on where in the country you live (and the particular tiller you choose). For particularly large gardens, you might need more than a single day to get the job done. For a weekly rental, you would pay anywhere from $130 to $600 (again, depending on your location and the specific machine).
For smaller gardens, purchasing a garden cultivator can be a huge savings over renting a larger machine each year. For example, the DR Mini-Tiller costs $390, which could be the equivalent of renting a tiller for one day, three or four years in a row. If you think you’ll still be planting carrots and tomatoes several years down the road, investing in a piece of equipment that you can use as many times per year as you’d like often makes financial sense.
For large gardens, you’re probably looking at either renting an average-sized machine for multiple days, or renting a larger, tow-behind machine for a day or weekend. Either way, you’re likely spending several hundred dollars at least once a year. That adds up quickly. Compare the cost of renting over several years to the cost of purchasing a rototiller, and you may find that purchasing makes more sense in the long-run.
When you go with a rototiller rental, you end up with whatever machine the company has available. This could mean that it hasn’t been well maintained, isn’t clean, isn’t in proper working order, or isn’t the right size for your needs. For serious gardeners who understand the importance of starting off their season with a good till, this can be a problem. Purchasing your own rototiller means that you can choose the machine that is perfect for your needs (Walk-behind or tow-behind? Front tine or rear tine? Forward, backward, or dual tines?) and maintain it to your own standards.
Keep in mind all the hassle associated with renting a rototiller, too. You have to have a vehicle to transport it (no, it probably won’t fit in the back of your car), a way to lift it in and out of a truck bed, and the time to shuttle it back and forth from the rental company. This is time-consuming and can be quite costly if you live far away from the rental company, as travel time is part of the rental time you pay for.
Overall, there are benefits and downsides to choosing either to rent a rototiller or to purchase one outright. Take a look at the specifics of your situation (how much a tiller rental costs, how long you need it for, whether you prefer to till once a year or more, what type of machine you need, etc.) before you decide. In our experience, we’ve found that smaller gardens are definitely worth the investment in a garden cultivator. For larger gardens, it varies more. Make the choice that’s best for you and a beautiful garden awaits!
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