It is a surprisingly complex decision: whether to rent or buy equipment. This dilemma is common in various industries, especially when considering Mobile Safety Showers or other specialized equipment. I’ve faced this quandary myself when deciding whether to rent or buy a grinder from one of the home improvement centers. My experience with this choice will shed some light on the broader topic, particularly as we explore it in the context of mobile safety showers.

The Grinder Story: A Case Study

A few years back, I needed a large 7″ grinder for a home project. The store had two options: buying one for $219 or renting it for $144 per week. At first glance, renting seemed economical, but I was unsure how long I’d need it. I did not like paying more for an extended rental, yet I also didn’t want the grinder collecting dust in my garage post-project. If I rented it for two weeks, I’d more than pay for the purchase price. This decision became a practical lesson in evaluating short-term needs against long-term investments.

Renting vs. Buying: Key Considerations

  1. Duration of Need

    The length of time you need the Safety Shower equipment is paramount if it can be determined. Rental companies often price their equipment to break even in about six months. If your need exceeds this period, purchasing might be more cost-effective. For shorter-term needs, renting can be significantly cheaper and more convenient.

  2. Space and Storage Constraints

    Equipment like mobile safety showers requires substantial storage space. Owning such equipment means considering where to store it and the cost implications of that space, which can be substantial.

  3. Maintenance and Upkeep

    Owning equipment entails responsibility for its maintenance and upkeep, which can be both costly and time-consuming. Renting transfers these responsibilities to the rental company, offering peace of mind and potentially lower costs in the long run.

  4. Compliance and Standards

    With ever-evolving standards and compliance requirements, equipment can quickly become outdated. The ANSI Standard for Safety Showers and Eyewashes last changed in 2014, but there is no guarantee they will not change soon. This is a significant consideration for purchases, as updating or replacing equipment can be expensive. Renting usually ensures access to up-to-date equipment.

  5. Resale Value and Market Dynamics

    The possibility of selling used safety equipment is an aspect of the buying decision. However, factors like market demand and equipment condition can significantly affect resale value, making this a risky bet, not to mention the time required to actually pull it off. Mobile Safety Showers are highly specialized so their are far less buyers than say a backhoe. At ATS, we do broker sales of used equipment when we can, but there is no guarantee we can find a match for yours.

  6. Budgetary Constraints

    Purchases typically come from capital expenditures (CapEx), which can be limited or challenging to arrange internally. Renting, often categorized under operational expenses (OpEx), can be more manageable for many companies, especially when budgets are tight.

  7. Flexibility and Availability

    Renting offers unmatched flexibility, especially for short-term, specific, or one-off needs, without the long-term commitment associated with purchasing.

Personal Experience with the Grinder: Analysis

Reflecting on my grinder experience with these considerations in mind, renting was the more logical choice. The short-term need, coupled with space constraints and the avoidance of long-term maintenance, made renting a more suitable option.

Mobile Safety Showers: Applying the Lessons

Similarly, when considering mobile safety showers, these factors play a crucial role. The duration of need, storage capabilities, maintenance responsibilities, compliance standards, budget constraints, and the need for flexibility should all be carefully weighed. For instance, if a safety shower is required for a short-term project, renting could be more feasible. However, if continuous use over a long period is anticipated, purchasing might be more economical, considering potential resale value and maintenance capabilities.


In conclusion, the decision to rent or buy equipment like mobile safety showers is nuanced and requires careful consideration of several factors. The right choice varies based on individual circumstances and needs.

I’d love to hear about your experiences and decisions in similar situations. Have you faced this dilemma before? What factors influenced your decision? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or reach out through our contact form. Your insights can be invaluable to others facing similar choices.

Grinder, The Rest of the Story

So I bought the grinder. It was probably the right decision as I did use it over the course of a few weeks. But on the other hand, it is sitting in my garage for a few years now. Its big, far too big for any grinding I’m likely to do in the future. It takes up a lot of room. I intend to get around to selling it, but we’ll see if that ever happens.