The dilemma over whether to rent or buy something is one which exists across a range of niches and products. They include dinner jackets, suits, dresses, tools, bicycles, cars and even your home. There will be advantages and disadvantages to both renting or buying, regardless of the product, and that applies to wetsuits too.
There are plenty of companies who rent out wetsuits and they’ll tell you it is the best way to get one without committing to buying, and there will be other companies who only sell wetsuits and insist that the only way to go is to buy your very own wetsuit. Our mission here is to look at both options to enlighten you on renting vs. buying a wetsuit, and hopefully, enable you to choose what you believe is the right option for you.
Differences in Cost
One of the biggest appeals of renting a wetsuit is that your initial outlay will be a lot less than buying one. Normally for a fee of around $40-$50 you can wear and use the wetsuit for that day’s activities. If this was the only time that you are likely to wear a wetsuit, then renting one is perfectly logical.
Where it heads in the other direction is when you need to rent a wetsuit on multiple occasions. Let’s say you rented a wetsuit once a week over a period of one month, which means on average your rental fees are going to be about $200. For $200 you can buy a good quality wetsuit, that is going to last you several years.
Admittedly it is more to pay out up front, however, if you are going to need a wetsuit on an ongoing basis, buying one will cost you less over that longer period.
Deposits and How You Could Lose Them
If you buy a wetsuit, you pay the purchase price and that is it, unless you use some form of credit, in which case there’s the interest to add on. With a rental, you will pay the fee, and it is most likely that you will be also asked to hand over a deposit as well. Depending on the type of wetsuit and the length of time you want to rent it for this could equal to your rental fee, although it could be as much as the full replacement cost of the wetsuit.
Now, when you are swimming away along the bottom of the sea, or out challenging the waves on your surfboard, instead of focusing on enjoying yourself, your mind is more concerned about not damaging the wetsuit. Imagine that sinking feeling (no pun intended) when you scrape against a sharp piece of rock underwater and see that there’s a great big abrasion mark on the leg of your rental wetsuit. Bye, bye deposit.
Of course, you could just as easily damage a wetsuit you have bought in the same way, however, it can be repaired, and the cost of that is going to be a lot less than the deposit you have forfeited to the rental company.
One of the most important aspects of choosing a wetsuit is to make sure that the size of it is 100% correct. It must not be too loose, or it will start taking in water, and if it is too tight it can restrict your blood flow and your breathing.
A problem arises if you buy a wetsuit and you subsequently put on or lose weight. When you next put on your wetsuit it is not going to fit properly and there’s the potential for the issues which we’ve just mentioned. You now have a choice of purchasing another wetsuit or having it altered. Obviously the second option is going to cost less, however, they both mean spending more money.
This isn’t a problem if you rent your wetsuits, because the next time you do so, you simply choose the size up or down so that fits you as well as the previous one did.
One Option Against a World of Choice
When you decide to buy a wetsuit you literally have all the choice in the world. In other words, you can choose any wetsuit you want, with the obvious caveat that you may be working to a budget or price limit. Even so, this will still leave you with hundreds of wetsuit brands, types, styles, and even color options.
With rented wetsuits your choices are limited to how long you want to rent it for, and the size. It could be that you are given a choice of two or three different wetsuit brands, but don’t be surprised if you don’t. Rental companies do not have the luxury of being able to offer you lots of brands simply because it would not make any economic sense to buy them all in.
Quality vs. Quantity
Just as you get to choose whatever wetsuit you want when buying, you can also ensure that you get the best quality wetsuit for your budget. Naturally, if you are willing to spend more, the level of quality that you can expect in respect of your wetsuit increases accordingly.
With rental wetsuits, there is no suggestion that the hire company would give a wetsuit that is not fit for purpose, however, it is very unlikely to be a 5-star rated wetsuit in terms of quality. When you consider the huge number of wetsuits they have had to buy, they’re not going to purchase all the top gear. Instead it will be standard wetsuits that will do the job, and if you are only going to use one on a few occasions, then it will suffice.
Hygiene is Everything
Regardless of which side of the fence you might jump in terms of renting or buying, there is one area where there can be little doubt that buying has the advantage, and that is hygiene.
When you own your wetsuit, there is the obvious fact that you know you are the only one who has worn it, and you can clean and sanitize it properly to make sure it is hygienic. You might be asking ‘Why are cleaning and sanitizing so important?’ Well, the reason is, that wetsuits soak up body fluid such as sweat, oils and urine…Yes, people pee in their wetsuits!
All these fluids produce bacteria and unless a wetsuit is cleaned thoroughly and properly sanitized, some of those bacteria will still be there the next time the wetsuit is worn. In the case of rental companies, they tend to bulk wash their wetsuits in a large tub, and this is not going to sanitize them fully.
If you are the next person to rent one of those wetsuits, you are potentially putting on something that has bacteria from someone else’s body lurking within it. Sounds gross, but there is no other way of explaining it.
We’re Sold on Buying
Renting a wetsuit does have some advantages, especially if you are only going to use it on a one-off basis. However, with lower long-term costs, greater choice, better quality, and most importantly, knowing that your suit is safe and hygienic, buying a wetsuit is undoubtedly the best option.