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When To Rent A Power Tool

This is a great time of year to work on your home. But that doesn't mean that you need to run out and buy new tools, especially for work you only need to do once, or even once a year. Instead, you might want to consider rentals. Home improvement contributor Danny Lipford has some suggestions on The Saturday Early Show.

If you are installing a wood fence, a post hole digger is a useful tool. A manual post hole digger would only cost you between $25 and $40, depending on the manufacturer. For just a medium size area, it would still take most of the day to dig all the holes for the fence posts. Or you could purchase a motorized auger with the accessories needed to drill all the holes needed within a couple of hours. It would cost just over $500, but the time to complete the job could be cut by up to 30 percent.

Here's where you need to ask yourself: When would you use the tool again? Are you going into the fence building business? Will you need this tool again before six months? If the answer is no, then consider renting. For the same tool and the same time savings, you can rent an auger for around $70.

There are several reputable agencies that can rent you tools or equipment. A good place to start: the American Rental Association. There, you can find a full listing of ARA rental agencies, including the Home Depot Rental Centers.

Every area of your home, both inside and out, has a project where it could make better sense to rent the needed tools or equipment.

While many homeowners may own a power drill, it still may be an item that you don't have and rarely use. Practically any small hand tool can be rented. A good example is the power drill for specialty purposes such as a right angle drill. This tool can be a plug-in style or a cordless. The convenience of this tool is evident when you are trying to drill or screw into an area with limited space. Approximate daily rental: 32

Many accessories are available to use with a drill to make a job flow more smoothly. A flexible drill shaft can drill holes into areas that you normally wouldn't be able to reach, such as inside a wall. Hole saw kits are great for drilling the holes needed for installing doorknobs and paddle stirs for mixing 5-gallon buckets of paint or drywall joint compound.

Nail guns are also a great rental item, but unless you also own an air compressor, you'll have to rent both items. That in itself isn't a bad idea, because the time savings of using a nail gun is worth the extra cost of rental. However, there are nail guns available, both in a finish nail and framing nail, that don't require the use of an air compressor. These cordless nail guns are typically powered by a CO2 cartridge and since they have no hoses attached, they are much more convenient for the homeowner and easier to move around the project. Approximate daily rental: $36

Another tool used in the home would be the jamb saw. This is especially helpful if you are installing new flooring, such as ceramic tile. Since the height of the floor will likely change, you'll want to cut a small portion off of the door jambs so the new flooring can tuck up under and give you a finished look. The jamb saw will allow you to make that cut quickly and professionally. Approximate daily rental: $26

Restoring the look of an old faded deck is a popular project for many homeowners. Nothing speeds that job along like a pressure washer. Several styles are available. Be sure to explain your project to the rental associate. In addition to the pressure washer, be sure to examine all the accessories available. For a deck job, it would be worth the cost to rent the scrub brush attachment. Approximate daily rental: $100

Several projects in the yard require the use of specialty equipment and, because often these projects don't need to be completed on a regular basis, renting the equipment makes more sense.

As mentioned previously, a motorized auger can be a tremendous time saver when it comes to installing a fence requiring multiple fence post holes. Augers can be operated by one person or two and come with different attachments. Approximate daily rental: $70

For large projects that require moving large quantities of earth, nothing beats renting a larger piece of equipment to get the job done. Home Depot offers a model from PowerHouse that is not only a great tool, but it's a lot of fun to operate.

What To Ask Before Renting
To make sure your rental experience is a good one, there a re a few things you should always ask before renting any tools or equipment.

Always describe your project to the rental associate and ask for recommendations on what type of equipment will get the job done most efficiently and effectively.

  • How many people are required to operate the suggested equipment?
  • What accessories are needed? Can you get them at the rental center or, if not, where can you get them?
  • What time frame is covered under the rental agreement?
  • What is included in the damage waiver?
  • What kind of safety equipment should be used?
  • Is delivery and pick-up offered?

    Finally, if you have never used the tool or equipment, ask for a demonstration.

    Don't forget: Always start the rental process on the telephone to make sure the rental center you choose has the item and that it is within the price range you're willing to pay.

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