Should I buy or Rent a Scuba Gear dilemma? There is one crucial question you need to ask yourself - How much diving am I going to do during the year? The number of dives is going to tell you whether you should rent scuba gear or buy your very own scuba diving equipment :-)
Advantages of Renting Scuba Gear
If you are a beginner diver who is making occasional dive trips, it may be better if you rent your equipment for the following reasons:
Rent and travel light on your holiday. If you travel with a lot of baggage already, renting your equipment may be a a good option. The great stuff about rental diving equipment is that it is already waiting for you at the destination. This will reduce your dive luggage, and you can travel lightweight, just with your hand baggage which saves you some money on your flight ticket.
Rent to save money in the short run. If you go on diving holidays once or twice a year, your equipment bill should be lower than the scuba gear purchase. Rental equipment varies in holiday destinations, and of course, if you are diving in a 5* hotel, renting scuba gear will be more expensive. In the Red Sea the cost of rental is about $25 per diving day, while renting a complete set in the Maldives can be as expensive as $75 per diving day.
Rent if you want try different brands and models. Dive centres have their preferred brands, and you can try different scuba brands, equipment models and equipment setups. Some dive centres have standard BCD, while others use lightweight hybrid jackets. In this case, you can try which one suits your diving better.
Downsides of Renting Scuba Gear
Expensive in the long term. If you go on diving holidays more than once a year, renting scuba gear becomes more costly. If you scuba dive twice a year, consider buying your scuba equipment. You do not have to buy it all at once, but building your gear gradually over a period of time is a good idea. We recommend starting with mask fins and snorkel, followed by a wetsuit, regulator and BCD.
Quality and entry-level or basic models. Most dive centres buy entry-level models, which are cheaper to purchase but don't have high-quality components and, as a result, will be less lovely in use than the more expensive ones. Another aspect of using rental gear is that it is used day in and day out - it is not uncommon for the scuba rental gear to have a few thousand dives on the clock. As diving gear also includes moving parts, the workings and operation of regulators, after a while, become less smooth. At the beginning of every diving career, most people use rental wetsuits. Rental wetsuits can be poorly fitted, and usually, neoprene is tired due to high usage and very often prone to increased water flushing. While using a rental wetsuit is OK for an occasional dive, in the long run, there is nothing better than a properly fitted, good quality, warm wetsuit. Let's face it; rental equipment will NEVER be as good as your own!
Hygiene. Rental scuba regulators are easier to wash than wetsuits and BCDs. However, many dive centres still take shortcuts by rinsing rental scuba gear with fresh water rather than using special sanitising agents like Chemegene. This will leave you at risk of contracting microorganisms from the previous user. The famous saying that "there are two types of divers - ones that pee in their wetsuit and those that lie about it" is undoubtedly true. Many dive centres will sanitise their equipment, but there are dive centres that do not, and you can catch a bunch of nasties from unsensitised wetsuits.
They are missing customisation or proper fit. As we are all different shapes, different brands and models fit us differently. Aqualung BCD may fit you better than a Scubapro one and vice versa. Additionally, some people are between sizes and finding a nicely fitting rental BCD may take more work. Scuba diving gear also differs in style; for example, BCDs have different inflator button setups. While you learn scuba diving on one setup, dive centres may offer various designs fit for rental scuba gear. Using a rented scuba diving kit may feel uncomfortable or not intuitive. It takes time to get used to particular equipment. The same is in the case of dive computers. Each dive computer offers a slightly different user interface and button configuration, and reading a manual each time you rent your computer will be incredibly time consuming.
Advantages of Buying Scuba Gear
Well, you are sucked into diving and do more than one holiday a year. There are a lot of positives to having your scuba diving gear. Looking back at my diving career, there is nothing better than customised, well-working, lovely fitting scuba diving equipment.
Buy your scuba gear for the best comfort and fit. A properly fitting mask is crucial in enjoying scuba diving. Nothing is worse than a poorly fitted, leaky or fogging-up scuba diving rental mask. The best way to avoid these is to own your scuba mask. That way, you ensure it will fit correctly each time you take a plunge into the underwater world. Trying different types of BCDs and finding the right one for you makes a massive difference to comfortable diving. While some people dive in traditional BCD, more experienced divers find hybrid back-inflated BCDs or wing and backplate configuration more comfortable. A well-fitting, correctly sized own wetsuit reduces water flush and allows you to stay underwater for longer.
Buy scuba gear for safety through familiarity - In terms of owning your dive computer to get to know it well, you know how to select the suitable functions and execute dive safety. Furthermore, you can fine-tune your deep stops, safety stops and dive parameters, including the use of air integration for your particular type of diving. The same applies to the rest of your diving gear. If you want to dive into different scuba BCD setups, such as Hogarthian, you may want to own your scuba gear, as only a few dive centres will have this setup for rental. When you own your scuba equipment, using your own BCD becomes second nature, and you develop muscle memory for the inflator buttons, so they are very intuitive.
Buy scuba gear to save money long-term. Buying your diving equipment will save you money when compared to renting. If you are committed to scuba diving and make more than one or two odd trips during the year, renting scuba gear becomes expensive. Even if the initial purchase may seem high initially, there is nothing better than having your own regulator and BCD. Renting equipment for a week of a diving holiday may cost you $250. So if you are a happy owner of a set of diving regulators and BCD, servicing them will cost you less than renting a set of regs from a dive centre.
Considerations when you decide to Buy Scuba Gear
In the puzzle of whether it is better to rent or buy scuba gear - buying scuba equipment will have some considerations, such as purchasing and running costs and travelling with it.
Higher initial cost. If you want your regulator to serve you for longer, it is clear that the better rig you purchase, the longer it will last, providing you look after it correctly. If you are a warm water diver, a lightweight, entry-level regulator will be cheaper than a fully loaded cold water regulator with full adjustments such as venturi. There is plenty of good quality regulator packages out there and they do not have to cost a lot of money but are still better than any rental scuba gear. The Scubapro Hydros Pro is a very versatile BCD, capable of being converted from a full on BCD with all the trimmings to a streamlined travel BCD in no time.
Servicing Costs. In our dilemma of buying or renting scuba gear, this needs to be considered. Each regulator and BCD needs to be serviced periodically. A BCD needs to be serviced every year that includes checking valves and running a positive pressure checks. Better regulators such as Scubapro Mk25 Evo have a service interval of 2 years or 100 dives. The average cost of servicing a scuba regulator is around £100, while your BCD will be around £50. Additionally, if you run a computer and transmitter with a replaceable battery-they need to be changed from time to time. However, the cost of a battery change can be taken out of the equation if you have a dive computer with a rechargeable battery.
Luggage limitations and excess fees. If you are already travelling with a lot of luggage, having additional dive gear will increase it further. The answer to this may be a purchase of Lightweight Travel Package. Our shop has a full selection of scuba sets suitable for a travelling diver. A travel-friendly regulator and BCD package may answer whether owning or renting scuba gear is better.
Should I buy or Rent Scuba Gear?
Whether you decide to rent or purchase your scuba diving equipment, we are always here to help. Give our Customer Services a call or visit us in our Showroom. Very often, trying on a wetsuit or BCD will show you the difference between your rented scuba gear and good quality purchased scuba diving equipment.