The Pros & Cons of Renting vs. Buying Scissor Lifts


If you’re deciding between renting or purchasing scissor lifts for your next project, there are a handful of factors to consider before making a final decision. Whether you have large jobs coming up, your company is expanding, or if you need to replace older equipment in your fleet, your decision could have long-term implications for your business. Here are some key points to review when choosing to rent or buy equipment:

  • What is your company’s current financial situation?
  • What type of equipment do you need?
  • How soon do you need it?
  • How long do you plan to use the equipment?
  • Does your company have the expertise to manage a fleet and maintain the equipment?
  • What is the total cost of ownership after the machine’s useful life and disposal?

These questions help identify your specific company’s needs to guide your decision on whether renting or buying makes the most sense for you. Let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons of renting versus buying scissor lifts.

Pros of Renting Scissor Lifts

Contractors typically have strict budgets that can limit their ability to secure appropriate equipment. Renting is a reliable option because you only pay for what you need and the machine hours you use. This is especially ideal if you usually work on short-term projects or need a specialty piece of equipment for a single project. Overall, renting scissor lifts offers several financial and time-saving benefits, including:

  • Access to a variety of equipment with the latest technology & safety features
  • Smaller upfront costs & no depreciation expenses
  • Not responsible for maintenance, transportation, or storage expenses
  • Opportunity to try equipment before buying it

Pros of Buying Scissor Lifts

Generally speaking, if the equipment will have a utilization rate of 70% or greater, purchasing may be the best option. In most cases, contractors’ needs for aerial equipment is daily, weekly, or monthly and not necessarily year-round. Other benefits you won’t get from renting include:

  • Equipment is available 24/7
  • Don’t have to rely on the rental company’s fleet mix for the equipment you need
  • Avoid initial depreciation costs by purchasing used equipment
  • Most manufacturers offer attractive finance rates, some as low as 0%
  • Potential tax advantages & ROI when you dispose of equipment
  • Deduct liabilities such as depreciation, insurance, & repairs from your taxes

Cons of Renting Scissor Lifts

Renting scissor lifts isn’t ideal for long-term or high-use projects, as the total rental cost is determined by the machine’s in-use hours and may exceed the lift’s purchase price. However, renting slab scissors does have a few drawbacks:

  • Limited to the rental company’s model availability
  • Possible high cost if renting for extended periods of time
  • No ROI (all resale or scrap value is retained by the rental company)

Cons of Buying Scissor Lifts

Given the current economic state of the world, equipment manufacturers are having a difficult time keeping up with demand. Between labor shortages, material delays, and steel increases, fewer lifts are being produced, thus increasing the cost to buy new. Additionally, the shortage of new machines increases demand for used lifts, driving used equipment prices up as well. Learn about other cons to purchasing scissor lifts below.

  • Responsible for all maintenance, transportation, & storage costs
  • Large down payments aren’t always feasible

Regardless of whether you decide to rent or buy a scissor lift for your next project, taking all the above points into consideration should make you confident that you’ve made the right choice.




The premier provider of access equipment offering articulated booms, scissor lifts, telehandlers, and vertical masts.