You may think that renting sounds like a great way to save a bunch of money on nice baby gear. In some cases, you may be right! In others, the math doesn't quite add up as neatly as you might've hoped. (I run the numbers for you below because ain't nobody got time for that except me apparently.)
From a cost-savings perspective, there are a few items it may make more sense to rent (especially if this is your only/last planned baby) while there are others it may make more sense to buy. But even beyond cost-savings, there are other benefits to renting!
Here are eight ways you might use luxury baby rentals services.
- To Save Time (+ Therefore, Money)
- To Monitor a Medically Compromised Baby
- To Try Before You Buy
- To Save Space
- To Avoid the Headache
- To Travel With Less
- To Switch Out Toys Hassle Free
- To Be a Little Kinder on Mother Earth
1. To Save Time (+ Therefore, Money)
If you can afford to hold inventory, it technically makes more financial sense to buy an item new or used and resell it rather than to rent it. (Subtract the used price from the new/used price and if that price is less than the cost to rent—which it always is—it's technically a better deal to buy and resell rather than to rent.) But time is money, folks, and that has to count for something!
If you've ever tried to resell something, you know it's almost never a linear path. (The classic: "Is this available?" Ghost. Or maybe worse: "Will you take "insert comically insulting offer here" for it?")
If you value your time above all else—which maybe you might want to consider doing)—these are a few items I might consider renting rather than buying.
Prices below reflect the new, gently used, and lowest available rental prices as of date of publishing. Prices may differ in your service area.
As you can see, there are some items it makes more financial sense to rent. If you're coveting a Kumi cradle or a Snoo (I have strong opinions on this one), maybe rent! It also likely makes sense to rent an extra Solly wrap or two. But for some other big items, like bouncers and loungers, the price to rent is often the same or more than the price to buy used. In this case, rent only if you want to save yourself the hassle of sourcing, bargaining for, and reselling/storing/passing along used goods.
2. To Monitor a Medically Compromised Baby
No one plans to be in this position, but if you find your family in this position, there are a few tools you may want to rent that you otherwise wouldn't have needed, specifically an oxygen monitor and a baby scale. These are both items I don’t recommend for most parents (they are total overkill for healthy, full-term babies), but if you have a preemie, a medically compromised baby or one who has a tough time gaining weight, these products may make all the difference for you and your family.
3. To Try Before You Buy
If you’re not sure if an expensive splurge is the exact right thing for you (or whether you really need that thing in the first place), you can rent it to take it for a spin.
Will you really go on regular runs if you invest in a fancy jogging stroller? Test yourself! Is the Artipoppe Zeitgeist really worth an Ergo and a Sakura Bloom combined? Rent it from a service like Loop that allows you to buy the item directly from them if you love it. The cost of your rental goes toward that item's purchase price. How sweet is that??
4. To Save Space
If you live in a city and have limited storage space, it may make sense to borrow or rent bulkier items with limited use time (think bassinets and age-specific toys.) Alternatively, you could buy these items and loan them out to friends between babies, which is what we often did when we lived in San Francisco.
5. To Avoid the Headache
If you don’t mind spending a little more on gear knowing you won’t have to deal with buying and assembling it before use and storing or selling it after baby’s outgrown it, renting may be for you. In that case, let a rental service like Loop or Ottobie handle everything for you!
6. To Travel with Less
Renting is particularly awesome when traveling since it helps you avoid a big schlep. Rents4Baby and BabyQuip are available in many metro areas whereas Loop, Ottobie, and Bundl are currently only available in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles area respectively. I especially love the hack of renting a travel stroller like a Doona or BabyZen YOYO before you leave on your trip, if you don't already own one!
7. To Switch Out Toys Hassle Free
Babies either outgrow or lose interest in toys quickly. Rather than buy new things for each age and stage, consider renting for a constant refresh without the clutter. (This works especially well if this is your last or only planned baby.)
8. To Be A Little Kinder on Mother Earth
The landfill definitely does not need more low-quality beat-to-shhh baby gear.
No matter your reason for renting, you can learn more about the best luxury baby rentals services out there here. If none of these services are available in your area, get creative! You may also be able to rent from a local via your mother's group or a well-worded Nextdoor post.
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This article was last updated May 2021.