Should you rent or buy tools for your do-it-yourself home improvement project?

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Fall is a time when many people are doing projects because it's not scorching hot outside.  But to do those projects, you need tools.

The big question: should you buy what you need or rent?

Like a lot of people, I'm currently doing some home projects, this time to finish my basement.  I have dozens of tools, but for a job this big, I don't have everything I need.  So what should I buy and what should I rent?

One person our FOX59 crew met at a tool rental place said if the tool is a "one-hander,"  just buy it and don't worry about renting it.

"I own a lot of tools, including many that are handheld, you know the stuff like drills, some saws, things that will cost a couple hundred dollars.  I'd rather buy because if you rent it a couple times, you could have bought it.  But the bigger stuff, like stump grinders and  jackhammers, I'd definitely rent," said landscaper James Shaw.

For basement plumbing, I needed a big cement cutting saw and a jackhammer.  The four-hour rental was about $130 total.  Had I purchased just one of those items, it would have been ten times the price!

"A saw like you're going to use in your basement is probably $1,000 to buy, so by the time you purchase the blade and everything for it, you probably got $1,200 in it," said Richard Datzman, president of Lawrence Tool Rental.

That was just the cost of the saw, not including the jackhammer.  Whether you buy or rent, learn how to use the equipment from watching videos or asking the tool rental company.  I quickly learned I should have gotten the water hose attachment to the cement saw to keep down the dust in my basement.

Here's another piece of advice from an experienced landscaper: check out the rental company's policy regarding damage or insurance.

"We always think it's a good idea to pay an extra $10 on whatever we are renting to get insurance on it.  That way if something does happen, you're not responsible for a $10,000 machine," said landscaper Brittany Wilhite.

Renting tools is growing in popularity with more people involved in DIY projects.  Some people borrow tools, while others get them at discount tool stores.  Either is an option--just do your research and know what makes sense to rent or buy.

"I come into Lawrence Tool Rental quite often.  This time I'm renting a stump grinder.  It's not a tool I would buy because they are expensive.  One of the perks of not buying is I don't have to maintain the equipment.  I just need to bring it back in good shape, which I do every time," said Jeremy Harris, a tool renter.

Decisions to buy or rent are based on many factors.  Some of those factors include what you need, the size of the job, your skill level, and the cost to rent or buy.

"At a certain price point you're going to have to decide whether you want to buy the tool you need or rent it. When you start getting upwards of $500, it may not be practical to buy," said Datzman.

Another thing to thing to consider: the practicality of storing the equipment if you decide to buy.  And what about buying used? You'll find some great deals, but those tools often don't come with a warranty or include only a limited one. Many tools fall into the middle category of should you rent them or buy.  They are not super expensive, nor are they super cheap.

"Some of the tools you might want to buy really depend on how much you are going to use them.  Those kind of tools that some rent and some buy include table saws and chainsaws, things you might use around the house at least a couple times a year," said Datzman.

Renting a table saw costs maybe $60 for a full day.  You'll spend at least $300 to buy a portable one. They can run closer to $1,000 or more for a bigger shop unit. Many rental stores like Lawrence Tool Rental offer half-day rentals of four hours.

Another good way to save money is have a neighbor split the rental cost.  That's a good idea if you plan to rent a post hole digger or lawn plug aerator.  Whether you rent or buy, don't forget to get and use the safety equipment.

Here's a final tip to get the most bang for your buck if you do rent: many tool places are closed on Sundays. So if you rent on a Saturday for a full day, you obviously can't bring it back Sunday. Some places allow you to bring back the tool Monday, but you're only paying for a one day charge and you can use it two days.