For the average event planner, one of the hardest questions you have to ask is whether you should buy or rent your event equipment (especially for long-term or repeat event planning). And rightly so! When it comes to comparing the pros and cons, you can easily find yourself drowning in a sea of information. So, what should you do?

While your answer will vary depending on your industry and equipment needs, we created a cheat sheet of five categories that ALL event planners should consider when it comes to making a final decision. Check it out below!


Variety is the spice of life, right? When it comes to your typical event equipment (tents, tables, linens, catering equipment, lighting, etc.), it can be nice to change it up if you are hosting and/or participating in an assortment of events.

Think about it: The type of equipment you’d need for a tradeshow will vastly differ from the needs of a corporate party. However, keep in mind that this philosophy might not apply to those event planners who typically do the same events day in and day out.

Our Vote: Rent WINS (especially if you do more than one type of event on a regular basis).


One of every event planner’s greatest struggles: your budget! For most planners, cost is going to be high on the list of priorities when it comes to making the decision to buy or rent event equipment.

That being said, if you’re looking at this question from a cost perspective, it’s common knowledge that event equipment vendors make their money by upcharging for their owned equipment. So from an investment standpoint, it’s pretty clear who the winner is here.

Our Vote: Buy WINS

Storage / Transportation

With so many moving parts happening before an event, it’s crucial that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. This philosophy definitely comes into play when it comes to thinking about storing and transporting your event equipment before, during, and after an event.

Depending on the size of your company and budget, this may not be as big of a concern. However, for those of you that are working with a smaller staff and limited space, the fewer logistics the better.

Our Vote: Rent WINS


Technology is evolving at a rapid rate, but what does that mean for you as an event planner? Well, the last thing you want to do is spend a significant amount of money on equipment that could likely be outdated within a year.

While this pertains more to electronic event equipment, it’s still an important factor that you should keep on your mind – especially if you are using a lot of audio/visual equipment for presentations.  

Our Vote: Rent WINS


Who doesn’t love falling into a good routine? Having a strong understanding of your equipment logistics will often help reduce your stress level and optimize time management the days leading up to your event. The more you use your own equipment, the more proficient you will be at mastering its set-up.

However, if you rent the same equipment enough, this may not be an issue. While this category is on the fence, we still think it’s more beneficial for you to know your event equipment 100% as opposed to be stuck with new equipment last minute.

Our Vote: Buy WINS (barely)

When it comes to planning an event, you OBVIOUSLY want people to attend, especially considering how much time and money you’re putting into it. But event promotion…that’s a full-time job in itself! Get your own event app for your conference and check out some top tips in our free guide, Event Marketing: Promotional Tactics to Amplify Attendance