Should You Buy Or Rent A Lawn Aerator?

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When soil is compacted, it doesn’t allow for the exchange of oxygen in the soil. Compaction also causes a reduction in water permeability. If you notice that your lawn is no longer draining excess water or is showing signs of distress, it may be time to aerate your lawn.

If you’re looking to aerate your lawn, you can either buy or rent the equipment. There are several factors that you should consider before choosing either option so that’s what I’ll cover here.

Here’s What You Should Consider

Here are some of the things you should consider when deciding whether you should buy or rent a lawn aerator.

The Size of Your Lawn

The size of your lawn can have a big impact on whether you buy or rent an aerator. The average lawn in America is about a quarter of an acre and this size parcel can easily be aerated in one day.

For an average lawn or very small green spaces, renting an aerator is a feasible option. If your lawn is any bigger than a quarter of an acre, or you’re aerating a commercial space, it’s more likely that you will go over the rental return time. Of course this depends on the type of aerator you rent. You can cover a large area pretty fast with a ride-on aerator.

Not returning the rental on time will cause you to encounter fees and some companies may even make you purchase the equipment if not returned in a timely manner.

Renting an aerator on a daily rate for a space that will take more than one day to completely service multiple times a year will add up quickly. In this instance, it may be more cost-effective to purchase an aerator.

Commercial vs Residential Use

In commercial areas such as a greenspace outside of a business or a soccer field, purchasing an aerator is probably the better option. These area’s expansiveness will make it difficult to aerate it in one go. 

On a sports fields, there is a lot of foot traffic. This causes more soil compaction, and increases the need for aeration. High traffic areas have to be aerated more often than residential lawns.

In these situations, it would likely be more cost effective and convenient to purchase your own lawn aerator instead of constantly renting one.

How Often You Need to Aerate

Like many lawn maintenance activities, aerating should be done when necessary. If you need to aerate regularly, it may be worth you purchasing your own aerator.

How often you’ll need to aerate will mostly depend on the following factors…

Soil Type

If you have extremely compacted soil that is no longer absorbing water or supporting plant life, you should aerate at this time. 

For soils that are clay based, you will find that you need to aerate every year.

Clay soils are prone to compaction because it absorbs and holds water extremely well. Soil that is allowed to remain damp for too long will meld together, creating a solid layer of sediment once the water drains away.

In sandy soils, that process would take years. In clay based soil, it can happen after one heavy round of precipitation. 

Heavy Foot Traffic

Heavily trafficked and compacted areas require routine aeration.

Areas that experience heavy foot traffic such as football fields or public parks could need to be aerated more than once per year.

If soil is allowed to remain compacted and not aerated in a timely manner, the exchange of gases between the soil and atmosphere will be impeded.

Halting the gas exchange will deprive the soil of micronutrients that are essential to plant growth.

Purchasing aerating equipment may save you the hassle of searching for the tools you need.

If you don’t have aeration equipment accessible at the ready, stress may result as you scour to find the equipment in a timely manner.

If you are responsible for the care of a soccer field, football field, or golf course, your lawn maintenance schedule will include frequent aeration.

Consider the Cost

When considering whether to rent or own anything, the topic at the forefront of everyone’s mind is money. You should consider the economics of both options.

There are many types of lawn aerating equipment. There are mechanical aerators that are powered by gas or electricity that you push over your lawn similar to a push mower.

Other forms of mechanical aerators include attachments that hook onto the back of riding lawn mowers and tractors. These attachments make aerating large areas a breeze.

The more laborious options for aerating are powered by humans. These tools look like a pogo stick and a pitchfork morphed into one. The T-shaped design provides two handles for you to hold onto as you propel the spiked end of the instrument into the ground. There are also core aerators in this form. 

The Cost of Renting a Lawn Aerator

All of these options are available for purchase, but you’re much more likely to see the aerators that resemble a push mower being available to rent. These aerators cost about $90 a day to rent.

Similar to other objects for rent, lawn aerators rented from home improvement stores typically require a deposit. This deposit is refundable if the equipment is returned in a satisfactory condition. However, those on a budget may not want to put down $150 for a deposit and pay the $90 per diem fee. 

For that same $150, you can purchase a small push-along aerator. For even less money, you can acquire one of the spiked instruments. If you have a small lawn and don’t mind putting in the work, you can aerate your lawn for less than $50 with one of the T-shaped tools.

If you’re looking for more information about the cost of renting an aerator…
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Going the Distance

For larger areas, the small tools are less efficient. When you’re set on renting an aerator that you can push along or attach to the rear of your riding mower, you’ll need to consider how far you’ll have to go to rent one.

Those with a large parcel of land or acreage typically live on the outskirts of town or way out in the countryside. Local hardware and lawn equipment stores may not have aerators, or they may not offer rental services. In these instances, you will need to travel into a larger city to find a chain home improvement store. These larger stores are guaranteed to have aerators for rent, but you could be traveling many miles to get to them.

Where You Can Buy or Rent an Aerator

Aerators can be purchased at local garden centers or big-box home improvement stores.

You can also look at local markets or secondhand shops.

If the area you’re aerating isn’t large but you think that renting isn’t the way you want to go, you can consider splitting the cost with someone you know.

Is your neighbor as passionate about their lawn as you are?

Approach them and discuss the need for aeration in lawns. You can suggest you two split the cost down the middle or maybe divide it differently if one of you will need it much less often than the other.

When neither of these options are available, you should consider borrowing the equipment. Ask your neighbors, your family members, and even your friends if they own any aerating equipment. If they do, you can bargain with them to borrow it.

If you are unsuccessful in finding an owner of aerating equipment in your circle, you can look to the Internet.

Internet marketplaces and search forums allow you to connect with people in your immediate area and across the world. If you find someone who is willing to let you borrow the equipment, you can offer to pay them a deposit. This will ease their worries.

As with any exchange from a stranger, you should always meet in a public place during the day. You can even bring a friend along with you to witness the exchange.

Make Sure You Are Able to Transport Your Rental

Before you make the long trek into the nearest city, you’ll need to consider if you’ll be able to transport the rented equipment back to your property.

While trucks are common among those living outside of the city, not everyone drives one. If you don’t have a truck to transport the aerator home, you may consider borrowing one from a friend or neighbor. This person may even be willing to pick up the equipment for you.

If you are the owner of a pickup, you need to consider whether the equipment will fit in the bed of your truck. Large attachment aerators are often wider than the space of an average truck’s bed.

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