Rent vs Buy Baby Items – Which saves more money?

Buying for baby sounds straightforward enough: a nursery needs a crib, diapers, clothes, a car seat, bottles, blankets, and maybe a breast pump. But what about all the little “extras” that make a baby more comfortable and life easier? Should parents rent vs buy baby items they know they’ll need?

Walk into any baby store and it’s obvious what we’re talking about: bassinets, strollers, carriers, changing tables, rockers, and the highly coveted MamaRoo. High chairs, travel cribs, bouncers, baby cameras, and baby gates can all add up quickly ― studies show parents spend at least $13,000 in baby’s first year alone!

There’s no getting around the fact that babies can be expensive. Parents can save some of the expense without sacrificing quality when they choose to rent certain items instead of buying them outright. 

Which Rent vs Buy Baby Items Should I Add?

Rent: Expensive Items

Furniture is likely to be the biggest nursery expense, so it makes sense to rent these items when possible. For example, our fan-favorite Snoo bassinet costs a whopping $1,300 brand new but can be rented for $99 a month with only a one-month minimum commitment. By the time a baby is 3-6 months old, he or she will have outgrown a bassinet. Renting a Snoo vs. buying one would save roughly $600-700! That’s more than HALF OFF the price of a brand new Snoo!

Our best Lux.Baby advice is to make a list of all the items needed for a nursery, research each item’s average cost, then compare rental prices for these items to see if it makes good financial sense to rent instead of buy.

Buy: Long-Term Needs

Rentals are best suited for short-term or occasional needs. But some items you’ll be able to use for the long haul, and these are the items it usually makes more sense to buy. For example, a baby will likely outgrow their infant carrier before their first birthday, but they’ll be able to use a convertible car seat for much longer. In this case, it might be wise to rent the infant car seat and purchase a convertible car seat or booster seat for the next (and longer) phase of their early years.

Rent: Items You Won’t Use a Lot

Different families will have different needs. For example, asking 10 moms how often they use their stroller and will likely result in 10 different answers. Items that don’t get used a lot are hard to justify buying. For example, paying $300 for a good stroller and only using it five times means it costs $60 per use!

Instead, consider renting little-used items on an as-needed basis. This way, the family is only paying for what they need AND don’t have to worry about finding room in the house to store these items. 

rent vs buy baby items that are easily cleaned

Buy: Items that Aren’t Easily Cleaned or Sanitized

Some items are harder to clean than others, while others are simply not hygienic to get second-hand. For example, renting or acquiring a second-hand crib mattress is not advised. There’s no way to tell if the previous owner properly cleaned and cared for it. In addition to sanitation, mattresses get softer over time which isn’t ideal for infants. 

It also may not be the best idea to use a second-hand breast pump due to cross-contamination risks. However, there may be situations where you’ll need to rent a breast pump. If that’s the case, speak with a lactation consultant first to see if new tubing or accessories should be purchased in addition to the pump.

Rent: Items You Need When Traveling

The travel baby gear market is booming, and for good reasons: parents who want to travel want to make the process as easy on their baby as possible. We’ve seen travel cribs, travel changing tables, portable bouncers, and other items that are typically only used a couple of times per year become much more popular, but these items aren’t cheap. 

Travel-friendly gear can make life easier, so it’s feasible to consider renting these items as they’re needed rather than buying. For example, the Baby Bjorn travel crib retails for up to $320 brand new but can be rented for just $35 per month. Upcoming road trip or vacation? Get it when needed and return it once finished to save hundreds of dollars. 

Buying for Baby: Final Thoughts

Buying for baby can get expensive, healthcare costs not included. Renting items that won’t be used often, items the baby will quickly outgrow, or trying before buying can help growing families save plenty of cash in the baby’s first year.
Check to explore curated baby items we recommend renting instead of buying.

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