Gadget Rentals Might Make More Sense for Some Tech Users

Try out the latest models without paying full price

Key Takeaways

  • Grover leases the latest gadgets from just one month. 
  • Leasing is convenient and cheap—in the right circumstances.
  • Environmentally, borrowing is better than buying and dumping.
Someone using a rented VR headset and controllers.

Grover

Imagine that you didn’t have to drop $2K+ on the latest Apple laptop. Instead, you could just lease it, maybe just for the few months it takes for your own unit to ship, or even until you fancy a change.

That’s Grover, a gadget-leasing company that lets you rent tech instead of buying. It keeps the clutter out of your dead-gadget closet, lowers the cost of entry, and could even have environmental benefits. So why even bother buying when you can rent?

“Anyone can use Grover—a tech-savvy individual who wants to get their hands on the latest devices, a student that only needs an iPad for the school year, a creator that needs a GoPro for a project, a family that needs a gadget on a short notice, and more,” Andrew Draft, US general manager at Grover, told Lifewire via email. 

Cost

The most obvious reason for leasing is that you can get a device for significantly less than the up-front cost of buying it. Take Apple’s new MacBook Pros. The minimum price for the 14-inch model is $2,000. Grover will rent you one for just over $100 per month (when they’re in stock). And after a year, you can either return it, keep renting, or buy it and keep it. 

The Grover website for electronics rentals, shown on a laptop screen.

Grover

This model is far from new. But when it’s applied to gadgets like laptops, smartphones, Bluetooth speakers, and even headphones, it’s a whole different game. Renting furniture makes little sense if you’re planning on keeping it forever. But leasing a gadget for a year until lust for the next model kicks in, or just leasing for a month to test it out, is an enticing concept. 

Environmental Impact

The environmental angle is equally appealing. Instead of leaving your old gadgets to rot in a desk drawer, they get reused. "We support sustainability and increase utilization and product lifetime by recirculating devices an average of two to four times each," says Draft. "We're proud that we have circulated over 400,000 devices."

Reuse is always better than recycling. You can, of course, sell your used gadgets or pass them on to a friend and family member. Leasing is just another way to do the same thing. 

"Typically, we tend to buy something, use it until it's outdated or we want something different, and then throw it away," Joe Magnum, founder of Adelie Logistics, a company that provides software to rental companies, told Lifewire via email. "This takes a toll on our landfills and air quality. By renting, the consumer gets to use the product for a time, and then pass it on to someone else at a time that is right for them."

Someone outside using a photography drone, rented from Grover.

Grover

Downsides

Leasing instead of buying comes with its downsides. One is that you don't get that new-gadget feeling when you open the box for the first time. Another is that if you decide to buy your unit, you're getting a used model (unless you're the first person to rent it).

With gadgets, tired batteries are a concern. When leasing, it doesn't matter. But if you opt to buy, you may be getting a device that has been used a lot more than a new unit. 

Finally, renting is more expensive than buying if you're planning on keeping the same device for a while.

In the end, gadget-leasing services make a ton of sense—in certain scenarios. It's great to add another option to the list. And if you are a serial gadget hound, somebody who has to have the latest thing, only to go off it a month or so later, then leasing is way less hassle—and ultimately cheaper—than buying and selling everything.

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