Renting vs Buying an ATV or UTV: Which Is Better?

We won’t lie. At Sun Devil Rentals, we love our ATVs and UTVs so much, we can’t imagine encouraging anyone to rent instead of buy one of these bad boys. In reality, though, we know that ATV and UTV ownership isn’t for everyone. That’s why we offer this page, ATV rental vs buying, to help you determine which option is best for you.

How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Quad or UTV?

ATV riders in a forestThe cost to buy a quad or UTV varies widely depending on where you live, the size of the machine, and whether you buy new or used.

The average cost of an ATV in Arizona is around $6,300. But you can spend over $17,000 or as low as $1,000 for smaller used models with lots of miles on them. The Can-Am OUTLANDER models we rent for $150 cost over $12,000.

Side-by-sides are another story entirely. The average cost of a UTV in Arizona is over $18,000. You can buy a smaller used model for as little as $1,500 but top-of-the-line new models? Those can set you back a cool 65 grand.

The Polaris RZR 2018 we rent for $300 costs around $20,000. We rent the 2015 model for $275. You’d pay around $15,000 to buy one.

Try Before You Buy

Another big reason people choose to rent an ATV or UTV is that they want to try out the machine before they buy it. How much power do you truly need? Do you really want two machines or would one do just as well? One-seater? Two-seater? Four?

In other words, you have a lot of options. And buying an off-road vehicle is a major purchase. It makes sense to take one for a spin before buying it.

The Cost of Renting vs Buying

The main argument against renting any piece of equipment is that, over time, it costs more than an outright purchase. Of course, that assumes you WANT to own said piece of equipment.

Most people don’t use all terrain vehicles (ATVs) or utility vehicles (UTVs) enough to justify the fairly hefty price tag. And that’s just the purchase price. Additional expenses include:

  • Towing trailer
  • Taxes and registration
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance
  • Safety gear

But, let’s say the only expense is the purchase price. You’d have to rent one of our ATVs 80 times before you hit that $12,000 threshold. Even if you rented once a month, it’d take you over 6 years to hit 80 rentals. That’s 6 years’ worth of upkeep and insurance, not to mention storage – none of which you need to worry about as a renter. And, of course, we’ll upgrade our equipment during those 6 years.

Secondary Costs of ATV/UTV Ownership

The main secondary costs you’d have if you bought an ATV or UTV are insurance, safety gear, and maintenance.

ATV/UTV Insurance

Driving a UTV in the sandAs with anything you insure, rates vary widely based on a number of factors. These include your:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Driving record
  • Credit rating
  • Education or training (i.e. have you taken a safety course)

In addition, particulars about your machine also play a role. These include the unit’s:

  • Age, i.e. hours of use or mileage
  • Size
  • Cost

You may also get a discount if you have other policies through the insurer you choose. All that said, expect to pay at least $500 a year for insurance and up to around $1,400.

Safety Gear

No matter how careful a driver you are, you need safety gear when you’re tooling around on a quad or side-by-side. In addition to accidents, you have to worry about the terrain, particularly if you’re riding in Arizona. Your machine is going to kick up plenty of rocks and sand. Then there’s cactus, bushes and other vegetation, and even spiders and scorpions.
At a minimum, you need:

  • Helmets cost between $100 and $200 on average
  • Gloves cost around $15 to $20
  • Goggles range between $10 and $20
  • Boots start as low $100 and go up to $300 or more

Don’t skimp with the helmet especially. No one needs a brain injury. And isn’t your beautiful brain worth $200?

By the way, our rental prices include goggles and helmets.

ATV/UTV Maintenance Costs

Maintenance includes a lot of the same things as your standard vehicle: battery, oil, water, tires. But one of the bigger items people don’t consider is how dirty their UTV can get – and how much damage sand and rocks can do.

When you rent, we just ask that you hose off the big chunks before you return the unit. When you own, you want to be a lot more thorough than that. Dirt and rocks can wreak havoc with your equipment, breaking down fluids and even causing injury.

Follow State Laws and Regulations

You also need to worry about state-specific laws regarding safety, title, registration, and more. Read Arizona’s guide to off-highway vehicles (OHVs). If you don’t live in Arizona, your state website should offer details.

When it comes to understanding and following local laws and regulations in Arizona, renters can leave this to us.

Rent or Buy, Final Answer

The question of renting vs buying is really a personal choice. If you’re the kind of person who spends most of your indoor time planning your next outdoor adventure, buying may be a good idea. But, if you don’t think you’d ride enough to get your money’s worth, renting is a great option. And it’s probably the most fun you can have with your clothes on. But we might be biased.

Do you want to learn more about Sun Devil Rentals? Give us a call at 480-815-1782. You can also fill out our contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Safe riding!