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Buying vs. Renting an Environmental Test Chamber

Environmental Test Chambers

For such a large, capital purchase, you might believe that renting a test chamber instead of buying one is a much more cost-effective decision.

That’s not always the case. Sure, renting makes sense for companies that have limited testing needs, but even then it requires diligence on their part. They’re responsible for preventative maintenance, for instance, and if their requirements change they need to reassess their budget. Often, they find they would’ve benefitted from the flexibility and control of buying a test chamber in the first place.

Still, the specifics of your testing should factor into your decision. No matter what you choose, work with a trusted manufacturer, and consider these details when deciding if purchasing or renting a test chamber is right for you.


Renting a Test Chamber

Manufacturers offer rentals as an option to give companies flexibility. These companies might hesitate to make a $20,000 or more purchase without knowing how much testing they’ll need to conduct in the future. The reality is, however, that the situation must be just right to make renting a test chamber a cost-effective decision.

Consider this. When you rent a chamber, you pay a monthly rate and assume responsibility for maintenance. The costs of renting a benchtop model for more than three months, for example, is roughly equal to the cost of purchasing a brand new one. You would’ve been better off not renting at all.

So when does renting make sense? There are a couple of instances. It’s a popular option for new or start-up companies. Short on resources, they’d test heavily upfront in the ‘proof of concept’ and ‘research and development’ phases. When they’ve achieved their desired results, they can analyze their potential growth, develop a product map, reassess their testing needs, and make a purchasing decision from there.

The other involves specialty projects. It makes more sense for companies that have one-time testing requirements and strict timelines in place to rent test chambers. Even if a new chamber would cost less (for testing that goes on for longer than three to four months), they wouldn’t use it. The same is true for companies that test once every five years or so. Standards and performances change, and the maintenance costs to keep the test chamber running would offset any short-term gains.

If you have specific testing needs, a firm timeline, and a limited budget, then renting is probably your best option. Otherwise, consider purchasing a test chamber.


The Benefits of Buying a Test Chamber

As you begin discussions on buying a test chamber, know that there are resources to help you through the process including a cost breakdown, finding the right chamber for your testing needs, and a full buyer’s guide. In reading them, you’ll not only gain a better understanding of test chambers, but you’ll also learn more about the benefits of buying a test chamber versus renting one.

It starts with a strong return on investment. A well-maintained test chamber will remain operational for 10 years or longer. That means that the high upfront cost is spread out over time and is potentially offset by increased profits.

Beyond the ROI, buying a test chamber gives you control over how much and how often you test. Say you rented a model for three months. As you get to the end of that period, you might find that your product requires additional testing. At that point, you’d wish you purchased a test chamber in the first place.

Your testing needs might change as well, from the standards you’re striving to achieve, to the different phases of your products (research, proof of concept, development, and production testing).

That’s also why it’s so important to have a diligent buying process. You need to assess your short-term requirements as well as those that might come down the line to truly benefit from the purchase.

And as with any large capital expense, the manufacturer matters. Work with one that can deliver a custom solution and provide a service plan that will keep your chambers running for 10-plus years.

Since 1959, Associated Environmental Systems has designed, manufactured, and supported standard and custom test chambers that meet your most demanding requirements. Contact us for all your testing needs.