Scuba Tanks: Buy or Rent?


Part 1 – Renting Scuba Tanks

We’ve talked about the advantages of owning your own snorkel gear, wetsuits, regulators and BCDs in our previous posts, but what about buying your own tanks?

Many divers feel they don’t need their own tanks since there are advantages of renting.

We’ll explore the advantages of renting and what to look in today’s post. In our next post, we’ll discuss the many advantages of owning your own tanks!

Why Rent Your Scuba Tanks?

Convenience: This is a no-brainer because it is usually more convenient to hop on the dive boat and the tanks are already there, set up and waiting for you. No hauling tanks through airport security, in and out cars or taxis, finding somewhere to store them in your accommodations, etc.

No Maintenance Worries: The dive shop or tour operator is responsible for inspecting the tanks, visually at least annually and hydrostatically every five years in many countries, including the U.S.

No Extra Airline / Transportation Fees: You’re probably already paying extra baggage fees if you own any scuba gear, and tanks are no exception. You also don’t have to worry about removing your tank valve to fly and then reassembling at your destination.

If I Rent, How Can I Be Sure the Tank Is Safe?

This is always the biggest worry for any of us who rent tanks. While you can never be 100% sure, you can take some steps to minimize the risk of ending up with a faulty tank.

VIP Sticker & Hydro Stamp: These are required in many countries but not everywhere. If you don’t see any, ask the shop if they keep a log of inspections.

Valve O-ring: Check for cracks, fraying and any other sign of visible wear and tear. Rental tanks get a lot of use and abuse, and O-rings may not be replaced until they leak. Listen and splash water on the pressurized connection and look for bubbles.

Valve and Valve-to-Tank Seal: Sometimes tanks can get a crack where the valve threads to it. Listen and submerge the tank in and look for bubbles. Make sure the valve turns adequately.

Overall Appearance: If the tank looks badly dinged and scratched, it may be OK, but it could indicate it’s a pretty old tank with a higher risk of problems.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask for a Different Tank

Whether you find an actual leak or just don’t like the looks of a tank, ask for a different tank. The operator should have plenty of other tanks around and should cordially accommodate your request. If they don’t, you might think twice about diving with them.

Different Size Tank?

If you know you might want a different size than the standard aluminum 80, which is what most shops rent worldwide, call ahead to see if they offer any alternatives. Aluminum 63s are gaining popularity since they are 4 inches shorter, lighter and less buoyant than the 80s. Some shops are beginning to offer more options, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Next post, we’ll talk about the variety of options and advantages of owning your own tanks. If you’re already convinced you want your own tanks, check out our online inventory or stop by Scuba Toys in north Dallas and we’ll help you out!

Have you ever had a problem with a rental tank? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Scuba Tanks: Buy or Rent?
Most divers know they should at the very least own their own snorkel gear, and ideally wetsuit and BCD, but what about buying your own scuba tanks? If you rent, here's what you need to know.

3 responses to “Scuba Tanks: Buy or Rent?”

  1. Sean says:

    No problems with renting scuba tanks to date. At some point, I’ll probably invest in one, but not for a while. I believe the stores check them and would likely catch a default that a less seasoned diver might not.

  2. Felix Madden says:

    I started off renting, but eventually bought my own. I don’t have any regrets.

  3. Steve M. says:

    I don’t have any issues renting, whatsoever. I’ve been doing it for years and it has always worked out well for me and my buddies.

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