Everything You Need to Know About Renting Baby Gear

Woman on city street pushing a stroller with a backpack on her back. There is a toddler walking along with the stroller.

Tony Anderson / Getty Images

It is a universal truth that babies and kids come with a lot of stuff. Between baby carriers, bottle warmers, strollers, cribs, pack and plays, and toys, there always seems to be something new your baby needs. Sorting through the sheer number of products available can be overwhelming!

When you consider the cost of some of this baby gear and the space it takes up in your home, it's understandable to want to throw your hands up in frustration. And that does not even cover the process of trying to pack for a baby while traveling.

This is where baby gear rentals come in. You can find several companies across the country that rent out products in an effort to streamline one aspect of parenting. Whether you are looking for cribs or strollers or more, you can find a company to suit your needs. Here is what you need to know about renting baby gear.

Why Parents Rent Baby Gear

Parents rent gear for many reasons. It allows them to have more flexibility in testing products and determining what their baby likes—and what makes sense for their life and space. Renting baby gear keeps excess gear out of your closets, can save you money in the long run, and makes traveling easier by allowing you to travel lighter.

Sustainability is another reason parents rent baby gear. Babies also use some items for such a short period of time that it often makes more financial sense to rent them. Renting is one way to cut down on waste and get more use per item, which helps not only your family's wallet but the environment, as well.

They Rent Baby Gear to Test It Out First

The ability to rent gear to try it out is a huge draw: anyone with a kid quickly figures out that some babies are particular. Not every child likes the same crib, carrier, or play mat, and it is never easy to predict what your child will love or hate. Attempting to try something new every time your child rejects a bouncy seat, for example, can lead to wasted money, and excess stuff piling up in your home.

It’s a problem that Henry Vogel, the CEO and founder of Loop, a San Francisco Bay Area-based rental company, knew inherently. The father of four knows products from first-hand experience. “Every child is different. It can be overwhelming to know which products will work for your family and children," he says. "They also come with hefty price tags that put them out of reach for many families.”

Many rental companies specifically call out the convenience of trying new products. Loop, for example, was founded with this flexibility in mind. Parents can rent all kinds of products, from toys to cribs, at a monthly fee that's significantly less than the retail price. This is especially helpful for popular but pricey items, like the Snoo Smart Sleeper bassinet or the Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair, each of which can be cost-prohibitive and not worth the price-per-use if your child ends up not taking to it.

Henry Vogel

"Families can get the convenience, confidence and flexibility of trying and using multiple items when they need them and without the hassle, cost, or environmental impact of ownership.”

— Henry Vogel

They Rent Baby Gear While Traveling 

Trying to travel with everything your baby needs can be headache-inducing, especially if you are worried about bulky or hard-to-pack items. Services like Baby's Away allow parents to rent strollers, cribs, beach items, and more in 34 states, reducing the sheer amount of stuff you have to travel with. You simply select your destination, reserve the items you need, set the length of time, choose a delivery window, and check out. It even gets picked up at the end of your trip, crossing one thing off your vacation to-do list.

Companies That Offer Baby Gear Rentals

What Products Can You Rent?

Depending on the rental company, you can rent just about anything. Rental companies sort the products by age group, by category, by brand, or by location, which is especially helpful when traveling. (If you are planning to rent while traveling, be sure to put in your final vacation destination ZIP code, not your home.)

For example, Baby's Away has gear ranging from bottle warmers to beach cabanas, and BabyQuip—which rents to some international locations—has everything from a double jogging stroller to toys. With Loop, which also offers a membership-based structure for those who want to rent several items at home, you can rent popular brands like BjornBaby, UPPAbaby, and The California Beach Co.

What Products Not to Rent 

Experts agree that renting a car seat is probably not in your family’s best interest, despite availability through rental sites and car rental companies.

“It’s likely your rental will not be the car seat you’re familiar with using and that means there’s a learning curve for harnessing adjustments and installation," says Michelle Pratt, a nationally certified child passenger safety expert who consults at Safe in the Seat. “Additionally, most rentals are subject to availability and that could mean you’re stuck with a seat that’s not even the right stage for your child. There are a lot of variables there that leave room for error.”

Another issue: you don’t know when or how it was cleaned last, unless the company offers transparency around that. 

No matter how tempting it may be to rent a car seat, your child will likely be safer and more comfortable in their own seat, especially on a plane, says Jennifer Beall Saxton, a baby gear expert and child passenger safety technician with Tot Squad.

"This also ensures you have a safe seat to get to and from the airport," she says. The expense of renting a car seat can add up, too. Instead, buy a lightweight car seat for travel and familiarize yourself with it before the trip; Saxton recommends the Cosco Scenera Next.  

What Parents Are Saying About Renting

Parents like Megen DiSanto, Chicago-based mom to two, see the benefit of renting while on vacation. “Our travel stroller and pack and play didn’t make it to our final destination," she says. "Of course, we arrived in a very small town in Maine that did not have big box retail to be able to buy these items, so we rented. We had the items within 45 minutes, and they even picked up the items at the end of our trip. Since that experience, I have only rented while traveling. It’s worth the price for less hassle.”

Plus, the convenience of renting gear makes travel much less stressful, especially if you are heading to the airport. "When traveling, we have rented gates to keep our babies safe, a swing for my infant—lifesaver!—cribs, and a high chair," says mom of two Taylor Livingston, who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee. "It was so easy to not to have to pack all the extra stuff, especially when flying. I would highly recommend it to anyone traveling with littles."

For popular but expensive products, like the Snoo bassinet, renting provides parents an opportunity to test it out with a smaller financial commitment. “We didn’t know if our baby would like [the Snoo], and we couldn’t justify the price tag to buy without knowing how much use we would get out of it," says Elizabeth Abt, a Leavenworth, Kansas-based mom of two.

When you are ready to let go of a product, renting makes that transition much easier, too. "Being able to ship things off when you are done using it is a plus, particularly when you already have so much baby gear around," says Jessica Mangum, a New Orleans-based mom of one. "Even though some things hold their resale value, selling things online can be a pain. Renting lets you avoid having to deal with trying to sell things or find somewhere to store it."

A Word from Verywell

While renting baby gear is a personal decision for every family, know there are options. Do your due diligence upfront and you might end up saving yourself time, hassle, and money in the end.

By Lauren Finney
Lauren is an experienced print and digital content creator with an extensive list of clients whom she has served through editorial consulting, content creation, branding, copywriting, native content, branded content, and more.