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Should You Lease, Buy, or Rent a Coffee/Espresso Machine?

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Leasing works best for those who don’t have a lot of money to invest in the beginning. Renting is better for anyone wanting to test machines and scaling. And buying will save you the most money in the long run. Keep reading to learn more about each option.

As a coffee enthusiast who has researched opening a coffee shop, I’ve pondered whether buying, leasing, or renting a coffee machine is the best option. This guide will show my findings.

Here’s what I’ll cover in this piece:

Let’s dive in.

Key Takeaways

  • Buy a machine to save the most money and are confident that you won’t need an upgrade soon.
  • Rent if you want to test different machines and are unsure of how your business will do.
  • Lease if you’re a new business and are sure you’ll operate for at least several years.
  • Consider factors like cost, maintenance, scaling, and customization when deciding.

Should You Buy, Rent, or Lease a Coffee/Espresso Machine?

Consider these benefits to help you determine which option works best for your business:

Best long-term solution.Includes maintenance.Ideal for scaling.
Ideal if you don’t intend on upgrading soon.Allows you to test machines.Less upfront investment.
No contracts or extra fees.Great for coffee carts during events.Rates won’t change.
Can tinker with machine.


Here are questions to ask yourself to help you determine whether it’s worth renting, buying, or leasing a coffee maker:


  • Are you 100% positive on how your business will scale?


  • Do you know what machine you want?


  • Do you think your business will be around for your contract’s length?
  • Do you not want to deal with maintenance?

Are you still not sure about what you want? Let’s first explore the differences among buying, renting, and leasing coffee makers.

Differences Among Buying, Renting, & Leasing a Coffee Machine

Buying a coffee machine gives you complete control over the device. You will not have to go through any credit checks or paperwork since you’re buying it from a vendor. These machines will typically come with a guarantee or warranty.

But you’ll need to deal with installation, maintenance, and repairs yourself.

When you rent a coffee machine, a company or a person loans it to you for a predefined period. You’ll pay rates based on what said company or person determined—by day, week, or month. And you’ll never own the coffee machine. The person or company renting it to you does.

Depending on the company, they’ll include servicing, maintenance, and installation as a part of the agreement.

Leasing a coffee machine means you’ll receive the device from a leasing company. You pay a deposit upfront and pay off the machine’s total cost through monthly installments.

Once the leasing agreement ends, you’ll have full ownership over the machine. If that’s not ideal, you could upgrade or return it. These agreements can last for at least 3 years and sometimes more than 5 [1].

Let’s check out the advantages and disadvantages of leasing a coffee machine.

Summary: Buying means paying upfront for full ownership. Leasing means paying in monthly installments for full ownership. Renting means you’ll borrow the machine for a monthly cost with no ownership.

Pros & Cons of Leasing a Coffee Machine


  • Tax benefits: Can reclaim value added tax on monthly payments.
  • Savings: Put the money saved on buying a machine outright into other areas of your business.
  • Can upgrade if you’re unhappy with it: If the current machine isn’t meeting your needs, upgrade it.
  • Fixed payment rates: Prices won’t fluctuate, and it makes budgeting easier.
  • Cheaper initial investment: Allows you to invest into other areas of your business.
  • May include technical support and servicing: You won’t need to hire a separate company to deal with this.

Leasing a coffee machine works great for businesses because it’ll save them a lot of money through value-added tax (VAT) reclamations. Since the lease prices won’t change, you can more efficiently budget for other expenses.

And if you’re leasing a device, you won’t have to worry about inflation wreaking havoc on your finances. Because you’re in a contract with the leasing company, the machine’s price won’t increase. Saving you a bit of extra money.



  • Penalty fees: If you exit your contract, you’ll need to pay a cancellation fee.
  • Must pay interest: Companies will also charge you an interest rate on top of your monthly payments.
  • Can’t make adjustments: You don’t own it (yet), meaning you can’t make adjustments to the machine.
  • You’ll pay more in the long run: Interest adds up.
  • You may have to use their coffee beans: You can’t switch coffee bean providers.
  • May need business experience: If you haven’t been operating for at least a year, the company may decline your lease application.

If your business were not to succeed, then on top of not making money, you’ll need to pay a penalty fee to end your lease. These fees could cost $100, $300, or whatever’s specified in the contract terms.

And if the machine isn’t well-maintained, you may need to pay additional fees. It depends on your contract’s conditions.

If you lease a machine, ensure you put enough money aside to pay for such fees. Just in case.

Moreover, many leasing companies may not include service or maintenance. Meaning, you’ll have to deal with that yourself. However, many companies will offer service calls. It depends on whom you go with.

If you don’t make your payments on time, the leasing company will seize your equipment—even during business hours.

When You Should Lease a Coffee Machine

Small companies who don’t have much to invest upfront and are unsure of how well their business will do should lease a coffee machine.

Let’s see whether you should buy a coffee maker.

Pros & Cons of Buying a Coffee Machine


  • No obligations: No dealing with leasing or rental companies.
  • Tax perks: Can deduct your initial investment through depreciation.
  • Can sell it: If you upgrade or close your business, you can sell the machine.
  • More options: More brands & customization options to choose from.

Buying a coffee machine is a fantastic option for businesses that have a lot of money to invest upfront. Also, for owners who are almost 100% certain of how much foot traffic they’ll get. Then, they won’t have to worry about upgrading when their business becomes popular.

Since you’re buying a machine, you won’t deal with extra fees. No interest. No extra fees the rental or leasing companies decide to throw in your contract.

You also won’t have to worry about missing lease payments. Because if you missed one, the leasing company could send some of their goons to repossess your equipment in the middle of the day. Or worse—during a rush.

That would look horrible for your brand image.

And it’s much quicker to deal with also. No sitting around with staff and asking a million questions about what your contract will include. You buy the machine, and that’s it.

But it’s not all roses.


  • Upfront investment: You’ll need a large sum of money.
  • No servicing and maintenance: You must pay for technicians.
  • Need for new machines: If your needs change, you’ll need to buy a new machine.

You’ll need to deal with installations and maintenance yourself. Or you’ll need to hire a separate company or contractor. This will add costs to your business and could reduce your margins.

Coffee machines will include warranties, but these last for usually a year and will only cover manufacturing faults. Not user errors. Meaning if your barista messes up the machine, the manufacturer won’t fix it.

Buying a machine also means you’ll need to provide all the money upfront. This adds a huge barrier to entry for folks who don’t have massive amounts of money in their bank accounts. And if you needed to upgrade your machine to scale, you’d need to pay this huge amount again.

When You Should Buy a Coffee Machine

Buy a coffee machine if you absolutely know what machine you want and if it will accommodate the amount of customers during rushes. You’ll also need to have a large amount of money upfront.

If you’re not sure about the machine you want, consider renting.

Pros & Cons of Renting a Coffee Machine


  • Flexibility: Test a coffee machine to see if it can meet your shop’s demand.
  • Included service & maintenance: Rental companies will often take care of their machines.
  • No commitment: No long-term lease contracts required.
  • Easy replacements: If your machine breaks, the company will replace it.

If you’re a new business who can’t get approval from a lease, renting is a great alternative. It’ll give you an opportunity to test a machine without investing a boatload of money. Meanwhile, the rental company will deal with the technical support and servicing.

Such support will save you money in those areas and will help you understand the process of having technicians service your machines before committing to buying one.


You won’t need to bound yourself to a long-term lease.



  • No opportunity to buy the machine: If you like the rented machine, you can’t buy it afterward.
  • Expensive: Will regularly cost more than buying it or leasing it long term.
  • Limited options: Can’t choose among many brands and finish options.
  • Contractual obligations and fees: Can’t use your machine outside what’s specified in the contract.

You’re bound to a contract despite not being tied to a long-term lease. This will prevent you from making adjustments to the machine and could incur additional fees. Such fees will make the rental machine cost much more over time than buying one outright.

But you’re not renting a machine to save money. You’re doing so to test the waters.

You won’t have many machines to test, though. You’ll still get an idea of what works for your business. For instance, whether you need a machine with 2 or 3 group heads.

If you happen to find your dream machine while renting, you won’t have an opportunity to buy it as you would with leasing. Thus, you’ll need to source it yourself later on if you outright buy it.

When You Should Rent a Coffee Machine

You should rent a coffee machine if you’re running a temporary event or want to test a specific coffee maker. Otherwise, you’re losing money in the long run.

If you’re still having trouble deciding among these options, I didn’t do my job right. Here’s one more attempt to help.

What to Consider When Deciding to Buy, Rent, or Lease a Coffee Machine

Here’s what you’ll want to consider when deciding whether you’ll rent or lease a machine:

  • Maintenance: Whether you want to deal with maintenance.
  • Cost: Depends on your budget.
  • Flexibility: How the machine scales with your business.
  • Customization: Whether you want more or less machine customization.
  • Brand and quality: Machines available.
  • Machine Type: The type of machine you get.

First, let’s cover maintenance:

Some leasing companies will include cleaning and maintenance with their products. And all rental companies should include it. However, you’ll have to deal with maintenance or hire a separate company to clean and maintain your machine when buying.

Maintenance can cost your business a lot of time and money. Outsourcing it to a renting or leasing company could reduce your workload and stress.

Here’s the most important factor: money.

Buying a machine upfront will cost the most, but less over time since there’s no interest or additional fees. Rental companies will charge you more money over time than the machine’s worth if you rent it long-term.

And of course leasing companies will include interest and other fees in their contracts. The amount will vary by company.

If you’re unsure how your company will do, consider flexibility.

Renting a machine is the best option for folks who aren’t 100% positive about how their company will scale. This allows you to rent a smaller device if your business downsizes, or bigger if it grows.

Leasing companies also allow you to upgrade—depending on the contract. And buying a machine outright requires you to buy a new machine.

What if you want the machine to match a particular aesthetic?

Rental and leasing companies don’t present as many customization options (e.g., color and size) as buying one. This means your machine will stand out, or you’ll need to match your business’ aesthetic to the machine’s.


Buying a machine allows you to choose whatever brand you want from whoever. Leasing and rental companies will likely have limited options that could vary in quality.

And machine type.

You’ll find multiple types of espresso machines like semi-automatic and super-automatic machines.

The former works better for coffee shops and you’ll more likely buy or lease these. Whereas, you’ll more likely need to rent super-automatic machines for company events. One reason being because they often need maintenance, and having a rental company behind your machine could reduce additional expenses.

Summary: Buying presents the most customization and options. It’ll also cost the least in the long run. Renting provides the most flexibility. Leasing offers small businesses the most cost-effective option while offering maintenance (sometimes) and decent flexibility.


Small businesses without experience will want to rent a machine first. Those with experience and who need to save money should consider a leasing contract until they can build up enough money to buy a machine. Because buying one will increase your margins the most in the long run.

If you’re buying a commercial coffee machine, check out our recommendations and offerings.

Photo of author


Tim Lee is, as you might have guessed the founder of He is a former barista and a professional web publisher. He has now combined his knowledge and expertise in both subjects to create
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