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Choosing a Stump Grinder: to Buy or Not to Buy

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Using a stump grinder is the best option when you have to remove the stumps left on your land after tree cutting. Digging the stump out together with the roots will damage the lawn and it requires much time. But when you use special equipment it only takes about 10-20 minutes to grind a stump 10-15” in diameter. In addition, the adjacent area will be left unspoiled, which is very important when this area is covered by a well-groomed lawn.  

stump grinders

If you have decided to use a stump grinder, you need to choose an appropriate type that is the most suitable for your tasks. According to the design you can divide all stump grinders into three groups:

  • Self propelled units: they look like riding lawn movers. Combine moderate grinding capabilities with comfort, but their cost is quite high. If you prefer to save money, this is not an option for you.
  • Those attached to skid steers and Bobcats. They are usually needed when you have lots of stumps (20 or more).
  • Non-self-propelled units. They can be a good choice for places that are difficult to reach and large stump grinders cannot be used. One disadvantage is that it requires great manual labor, so take it into account.

Now that you know what kind of stump grinder you need, there comes an important question: “To buy or to rent?” Let’s try to answer the question by comparing the cost of each alternative.

stump grinder

Calculating a stump grinder rental cost

The price of a stump grinder starts from $1000 and can rise to quite a big sum depending on the brand and specifications. For example, a 20HP self-propelled unit costs around $3000-3500. In most cases, it is not reasonable to pay so much for the equipment that will be used once in two years or even more rarely. On the contrary, renting can be a smart choice especially when you share it with the neighbors. Before looking for a rental dealer, it is better to estimate the amount of work that is planned to be done. After that you can go to the store to make an educated choice.

The rental cost depends on various factors such as:

  • what type of stump grinder you want
  • who is the manufacturer
  • how many days you need it for
  • will you tow it yourself or you want it delivered

Concerning figures, usually the cheapest charge is $100 per day. Bigger models can cost 200-300 dollars per day plus other expenses, such as delivery, gas and some hidden costs that depend on the dealer and are difficult to predict.

If you have a lot of stumps to grind, think about hiring a service instead of doing the job yourself. It just happens that the rental cost of such an expensive machine for several days can be the same as the cost of service. The difference is, you are free from spending your time and doing hard work yourself.

toro stump grinder

Tree stump grinder rental: looking for alternatives

Most dealers offer their service in addition to giving stump grinders for rental. Hiring professional workers can be a good alternative in case you have to clear a big area with dozens or even hundreds of stumps.

For this type of job they will generally use big and powerful models over 100 HP. Comparing to small 10-20 HP walk behind grinders, they are able to cope with very large and rotten stumps, making the whole process faster.

The cost of that kind of service is usually negotiated for the certain conditions. The calculation of the total cost can be made according to the amount of the working time, or the number of stumps, or their total diameter. The company can also offer you a flat rate for the entire service including delivery of the machine, the cost of the service and rental fare in one package. For example, for removing 100 stumps you may need 3-4 days if you plan to do it all yourself, which will cost you more than $1000 because you will need a powerful machine for this job. Hiring a squad of workers will be not much more expensive, but you save your time and efforts.

tree stump grinder

Stump grinder rental at Lowe’s: a wide selection and reasonable prices

Lowe’s is the second largest retailer of home improvement goods in the world. It has so many stores that you can easily find one near your home. If you have decided to rent a stump grinder at Lowe’s, you can rely on helpful advice of the consultants and benefit from having a wide selection of equipment.

At Lowe’s, you can find branded stump grinders, like Vermeer or Rayco, or some simpler models that are available for rental. To choose the right machine, look at the following characteristics:

  • type of the construction: does it require a skid steer or tractor or is it a self-propelled or manually operated unit?
  • the ability to go deep below the ground
  • the diameter of the circular saw and the material of the teeth

Before renting, do a research to know the difference between brands and types of stump grinders. This will help you choose the best variant for your budget.

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