For many business owners, the need to purchase equipment can quickly become overwhelming. Not only do you need to conduct extensive research to find the best equipment, but you also need to figure out how it will fit into your organization's budget. Instead of buying the equipment outright, many business owners opt to lease the equipment they need.
Leasing equipment is the process of renting it from a third-party provider, typically for one to five years, with the option to buy it outright at the end of the lease. There are a myriad of benefits to leasing equipment for businesses, including being able to budget for larger purchases, access the latest technology, increase flexibility for changing needs and keep cash on hand.
Whether you're looking to lease salon equipment, gym equipment or heavy equipment, there are a variety of banks and independent specialty lenders available for your needs. To help you narrow your search, we’ve put together a list of the five best equipment leasing companies.
Our Top Picks for Best Equipment Leasing Companies
- National Funding - Best for Restaurant Equipment Leasing
- US Business Funding - Best for Construction Equipment Leasing
- Crest Capital - Best for Office Equipment Leasing
- CIT - Best for Medical Equipment Leasing
- National Business Capital - Best for Manufacturing Equipment Leasing
Best Equipment Leasing Companies Reviews
- Lowest monthly payment guarantee
- Leases for both pre-owned and new equipment
- Only six months of business history required
- Fair credit scores accepted
- Funding as quickly as 24 hours upon approval
- Maximum of $150,000 available to lease
- Minimum of $250,000 in annual revenue needed to qualify
Why we chose it: National Funding takes our top spot for the best restaurant equipment leasing provider due to its lowest payment guarantee, offerings on both pre-owned and new equipment leasing, and flexible business history requirement.
National Funding has loaned out over $4.5 billion to more than 75,000 businesses across the U.S. The company specializes in providing leasing and financing loans to small businesses, allowing them to lease and finance both new and used equipment with no down payment. It has very few restrictions about what type of equipment can be leased, with eligible products ranging from restaurant and construction equipment to medical and office hardware.
National Funding claims that applicants will hear back in as little as 24 hours after completing an online application and can receive funding within 24 hours of approval. The company advertises that it accepts fair credit scores, meaning scores as low as 580 may be approved for a lease. It also approves businesses with only six months of business history, meaning new restaurant owners can get the equipment they need.
Additionally, National Funding promises to offer the lowest monthly lease payment in the industry or pay you $1,000 in cash. For cash-strapped businesses that run on very small margins — like restaurants — this can help provide a better monthly cash flow and peace of mind that their equipment costs won’t be too high.
Of all the equipment leasing companies we reviewed, National Funding has one of the lowest maximum loan amounts: $150,000. This low cap is likely to limit its appeal among larger businesses and those looking to purchase more expensive equipment. In addition, it has a minimum annual business revenue requirement of $250,000. This could be a barrier for extremely small startups or businesses that are still in their infancy.
National Funding is accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating. Although the company received about two dozen poor customer reviews on the platform, it has successfully closed out nearly 50 customer complaints and promptly responds to any new complaints or customer inquiries. Customer reviews on other popular review sites give the lender high marks for excellent customer service, quick funding times and an easy leasing process.
- Maximum lease amount of $50 million
- Lease repayment terms of up to 72 months
- 95% approval rates
- Application-only approval available for loans under $200,000
- Leases available for used, new and third-party sales
- 100% of soft costs can be included in lease
- Most leases require two years of business history
- No minimum credit score information provided
Why we chose it: For medium to large construction companies that require expensive heavy equipment leasing, the $50 million maximum lease amount and flexible 72-month repayment terms offered by US Business Funding are attractive features.
US Business Funding offers a range of options to suit different businesses, including fair market value leases, dollar buyout leases, wrap leases and sales leasebacks.
- Fair market value leases typically come with the lowest possible monthly payment and provide the option to purchase equipment for its then-current market value at the end of the lease term.
- Dollar buyout leases are similar to standard financing and result in the customer purchasing the equipment for one dollar at the end of the lease term. This type of lease comes with higher monthly payments than fair market value leases.
- Wrap leases allow borrowers to combine leases on multiple pieces of equipment into a single lease agreement.
- A sales leaseback is an especially unusual lease option that allows you to sell your equipment to US Business Funding and then lease it from the company. This is useful if you need liquid cash quickly but want to retain use of the equipment.
US Business Funding allows borrowers seeking a loan under $200,000 to complete an application-only process that doesn't require you to submit comprehensive financial statements or tax returns. You can lease used, new and third-party equipment, and 100% of soft costs — such as installation or training — can be included in the financing. Loans larger than $200,000 require more extensive financial and business documentation, however.
The maximum loan amount available through US Business Funding is $50 million, which may be especially attractive for larger businesses seeking to finance expensive equipment. Repayment terms are available for up to six years. The company doesn't state its minimum credit score, but most leases require two years of business history, which may leave newer businesses unable to qualify.
US Business Funding is accredited by the BBB and holds an A+ rating. It also maintains a 4.22 out of 5-star customer rating on the website as well as fairly strong reviews across other consumer review sites.
- Application-only approval process available for loans under $250,000
- Approvals as fast as four hours
- Leases available for used, new and third-party sales
- Lease repayment terms of up to 84 months for loans over $250,000
- 100% of soft costs can be financed
- Minimum two years of business history
- Shortest repayment term is 24 months
- 650 minimum credit score required
Why we chose it: Small to medium-sized companies in need of office equipment leasing can benefit from Crest Capital's simple application-only process for loans under $250,000 and extremely fast turnaround times.
Established in 1989, Crest Capital has been one of the leading American equipment financing and leasing companies for over 30 years. It offers equipment financing and leasing for a wide range of industries, including construction, health care, IT, manufacturing and transportation. Aside from equipment financing, it also offers financing options for software and vehicles. Crest Capital finances used, new and third-party sales as well as 100% of soft costs such as delivery and installation.
Crest Capital has a $250,000 financing limit for application-only approvals, and no financial statements, tax returns or balance sheets are needed with this application. Instead, applicants provide details about the desired equipment and vendor as well as information about their industry, time in business, business credit history and principal credit (if the business owner owns a home). Approval decisions are made in as little as four hours along with fast funding.
While leases under $250,000 come with a simple application process and repayment terms of up to 72 months, amounts over $250,000 require additional documentation and allow for repayment terms of up to 84 months.
On the downside, Crest Capital requires a minimum 650 credit score, and businesses must have been in operation for at least two years. In addition, businesses that need short-term financing will have to look elsewhere, as the shortest lease term available is 24 months.
Crest Capital is accredited by the BBB, where it holds an A+ rating. It currently has 4.82 out of 5 stars from customer reviews on the platform, with many reviewers praising the company's good customer service.
- Application-only process for loans up to $500,000
- Flexible repayment terms
- Capital equipment financing up to $100 million
- Detailed information about medical equipment financing on website
- No details regarding eligibility requirements available on website
- Mixed customer reviews
Why we chose it: CIT took the top spot for medical equipment financing due to its exceptionally high loan limit for application-only approvals and its detailed resources about medical equipment financing.
CIT is a division of First Citizens Bank and offers equipment financing options for both small and large businesses. The application-only process is for loans up to $500,000 — the highest loan limit for application-only approval among all the lenders we reviewed — and repayment terms are available from six months to up to six years. Small business leases between $500,000 and $1 million require detailed business financials and history.
In addition to small business financing, capital equipment financing of up to $100 million is available for large businesses with more complex needs. CIT finances a range of medical equipment, including wheelchairs, x-ray machines and chiropractic equipment. The company works directly with health care organizations and offers financing for their customers, as well.
CIT offers fair market value leases and dollar buyout leases for its small business products and extremely customizable structures for its capital equipment financing. There is little information regarding eligibility requirements, making it difficult to determine if your business qualifies for financing until you submit an application. In general, banks tend to have higher and stricter credit standards than some of the other types of equipment financing lenders.
CIT is not accredited by the BBB and has received an A- rating from the organization. Although the company has received mixed customer reviews on its BBB webpage, it has responded to nearly all customer complaints and has successfully closed out most of them.
- Repayment terms of up to 10 years for manufacturing equipment
- Companies with poor credit histories can still qualify for financing
- 90% approval rate
- Only four months of business history required
- Quick and easy application process
- Excellent customer reviews
- Starting interest rates, fees and maximum lease amounts not published
- Doesn't offer financing itself but instead connects borrowers to lenders
- Terms and lease specifics depend on the specific lender you're matched with
- Doesn't list all the lenders it partners with
Why we chose it: National Business Capital is an excellent option for businesses looking to lease manufacturing equipment due to its long repayment terms and ease of application.
National Business Capital acts as a marketplace and matchmaker that connects small businesses with over 75 lenders. One of its greatest selling points is its willingness to work with customers who have poor credit histories. Instead of basing its applications solely on credit scores, the company looks at several other factors such as time in business, overall financial health and projected future sales. It claims to have a 90% approval rate and a simple application process.
The lender marketplace offers specialized repayment terms of up to 10 years for businesses that need to purchase or lease manufacturing equipment. In addition, only four months of business history and $10,000 in monthly gross sales are required for eligibility.
However, because the company works with so many different lenders, there is little to no information provided on which specific lenders are available, what their terms and conditions may be and what the starting annual percentage rate is. This makes it difficult to get an accurate picture of the total cost before applying.
National Business Capital has a great reputation, with an A+ rating from the BBB and excellent customer ratings on popular review sites. Customers praise the company's expertise in helping them secure the financing they need, quick response times and helpful customer service.
Other equipment leasing companies we considered
The following companies also offer equipment leasing services but did not make our top picks based on our rating criteria.
- Equipment leasing available for a wide range of industries and businesses
- Variety of types of lease agreements offered
- Financing starts at $100,000
- Requires phone consultation to learn about eligibility requirements, lease terms and starting interest rates
Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the U.S., offers equipment leasing services for a wide variety of industries and businesses. However, the company does not provide much information on its website about eligibility requirements, lease terms or starting interest rates. In addition, financing starts at $100,000, which may be too high for some small businesses.
- Excellent customer reviews
- Works with a network of lenders to secure financing for businesses
- Very little information about eligibility requirements and lease terms
- Mainly focused on heavy equipment and commercial leasing
Smarter Finance USA stands out for its excellent customer reviews and ability to secure financing through a network of lenders. However, the company does not provide much information on its website about eligibility requirements or lease terms. It is also mainly focused on providing leases for heavy equipment and large commercial trucks, making it less suitable for businesses in other industries.
Equipment Leasing Companies Guide
What is equipment leasing?
Equipment leasing is an agreement between a business and a lender that allows the business to use a specific piece of equipment for its operations in exchange for a pre-agreed payment to the lender. This type of arrangement can be beneficial for businesses that need access to equipment but do not have the capital to purchase it outright. Equipment leasing is often used for large items such as central computer systems, vehicles or machinery.
How does equipment leasing work?
With equipment leasing, the lender will purchase or lease a piece of equipment and then rent it to a business for a set period of time. The business will agree to make regular payments, usually monthly or quarterly, in exchange for the use of the equipment. The lender will also generally set up a buyout option at the end of the lease period, allowing the business to purchase the equipment outright for a discounted price. In some cases, there may also be insurance for renting equipment that is included in the lease agreement.
The advantages of leasing equipment for your business
The main advantage of business equipment leasing is that it allows you to utilize assets without having to make a large capital expenditure. This will free up capital that can be used for other parts of your business operations. Leasing also allows you to upgrade equipment more easily than if you were to buy it outright, as you can simply return the equipment at the end of your lease period and upgrade to a new piece of equipment.
The drawbacks of equipment leasing
One of the drawbacks of equipment leasing is that you may end up paying more in the long run than if you were to purchase the equipment outright. Additionally, the lease agreement may limit your ability to customize equipment, as you're required to return it in the condition that it was in when you received it.
How to lease equipment
1. Make a list of all the equipment you need
Consider all the equipment you need for your operations and put it on a list. Take into consideration the type of equipment, its purpose and any additional features or specifications you may need before making your decision about leasing equipment.
2. Determine what you can afford to pay upfront and monthly
Once you have your list of equipment, look at your upfront and monthly budget to narrow down the options available to you.
3. Decide how long you'll need to use the equipment
Next, determine the amount of time you'll want to lease the equipment. Knowing this in advance will help you determine the length and terms you want for a lease agreement.
4. Research the best equipment leasing companies and determine whether you meet their eligibility requirements
Consider each company's credit score minimum, business history requirements, minimum loan amount and any other terms. By looking into available companies and examining their eligibility requirements, you can ensure that the one you choose is suitable for your organization.
5. Request and compare equipment quotes
Once you have narrowed down your list of potential leasing companies, request quotes for leasing the items on your list and make comparisons to find the best fit.
6. Gather your documents and complete the equipment leasing application process
Finally, gather the documents required for the application process and complete all necessary paperwork in order to secure the equipment you need.
Equipment Leasing Companies FAQ
What is the difference between equipment leasing and financing?
Equipment leasing is when a company signs a contract with an equipment leasing company to rent equipment for a specific period of time. During this period, the company makes regular payments, and at the end of the contract, it typically has the option to purchase the equipment.Financing is when a company takes out a loan to purchase the equipment. The company then makes regular payments over an agreed-upon period of time, and at the end of the loan, the company owns the equipment.
How do equipment leasing companies make money?
How much does it cost to lease restaurant equipment?
How much does it cost to rent construction equipment?
How We Chose the Best Equipment Leasing Companies
To evaluate the best equipment leasing companies, we looked at a variety of factors from cost and lease terms to customer service and eligibility requirements. The following are some of the most important criteria we used:
- Cost: We looked at the cost of leasing, what fees are included and what the starting interest rates are for each company.
- Lease terms: We checked the length of the lease, the type of equipment allowed and the amount of lease term flexibility.
- Customer reviews: We examined customer ratings on popular review sites to see how satisfied customers are with their experience.
- Eligibility requirements: We considered what is needed in terms of credit and financials to qualify for an equipment leasing contract.
- Application process: We looked at how easy the application process is and how quickly you can expect to get approved.
- Funding options: We also looked at the type of financing options available and the turnaround time for receiving funds.