As all event organizers know, good events require a lot of pieces to fit together. Some of those pieces are absolutely essential for the event to take off in the first place.

So let’s talk about the tools of the trade: event equipment.

This guide will go over…

Which events need equipment
Generic equipment needed at most events
Specialized event equipment
The different options for getting hold of it
Where to find event equipment
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Which events need equipment?
Here are examples of events that will definitely require some form of event equipment:

Conferences
Trade shows
Exhibitions
Concerts
Comedy shows
Theatre plays
Film screenings
Classes
Even if you’re not sure whether or not you need equipment for your particular event, you just might be surprised—so read on.

Equipment that is relevant for most events
Although every event is unique, there are certain kinds of equipment that will always be required for everything to run smoothly. Let’s go over some of the more generic event equipment.

1. Tables and chairs
Any event that features food, talks, or performances will need tables and chairs for the guests. Notable exceptions include receptions and raves. But even so, a table or two can be handy.

You may need tables for:

Meals
Registration
Information display
Equipment
Merchandise
Tip: Read about the different kinds of table and seating arrangements to get an idea of what you need.

2. Tents and canopies
If you’re hosting an outdoor event, then it’s a good idea to protect yourself from the weather by bringing a tent or a canopy.

3. Signs and banners
Event signage is a must for pretty much every event, even if it’s just to show guests where the event is taking place.

But there are many uses for signs and banners, including…

Branding
Programme
Directions
Parking
Smoking
Tip: Read our guide to event signage to get the full picture of what you need.

4. Power and cables
If you’re organising an outdoor event, you’ll need to look at how to get power to the festivities. But even indoor events might require an extra extension cable or two.

5. Lighting
Whether you’re into lasers and spotlights or just need some dim lighting to set the mood, it’s a good idea if guests can see what’s going on…or just see each other.

Event equipment: Lighting.
Lighting is key for many events.
Here are some of the areas you might need lighting for:

The venue overall
Podiums
Stages
Railings
Ropes and nets
Tents and canopies
Tip: Look at these creative ways to use lighting at events for inspiration.

6. Stage
If your event features any kind of performer or speaker, it’s useful to have a stage to let everyone in the audience see and hear them.

Tip: Read about the different stage sizes so you know which one to get for your event.

7. Sound
Like lighting, sound equipment is an essential part of any event that features speeches or performances.

Here is some of the sound equipment you may need:

Microphones
Speakers
Stage monitors
Microphone and speaker stands
Mixing desk
Headphones
Turntables
Music player (phone, tablet, or laptop)
Tip: See how attendee numbers influence your requirements and read this in-depth guide to sound equipment to understand how it all works.

8. Visuals
Presentations can be appropriate at many events, from corporate product demonstrations to embarrassing family photos at reunions.

Event equipment: Projector.
Make sure you have the right visual equipment for presentations.
Here’s some of the equipment you’ll need to make that happen:

Laptop (for web videos)
PowerPoint
Projector
Screen
Flip chart
Blank surface
9. Storage
Yes, you’ll also need a place to store everything. But storage is not only important for your event equipment. It can also be useful for storing your event team’s belongings, as well as food and drinks.

Specialised event equipment
If you’re organising a special event that isn’t covered by the more generic equipment, then it’s a good idea to think extra hard on what you’d need for your event.

Here are examples of special equipment required for different kinds of events:

Arts and crafts supplies for workshops
Instruments for music classes
Utensils and ingredients for food events
Sporting equipment for fitness and sport events
Festive decorations for parties
How to get equipment for your event
You have several options when it comes to acquiring the right equipment for your event. There’s no need to break the bank, regardless of your event budget.

1. Buy new
If money is not a problem or the equipment you need is just not that expensive, your best bet is to buy what you need brand new. That way, it’s yours to keep and use as often as you like.

2. Buy used
If what you need is a bit expensive, it can pay off to scour eBay for some good deals on pre-loved event equipment. Another good place to look for used equipment is Gumtree.

3. Rent or hire
If you only need the equipment for a short period of time (say for one or two events), event equipment hire or rental is the best option.

Event equipment: For hire.
Hiring equipment is an affordable way to get what you need.
4. Rent to own
If you’re not sure whether you’ll put on a similar event in the future, but consider doing so if the first one is a success, try renting equipment with the option to buy it at a later date.

Tip: Not sure which option to go with? Read about the benefits of renting equipment.

Where to find event equipment
Now, to the million-pound question: Where do you find the equipment you need for your event?

Most event equipment suppliers will have the option to buy new or used, as well as allowing event equipment rentals or leasing.

Here is a sample of UK suppliers you can start with:

Event Equipment Hire
Add To Event
Event Equipment Ltd
Party Doctors
Event Hire UK
Options Hire
Event Hire Online
Thorns Group
Here are a few websites where you can find good deals on used equipment:

Fat Llama
Facebook Marketplace
eBay
Gumtree
If that’s not enough to satiate you, check these event supplier directories:

Event Services Directory
Stand Out Magazine
Showman’s Directory
The White Book
Tip: If you’re still stretched for cash, read about how to negotiate with event equipment suppliers to get a better deal.

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