Lease vs Buy NPV: Comprehensive Deep Dive Analysis in Excel

Written by Kasper Langmann

The decision to lease or buy an asset is a critical one for businesses and individuals alike. This choice can have significant financial implications, and it’s essential to make an informed decision. One of the most effective ways to compare the cost of leasing versus buying is by using the Net Present Value (NPV) method. This approach allows you to evaluate the total cost of each option over time, taking into account factors like interest rates and depreciation. In this guide, we’ll delve into a comprehensive analysis of Lease vs Buy NPV, using Excel as our primary tool.

Understanding the Basics of NPV

Before we dive into the Excel analysis, it’s crucial to understand the basics of NPV. The Net Present Value is a financial metric used in capital budgeting and investment planning. It measures the profitability of a venture by calculating the difference between the present value of cash inflows and the present value of cash outflows over a period of time.

When comparing leasing and buying, NPV can help you determine which option is more cost-effective in the long run. If the NPV of leasing is lower than the NPV of buying, then leasing is the more economical choice, and vice versa. However, keep in mind that this is a simplified explanation, and other factors may influence the final decision.

Setting Up Your Excel Spreadsheet

Now that we’ve covered the basics of NPV, let’s move on to setting up your Excel spreadsheet for the analysis. The first step is to create a timeline for your lease and purchase options. This timeline should include all the relevant cash inflows and outflows for each option. For instance, if you’re considering leasing a car, your cash outflows might include monthly lease payments, insurance, and maintenance costs. On the other hand, if you’re thinking about buying, your cash outflows could include the purchase price, loan payments, insurance, and maintenance costs.

Once you’ve set up your timeline, you can start inputting the relevant data. This includes the cost of each cash inflow and outflow, as well as the discount rate. The discount rate is the interest rate used in the NPV calculation to discount future cash flows to their present value. It’s important to choose a realistic discount rate that reflects the risk and opportunity cost of your investment.

Calculating NPV in Excel

After setting up your spreadsheet and inputting all the necessary data, you can proceed to calculate the NPV. Excel has a built-in function for this, which makes the process relatively straightforward. To use the NPV function, you need to input the discount rate and the series of cash flows. The function will then calculate the present value of these cash flows, which you can use to compare the cost of leasing versus buying.

Remember to calculate the NPV for both the lease and purchase options. This will allow you to compare the two and determine which one is more cost-effective. Keep in mind that the option with the higher NPV is the more economical choice, as it offers a higher return on investment.

Interpreting the Results

Once you’ve calculated the NPV for both options, it’s time to interpret the results. As mentioned earlier, the option with the higher NPV is the more economical choice. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for you or your business. Other factors, such as your cash flow situation, risk tolerance, and strategic objectives, should also be considered.

For instance, leasing might have a lower NPV but offer more flexibility, as you can switch to a new model at the end of the lease term. On the other hand, buying might have a higher NPV but require a larger upfront investment. Therefore, it’s essential to consider all these factors when making your final decision.


Lease vs Buy NPV analysis is a powerful tool that can help you make informed financial decisions. By using Excel, you can easily compare the cost of leasing versus buying and determine which option is more cost-effective. However, remember that NPV is just one factor to consider, and it’s important to take into account other aspects like flexibility, risk, and strategic objectives.

With this comprehensive guide, you should now be well-equipped to conduct a Lease vs Buy NPV analysis in Excel. So go ahead, crunch those numbers, and make the best financial decision for you or your business.