Should I Buy a Refurbished Laptop? What Should I Expect?

The all-too-common scenario: your laptop is on its last power bar and you’re suddenly in the market for an upgrade on a budget. But should you buy  a refurbished laptop? The price is right, but it seems risky. Like many other potential buyers of refurbished devices, you likely have questions about the lifespan and value of buying refurbished versus the cost of splurging on something brand new.

Should I Buy a Refurbished Laptop?

It’s a personal choice. There are many misconceptions surrounding refurbished technology in general, and you’ll find every opinion out there. Even if you are a proponent of the ‘newer is better’ mindset, read on. Insider’s secret: buying refurbished isn’t just for students anymore. Many buyers choose a refurbished device for their home office, and many businesses opt for staying on top of the newest trends by trading out refurbished devices from year to year.

So get ready for some surprising facts about buying new versus buying refurbished. Let help answer all your questions before you decide whether or not to purchase a refurbished laptop to suit your needs.

What Does Refurbished Mean, Anyway?

There are many misconceptions surrounding the word ‘refurbished’ and we can tell you why. The definition of refurbished is in flux in the tech industry - but it doesn’t always mean second-hand or used. Many buyers waver between wondering, “Should I buy a refurbished laptop?” and also thinking that refurbished means there was a problem with the technology and it was discarded as junk or in need of serious repair. A laptop may have ended up in the refurbished category for all sorts of reasons; here are just a few:

  • Laptops used as display models that can’t be sold in stores
  • Laptops with damaged packaging
  • Used laptops bought by the refurbishing company
  • Laptops returned by customers with malfunctions that were resolved

In some cases, a company might choose to discard an entire system in favor of higher performance after a short time period. This means that when you buy a refurbished laptop, you could actually get something closer to lightly used or brand new.

What about Lifespan?

Naysayers agree that refurbished tech has a shorter lifespan. From questionable battery life to uncertain lasting-power, these devices are assumed to be of lesser quality than a brand new purchase. Is it true? When asking yourself “Should I buy a refurbished laptop?” consider your ultimate purpose. Are you looking to quickly solve an unplanned computer malfunction and upgrade to a new model in a few years? If so, buying refurbished is the perfect go-between to get you through a year or two until you buy your dream device.

Also consider that most people ditch their new technology purchases within three or four years. If this is you, does it really matter if your device is brand new or not? Many resellers offer warranties that now make buying a refurbished device an excellent choice.

Finally, buying a refurbished laptop may help you afford a better-quality laptop brand. Sometimes a high-end used device with a partially drained battery is already a better bet that the newer, cheaper brand that isn’t really known for its lasting power. You get what you pay for.

Will My Technology Look Used?


That depends. Should you choose to buy a refurbished laptop, be aware that the process can vary in quality and practice. One company might buy a series of used computers, dust them off, reboot them, and offer them for sale. Other companies promise a more comprehensive process that includes possible replacement of the entire exterior of the machine. Let’s take a look at a few common refurbishing practices:

  • Thorough cleaning and dusting of interior space
  • Replacement of worn or problematic parts
  • Replacement of the entire exterior
  • Updated programs and software

If you buy from a company that replaces the exterior of the laptop, you will get a brand new looking device. If cosmetic appearance matters, you might even want to contact dealers directly to see how they handle scratches and dents in laptops posted for resale. Do your research to avoid disappointment.

Does It Really Save You Money?

Usually, the answer is a resounding “yes”. But for every positive story out there, you’ll likely read others of purchases gone awry. So you might still be wondering - should I buy a refurbished laptop? After all, nobody wants a lemon. There are a few sure ways to make sure that you save money:

  • Warranty: To avoid disappointment, purchase a device that includes a warranty. This eliminates wondering ‘what if’ something goes wrong. Many reputable companies offer warranties of up to two years.
  • Reviews: Luckily, since you’re buying a product that has been on the market for a while, there are a lot of reviews out there to sift through. Before purchasing a refurbished laptop, read the reviews of the product itself and the company you plan to buy from.
  • Contact the Seller: Any reputable company will return your phone calls and emails promptly, and answer any additional questions you may have about their refurbishment process transparently. If they don’t, consider it a warning sign and proceed with caution.

Buying refurbished can save the typical buyer hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of a few years of use, but we still recommend doing some research in advance so that you find the best deal to suit your purposes.

So, Should I Buy a Refurbished Laptop?

If you know what you’re looking for, there aren’t many reasons to avoid buying a refurbished product these days - especially if it comes with a warranty included. In many cases, you’ll get a like-new product with higher performance and a great lifespan. Ready to start your search? Shop the best deals on refurbished laptops at today and get ready to make your next big upgrade a reality.

Aug 26th 2019

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