Buying refurbished tech – everything you need to know about 'renewed' products

Different tech products like a laptop, camera, mobile phone and camera accessories on a table
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When it comes to purchasing technology, many consumers tend to automatically opt for brand new products. However, buying refurbished or 'renewed' tech can be a smart and cost-effective choice.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of buying refurbished items versus new ones, and address the common questions you might have to make a more informed decision.

What is a refurbished product?

Refurbished products are typically tech items that have either been previously owned, or returned to the retailer due to various reasons (such as minor defects or buyer's remorse). Before being put back on sale, these products are thoroughly inspected, repaired (if required) and tested to ensure they meet a minimum set of quality standards.

Refurbished tech can include smartphones, laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, and more.

What are the main pros and cons of opting for refurbished?


  • Cost savings
    Refurbished tech is usually significantly cheaper than its new counterparts, allowing you to save a substantial amount of money – up to thousands of dollars in some cases.
  • Environmental benefits
    Refurbished products help to reduce electronic waste by extending the life of previously used gear, which can be better for the environment.
  • High quality
    As opposed to used or second-hand items, refurbished products are often restored to like-new condition, meaning they have been inspected, tested, and repaired to ensure they function properly.
  • Availability
    Refurbished products can sometimes be easier to find than new products, especially if the product is no longer being manufactured.
  • Warranty and customer support
    Many refurbished tech items come with warranties, providing peace of mind and access to customer support.


  • Limited warranty
    Refurbished products may have a shorter warranty period or limited coverage, which can be a drawback if the product needs repairs.
  • Uncertain history
    Refurbished items may have a history of use or damage, which may affect their long-term durability and reliability.
  • Potential cosmetic damage
    Refurbished products may have cosmetic damage or show signs of wear and tear. While this will probably not affect the product's performance, it may be undesirable for some people.
  • More limited choice
    Refurbished items are often only available in limited quantities, and the selection may be limited compared to new products.
  • Potential wear and tear
    While refurbished items undergo thorough inspections and repairs, there is still a chance that the item will not last as long as a brand new product due to general wear and tear, particularly on older items.

Who are the main retailers selling refurbished products?

The main retailers selling refurbished products include major technology companies such as Apple and Dell, who often have their own dedicated refurbished sections on their websites, and sometimes even in physical stores.

Additionally, online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay also offer a wide range of refurbished products from various brands and sellers. Below is a list of some trusted retailers and marketplaces where you can find renewed goods.

What should I know before purchasing a refurbished product?

Before purchasing a refurbished product, there are a few important aspects to consider:

1. Understand the definition of "refurbished"
Refurbished products are typically pre-owned items that have been returned, repaired, and restored to their original condition, often by the manufacturer or a third-party refurbisher. This means that the product may have been previously used or opened, but it should function like new.

2. Check the warranty
Make sure you understand the warranty that comes with the refurbished product, and how it differs from the warranty that comes with a new product. Some refurbished products may have a shorter warranty period or limited coverage.

3. Research the seller
Look for a reputable seller with a track record of selling quality refurbished products. Check their reviews and ratings, and make sure they have a return policy in case you are not satisfied with your purchase.

4. Inspect the product
If you have physical access to the product before making a purchase, ensure it turns and stays on, and inspect it carefully for any cosmetic damage or signs of wear and tear. When purchasing online from lesser-known sellers, ask for detailed photos of the product and make sure all of the accessories are included.

5. Know the return policy
Make sure you understand the return policy in case the product does not meet your expectations. Some sellers may have a limited return window, or charge a restocking fee.

6. Compare prices
Compare the price of the refurbished product with the price of a new product to ensure you're getting a good deal. Keep in mind that the price of a refurbished product should reflect its condition, and the warranty that comes with it.

By considering these key things above, you can make an informed decision when buying a refurbished product and save money while still getting a product that works (almost) like new.