Why You Should Buy a Refurbished Laptop

Why You Should Buy a Refurbished Laptop

Yes, there is a stigma associated with buying refurbished laptops. I understand it to a degree—I mean, there is nothing like liberating a fresh, shiny gadget from its plastic packaging prison.

What I don’t understand is how this stigma exists in a society where buying a used car is so widely accepted. As many others have pointed out, the process of buying a refurb and a used car are actually very similar—except the financial risk we take on with the latter is generally much, much higher. So why are we so hung up on this? We shouldn’t be—and here is why.

The Facts: 

Fact #1: The economy is busted right now. One of the sticking points people have with refurbished laptops is that they may not be getting top-of-the-line performance and features. While this is usually true, it is important to seriously analyze your computing needs and determine what you really need vs. what you really want. For example, in a recent Question of the Day, I asked Giz readers whether they really need a R10000 laptop. Out of nearly 9000 votes, 42% responded “No”, 21% responded “Yes, but only because I like to have the best of everything”, and 19% responded “Yes, but only because I am unwilling to sacrifice on the OS.”

Basically, this implies that many of us are buying more laptop than we really need.

Fact #2: The term “used” takes on a slightly different meaning when you are talking about refurbished laptops. Analysis of outlet stores and other refurb dealers reveals that “refurbished” laptops that have been used are most likely returns that have been in circulation 30 days or less. When the laptops are returned, they undergo a thorough inspection and should be good as new. They could also be demos or products with slight defects that are repaired during the inspection. Refurb outlets also sometimes offer discounts on overstocked items. In this case, the laptops have never been used at all. 

Fact #3: Most reputable retailers will offer a return policy and some sort of 1-year warranty for their refurbished laptop—which should help bring you peace of mind. For the extremely cautious, there is usually a warranty extension option that, if purchased, will still put your total price tag well under what it would cost to buy new. (And let’s not forget that people buying new laptops are also encouraged to opt for the pricey extended warranty, so the refurb, with protection, remains a much better deal.)  

What are the Difference between Refurbished and Used Equipment?

What are the Difference between Refurbished and Used Equipment?

The acquisition of pre-owned test equipment has become increasingly popular in the past five years. Test engineers are more receptive to the idea of buying pre-owned equipment, often referred to as used and refurbished. Of the two types, refurbished equipment is fast becoming recognized as the highest quality option.

Used equipment has been widely defined, ranging from demonstration units warranted by the manufacturer to as-is units with the risk of unknown quality and capabilities. Traditionally, and by definition, used test equipment might not be repaired or calibrated prior to sale.

Always be aware of the quality ramifications when acquiring used equipment. As the user, you are responsible for verifying the quality of the product received.

Refurbished equipment provides you with a new acquisition option. Typically, it is a higher quality product that saves approximately 30% or more in comparison to new equipment. The difference between refurbished and used equipment lies inherently within the maintenance and calibration of the equipment. Refurbished equipment is extensively tested, cosmetically improved, and calibrated prior to sale.

Customers should always verify the quality standards and procedures of pre-owned equipment suppliers. To verify that the quality standards and procedures are in place, customers sometimes audit suppliers. Considering the crucial elements that are inherent in this exercise, auditing suppliers should become a more commonly practiced ritual. In addition, the provision of warranties is an important indication of a supplier’s willingness to stand behind its products and services.

The Quality Process

When the refurbishment process is carried out in compliance with the highest standards, careful attention is given to the interior and exterior of the equipment. In the first phase of this process, the equipment is subjected to rigorous electrical testing to ensure it meets all original manufacturing specifications. A complete check is conducted for full operation of the equipment, including preventative maintenance and calibration.

The process continues with a comprehensive cosmetic procedure. If required, knobs, controls, and other interior parts and exterior panels are refurbished or replaced to meet with industry standards for new equipment. Final inspection of the equipment, which includes electrical calibration, completes the process.

Who Supplies Refurbished Equipment?

Not all suppliers have the financial or quality commitment to provide in-depth refurbished equipment. When selecting a pre-owed equipment supplier, carefully examine the facilities and the procedures in place. The fact is that few companies supply quality refurbished test equipment within the realm of this three-phase procedure.



How will you use it?                                                                                                                      

The most important question to ask before drawing up your shopping list is what the device’s day-to-day duties will entail. If it’s just for producing reports, presentations, and spreadsheets, then all modern laptops will easily cope with these tasks. But if you need to replace a desktop machine, you’re better off going for models with larger 15” or 17”  displays, as they provide a more comfortable experience for users. Video editing, graphic design, product development, or more technically demanding jobs will require a powerful processor, at least a 7th generation Intel i7, plus a minimum of 8GB of RAM, with 16GB being preferable. A range of ports for accessories is also a good idea. These combinations are found on the Workstation class of laptop, such as HP’s Z-range which are built with exactly this kind of performance in mind. For the executive level, you’ll want a device that looks premium, both in design and build. Slim form factors, HD+ displays, and high-grade materials are the current standards, with the new HP Spectre Folio representing the pinnacle in terms of exquisite aesthetics and formidable power that will never look out of place on a boardroom table

Which software do you want to use?

Another key consideration is the software your business uses. If it has a range of applications, with some dating back a few years, then you’ll need to make sure they all work with the operating system that comes on the laptop.

Apple MacBooks might seem desirable in the stores, but if the applications you rely on aren’t compatible with macOS then they’ll just end up as very expensive paperweights. Windows is the most universally used operating system for laptops, and as such is the best option for maximum compatibility. ChromeOS, which runs on Google’s Chromebooks, is also becoming popular, due to its cloud-based computing. Should your organization use G-Suite software, and be looking for inexpensive machines to handle light duties, then you should consider the HP Chromebook 11.

Will you be traveling often?

If those using the laptop are going to be spending lots of time on planes or carrying the device from one meeting to another, then size, weight, and durability become hugely significant.  

Size is often dictated by the display, so look for one with a 13in panel or smaller and weighing in at less than 3lbs. Battery life is of the utmost importance, as you don’t want the charge to run out halfway through an eight-hour flight. So, check the specifications to see how much the manufacturer states, then knock an hour or two off to leave yourself a safety reserve.

Avoid the budget models, as they tend to be built with cheaper, plastic cases that can crack when thrown about in bags every day. Instead, look for a metal chassis as they tend to fare better in these situations.

Does it fit your budget?

As you can see, there are plenty of levels of laptop to choose from. Therefore, there’s no need to overspend when making your purchase. Know your budget and stick to it when perusing the options, as you will find something that works for you at that price.

One way to get the most from your money is to look at the various configurations for each machine and select what you realistically need. If there’s an option for a smaller SSD or previous generation processor, but ones that still fit your requirements, then opt for those instead. Just bear in mind that money spent wisely now could save you having to upgrade in only a year or two.

Refurbished vs. Used

Refurbished vs. Used

“Refurbished” isn’t just another word for “used,” but the two terms are related. Used goods, also known as second-hand or pre-owned goods, are products that another person has bought, used, and sold. Refurbished goods, also known as reconditioned or remanufactured goods, are products that another person has bought and then, for some reason, decided to return.

Generally, prior to resale, an item is checked by the retailer or manufacturer for functionality, and minor adjustments or fixes may be made – perhaps it is given fresh packaging, or a new battery is placed in the product.

Basically, all refurbished electronics are used – but not all used electronics are refurbished.

Just because an item was returned doesn’t necessarily mean it was damaged. Sometimes people return products because the packaging is damaged, or because of minor blemishes that only affect the product’s looks.

In other cases, they simply have “buyer’s remorse,” meaning they change their minds about a product after buying it. In cases like these, buying refurbished can get you a product that hasn’t been used at all for a bargain price.

In other cases, refurbished products have been returned because of malfunctions – some minor, some major. When you buy a refurbished item, there’s no way to tell what was wrong with it before it was returned. It shouldn’t matter, though, since all problems with a returned item are supposed to be fixed before resale.

Items listed as “refurbished” have several advantages over those sold as “used” or “second-hand”:

Like-New Condition

Sellers of refurbished items repair everything that’s damaged, then test the item to make sure it’s working properly. They also clean it and, in many cases, replace worn exterior parts, such as the face plate or buttons. This means that when you buy a refurbished product, it should both look and run like new.


Many refurbished products come with a warranty, though the length of the warranty depends on who did the refurbishing. If the original manufacturer fixes up and resells a product, the warranty is likely to be at least a full year. Products refurbished by a store, on the other hand, have shorter warranties of 30 to 90 days.


In many cases, buying a refurbished product from the original manufacturer gives you access to the same tech support you’d get with a new product. That means if you have any problems with your new equipment, you can call the manufacturer for help. However, this feature is often available only for current models. If you buy a recently discontinued product, you shouldn’t count on getting support from the manufacturer unless that benefit is specifically mentioned in the sale listing.



Looking to replace your current computer? On one hand, this is an exciting time. It’s your chance to have a new experience and accomplish tasks you couldn’t before. On the other hand, your bank account is about to take a hit. It’s the best of times and the worst of times, so to speak. But you don’t have to rush out and order the latest machine. You can buy a used, pre-owned, or refurbished PC. And there are more reasons to consider this approach than you think.        

You Probably Don’t Need So Much Power

Why are you buying a computer? If you just need a way to write class notes and papers, it doesn’t matter if you have the latest CPU and piles of RAM. The same is true if you want something for browsing the web and online banking.

Open up the Task Manager (Windows), Activity Monitor (Mac) or System Monitor (Linux). The vast majority of your PC’s resources will be idle while doing these basic tasks. RAM may be your biggest issue, but even that stops being useful after a certain amount. Sure, if you’re editing videos professionally, you may know exactly which of the latest hardware components you need to improve your workflow. But don’t make the assumption that just because you want to play games, you need to buy a new machine.

You Could Save A Lot Of Money

Buying used or refurbished computers saves you hundreds of dollars. At the low end, you can walk into a thrift store and walk out with a functional PC for around a hundred bucks. That machine may be too old for the latest version of Windows, but with Linux, it may still have many years of life left. Even an older version of Windows, like Windows 7, is fine as long as it still receives security updates. You don’t have to go for hardware quite so outdated, though. Many websites offer computers that are only a few years old. Consider buying the previous generation of laptops from the likes of Dell, HP, and Apple.

Oftentimes, the advancements in current models are cosmetic, such as a higher screen resolution or more battery life. Are they nice to have? Sure. But again, depending on your needs, there’s little reason to pay that new sticker tax. 

You May Start Using Your PCs Longer

You may think that buying a PC when it’s new gives you the maximum life out of a product. And yes, this is technically true. But getting accustomed to using older hardware can condition you to get more years out of your hardware.

How so? You’ll change your behaviour. Over time, you’ll learn what software is most efficient.

You know when to close programs you’re no longer using. And you’ll perhaps transfer more of your data onto an external drive with more space, putting less strain on the one in your PC.

If you’ve taken an older, slower PC back to life once, you know how to speed your computer up again as it starts slowing down. But there are no guarantees. You simply don’t know which components may be on their last leg, and there is no warranty to fall back on. But this point isn’t about the longevity of your hardware. It’s about your change in mindset and expertise.   

You Help To Reduce Environmental Waste

Consumer electronics are a massive source of environmental waste. The plastics used are made of fossil fuels, and many of the components require rare earth materials. These devices take hundreds of years to decompose, and they leach all kinds of toxic substances in the process.

Buying pre-owned machines reduces the number of new machines that get made. Not only that, you extend the amount of time it takes for a computer to end up in a landfill. So if you’re conscious of your environmental footprint, you may want to start shopping used. Just keep an eye on how much power an older hard drive consumes.

Differences between Used And Refurbished

Differences between Used And Refurbished

The main difference between “refurbished” and “used” products is that refurbished products have been tested and verified to function properly, and are thus free of defects, while “used” products may or may not be defective. … Items returned for reasons other than defect, and tested by the manufacturer. Buying refurbished tech is an excellent way to get a great bargain on the technology you need to use for work or play – but what exactly does it mean to say that something is refurbished?

Does it mean the same thing as “used”? Actually,  no. There are a number of significant differences between a refurbished item and a used one. A refurbished item is a product that the manufacturer (or sometimes a third party) has restored to new or like-new condition.

Difference 1: Warranty

Refurbished items generally come with a warranty, just like a new product from the same manufacturer. Occasionally you will see a used item offered with a warranty, but not often.

Difference 2: Physical condition

A refurbished item is supposed to look just like a new item, and they generally do. The process of refurbishing a tech product usually involves the replacement of things, such as the chassis, faceplates, buttons/knobs, and so on. A used item has had nothing changed on it. It is the same as when it was new, with whatever wear or damage has accumulated over its lifetime.

Difference 3: Vendor

It is rare that an OEM will sell used products. The closest they usually come is to sell items that are “off-lease,” meaning a corporate customer leased a ton of the whatever-it-is from the OEM, sent them back when the lease expired, and now the OEM is reselling the items. This is not done very often because if the items are too old (and therefore cannot be supported directly,) the OEM won’t bother reselling them and instead find other means of liquidating that inventory. OEMs do, however, sell refurbished items.

If you are buying a used item, it is almost certainly coming from a third-party vendor or a private party. Some unscrupulous vendors will sell used items as refurbished when in fact they’re not.The general rule of thumb is that if you purchase a refurbished item direct from an OEM or a large, reputable third-party vendor (like New Egg or TigerDirect,) it is truly refurbished. With smaller vendors you risk receiving used goods. This is especially true if a vendor is selling something labeled as refurbished but there is no warranty, or if the item is being sold “as-is.”

Difference 4: Age of item

As noted in #3 above, an item that is too old to be supported will not generally be refurbished at all. The OEM will instead find a way to liquidate the inventory. If a particular item is still available from the OEM as new, you may find legitimate refurbished versions of it, warranty and all. If on the other hand the item is discontinued but is no longer available as new, what you will usually find are used versions of that item with no warranty.

The easiest way to check if something is discontinued or not is to go to the OEM’s web site. If you see the item still sold as new, it’s obviously not discontinued. If it’s vanished, then it’s probably discontinued. Some OEMs are consumer-friendly enough to tell you this up front and give you a complete list of what’s discontinued. Others don’t do this, so you’ll have to go look item-by-item and see for yourself.

Special note on this: There is a period of time right after an item is discontinued where it “rides the fence” for a few months or even a few years and may still be supported by the OEM, but after that it goes into used-only territory. This all depends on how the OEM handles discontinued product support for newly discontinued items, as well as on the industry. Software is often supported for longer than other products.

Difference 5: Support

This directly relates to #3 and #4 above. Current-model items from the OEM are supported and therefore are available as refurbs. These refurb items have support, so if you run into an issue with the product, you can call the OEM for help.

Used items have third-party-only support or no support at all. Once you buy it, you’re on your own.



These days, practically every household needs a computer. Even if your job doesn’t require you to peddle presentations after hours, everything from shopping to budgeting to keeping in touch with friends is a vastly more convenient with a keyboard and mouse. And who can resist the occasional foray into the spectacular world of YouTube “fail” videos?

PCs can be expensive, though. That’s why hundreds of millions of people rely on 5-year-old-plus computers. For many folks, PCs are appliances rather than toys—pricey tools that are replaced only when they break, and reluctantly even then.

But PCs don’t have to be expensive.  refurbished computers not only cost less and perform excellently, they also last a long time.

Should you buy a new, used or refurbished laptop?

Should you buy a new, used or refurbished laptop?

Looking to buy a new laptop? There are so many options available, and you must choose whether to go new or used or refurbished, but we can help. Should you wish to squeeze as much value out of your next laptop purchase, a refurbished or new option may appear rather enticing. While there can be some degree of risk involved with purchasing a used product, even from reputable retailers, we’ll provide some helpful tips to ensure you’re purchasing a laptop you’ll be happy with.

  • New — Buying new is costly, but you’ll be the first to use the laptop with full warranty.
  • Refurbished — These PCs are discounted by manufacturers and retailers with good QA. They are usually covered by at least a limited warranty.
  • Used — These are cheapest, but without QA or guarantees, relying solely on the word of the seller.

Here are some things you should bear in mind when analyzing your options. Buying a refurbished (or used) laptop can allow for some serious savings. While you’re likely not going to be able to find each and every laptop model available for purchase, this option is worth considering for those seeking a system for work, studying or general use. Companies like Dell make it easy to see just what is available second-hand on their websites.

Buying a laptop is much like purchasing a car as it depends on personal preference. You may not have any desire to own a brand new laptop, and if you’re also looking to save some money, refurbished and used options are certainly the way to go. That said, there’s really nothing better than receiving original, sealed packaging, knowing you’re the first person to use the laptop. That’s just like a new automobile when you sit in the vehicle for the first time at the dealership.

Tips for Buying Refurbished Computers

Tips for Buying Refurbished Computers

How buying refurbished computers can save you money

If buying a brand new computer is not in the budget, then buying a refurbished PC may be the answer. Not only is it budget-friendly to buy a “refurb,” but it is also environmentally friendly. When talking about price, refurbished computers generally cost anywhere from 30 to 50 percent less than the retail price of a new computer. However, the significant price difference should not be your only consideration.

What Does Refurbished Mean?

A refurbished computer generally means the system was:

  • Returned by a customer and cannot be resold as new
  • Failed to meet the original manufacturer’s quality test and was rebuilt
  • Came from a canceled order

What to Consider Before Buying a Refurbished Computer

If you use the computer mostly for surfing the net, updating your Twitter page, reading your email, and working with the word processor, then you can likely settle for an older PC without a lot of bells and whistles. However, more memory and an increased processing speed would be necessary for playing video games and downloading music and images.

Figuring out what you will need before you go computer shopping will help ensure your satisfaction once you make your purchase.

Unless you have a lot of experience with the inner workings of a computer, it is best to stick to retailers and manufacturers who are qualified refurbishers. Generally, it is best to buy refurbs from a retailer that is also authorized to sell new products. 

Buying from online auctions, off of Craigslist, or from a listing in your local paper could become problematic later on and add to the expense of costly repair bills.

A refurbished computer may be rebuilt by a manufacturer or by a third party. When refurbished by a third party you may find that the machine was fixed with whatever available parts were on hand and do not necessarily match the original specifications. It is helpful to compare the specifications of the refurbished product with the new product to see how it matches up. Ideally, it should be the same.

Not All Deals are Good Deals

Not all refurbished computers are good bargains so doing some research will pay off. Most computer PCs are older models. To entice shoppers retailers will display the refurb price and original or suggested retail price. Since the computer might be older, it likely received several price reductions that are close to the refurb price. 

To ensure that the refurb price is a good deal, do a search for the computer using the model number. If the computer is still selling as a new system in stores, this will give you a good comparison for determining if the refurb price is a good deal. If new systems are not selling in the stores, search for new products with the same systems. Many times shoppers will find new systems at the same price with longer warranties.


While the overall price of a refurbished computer is important for saving money, the warranty is what really counts in the long run. Many refurbished PCs are sold with limited warranties which is why it is important that shoppers take the time to read and understand all of the small print.

Ideally, the warranty should be provided by the manufacturer and not a third party. Third-party warranties can be problematic and should be avoided. 

The length of time that refurbished computers are warranted should be the same as the new models, however many times this is not the case. Reputable companies selling refurbished computers may offer a three-month manufacturers’ warranty. While this helps cover any immediate issues, it offers no support 90 days after the purchase date.

It is important to know how quickly the company fixes refurbished computers returned under warranty for repair. You can try asking the salesman, but an online search for the seller’s name may turn up quality reviews by current customers.

You may or may not be interested in purchasing an extended service plan for your new refurbished computer, but a company which offers you the option shows how much they support their refurbished products.

Know What You Are Getting

Most refurbished PCs do not come with a monitor, an operating system (software like Windows 10), CD or DVD player, wireless network cards, sound cards and believe it or not, power cords. Get the specifics of what you are buying and figure out how much it will cost to add the necessary peripherals, hardware, and software to get your new PC running like you want.

Before You Buy: Checklist

  • Determine what your computer needs are now and in the future.
  • Make your purchase Through a reliable retailer.
  • Match up parts when possible
  • Compare the warranty and return policy
  • What about an extended warranty?
  • Any extras?

Refurbished Electronic devices

Refurbished Electronic devices

Buying refurbished electronic devices like computers can feel a little risky if you’ve never done it before. But surprisingly, buying refurbished can be a smart and low-risk way to save a lot of money on a computer purchase. So, should you buy a refurbished computer, and is it okay to do so?

It saves you money. Opting for a refurb instead of a new PC can save you anywhere from 20% to 80% off of what it would cost you to buy a new computer.

Guarantee The quality and reliability of refurbished PCs are guaranteed by the manufacturer. Most computers aren’t returned because they are defective. They are actually returned due to either buyer remorse or the inability of the user to learn how to use it correctly.

Re repaired The systems that are indeed returned due to a real problem are repaired, cleaned and thoroughly tested before being put up for re-sale. In fact, statistics show that your chance of receiving a defective refurbished unit is actually less than receiving a defective new one because of the extra stress tests the refurbs are subjected to.

Warranty Refurbished computers often come with the same warranty protection as you’d get with a brand new one. This means if a problem does occur you’ll be “covered”, at least under the warranty period. Check the details on the sales page for the warranty info.

Typical Refurbishment Involves Quality Assurance Testing, Cleaning, and Repair if Required

So what exactly does it mean when a computer is ‘refurbished’? As far as we know, there’s no real standard, but usually a refurbishment would involve a factory reset, cleaning, and testing of the machine at a minimum.

If the unit was faulty or damaged, a typical refurbishment process would include repairs or replacement of the faulty components before the unit is re-tested ensure the entire computer functions correctly again. Of course, such computers cannot legally be sold as ‘new’ items, and so they are returned to the market as a ‘refurbished’ computer and sold at a discounted price.

In some cases, a ‘refurbished’ computer may not have even been opened; it may have simply been returned or the order canceled by the customer. In these cases the item is essentially new, but again, legally it may not be able to be sold as a ‘new’ item so it makes its way to the ‘refurbished’ shelf for resale. Keep an eye out for these deals, which are often referred to as ‘open box’.

The refurbishment process can vary depending on who is doing the refurbishment, so you’ll need to do a little research into who is selling the refurbished goods to make sure you know what you’re getting.

You’ll want to ensure that any refurbished item has undergone the appropriate level of testing, quality assurance, cleaning and/or repair if relevant. Purchasing from larger, reputable manufacturers rather than third-party sellers is the best way to minimize your risk when purchasing a refurbished PC.