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Should I Buy a Refurbished Computer?

Depending on your needs, refurbished computers can be an excellent way to make savings on your next PC purchase. In most cases you can get a computer that essentially is new, or functions as new, for a significant discount.

For all intents and purposes, refurbished machines are usually certified to function as well as a new machine. However, one caveat is that it does depend on who is doing the refurbishment, as the quality of the machine hinges on the fine details of the seller’s refurbishment procedure and quality assurance policies.

If you can verify that the refurbished computer is of an equal performance standard to its ‘new’ counterpart, and that you are at no disadvantage in buying refurbished over new, then we think it’s a great idea to purchase refurbished goods – if the price is discounted enough to cover any perceived risk. In most cases though, the risk is low as the buyer is protected by the seller’s warranty and returns periods.

Ensure The Seller Is Reputable

The main concern you should have when buying a refurbished computer or laptop is to find out what the refurbishment entails and read the fine print on the particular seller’s refurbishment process.

We would recommend when buying refurbished goods to only opt for goods that are refurbished by the manufacturer. If you must, a large reputable company or party that you trust may also be acceptable.

Why? Because manufacturer-refurbishments will likely use the same brand/product and quality assurance test procedures when replacing faulty hardware, but third-party companies may not; meaning you could end up with different or inferior hardware in the case of a refurbishment due to a defect. The less trust-worthy the seller, the more you increase your risk when buying refurbished items.

Larger, reputable companies such as HP, Apple, Dell, Lenovo are trustworthy and you can usually rest assured that any refurbished goods will be repaired and tested to the same standards that their ‘new’ offerings are.

Third parties such as Radical Refurbs also are fairly reputable and tend to have good warranty and repair policies to lessen your risk.

In any case, if you are considering purchasing a refurbished system, you should ensure that the seller offers a warranty of some description and also be familiar with their returns policy,  just in case anything does happen to go wrong or you aren’t fully satisfied with your purchase

Buying Tips

  • Always buy from a manufacturer or otherwise large/reputable company.
  • Make sure it makes sense to buy refurbished over new; always check the specifications on your refurbished purchase and make sure they match the comparable new product before comparing pricing.
  • Only buy refurbished over new if the price difference is significant enough to justify the extra perceived risk. We’d suggest setting a target of at least 15% in price reduction to cover your extra hassle/research/potential risk.
  • Make sure the warranty period offered is not less than if you were to buy the item new. Some manufacturer’s may also offer an extended warranty for an additional price.
  • If you find a good deal, don’t wait around before you try and purchase – refurbished computers often get snapped up very quickly because they offer such great value.
  • Some parts like laptop batteries or hard disk drives are a little more susceptible to wear with use and time. Make sure you have at least some idea of what the possible history of these components could have been before you purchase, and weigh up if the cost savings are worth the downside of having slightly used parts.

Know What You’re Buying

Not all deals are good deals, so make sure you know what you’re buying. Check the fine print and research the specifications of the computer that you’re looking at before agreeing to anything. Some refurbished computers can use older hardware, which means that the ‘new’ equivalent may have already reduced in price – with the end result being that the low price that you’re seeing on your refurbished computer is not that great a deal after all.

To avoid getting suckered, always check the pricing on the equivalent ‘new’ computer for comparison’s sake.