How to buy a second-hand or refurbished laptop

How to buy a second-hand or refurbished laptop

If you are tight on budget and want the most out of every penny for buying a new laptop, go for a refurbished one. While you won't usually find the latest and greatest products being sold as refurbished, you can often save money and get slightly more functionality by purchasing a product that isn't brand new.

You can save hundreds of dollars by buying a refurbished laptop but bear in mind that the latest model will not be available as the refurbs. So, most probably you will get an old model.

Difference between second-hand and refurbished laptop

Manufacturers or third-party authorised refurbishes typically sanitise, sort, and grade the units based on physical appearance and functionality. They disassemble each one, inspecting the components for damage, battery function, screen quality, power supply, loose connections, hard drive, and optical drive. If a seller does not follow this process, the product is not refurbished; it is used. 

Graphic cards, RAM, capacitors, ICs, and hard discs that are missing or defective are replaced, and the machine is completely erased from its data. Before being packaged for its new home, the laptop is tested, cosmetic flaws are repaired, and a new operating system is installed.

After a refurbisher inspects, cleans, repairs, and returns a used or returned laptop to factory settings, the unit is certified to be in good working order and returned to the retailer or manufacturer for a reduced price.

Tips for buying a refurbished laptop:

There is some risk involved in buying a refurbished laptop. So, to save you from trouble, here are some tips.

One year warranty:

Your refurbished laptop purchase should be accompanied by a guarantee from the seller. You didn't buy it out of the trunk of a car downtown. Check for a solid warranty on the equipment. A year is considered standard these days, but it is not universal.

Some refurbished laptop warranties may be shorter than new product warranties and do not typically cover battery life, but each manufacturer is different, so read the fine print before adding the item to your shopping cart. 

Also, look for a generous return policy so you can test the machine and ensure the unit is right for you. Because rechargeable batteries are considered consumables and have a natural lifespan, you should ensure that your refurbished laptop can hold a charge.

Examine the laptop:

On the refurbished product page, buyers should always look for a condition statement. Cosmetic flaws are usually disclosed in the product description, but not always. 

Nonetheless, aesthetic standards differ. The case may have dings and imperfections that do not affect the unit's computing power, and buyers of refurbished laptops should expect a product that does not look brand new. Buyers should still look for telltale signs that the new unit isn't up to par, such as dead pixels on the screen, noisy hard drives, loose or squeaky hinges, or obvious signs of wear.

Pay securely:

If you're doing it in person, avoid bringing large sums of cash. PayPal is an excellent choice because the money is held by a middleman service before being transferred to the seller. Having a digital record of the payment makes it much easier to locate the seller if something goes wrong.

Where to buy refurbished laptops?

The manufacturer's website is the best place to buy a refurbished laptop. Apple and Dell, for example, have excellent refurbished stores that sell discounted laptops. 

However, third-party retailers are likely to offer better deals. There is no problem with purchasing from such retailers, but make sure you read their "refurbished laptop" guidelines to see what guarantees and benefits they provide. Popular sites are as follows:

Laptop Outlet:

Laptops Outlet is a traditional online retailer, not a section of an online marketplace. The models on offer here are typically newer, so you know you're getting something with reasonable specifications. This is reflected in the price; some models are priced not far off the new equivalent, so check before buying to see if the savings are worthwhile. One year is the standard warranty period. Refurbished laptops are on sale on the online store of Laptop Outlet.

Amazon Renewed:

Amazon describes how the products are inspected in detail, but keep in mind that these are almost always third-party sellers. Looking at the Renewed laptops page on Amazon reveals a large number of laptops that are nearly a decade old, so while they may be in good condition, they may feel slower and have lower-resolution screens than equivalent laptops made in the last couple of years. The advantage is that all laptops sold by Renewed come with a one-year warranty, so any issues that arise will be addressed.

Bottom line:

That concludes our guide to purchasing a refurbished or used laptop. You now understand the benefits of purchasing refurbished or used laptops. You never know when you'll come across a great find or a great deal. 

Always double-check that the vendors you buy from are legitimate and certified. Check their return and warranty policies at all times. Also, always think about what you need and your budget first.

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