Should I Buy Refurbished Electronics? The Pros and Cons

10 June 2021

You may be browsing online and come across the term “refurbished” or “refurb” when looking at electronics – but you may be thinking, what exactly does this term mean? And should I buy refurbished electronics? Is it worth it? In this blog we explain what a refurbished product actually is, and the pros and cons of buying refurbished!

should i buy refurbished

What does refurbished mean?

A refurbished product is an item that another person has purchased, but then returned to the retailer or manufacturer for whatever reason. This could be due to a product fault, or simply because the person changed their minds! This means you could get a completely unused product for a reduced price! The term refurbished commonly applies to electronics, such as mobile phones and laptops. It is important to note that refurbished is not the same as used. Refurbished electronics are checked over, cleaned and may get some repairs and adjustments before being resold to another customer. They will also get repackaged if they have been opened. This means the refurbished product you buy should look and feel like brand new.

Should I Buy Refurbished? Pros and Cons

Pros of refurbished electronics


One big upside of buying refurbished electronics over brand new is that refurbs are sold for a reduced price, sometimes even 50% off! But most commonly you’ll find discounts of around 10-30%, depending on the type of product. Which is a pretty good deal, considering refurbished products are restored to practically brand new condition! You can browse around to make sure you are getting a good deal.

Fully Tested

Refurbished electronics are thoroughly looked over and tested. So, you can rest assured when purchasing a refurb that it will work perfectly with no faults. You can check out review websites to make sure you are purchasing from a retailer with good customer service, just in case something isn’t quite right.

Positive Environmental Impact

Another pro of buying a refurbished product is that it is good for the environment. Often products that you return to retailers can end up discarded in landfill, contributing to the huge issue of product waste and CO2 emissions. Electronic waste (also known as e-waste) is particularly damaging, as when products like computers and phones are dumped in landfill toxins such as lead and mercury slowly seep out. This issue is also growing, as researchers estimate that e-waste will reach 74.7 million metric tonnes by 2030. This pollutes the soil and groundwater and poses a danger to wildlife, as well as human health. By purchasing a refurbished product, you are extending its lifecycle and saving it from landfill. Shopping refurbished also lowers the demand for brand-new products and decreases electronic waste overall. So if you care about lowering your carbon footprint, shopping refurbished is definitely the way to go!

should i buy refurbished

Can find older models

Retailers sometimes discontinue products once they release new ones. This can be annoying, especially if there is an older model that you prefer. Because lets be honest, sometimes we don’t want extra features that we won’t use. So buying refurbished is one way you can find and buy older models of electronics that may not be sold brand new anymore!

Cons of refurbished electronics


One con of buying refurbished is that warranties tend to be shorter than that of brand new items. Some retailers don’t offer any warranty on refurbs, but some are more generous and offer one year warranty. You may want to opt for extended warranty for peace of mind.

Unknown history/lifespan

Another con of refurbished products is that you don’t know the history of the product and how the previous owner handled it. Of course it may be a practically unused product that was returned due to buyers remorse, or it may have been used more frequently. So the lifespan of the product can’t be as accurately predicted like with brand new items.

Risk of faults/damage

If you purchase a refurbished product from a reputable retailer, this should reduce the chances that you will receive a faulty or damaged item. Though of course there is always the risk that the item may have a fault that testing missed, or some small cosmetic issues. You should make sure that you check the returns policy in case you are unhappy with the product you receive. However, many retailers will provide a “grading” score to refurbished products – so make sure you look out for this. This should give you a better idea of what condition the products in and any flaws.

It is important to buy your refurbished products from a trusted retailer or manufacturer that will fully repair and test the product. Some individuals or third-party sellers may use the term “refurbished”, when in reality they may have just given it a quick clean and have not actually performed testing or repairs.

May not be the latest version

If a brand new device has just been released, it is unlikely you will find many being sold as refurbs. So if you are after the latest release, you may need to be patient and check regularly for any refurbs being sold. But you will still find some great, newer models being sold as refurbs.

The Verdict: Should I Buy Refurbished Electronics?

Overall, buying refurbished products has a lot of benefits. You get a fully-tested product that should be practically the same as the brand new version, for a cheaper price! You also lower your carbon footprint by saving the product from landfill and extending its life. Just make sure that you buy refurbished products from a reputable retailer, and read all of the product and warranty information.

We hope that this blog has helped you understand what a refurbished product is, and the pros and cons of buying refurbished electronics! We have a wide range of refurbished electronics that you can find on our website here.

Tags: , , , , ,