So, you’ve chosen to purchase a laptop. While browsing, you come across the laptop you are keen to get, but it is refurbished. Should you buy it? What are the risks, the benefits, and your other options? Can it be as good as a new laptop?
In this article, we’ll take a close look to see whether a refurbished laptop could be a good choice for you, or whether it would be better for you to take a look at a brand new laptop instead. The points we’ll compare are how big the selection of refurbished laptops and new ones is, the specs, the warranties, and of course, the prices. So, let’s dive right in!
Refurbished vs New Laptops – Which Should You Choose?
What is Refurbished Tech?
When something says it is refurbished, it generally means that it was purchased from the original manufacturer (Dell, HP, Apple, etc.), and then it was returned. Next, the manufacturer checks and runs all the tests on the item to make sure everything works, and if not, fixes the faults. Once it is in full working order, it goes up for sale as refurbished.
It is impossible to know why the item was returned to the seller. It could have been returned out of regret for purchasing it, for cosmetic faults, minor faults like a sticking key, or major faults, like a broken screen. Either way, when a manufacturer marks a laptop as refurbished, you can be sure they have fixed all (known) faults.
The advantage of refurbished tech above ‘used’ tech is that it comes from the supplier themselves. Used laptops are often sold on second-hand sites like gumtree by the buyers themselves. These are not certified to be in working order, and any number of issues could be lurking beneath the surface.
Selection Of Models
By picking a refurbished laptop, the selection of models you can buy opens up from hundreds to tens of thousands of models. You can buy any model that is not on sale in the shops anymore, and pretty much any specs. Some suppliers of refurbished tech will not only fix faults but upgrade hardware as well. This way you can even bag a totally unique machine for less than a custom spec by the original manufacturer.
If there are any features that were discontinued, you can find a refurbished laptop that has it. Whether its a Mac or Windows laptop that doesn’t make them anymore, it is available as a refurbished buy.
The selection with new laptops is limited to the ones you can get in stores or online. You will only be able to buy the current specs and the current operating systems. Older models come off the shelves for good as early as a year after their release, and you’ll only be able to buy them as used or refurbished after.
Refurbished laptop specs are a mixed bag. The ones that are only cosmetically refurbished, or even just tested and seen to be faultless will have the specs that were originally on the box. Manufacturers themselves will not put upgrades into their refurbished laptops either, so no matter what model you buy from the original seller as a refurb, you will be getting the specs that are on the box.
On the other hand, if you buy from a refurbished laptop retailer, there is a chance that the hardware has been upgraded, and the description will indicate this to be the case. If you choose a laptop from a retailer, you may be able to bag some higher specs for less.
With a brand new laptop, you will always get exactly the specs on the box. There do exist a few companies that will let you choose which specs you want on a specific line of their machines. You can do this with Microsoft and Google for work laptops, and with Alienware and MSI for gaming laptops. The advantage of a brand new laptop is that you can get absolute top-tier tech, fresh off the production line. You don’t need to wait for it to hit the refurb shelves.
Getting a refurbished laptop means you will have only between 30-90 days to return faulty goods, depending on the supplier. It is worth it to do some research on returns policies on refurbished tech because some places won’t give any warranty on them at all. Some credit card companies will not allow you to request a refund on them either. Make sure that you are buying from a reputable supplier. Look at reviews. Read comments.
A new laptop will usually have a year of warranty on it buy default. Often, you will be able to purchase additional warranty years when you check out at the till or online. This way, the maximum that you can get will be around 3 years. This is a huge difference between refurbished and new, and this is where a brand new laptop really is better.
Price is the number one reason that people get refurbished instead of new. The advantages really shine through here. You could get a laptop fresh from the supplier’s manufacture for full price. You could also buy a dubious one ‘used’ from a second-hand website from a seller who also has used cat tower listings.
Alternatively, you could get a certified refurbished laptop from the original makers, for up to 50% less than it was new. There is next to no risk involved, but you could save hundreds of bucks on it. Good specs are cheaper to get with refurbished tech, and there are price categories for any budget.
What’s my preferred laptop if looking for a refurbished model? Well, I’d undoubtedly opt for a Lenovo Thinkpad or a Dell XPS. The two best brands for buying a refurbished laptop are Lenovo and Dell.
The price is set, and it is much higher than for a refurbished laptop. When you buy a brand new laptop, you are paying for peace of mind and warranty. It will always cost you more to buy new.
Refurbished laptops are best for those with a budget who don’t want to compromise on specs. Buying from an esteemed retailer or certified from the company who makes the laptop will ensure that you are making a good purchase. These companies have a lot riding on their reputation, so they can be trusted to provide a good product.
New laptops are perfect if you are nervous about spending a lot of money on refurbished goods. If you need the newest specs, as soon as they are released, then you should also buy new. It might take a few weeks for the certified refurbished laptops to hit the shelves after their initial release. If the price is not an issue and you are not on a tight budget, it is better to buy new even if only for the warranty.