Does buying refurbished make sense?

The holidays are here, deals are heating up and it’s one of the craziest purchasing periods of the year. When it comes to electronics – whether it’s for you, or a gift – be sure to check out the refurbished option.

For some, the r-word is a little dirty, but for others, it’s a great way to save cash on a fully guaranteed item. So, to answer the (probably rhetorical) question I posed in the headline: Yes, buying refurbished DOES make sense; and I’m about to tell you why.

Is ‘refurbished’ actually ‘used’?

Nope, but maybe technically? Here’s a breakdown of how most retailers classify the following terms:

New – as in brand new, never been opened, factory sealed, fresh.

Redistributed – brand new, never been opened, shipped, returned (but still hasn’t been opened)

Refurbished – brand new item that has potentially been shipped, opened and returned – OR an item that has been built with new pieces from a returned item.

What about the warranty?

Most retailers (especially the ones listed below) will sell refurbished items with the same warranty they offer on brand new gear – except, expect to get a price reduction of about 10-25%. That’s HUGE – for Apple alone, that’s much more money saved than their Black Friday deals. Buy with confidence as manufacturers stand behind their refurbished gear just as stoutly as the brand new stuff.

Best places/sites for refurbished deals on computers and other electronics

  • Apple (scroll down low on the sales site, and look to the bottom left for the text link)
  • Dell (use the Google)
  • Best Buy/Future Shop (check the back of the stores for tables strewn with plastic wrap and busted boxes).

Are there any drawbacks?

Well, if you’re buying a refurbished unit from Apple, you don’t get those super-slick, glossy Apple boxes. You get a totally plain brown cardboard box. Obviously, that’s not a HUGE concern, but it can make the gift lose a little of its luster. Other than that, there’s nothing wrong with saving bucks and grabbing a warranty.

Pro tip: When a site/company has JUST released a new version of a popular product, you can often find the previous version in their refurbished section at a significantly reduced rate. It’s sort of like online outlet shopping.

image from kfisto

What are you looking for?

What are you looking for?