Are refurbished laptops good
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What You Should Know Before Buying Refurbished Laptops

You might have been told by a friend or read somewhere online that buying refurbished laptops is a great way to save money.

While that may be true in some cases, there are other things you should know before you buy!

In today’s blog post we’re going to do just that, cover what you should know before buying refurbished laptops.

Let’s get started.

What is a Refurbished Laptop?

A common mistake is that people assume refurbished means the same as a used laptop.

This is incorrect...sort of.

A refurbished laptop means that the laptop was returned, however, sellers like Amazon or Best Buy, for example, will inspect, clean, repair any damage, and in most cases, give you an extended warranty for good measure.

Why Should You Buy a Refurbished Laptop?

what you should know before buying refurbished laptops

There are many reasons why someone would prefer to buy a refurbished over a new laptop:

  • They are much cheaper than buying a new laptop. You can save hundreds of dollars. Probably the number one reason why people choose to buy refurbished if we had to guess.
  • Sometimes a certain laptop brand or model goes out of stock, leaving your only option to buy refurbished. It’s still better than having to buy a used laptop
  • Lastly, most refurbished electronics come with a free extended warranty as we mentioned earlier. This will differ from seller to seller, so check their website or ask them in person to learn about their warranty policy for refurbished laptops. Most warranties last 30 days.

The Downside of Buying a Refurbished Laptop?

Just like anything in life, there are potential downsides if you choose to go this route. While saving money might sound appealing to any buyer ever, sometimes a refurbished laptop might end up costing you more.

For example, we don’t know why the laptop was returned in the first place. It could have been a simple error, or maybe the buyer changed their mind after receiving the laptop.

In that case, you’re lucky and it is almost as if you just bought a brand new laptop at a refurbished price!

On the other hand, perhaps the laptop was faulty, or it was damaged in transit. Sometimes when you buy a refurbished product it ends up not working at all or stops working after a short while. Causing you to either return it for repairs or worse, if your warranty expired, then you may end up paying extra for repairs.

In other words, buying refurbished can be a bit of a gamble sometimes, as we don’t know the condition of the laptop when it was returned.

Fortunately, there are things we can do to ensure the refurbished product is going to be reliable before buying. Whether you plan to buy in person or online, the upcoming tips are sure to help.

What to Look for When Purchasing a Refurbished Laptop?

We split this section into two parts. Tips for in-person and for online. For those shopping in person, you have the advantage of being able to physically see and inspect the laptop yourself before you buy!

Tips for Buying in Person:

  • Depending on who the seller is, ask them to show you the laptop first and foremost. Inspect every inch of the laptop from the surface to the backside, press the keys on the keyboard, and click with the touchpad.
  • Now ask them if they can boot the computer up. Pay attention to how fast it boots up. Did it take a few seconds, almost instantly, or was it slow? Does the laptop make a lot of noise from just booting up? Listen to the fans and if it sounds like they are already at a high speed these are the signs that you should not buy the laptop!
  • Test the USB ports and other slots as well if you can, and make sure they are working.
  • Now that the laptop is on, once again try typing with the keyboard and clicking with the touchpad to make sure everything is working.
  • If everything looks and feels good, ask if they can install the latest software and what other extra benefits you get. It never hurts to ask!

Now, if you are buying online you are at a slight disadvantage of not being able to physically inspect the laptop. This is why you should be extra careful before you buy. For this example, we’ll use Amazon since they are a popular online retailer. These tips will also work on websites like eBay, Newegg, and other electronic online stores.

Tips for Buying Online

  • You can easily tell if the product is refurbished by looking at the product title. Towards the end, it will say “(Renewed)” without the quotes around it.
what you should know before buying refurbished laptops
You can tell these are refurbished products because they have “(Renewed)” at the end.
  • Amazon isn’t the only seller of refurbished products on its website. There are plenty of third-party sellers as well. Always check their profile to see if they can be trusted and to read other buyers’ experiences with them. Here’s how to do just that.
Under the “Buy Now” button on any Amazon product page, you can see who the seller is. Sometimes it will be Amazon.com other times it will be a third-party seller like this one.

On any store page, you can click or tap their name and it will bring you to their profile page. It will look something like the image below.

This is a seller’s profile page on Amazon

From here you can check their storefront to see other products they sell. But more importantly, you can see the recent feedback they have received. In our example above this seller seems to be pretty good as they have gotten plenty of 5-star reviews and manage to stay mostly positive and at above 90% in most cases.

There is even an “Ask a Question” button which allows you to directly message any seller if you have any questions about their products.

You can also review Amazon’s return policy if you are unsatisfied with your purchase.

  • Another way to check if the product is reliable or not is to use Amazon reviews. We know this can be kind of a mixed bag, but just try to look for reviews that provide pictures if possible. Also, try to find the reviews that mention the quality of the product and the condition it came in.

Remember you can read all the reviews for any product on Amazon by either clicking the “ratings” button or just simply scrolling down until you see the reviews.

Where is the Best Place to Purchase Refurbished Laptops?

Most big electronics retailers such as Best Buy or Fry’s sell refurbished laptops. You can check their respective websites or inquire in person.

For online options we already mentioned Amazon, but there are other places too like eBay for example.

If you are looking for some quick recommendations here are a few Amazon links.

  1. HP 2020 Flagship 14 Chromebook
  2. Dell Latitude E5570
  3. HP Stream Laptop
  4. Apple MacBook Air

Conclusion: What you Should Know Before Buying Refurbished Laptops

We hoped you were able to learn something new when it comes to purchasing a refurbished laptop.

While they can seem appealing because of how much cheaper they are than buying a brand new laptop, there are risks involved.

Fortunately, we minimize these risks by being cautious and inspecting the laptop in person or online before buying. In person, you can physically make sure it works before you buy. If you are buying online, check to make sure the seller is reputable and read the reviews before buying.

Just like you would test drive a used car before buying, try to do the same when it comes to buying refurbished laptops and you’ll be fine. Being extra cautious never hurt!

Thanks for reading, if you want to check out our other blog posts where we write about more laptops as well as other electronics like headphones, keyboards, and video games check out the links below. Drop a comment as well if you have any questions about refurbished laptops that you think we missed.

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