Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Buy a Refurbished Computer

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2 Refurbished Computers

If we’re honest, most of us would rather have a brand new computer than something that’s been pre-owned, but there’s a big up-side to buying a refurbished computer and that’s the price.
Here’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to buy a refurbished computer.

What You Need to Know

Maybe you’ve had the experience of buying something expensive and, after taking it out of the box you discover that something isn’t right. It could be that the product is scratched or dented or lacks a certain feature you really wanted. Or maybe is just doesn’t work properly. In any case, it’s natural to return it.

If what you return is a technology product such as a desktop or laptop computer, chances are good that, unless it’s beyond repair, it will eventually end up back on the shelves at a much better price.

Most manufacturers go out of their way to ensure that such products work like new, even if they’re not new. You still need to be careful, but you can probably find a great computer in “like-new” condition that will save you a lot of money.

Reconditioning a Computer

A PC is a lot easier to get back to a state of “almost new” than say, a car is. Manufacturers put returned computers through tests to make sure that whatever the returnee didn’t like is the only thing wrong with them. Hard drives are wiped clean and the operating system is re-installed.

A desktop computer will probably get a new mouse and keyboard and the system is tested again. Then it goes into a new box and is offered for sale again. It can’t legally be called brand-new, so it’s typically sold for a lower price, even though, in effect, it is new. Some refurbished computers are actually still new because they were never even removed from the box. (For example: An order may have been cancelled.) These “open box” deals may be the best value you’ll ever find.

The Downsides of Refurbished

Reasons not to buy a refurbished computer can be both psychological and practical. If a person must have the latest and greatest, they’re not going to want a used computer and that’s okay. However, when you consider that a brand-new computer will be outdated within a few months, a refurbished computer starts to look like a smarter choice.

Or maybe you don’t like the idea that other people have touched your stuff, even before it was yours or you have suspicions about what might have been wrong with the computer in the first place.


The biggest downside is that you can’t customize your computer if it’s a refurb. Not being able to specify exactly what you want may be a deal breaker for you. However, you could buy a refurbished computer and put the savings into upgrades such as a bigger hard drive or more memory.

Before You Buy

If you’re buying a refurbished desktop PC, check to make sure that it comes with a keyboard, a mouse and a monitor. If you already have the external components, make sure that you’ll be able to connect them to the refurb. Also, a refurbished PC may not have the software you want or even come on separate discs, so be sure to ask about that.

Buy From the Manufacturer

If you buy from the manufacturer, you can usually trust that what you’re getting is a good computer because it will once again come with a guarantee so, if anything goes wrong within the first little while, you’re covered. If the refurbished computer doesn’t come with a warranty, don’t buy it.

Also, if a computer comes from a third-party refurbisher, the components used to replace defective parts may not be the same as the originals. Either way, make sure you triple-check the return policy so you don’t get saddled with someone else’s problems.

Where to Buy

Major online PC retailers almost always have a part of their online store dedicated to selling reconditioned systems at a discount. Some of these are as follows:

  • The Dell Outlet has a website full of refurbished computers that rivals the size of its site for brand new ones. They come with a “same-as-new warranty and support” that includes a 21-day return policy.
  • Apple Store – On the Apple Store home page look for the “Special Deals” area to find refurbished Macs and clearance items but their stock is limited. A one-year warranty is included and you can purchase an AppleCare protection plan, as well. The return policy is 14 days.
  • HP Outlet – HP also has a limited supply of refurbished computers. The return policy is a standard 21 days.
  • Lenovo Outlet Store – This laptop maker offers four kinds of refurbished computers: new items that were cancelled orders, redistributed items that were returned unopened or unused, refurbished items that may or may not have been used and scratch and dent items. All have a limited warranty of one year and can be returned within 21 days.

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