Buying a refurbished device instead of a brand new one can save you a ton of money. However, these products are usually not put in the spotlight by retailers like Best Buy, Amazon or B&H Photo. You won't find them on the home page of Apple, Google, Nintendo, Sonos, or Olympus, to name a few. However, this does not mean that you cannot find refurbs on these websites.
First, a brief description of what "renovated" means. If it was refurbished, it likely means the product was either broken or gross enough to warrant a repair. It could also mean that everyone who bought it simply decided they didn't want it and brought it back to the store. The definition of what constitutes a refurbished product varies depending on the seller. However, it can be worrying that there are US laws preventing technologies once used from being sold as new.
For more information on what makes a refurbished product and what strategy to use when buying refurbished equipment and other items, please see our guide:
If you've made the decision to save a little cash by purchasing a refurbished unit, here are a few options.
Best Buy & # 39; s Outletit is said to be the retailer's dedicated website for obsolete technology. Here is Best Buy's claim for its renovation work:
Reconditioned products have been repaired and restored to new condition. All parts and accessories that would have been included in the original product are present, and our thorough inspection process ensures that the product is clean and in perfect condition.
Products purchased through the outlet are subject to Best Buy's standard return policy. Regarding warranty coverage, it says that remanufactured products sold through the outlet "often come with a limited warranty from Best Buy". Since not all refurbished products generally come with a guarantee, it is worth investigating a product before buying it.
You can also search for the product you are actually looking for on the Best Buy website and then scroll down the page until you see the Purchase Options tab. Click it to see some other, cheaper options for buying similar devices. Sometimes you will see refurbs, but most of the time they are just open box returns.
You can find reconditioned or used options on Best Buy by clicking the "Purchase Options" button.
Amazon warehouse is the area on the retailer's website dedicated to used, reconditioned products – or "refurbished" as Amazon calls it. If you're regularly looking for tech on Amazon, this can save you some cash. Here's the fine print from Amazon on its refreshed devices:
(Amazon Renewed Products) have been professionally vetted and tested by Amazon qualified and performance-driven suppliers to work and look like new. The inspection and testing process typically includes a full diagnostic test, defective parts replacement, and a thorough cleaning process performed by the supplier or Amazon. The products have no visible cosmetic imperfections when held 12 inches away. The products may be packaged in generic packaging and contain the accessories expected for a new product, with any exceptions indicated on the product detail page.
Here you can discover renewed products for many technical products. You can also find warehouse listings by searching for the "used" options on the product page of the device you are interested in. If Amazon has a refurbished or used option, it will be listed at the top. The Condition section, next to the price, lists all the disclaimers you should be aware of regarding the condition of the product.
Amazon Warehouse's reconditioned or used options are usually at the top of the "used" listings.
Amazon also owns a company called Woot this often houses attractive offers for refurbished technology. This website usually describes the warranty information for each device and the condition in which it is found in advance. Woot offers a 90 day limited warranty on most products. However, you can purchase a SquareTrade Protection Plan at checkout.
Ebay A new certified, refurbished program was recently introduced that provides a two-year warranty from Allstate on every product listed. The online seller promises hassle-free returns if you are unsatisfied with your purchase or a money-back guarantee if your item arrives in a condition that does not match the description in the listing. You can find Bose, Acer, iRobot, Lenovo, Razer, and other products on the revamped page. EBay guarantees you will get new accessories, new manuals and manufacturer-sealed packaging with every purchase.
Apple has one of the best rehabilitation programs. All products sold as refurbished are shipped in "like new" condition with a savings of at least 15 percent compared to the cost of a brand new device. The products are delivered in a white box with all original accessories. In addition to a one-year warranty, you can purchase AppleCare for your refurbished purchase. Just to give you an idea of the care Apple has put into its renovations: it replaces the battery and outer shell of all iOS devices.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Google sells a couple of refurbished devices (as of this writing it was only selling the Pixelbook and a three-pack of Google Wifi mesh routers) through its Google Store. These products are said to be in like new condition and have been cleaned and repaired. You get a one year warranty directly from Google.
Some Sonos products are cheaper if you buy them obsolete through the company.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge
Sonos sells refurbished audio products on its website, each with a one-year company warranty and 45-day money-back guarantee. According to Sonos, every product has been cleaned and inspected internally and externally and shipped in a brand new box with all original accessories and cables.
Nintendo's Switch rarely sees a discount, although you can save money by buying one that has been refurbished through their website.
Photo by James Bareham / The Verge
Nintendo usually sells refurbished Nintendo Switch consoles through a page that is a bit hidden. As of this writing, it was sold out due to the demand sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. In normal situations, you can save money on a refurbished device. Here's what Nintendo has to say about its renovation process:
The Nintendo Switch is now only available as an authentic Nintendo Refurbished set from Nintendo and comes with our standard one-year warranty. Although it may have minor cosmetic blemishes, it is guaranteed to be fully functional. We believe you will find that the standards for authentic Nintendo Refurbished Products are VERY high.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
Microsoft Now part of its business has dedicated products that it has renovated. There you can find the latest Surface Pro and Surface Go tablets, as well as other Surface products like laptops, all-in-one desktops, and more. According to Microsoft, customers who purchase refurbished products receive the same technical support as those who purchase new products. It is important that all refurbished products have a one-year warranty with the option to extend them for a fee.
BackMarket is one of many online stores that sell obsolete technology at heavily discounted prices. Each product page clearly shows the condition of the device, the guarantee it comes with and which renovation company helped restore it. It is one of the more transparent resellers and offers a one year guarantee on all of its products with a 30 day money back guarantee on purchases if you are not satisfied.
Not sure if your favorite brand is selling refurbished? Just search!
Chances are, in your favor, your favorite brand is selling refurbished technology. I was recently in the market for a desktop graphics card upgrade and found that both EVGA and Zotac had a steady flow of obsolete (sometimes called B-stock) graphics cards. The odds were in my favor too when I was looking for reconditioned lenses for my Olympus camera. Nikon also offers its own refurbished products. Just search!
It is possible that some brands do not have their own shop for refurbished goods. In this case, sites like Decluttr, Daily Steals and others offer refurbs – and usually with a good guarantee. If you're just looking for used products that in most cases have not yet been restored, check out Swappa.
Update October 23, 4:05 p.m. ET: This article was originally part of an article titled "How to Buy Refurbished Products" that was published on May 15, 2020. Some of the entries have been updated.