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Which Refurbished Laptop Should I Buy?

Contrary to popular belief Apple isn’t always one of the top-rated laptop brands. But if you’re buying a refurbished laptop, brand reliability is only a small part of the equation.

Used laptops tend to get a bad rap but there’s no reason to avoid them. Much like buying a used car, it’s all about knowing what to look for and buying from a reputable source.

Let’s look at what you need to consider when buying refurbished laptop computers.

Where Does a Refurbished Laptop Come From?

Refurbished laptops can come from various sources:

  • Lease-return enterprise (business) equipment
  • Customer returns
  • Technology recycling services
  • Store demos

Many large businesses lease their computer equipment and have a fixed replacement cycle, often two years. The equipment that gets returned may be fine so it can end up getting refurbished and sold at a big discount.

Customer returns could be due to some kind of defect or because they changed their mind. Store demos are very similar — they can’t sell them as new but they’ve usually had minimal use.

Technology recycling services like Gazelle pay cash for used computers and other tech equipment. Quite often the PCs they buy are still perfectly serviceable and get refurbished and resold.

Used vs Refurbished vs Certified

There are several degrees of pre-owned laptops — used, refurbished, and certified. While they are all technically “used” there are significant differences.

A used laptop is what you’ll usually get if you buy something on a site like eBay or Craiglist. Someone is selling their old laptop directly and the condition can vary. They might have wiped the data but parts like the battery are rarely replaced.

A refurbished laptop is still used but it gets checked over by a technician and any defective parts that are instrumental to its operation have either been repaired or replaced. There might be some cosmetic issues but those don’t typically affect the operation.

certified refurbished laptop goes one step further and has been tested by a certified repair service, or even the original manufacturer, to ensure it meets their standards.

The cost will generally go up as you go from used to refurbished to certified but you’re getting better peace of mind in return. Refurbished laptops are fine as long as you deal with a trustworthy company like Computer Revival but you’re taking a chance when you buy used, especially if it’s all done over the internet.

One of the biggest differences between the three levels of used laptops is what kind of warranty you’ll get.

Warranties on Refurbished Equipment

Buying a used or refurbished computer doesn’t mean you won’t get a warranty. In fact, the warranty is one of the things you should consider when buying refurbished.

A used computer, like you might find on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, likely won’t have a warranty. Or if it does, it will be whatever remains of the original manufacturer’s warranty. It’s not that common to find a laptop with any of the original warranty left though since most people use them longer than that.

Refurbished and certified computers are more likely to include a warranty, particularly if you buy from a reputable source. With Computer Revival’s refurbished laptops you get a 30-day warranty with 1- and 2-year extended warranties available. We also include a 1-week return policy in case you decide the laptop isn’t what you’re looking for.

Some manufacturers, such as Apple and Dell, offer their own refurbished laptops. These often include the same warranty as a new model, with any less-than-perfect parts completely replaced. These refurbished laptops are as close as you can get to new but you’ll pay considerably more for them as well. It’s still cheaper than a brand-new model, but not by much.

Check What the Warranty Covers

Get some details on the warranty before making your decision.

Does it cover battery issues? Problems with the display? Keyboard problems?

Those components are where many problems occur with laptops because they get so much use. Make sure the warranty covers any problems that might crop up once you start using the laptop.

Has the Battery Been Replaced?

Aside from the warranty covering the battery, check to find out if the battery was replaced with a new unit. Laptop batteries are usually the first thing to go because they tend to get a lot of use and even the best ones have a limited number of charge cycles.

If the battery hasn’t been replaced, find out how long it will run between charges. You should also check into the cost of a replacement so you know what you’re faced with if you end up having to replace it yourself.

What Operating System is Included?

If you buy a new laptop, it’s going to come pre-loaded with the latest operating system, whether Windows 10 or macOS. When you buy a refurbished model, that’s not necessarily the case.

If the laptop originally shipped with an older version of the operating system, such as Windows 7 or 8, that might be what’s included. That’s not a deal-breaker but make sure you’re aware of what you’re getting. If it comes with an older version and you want to update to the latest OS, that could add to your cost.

On top of the version of the operating system, make sure you’re getting a licensed copy. Some less-than-honest resellers will load a copy of Windows on the laptop from a copy they have on-hand but it’s not necessarily licensed for use on that PC.

If Microsoft identifies that you’re running an unlicensed copy of Windows, they may disable the activation, leaving you with an unusable laptop. Or worse, it could lead to legal troubles and fines.

Refurbished Laptops Can Be a Great Choice

If you do your homework and choose a reputable seller, a refurbished laptop can be a great choice. You’ll save money compared to buying new and you’ll help the environment by reusing and recycling.

You might even get some better features than the latest models. For example, Apple’s newest MacBook keyboard has had a lot of problems, something that was virtually unheard of with the previous generation.

If you’re in the market for a refurbished laptop, Computer Revival can help you find the right model for your needs. We put our refurbished systems through a battery of tests before giving them our seal of approval so you can be sure you’re getting a quality laptop at a good price. Get in touch with us today to discuss your needs.