Should I Buy A Used or Refurbished Laptop?


Buying a laptop that’s anything other than new, has developed some social stigma over time. We dispose of laptops like phones. 24 months and out. As if they can’t be ‘revived’. I’m here to tell you that, that’s wrong, with specialist clean up and reboot, conditions can be restored to near-new working conditions. All of which allows for them to be competitively good, but cheaper than new laptops. It’s not all roses though, one must be careful in the second-hand market, and we have just the guide to take you your next portable computer.

What’s The Difference Between Used and Refurbished?

The short answer, a refurbished laptop is either a used (usually enterprise usage) or factory defected laptop that’s restored to good-as-new working conditions.

Refurbished laptops are scrutinised by professionals, disassembled to assess the damage, wear and tear, screen quality, power, connections, battery, internal storage, ports and drives. Missing components, replaced and a new Operating System installed. This process is what sets apart a refurbished laptop from a used laptop.

Refurbished laptops under-go an in-depth examination. This makes them more reliable that used laptops.

Should You buy a used or refurbished laptop?

There is virtually no deference in the process of buying a used car as to a used laptop. They should be considered the same, with only that cars introduce a higher risk of purchase because of their higher costs.

It’s clear on the financial gains from buying refurbished than new. However, the reluctance in most people is based on the worry that they may not be getting the top-of-the-range performance and features. Ofcourse, this is true.

A recent questionnaire on GizModo found that when readers were asked whether they really need a $1000 laptop. Out of nearly 9000 votes, 42% responded “No”, 21% responded “Yes, but only because I like to have the best of everything”, and 19% responded “Yes, but only because I am unwilling to sacrifice on the OS.”  Which validates that most of us are buying for the sake of buying, and not out of necessity.

You will never get a refurbished laptop of the current year. What’s never taken into consideration however, is how much is enough power and features? Is what you want, really what you need? What system requirements should your laptop have to fulfil it’s daily functions. For which the answer for most users, is laptops developed up to 5 years back.

Faith in Refurbished laptops, is only as strong as it’s warranty.

Many retailers offer warranty for their refurbished laptops, gesture for the customer’s peace of mind. The big companies Dell/HP/Apple/Lenovo offer up to a year warranty on their refurbs. Here at Laptop Factory UK we offer a modest 6 months, shorter but much cheaper laptops than the big retailers, and competitively long warranty in comparison to other independent retailers.

Refurbished laptop warranty returns
Refurbished Warranty & Returns policies


Trade fresh-off-the-line, for more functionality. And value for money over breaking the seal.

The path to refurbished laptops is littered with many pros and cons. Here are the main ones to consider.

From refurbished outlets, you can find a fully working laptops with minor cometic defects, at more than 50% off its retail price. But caution must be applied before purchase, battery life and performance worsen with time. So it’s important that you check the date released. Wifi-connectivity and battery life tend to work best with newer models. But, most importantly, especially when buying online, is to ensure a clear description of the product’s performance rating is available.

  • New —Costly, but you’re the first to unwrap. With full warranty.
  • Refurbished —Discounted PCs with Quality assurance and limited warranty
  • Used —Cheapest, no quality assurance nor warranty

The big but non-deal-breaker, Battery blues

One final word of warning when buying a laptop second-hand. Whatever the source, if a laptop is more than two years old, it’s safe to assume its battery will have seen better days. So always factor in the cost of a new one before buying, at least if you plan to use the laptop away from mains power.

Even though most refurbished laptops have been thoroughly tested. Sellers often do not know how long the laptop was in use before it was refurbished, and a battery that holds a twenty or thirty minute charge can still be said to be in working condition. However, even with this cost added, a refurbished laptop will still be much cheaper than a new one.


Buying a Refurbished Laptop

When buying a refurbished laptop, shoppers should take the following steps;

  1. List  the features you want and need– compile a list of the desired features the laptop must have.

That applies to all laptop purchases regardless of whether they are new or not. Make a list of what you need and what you want. Start with the bits you won’t be able to upgrade like the screen size, the screen resolution, the processor and the graphics card.

Then follow on with system memory and the hard disk drive since these can probably be upgraded. Do you have any brand preferences? Or specific features you need to have (optical drive, wired connectivity etc)? It is always worth double checking existing reviews to make sure that you’ve covered all grounds. Check out whether the laptop comes with a new battery or a removable one at least, otherwise you may be left with one that have to be permanently tethered in order to work.

  1. Determine a budget [how much money you want to spend?]- It is best to research the costs of new laptops with similar features and capabilities to get an idea of what they cost new.

Decide how much money you want to spend on your refurbished laptop; go for your absolute limit and add an additional 10% margin (that will make sure you don’t miss out on bargains that are just outside your limit). Do consider extended warranties which can sometimes be bought at the same time as the laptop; they offer additional protection should the laptop suddenly fail.

3. Research available models [Don’t sweat the small stuff]- A refurbished laptop may have had a previous owner, but you needn’t worry about whether it can still perform like a brand new one. Here at The Laptop Factory UK we grade each laptop so that you completely understand the full extent of your purchase and your performance expectations are met immediately. You can check what condition the laptop is in upfront, and you can use the information provided to determine whether this is the right laptop for you. No details are hidden, and you’ll know what you’re ordering from the start, and you’ll be reassured that your laptop will be delivered as per the specifications and treatment stated on site.

  1. Check the seller’s or manufacturer’s returns policy and warranty terms and conditions – Of course, even the most well tested laptops can develop faults over time. This is why every item in the Laptop Factory UK comes with a 6-month warranty, ensuring that even if the unthinkable happens you can be sure your seller will take care of any problems. This 6-month warranty will mean that even if something goes wrong with your laptop then you won’t be left out of pocket. First and foremost, look to see who the warranty is from (if there is indeed a warranty package offered). If there’s no warranty, don’t buy the computer.

When purchasing refurbished laptops under warranty, the chances are slim you’ll end up with a product that’s still defective. Even slimmer are the odds that you’ll be unable to get your money back in the case that it is.

5.    Buy your laptop- After having compiled a list of potential buys, buy the one you think is the best for you at the time of the evaluation. Do so using a credit card because the credit card provider will be jointly responsible if something goes wrong, making it easier to claim your cash should there be any issues.

  1. Check the laptop right away for any defects that weren’t listed by the seller. This includes opening up the devices to have a quick peek inside.

Which laptop to buy?


RULE #1 of buying refurbished: Know your needs! Understand your optimum system requirements.

There are many laptops out there. All shapes, weights and sizes. It doesn’t have to be clear, but have an image of what you want from your laptop.

Consider the:

  • Weight – stay-at-home vs on-the-go use?
  • Size – How portable is it? Would you sacrifice power and features for nimble system?
  • Power – editing files + webapps vs media editing + gaming
  • Ports – Does your work require certain compatibilities (more on this in this blog)
  • Battery – especially when buying a used (not refurbished) laptop. Consider the battery replacement cost

Ultimately, you’ll only be satisfied with your purchase, if you define your requirements. So think long and hard as to what you need on your system.


Understanding Manufacturers’ Refurbishment Definitions

The processes involved in refurbishing laptops vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Different manufacturers or retailers have varying definitions of refurbishment and here are a few examples;

The table below gives examples of these variances across a number of popular brands.


Refurbishment Definition and Warranty Period

Apple Apple’s Certified Refurbished models have been returned by customers, refurbished, and tested to ensure that they meet Apple quality standards before they are resold. Products carry a one-year limited warranty.
Dell Dell offers a number of different grades of refurbished items. Certified Refurbished laptops have been returned by customers, refurbished, and tested to ensure that they meet Dell quality standards. They may have visible cosmetic flaws, but have no performance issues. Previously Ordered New items were shipped to customers, but never used. They have no cosmetic flaws. Scratch and Dent laptops have no performance issues, but show considerable cosmetic wear. All laptops come with a one- to three-year warranty, depending on the model.
Lenovo Lenovo’s refurbished models include used and unused laptops that have been reconditioned and tested to ensure that they meet quality standards. Refurbished laptops are categorized as new, redistributed, refurbished, and scratched and dented. Items generally carry a one-year warranty.
HP HP’s remanufactured laptops have been returned by customers and have undergone a process to return them to “as new” condition. Refurbished models may not have been fully tested and certified to meet the same standard. Items come with a one-year limited warranty.
Sony Sony’s refurbished laptops have been reconditioned, returned to original factory specifications, and fully tested. These laptops may feature minor cosmetic flaws and generally come with a 90-day limited warranty.
Fujitsu Refurbished laptops from Fujitsu have been tested to ensure that they meet published specifications. They come with a 90-day warranty, but are not returnable. Close Out products are preconfigured, new, sealed products that carry a one to three year warranty depending on the model.
Toshiba Toshiba refurbished products have been reconditioned and tested, and come with a warranty that is no shorter than 90 days.

A number of refurbished laptops have been refurbished by third parties. It is best to research a third party’s processes and guarantees, as well as customer feedback and comments, before buying.

Before you commit to purchasing a used computer, make sure that you compare the quoted price with the price of its brand new or refurbished equivalent. If you plan to make any upgrades to the hardware, research the prices properly so that you can make an informed decision on whether you’d be better off buying new or refurbished.




Laptop refurbishment process
The UK Laptop Factory Refurbishment Process

 In conclusion;

It often feels like big comprises are required in order to find a laptop that meets your needs as well as your budget. but it doesn’t have to be so. and with some caution,  buying an old system doesn’t have to be a bad experience.

There are many bargains that can be found on eBay, Gumtree, Facebook marketplace, Amazon and even friends who just want to offload their old systems, but just make sure you do your due diligence and aren’t throwing money away. Do your homework, make sure there aren’t better deals you are missing from buying refurbished.

Buying new is often beneficial to those seeking high-end hardware, notably for gaming and multi-media production professionals. If you plan to do spreadsheets, video streaming, emailing, browsing and general administrative tasks, a refurbished or used laptop is more than an ideal option.

The most important part of buying a refurbished laptop from The Laptop Factory UK is that the site provides quality assurance to the brands it sells. 

Buying a refurbished laptop is a cost-effective way to acquire a laptop that meets all of one’s requirements, at a significantly reduced cost. Although some may feel apprehensive about buying a used laptop, reputable refurbishers and sellers offer great deals on products that have been thoroughly checked. The UK Laptop Factory offers buyers a wide range of refurbished laptops, making it easy to find the right laptop for the right price.

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