Check for pre-owned or refurb bargains before buying a new laptop

By: Ted Kritsonis

December 24, 2011
Craiglist is full of used laptops

Craiglist is full of used laptops

By Ted Kritsonis

Buying a laptop is a no-brainer, right? Go to Future Shop, an Apple Store or Dell. But is a powerful, new system what you need? Will you pay more than you want?

What about getting a used or refurbished system that costs less? Scary, right?

This may not seem like the best way to get a new laptop, but a real gem can be found for the right price. Since the cycle of new laptop launches is so frequent now, pre-owned or refurb bargains are easier to find.

Who’s selling?
Used laptops are available in abundance on Craigslist, Kijiji, eBay, TigerDirect, Newegg and others, plus returns and refurbished from retailers, like Future Shop, Best Buy, StaplesThe Source and the Apple Store.

Retailers are naturally credible, but private sellers require some due diligence. Be sure to ask all the questions you need answered, no matter what.

Used or refurb?

Used laptops generally come from consumers who have used them for personal reasons. The smart ones wipe the computer’s hard drive and reinstall the operating system to get it back to factory settings. Refurbished laptops are returned to the manufacturer for any particular reason, then repaired and repackaged with a limited warranty (usually one year) to be resold through a retailer (usually online).

Used laptops are the cheaper option of the two, with the most variety, but carry a higher risk. Refurbished laptops will cost more upfront, but with new parts and a warranty that typically covers all damages.

What to look for?

In either case, you don’t know what the laptop has been through. Has a previous user dropped it? Does it run slow? Does it have scratches? The key lies in the specs — you have to treat a used or refurb laptop purchase like you would a new one. If the specs, size, weight and compatibility fit with what you need, you may have a winner at a good price.

What about price?

Compare the used or refurb price to the regular price. Also, find out if you need to spend more for a new battery or bigger hard drive to gauge the overall cost.

Used Laptops

Used or refurbished laptops will always offer a better price, but be careful that the risk doesn’t trump the reward.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *