A couple of people have asked me if buying a refurbished (or renewed) computer on Amazon instead of a new one is a wise move, and my answer is “it depends”.
I know that’s a rather squishy answer, but it’s the best one I have.
Here are a few things to consider while contemplating the potential purchase of a refurbished computer:
1 – Is the entity selling the refurbished machine the manufacturer or a third-party company?
If it’s the manufacturer you’re likely to get a more modern PC, possibly even a current model.
The fact is most manufacturer returns are due to customer dissatisfaction, not an actual issue with the hardware or software.
In those cases the machines are usually thoroughly tested and restored to new condition, then put up for sale as refurbs and covered by the full manufacturers warranty.
Those machines are generally just as reliable as new ones so they could be a great deal if you can save enough money on the deal to make it worth your while.
2 – If the seller is a third-party refurb provider, check out the customer reviews and ratings. If they sell thoroughly tested, reliable products that will probably be reflected in the reviews and ratings.
But even more important, if they sell mostly junk that fact will quickly become obvious due to a slew of negative reviews.
3 – Many refurbished computers that are sold on Amazon are business-class machines, not cheaper consumer-grade models.
While those business-class machines tend to be a generation or two old in terms of technology, they were built to higher standards using higher-quality components, which means they are likely to last.
4 – Does the computer come with any kind of warranty or guarantee?
Obviously, the longer the warranty/guarantee the better, but anywhere from 90 days to 6 months is typical for refurbs.
That seems like a short period of time, and it is. But truth be told, if a refurbished computer is working as it should when you unbox it and first turn it on, it’s likely to last well beyond the warranty/guarantee period.
5 – Does the machine come with a current version of the operating system?
Most refurbished Windows PCs nowadays come with either Windows 10 or Windows 11 installed, even if the operating system that came on it originally was an older version.
I recommend that you steer clear of machines running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 because there’s likely to be a reason why it was never updated to a more recent version of Windows.
If you’re considering the purchase of a refurbished Mac, I recommend that you only consider machines that come with the latest version of macOS installed.
Bottom line: In my opinion, refurbished computers can be good deals if the savings are decent when compared to the prices of new machines. Just make sure you buy from a reputable company that offers at least a 90 day warranty or guarantee.
If you shop carefully and do your homework, you can save money on your next computer purchase with very little risk.
I have personally purchased several refurbished computers in the past with no problems whatsoever, as have a number of my friends and acquaintances.