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Gadget Revival: How Refurbished Electronics Are Redefining Tech

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Gadget Revival: How Refurbished Electronics Are Redefining Tech

The market for refurbished electronics is surging worldwide, partly due to the rising cost of living incentivizing many individuals to seek more affordable alternatives to buying brand-new tech gadgets. Not only can refurbished electronics help save a great deal of your hard-earned money, but they’re also an environmentally friendly option that reduces electronic waste.

Not all refurbished electronics are the same, however. What are the differences between refurbished laptops or refurbished phones, for example, and second-hand or used devices? Is it worth buying refurbished IT equipment or is it better to buy new? Before spending your money on refurbished tech, consider the following points.

What Are Refurbished Electronics?

Refurbished electronics are devices that have been tested, inspected, cleaned, and repaired if necessary, then resold by a refurbisher. They differ from used and second-hand devices because they’ve undergone these processes with a certain standard of quality, whereas used devices may or may not have been subjected to these processes.

While some refurbishers offer guarantees or warranties on their products, not all do. Moreover, not all refurbishers perform refurbishment to the same standard of quality, so it is essential to only purchase refurbished IT equipment from reputable and established refurbishers.

Compared to new devices, refurbished laptops, phones, and other tech gadgets are often substantially cheaper since they are not brand new. Buying the previous generation refurbished iPhone or Galaxy phone, for example, can still provide excellent functionality at a fraction of the price of the latest model.

Benefits of Refurbished Electronics

Why buy refurbished electronics? Here are a few important reasons to consider:

  • Price: Refurbished phones, laptops, tablets, and desktop PCs are often far cheaper than brand new models.
  • Quality: When a product is purchased from a reputable refurbisher, there is a certain assurance that it has been thoroughly tested and certified.
  • Sustainability: Buying refurbished is buying sustainable, as every device purchased prevents it from ending up as e-waste and lowers demand for new products.
  • Warranty: Some refurbished devices come with comprehensive warranties and extended warranty coverage.
  • Practically new: Some refurbished electronics are practically brand new, such as display models or returned products that has never been used.
  • Variety: Whereas many high street shops want to sell the latest models, refurbished devices tend to offer far greater choice, including slightly older models that still work just fine.

Myths and Misconceptions

There are quite a few myths and misconceptions about refurbished electronics, many of them give the term a bad reputation. Firstly, many believe that refurbished means that the device is heavily used or damaged. While a refurbished device may be damaged when returned to the refurbisher, a reputable refurbisher will undertake all practical efforts to repair the device to the best possible standard and make note of any visible (usually cosmetic) signs of damage to any interested customers.

Indeed, most quality refurbished devices are refurbished to an ‘as new’ standard, meaning that the device functions properly as intended when the product was released. This may sometimes involve replacing components (e.g. hard drive, RAM, keyboard) to ensure that the product works properly.

Another big misconception is that refurbished products do not come with any warranty coverage or additional support. This may be the case with used devices that you might find on online marketplaces, but an established refurbisher will almost always offer some sort of guarantee and/or warranty coverage should anything go wrong.

The Refurbishment Process

What makes refurbishment different from simply selling a used device as-is is just that – the refurbishment process itself. Depending on the device and its condition, it will generally be refurbished according to the following processes:

  1. Inspection: the device is inspected for any flaws or defects that require further attention.
  2. Repair: any faulty, damaged, or missing components are repaired or replaced as necessary.
  3. Cleaning: the device is thoroughly cleaned to look and feel as if it’s new.
  4. Testing: the refurbisher runs the device and ensures that it operates as intended, repeating steps 2-4 if any issues are found.
  5. Certification: the device is marked as certified refurbished and placed in a shop or an e-commerce platform for sale.

Sustainability and the Environment

While cheaper devices are a great and obvious benefit to buying refurbished, they’re also far less hazardous to the environment than buying brand-new ones. E-waste is a global problem that is growing year over year, and it’s exacerbated by the constant churn and consumerist mindset of always buying the latest model of phone, tablet, or laptop, for example.

It’s estimated that the total value of e-waste generated globally was $57 billion USD (approx. €53.8 billion) in 2019, greater than the combined GDP of most of the world’s nations. The UN Global E-waste Monitor 2020 reported that e-waste had surged by 21% from 2014-2019, making it the fastest growing waste stream globally and accounting for a total estimated 53.6 Mt (million metric tonnes).

For business e-waste, IT asset disposition companies are often used to minimize e-waste by refurbishing and remarketing IT assets in addition to providing secure data destruction services and recycling e-waste whenever possible. An ITAD company is therefore a great asset for organisations looking to strengthen data protection while simultaneously reducing e-waste.

The Future of Refurbished Tech

For many of us, it’s hard to eschew our use of tech gadgets for work, leisure, speaking with loved ones, or just about anything else in the modern world. Refurbished electronics will likely only continue to gain traction and acceptance both for their steep discounts as well as for the increasingly high standards of refurbishment.

Whilst trust in refurbished devices has also increased as more and more major retailers and e-commerce platforms offer certified refurbished products, it will always be essential to do your due diligence and to ensure that you are indeed purchasing a refurbished gadget that delivers quality performance – preferably backed by warranty coverage.


The appeal of refurbished electronics comes at a perfect time. Higher costs of living and a growing global e-waste epidemic are both strong incentives to consider refurbished instead of buying the latest phone with the all-too-familiar fruit logo on the back. Consider refurbished for your next purchase and save money, reduce e-waste, and choose from a great selection of refurbished phones, laptops, tablets, desktop PCs, and much more.