In good news for our wallets and the environment in general, many electronic devices such as phones and tablets now last longer than ever before. If you’re considering buying a refurbished one, the gadget you’re getting will likely have quite a bit of life left in it. There are no laws governing the terms, but refurbished or refurbished devices are usually a level above just ‘used’. At a minimum, the refurbished tech must have gone through cleaning and diagnostics, and some sellers also replace components such as batteries and screens. Once ready for sale, these units should work like new, with only light scratches showing their history.

Refurbished units not only save you some money, but have a drastically lower carbon footprint as most of impact on the environment comes from production. This is more efficient than recycling and helps with conservation electronic waste outside the landfills. But there are better places to shop for refurbished appliances than others. We’ve listed a few recommendations below, along with our advice on what to look for when you start shopping for refurbished gear.

What to consider when buying refurbished devices

Refurbished vs Used

Refurbished is not the same as used. Used items tend to be sold ‘as is’, meaning you simply inherit whatever mileage and features the device has when the previous owner says goodbye to it. It’s true that most refurbished items are pre-owned, and many are the result of the growing trend of trading in your old device when you upgrade. But others are hardly used and are one of the millions on returns generated each year. Either way, a properly repaired item has been tested to verify that it works, along with cleaning, repair, and replacement of parts if necessary.

Since there are no state regulations for refurbished items, sellers must determine what steps they take to prepare the device for sale. And it’s up to the buyer to find out what those steps are before taking the plunge. The processes for updating devices from An apple, Bose, Microsoft and Samsung, for example, include cleaning, inspection, replacement of parts as necessary and shipment in a new box with the accessories originally supplied. In addition, they all provide a one-year warranty.

Warranties and returns

A refurbished device should perform as well as its new counterpart, but the only way to ensure that this is the case is to make sure it comes with a warranty. All of the sites we recommend below include a warranty with the products they sell. If you see something labeled as refurbished but doesn’t include any guarantee of its reliability – shop elsewhere.

Also, a good return policy will allow you to send the item back (preferably with the same free shipping that the new item gets) for any reason – including that you’ve just changed your mind. That way, if a refurbished product doesn’t look as good as you thought it would, you can send it back without having to prove there’s anything wrong with it.


Most updated technologies were used before returning to the market. And while refurbished items are cleaned, you’ll still need to consider your comfort in terms of sanitary issues when buying things like headphones and earplugs.

Laptop and smartphone on a round wooden table in a cozy interior.

Polina Lebed via Getty Images

Where to buy refurbished equipment

We recommend going directly to the manufacturer whenever possible, especially for more technical items like smartphones and laptops. If you need a new MacBook, check Apple’s refurbished warehouse first; if you want a new Galaxy phone, hit up Samsung before anyone else. Repairs will be done using original parts and you are much more likely to receive items that have been properly disassembled by the original owner and all data wiped.

Retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy are a decent option if you’re on a tight budget, or if you’re looking for gadgets from a manufacturer that may not have its own refurbished store. Refurbished markets like Decluttr and BackMarket can be useful if you are looking for older, more specific items or if price is the number one factor in your purchase.

An apple

They may be offering less than they ever did in exchange, but An apple still collects a decent inventory of refurbished MacBooks, iPads and other devices. Every refurbished part is inspected and repaired with genuine Apple parts, with refurbished iPhones and iPads getting new batteries and outer shells. In addition to phones and tablets, Apple sells refurbished MacBooks, watches, Apple TVs, and accessories like the Apple Pencil. Everything comes in a new box with whatever cables, accessories and operating systems the new item would have. Items get the same one-year warranty and 14-day return window that Apple offers for new products.

Refurbished Apple store


While they accept almost any device as a replacement Samsung regularly only offers refurbished smartphones on its site – you’ll have to look elsewhere for a refurbished Samsung tablet or smartwatch. However, a refurbished Galaxy phone can be sold for up to 30 percent off the standard price. The phones come with a new battery, tested and refurbished with Samsung parts and receive new packaging, cables and the latest software. One-year warranties are also standard.

Refurbished Samsung store


On any given day, you’ll find between three and 30 on the company’s site, including speakers, headphones, soundbars and bundles. Savings range from 10 percent to 45 percent, and each item goes through Apple and Samsung-like measures, with tests, repairs, and cables in a new box. Bose also includes a 90-day free return policy and a one- or two-year warranty, depending on what the device would have received if it were new.

Updated store at Bose


Sonos the devices don’t go on sale often, which makes the brand’s revamped lineup all the more enticing. You’ll usually only find a few of the company’s refurbished speakers and soundbars available at any one time, so it’s worth checking the site regularly. Each refurbished device undergoes testing and repair, comes in new boxes and includes all accessories and the same 45-day return policy and one-year warranty as a new device. Additionally, in 2023, Sonos began donating a portion of refurbished annual sales as part of the 1% for the planet.

Updated store at Sonos


You’ll mostly find Surface tablets and laptops on . Renewed and consoles have their own destinations. All refurbished Microsoft products are tested, repaired and cleaned and come in new packaging along with the usual accessories plus a 30-day return policy and a one-year warranty for Surface devices and a 90-day warranty for consoles.

The store has been overhauled at Microsoft

Other retailers

Some smaller producers like it Dyson, Vitamix, Nintendo and JBL offer their own refurbished products, but for many other brands you may need to go to a retailer.


Amazon Renewed is different from Amazon Warehouse, which sells used items that have been tested and graded but have not undergone any refurbishment. Items under the renewed designation have been cleaned and professionally inspected and come with replacement accessories if required.

Repairs are not always done by an in-house team, as Amazon mostly lists items sold by third parties for repairs. The exception to this are Amazon devices such as Kindles, Ring doorbells, and Echos, which are tested, shipped, and sold by Amazon. Find these items on Amazon Certified Refurbished Device Pageformerly called Kindle Refurbished.

The warranty on all refurbished items sold on the site only extends for 90 days, but it’s a combined warranty and return policy that involves sending the device back because it’s just not what you expected, regardless of whether there’s anything wrong with it. him.

There is a wider allowance for condition grading with Amazon’s Refurbishment Program, considering minor cosmetic imperfections at “Premium” and “Excellent” grades, along with visible marks and scratches at “Good” and “Fair” condition levels .

However, Amazon Renewed offers a wide selection of products that you might not be able to get directly from a manufacturer, including kitchen equipment, tools and gaming accessories.

Refurbished Amazon Store


Like Amazon’s program, Walmart restored uses third-party sellers and refurbishers and also provides a 90-day combined return and warranty period. Products are rated as free of cosmetic defects when viewed from one leg, unless otherwise noted in the listing. Products include tools, tablets, kitchen appliances, televisions and video game consoles.

A revamped store at Walmart


Unfortunately, the guarantees for Target’s revamped program varies by item. Depending on the listing, you’ll see warranties that extend six months, one year, or no warranty at all. However, all of the items we checked included a return period ranging from 15 to 30 days—though you’ll have to return the item to a Target store. Obviously, we don’t recommend buying any tech device (refurbished or not) without a warranty, but like Amazon and Walmart, Target’s program can offer a way to find deals on a wider selection of tech than through a manufacturer. Just be sure to check the warranty details for the device you want. You’ll find them in the Specifications drop-down menu in the About This Item section of the product page.

A revamped store at Target

Best buy

Best buy combines open box, clearance and refurbished items under the Best Buy Outlet umbrella. They even operate several brick and mortars Outlet stores which sell clearance, open box and returned items. However, for the most part, they do not include items that have gone through the renovation process. For that, you’ll want to look at items marked “Geek Squad Certified Refurbished” online. These are products that have been repaired either by Best Buy’s own service centers, by the manufacturers, or by third parties for repair. Devices come with 90 days Guaranteewhich covers defects, in addition to Best Buy’s standard 15-day return policy.

Renovated store at Best Buy