A Brief Guide to Buying a Refurbished Smartphone

A Brief Guide to Buying a Refurbished Smartphone

A new phone can be expensive these days. Especially if you are into using only the best flagship models from Samsung or Apple. These phones can easily cost you upwards of $1,000 depending on which manufacturer you choose to go with. If you can afford to buy a new flagship every release or when your old one gives out, go for it. However, for the rest of us plebs, Refurbished Smartphone can be a valid option.

Refurbished Phones – Things You Need to Know

A new flagship can be costly. My last Samsung cost more than a month’s rent and my Charter internet bill put together. Of course, I live in a small apartment and Spectrum offers really great deals, but the fact remains new phones are expensive. A refurbished phone, on the other hand, can be just as good as a brand-new one, while at a much lower price. That’s part of the reason the refurbished phone market keeps running. This blog is all about:

Let’s dive right into the details.

What Are Refurbished Phones?

What Are Refurbished Phones

A simple Google search for used smartphones will likely give you several results for refurbished smartphones. A refurbished phone does not necessarily mean a defective, repaired phone. Many refurbished phones are trade-ins or returns. Once the manufacturer has the returned phones, they run diagnostics to make sure everything is working properly. In most cases, the phone also gets a new battery and accessories. Of course, there are also phones that were returned because of some defect, after which the manufacturer repairs them and sells them.

Manufacturer and Retailer/Reseller Refurbishments

Not all refurbishments are equal. You might think only second-hand businesses sell refurbished phones but you are wrong. Manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung refurbish their phones and sell them as well. Many retailers and resellers also offer their refurbished products. The difference lies in the standards the refurbishment adheres to.

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Apple and Samsung refurbish phones following very high and strict standards. They replace batteries, replace damaged parts, add a new outer shell, and include accessories and cables. These manufacturers also do a “top to bottom” inspection on their refurbished products to makes sure everything works as designed.

On the other hand, resellers and retailers selling refurbished phones may adhere to different standards. Some may or may not replace the outer shell. Others may or may not include new accessories. Still, others simply repair damaged parts instead of replacing them.

The Risks of Buying Cheap Refurbished Phones

Why don’t people always opt for a manufacturer-refurbished phone? Third-party refurbished phones cost a lot less than ones refurbished by the manufacturer. Of course, manufacturers also offer their refurbished smartphones at a lower cost than new ones. But not by much. Third-party vendors offer much lower prices on their models.

But you should be wary of falling for a deal that seems too good to be true. You would be surprised the number of times I have bought cheap refurbished phones off the internet only to find out they don’t work. Or worse, you buy a refurbished phone and it works fine for a few months before breaking down.

It’s a classic catch 22 situation. You’re stuck with a smartphone that doesn’t work the way you want and you can’t sell it off to anyone in good faith. A waste of money at the very least. So if you find a third-party refurbished phone advertised at $100 less than the actual going price, be wary.

Using Amazon to Buy Refurbished Phones


Using Amazon to Buy Refurbished Phones

Amazon is one of the best places to buy refurbished electronics. While most of the used smartphones come refurbished by third-party vendors, the collection is healthy and well-rounded. One thing you will find of note, Amazon does not use the word “refurbished” anymore. Instead, the e-commerce giant has introduced something called Amazon Renewed. This label means the refurbished phone follows Amazon’s strict refurbishment standards and has met a qualified Amazon-managed inspection. Amazon Renewed phones come with a 90-day warranty. What this means is you are less likely to get stuck with a dud phone and still get a good deal on it.


When looking to buy a refurbished smartphone, you need to consider several key factors. You need to ensure you have a return option to the manufacturer or vendor you bought it from. You should always try to get a 90-day warranty on the refurbished phone. And finally, you need to make sure you buy it from a reputable vendor, either the manufacturer or a good one on Amazon.

Of course, you will need to test the smartphone extensively to make sure everything works. I once bought a phone that worked fine in almost every way except when I turned on my Spectrum streaming. The Wi-Fi would disconnect automatically and refuse to connect again until I rebooted the phone. Always check the smartphone you are buying thoroughly, especially if it is a used phone.

I am a full-time professional blogger from India. I like reading various tech magazines and several other blogs on the internet.