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Anyone who has ever shopped for tech items knows that buying recertified or refurbished products can mean big-time savings. But there is something about the word “refurbished”—as if it connotes a rejected product that might not work, or is somehow inferior to something purchased new. Everyone likes to save money, but does not want to risk getting burned by a faulty item.

Historically, the difference between “recertified” and “refurbished” is that the former is covered by a warranty whereas the latter is sold “as-is.” For our intents and purposes, the terms are interchangeable. NeweggBuisness products called either recertified or refurbished come direct from manufacturers, and are guaranteed for a 90 day period.

There are other points of confusion as well. Let’s take a look at some of the other misconceptions about refurbished products to sort things out.

Myth #1: Refurbished hardware was at one time defective

Anyone who has ever worked in retail will tell you that devices are returned for a slew of reasons unrelated to defects. Retailers commonly have a 30 day return policy for electronics, and returns often happen as a result of buyer’s remorse, or the customer found a better deal after the purchase was made, or didn’t like some arbitrary feature about the product. Other reasons for a product being labeled as refurbished include:

  • The product incurred minor exterior damage from shipping;
  • The product served as a demo unit on the floor of a storeroom or tradeshow;
  • The product is an overstocked item not sold by the time the next generation becomes available.

We are not saying products are never returned due to defects—of course it happens. When it does, manufactures put them through a rigorous re-building process before placing them on the refurbished market. This process involves replacement of broken parts if needed, thorough testing of the product, and re-verification of the test results.

In any case, the best advice is to shop from a reputable authorized dealer that gets refurbished products direct from the manufacturer. This ensures that appropriate quality assurance measures were taken in restoring the product.

Myth #2: Refurbished computers are not guaranteed

On the contrary—manufacturers and authorized dealers commonly guarantee their refurbished products in writing. For example, NeweggBusiness includes a 90-day product warranty upon purchase of a refurbished product. Customers can further protect their refurbished item with an  extended warranty of up to three years for notebooks and desktops.  Should the refurbished product fail, the warranty guarantees free replacement of your item within five days, carries zero deductibles or shipping fees, and covers full parts and labor for any repairs. Buying an extended warranty comes highly recommended when dealing with refurbished products.

Myth #3: Refurbished computers are only for schools, libraries, and other public use places

There are plenty of feel-good stories about school districts saving taxpayers’ money by purchasing refurbished computers in bulk, and that’s great—saving money is the whole point of buying a refurbished item. But plenty of enterprise users are helping their bottom line by stocking up on refurbished equipment as well. The value-per-performance aspect of refurbished equipment is a solid bet for non-profits and small businesses, especially if the machines fit their performance needs. Even in larger scale enterprises and software development labs, it is not uncommon to find development environments comprised entirely of refurbished gear.

Myth #4 Refurbished PCs do not come with a Windows license

This all depends on where you buy the PC. Manufactures and authorized retailers like NeweggBusiness sell refurbished PCs that meet the Windows licensing requirement. If you buy a refurbished PC from Craigslist or some other third party source, you must ensure it meets certain criteria—and you must be careful with this to avoid a software piracy situation. A new Windows license is not required for a refurbished PC that has:

  1. The original Certificate of Authenticity (COA) for a Windows operating system affixed to the PC, and
  2. The original recovery media or hard-disk based recovery image associated with the PC. In most other instances, a Windows license must be purchased.

If you buy refurbished from NeweggBusiness, your PC will come with an appropriately licensed operating system.

Myth #5 All refurbished items come at a deep discount

This is true a lot of the time, but some items—especially current generation, high-demand tech gadgets and some models of LED and plasma televisions—are discounted as little as 5-10 percent. It always pays to exercise due diligence as a consumer and double-check the price of a new item before pulling the trigger on a refurbished deal. New items will often have a longer warranty than a refurbished one, which could tip the scales in favor of buying new.

We hope that clears the air a little about refurbished products. These items present a strong value proposition that should not be overlooked.

Pros and Cons of Buying Refurbished Computer Equipment for Your Business

Purchasing computer equipment for your business is a major expense. If you are like most companies, you will want to find the ideal way to get the equipment you need while still saving as much money as possible. For many organizations, buying refurbished computer equipment is the ideal option.

Refurbished computer equipment is used equipment that has been cleaned, tested, and configured to ensure it works as well as possible. This is quite a bit different than buying just used equipment since it will generally come with a warranty and look just like new. Read about the pros and cons of buying refurbished computers to see if it is a good option for your company.

Advantages of Buying Refurbished

There are definitely some big advantages to choosing to buy refurbished computer equipment over just buying new. The following are some of the most common reasons why refurbished equipment makes sense in a lot of situations.

Significant Cost Savings

The biggest reason why companies choose refurbished computer equipment over new is the price. Refurbished computers are far less expensive than buying something new with similar specifications. The exact amount you can save will depend on many factors, but it is not uncommon to save 25-50% when going this route, which makes it an obvious advantage.

Buy Only Proven Equipment

When buying new equipment you will often be picking up the latest models, which have yet to go through lengthy usage by real customers. If you buy something that has been refurbished, on the other hand, you can read hundreds of reviews on the specific model so you know how well it works.

Environmentally Friendly

Computer waste, or e-waste, is a huge environmental problem that is only getting worse. Refurbished equipment helps to keep a lot of waste out of landfills and other areas. After adding years of additional use to this equipment, it can still be recycled for further eco-benefits.

Disadvantages of Buying Refurbished

Of course, there are also a variety of disadvantages associated with buying refurbished IT equipment. Looking closely at these will help you to avoid making a mistake if refurbished really isn’t the best option in your situation.

Limited Inventory

You can’t always get enough refurbished equipment for your needs. Companies like Newegg Business can only sell the inventory we have, which varies significantly based on many factors. If you are trying to set up your entire company with the same model computer, for example, it might not be possible.

Reduced Warranty

Refurbished computer equipment almost always comes with a warranty, but it usually isn’t going to be quite as extensive as the warranty you get when buying new.

Fewer Customization Options

If you are buying a refurbished PC or laptop, you usually can’t customize the specifications like you could when buying new. This does put some limitations on what it is that you are buying, which can be a problem for some companies.

Is Refurbished Computer Equipment Right for Your Business?

Refurbished computer equipment is a great option for many companies. If you don’t need the absolute top of the line equipment, and it doesn’t matter if you get identical machines for every desk, it can be a great way to save a lot of money. If you want to buy refurbished, make sure to check out the great inventory of high-quality refurbished equipment available at Newegg Business.

Let us know in the comments below—how have your experiences been with recertified or refurbished computers?

Adam Lovinus

Author Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

More posts by Adam Lovinus

Join the discussion 20 Comments

  • Fair enough. I still like the idea of buying something that was never handled (in any way) other than how it was originally packaged from the manufacturer.

  • Himani says:

    For describing mith about refurbished hardware…
    Very nicely explained.

  • Stevie B says:

    Stevie B – We have a XPS Dell 8700 Desktop and the 2nd Hard Drive was replaced in November of 2015.
    All my telephone calls to Dell whether it be India or the US, has been completely ignored.
    It does not matter who at Dell that is contacted, LIKE BLOWING SMOKE – Excuse Me.
    Throughout my ordeal with Dell, I had already noted the most recent Replacement Hard Disk was never Refurbished. Therefore, all the files that a previous owner had, are still on the disk and as many times as I tried to prove this OH NEVER MIND.
    I used a Software Program called Recuva and found up to 20,000 files that are not [art of our ownership.

  • Ehtesham Shaikh says:

    Hey Adam great post, In my experience buying refurbished products is always good idea because it’s save lots of money and also gives warranty same as new. Just keep in mind whenever you go to buy refurbished products always go to certified stores and ask for warranty there are many website which provide idea and comparison between various certified refurbished products like it gives clear idea about the device and different prices available in market.

  • Bought 3 refurbished business grade Dell laptops and couldn’t be happier with their service. Even my reliable 6 year old HP laser printer was refurbished.

  • Robert McFate says:

    I have used this for nearly two decades. Buy a refurbish basic computer then buy refurbished components that turn it in to something even better. Only thing that is necessary is to be sure the components you buy are compatible with the operating system you are using!

  • Ken Carter says:

    Refurbished PCs and laptops are great when deploying them as remote desktop clients where horsepower is not a major consideration. I’m still using Celeron- and Pentium-class laptops and for the purpose they were intended, do the job very well.

  • jlforrest says:

    I also like to buy refurbished stuff, but only if the warranty is the same as if I were buying new stuff. This is true when buying from Apple or Dell, but not many other places. The price would have to be substantially lower than usual for me to buy something with just a 90-day warranty.

  • Jason says:

    What are you thoughts on refurbished routers?

    • Adam Lovinus says:

      We treat refurbished networking equipment the same as we would a refurbished endpoint with warranty and return policy. I’m inclined to say there’s not much difference in that regard.

  • Pooja Sheth says:

    Hello Adam, Thanks for sharing the blog on re certified and refurbished hardware.
    I must say its complete guide of refurbished hardware. I found lots of good information in blog. I think buying refurbished hardware saves money and gives warranty. Keep Posting such a useful blog with us

  • PC Matrix says:

    It’s very informative in reading for them who fear to order refurbished desktops or accessories whether it’s very cheap and beneficial for them.

  • Andrew Reynolds says:

    Refurbished changed for me this year. I have always been a fan of the open box and refurbished items department and have been benefiting from this model for 20 years. They are not 100% (not that new is either), and having purchased a lot of refurbished items, I know that occasionally something would not operate properly and a decent return policy always takes care of it. It’s a small risk for fairly great rewards. This year has changed though. I purchased five pcs, two monitors, and some keyboards & mice combinations that were all refurbished. I have been really disappointed in all of it. The monitors were literally old used monitors that were hardly clean. Two of the PCs were old PCs that were cleaned up, formatted, and refreshed software. These items were described as refurbished, not Used. The other three identical PCs were refurbished well, but they each seem to have quirks that now haunt me 9 months later that I simply don’t have with any of my new PCs. This equipment was all purchased at NewEgg. My fear here is that NewEgg is allowing partner companies to sell poor representations of “refurbished”. I have to really evaluate my risk/reward on these now.

    Note that I purchase for personal use, but also for my company and other small businesses that I support. At the very least I have to be much more cautious now about looking at anything refurbished for a business environment, even a small business that is on a tight budget where it really helped.

  • Daniel F says:

    My experience with refurbished electronics has been less than stellar. I will occasionally buy something but usually as a last resort. While they are often touted as being practically new, my biggest concern is always the fact that a new product will carry a one year warranty while a supposed ‘new or nearly new’ refurbished product only carries a 90 day warranty. If companies truly want to tout a refurbished item as being as good as new, they should offer a solid one year warrant like new, or at the very least 180 days instead of a paltry 90 days. The warranty is what keeps me from buying refurbished almost every time. My two cents for whatever it’s worth.

  • irwinmainway says:

    Good info except about Windows licensing. Windows 8 – 8.1 – 10 don’t even have COA labels attached. The activation is based on the hardware configuration of your PC tied to the Product Key then saved on a Microsoft server somewhere.
    Even if a Windows 7 OEM COA, I disagree that the original OEM supplied Windows Recovery disk is needed, if ever supplied in the first place. Microsoft allows free downloads of Windows 7, simply enter that COA you paid for. Tip – Windows 7 OA COA can indeed be transferred, old PC to new.

  • SakshiBansal says:

    Thank you for sharing the blog on 5 myths about buying re-certified or refurbished hardware. You have explained all myth in details. With the help of this article, people can easily clear their thoughts about refurbished hardware. If you have more information then keep sharing. Thank you!

  • Loving the information on this site, you have done great job on the content.
    Very interesting details you have remarked, appreciate it for posting.

  • Sharah says:

    I really agree with Myth 3- Refurbished computers are only for schools, libraries, and other public use places. more and more people are opting for refurbished. As the global supply chain is not functioning optimally. Refurbished products are the savior.

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