Refurbished vs. Used vs. Remanufactured: Which Is Better?

Refurbished. Recertified. Remanufactured.

If you’re shopping for a non-new device, you probably have read such terms in a product´s description.

We know that you have a decent understanding of what “new” and “used” mean, but refurbished, recertified or remanufactured can be a bit trickier.

What’s the difference between them all?

Here’s what you need to consider when shopping in these tech categories:


NEW: These products come straight from the factory, sealed in-box, and with the manufacturer’s full warranty. The price is, logically, higher than used or refurbished devices.


USED: If you buy a tech product labeled as used, that means it was already used by some person. For example, eBay defines used as “The item may have some signs of cosmetic wear, but is fully operational and functions as intended.” In other words, the device should work as expected but could have little scratches or have a damaged screen.


PRE-OWNED: This term refers to any second-hand product, a well-taken-care-of item. The pre-owned item sits between used and refurbished. It is not new but in good condition.


REFURBISHED: Simply put, refurbished item has been returned by a customer, cleaned up, tested, repackaged and made available for re-sale. In fact, refurbished really means that the product has been returned. The manufacturer will test the product, clean it up, reset to factory conditions, and repackage it. In this case, such a device will be labeled as certified refurbished.

However, the device can be refurbished either by the original manufacturer, the original vendor or some other party.

Warranties on refurbished devices can be the same as new product counterparts or they can be nonexistent. In most cases, a refurbished item is going to cost more than a used one. But both will definitely be cheaper than new ones.


RECERTIFIED: In fact, recertified and refurbished are pretty much the same thing. However, the main difference is that the recertified item is covered by a warranty (between 30 to 60 days) whereas the refurbished is sold “as-is.” without a warranty.


RECONDITIONED: A reconditioned item has also been returned by the customer and cleaned up. But the main difference between reconditioned vs. refurbished is that reconditioned products have gone through fully and extensive testing and possible repair before being repacked and offered for re-sale.


REMANUFACTURED: Remanufacturing refers to the rebuilding of a product to specifications of the original manufactured product uses a combination of reused, repaired and new parts. It is a form of a recovery process that differs from other methods: remanufactured hardware has to match the same customer expectation as a new one.

How To Buy Refurbished Electronics

Buying refurbished electronics is not difficult, and you can definitely find great deals. However, it is important to do some research, before you buy a product that is labeled as refurbished. Always check out not only the product itself but also the seller. Here are a few things to do before you buy a refurbished item:

Reviews: You have to read online reviews of the product you want to buy. This is necessary for a better understanding of the pros and cons, and all features about the item.

Prices: Compare prices of the product, but focus on the difference between refurbished and new. If the difference in price is just a few dollars, get the new one. In this case, it is definitely better to buy a new product then refurbished.

Warranty: Most refurbished items come with a warranty, however, some are covered for only 30 to 90 days. Sometimes you can also find a refurbished product without a warranty unless you pay for it. It is really important to find out how long the warranty on your products is before you buy it.

Return Policy: As with any new product, you have a right to return the ordered product if you are not satisfied. Unfortunately, the length of the return period depends on the seller. A good idea is also to see whether the seller charges a restocking fee for returned items.