The Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Laptop (And How to Know If You’re Getting a Good Deal)


Laptops don’t come cheap, and you’ll probably have to save up to get your hands on a good one. The average laptop buyer parts with around $300-$700 for a decent laptop. If you want a high-end laptop with top-tier specs, be prepared to spend upwards of a thousand dollars.

If you’re strapped for cash, you can always get yourself a used laptop for a fraction of the price. Buying a used laptop is not only good for your pockets; it’s also good for the environment, plus they work fine. There is, however, some degree of risk that comes with buying a used laptop.

Unscrupulous characters may swindle you out of your money when all you’re looking for is a good deal. That’s why most people are super skeptical about buying used laptops. However, if you tread softly and do your digging, you might find a great deal on used laptops.

In today’s post, we’ll be looking at the upsides and downsides of buying a used laptop. We’ll also break down a few things to consider before buying one to get your money’s worth.

Does Used and Refurbished Mean the Same Thing?

Before we go any further, it’s a good idea to understand what used and refurbished devices mean. If you think used and refurbished devices are the same, you’re wrong, but not entirely. All refurbished devices are used, but vendors don’t sell them as such, but why?

As the name connotes, a “used” device has been handled by another user who decided to sell the device as it is. A “refurbished” device, on the other hand, is a used device that has gone through various restoration processes so the retailer can sell it again.

Seems pretty straightforward, right? No, it’s not as simple as you think.

Back then, a refurbished device went back to the original manufacturer for comprehensive restoration before being put back in the market. That means refurbished devices were just a tiny step below new devices.

These days, it’s common to see tags like “seller refurbished.” Seller refurbished means that the seller has repaired the device in question and deemed it functional. You can’t really tell what you’re getting into when you buy a seller refurbished device.

You can trust big-box retailers with refurbs, but individuals from platforms like eBay and Swappa may be sketchy. Most refurbished devices come with a short warranty, like a two or three-month warranty.  Any issues you encounter beyond the warranty date are your problem.

New vs Used Laptop: Benefits of Buying a Used Laptop Computer

Buying a used computer has tons of benefits. Some of them include:


The primary reason why most folks buy used laptops is that it’s cheaper than a new one. You could shave about $200-$300 off the retail price when you get a used laptop.

Used laptops are a great option when you’re on a tight budget. If you need a laptop for some temporary work, buying a used one is the way to go.

Great for the Environment

As the world stares at an impending climate disaster, buying a used climate can help us sidestep this calamity. A used laptop might have ended up as electronic waste, which breaks down and releases toxic chemical waste into the environment. What’s more, you’ll be reducing the demand for new laptops, which subsequently reduces the carbon footprint of laptop manufacturers.

The lithium-ion batteries that our laptops use have far-reaching implications on wild-life and the environment. There have been reports that waste from lithium-ion battery plants is responsible for aquatic life deaths and has ruined agricultural soil in surrounding areas. You’ll be doing the environment a huge solid by buying your laptop second-hand.

Used Laptops Aren’t Old

Most people have this ill-conceived notion that buying a used laptop means buying a rundown laptop from the 90s or the early 2000s. This is far from the truth. Most people sell their laptops, not because they’re old, but because they’re upgrading.

For instance, when businesses upgrade their IT infrastructure, they discard their previous laptops. That means you can get your hands on powerful machines that are fit for business. While it’s hard to find the latest laptop models, it doesn’t mean that you’ll have to settle for archaic models.

No Expensive Add-ons

Laptop manufacturers release newer models of the same laptop with additional features. Some of these extra features aren’t really necessary to the average consumer. To most people, these features are just a marketing gimmick to hike the price.

If you buy your laptop second-hand, you don’t have to pay more for the extra features you don’t need. Whether you buy a used newer version or an older model, you won’t spend a dime on unnecessary features.

Fewer Compatibility Issues

There’s always the fear that when you buy a used laptop, it won’t be compatible with some of the latest software.  Compatibility is a legitimate concern, but not a major one. That’s because most software applications nowadays are backward compatible, meaning they can work on older models.

What’s more, if you’re concerned with compatibility, all you have to do is look for a laptop with specs that can run the software in question.  Plus, the hardware upgrades on the latest laptop models aren’t necessary for running most software. All they do is boost the software’s performance.

Cons of Buying a Used laptop

Despite all the benefits, there are still a few downsides to buying a used laptop. The downside of buying a used laptop include:

Lack of Variety

Your options are pretty limited when you’re in the market for a used laptop.  The chances of finding someone that’s selling the exact laptop you want are very slim. This means you’ll have to contend with the available laptops.

No warranties

You don’t get warranties when you buy a used laptop. Should the laptop break down a few weeks or months after use, you’ll have to use your own cash to repair it.

May Have Viruses

There’s also the risk that the used laptop you buy may be riddled with viruses. However, all you have to do is install an effective antivirus, and you’ll be good to go.

Poor Battery Life

Second-hand laptops aren’t known for their stellar battery life. With consistent usage, a laptop’s battery tends to deteriorate. You may end up buying a laptop with poor battery life. Check here

No Guarantee of a Long-Life Span

You may buy a used laptop that ends up dead within four months. Because the laptop has been under the care of the seller, there; no guarantee that it will last as long as you want it to.

Are you concerned that you might not get a good used laptop deal but still worried about the price of a new one? Don’t worry! You can still find a good price from a leading brand like Lenovo.

How Can you Tell You’re Getting a Good Deal on Your Used Laptop?

There are several places where you can buy a used laptop. In fact, an online search will expose you to a plethora of used laptop sellers. Once you find a reputable seller, how will you know, you’re getting the best deal for the laptop.

Here are a few indicators that you’re getting bang for the buck on your used laptop.

First-Party Warranty

Most used laptops don’t have warranties, but if you find one with a valid warranty, you’ve struck gold. However, make sure that the warranty is a first-party warranty and not a third-party. Most sellers create their own bogus warranties with ridiculous terms that don’t make the warranty worthwhile.

Warranties from the manufacturer give you a sense of security and assurance that you’re buying a genuine product.

Face-to-Face Transactions

If you’re buying from an individual you met online, plan a face-to-face meeting for the best results. Arrange to meet in a neutral public place on a date that’s convenient for both of you.  Physically inspecting the laptop before closing the deal ensures that you get what you want.

A face-to-face meeting also allows you to put your haggling skills to work. If you’re a good bargainer, you can shave off the price a little.

Reputable Source

If you choose to buy a used laptop online, only buy one from reputable sources. Avoid the newer sites and go for more established ones like Swapper or eBay that have put in place measures to protect buyers.

Sensible Price

Remember, when the deal is too good, think twice. A MacBook selling for less than $300 is an obvious scam. Although you’re looking for the best deal, don’t let your frugality blindside you. Find a used laptop that sells at a reasonable price.

Used Laptops Can Be Good Laptops

If you’re extra careful, you can get an amazing deal on a used laptop. However, remember to take the above to heart for the greatest effect. Consider getting a used laptop for your next laptop and see how it works for you.

For more informative content, check out the other articles on the site.


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