1. Money
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Tips for Buying Refurbished Computers

How to Save Money When Buying Refurbished Computers

By

If buying a brand new computer is not in the budget, buying a refurbished PC may be the answer. Not only is it budget-friendly to buy a "refurb," but it is also environmentally friendly. When talking about price, refurbished computers generally cost anywhere from 30 to 50 percent less than the retail price of a new computer. However, the significant price difference should not be your only consideration.

What Does Refurbished Mean?

A refurbished computer generally means the system was:
  • Returned by a customer and cannot be resold as new.

  • Failed to meet the original manufacturer’s quality test and was rebuilt.

  • Came from a canceled order.

What to Consider Before Buying a Refurbished Computer

  • Determine What Your Computer Needs Are Now and in the Future
  • If you use the computer mostly for surfing the net, updating your Twitter page, reading your email, and working with the word processor, then you can likely settle for an older PC without a lot of bells and whistles. However, more memory and an increased processing speed would be necessary for playing video games, and downloading music and images.

    Figuring out what you will need from your computer before you go shopping will help insure your satisfaction once you make your purchase.

  • Make Your Purchase Through a Reliable Refurbisher
  • Unless you have a lot of experience with the inner workings of a computer, it is best to stick to retailers and manufacturers who are qualified refurbhishers. Generally it is best to buy refurbs from a retailer that is also authorized to sell new products. Buying from online auctions, off of Craigslist or from a listing in your local paper could become problematic later on and add to the expense in costly repair bills.

  • Match Up Parts When Possible
  • A refurbished computer may be rebuilt by a manufacturer or by a third party. When refurbished by a third party you may find that the machine was fixed with whatever available parts were on hand and do not necessarily match the original specifications. It is helpful to compare the specifications from the refurbished product with the new product to see how it matches up. Ideally, it should be the same.

  • Compare the Warranty and Return Policy
  • Most reputable companies selling refurbished computers will offer at least the standard three-month warranty. This helps to cover any problems which show up immediately. But you also want to know how quickly the company fixes refurbished computers returned under warranty for repair. You can try asking the salesman, but an online search for the seller's name may turn up quality reviews by current customers.

  • What About an Extended Warranty?
  • You may or may not be interested in purchasing an extended service plan for your new refurbished computer, but a company which offers you the option shows how much they support their refurbished products.

  • Any Extras?
  • Most refurbished PCs do not come with a monitor. Also, some do not come with an operating system (software like Windows XP or Windows Vista), CD or DVD player, wireless network cards, sound cards and believe it or not, power cords. Get the specifics of what you are buying and figure out how much it will cost to add the necessary peripherals, hardware and software to get your new PC running like you want.

Finding Reputable Refurbishers

There are many reputable companies selling refurbished computers. A simple Google search on the term "refurbished computers" will turn up various recommendations. Regardless, always take the time to go through the steps above to help insure you are getting not only a good price, but a good product.

Some of the more well known companies selling refurbished computers include:

More Savings With Online Coupons

Once you decide on the system that you want and have narrowed down where you plan to buy it, always check for online coupons before you buy. Online coupons, free shipping offers and special discounts are often available for refurbished computers.

Following the steps above, working with online coupons and exclusive online deals and checking out price comparison sites will help insure that you get a great computer at a great price.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.