Renewed Vs. Refurbished (What’s The Difference?)

Different modern devices on white background


When you surf the internet to buy an electronic device, you may come across the terms “refurbished” or “renewed” on some product descriptions.

Both of them show the device is not brand-new.

What’s the main difference between them?

Knowing it helps you make a better decision when buying a device.


Renewed Vs. Refurbished (What’s The Difference?)

Tech shopping device gadget concept. Happy young people buying a new smartphone in mobile shop.


Renewed and refurbished are essentially the same.

The only difference is in the feeling that they evoke in the customer.

Many people have negative feelings towards the term “refurbished,” viewing these products as low quality and in poor condition.

As a result, large retailers such as Amazon use the term “renewed” to reassure their customers that they’ll receive working products in good condition.

Amazon classifies renewed products into refurbished, pre-owned, and open-box.

Pre-owned products are used and returned with the return policy.

Open-box products don’t have the original packaging but are still unused.

All these three categories will have diagnostic tests, replacement of defective parts, and repackaging if necessary.

That said, some companies may have different wordings to refer to items of different conditions.

For example, they may use “Refurbished” for repaired items, whereas “Renewed” indicates the device hasn’t been used.

Another example is Newegg, a reputable website offering refurbished electronics.

On this website, refurbished encompasses all electronics returned to the manufacturer for physical defects.

However, not all refurbished products can have physical defects.

Suppose you purchase a piece of electronics, open the box, but don’t use it.

You want to return it because you don’t like it, or you realize it’s not compatible with your other hardware.

Newegg considers these as refurbished.

Other companies may consider a product that didn’t pass quality tests refurbished.

It’s better to review the company’s terms to see if they differ.


Advantages And Disadvantages Of Getting A Renewed Or Refurbished Device


1. Advantages

Young repairer working with screwdriver in service center


A. Price

Refurbished or renewed devices can’t be sold as new, so they’re usually cheaper than buying new ones.

It’s their most important advantage.

For example, If you love the design and quality of a high-rated smartphone and don’t want to break the bank, this option is good for you.

You can find refurbished iPhones that cost even $350 cheaper than the new ones.


B. Eco-Friendly

Electronic devices severely impact the environment, cause water and air pollution, and fill landfills with e-waste.

Buying refurbished products is a good alternative that will protect our environment.

These products are recycled correctly and don’t lead to environmental damage because you reduce the e-waste by reusing devices.


C. Warranty

When you buy a refurbished or renewed product, it usually comes with a warranty.

If your purchased product malfunctions or you don’t want it for any reason, this option gives you the chance to return it.


D. Repaired By Experts

Refurbished products generally undergo a close inspection.

Experts do the refurbishment process carefully.

It doesn’t matter why the product has been returned.

They check all the pieces and internals.

If something is wrong, they replace it with a new one and ensure that the product is almost new.


2. Disadvantages

Angry frustrated annoyed young adult man consumer feel rage looking at computer


A. Shorter Warranties

Refurbished products have shorter warranty terms than brand-new ones.

The length of warranty in refurbished products depends on who did the refurbishing.

When a manufacturer refurbishes and resells an item, the warranty will last for at least a year.

However, the store’s warranty will be for 30 to 90 days.


B. Do Not Cover The Latest Version

You may choose refurbished products for their excellent price, but pay attention that some products’ latest and greatest versions won’t be sold at the refurbished price.

The latest technology may cost like brand new ones.


C. Possible Defects

Refurbished products have usually been used by someone else and returned because of possible malfunctions, so they likely have some defects.

These defects could be physical or internal.

Physical defects may be blemishes like scratches and nicks on the surface of that product.

Internal problems are more difficult to notice.

For example, the phone’s camera may not work, or the speakers may not be loud enough to hear.

These defects are likely to be listed in the product description.


D. Unknown Lifespan

One of the most significant disadvantages of buying refurbished items is their unknown history.

You don’t know who used it before and how it was used.

It means you don’t know how long the device will last.


What To Consider When Purchasing A Renewed Or Refurbished Device

Young woman receives advice from seller in store of household appliances and gadgets, buying camera.


1. Find A Trustworthy Seller

Always buy refurbished items from a reliable seller.

The best choice is the original manufacturer.

If you don’t want to purchase from the original seller, check the seller’s reviews.

Many online sellers offer you incredible prices, but you should consider whether they’re worth trusting to invest your money in.


2. Read The Product Description

Check the condition of the product before buying.

The product description tells all you need to know about it.

For example, if you want an iPhone, look if the camera works properly.

Also, check the battery and display condition.


3. Check The Warranty

Don’t buy any refurbished device without a warranty, as it protects you in the future.

If a device doesn’t work, you can use its warranty to repair it or get a new one.

Ask the seller about details of the warranty before buying.


4. Check The Extra Items In The Package

Check the product box to see whether you received all the items mentioned in the description.

The package should include all the accessories you’d receive when buying a new device.

For example, a phone box should come with charging gear, earphones, and cable, but it doesn’t happen all the time.

Plus, test the accessories to ensure they work properly.


5. Return Policy

The refurbished device may start malfunctioning after some days, and you need to return it to the company, so don’t forget to buy the products which come under the return policy.

Different companies may have different return policies, allowing you to return the product within a certain period.


6. Know The Difference Between Refurbished And Used Devices

Typically, refurbished devices come under warranty and will be checked out during refurbishment.

They’re more reliable for investing your money.

However, used devices are second-hand items that an individual resells.

They aren’t checked and repaired and don’t have a return policy or warranty.

Therefore, research carefully before buying and ensure you buy from a reputable store or seller.


7. Check The Customer Reviews

Customers who have bought a device recently explain its pros and cons, and it will help you to make a more thoughtful decision.

You can also find the real picture of that product and imagine what your future purchase will look like.


Grading Of Refurbished Devices

A collection of electronic gadgets all in black organized in a minimalist style.


A refurbished grade is a ranking used to classify the cosmetic condition of refurbished devices.

This grade mostly depends on some factors such as:

  • What is the cosmetic quality of the device?
  • How long has the previous owner used that device?
  • What does its packaging look like?

Generally, this grading ranges from A to C.

Each of these grades has a different meaning.

Some companies use different grading systems.

You can usually find a key explaining the grades on their website.


A. Grade A

Grade A offers the best quality you expect from refurbished products.

Their cosmetics are excellent.

You will find only very light scratches if any.

These items are mainly those sold to the customer, but they never used them and returned them immediately after opening the box.

In other cases, they were display items in a shop, so it was just turned on and off.

You can see minor signs of previous use in them.

It doesn’t have any problems in functioning.

All of the devices will be tested before reselling.


B. Grade B

Grade B is the second-best quality.

You can expect to see light scratches or scuffs.

These imperfections only refer to appearance.

Just like Grade A products, they’re tested thoroughly and function perfectly.

They’re more affordable than Grade A products, so they could be ideal if you have a limited budget.


C. Grade C

These products come with the lowest cosmetic quality, showing noticeable physical defects.

Although they’re tested and fixed just like Grades A and B, their appearance looks like a used product.

For example, you may see dents or shiny keys on the keyboard.

You can trust this grade if you need a laptop and don’t have enough money.


What Renewed Or Refurbished Devices Should You Buy?

Open laptop with digital tablet and white smartphone.


1. Laptops And Tablets

Reputable companies inspect refurbished laptops and tablets carefully before reselling them.

Therefore, you can trust that they’ve been checked and have new, replaced parts.

Moreover, if something goes wrong with your device, the warranty ensures you can return it to the company.


2. Video Game Consoles

To be honest, game consoles are expensive.

You can find a refurbished video game console from a reputable seller at a lower price.

You should check the device before buying and ask for a warranty to ensure it is a good choice for you.

Also, make sure the manufacturer has refurbished the product, not an obscure third-party seller.


3. Smartphones

You can buy a refurbished smartphone but deal only with the manufacturer.

Likely, the third party won’t give you any warranties.

Many people risk saving more money and trust in refurbished phones.

It could be a good decision if you consider all the aspects before buying.


What Renewed Or Refurbished Devices Should You Not Buy?

New modern printer on table in office


When you want to buy some devices refurbished, it’s not worth saving a few bucks over possible troubles that may occur.


1. Televisions

Although refurbished or renewed TVs suggest lower prices, you should consider some factors to avoid going blind.

You may buy a used TV in good condition with no sign of physical damage.

However, it’s hard to understand how old the refurbished TV is, and it may have many hours of playtime.


2. Printers

Most refurbished printers look new but may have old ink flowing through their guts.

Typically, it’s better to choose a new, but not expensive, printer than to have a refurbished one, which may cause many problems in the future.


How To Tell If A Phone Is Refurbished

Man using New iPhone 13 Pro


1. iPhone

The iPhone is one of the devices many people prefer to buy refurbished because of the hefty price tags on the new ones.

If you want to buy a refurbished iPhone, some reliable stores help you experience a safe purchase.

They include the Apple company, Amazon Renewed, and Amazon Warehouse.

If you have already bought an iPhone, you can check the model number to see if it’s refurbished.

To find this number, go to Settings > General > About.

In this section, you will see different details about the device.

Check the model number.

This is a code that starts with a letter.

Each letter has a special meaning.

If it starts with M, it shows that the phone is new.

If it starts with F, it’s refurbished by Apple.

If it starts with P, it shows that this device was sold as a personalized iPhone, and there’s an engraving on its chassis.

Also, the letter N means that an iPhone replaced a defective iPhone.


2. Android

Unfortunately, Android phones don’t have a model number like iPhones to indicate their status.

In older versions (android 4.0 and below), you can use a code to know the hidden RTN menu of your device.

It indicates the condition status of the phone.

You can find it by dialing a number into the keypad (##786#), which answers YES or NO to you if your phone is refurbished.

The hidden RTN has been disabled for newer models (above android 4), and you can only download an app from the Google Play store to give you the necessary information about the device.


Who Sells Refurbished Devices?

Cincinnati - Circa May 2017: Amazon Store in the U Square


You can buy refurbished products directly from those who fix them or big retailers like Apple, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and eBay.

It is necessary to know the essential information about each of these businesses for smart shopping.


1. Apple

Apple is one of the best retailers for refurbished products.

It provides like-new products with significant discounts.

All their refurbished products come with a one-year warranty.

Its products include iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac.


2. Amazon

Refurbished products are called renewed in this company.

A qualified supplier will test the products to work correctly and look like new ones.

If a third-party seller produces an item, Amazon will inspect it.

Amazon renewed products include: laptops and computers, smartphones, tablets, home appliances, musical instruments, etc.

The Amazon Renewed Guarantee supports all products.


3. eBay

This company sells many different refurbished products from third parties.

It has a Certified Refurbished program for its products, which provides perfect discounts and direct repairs by manufacturers for customers.

They give you a two-year warranty with your purchase.


4. Best Buy

Most of the products of Best Buy will be refurbished by their subsidiary, Geek Squad.

Third parties will refurbish only a few products, but all have a return policy and warranty.

Their warranty is usually shorter than the warranty of a new product.


5. Walmart

Walmart is the second biggest retailer in the world.

This company has various standards for each of its products.

It labels some of them “certificated,” while others don’t include it.

Also, the return policy depends on the seller.



thinking man with phone


1. Are Refurbished Phones Still Waterproof?

Waterproofing is not guaranteed on refurbished devices since the seller may open them to test and repair them.

However, if waterproofing is mentioned in the product description, it should be as water-resistant as a brand-new model.


2. What’s The Difference Between Refurbished And Certified Refurbished?

Refurbished products are those that a third-party company or an individual fix and resell.

On the other hand, the manufacturer inspects and fixes the certified refurbished products.

The former will land you a better price, but most of them don’t come with a warranty.

The certified refurbished has a short-term warranty.

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