Refurbished or Second Hand Phones?

refurbished or second hand phones

If paying for a brand new phone leaves you clutching at your wallet in despair, there are other considerations before you take the financial plunge. Many people choose to purchase a second-hand or refurbished phone at only a fraction of the price instead. But what is the difference? And is the refurbished or second-hand option worth considering?

What is a Refurbished Phone?

Refurbished phones are phones which have been repaired after customers have returned them. In some cases, these phones are sold back to the manufacturer due to factory errors or simply returned unused because the customer has changed their mind on purchases. The manufacturer will then repair them to the original factory standard, and then resell them on to someone else, generally with a warranty period.

Refurbished phones are an excellent choice to enable smartphone buyers on a budget to access a basically new smartphone at a much lower cost.

Two Refurbished Samsung Phones Placed Side by Side.

Two Refurbished Samsung Phones. Source

What is a Second Hand Phone?

Refurbished phones are one type of second hand phone, but there are other kinds. A second hand phone is any phone that has been pre-owned and then sold at a lower price to someone else.

The key difference between refurbished phones and second hand phones is while the former is restored to manufacturer level quality and generally comes with a warranty, there is no guarantee another type of second hand phone will even function properly.

What are the Pros and Cons of a Refurbished Phone?

There are numerous pros and cons to acquiring a refurbished phone. Let’s take a look at some of these pros:

  • Reduced Cost
    One of the biggest advantage of refurbished phones. These phones are often hundreds of dollars cheaper than buying new.
  • Professionally Checked and Repaired
    Unlike second hand phones, the issues with refurbished phones are thoroughly checked by the manufacturer so as not to have repeat incidences.
  • Warranty Periods
    Many refurbished phones come with warranty periods, however, it is important to check how long they last.
  • Easier for SIM-only Plans
    Refurbished phones are usually not locked to any network so in many cases, they are more convenient for individuals looking for SIM-only plans.

But there are some negative aspects as well:

  • Shorter Warranty Period
    The warranty period on these phones is usually shorter than those of brand new phones.
  • Older Phone Models
    Any individual looking to score a brand new phone model may struggle to find a refurbished version. It usually takes time for an error to present itself and for the error to be repaired, so it’s likely these phones are slightly older models.
  • Insurance Uncertainty
    In some cases, it is not possible to insure refurbished devices.

What are the Pros and Cons of a Second Hand Phone?

As with refurbished phone, there are a wide array of pros and cons associated with second hand phones.

Here are some of the pros:

  • Reduced Cost
    These phones are usually much cheaper than brand new phones and refurbished phones, helping save even more money.
  • Environmental Concerns
    Purchasing a second hand phone helps look after the environment by keeping the phone in circulation. They are less likely to end up in a landfill.

And the cons:

  • Faulty Phone
    In many cases, there is no way to test the full function of second hand phones. Most often, purchases are basically blind faith.
  • Shady Sources
    There is no surefire way to determine the source of many second hand phones. Unfortunate individuals may end up acquiring stolen phones.

The Choice is Yours!

Smartphones are an important part of everyday modern life, but as they move further away from being a simple communication device towards acting as a small computer, the price can be prohibitive. Many premium models are extremely expensive and many individuals simply cannot afford to spend so much on mobile technology.

Refurbished and second hand phones are a way of easing the financial burden while providing quality phones to consumers. There are plenty of excellent deals available for people who are willing to take a chance on a pre-loved model. Exercise some caution and be careful with your purchases, and you could be the owner of an excellent device for only a fraction of the price.


Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.