Are refurbished laptops good and safe to use?


Refurbished laptops get a bad rap because people think they are used second hand devices with no warranty. But the truth actually is quite the opposite.

Properly refurbished laptops are safe and reliable to use. They have excellent build quality, better hardware, and more features than any consumer grade device. They are usually business class laptops from Lenovo, Dell or HP with warranty and good price to performance ratio.

To spot a good quality refurbished laptop there are a couple of telltale signs.

What makes a good refurbished laptop?

A good refurbished laptop have to be:

  • Grade-A business class device with no visible imperfections on the chassis and screen
  • Clean keyboard and touchpad with no shiny parts.
  • CPU must be either Intel Core i5 or Core i7 4th gen or later with
  • 8 gigs or RAM
  • One year or more warranty.

Of course different use cases have different requirements. For example students and gamers have different needs.

Are refurbished gaming laptops good and worth buying?

Graphically complex games require a dedicated graphics card with its own memory. Devices for the business class segment, that constitutes the majority of the refurbished offers, are not suitable for this.

However, refurbished laptops from manufacturers like Razer, Asus, Alienware, MSI, and Lenovo, specifically made for gaming, are a good option. Usually they are paired with a dedicated graphics card, Core i5 or Core i7 processor and 16 GB RAM. Such a laptop will run modern games at 1080p with 60 FPS with no problem.

Look for machines post 2016, there are offers for refurbished models suitable for gamers. Most of them will save you between $500 and $800+ for a good gaming laptop. Think about laptops similar to MSI GS Series with 144 Hz display and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 for as low as $1300. This is more than $500 below the original price.

Students are at the opposite site of the spectrum in terms of requirements – they need light, reliable, and cheap laptops.

Are refurbished laptops a good solution for students?

Refurbished laptops are great for students. They are fast, portable, affordable, and durable. Refurbished business class laptop with Intel Core i5 5th Gen or Core i3, packing plenty of power for everyday school tasks. Combine that with 8 gigs of RAM and an IPS display and you have the perfect machine.

It is a common practice among tech reviewers to suggest $1500 or $2500 dollars student laptops with dedicated graphic cards, latest processors and 16 gigs of RAM.

Why would anyone suggest such a heavy gaming laptop to a student? Student laptops should be light, inexpensive and targeted toward studying, not gaming.

Let’s look at a couple of key points when choosing one.

Things to look for in a student refurbished laptop?

  • Relatively light durable construction, but not fragile, with well-made plastic or aluminum case.
  • Dual drive – one for the OS, one for storage
  • Core i3 or Core i5 Intel processor. Fourth Gen or later is preferred.
  • Quiet and tactile keyboard. You will spend a lot of time writing papers and researching,  and a quiet keyboard is crucial.
  • Backlight functionality. Useful when working in dark rooms.
  • Fast performance – fast and fluid performance is mandatory.

Are refurbished laptops good for business tasks and general work?

The best value for the money lies within the business segment renovated device. Enterprise laptops are made for heavy use within big companies. They are great for office and home use. Unlike modern consumer models, the enterprise class has high-end specs and better components.

In our office we are relying exclusively on refurbished models like the Lenovo Thinkpad T460s.This is the perfect office machine – inexpensive and powerful. The specs are Core i5-62000 with 8 GB DDR4-RAM, 256 GB (SSD, SATA), HD Graphics 520, and 1920×1080 IPS display. Both Linux and Windows 10 work like charm and have no issues with drivers.

For general home use and office work, like programming or accounting, refurbished laptops are a good solution. Models from Thinkpad T, Dell  Latitude or HP EliteBook series are the best option.

Are refurbished laptops better than new one?

It is very much hardware dependent, but, yes, refurbished laptops can be better than new one if the device went through proper procedures. For example if you compare a new consumer grade laptop model against a certified refurbished business class the refurbished model is certainly better.

Refurbished gaming laptop can also be more valuable than a new one. A model with good specs and strong build quality are no different than a new device. Sellers like Razer, Dell, and Asus have refurbished offers available from their latest generation.

In conclusion

Refurbished laptops are good but you have to be careful when choosing one. Watch out for warranty and return policy. Focus on the business segment, they have better build quality. Don’t go for very old laptops with less than 8 gigs of ram. Fourth gen Core i3, i5, and i7 is a good starting point.