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What Are Factory Refurbished Laptops?

By Alicia Sparks
Updated May 16, 2024
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A factory refurbished laptop is a laptop that was previously owned and for some reason returned to the manufacturer by the customer. Such a laptop is repaired, returned to its original state, and put through a series of tests before it receives its “refurbished” status and resold. Generally, factory refurbished laptops are less expensive than most other models. Other factors, such as the brand and system components, can also affect the price. Buyers can find these laptops at manufacturer or third-party distributor locations.

Buyers should understand that not all factory refurbished laptops were returned for major problems, and some are not returned for problems at all. Customers return their laptops for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the laptop has a slight internal or external defect. Other times, the customer decides he wants a different color or needs a bigger model. Businesses or schools might place orders that are too large and need to return a few laptops.

Once a factory receives a returned laptop, it will put it through a specific series of repairs and reconditioning steps before putting it back on the market. Although these steps might vary by company, typically they include repairing the problem as well as cleaning the hard drive and memory and reinstalling the operating system. Some companies might also repair any cosmetic damage, such as nicks and dings in the casing, but this is not standard. Only once the repaired computer passes all tests will the company resell it. It is for these reasons factory refurbished laptops are not the same as secondhand laptops.

Since factory refurbished laptops were previously owned, manufacturers typically sell them for less expensive prices than their brand-new counterparts. This does not mean that all refurbished laptops are cheap in price, though. Other factors, like the computer’s brand, system components, and size can cause the price to increase or decrease. Still, a rebuilt computer might be an ideal option for a buyer on a budget. Both a business owner in need of several laptops and a college student in need of just one can take advantage of the financial benefits.

People can purchase factory refurbished laptops directly from the manufacturer or from approved third-party distributors. Some manufacturers and distributors sell these laptops on their websites, at their store locations, or both. Before purchasing a refurbished computer, it’s important to shop around and compare brands and prices. Buyers can read reviews of a particular manufacturer’s factory refurbished products to better understand the company’s reputation. Anyone interested in purchasing a factory refurbished computer should first understand any warranty or return policy the company offers.

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Discussion Comments

By Markerrag — On Mar 30, 2014

It has long been said that people shouldn't buy used laptops because those tend to be used a lot harder than regular computers. That, of course, is why the average life of a laptop is generally shorter than that of a desktop. People generally drag laptops around with them and that can be tough on hardware.

Are refurbished laptops an exception to that rule?

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