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What are Refurbished Computers?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Refurbished computers are older used computer components that have undergone a thorough evaluation and restoration process that makes the computer fully functional. In general, a refurbished computer will sell at a price somewhat below a new computer of similar make and model, and carry a limited warranty. A number of major computer manufacturers offer refurbished computers for sale at discounted prices.

Refurbished products are not a new concept. In times past, typewriters were often offered as refurbished models at a significant discount. Because the typewriters were restored under carefully crafted quality standards, the devices were expected to have a usage life similar to that of a new and previously unused typewriter. The same is true today with refurbished computers.

In order to prepare computers for refurbishing, the process often begins with a total assessment of the system. This includes inspecting all the internal and external components of the computer to ensure the unit is in a condition that merits the time and expense associated with refurbishing. As part of this inspection, any and all issues with hardware and software components are noted and scheduled for repair.

Once the computers are restored to full operating efficiency, they are tested thoroughly. This is to ensure that the refurbished computers are in compliance with the standards put in place by the manufacturer. As part of the refurbished technology process, some of the original features may be enhanced, such as the addition of RAM or the inclusion of a new component that will take the place of an obsolete component. An example of this type of upgrade would be replacing a floppy disk drive with a CD burner and reader.

Refurbished computers provide several benefits to consumers. Because the reworked systems may sell for significantly less than a new computer, buyers who are on a tight budget may find they can afford a machine with more power and with an operating system they trust. This eliminates the need to settle for a weaker computer that is configured to use an operating system or support software that is considered inferior or unfamiliar. Since many refurbished computers do come with some type of warranty as well as a limited service contract, the consumer still has protection similar to that offered with a new system, but without the higher price tag.

For manufacturers, it is also possible to make an equitable amount of profit from the sale of refurbished computers in comparison to newly constructed computer systems. The process of refurbishing an essentially solid computer is much less than building a new one from scratch. This makes it possible to offer the refurbished units at a lower rate, but have much less in the way of component costs and labor involved in preparing the unit for sale.

While many companies claim to offer refurbished computers, it is important for the consumer to determine what the vendor means by refurbished. In some cases, the system has not undergone a rigorous inspection and does not meet industry standards. When considering the purchase of one or more refurbished computers, always obtain information on exactly what was done as part of the refurbishing process and how the final product compares to a new unit. Companies who truly refurbish computers are usually happy to provide specifics about the process, while businesses that do no more than slight enhancements to a used system tend to be very vague about what has been done to refurbish the system.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including EasyTechJunkie, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By anon340606 — On Jul 04, 2013

I like refurbished computers. They are cheap and protect the environment. I bought a refurbished PC online two years ago. The unit runs great even now.

By anon301814 — On Nov 06, 2012

I work in IT and get refurbished computers quite a lot, except when one of the workers needs a top-end machine for video editing.

It's saved our business a chunk of change, but I would advise any potential shoppers to make sure they get theirs from a well-known vendor and make sure that a written warranty is supplied, and is good for a couple of years at least!

By janemark — On Jul 11, 2012

I like your topic. Please share some more info about refurbished computers.

By adoulus — On Jan 17, 2011

This article is really amazing. Along with it, I want to share my personal experience regarding re-furbished computers.

Last year i purchased a dell optiplex gx240 tower pc from an online shop. At the time of purchasing a re-furbished computer, like everyone else, I was also surrounded by many bothersome questions.

Like, is it worth the money I pay, etc., etc.? And I should mention here that my experience with the refurbished computers has been great.

Most of the people say that companies selling re-furbished computers do not gives any guarantee/warranty. It’s true that they don’t provide this. But the only thing you need to see when buying a refurbished computer is the brand from which you are actually buying that computer.

In my case I was lucky, and i would gladly suggest all of the people to have the same experience as I do. --Adoulus

By CoffeeJim — On Oct 08, 2010

I have had mixed results from buying my personal computers from discount refurbished computer retailers. Often there is no warranty provided with the systems or a very limited one usually good for no more then 90 days.

This leads to a periodic lemon that will undoubtedly cause you a headache as you have to replace a system prematurely. There are still many advantages of course to buying refurbished desktop and notebook computers over purchasing brand new equipment.

By dkarnowski — On Oct 08, 2010

@fitness234, you are right in the ability to save quite a bit of money by investing into refurbished computers instead of brand new ones but there is some critical research that must go into purchasing used equipment.

One of the biggest factors to consider when looking at factory refurbished computers is the quality of the repair work and the standards set by the manufacturer itself. This can vary greatly between computer builders and the best way to find out who is producing and cheap refurbished computers would be to consult reviews on the internet.

Many tech specialist who buy refurbished computers will be able to make a recommendation on who and where has the best wholesale deals to take advantage of.

By fitness234 — On Oct 08, 2010

I purchase nothing but refurbished computers for my business as a way to save money and to reduce the cost of my information technology expenses in general. The depreciation that hits the value of computer equipment within the first year of it's life is very costly and can eat into profits for an organization quite significantly.

Because the applications and programs we use in my organization do not require the most state of the art computer hardware to operate, we are able to get by with refurbished units and hence save the money for other expenses.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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