Three Electronic Devices That Shouldn't Be Bought Used


Refurbished electronics offer budget conscious consumers the opportunity to purchase big ticket items at some seriously low prices. These deals are especially good when you’re shopping for a 32-inch television and suddenly realize that something much larger is suddenly in your price range.

Thanks to their lack of mobility and moving parts, televisions are, in fact, a good example of a product that can be easily refurbished. But not all electronics are are a good fit for refurbishment. Items that see a lot of action outside the house sometimes get too much wear-and-tear for a good refurbishing.

Here are a few items that just don’t refurbish well.

Smart Phones

Smart phones have transcended their their role as telephone and moved on to something more like a personal assistant and constant companion. These ubiquitous devices see nearly continuous use and abuse, even when housed in a protective case. For this reason alone, smart phones are not a good fit for refurbishing.

Even a smartphones that have been gently used aren’t much better than heavily used counterparts, especially if you’re interested in using the latest apps. These programs are regularly updated and finding apps for older phones can be a challenge.

This is one of those times when you’re better off shopping around for a new phone or just wheeling and dealing until you can get a cheap one from your cellphone provider.

Video Game Consoles

Earlier we said that stationary appliances are well suited for refurbishment, but video game consoles are a major exception to that rule. PS3’s, Xbox’s and Wii’s all contain disc drives that are constantly in motion when the machine is on.

Now, if you’ve spent any time at all around young video game addicts, you know that video game consoles are rarely, if ever, turned off. Between the spinning disc and the heat of the motor, the insides of a video game console take a real beating.

Even if they’ve been professionally refurbished, video game consoles are another item that should be purchased new. (Now video game discs are another story entirely.)


iPads are one of the most sought after electronic gadgets on the planet but, thanks to a hefty $500 price tag, they not in everyone’s budget range. Refurbished iPads sell for a substantially less, but aren’t always such a great deal.

Weight and ease-of-manufacturing are two factors that weigh heavily engineers who design electronic devices like the iPad. It’s for that reason that the iPad screen is actually glued the device and cannot be easily replaced.

Not coincidentally, cracked screens are one of the most common reasons iPads are returned while still under warranty. As a result, most refurbished iPads have been through a screen replacement process they were never really designed to withstand.

Between the screen issue and Apple’s ridiculously short product cycle, we’ll take a pass on refurbished tablets.


Buying refurbished electronics is always a big of a crap shoot, but there’s no reason why you can’t decrease your exposure to risk. Steer clear of refurbished smart phones, video game consoles and iPads and you’ll get more for your money.

Featured images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source

Jeff Gore writes about technolgy and computers.

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