Skip to content
UP TO $50 OFF 🏷️ Sale Ends June 17th
UP TO $50 OFF 🏷️ Sale Ends June 17th
What is Refurbished? A Quick Guide to Understanding Refurbished Electronics

What is Refurbished? A Quick Guide to Understanding Refurbished Electronics

“Refurbished” is a specific type of device that was usually previously owned, acquired by a repair shop, and returned to proper working condition. You’ll typically see refurbished followed by the type of device, like refurbished laptops or refurbished tablets.

The repair shop is known as a refurbisher. A reputable refurbisher has trained and certified technicians giving every device individual attention to identify and correct issues before the unit is listed for sale. Additionally, a reputable refurbisher often includes a warranty on the devices they sell.

Keep reading to learn more about refurbished devices, the refurbished process, and how to ensure you buy from a reputable refurbisher. 

What Exactly is a Refurbished Device?

You’re browsing computers and see a Dell refurbished computer — what does that actually mean?

A refurbished computer is usually a previously owned device that has undergone extensive testing and repair before being sold. At times, they encompass open-boxed items or returns that haven't been extensively used but cannot be marketed as new. Nevertheless, before being made available again, these returned items undergo standard testing and inspections to ensure their quality and functionality.

Some consumers are hesitant to consider a refurbished device, but generally, you’ll be able to buy a more powerful computer for less money when compared to factory-new models. Additionally, factory-new computers are tested in batches, which means your specific model may not have been tested before being sold.

Used vs. Refurbished

Used and refurbished computers are often confused since they both had previously been used. Yet, there are critical differences between these two categories of devices that should be understood before you make your decision.

A used device has not undergone any testing and is listed for sale as-is. There’s rarely a warranty or any other way to ensure it has been properly refurbished. A used device may include a variety of defects and, in some cases, will not work at all. Additionally, the device has not been adequately secured to give you confidence in storing sensitive information and logging into essential accounts.

A refurbished device has been thoroughly inspected and repaired by trained technicians. As a result, you’ll receive a secure, reliable device and avoid many pitfalls of used computers. In the next section, we’ll explore the comprehensive refurbishment process to further demonstrate the difference between used and refurbished devices.

An Ideal Refurbishment Process

Refurbishers often have their own individual processes for refurbishing devices. Below, let’s explore what an ideal process looks like based on our process:

  1. Source the devices: Every refurbisher sources their devices from various companies, resellers, and businesses. They can even come from individuals looking to upcycle.
  2. Thorough sanitation: All new devices are thoroughly sanitized to remove all dust, debris, and other potentially harmful airborne particles.
  3. Filter out devices not suitable for refurbishment: This is a crucial step in which the refurbisher decides which devices will move forward with refurbishment and which ones will not. Some devices are too damaged to be worth refurbishing. This step includes thoroughly testing all the components to determine if the device is better sent to an electronics recycler.
  4. Wipe all data: All data is carefully wiped once the device is ready for refurbishment. A simple hard drive reformat, which many individuals and resellers might do, is insufficient. The refurbisher will employ advanced tools and techniques to remove all previous data thoroughly.
  5. Inspect, repair, and test: Now it’s time to dive into the components, decide which ones need to be replaced, which ones can be repaired, and return the device to its original working order. At every stage, the technician will test new repairs and make sure the device works as expected.
  6. Additional testing and quality control: Once repaired, an additional testing and quality control process is undertaken to test the technician’s repairs and new components to avoid selling a product with defects or other issues.
  7. Cosmetic repairs: Scuffs, scratches, and other cosmetic issues are repaired to provide the most visually appealing device possible.
  8. Software installation and licensing: The right refurbisher will install and license a genuine operating system before listing the product for sale. However, be aware that many refurbishers may include a trial version instead, and you will still need to buy the OS later.
  9. Listed for sale and shipped: Finally, the product is ready for sale and listed on the refurbishers site or another third-party marketplace. Once purchased, it is carefully packaged and shipped to the buyer.

You can see how every unit sold by a reputable refurbisher has undergone thorough testing and repair before being made available for purchase. This process is why refurbishers are often in like-new condition and avoid many of the issues of buying a used machine.

Why You Should Choose a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR)

A Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR) is a refurbisher that has been thoroughly evaluated by Microsoft and earned the title of MAR, a certification indicative of the company’s quality processes. 

Refurbished desktops sold by a MAR give you confidence in the refurbisher’s processes and will include a genuine copy of Windows. Only MARs are authorized to provide genuine Windows installations.

Additionally, a MAR has a direct line of communication with Microsoft engineers to address complex issues and receive specialized training. The result is that technicians are better equipped to handle any issues that may appear to give customers a quality device.

Choose for Reliable Refurbished Devices

Not all refurbishers are the same; any company can call itself a refurbisher. Fortunately, earning a MAR certification helps you navigate all the options and gives you confidence in the MAR process and end result. is a top North American MAR with highly skilled technicians who ensure every product we sell works as originally designed. 

Ready to find your next reliable computer at a better price than a factory-new machine? Shop our selection today for your next refurbished desktop, laptop, or tablet.

Previous article How to Know if Your Computer is Windows 11 Compatible
Next article Why You Should Buy a Refurb Lenovo ThinkCentre

Compare products

{"one"=>"Select 2 or 3 items to compare", "other"=>"{{ count }} of 3 items selected"}

Select first item to compare

Select second item to compare

Select third item to compare