If you want a fast, reliable laptop for your work, school or entertainment but don’t want to pay the price for new hardware, buying used may be the answer. There are many places to buy used laptops, from big-name retailers to online marketplaces to old-fashioned brick-and-mortar stores. You can even find refurbished laptops directly from the manufacturer, which cuts out the middleman and can offer additional warranties or buyer protection.
But before you go shopping, do your research. Look at laptop reviews for the model you’re considering, and try to find out whether the battery lasts a long time and how many times the screen flickers or has bad pixels. Check whether the keyboard and trackpad are comfortable to use and if there are enough USB ports, headphone jacks, HDMI ports and more. If the laptop has a CD/DVD drive, make sure it’s functional.
It’s also a good idea to pick a model that is known for its durability, or at least not as likely to break down from normal usage, such as a laptop designed for business (Lenovo’s ThinkPad series, HP’s Pro/Elite models and Apple’s MacBook Air) or a more rugged tablet-like design (Samsung’s Galaxy tablets). This will help you get the most out of your purchase and avoid having to spend money replacing a device that simply isn’t up to the task.
Another thing to consider is how much software is included with a used laptop and how easy it will be to upgrade or swap out hardware components, such as RAM used laptops or hard drives. If you’re going to be working with large files, a larger hard drive is a must and can often offset the cost of a cheaper model by itself.
If you choose to shop for a used laptop at an online marketplace, it’s important to read the listing carefully and look for physical damage to the case or display. Choosing a seller with a high reputation is a must. If possible, try to find out the history of the device by asking the seller.
Similarly, it’s best to buy a laptop from a store or manufacturer that offers a return window and warranty for refurbished devices or a marketplace with user reviews and ratings that can help you filter out illegitimate or scamming sellers. It’s also important to know that there are very few cutting edge laptops available used, so you’re more likely to find older hardware than the latest models in some instances.
Of course, you can also save money by getting your laptop from a friend or relative who has an old one they’re willing to part with for a reasonable price. But even that option comes with risks, as you’re likely to deal with a variety of different people and you won’t have the same quality assurance that you’d get from a retailer or manufacturer. That’s why it’s always worth checking for cracks or traces of impact on the body, as well as looking for broken features and a shoddy keyboard and trackpad.