Refurbished Computers: Trusted Hardware or Just ‘Used’?
“Refurbished” is a word that gets thrown around pretty loosely these days. While it does sound better, in many cases it has simply replaced plain old “used,” or worse, “second-hand.” Case in point: I was walking past the display of a mom n’ pop electronics repair shop (yes, they still exist) when I saw a DVD player in the window. On the tag? You guessed it: “Refurbished.”
In some instances it’s easy to dismiss refurb equipment as discarded, inferior, faulty… in other words, trash. In the case of quality-refurbished technology, however, things aren’t so cut and dried. In fact, investing in devices restored to their factory functionality and cosmetic condition can be the obvious choice for forward-thinking, environmentally minded organizations—especially small- to medium-sized businesses, not-for-profits, and educational groups.
We know that with so many variables, navigating the murky waters of the refurbished IT equipment industry can be difficult. And you’re right to feel skeptical and concerned when faced with the decision to go refurb. In this article you’ll learn:
- How to determine if investing in top-quality refurbished equipment is a viable way to lower operational costs and make your IT budget go further
- What “refurbished” actually means
- What to look for when choosing a refurbisher
Let’s face it: in a tech climate where seemingly every week there are advances in client devices, we all need to keep up. It’s indisputable that to grow, an organization needs modern IT hardware that is reliable and tailored to its mission, but unless you’re a Fortune 500 company, it’s very likely that your IT budget is not bottomless. This is where refurbished tech equipment comes in.
Purchasing top-end refurbished devices such as PCs, laptops, and printers can be a prudent decision for smaller organizations—one that has benefits beyond the bottom line. In addition to lowering operational costs and increasing profit margin, buying refurbished devices keeps millions of tons of electronic waste (e-waste) from landfulls.
But what sets apart a “refurbished” device from, well, we’ll just say it: somebody else’s garbage?
Simply put, a refurbished device has been repaired and restored to its original factory condition and functionality. And while refurbishing standards and practices vary greatly, if done correctly, there should be little to no difference between a new device and its refurbished counterpart. If you’re thinking, “that sounds like a big ‘if’,” you’re right. As the consumer, it is up to you to decide if a refurbisher is up to par.
So let’s say that after rigorous research you’ve found a refurbishing company that delivers high-quality devices that meet top performance standards. Easy choice, right? Nope. There are other things to consider when deciding to partner with a refurbisher.
Off-brand? Off the list
You want a refurbisher who deals only in the top brands you trust, and devices sourced from organizations (never individuals). Even the best restoration is only as good as the brand behind it, so if you know that you trust Lenovo laptops, for example, go with a company that restores devices manufactured by Lenovo. Pick based on the reputation of the brand first.
Warranty and Customer Support
Another great indicator of caliber in the refurbishing industry is how a refurbisher takes care of their customers after a purchase has been made. A top refurbisher will always confidently stand behind a product by offering comprehensive warranties and an attentive customer service team. Managing risk is important to organizations and individuals, so make sure you’re getting the peace of mind you need in the form of a solid warranty—and the knowledge that if something goes wrong, you won’t be on the phone for hours trying to get the problem fixed.
When it comes to your organization, you don’t want “cheap.” You want value. Businesses, especially in the beginning stages, need the most-bang-for-buck IT solutions, but beware refurbishers that offer inferior products, cheap. Choose a refurbisher that gives you a great deal without sacrificing quality.
Refurbished hardware could be your organization’s smartest investment—providing you’ve done your due diligence in finding the right refurbisher. You want top-brand devices carefully restored to like-new functionality and form, backed by comprehensive warranties and customer service. You want value without sacrificing quality. When you partner with a top-caliber refurbisher, you’ll get all that, and, arguably most importantly, you’ll feel confident in your decision.