Should you buy a refurbished phone? A complete guide

With the rate of innovations in consumer technology, it’s no surprise that to keep up, you’d have to spend a lot of money. In a 2019 article, The Verge explained how smartphone prices went from just around $200 some years ago to current flagship ones reaching $2000. Of course, there are a lot of factors that go into these prices. For the most part, the average cost of smartphones has gone down in the last decade, according to Statista.

Still, buying a smartphone has become a mini investment that may or may not yield a good return. Enter the used market. If you need a flagship phone but don’t have the cash to get a brand new one, this may be for you. Or if you’re just looking for a decent secondary phone but don’t want to spend much, buying used is also an option. You can always have it undergo a smartphone repair.

This article will detail the advantages and disadvantages of buying used.


Price is the most compelling advantage that the used market offers. Since, like cars, smartphones lose a lot of their value in the first couple of years after their purchase, chances are, you can find a relatively recent model for a fraction of its original price.

Just a quick scan on eBay’s or Amazon’s used markets can show you how easy it is to find a decent phone that’s significantly dipped in price. That is also helped by the fast turnaround time in the industry. Manufacturers churn out new and improved $1000 phones every year.

The absence of a contract can also be a convincing advantage. People who want to get a relatively new phone but don’t want to be tied down with a two-year contract can choose to buy used instead. That takes the pressure off the user and makes the purchase a single transaction.

That is especially effective for people who just need a decent interim phone while waiting for a particular model down the line.

Reducing one’s carbon footprint may be enough of a reason for some to buy used. It’s virtually impossible to function in the modern world without a smart device, and buying used is a great way to fulfill this necessity while still staying true to your green advocacy.


Of course, the biggest elephant in the room is the unsure state of the used smartphone. Besides the visible signs of wear, you can’t tell how the previous owner used the phone. There’s also a chance that because time passing, the phone no longer has a warranty from its manufacturer.

The battery is also another factor for consideration. Despite how careful the previous owner was in using their phone, the battery life of devices always deteriorates over time. At worst, you may end up with a phone that can’t even last a couple of hours’ worth of screen time.

The latest phones are always filled to the brim with new features. Getting a used phone will likely leave you stuck with a device that doesn’t have the most up to date bells and whistles.


If you do decide to buy used, find one that’s either refurbished and comes with a warranty, or one where you can speak directly with the previous user to understand more about the device. Don’t forget that you can also always have it checked by smartphone repair shops for peace of mind.

Meta title: What You Need to Know When Buying a Used Phone

Meta description: Smartphone prices have gone through the roof in the previous years. That makes buying used more compelling for some. Learn more about its pros and cons.