How Much Can Businesses Save If They Buy Refurbished Laptops Instead Of Brand New Ones

Most businesses need some form of computer for staff to perform administrative tasks at work. For businesses with more specific computing requirements, they would most likely be better served with desktop computers or new cutting-edge laptops. However, in most other cases, businesses only need laptops which are still functional, and have decent battery life.

Wear And Tear On Refurbished Laptops

Refurbished laptops have components which have seen some use, which will mean that components such as batteries, hinges and memory drives have been subjected to some degradation from regular use.

While refurbished laptops are cheaper and and may even be very useable at point of purchase, it is reasonable to expect that their full usage lifespan is shorter than a laptop that was purchased new.

With that said, purchasing a refurbished unit for a relatively recent model limits the amount of wear and tear it could have experienced, but such units will also usually be priced higher.

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Estimated Savings For Refurbished Recent Models

It is difficult to find a refurbished laptop for sale that is the same model and specifications as a laptop that can still be purchased brand-new, since refurbished stock for new models are unlikely to exist for the first 1-2 years from its launch, and thereafter it is likely that the laptop model is no longer in production.

Nevertheless, at the time of writing, we were able to find a refurbished Dell Inspiron 15 with an intel Core i5-1235U for sale on Dell’s website, with the same specs as a brand-new unit that is still on sale.

The brand-new unit costs $999, while the refurbished unit costs $719, making for a $280 ‘discount’ if you purchased the refurbished unit at this point.

The refurbished unit is estimated to be between 1-2 years old. Both the refurbished and brand new units are using a 12th generation i5 processor, which makes it 2 generations behind the most recent 14th generation processor which was released in October 2023.

For a second comparison, the 13-inch Macbook Air with an M2 chip with 8-core CPU costs $1,399 brand new, and costs $1,199 as refurbished on a third-party website at time of writing. This constitutes a $200 difference in price between the brand new and refurbished model.

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Logistical Hurdles

It is difficult to purchase multiple refurbished laptops of the same model. For home businesses and small companies this may not be an issue, but for larger companies, especially those which need to configure the laptops in a certain way, this may be a logistical headache for the staff who are managing the laptops.

One example is enrichment centres which may need to configure laptops with parental controls or other controls to prevent accidental (or mischievous) reconfiguration. Since the Windows operating system differs slightly from laptop to laptop, it may become tedious to figure out the nuances between the different models.

Some companies may also require the laptops to meet the minimum requirements of certain software, and it may be tedious for the person in charge of procurement to check each individual laptop for compatibility.

Old Refurbished Units

There is still a use case for some companies to purchase old but refurbished laptops for use. For instance, in some use cases, the laptops do not need to be very fast, they just need to have some internet connectivity and are able to run Microsoft Office. There are laptops for sale on these platforms in the price range of $200-$350. Nevertheless, these laptops, despite being refurbished, are about 10 years old. At the time of writing, a refurbished Macbook Air 2013 costs $343.50. Do bear in mind that while the prices are really cheap, there is a risk that these devices may only last for a year or two. In addition to this, the refurbished Macbook Air only has 128GB of memory and 4Gb of RAM, which may be an issue for some applications.

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You Get What You Pay For

With the laptop market being saturated with options, it is rare if a specific niche makes one model much more worthwhile than another. A refurbished laptop may be slightly cheaper than something brand new, but it would have been through some wear and tear, shortening its useable lifespan.

Aside from being slow, old refurbished laptops’ electronics have usually degraded somewhat so they may be hot and may suffer from reliability issues in the future. They may still serve as worthwhile purchases especially for young companies that need to stretch the dollar. Nevertheless, given the potential for headaches for losing business-crucial data on the device should it crash, alongside the downtime, it is best to shell out and invest in a newer laptop.

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