The refurbished phone market is growing as more and more retailers and suppliers are beginning to sell refurbished handsets. Each has its own prices, warranties, product lines, and testing policies meaning that in order to get the best deal when you buy refurbished phones, it’s often ideal for you to shop around.
There are now so many places where you can buy refurbished phones that you can often be paralyzed by choice. You may be puzzled and perplexed about where you should go looking and which retailers offer the best offers on refurbished phones.
When you’ve already done a lot of research into refurbished phones, figuring out where to buy them can feel like an added hurdle for you to jump over. So to help make your path to purchase a whole lot easier, we’ve put together reviews of five places to buy refurbished phones, comparing and reviewing them based on price, warranty, stock and the testing process that they go through.
As the maker of the iPhone, Apple is one of the most trusted names in the refurbished phones space. It’s understandable why so many people would want to buy a refurbished iPhone from the very people who made the phone in the first place.
Testing: Apple refurbishes its iPhones through the Apple Certified Refurbished program which means that the devices have been tested, certified and repaired by Apple itself and will come in branded Apple packaging. The package also includes a brand new battery and outer shell.
Price: You really do pay for the privilege of the Apple brand here as products purchased through the Apple Certified Refurbished program tend to be a lot more expensive than refurbished iPhones purchased through other retailers. For example, a 32GB iPhone 7 unlocked costs $499 from Apple, which is $155 more than the price being offered by Amazon and $100 more than the price offered by Gazelle. Though, you do get free shipping and free returns.
Warranty: One of the big draws towards Apple’s refurbished store is that its products come with an excellent warranty deal. You’ll get Apple’s one-year limited warranty included in the price (there’s also the option to extend the AppleCare warranty, for a fee) and it is also covered by a 14-day returns policy.
Stock: Apple only offers a small range of refurbished iPhones, which does limit your selection quite a bit. For example, you won’t find a refurbished iPhone X through Apple meaning if you want the very latest phone, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Online retailer Amazon has been selling refurbished phones for a while but it recently expanded its efforts as the market has grown significantly. Because so many of us already shop at Amazon (it has more than 300 million active customers according to Statista) it’s no wonder why so many people buy their smartphones from Amazon too.
Testing: Amazon’s refurbished phones are certified to work and look like new. They will arrive packaged in a generic box but packaging will often include the accessories you’d expect with a new version of the handset, though exceptions will be listed on the product page.
Price: Amazon offers a good range of prices that should suit you no matter your budget. At the lower end of the scale you’ll be able to pick up an iPhone SE for just $144, and for those with more money to spend, you can purchase an iPhone 8 for as much as $899. Amazon’s free shipping is also an added bonus and many of its refurbished phones are eligible for Amazon Prime delivery.
Warranty: Amazon is generally quite good when it comes to returns and warranties on other products and there’s no difference with its refurbished phones section. The phones will be certified to look and work like new, but there is also a minimum 90-day limited warranty if for some reason the phone doesn’t work as expected.
Stock: Amazon has a relatively decent amount of stock of refurbished iPhones, stocking refurbished iPhone SEs right through to the refurbished iPhone 8. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for the most powerful handsets around, you’ll be disappointed to learn that Amazon does not currently offer a refurbished iPhone 8 Plus or the refurbished iPhone X.
Mac of All Trades
Don’t be fooled by the name: Mac of All Trades doesn’t just sell refurbished Macbooks and iMacs. This retailer is also regarded as one of the best places to buy refurbished phones. It has been in business for more than 20 years making it one of the most trusted names in the industry, right up there with Apple itself.
Testing: This retailer prides itself on its rigorous testing process which includes full hardware diagnostic testing, immediate replacement of a faulty component, careful inspection for cosmetic damage (there is also a rating scale: fair, good, excellent), and its handsets are cleaned using electronically and environmentally safe cleaning products. Testing is carried about by Apple Certified Technicians, too.
Price: Mac of All Trades’ refurbished phone deals tend to skew to the lower end of the price scale, which will be good news for phone fans on a budget. Its current lowest deal on refurbished iPhones is an iPhone 6S for just $279 (a saving of $170 or 38% off of the RRP), while its two highest deals are an iPhone 6S+ for $379 (a saving of $220 or 37% off of the RRP) and an iPhone 8+ for $779 (a saving of $170 or 18% off of the RRP). It also offers free shipping.
Warranty: Refurbished phones come with a 90-day standard warranty and this retailer prides itself on its “hassle-free” returns policy. Its standard warranty begins on the date that the product is delivered and if a hardware fault is reported within this 90 days, Mac of All Trades will attempt to repair the issue or will give you an exact replacement or store credit if the issue is non-repairable.
Stock: Mac of All Trades stocks various refurbished phone models including the iPhone 6, 6S, 6+, SE, 7, and 8+. Again, that’s unlikely to satisfy those looking for the latest and greatest handsets, but it will suit those looking for a good quality, mid-range device.
Gazelle has only been selling its Gazelle Certified pre-owned, used and refurbished phones since 2014, but the company has quickly risen to become one of the top names in the refurbished industry. It has a swath of positive reviews from its customers and is renowned for its “no strings attached” policy which means that you just buy a handset, with no contract or commitment included.
Testing: A Gazelle Certified device is a device that has gone through its 30-point inspection program. This extensive testing system ensures that the phone is in complete working order, giving you some extra confidence when you buy a handset through this retailer.
Price: Whether you’re looking for the cheapest phone available or are just aiming to shave a few extra dollars off of the very best refurbished phones on the market, Gazelle has got you covered. There are iPhone 5S’ selling for $139 all the way up to an iPhone X for $959 and just about every other price point in between. The one caveat is that Gazelle does charge $8 for shipping, which is disappointing considering the free shipping offers from Amazon, Mac of All Trades, and Apple.
Warranty: Smartphones from this retailer come with a 30-day warranty and a fairly simple returns policy. Simply, if you aren’t satisfied with your purchase of a Gazelle Certified device, you can return it within 30 days of delivery and receive your money back (minus a $15 restocking fee).
Stock: Gazelle has what seems to be the largest and most diverse range of refurbished iPhones of all of the retailers on this list (perhaps with the exception of choice #5 😉). It sells: the iPhone 5S, 6, 6+, 6S, SE, 7, 7+, 8, 8+, and the iPhone X. There’s a sweltering amount of choice here.
We recognize that going to all of these retailers and comparing prices and deals is a tedious and time-consuming effort, which is why here at RefurbMe, we do it for you. RefurbMe is a price comparison site for refurbished Apple products that takes the legwork out of finding the best savings on refurbished iPhones.
We list offers from the retailers mentioned above as well as several other trusted refurbished phone providers, with the aim of helping you make the best choice when buying refurbished phones.
Price: RefurbMe lists deals ranging from $139 for a refurbished iPhone 5S all the way up to $959 for a refurbished iPhone X. Using the handy sliders on the right-hand side of the menu (check out the screenshot above), you can set a minimum and maximum price range. Alternatively, you can use the drop-down menu and select “Lowest price” in order to see the most affordable refurbished handsets first.
Warranty: The warranty on offer will vary depending on which retailer is selling the refurbished phone. As noted, if you buy a refurbished phone from Apple, you will have access to a longer default warranty than if you purchase from Gazelle. However, all of the deals listed by RefurbMe come with a minimum 30-day warranty included in the price.
Stock: RefurbMe lists deals on an extensive list of refurbished iPhones. Offers are available for refurbished iPhone 5S’ to the iPhone X and the handsets in between. There are different storage size variations of these handsets (e.g. 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 256GB storage), different colors, different refurb condition (excellent or good condition), and you can even choose a specific carrier (or you can choose an unlocked version). These filters can all be decided using the menu on the left-hand side of the screen, helping to refine your search even more. Moreover, you can even set up stock and deal alerts, letting you receive an email when the phone you’re looking for has come back in stock or has had a price drop.
Buying a refurbished phone doesn’t need to be a huge hassle. We believe that trying to save money on the tech you love shouldn’t take so much time.
Please share this article if you found it useful! You can also check out our list of places where you can buy refurbished MacBooks if you’re looking to buy a new Apple laptop too.
Sign up to the RefurbMe newsletter below for more blog posts like this, the latest Apple refurbished deals and price drops. (We have a no-spam guarantee).