Refurbished MacBooks are a smart way for you to save money on that Apple laptop that you really want. Instead of paying full price for the hardware, you can get some striking deals on MacBooks that have previously been owned or used, before being tested and repaired (if needed) and sold again.
But how can you be sure that you’re getting the best price on your refurbished MacBook? And what sort of offers are available, in terms of warranties, shipping, and product lines? To answer these questions, you’ll need to shop around and compare the best deals and this can often be a tedious process.
In order to make that process a whole lot easier for you, we’ve put together a list of five places where you can buy a refurbished MacBook, reviewing these retailers and marketplaces based on price, warranty, stock, and the testing process that the hardware goes through.
For millions of people around the world, Amazon is the one-stop shop for all sorts of goods. You can buy normal, everyday items such as throw pillows, phone cases, and groceries, to weird, novelty purchases such as life-sized Bigfoot statues, a headband with a mullet wig attached, and a pillow that looks like a delicious piece of salmon fish sushi. With this in mind, it makes sense that many people would turn to Amazon to buy refurbished MacBooks too.
Testing: Products sold through Amazon’s refurbished products program (officially called Amazon Renewed) are tested and certified by quality suppliers to look and work like new. Products sold through Renewed will show minimal to no signs of wear. It should be noted that Amazon works with approved third-party sellers to offer its refurbished MacBooks and so the testing process itself may vary depending on the model and offer. Though, the retailer does note that only “select sellers” are eligible to sell Certified Refurbished products on Amazon and that these sellers must maintain a high level of quality.
Price: On average, Amazon’s refurbished MacBooks offer savings of 37% on the RRP (recommended retail price) for a brand new model. This average was compiled by looking at four refurbished MacBook models (offering 61%, 39%, 41%, and 6% savings each).
Buying a refurbished MacBook Pro 13.3-inch Glossy through Amazon costs just $469 which is a $730 (61%) saving off of the RRP. Meanwhile, a refurbished MacBook Pro 15.4-inch Retina through Amazon costs $1,875 which is a $124 (6%) saving off of the RRP. It’s true that no money saving should be sniffed at, but shoppers should be aware of the varying prices when purchasing from this retailer.
Amazon offers free shipping on its refurbished MacBooks, with many of its offers being eligible for Amazon Prime. Also, products will be packaged in a generic box and will come with accessories that you expect with a new product (“exceptions, if any, [are] mentioned on the product page.”)
Warranty: Amazon offers warranties of a minimum of 90-days on its refurbished MacBooks, though some warranty offers may be longer. The length of the warranty will vary based on model, price and who exactly is selling it (e.g. if it’s Amazon itself or a third-party seller).
Stock: Amazon has a reasonable, but not brilliant range of refurbished MacBook stock. As of the time of writing, the retailer lists deals for five different MacBook models: MacBook Air 13.3-inch Glossy, MacBook Air 11.6-inch Glossy, MacBook Pro 13.3-inch Glossy, MacBook 12-inch Retina, and MacBook Pro 15.4-inch Retina. These are some of the most popular models, but this range is far from as extensive as some of the other refurbished MacBook retailers on this list.
Electronics retailer GameStop is best-known for selling video games and video games consoles such as the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, as well as its popular pre-owned gaming service. However, the retailer also sells refurbished and pre-owned consumer electronics and that includes refurbished MacBooks.
Testing: All refurbished products sold by GameStop are guaranteed to work 100%. Before going on sale, all of its refurbished products are tested and have their data wiped at GameStop’s Refurbishment Center.
Price: GameStop’s refurbished MacBooks are priced roughly the same or slightly more than other retailers in the space, depending on which model you look at. It also offers some strong savings when compared to the recommended retail price (RRP) of the hardware.
For example, GameStop offered a refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air (1.3GHz, 128GB) for $549.99 which is approximately 64% cheaper than the brand new version being sold through Amazon for $1499.10 ($999.11 + $499.99 shipping). GameStop also offered a refurbished 13.6-inch MacBook Air (1.7GHz, 128GB) for $399.99 which is just 20 cents more expensive than the refurbished version of the same model being sold through Newegg.
It’s also worth noting that GameStop offers free shipping, meaning that you’ll be able to avoid ludicrous offers and shipping fees such as the Amazon pricing listed above.
Warranty: Refurbished MacBooks sold through GameStop come with a 30-day warranty. The retailer says that most purchases can be returned within 30 days, for free, in-store at GameStop or through its website and you will be able to receive an identical exchange. The retailer also offers a seven-day money back guarantee, meaning that if you aren’t satisfied with your purchase within a week, you can return your refurbished MacBook and get your money back.
Stock: Unfortunately, as of the time of writing, GameStop’s full list of refurbished MacBook stock was unavailable as several models were out of stock. If you would like to know when GameStop’s refurbished MacBooks are back in stock, however, you can click here to set up email alerts and receive a message as soon as they are available again.
As Apple is the creator of the MacBook, you may be used to visiting the Apple Store if you want to buy brand new. But did you know that Apple also sells refurbished MacBooks too? Recognizing that people don’t want to pay full price for brand new, the company has very recently gotten into the refurb market.
Testing: Refurbished MacBooks sold by Apple go through its Apple Certified Refurbished testing program. The testing is conducted by a certified, in-house testing agent and Apple will perform repairs on the device if need be. The device will come in a new white box and will also be packaged with a new power cord/adapter.
Price: Because of the association with Apple, you will be paying a lot more for a refurbished MacBook here when compared to other retailers. For example, Apple’s most affordable refurbished unit is a refurbished MacBook Air 13.3” Glossy 2017 for $849 (a saving of $150 or 15%) compared to Amazon, which recently listed a refurbished MacBook Air 13.3” Glossy 2015 for just $639 (a saving of $360 or 36%). (It’s important to note that this Amazon offer has since gone out of stock and is not currently available).
Warranty: Besides the Apple association, one key reason why many people consider Apple’s refurbished MacBook offers is that they include a very good warranty. All Apple Certified Refurbished products include a one-year warranty, giving you confidence that your new device is covered.
Stock: Apple offers a fairly sizeable pool of refurbished MacBooks, with 18 different devices to choose from. For example, there’s a refurbished MacBook Pro 13.3” Retina 2017 for $1,099 (a saving of $200 or 15%) as well as a refurbished MacBook Pro 15.4” Retina 2017 for $3,379 (a saving of 920 or 21%). Refurbished MacBooks and MacBook Airs are also accounted for. However, it’s important to note that most of the units on offer here are more recent models, released in 2015, 2016 or 2017, meaning that you miss out on some major savings that you’d get if you purchase an older model.
Mac of All Trades
As the name would suggest, Mac of All Trades knows quite a bit about MacBooks, namely refurbished MacBooks, which it is known for selling. The company has been in business for more than 20 years (😮) and it has built up an incredibly strong reputation as a trusted retailer in that time. As we outline with the points below, it’s not hard to see why.
Testing: Mac of All Trades employs an extensive and transparent testing process for its refurbished MacBooks. Its Apple technicians test the quality of the hardware and its cosmetics, including thoroughly testing all hardware components (and replacing those that fail) and cleaning and labeling an item with its specifications. When this retailer sells a device, its technicians will even retest and inspect it a second time for quality control before shipping it to you.
Price: Mac of All Trades offers some of the most affordable deals around. For example, it sells a refurbished MacBook Air 13.3” Glossy 2011 for just $329 (a saving of $970 or 75%) and even more powerful units like the refurbished MacBook Pro 13.3” Retina 2016 is on offer for $1,999 (a saving of $500 or 20%).
Warranty: In case the testing process doesn’t instill you with confidence enough, all Mac of All Trades devices include a 90-day warranty. This warranty covers you for any hardware failures that occur during this 90-day period and Mac of All Trades will either repair the issue (normally completed within three business days of being returned to the retailer) or issue either an exact replacement or store credit equal to the full price of the product at present. It also sells warranty extensions (either one-year or two-year extensions) but these will cost extra.
Stock: As of the time of writing, Mac of All Trades sells 58 different types of refurbished MacBooks. This includes MacBooks first released in 2010, all the way up to those released last year, in 2017. There are MacBooks, MacBook Airs, and MacBook Pros, devices with Touch Bar, devices with Retina and those with various different hard drive sizes. The list is extensive and you have a huge amount of choice to choose from.
If you don’t have time to visit all of the above retailers and compare prices by putting together a massive spreadsheet, then let RefurbMe help you out. RefurbMe is a price comparison site for refurbished Apple products (including refurbished MacBooks), that aims to make it easy for you to get the very best price.
You won’t have to scour the web because RefurbMe has done it for you, compiling the best offers and deals on refurbished MacBooks from trusted retailers.
Price: RefurbMe lists a range of refurbished MacBook deals that will suit you, regardless of your budget. As of the time of writing, the best MacBook Air deal is the $329 offer listed above, the best MacBook Pro deal is for a refurbished MacBook Pro 13.3” Glossy 2010 for $349 (a saving of $750 or 68%) and the best MacBook deal is for a refurbished MacBook 12” Retina 2015 for $779 (a saving of $520 or 40%). If you’re looking to pay a premium price for increased power, then there are also high-end deals such as the refurbished MacBook Pro 15.4” Retina 2016 for $3,379 (a saving of $920 or 21%).
Warranty: The warranty on offer will vary depending on which retailer is offering the deal through RefurbMe. However, all of the refurbished MacBooks listed by RefurbMe include a minimum 30-day warranty.
Stock: RefurbMe lists a huge amount of refurbished MacBook deals, currently offering 87 products to choose from. There are MacBooks that were first released in 2010, devices that were released in 2017 and those in between. You can also choose from different storage sizes (from 128GB to 2TB), different screen sizes (from 11.6” to 17”), memory, screen type, processor type, processor speed, graphics, color, and whether the MacBook includes the Touch Bar or not. The menu on the left-hand side of the screen allows you to select from this criteria.
Moreover, RefurbMe lets you set up Price Watch alerts so you can receive an email as soon as the price drops (read our blog post for easy instructions on how to set that up). You can even set up alerts that let you know as soon as the refurbished MacBook you want is back in stock.
Buying a refurbished MacBook doesn’t need to be a huge headache; getting the best price on the device you want is remarkably simple once you know how.
Please share this article if you found it helpful! You can also take a look at our list of places to buy refurbished phones if you’re looking to buy a new handset too.