If you’re itching to get yourself a new laptop but can’t afford to pay the Apple price tag, refurbished MacBooks could be the perfect solution for you. Cheaper but just as functional as their fresh-out-of-the-store counterparts, these computers are a smart consumer’s choice.
5 Best Places To Buy A Refurbished MacBook
Keep reading for a review of our top 5 places to buy a refurbished MacBook: Amazon, GameStop, Apple, Mac of All Trades and RefurbMe. We’ll explain why you can trust these sellers. Buying a MacBook can be a big investment, but really, it doesn’t have to break the bank. Refurbished devices are just as functional as new ones.
Is It Really OK To Buy A Refurbished MacBook?
Put it this way: a refurbished MacBook is a device which was previously used, for instance as a display model or a model from a previous year. The laptop was then thoroughly cleaned, tested and repaired where needed. (If you’re curious, we have more articles in which we dive into all the details about refurbished products.)
So really, a refurbished computer is as good as a new computer.
Instead of paying full price for the hardware, you can get some amazing deals. But where should you search? There are important aspects which you need to keep in mind: the quality of the products, the variety of the offer, shipping costs, warranty options...
To answer these questions, you’ll need to shop around and compare the best deals. We’ll give it to you straight: this can be a tedious process.
In this article, we’ve listed our 5 best places to buy a refurbished MacBook. Each store is reviewed according to 4 criteria:
- Testing process
Ready to get a great device for the best price? Read on!
For millions of people around the world, Amazon is the one-stop shop for all sorts of goods. From groceries to weird, novelty purchases like sushi-shaped throw pillows, Amazon is an eCommerce giant that people trust. And indeed, many people turn to them to buy refurbished MacBooks too.
Amazon: Refurbished MacBook Testing Process
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 multiple approved third-party sellers, 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.
Amazon: Refurbished MacBook 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 15.4-inch Retina through Amazon costs $707 which is a $1,371 (66%) saving off of the RRP. Meanwhile, a refurbished MacBook Pro 13.3-inch Glossy through Amazon costs just $354 which is a $845 (29%) 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, and many of its offers are eligible for Amazon Prime. Products will be packaged in a generic box and come with the accessories you can expect of a new product (“exceptions, if any, [are] mentioned on the product page.”)
Amazon: Refurbished MacBook Warranty
Amazon offers at minimum a 90-day warranty on its refurbished MacBooks, though some offers may be longer. The duration 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).
Amazon: Refurbished MacBook 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 being 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.
GameStop: Refurbished MacBook Testing Process
All refurbished products sold by GameStop are guaranteed to work 100%. Before going on sale, all of their refurbished products are tested and have their data wiped at GameStop’s Refurbishment Center.
GameStop: Refurbished MacBook Price
GameStop’s refurbished MacBooks are priced roughly the same or slightly above other retailers in the space, depending on which model you look at. They also offer 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 any ludicrous shipping fees.
GameStop: Refurbished MacBook Warranty
Refurbished MacBooks sold through GameStop come with a 30-day warranty. The retailer says that most purchases can be exchanged free of charge within 30 days, in-store or through the GameStop 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.
GameStop: Refurbished 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.
Who says MacBook says Apple Store, even when it comes to refurbs! The highly coveted Apple certified refurbished MacBooks are to be bought directly from Apple.
Apple: Refurbished MacBook Testing Process
Refurbished MacBooks sold by Apple go through their Apple Certified Refurbished testing program. The testing is conducted by an in-house testing agent and Apple will perform any repairs necessary. The device will come in a new white box and will be packaged with a new power cord and adapter.
Apple: Refurbished MacBook 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 12" Retina for $1,099 (a saving of $200 or 15%). Compare that to Backmarket, who sell a refurbished MacBook 12" Retina for $799 (a saving of $500 or 38%).
Apple: Refurbished MacBook Warranty
Besides the Apple association, the main reason why many people consider Apple’s refurbished MacBook offers is that they include an excellent warranty. All Apple Certified Refurbished products include a one-year warranty, giving you confidence that your new device is covered.
Apple: Refurbished MacBook Stock
Apple offers a fairly sizeable pool of refurbished MacBooks, with 18 different devices to choose from. For example, you can find a refurbished MacBook Pro 13.3” Retina 2019 for $1,099 (a saving of $200 or 15%) as well as a refurbished MacBook Pro 15.4” Retina 2019 for $1,869 (a saving of $530 or 22%). Refurbished MacBooks and MacBook Airs are also accounted for.
However, it’s important to note that most of the units on offer are more recent models, released in 2017, 2018 or 2019, 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. The company has been in business for over 20 years and has built up an incredibly strong reputation as a trusted Mac retailer. As you’ll see below, it’s easy to see why.
Mac of All Trades: Refurbished MacBook Testing Process
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.
Mac of All Trades: Refurbished MacBook Price
Mac of All Trades offer some of the most affordable deals around. For example, they sell a refurbished MacBook Air 13.3” Glossy 2013 for just $479 (a saving of $520 or 52%) and even more powerful units like the refurbished MacBook Pro 13.3” Retina 2016 is on offer for $949 (a saving of $450 or 32%).
Mac of All Trades: Refurbished MacBook Warranty
In case the testing process wasn’t reassuring enough for you yet, every Mac of All Trades device includes a 1 year warranty. This warranty covers any hardware failure that might occur during this time. 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. You can also buy warranty extensions (one-year or two-year extensions) but these will cost extra.
Mac of All Trades: Refurbished MacBook 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 2019. 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 range to pick from.
If you don’t have time to visit all of the above retailers and creating nerdy spreadsheets aren’t really your thing, let RefurbMe help you out. RefurbMe is a price comparison site for refurbished Apple products that aims to make it easy for you to get the very best price.
You won’t have to scour the web; RefurbMe has done it for you. We compile the best deals on refurbished MacBooks from trusted retailers.
RefurbMe: Refurbished MacBook 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 for a refurbished MacBook Air 13.3" Glossy 2012 for $399 (a saving of $800 or 67%), the best MacBook Pro deal is for a refurbished MacBook Pro 13.3” Glossy 2012 for $241 (a saving of $958 or 80%) and the best MacBook deal is for a refurbished MacBook 12” Retina 2015 for $529 (a saving of $770 or 59%). 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 2017 for $1,829 (a saving of $1,170 or 39%).
RefurbMe: Refurbished MacBook 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.
RefurbMe: Refurbished MacBook Stock
RefurbMe lists a huge amount of refurbished MacBook deals, currently offering 456 products to choose from. There are MacBooks that were first released in 2013, devices that were released in 2019 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 up price alerts). 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. Where do you think is the best place to buy a refurbished MacBook?
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.
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