Refurbished laptops often get bad press for no good reason. They can be deemed DOA or unreliable, and many seem to go for brand new items, thinking they’re less likely to fail.

That said, not all refurbished items might be the same.  As with everything, there are things you should know or look for to make sure you purchase the right refurbished laptop.

Refurbished isn’t the same as used or open box

Alright, first things first. A refurbished item isn’t either of the above. Refurbished items are sent back to the factories, repaired, and tested before shipping. They’re cheaper because they’ve been opened and might show some tear as part of the process.

However, they’re generally pre-used, as most refurbished items are DOA. As for “open box,” that tag pertains to items that have been opened, perhaps tested, then returned to a store for whatever reason. Neither qualifies as refurbished, and you shouldn’t confuse these terms.

Check the warranty

Refurbished laptops should always come with a warranty. While the warranty on refurbished items is generally shorter than that on a brand new item, a laptop without a warranty is a no-no.

Laptops can fail for many reasons, and you need to be sure you’ll be able to send it back if this happens at least within a few months from purchase. Standard warranty on refurbished laptops is 90 days, as opposed to 1 year for brand new, so don’t settle for less than that.

Make sure it’s certified refurbished, and check the seller’s record

It’s relatively easy for a scammer to pass off used items as refurbished. All that is needed is to say it’s “refurbished,” and hope that whoever buys the item doesn’t know what to expect.

All refurbished items should come with a certification from the place that they were refurbished. Generally, that’s either the manufacturer or the store. While some items are usually only refurbished by manufacturers, some stores, like Amazon, sometimes fix items in-house. This is an important detail because if the laptop fails, you’ll need to take it up with whoever got it certified.

Make sure you’re getting a deal

Refurbished items sometimes don’t come with all peripherals, as they can be lost while they switch hands over and over. That’s generally openly stated in the description. This is important, because you’ll have to shoulder the cost of those peripherals if you need them – and they might in some cases cost enough to eat up the savings and then some.

Ideally, when buying refurbished, you want to make sure you won’t need to spend any more money than what it costs. This is because you’re already taking a risk, albeit a small one, by taking a repaired item AND a shorter warranty. That’s why you get lower prices. If you have to buy some extra things that new laptops come with, you might as well get a new one.

Consider a new battery

If the laptop is refurbished because it was DOA, the battery will generally be fine. But that’s not always the case. 17-Inch and 19-Inch refurbished laptops are among the most popular laptops you can find in the refurbished gadgets section. You can certainly get a good deal if you know what to look out for while you shop.

While not all refurbished laptops might fall within this category, some refurbished items have seen some use, as items that fail during the standard warranty time are often replaced and refurbished. In those cases, the battery on the laptop might not be in great shape, so be mindful that you might need to order a battery replacement and plan accordingly.

And while you’re at that, consider the previous point: If the battery replacement would be costly, perhaps buying new might be a better idea.

With these insights, you can go online and enjoy a worthy shopping experience as you look for the best refurbished laptop bargain.