Are Refurbished Phones Worth Buying?

Are Refurbished Phones Worth Buying?

Are Refurbished Phones Worth Buying?

When the time comes to buy a new mobile, most people will start to look at the latest releases from top-of-the-range manufacturers such as Apple, Google, and Samsung. The idea of having a brand new phone can be exciting until you look at what you'd be expecting to pay, which is why the refurbished mobile market is growing in popularity.

According to research from CCS Insight, 60 per cent of UK consumers are now considering pre-owned purchases, and it isn't difficult to see why.

The ever-growing cost of new phones, a lack of innovation and a growing trend towards sustainable living have led to a reduction in sales. In the early 2000s, mobile phone technology was moving at a rapid rate, with Apple alone releasing a new must-have model every year. There was a period of around ten years where it seemed that the increased capabilities of mobile phones would never plateau.

As a result, consumers across the UK and globally are now much happier to purchase older refurbished models that look and work just as well and have all the features they could need in a highly functional modern device.

If you are considering purchasing a refurbished mobile mobile but aren't sure if it's the right choice for you, keep reading. Here we will be exploring if refurbished phones are worth buying, what you should be looking for, and where you can purchase them.

Are refurbished phones any good?

As consumers have realised that refurbished phones are high-quality products at a more affordable price point, the market has seen a distinct increase in sales, with one in six people in the UK and the US having purchased a refurbished mobile.

In most instances, a refurbished mobile is simply a device that has been sent back by a customer who has either changed their mind or noticed a minor fault. In either case, these phones are still perfectly functional, high-quality products that can still be used for many years without issue. The mobile will go through extensive diagnostic testing and be restored to complete working order.

While a refurb will generally not come in its original packaging and may be missing accessories usually found with a new product, they are still excellent choices when buying a new mobile and are often substantially cheaper.

There are many reasons why purchasing a refurbished mobile is a better choice when compared to new or second-hand devices, some of which we have listed here:


New research has suggested that by 2040, smartphones will have the largest carbon footprint in the tech industry if it continues to grow at its current rate. As such, one of the best reasons to buy refurbished or used phones is the positive impact they will have on the environment. By choosing a used phone, you will ensure that a high-quality, functioning mobile is kept from unnecessarily heading to a landfill. The smartphone industry must move towards a more sustainable future, and as a consumer, you can impact this transition.

Quality Product

There is a misconception that refurbished mobiles inherently have something wrong with them, and it is only a matter of time before it breaks, but that is simply not true. Refurbished phones often look and work just as well as brand new, fresh-out-of-the-box devices. When choosing to buy from a reputable and experienced company such as Imfixed, you can rest assured that each device has been thoroughly assessed, repaired, and restored and will last you as long as any other mobile mobile.


New mobile mobiles have never been so expensive, which has meant keeping up with the latest and greatest releases from top-of-the-range manufacturers is becoming increasingly difficult. But, when buying a refurbished mobile, you can get an up-to-date, high-quality model for a fraction of the price. Used phones are significantly cheaper than brand new models and will save you hundreds of pounds without compromising on quality.


When buying a new mobile, you will often find yourself tied into lengthy and expensive contracts that lock your mobile to one carrier. The beauty of buying a used mobile is that it will always come unlocked and work with any network. All you have to do is insert the correct sized sim card, and it will be ready to use.

Data Protection

A common concern consumers have with refurbished mobiles is using a device that might be logged into someone else's Apple ID, bank account, or have access to sensitive information. Thankfully, alongside extensive diagnostic testing, when you buy a used mobile from a reputable company, you can rest assured it will be completely wiped of any data from the previous owner. This is a process that any good company should do to be in keeping with the 2018 Data Protection Act.

What is the best second-hand mobile phone to buy?

We are often asked by customers, 'what is the best second-hand mobile phone to buy?' But there is no simple answer. When it comes to buying a new or used mobile, it depends on what you are specifically looking for in a device.

Some people want a mobile with the best screen resolution or a high-quality camera, while others are looking for fast processing speeds and long battery life. Each brand and model will offer different capabilities, and at Imfixed, we are proud to offer an extensive range of used mobiles to suit the needs of every customer.

Some examples of models we currently offer are:

iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 is one of our most popular refurbished mobile models due to its fast performance and impressive battery life at an affordable price. It is the perfect used model for anyone looking for a top-end device for a fraction of what they would usually expect to pay.

Reasons to purchase a refurbished iPhone 11:

  • The long battery life is impressive.
  • Camera Ultra-Wide
  • Superfast A13 Bionic processor
  • Night Mode has been updated.

Samsung's Galaxy S20.

This Samsung model is another favourite from our line of refurbished phones, noted for its compact design and impressive power. At Samsung, we are known for not making extravagant changes when bringing out new models, so with this device, you will get all the capabilities of a new mobile at a much better price point.

Why should you buy a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S20?

  • Compact and ergonomic design.
  • Just as powerful as newer models,
  • The 120Hz refresh rate is impressive.
  • Excellent camera with 3x lossless zoom.

iPhone SE

Although the iPhone SE is now a few years old, it is still one of the most popular refurbished iPhone models we offer. Not only is this model extremely affordable, but it also holds its own in processing power and camera quality when compared to newer models.

Reasons to buy a refurbished iPhone SE include:

  • It is inexpensive compared to other iPhone models.
  • excellent camera quality.
  • Fast performance
  • A design that is visually appealing

The Google Pixel 4

If you're looking for a well-designed, up-to-date phone, you can't go wrong with a Google Pixel 4, which is why it is another popular choice offered on our website. With a range of newer Google Pixel models now on the market, the Pixel 4 is much more affordable.

Reasons to buy the refurbished Pixel 4:

  • The Best Camera Software
  • Display at 90Hz is exceptional.
  • It has a great design that looks great and is simple to use.

Finding the right used phone can be challenging, which is why we offer a wide range of models from top-of-the-range manufacturers to suit the needs of all customers. If you're not sure what you're looking for, get in touch with our Imfixed team, who will be happy to help you find the right device!

What is a refurbished phone?

A refurbished phone is a pre-owned handset that has been returned and restored to good working order so it can be resold.

Not all phones described as refurbished were ever faulty. Some networks and retailers classify refurbished phones as handsets that were returned by customers who changed their minds within the 30-day cooling-off period after they signed up for a contract.

Before being put on sale, all refurbished phones have been thoroughly checked and tested to ensure they’re in full working order.

Tests carried out by the seller typically include whether the battery charges and checking the buttons and cameras work. The seller will also verify audio quality and screen responsiveness, as well as how the phone connects to Wi-Fi and 4G and 5G, if it’s 5G compatible.

In keeping with the Data Protection Act, the seller will securely wipe any data on the phone. So to all intents and purposes, you’ll be starting afresh.

Some refurbished phone sellers update the handset to the latest version of the operating system that powers it.


Definition of Preowned

Preowned refers to items that have been previously owned or used by someone else. These items are typically sold in their original condition without any repairs or modifications. Preowned items can include a wide range of products such as electronics, furniture, clothing, and vehicles. They may show signs of wear and tear, but they are generally functional and can still be used. Preowned items are often sold at a lower price compared to brand new items, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious consumers. It is important to note that the condition of preowned items can vary, so it is advisable to inspect them thoroughly before making a purchase.
Pros Cons
Lower price Potential for hidden defects
Environmentally friendly Limited warranty or guarantee
Wide selection Limited availability of specific models
  • Lower price
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Wide selection
  • Potential for hidden defects
  • Limited warranty or guarantee
  • Limited availability of specific models

Definition of Refurbished

Refurbished refers to a product that has been restored to a like-new condition after being returned or used. It goes through a comprehensive inspection, repair, and testing process to ensure it meets the original manufacturer's specifications. Refurbished products may have minor cosmetic imperfections, but they are fully functional and often come with a warranty. Unlike preowned items, refurbished products are thoroughly vetted and repaired by professionals, providing a higher level of reliability and quality assurance.

Key Differences

In order to understand the difference between preowned and refurbished, it is important to consider a few key factors. Preowned refers to items that have been previously owned and used by someone else, while refurbished items have been repaired, restored, and tested to ensure they are in working condition. Here are some key differences between the two:
Preowned Refurbished
Sold as-is, with no guarantee of functionality Tested and repaired to ensure functionality
May have signs of wear and tear Restored to like-new condition
No warranty or guarantee included Often come with a warranty or guarantee
It is important to consider these differences when making a purchasing decision, as they can greatly impact the overall quality and reliability of the item.


Condition of Preowned Items

Preowned items refer to products that have been previously owned and used by someone else. These items may show signs of wear and tear, such as scratches or dents. However, they are still in working condition and can be used. It's important to note that the condition of preowned items can vary greatly depending on how well they were taken care of by the previous owner. When purchasing preowned items, it's recommended to thoroughly inspect them and ask for any available documentation regarding their history and maintenance. Refurbished items, on the other hand, have undergone a process of repair and restoration to bring them back to a like-new condition. This process typically involves fixing any defects, replacing faulty parts, and thoroughly cleaning the item. As a result, refurbished items often come with a warranty or guarantee from the manufacturer or seller. While preowned items are generally more affordable, refurbished items offer a higher level of assurance in terms of quality and functionality.

Condition of Refurbished Items

Refurbished items undergo a thorough inspection and repair process to ensure they meet the manufacturer's standards. These items are usually returned by customers due to minor defects or cosmetic damage. The defects are fixed, and the items are tested to ensure they function properly. Refurbished items may come with a limited warranty and are often sold at a discounted price compared to new items. It's important to note that refurbished items are different from preowned items, as they have undergone a certified refurbishment process to restore them to a like-new condition.

Certifications and Inspections

When purchasing a preowned or refurbished product, it is important to consider the certifications and inspections that have been performed. These certifications and inspections ensure that the product meets certain quality standards and has been thoroughly tested for any defects or issues. Some common certifications to look for include Certified Preowned and Manufacturer Refurbished. Additionally, reputable sellers often provide detailed information about the inspection process and any repairs that have been made. By understanding the certifications and inspections associated with a preowned or refurbished product, buyers can have confidence in their purchase and avoid any potential surprises.


Price Comparison

When it comes to price, there are some key differences between preowned and refurbished items. Preowned items are typically sold as-is, without any repairs or refurbishments, and their prices are usually lower than refurbished items. On the other hand, refurbished items have undergone a thorough inspection, repairs, and testing process to ensure they are in good working condition. As a result, they often come with a higher price tag. However, it's important to note that the price difference can vary depending on the specific product and its condition. It's always a good idea to compare prices and consider factors like warranty and quality before making a purchasing decision.

Factors Affecting Price

When considering the price of preowned and refurbished items, there are several factors to take into account. These factors can include the condition of the item, the age of the item, the brand or manufacturer, and the warranty provided. In addition, the level of refurbishment can also affect the price. It is important to carefully evaluate these factors before making a purchase decision to ensure you are getting the best value for your money.

Value for Money

When it comes to value for money, both preowned and refurbished products have their advantages. Preowned products, also known as used products, are typically sold at a lower price compared to their original retail price. This makes them a great option for budget-conscious buyers who are looking for a good deal. On the other hand, refurbished products undergo a thorough inspection, repair, and testing process to ensure that they are in excellent working condition. They often come with a warranty, providing buyers with peace of mind. While refurbished products may be priced slightly higher than preowned products, they offer a higher level of reliability and quality assurance. Ultimately, the choice between preowned and refurbished depends on the buyer's budget, preferences, and the level of risk they are willing to take.

Warranty and Support

Warranty Coverage for Preowned Items

When purchasing a preowned item, it is important to understand the warranty coverage provided. Unlike refurbished items, preowned items often come without any warranty or guarantee. This means that if the item malfunctions or develops issues after purchase, the buyer is responsible for any repairs or replacements. It is crucial to thoroughly inspect preowned items and ask the seller about their return policy before making a purchase. Additionally, it is recommended to consider purchasing an extended warranty or protection plan for added peace of mind.

Warranty Coverage for Refurbished Items

When it comes to warranty coverage, there are some key differences between preowned and refurbished items. While preowned items may not come with any warranty, refurbished items usually come with a limited warranty that covers specific parts and repairs. The duration of the warranty may vary depending on the manufacturer or seller. It is important to carefully read the warranty terms and conditions to understand what is covered and what is not.  

How good are refurbished phones?

refurbished iphones 1

Because refurbished phones have been thoroughly tested and restored to full working order, they are usually as good as new. However, a refurbished handset probably won’t arrive in its original packaging and might not come with all the usual accessories, like chargers and headphones. On the plus side, it should come with a one-year warranty, but be sure to check that before you buy one.

Refurbished phones: pros and cons

Here’s what you need to know to help you make up your mind:

  • With some brands and retailers, you can make significant savings, especially if you don't mind whether you've got the latest handset.

  • When you buy from a big network or established retailer, you’ll get a warranty, which is usually 12 months.

  • They’ll also include a charging cable or charger.

  • It's not guaranteed that you'll receive other accessories that were originally bundled with the phone, such as headphones.

  • You probably won’t get the original packaging. Refurbished mobiles tend to come in plain boxes or network-branded packaging. So you won’t quite have that nice feeling of unboxing a brand-new mobile. But if you manage to save money on the deal, that might not bother you.

Refurbished phones grading

All refurbished mobiles are given a grade that reflects their condition. There’s no universally applied standard for grading, so it’s best to check before buying.

But as a rule of thumb, the grades range from A-D and break down like this:

  • Grade A:

    This is as nearly new as nearly new gets. At best, it'll be a phone returned within the 30-day cooling-off period, so is for all intents and purposes still a brand-new phone. At worst, it'll show minor signs of wear.

  • Grade B:

    Expect the odd chip or scratch, but nothing too unsightly.

  • Grade C:

    Refurbished phones graded ‘C’ will have perhaps up to five blemishes and will look like they've been used.

  • Grade D:

    A grade D refurbished phone will be broken in some way, will look second-hand and will have been well used.

Most networks will only sell grades A-C. You can get grade D phones from some refurbished phone traders on eBay, but even they’ll typically recommend you only buy one if you’re able to repair phones yourself.

To complicate things further, some networks use their own grading system. O2, for instance, favours the grades ‘Perfect’, ‘Almost Perfect’ and ‘Perfectly Fine’.

But where networks do use their own system, you can usually find a key explaining grades on their site.

What do you get with a refurbished phone?

To see how a refurbished phone compares to a brand-new handset, we ordered an iPhone 12 from a refurbished mobile specialist, Affordable Mobiles. First things first, the iPhone arrived in a standard parcel. Upon opening it, we found that there was no official packaging included. Instead, the iPhone 12 was well protected in a bubble wrap baggie.

There’s no charging plug, although you don’t get that with brand-new models either. However, there is a fast-charging USB-C to Lightning cable included.

The iPhone 12 itself is boxfresh. No marks, smudges, fingerprints, or scrapes anywhere on the device. One thing that’s lacking is a plastic protector on the screen - that little sheet you try to not peel off for ages and then suddenly buckle and rip off. While it’s in no way a necessity, it is something you get on a brand-new phone.

When we switched on the refurbished phone, we were greeted with the familiar Apple setup screen. There are no previous-owner details, photos, or messages hidden away - you start up the phone like new and set it up as if no one has ever touched it before - there’s nothing that would suggest it’s previously been used.

So then all there is left to do is set up your new (refurbished) phone and you’re good to go.

Where to buy refurbished phones

Lots of networks and specialist phone retailers sell refurbished mobiles, including O2, Vodafone, and

You can also pick up a refurbished phone from auction sites like eBay, high-street retailers, and specialist resale-and-recycle sites, such as Envirofone.

  • Uswitch:

    Here at Uswitch, we let you compare a range of Grade A refurbished handsets from reputable retailers to find the right deal for you. To check it out, go to our refurbished phones deals page.

  • Amazon Renewed:

    Amazon’s renewed handsets have been extensively tested so that they look and work like new. They also come with a one-year warranty. And best of all, you can save a lot of money on the latest handset.

  • 02 Like New:

    O2’s refurbished handsets undergo a thorough quality check to ensure they’re as good as new. They also come with a 12-month warranty and you have 14 days to exchange or return it if you’re not completely satisfied.

  • EE Good as New:

    All of EE’s refurbished phones have to pass rigorous quality control tests and they come with an EE lifetime Guarantee to give you complete peace of mind.

  • Vodafone refurbished phones:

    All of Vodafone’s refurbished phones are professionally checked, repaired, and tested to make sure they’re good to go. And they also come with a 12-month warranty.

  • giffgaff refurbished phones:

    With guaranteed next-day delivery and a 12-month warranty, there are lots of reasons to get a refurbished phone from giffgaff.

How much cheaper are refurbished phones?

You can save hundreds of pounds by buying a refurbished mobile instead of a brand-new one, particularly on slightly older models. If you’re hoping to buy the very latest smartphone, you might well be able to pick up a refurbished handset, but you’ll enjoy a much bigger discount if you opt for a last year’s mobile, or even the year before.

What's better: refurbished or used?

If a phone is described as refurbished and you’re buying it from a network, an established retailer, or a trader on an auction site, you can be sure the phone has been tested, cleaned, wiped and is covered by a warranty. So you've got peace of mind in every way.

The term ‘used’ is harder to define, so you'll need to be more cautious. It’s usually favoured by private sellers on auction sites and could mean anything from a few scratches to being battered by frequent drops.

Under eBay’s terms of use, a faulty item can still be returned to a private seller within 30 days for a refund.

What should I keep in mind when buying a refurbished phone?

The most important thing to check when buying a refurbished mobile is that it comes with a warranty. That way, you can return it if it has any faults.

Aside from that, you’ll also want to check what grade it is to make sure you know what you’re getting. If you get a grade A phone, it should look as good as new and will be in full working order. If you go for a grade B or C, it will likely have a scratch or two but should still work properly. We’d recommend avoiding grade D phones unless you’re able to repair it yourself.

Is it safe to buy a refurbished phone?

Provided you’re buying from a reputable retailer, it’s perfectly safe to buy a refurbished phone. Most refurbished phones come with a warranty so you should be protected if there’s anything wrong with it. But it’s always best to check if the device comes with a warranty before buying it.

Here at Uswitch, we only recommend the highest grade of refurbished phones, which have all passed the same quality checks as brand-new devices.

Do refurbished phones come with a warranty?

Warranties with refurbished phones depend on where you buy them.

Buy from a major network or retailer, which are the only refurbished phone vendors we have on Uswitch, and you’ll always get a 12-month guarantee.

That’s the case with O2, for instance. And the same goes for Vodafone and Affordable Mobiles.

Buy from a trader on eBay or Amazon and they’ll also typically offer a guarantee of up to 12 months.

If you’re buying from an individual or private seller rather than a trader on eBay, the process of getting a refund is more complicated and could depend on the written description of the phone on the listing.

Do refurbished phones have new batteries?

Before a refurbished phone is resold, the battery will have been through rigorous testing to make sure it’s in full working order. In some cases, this may mean that the battery has been replaced. But most of the time, it will be the original battery that has been restored to its original condition.

Are refurbished phones sustainable?

Yes, the good news is that not only are refurbished phones a lot cheaper than new handsets, but they’re also more eco-friendly. This is because a phone that was returned is being given a new lease of life. And it’s a lot better for the environment to resell an old phone, rather than a new one.

How can you tell if a phone is new or refurbished?

When you purchase a new phone, the retailer, manufacturer, network or reseller should make it very clear if you’re buying a refurbished phone. If you’re buying a phone online, a refurbished phone should be clearly labelled as such. Or, if you’re buying one in a store, the sales assistant should make you aware if it’s not a brand new device before you purchase it.

Found a refurbished phone you like off contract?

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What do I do with my old phone?

Once you’ve decided to get a new phone, don’t just stick your old handset in a drawer and forget about it. If it’s still in good working order, you might want to give it to a friend or relative. Just make sure you transfer all your data across to your new device and then do a factory reset on your old handset before giving it to someone else.

If it no longer works, there are still loads of great options. From recycling or donating it, to trading it in to get money off your new phone, there are plenty of ways you can use your old handset to benefit you, someone else or the environment.

Are Refurbished Phones Worth Buying?

Where can I buy refurbished phones in the UK?

Refurbished mobiles are available from a wide variety of retailers across the UK, including direct from the manufacturers themselves.

Apple offers a range of its own refurbished iPhones that come with genuine Apple parts, have been cleaned and inspected, and are said to be "like new". These devices will come with a one-year limited warranty and should include standard accessories. That being said, refurbished mobiles directly from Apple are likely to be at a higher price point when compared to other reputable retailers across the UK.

Amazon is another large retailer that is also offering refurbished phones under the "Amazon Renewed" section of their website. However, it is essential to read the small print to see the device's condition before purchasing.

There are also a number of mobile networks, such as Giff Gaff, Vodafone, and EE, that sell used and refurbished phones on their websites. These devices are priced based on their condition, and whilst you can get a good deal, you have to be mindful of the noticeable wear and tear. Network providers will also try to sell you a refurbished phone locked to their network using either a contract or pay-as-you-go, which can be problematic.

Finally, refurbished phones are also available from independent, professional, and reputable companies such as Imfixed. We are proud to be one of the leading tech repair service centres based in Bolton, specialising in high-quality repairs and refurbished devices. We aim to create a service with consistently exceptional workmanship at the best possible price to leave every client feeling satisfied.

You can take a look at our extensive range of refurbished phones here, featuring top-of-the-range manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Google, Huawei, and many more.

What is the best website to buy used phones?

Whether it is a new or used mobile, statistics show that nearly half of mobile phone users in the UK bought their current device online. Thousands of websites offer refurbished and used phones to consumers across the UK, but we would always recommend choosing a professional, experienced, and reputable company such as Imfixed.

At Imfixed, we are proud to offer high-quality refurbished phones to customers local to Greater Manchester and nationwide at fair and competitive prices. We offer an extensive selection of refurbished phones from manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Google, Huawei, and many more, found on our Refurbished Phones page.

We usually dispatch refurbished mobile phone orders within 7–10 working days, but this can vary based on stock levels and other circumstances. If there is a delay with your order for any reason, you will be immediately contacted by a member of our customer service team who can advise you as to when your device will be delivered.

All refurbished devices come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and all refurbished phones come with a warranty dependent on the model.

You can explore our high-quality selection of refurbished phones on our website or get in touch with us if you have any other questions. We can be reached by phone at 01204 520520 or by email at



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