Are refurbished phones worth it? Pros and cons explained
With the ongoing cost of living crisis, we’re all looking for ways to save money, especially when it comes to our utility bills.
That’s why refurbished phone contracts are more popular than ever with consumers.
Refurbished phones are previously used handsets that have been fully inspected, restored and repaired (where necessary).
Refurbished phones are a guaranteed way to save money. In most cases, you will be able to purchase a like-new phone at a significant discount.
However, not all refurbished phones will be sold in a like-new condition - there is a grading system to look out for, which determines the exact condition of a refurbished phone on sale.
Most UK networks sell refurbished phone contracts at cheaper prices compared to new equivalents.
- What is a refurbished phone?
- Are refurbished phones worth it?
- How much money will I save with a refurbished phone?
- How does grading work for refurbished phones?
- What’s the difference between a refurbished phone and a used phone?
- Do refurbished phones come with original packaging and accessories?
- What are the pros and cons of refurbished phones?
- Which networks offer refurbished phone contracts?
- Does Apple sell refurbished phones?
- Does Samsung sell refurbished Galaxy phones?
- Are refurbished phones like new?
- Do refurbished phones come with a warranty?
- Can I return a refurbished phone?
- Do refurbished phones include original packaging and accessories?
- Will refurbished phones come with a new battery?
- What’s the difference between used and refurbished phones?
- Are refurbished phones safe?
- Can I get a refurbished iPhone 14?
What is a refurbished phone?
A refurbished phone is a previously used handset that has been returned by a customer.
A refurbished phone will be fully inspected and restored by a certified technician, to ensure the device is fully working and in a sellable condition. They will also be fully wiped and reset, so when you turn on the phone, it’s as if it’s being turned on for the first time.
Most refurbished phones are returns from customers that have changed their mind within the 14 day return policy. As a result, they are usually in mint condition.
However, refurbished phones may have been faulty phones returned by customers, that have since been repaired by certified engineers with genuine replacement parts.
While some refurbished phones will be sold in a like-new condition (grade A), this isn’t necessarily true for all refurbished phones.
Refurbished phones can also be sold as grade B and grade C - excellent condition and good condition, respectively. These may have minor scratches or blemishes, and may not include the original packaging or accessories.
Regardless of the grade, all refurbished phones will be inspected and repaired to ensure that they are in 100% working conditions.
The usual 24 month warranty that comes from the manufacturer with the purchase of a new phone will be void, and will no longer be valid. Instead, refurbished phones will receive a minimum 12 month warranty provided by the seller, to ensure peace of mind and a guarantee of quality.
Are refurbished phones worth it?
Most refurbished phone contracts are worth it, as they are significantly cheaper compared to purchasing a new phone.
Furthermore, since most refurbished phones are customer returns within 14 days of purchase, they are essentially like-new.
In addition, refurbished phones will have been thoroughly inspected, to ensure they are in a fully working condition. Various features will be tested, including the screen, camera, 5G, microphones and speakers. If anything isn't up to scratch, it will be repaired and replaced with genuine parts.
However, refurbished phones usually come with a 12 month warranty provided by the seller. The 24 month minimum warranty provided by the manufacturer for new devices will no longer be valid.
Furthermore, depending on the grading, refurbished phones may not come with the original packaging or include all accessories. As a result, you may not get the same satisfaction as you get when unboxing a brand new device.
How much money will I save with a refurbished phone?
Networks offer significant discounts with refurbished phone contracts, which is especially crucial during the cost of living crisis.
For example, let’s take a look at this refurbished contract from EE, and compare it with their new phone equivalent:
Currently, EE sell the new iPhone 14 on contract, with unlimited data on a 24 month term, for £62 per month with a £30 upfront cost. This equals a total cost of £1518 over the contract length.
On the other hand, their refurbished equivalent deal costs £57 per month, with the same £30 upfront fee. This equals a total cost of £1422.
Therefore, by purchasing the same deal from EE but as refurbished, you will benefit from a 6% discount, saving £96.
How does grading work for refurbished phones?
Refurbished phones are sold with a grading system from A to C.
Most refurbished phones are sold as grade A, for a like-new condition. However, some refurbished phones may receive a grade B or C rating for minor scratches or blemishes.
Most networks have similar grading systems, however there may be some minor differences between them:
Grade A - sold in a like new condition, with all original accessories and original packaging. Usually returns from customers who have changed their mind within the 14 day return period.
Grade B - excellent condition. May have one or two minor scratches, and may not necessarily include original packaging or accessories.
Grade C - good condition. Will likely have several minor scratches or blemishes, and probably won’t come in the original packaging and may not include all original accessories.
Exact details about the condition of the device will usually be noted on the product page from wherever you are purchasing a refurbished phone from. Notes will also state details about the packaging and accessories.
What’s the difference between a refurbished phone and a used phone?
A Refurbished phone will be fully inspected by a certified technician, to ensure it’s in a 100% working condition. A refurbished phone will also receive an official grade, so you know the exact condition of the device you will receive.
In addition, refurbished phones may have had their batteries replaced, and they may have been repaired, if necessary.
Refurbished phones also come with a guarantee for quality, in the form of a minimum 12 month warranty from the seller.
On the other hand, used phones may not have been fully inspected by a certified technician, so there’s no guarantee they are in a fully working condition. Furthermore, they may not necessarily come with a warranty, as they are commonly sold by private sellers.
As a result, purchasing a used phone is more risky, as there’s no guarantee of quality. Purchasing a refurbished phone offers peace of mind - you will be receiving a fully working phone in the condition described, with a stamp of approval from a certified inspector.
Do refurbished phones come with original packaging and accessories?
While most refurbished phones include original packaging and accessories, particularly if they are grade A, this isn’t necessarily always true.
Grade B and C refurbished phones may come with generic packaging, and may have some accessories missing.
In most cases, the seller will note whether a refurbished phone comes with original packaging, and will state which accessories are included.
What are the pros and cons of refurbished phones?
There are several pros and cons for purchasing a refurbished phone contract:
- Refurbished phone contracts save you money, as they are usually cheaper compared to their new equivalents
- Guaranteed working condition, as they have been inspected by a certified technician
- Sustainable and good for the environment, as opposed to purchasing a new phone
- Includes a minimum 12 month warranty from the seller, to ensure peace of mind
- Refurbished phones aren’t always sold in a like new condition. They may be graded as B or C devices
- Original packaging and accessories may be missing
- Doesn’t include the original 24 month manufacturer warranty - instead, you will usually receive a shorter 12 month warranty directly from the seller or network
- You may not get to experience the moment of unboxing a brand new phone in its original packaging
Which networks offer refurbished phone contracts?
Most popular UK networks sell refurbished phone contracts, with savings compared to purchasing a new phone contract:
EE Refurbished and Good as New phones - all EE refurbished phones pass a rigorous quality control test, and include a 12 month extended warranty. EE also claim savings up to £240. Not all EE refurbished phones come with original packaging and accessories.
giffgaff refurbished phones - includes 4 grading marks: like new, excellent, very good and good. Comes with either a 12, 18 or 24 month warranty, depending on device. Phones carefully tested with no faults, and have been fully reset and wiped.
iD Mobile refurbished phones - comes with original packaging and accessories, with a 12 month warranty. Most are in pristine condition, but some might have minor scratches or blemishes at most
O2 refurbished phones - handsets undergo thorough quality control check and include a 12 month warranty. Also includes a 14 day exchange or refund policy. Does’t include a charger, but does include a charging cable.
SMARTY refurbished phones - save up to 40%. Certified with a 70 point check system, with full data cleaning. Includes 12 month warranty with at least 80% battery health.
Tesco Mobile refurbished phones - all Grade A refurbished phones with an extended 24 month warranty. No visible scratches or blemishes. Free next day delivery with 14 day return policy.
Vodafone refurbished phones - include ‘pristine’ (like new) and ‘great’ (minor signs of use) grading system. 24 month warranty included with all refurbished handsets. Undergo 32 point health check.
VOXI refurbished phones - 24 month warranty with 32 point health check (same as Vodafone, as VOXI is a subsidiary of Vodafone). ‘Like new ‘and ‘great’ grading system.
As well as purchasing refurbished phone contracts directly from a network, refurbished phone contracts are also available from third party resellers, such as Mobile Phones Direct and Fonehouse.
Does Apple sell refurbished phones?
Apple sells refurbished iPhones directly on their website, all SIM free and unlocked.
All refurbished iPhones include a brand new battery for 100% health, ensuring your handset will last for many years to come without deteriorating.
Furthermore, the outer shell will be replaced, for a pristine, like-new device.
Apple refurbished phones have been fully tested to ensure they are 100% working. If necessary, they may include genuine Apple replacement parts.
You’ll also get a new white box, with all original manuals and accessories.
Refurbished iPhones will also include the latest version of iOS for the particular model.
They also include a 1 year warranty, with a 14 day return period.
Does Samsung sell refurbished Galaxy phones?
Samsung sells refurbished phones on their website, in a good as new condition, with their ‘Certified Re-Newed’ program.
Samsung Galaxy refurbished phones have all been inspected and approved by certified Samsung technicians, passing over 100 quality control points.
Furthermore, all refurbished Galaxy phones will include new batteries, new IMEI numbers and the latest Android version for the phone model.
Any necessary repairs will have been carried out with genuine Samsung replacement parts.
All Galaxy refurbished devices include original accessories, as well as brand new packaging.
Furthermore, for peace of mind, you’ll get a one year warranty.
Are refurbished phones like new?
Most refurbished phones are sold in a like new condition (grade A), however some refurbished phones will be gold as grade B or C, which indicates minor scratches or blemishes.
Do refurbished phones come with a warranty?
Refurbished phones come with a minimum 12 month warranty from the seller. Manufacturer warranties do not apply with refurbished phones, and will be void.
Can I return a refurbished phone?
Yes, all networks and retailers allow you to return a refurbished phone within a minimum of 14 days.
Do refurbished phones include original packaging and accessories?
Depending on the grade of the refurbished phone you are purchasing, it may not come in the original packaging, and may not include all original accessories.
Will refurbished phones come with a new battery?
Refurbished phones purchased directly from Apple and Samsung come with new batteries. For other sellers and networks, refurbished phones generally come with at least 80% battery health.
What’s the difference between used and refurbished phones?
Refurbished phones are fully inspected and approved by certified technicians, and receive an official grade, so you know the exact condition of the device you are purchasing. You’ll also get a minimum 12 month warranty.
Used phones may not be inspected, and they may not be in a fully working condition. Furthermore, most used phones do not come with a warranty, as they are sold by private sellers.
Are refurbished phones safe?
Yes, refurbished phones are safe, and will be fully wiped and inspected to ensure the operating system is reset to its factory state, with no remaining customer data. They will also pass a quality inspection test, and will be repaired where necessary.
Can I get a refurbished iPhone 14?
Yes, we compared thousands of refurbished iPhone 14 contracts.