The Rise of Refurbished Phones — Except in the U.S. by@zacamos

The Rise of Refurbished Phones — Except in the U.S.

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Refurbished phones are used devices that are well taken care of. The trend of refurbished phones has taken off in other locations, but it hasn't found a home yet in the United States. Only a third of people in the U.S. say they would purchase a refurbished phone instead of a new one. When searching for a refurbished phone, be sure to look for a factory reset, enough storage, good battery life, a sturdy body and screen and any extra features that sold you.
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Zac Amos

Zac is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he covers cybersecurity, AI and more.


Refurbished phones are always a great option if you want something new. You can have the thrill of buying a new-to-you phone without digging too deep into your pockets. For several reasons, refurbished phones are the best way to purchase affordable ones that look new — but not every country has adopted this popular method.

What Can Refurbished Phones Do?

That's the great thing about refurbished phones — they can do everything that brand-new phones can. Refurbished phones are used devices that are well taken care of. Depending on how fresh and new they look, people can sell them in different tiers. Top-quality refurbished phones might fetch a higher price, while phones with nicks and scratches in the hardware might sell for less. Still, they can all run the same apps and have the same features to expect from a phone of that model.


Many organizations may use refurbished phones for good causes. Some might donate them to victims of domestic violence, while others may go to lower-income households that need a line of communication. Retailers and individuals might also choose to sell used devices to the general public. Secondhand phones are an excellent investment for many people and are worth the hype they're getting.

Why Refurbished Phones Are Popular

One of the most apparent reasons refurbished phones are so popular is that they're much cheaper. You can save money on phones by buying the ones you love secondhand. It’s possible to save upwards of $600 on a new-to-you phone simply by shopping for refurbished models instead of brand-new ones.


As phones evolve based on what people need them for, more models come out. The trick is to wait them out until they start popping up in the secondhand and refurbished markets. If you can wait until then, you may have an almost brand-new phone just a few months after its release.


Affordability is by far the most crucial aspect of refurbished phones. However, some people may choose to go after secondhand phones because they're a more flexible option than a legally binding phone contract and plan. They can easily put a used phone onto a plan without worrying about breaking a costly contract. They fit everyone's needs, whether they’re on a budget or looking for a phone outside of the ones provided by their carrier.


Another perk of buying refurbished phones is that they're better for the environment. In less than a decade, the world will experience much more electronic waste than ever before. By recycling old phones for a new purpose instead of creating a higher demand for electronics, you'll contribute to a greener future while enjoying all the perks of a secondhand device.


While this trend of refurbished phones has taken off in other locations, it hasn't found a home yet in the United States. Only a third of people in the United States say they would purchase a refurbished phone instead of a new one. Some people may think that having the latest and best model — and trading in whenever possible for a more recent version — is the best way to use smartphones. Media plays its part in driving this materialism in America.


Many Americans might worry about the reliability of secondhand phones. Many others may not care about environmental issues caused by phone production — at least, it’s not a motivator in helping them choose refurbished phones. Eventually, the trend should move into the United States’ marketplace and more people will see the personal and environmental benefits of purchasing a refurbished phone.

What to Look for in a Refurbished Phone

If you've decided to buy a refurbished phone, you probably know all the benefits of buying secondhand. Just because you run into the model you like doesn't mean it's the best refurbished phone for you, though.


Keep these things in mind when looking for your favorite phone model.

1. Factory Reset

You should always ensure whoever sells the phone restores its factory settings. If it hasn't and you're buying it secondhand directly from the former owner, make sure to factory reset it as soon as possible. That way, you can make sure their information stays secure and out of the wrong hands. Also, you can know the personal information you load onto the phone will have only the permissions you want to give apps and ensure no one else can access your data.

2. Enough Storage

Think about the storage settings on your last phones. What has seemed like adequate storage? You must ensure that the phone has enough room for all the apps, photos, and music you want to store. Before buying the phone, make sure the GB storage is exactly as the seller listed it. You don't want to end up overpaying for less storage.

3. Good Battery Life

Everyone searches for a phone with lots of battery life. The only downside of used phones is they may not have a battery life as good as those in brand-new phones. Still, you can mitigate this loss using other methods, such as taking your phone off of auto-brightness and keeping the screen dim when you aren't using it.

4. Sturdy Body and Screen

Before someone resells a phone, they should repair its screen. Nicks and scratches on the body of the phone may be unavoidable, but you can always pay more for a phone that looks brand-new. Make sure to look over the phone. If you want a phone with a better appearance, you'll want to check out the screen carefully — and buy a screen protector while you're at it.

5. Extras That Sold You

Maybe there was a gimmick about this phone that made you want it in the first place, yet you couldn't obtain the phone when it first hit the shelves. Buying refurbished phones is a great way to get a discount on the one you've loved for years but could not get until now.

Something Old and Something New

Just because someone used a phone before doesn't mean it's not suitable for a second owner. People may love the allure of shiny, brand-new phones, but it's not always realistic for everyone. Some people buy recycled phones to benefit the environment, while others might like the freedom it allows them — both in terms of contract and price point.


Refurbished phones are a great investment for everyone. They can allow you to have your favorite model without worrying about payments that are too high or any negative contributions to the environment.

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by Zac Amos @zacamos.Zac is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he covers cybersecurity, AI and more.
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