Refurbished Vs Open Box – Which to Go For

By John Adebimitan

There are times when you want to get a device that is not entirely new, and whether to go for the refurbished device or the open-box alternative comes up. There are quite a few differences between buying an open-box product and a refurbished one.

The key is to pick the option that would last and work well even though they’re both not new products. This article discusses the answers to help you make a well-informed decision in your refurbished vs open box comparison.

Refurbished Vs Open Box – Our thoughts

First, you have to know what refurbished products are. They are products that a previous user has returned due to damage or fault in some of their components. For refurbished products, the retailer repairs the device’s defects. Then, the device undergoes several testing procedures to ensure it is again fit for use. After doing this, they send them back to the market and sell them at a discount price.

In the case of gadgets and devices that open box, these are simply products that have been removed from their original packages. These could be devices returned by customers for different reasons ranging from something minor like a device’s feature that they do not like, such as color, to a significant problem with the device.

Open-box items can also be devices used as models to display the product, and they might have been handled multiple times by customers before being put on the market for sale. In addition, an open box item is rarely checked thoroughly, so the retailer can still sell it with defects.  

Pros and Cons of Refurbished Devices

Here are some pros and cons of getting a refurbished product:


  • Refurbished devices are often cheaper than buying something brand new and are of comparative qualities in many cases.
  • A refurbished product such as the ones from Apple undergoes various stages of repair before it is put back on the market.
  • Depending on the manufacturer, they might offer a warranty for the refurbished device.
  • Refurbished devices have their defective components replaced before they are sold.
  • Refurbished Apple products can also access AppleCare
  • The retailer might upgrade your refurbished products to a higher model than the original in rare cases.
  • Different rounds of testing are carried out on the refurbished product to ensure that it is okay for use.
  • A refurbished device comes with a serial number that helps with easy identification.


  • Refurbished devices are not new products.
  • Some manufacturers might not include a warranty with the refurbished product.
  • A refurbished device might have weaker batteries.
  • There are varying grades of refurbished items, and this depends on the manufacturer and the retail outlet you got them.
  • Most of the time, refurbished products do not come with complete accessories.
  • Refurbished devices from third-party sellers come with a high degree of risk.

Pros and Cons of Open Box Devices

Here are some pros and cons of getting an open-box product:


  • You can get an open-box device that the previous owner has barely used.
  • An open-box device costs lesser than a new one and would be sold at a discount.
  • An open-box device might be in good working condition.
  • When you get an open-box device, the accessories might be included by the previous owner.


  • When there’s no return policy, buying an open-box device might be very risky.
  • There might be significant damage to the open box device.
  • It is risky because they rarely repair the devices before reselling.
  • Sometimes, an open-box product does not come with a warranty.
  • If the open box device is a floor model, i.e., it has been used for display, and various customers have handled it before, it would come with multiple cosmetic defects.
  • Shady retailers might lie about the state of the open-box device. 

Refurbished Vs. Open Box – Which to Go For

It is advisable to go for a refurbished device because whatever damage it had before should have been fixed. However, this is not the case with an open box device that can either turn out to be a worthy buy or damaged goods. Going for a refurbished device would lower the risk of getting used products. When you get the refurbished device from a recognized retailer, it is much more reliable and often comes with a limited warranty safety net.


Going for a refurbished vs open box device is a decision you shouldn’t make in haste. However, when you want to get either one, it helps if you buy the device from established retailers so that in case any issue comes up, you would be able to do something about it. Retailers such as AppleMicrosoftDellSamsung, Amazon, and Google all have their own refurbished stores.

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