Anyone who has shopped for a laptop lately knows that a brand-new computer can set you back a good bit of money. However, savvy shoppers know that there are excellent bargains available in the used and refurbished market, where buyers can find high-quality, lightly used machines at dramatically reduced prices. Though not all used computers are of equal quality, there are plenty of good deals to be found on refurbished laptops that are of guaranteed condition and functionality.

While both kinds of laptops are technically considered used and both offer solid value to buyers, there are some differences that distinguish used laptops from their refurbished counterparts. The differences are important; they’re determined by the quality and condition of the machine. Those differences are also reflected in pricing disparity. Keep reading below to learn how you can tell the difference between used Dell laptops for sale and their refurbished counterparts.

Age Differences

One of the first things you notice about refurbished laptops is that they’re usually either similar to current models or from the previous edition of a computer line. That means that they aren’t older models that are being offered on the used market, but rather have up-to-date operating systems, current software, and hardware that rivals that found on brand-new laptops. Used laptops are generally much older, so they may not have the current version of preinstalled software, and the hardware may be somewhat dated. In fact, some used laptops may use software or hardware that’s no longer supported. These factors can lead to diminished performance in used laptops when compared to refurbished laptops, which are usually every bit as capable as a new model. If the computer seems new, it’s likely refurbished. But the model is several editions old, you’re probably dealing with a used laptop.

Appearance and Condition Differences

Another delineating factor that separates used computers from refurbished ones is that, in most cases, every effort is made to make a refurbished computer look like new. Used laptops, on the other hand, may feature the typical signs of wear that come with being lugged around. There may be dings, scratches, scuffs, worn keys, or failing components. Those scrapes and scars will be reflected in the asking price and often don’t have a significant impact on function. Refurbished laptops are restored by the manufacturer or retailer cosmetically as well as functionally, so they’ll look and work just like a new computer. If the computer looks like it’s never been used, it’s probably refurbished. If there are visible signs of wear, there’s a good chance that it’s just a used laptop.

Retailer Differences

Usually, laptops that have truly been refurbished are offered for sale only through vendors rather than individuals. Used laptops can be sold by anyone who wants to list a computer for sale, though it’s rare for OEM vendors to offer used computers for sale that haven’t been refurbished. If an individual is selling the computer, it’s probably used. However, if the original manufacturer or licensed product retailer is offering the laptop for sale, it’s more likely to be refurbished.

Warranty Differences

One of the easiest ways to determine whether a retailer is offering a refurbished or used laptop is the warranty. While some exemplary retailers may include a short-term warranty with a used computer purchase, that’s not the norm. Because a used computer hasn’t been vetted and certified as operational, retailers may be less likely to offer a warrantyof any length on a used machine. However, if a vendor offers a warranty on a laptop that’s not new, that usually means that it’s refurbished. Refurbished laptops have been restored to their original factory condition in most cases and are tested for function before they’re sold. In many cases, refurbished laptops come with a respectable extended warranty that guarantees the machine’s function.

If you’re in the market for your next computer, there are many bargains to be found among cheap refurbished Dell laptops and quality used computers. There are some key differences between used and refurbished laptops, so use the distinguishing characteristics mentioned above to ensure you know exactly what you’re buying. If you’re shopping for a used or refurbished laptop, contact at (508) 788-6326.