Congratulations! You’re considering a refurbished iPhone 7 for your next smartphone. For many reasons, this is a smart choice. To begin with, buying a factory reconditioned device saves you a bunch of money. It’s also an ecologically responsible choice.

Each reconditioned device purchased doesn’t immediately become e-waste (a pretty big problem that we’ll discuss in a minute). Thankfully, refurbished devices are certified to such high standards, so they function as well as their brand-new counterparts.

Keep reading for our best insight into the process of buying a certified refurbished device. Here you’ll find everything that you need to know to make the most informed decision on your next smartphone.

What’s a Refurbished Phone?

To begin with, let’s talk about what goes into refurbishing a phone. Device reconditioning standards vary a bit from the seller to seller. Sellers do, however, generally follow the same refurbishing blueprint.

Refurbished phones are mostly retired display models or customer returns with minor flaws. Many refurbished phones are trade-ins to retailers or cell phone companies in exchange for a rebate or discount on the latest model phone. These companies then send the phones to either the manufacturer (labeled ‘factory reconditioned’) or to a third-party who refurbishes it.

Technicians will first test each device. They fix any obvious flaws, like cracked screens or weak batteries, right away. Technicians continue to troubleshoot any issues and replace or repair them. After that, the device will be tested again. If a phone still doesn’t function fully, technicians will re-test and repair until it does. Otherwise, they’ll discard the device if it’s impossible to repair. For additional details on how phones are refurbished, check out our Ultimate Guide.

Once a phone passes the re-test, technicians thoroughly clean it and wipe the memory. This ensures that when you get your refurbished phone, there is no previous user data and you’re ready to set it up when you open it. Technicians also load each phone with a stock version of the current operating system so that you can feel free to customize it to your tastes as if you just took it out of the box. Often, specialists replace the battery and outer shell, too.

Reconditioned devices go through such stringent certification procedures that you often can’t tell them apart from brand new ones. If you were to have a problem with a new iPhone, for example, Apple may choose to replace it if necessary. To make sure that you leave with your specific model, color or size of the device in a timely fashion, you’ll get a refurbished iPhone. These phones are reconditioned to excellent standards. Most people can’t even tell the difference. For more details on buying a reconditioned Apple product, we have a handy list of facts that you should consider before you buy. For more iPhone-specific things to look for when you buy refurbished, check out these tips.

Refurbished phones from reputable sellers usually come with some sort of guarantee. Since everything is in working order, the main variable is in the device’s appearance. Refurbished phones are usually grouped into Excellent, Good and Fair categories of physical appearance. Each seller will specify how they arrive at the designation but expect to pay a little bit more for phones in Excellent condition with likely just a few light scratches.

Why Choose a Refurbished iPhone 7?

Since the iPhone 7’s release three years ago, technology continues to improve, but this phone can keep up. The refurbished iPhone 7 is still a great phone. Apple continues to make minor modifications to the style, too. Fundamentally, though, a refurbished iPhone 7 can hold its own against comparable new smartphone releases.

The iPhone 7 was the first model without a headphone jack. If you buy one, you’ll need a headphone adapter or lightning port compatible headphones. Because of this, it is thinner and lighter than its predecessors. The iPhone 7 is also the first iPhone without antenna strips on the back. The iPhone 7 sports a 4.7” high-resolution Retina display. It runs on a still-impressive Apple A10 Fusion chip with a quad-core 2.35 GHz CPU.

The iPhone 7 is available with up to 256gb of memory. It has plenty of room to store pictures, videos, and all of your apps. The iPhone 7 also has two great cameras. The selfie camera on the front takes 7MP photos. The rear camera captures stunning 12MP photos. Like the current models, a refurbished iPhone 7 has a fingerprint sensor, accelerometer, compass, and Siri. This phone requires a Nano-SIM card, depending on your carrier. For our detailed take on the iPhone 7 features, take a look at this blog post with everything you need to know.

While all colors may not be available, the iPhone 7 was made in gold, jet black, rose gold, red, silver and standard black. The look of the iPhone has evolved a little bit. There is no physical home button on newer models, for example. Still, the iPhone 7 does not look out of place with its rounded edges and matte metallic finishes. The design is still modern and fashionable.

If that doesn’t convince you, there’s still more. Like you’ll find in this article, Apple products hold their value really well. Some estimate that 10% of iPhones can have up to three different users. Since they’re so well made, there is always a market for iPhones. If you decide to upgrade, chances are good that you’ll be able to sell or trade-in your refurbished iPhone 7.

Finally, it’s nice to own your phone outright. T-mobile was the first cell phone service provider to move away from contracts.      

Why Buy a Refurbished iPhone 7?

The Price. Most people consider buying a refurbished iPhone because of the cost savings. Let’s cut to the chase: refurbished iPhones cost 40-50% less than buying brand new. If you’re not convinced, check out our site. You can’t beat those savings for a working smartphone from a top brand. Sure, it isn’t the latest model, but a refurbished iPhone 7 also won’t set you back by over $1000 (looking at you, iPhone Pro!) or more as prices on new phones continue to rise.

The Earth. You can’t talk about refurbished devices without mentioning how good this process is for the environment. Between global warming and massive pollution, the topic of e-waste isn’t a familiar one. Unfortunately, it’s also starting to catch up with the planet. Phones in landfills leak toxic chemicals like lead and mercury into the ground. On top of this, we waste valuable natural resources like precious metals (copper, silver, and gold, for example) every time we throw a cell phone away. Even worse, like a lot of our trash, we incinerate cell phones. This releases harmful C02 into the atmosphere. This depletes the ozone layer. It also contributes to global warming.

We’ve got some great ideas on our blog about how to do your part when it comes to your smartphone decisions. You can check that out here.  First, plan to recycle your old phones so that manufacturers can salvage some of their components.

Another idea is to— you guessed it—buy refurbished! Each refurbished device is ultimately given a second chance. Replacing a part or two extends the short lifespan of a phone (according to some it’s only 1.5 years-2.5 years).

The Freedom. Finally, it’s nice to own your phone outright. T-mobile was the first cell phone service provider in the US to move away from long term service contracts. This prompted an emphasis on cell phone ownership in America. With a compatible device, you can switch providers and use the same phone. Thanks to the option of an affordable refurbished iPhone 7, you have more flexibility to choose your network. With your own phone, you can join or leave as you wish.

The peace of mind. By buying refurbished, you save your budget and the planet. To top that off, you’ll also get some peace of mind. On RefurbMe, we work with sellers who stand behind their products. Check the individual terms of each seller, but you’ll get at least a 30-day guarantee on every device that we show. To make it easier, we compare quality, warranty and the return guarantee on our site. Unlike used iPhones, refurbished phones are tested and in working order.

The quality. Since each device is refurbished, apart from the cosmetic condition, it functions as a new phone. If it doesn’t work, send it back to the seller. Because we only host select refurbished device sellers and we only work with Apple products, our site is a simple way to narrow down your search for a refurbished iPhone 7. Refurbished phone sales continue to grow by 13-17% each year—more as new phone prices increase. Can refurbished phones be trusted? Millions of people who continue to buy refurbished phones believe so. Obviously, we do too!

Where should I buy my refurbished iPhone 7?

Like any major purchase, do your homework! Check seller and product reviews. Look at the return policy. Make sure that you are comfortable with the warranty terms. Buy from a site that looks legitimate—one you can trust. We make comparing these things easy so that you can make informed decisions. For example, if a longer warranty period is important, choose a seller who offers one. Their phones might cost a bit more, but it is worth it if that’s a concern for you.

There are plenty of places online to find refurbished iPhone 7’s. Though Apple refurbishes and sells previous iPhone models, they don’t reliably stock iPhone 7’s anymore. Consequently, your best bet is through a certified refurbished seller, like the ones that we list on RefurbMe.

Gazelle, for example, one of the sites that we show, often sells iPhone 7’s. Once you decide on your model specifics, price point, etc., you can set an alert on RefurbMe. We’ll let you know when we find a match from a reputable seller. Then you can buy exactly what you want. Simple as that.

So, what do we take away from all of this?

  1. Buying refurbished is a great decision. The price point is always easier on your wallet. Refurbished iPhones are like new when you buy them. Luckily, refurbished iPhones cost 40-50% less than they did when released. Thanks to rigorous testing, each device is fully functional and ready to use. Great warranties and return policies give you added security.
  2. Buying refurbished is good for the planet. Each reconditioned iPhone is one less device leaking toxic chemicals in a landfill or damaging the ozone layer. A refurbished iPhone 7 in your pocket isn’t contributing to e-waste right away.
  3. Buying a refurbished iPhone 7 is a good investment. The iPhone 7 is still a great phone three years later. Its technological design rivals the current competition. The styling is still relevant. The features are still cutting-edge. Moreover, since it’s an Apple product, it holds its value. Finally, owning your own device means that you can bring your phone to any network. Join or leave, it’s your choice.
  4. Buying a refurbished phone is simple. At RefurbMe, we take out the guesswork. We’ll help you find refurbished Apple products from reputable sellers to meet your specs. Compare their warranties. Study their return policies. When you’re ready, set an alert and you’ll be notified when there’s a match.

Buying a certified refurbished device is a big decision. It’s also a smart one. Hopefully, this guide to buying a refurbished iPhone 7 helps to make your purchase less confusing. Now you know what to look for and where to find it. As long as you keep these tips and tricks handy, you’re on your way to successfully purchase a great phone for all of the right reasons.