American technology company Apple makes some phenomenal handsets. The iPhone is hugely popular because of its gorgeous design, its apps (over one million apps are available on the App Store) as well as features like the Siri virtual assistant. This is why more than one billion iPhones have been sold around the world.
If you are an existing iPhone owner looking to upgrade, or if you want to join the billions of people who own an Apple smartphone, the big question is how should you buy that iPhone? Should you buy a refurbished iPhone or should you buy a brand new iPhone instead?
There are benefits to buying either a refurbished iPhone or a brand new iPhone and the real challenge is figuring out which one is right for you. To help make things easier before you make that big jump, we’ve highlighted the pros and cons of buying the two types of handsets.
It’s Cheaper to Buy a Refurbished iPhone
The biggest benefit to buying a refurbished iPhone – and the reason why millions of people around the world buy them – is that it is so much cheaper than buying a brand new iPhone.
Let’s look at some iPhone discounts to compare prices:
According to RefurbMe’s listing of refurbished iPhone X prices, you can currently purchase a refurbished iPhone X for just $749 with free shipping. This particular listing has been tested, data wiped and validated at GameStop’s Refurbishment Center, comes with new wires (including charging cables and earbuds), and also has a warranty.
But if you were to buy a brand new iPhone X from Apple then you would be paying a substantial amount more. The iPhone maker currently sells the phone for $999 brand new, making it $250 more expensive than the refurbished model listed right here by RefurbMe.
The iPhone X offers some incredibly cool features; it has a minimal bezel and a huge screen that is ideal for playing games and watching movies on the go, while features such as the Animoji are also wildly entertaining. But are you willing to pay $250 more for it?
There are similar prices for older iPhone models too. For example, if you buy a refurbished iPhone 8 Plus (256GB) through RefurbMe it will cost you $799 compared to a brand new iPhone 8 Plus (256GB) which will set you back by $949. Buying the refurbished model gives you a saving of $150.
Refurbished Phones Are Available Contract Free
Refurbished iPhones are also cheaper in the long-run when compared to a brand new iPhone purchased with a contract. For example, buying a refurbished iPhone X costs $750 to buy outright in one payment with RefurbMe, or you can get the phone with the AT&T Installment Program which costs $41.63 per month on a 24-month contract which is roughly $999. Buying the iPhone X on contract is as expensive as buying a brand new iPhone X outright and costs far more than buying a refurbished iPhone X instead.
The iPhone 8 is another example of this price disparity. A refurbished iPhone 8 256GB can be purchased for just $699 via RefurbMe, but under a 24-month contract with the Verizon Device Payment Program ($35.37 a month), you will be paying approximately $850 just to gain access to the device. This is a difference of $151.
When looking at the figures across two years, buying a refurbished iPhone is certainly cheaper. However, buying a brand new iPhone a contract may be the best choice for you if you do not have the budget to buy a new phone outright.
When buying a refurbished phone, you pay for the phone upfront and are not locked into a contract (you may be locked to a certain carrier, though unlocked models are available). That freedom is great but if you don’t have $750 or so to spend all at once, spreading the cost in monthly installments over 24 months is going to work better for you even if it costs you more money in the long-run. Do Refurbished Phones Come With Warranties?
RefurbMe aggregate deals from retailers who sell refurbished iPhones with warranties. Typically, when you buy a phone from a retailer listed on RefurbMe, your iPhone will include a minimum 30-day warranty. Many refurbished handsets also give you up to 30 days to return the phone and request a placement if, for some reason, you are unsatisfied with the quality of the handset.
The length of the warranty will depend on which retailer. For example, if you purchase a refurbished iPhone 5S through RefurbMe (fulfilled by Amazon), you will get a minimum 90-day limited warranty. If you want a longer warranty for added confidence, you can also pay extra to extend it.
In comparison, when you purchase an iPhone from Apple, it comes with the Apple One (1) Year Limited Warranty. This warranty means that if your new iPhone is proven to be defective within a year of purchase, you can request repairs or a replacement. Though it should be noted that this Apple warranty does not include “consumable parts” such as batteries “unless failure has occurred due to a defect in materials or workmanship.”
Apple makes high-quality smartphones; this is one of the reasons that people like the iPhone so much. Refurbished iPhones are also tested thoroughly before going on sale. But for peace of mind, you may want a longer warranty without having to pay extra for it.
Do You Want an iPhone On Launch Day?
Another question to factor in when deciding if you’re going to buy a refurbished iPhone or a brand new iPhone is whether you absolutely need an iPhone on launch day or whether you are willing to wait just a couple of months to get your hands on the handset.
If you want an iPhone on release date and don’t mind paying a premium for it, then getting a brand new iPhone will suit you better. Unless there are stock shortages due to high demand at launch, then pre-ordering a brand new iPhone to get it at release is a smart option if you really don’t want to wait.
Alternatively, you can wait just two months or so to get a refurbished version of that same, newly released iPhone model. One of the most common reasons for a phone being refurbished is that the owner changed their mind about the handset and chose to return it within a few weeks of purchase. Maybe the phone wasn’t what they expected or they saw another smartphone that they preferred better.
Refurbished versions are usually available quite quickly after launch. For example, refurbished iPhone 8 handsets were available from mac of all trades beginning November 22nd which is just two months after the phone was first released on September 22. The first refurbished iPhone X was sold by Gazelle on January 6, 2018, which is just over two months after its November 3, 2017 release date. So if you’re willing to wait a small amount of time, you can save a bit of extra cash.