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Renewed vs refurbished: What's the difference?

Is there even a difference?!

Published onJune 18, 2024

An image of money surrounded by wireless audio products like the Bose SoundLink Micro speaker, Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, 1MORE Colorbuds, Jabra Elite 45h, JBL True Wireless Flash X, and Shure AONIC 50.
Lil Katz / Android Authority

Tech can get expensive these days. It’s always good to save some money, and you may have noticed plenty of retailers offering renewed or refurbished products. But what’s the difference between renewed vs refurbished devices?

In this guide, we will tell you what both terms mean, and walk you through the process of finding a good option for your next gadget acquisition.

Renewed vs refurbished: What’s the difference?

Smartphones 2024 angled
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

After looking for deals over the web, you may wonder what the difference between renewed vs refurbished is. Retailers seem to throw around both terms and often forget to tell you what they are all about. The words “renewed” and “refurbished” actually refer to the same thing.

Renewed or refurbished products are pre-owned items that have been fixed and optimized back to working condition. A customer may have returned the product because it wasn’t working, or it could have been sent in for an insurance claim. Sometimes, the devices are simply returned because the original buyer changed their mind, in which case there was probably nothing wrong with the phone, to begin with! Whatever the case, the seller brought it back to life, and it should work perfectly, but it may have some cosmetic blemishes, lack the official accessories, or have no official box.

The words renewed and refurbished actually refer to the same thing.

As a result, the device will cost significantly less than a brand-new one. And it can often cost less than pre-owned or open-box products.

The only real difference between renewed vs refurbished items is the connotation of the words. “Renewed” sounds much nicer than “refurbished,” but they mean the same.

Some retailers do separate renewed vs refurbished products. For example, a refurbished phone may have been fixed, while a renewed one may be an open-box product without the original packaging, or an item returned with little to no use. It may even include devices returned due to guilty spending, which means it might be in near-perfect condition.

Things differ from retailer to retailer, so it’s always good to investigate how each company or seller labels its own offerings.

What are certified refurbished products?

Best Buy certified refurbished page

“Certified refurbished” is another term you may find when looking for renewed vs refurbished products. Similar to other related terminology, sometimes sellers take some freedom when using this term. Most agree that a certified refurbished product is fixed by a professional technician, commissioned by a renowned company. Usually, this company is the manufacturer that made the product, or one of its official authorized service providers.

For example, Apple sells its own certified refurbished devices. This ensures that the technicians who refurbish the product have ample training and know the device’s ins and outs. Additionally, buying certified refurbished gives you extra peace of mind, knowing that all parts are genuine and not third-party replacements. Other common companies with their own certified refurbished programs include Best Buy and Samsung.

This makes certified refurbished products a better bet, but they also tend to cost more than third-party refurbished items. However, you will usually get better customer service, a better return window, and an improved warranty should anything go wrong.

Do renewed or refurbished products have a warranty?

nokia g22 battery replacement 68
Scott Scrivens / Android Authority

Talking about warranties, this is a significant factor to consider when purchasing a renewed or refurbished device. A word of warning: not all refurbished devices will have a warranty, especially if they are smaller independent stores or websites. That said, most refurbished products do come with a warranty. The only important factor to consider is that some offer a more extended warranty than others.

Whether a renewed or refurbished gadget gets a warranty, and for how long, depends a lot on the item’s condition, the retailer, and what you’re getting. You may have to do some research to find more details about how other retailers operate. We’ll discuss the best places to buy refurbished products later in the post.

Should you buy a renewed or refurbished product?

Amazon boxes stock photo 2 - Renewed vs refurbished
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Unwrapping a brand-new smartphone, tablet, computer, or anything else, feels fantastic. A new device will always be free of cosmetic damage, and the battery will be brand new, which means it will last longer. Not to mention, it will always come backed by a full manufacturer warranty, which typically lasts a year.

All that said, buying renewed or refurbished tech has its advantages. For starters, the price will definitely be lower, and saving some cash is always nice. Not only that, but these devices often come with a great warranty and return policy, so there might be no difference in terms of peace of mind, at least in terms of your device working. The seller may also offer optional insurance for the device, adding a second layer of protection.

Buying renewed or refurbished is better for the environment

Another argument is that buying renewed or refurbished is better for the environment, as you’re giving a device a second life, instead of letting it go directly to a landfill.

If you like any of the advantages renewed or refurbished products offer, it’s a great idea to go this route. Just be sure to get it from a trusted source that will have your back.

Refurbished vs new phones

Google Pixel 8a with colorful background stock photo (4)
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Here’s another option you can consider. If you don’t want to spend much but still want a pretty nice phone, you can also look into getting a new phone in the mid-tier price spectrum. These days, there are pretty awesome phones that don’t cost that much. Many of these can play games, run intensive processes, and come with all the bells and whistles you need—all for about $400 to about $600, depending on the model.

Some good examples include the Google Pixel 8a ($499 at Amazon), Apple iPhone SE ($429 at Amazon), and Samsung Galaxy A55 5G ($387 at Amazon). Take a look at our list of the best affordable phones. You might find that you don’t even need to get a refurbished or renewed phone if you can live with a cheaper handset.

Of course, you’ll get all the benefits of buying a new phone, in this case. Including the whole-year warranty, fair return policy, and the satisfaction of being the first owner.

Where can I buy refurbished devices?

Amazon logo on phone next to boxes stock photo 16 - Renewed vs refurbished
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you’ve made up your mind about going refurbished. We recommend a few retailers. Let’s go over them.

  • Apple: Of course, this option is only suitable for those who want to buy Apple products. Apple is famous for its excellent customer service, and it offers a one-year warranty on all its refurbished products.
  • Amazon: Amazon offers a wide selection of refurbished devices, from phones to tablets and many other electronics. These also come with a 90-day warranty period, and you can even return the device for a full refund within this period. What’s best, if you get a Premium Condition device, it will come with a one-year warranty.
  • Best Buy: Best Buy also refurbished products and offers a 90-day warranty, unless otherwise noted. The good thing about Best Buy is that there are physical stores all over the USA, so you can just go to your local store for any help.
  • eBay: This online marketplace has a large following, a wide variety of sellers, and options to throw around. Its refurbished products also come with a one-year warranty, and Certified Refurbished ones extend that to two years.
  • Walmart: The retailer giant has its own Walmart Restored program, which a bunch of device options at great prices. It also has a 90-day warranty and return window. And “Restored Premium” devices have a one-year warranty.
  • Newegg: This is an excellent option to find a variety of renewed and refurbished devices, but you must be more careful. Figuring out the warranty and return details can be trickier, as it’s based on a mixture of Newegg policies and the seller’s choices. Just check the product page when buying.


Technically speaking, yes, renewed and refurbished means the same thing. These devices were used, returned, or didn’t work. Then, a company can fix it and sell it at a lower price.

Because these are no longer new, renewed or refurbished products cost less than their brand-new counterparts. They are also more affordable if they have more cosmetic wear, or lack certain accessories.

Refurbished and renewed devices usually come with a warranty, but there are some exceptions. Not to mention some retailers offer better warranties than others.

There are many places where you can buy refurbished phones and other products from, but we tend to recommend only the most trustworthy. These include Apple, Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, and Walmart.

If your refurbished device doesn’t work, you can usually return it within the specified return window, which varies by retailer. Additionally, you can make a warranty claim, as long as you’re within the warranty period.

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