When choosing a laptop, reliability is essential—especially if you plan to use it as your primary device. Apple is one of the world’s most successful hardware manufacturers thanks to its commitment to hardware design and user experience.
As a result, Apple’s computers are known to last. However, Mac laptops don’t come cheap. If you’re after the Apple experience without the Apple price tag, you could opt for a refurbished Mac instead.
With that in mind, here are the best places to buy a refurbished MacBook.
As the manufacturer of Mac laptops, Apple is best-suited to refurbish them. The company recognized this and quietly launched its own Certified Refurbished online store. Many of the refurbished devices were returned through the company’s physical and online retail outlets. This could be as part of a trade-in program, after they were designated as faulty, or simply returned after purchase.
As a result, the range of refurbished devices available may vary. Regardless of the reason, the company inspects each product, tests them, and replaces any necessary components with genuine Apple parts. In effect, you can buy a like-new device at a discounted rate. This isn’t the only way you can score savings on Apple devices, though. There are other Apple hardware discounts you can take advantage of, too.
Despite their many benefits, Apple products are also infamous for their proprietary components. If you’ve ever damaged an iPhone screen and had it replaced by a third-party, you may have seen this in action. Your Apple devices can identify when it’s using unofficial parts, which can have an impact on performance, operability, and even your warranty.
Buying from Apple’s Certified Refurbished store gives you peace of mind that your MacBook will just work as if it was a brand-new device. To add to that experience, these refurbished devices also come with Apple’s standard one-year warranty and 90 days of technical support. You also have the option to further protect your purchase with AppleCare+.
There are many benefits to purchasing through Apple’s Certified Refurbished store, but you won’t find significant savings there. A reliable and reputable alternative is Mac of All Trades. The company even pre-dates the internet era; it first set up shop in 1995 before switching to online operations in 2002.
While this information is interesting, you might think it’s unnecessary. However, we include the background here because reputation is crucial when purchasing refurbished devices. You need to be able to trust the organization you buy from. Not only is it crucial that they’ve done a thorough refurbishment, but you also want to know they’ll take care of you when something goes wrong.
Fortunately, Mac of All Trades has both cases covered. The company operates a four-part refurbishment process. This includes a visual inspection, two-stage cleaning process, hardware testing, device repair, and repackaging. Each refurbished Mac is given a quality rating; Excellent, Very Good, Good, or Fair.
The site is among the best places to buy a refurbished MacBook thanks to its one-year warranty. It also operates a 14-day return window, and you can extend the standard warranty with the company’s Platinum Warranty. This helps reassure that you’ll be protected in the case of any defects or hardware failures with your refurbished Mac laptop.
Like Mac of All Trades, Other World Computing (known as OWC) has been in the computer retail sector for many years; the company’s origins stretch back to 1988. It primarily trades in components, allowing you to customize and upgrade your existing equipment. However, OWC also stocks a range of used and refurbished MacBooks.
The language of the second-hand market can be confusing, so be sure to check out our comparison between refurbished, used, and pre-owned devices. Of note here is that OWC mainly sells used MacBooks. These are second-hand devices that have undergone some level of inspection.
Unlike Certified Refurbished laptops, though, used devices aren’t subject to as thorough inspection and testing. In most cases, you should assume that used devices are sold “as-is.” That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with used devices. In fact, they’re often available at a significant discount.
However, shopping with OWC is a grade above buying any second-hand device. As the company specializes in computer upgrades, you can choose to customize your second-hand MacBook. After you’ve selected a model, there are options relating to disk size, memory, and the second-hand condition.
Amazon is one of the world’s largest retailers, so it won’t come as a surprise that it also stocks a range of refurbished items on the Amazon Renewed storefront. The company first set up shop as an online bookseller in 1994, before quickly expanding into all areas of retail.
One of the main reasons Amazon is so successful is the variety of products on offer. However, it’s not always Amazon selling to you directly.
Third-party sellers are key to Amazon’s success. That’s also the case with the Amazon Renewed store. The majority of the items for sale here are not sold by Amazon, but are inspected and refurbished by third-party sellers. Amazon implements standards, though, so you can still be sure any second-hand item purchased through this store will be in good condition.
Using the Renewed store, you get access to a wide range of electronics and other household goods, including refurbished MacBooks. Not only does this make it a convenient place to shop, but you get to interact with Amazon’s customer service should something go wrong.
For example, the Amazon Renewed Guarantee gives you 90 days to return the product if you aren’t happy with it. If you have any technical problems, simply contact Amazon for help troubleshooting the issue. In this way, the Amazon Renewed store helps you score a good deal on a refurbished MacBook Pro or MacBook while offering the service of the most popular online retailer.
Keeping Track of Mac Deals
Finding the perfect deal on refurbished products is often a complicated process due to ever-changing inventories. Because of this, you should consider two other sites that take the guesswork out of finding great deals.
Refurb Tracker provides email alerts and RSS feeds listing refurbished products on Apple Store websites. To get started, create an alert on the website indicating the type of product you hope to find. In addition to Macs, Refurb Tracker offers alerts for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, and Mac accessories.
RefurbMe also offers an alert system on refurbished and certified pre-owned Apple products. Besides Apple Store websites, RefurbMe tracks items from Best Buy, GameStop, Gazelle, Target, and Walmart. In addition to Macs, RefurbMe offers alerts for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, and Apple Watch.
The Best Places to Buy Refurbished MacBooks
Refurbished MacBooks are a great way to save some money, so long as you choose a reputable seller with a professional restoring process. The sites we’ve listed here are among the best places to buy a refurbished MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro.
If it’s peace of mind you’re after, the Apple Certified Refurbished store should be your first choice. However, the other sites here all offer a unique take on the second-hand device that may better suit your needs.
That said, you must do your research before committing to a second-hand MacBook. Despite the many upsides, there are potential pitfalls you need to keep an eye on. Be sure to familiarize yourself with what you need to know when buying a refurbished Mac.
Read the full article: Where to Buy Refurbished MacBooks: The 4 Best Sites