Should You Buy a Refurbished Smartphone in 2023

If you're in the market for a new smartphone but are hesitant to spend a lot of money on a brand new model, you may be considering the option of buying a refurbished phone instead. It could be a great way to get your hands on one of the latest Apple iPhones or Samsung Galaxy models for less. But is a refurbished phone the right choice for you? Here's what you need to know about refurbished smartphones in 2023.

split screen with business man on smartphone at a coffee shop beside a white iPhone on a black table

Image Source: Edmond Dantes

What is a Refurbished Smartphone?

A refurbished smartphone is a device that has been previously owned and returned or traded in. If the phone was returned due to a defect, then it’s been restored to a like-new condition by the manufacturer or a third-party vendor.

While refurbished phones are not brand new, they should still function just as well as a new phone. However, it's important to note that refurbished phones are not the same as "used" phones that are sold directly by their previous owners. Refurbished phones should come with a warranty and should have been inspected and tested to ensure that they are in perfect working order. 

Pros and Cons of Buying a Refurbished Smartphone

There are both pros and cons to consider when deciding whether or not to buy a refurbished smartphone. Some potential advantages of refurbished phones include:

  • Cost Savings: Refurbished phones are generally cheaper than brand new models, making them a good option for budget-conscious buyers.
  • Opportunity to Test Out High-End Models: If you've always wanted to try out a high-end smartphone but have been put off by the price, buying a refurbished version could be a good way to test out the latest and greatest without breaking the bank.
  • More options: When you purchase a new phone, dealers often only have the latest models available but with refurb your range of options expands and there is generally a device to suit everyones’ needs and desired price point.
  • Smaller Environmental Footprint: By choosing a refurbished phone, you can help reduce e-waste and prevent old phones from ending up in landfills. Companies that sell refurb are generally leveraging the circular economy and that’s pretty sweet.

However, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider:

  • Shorter Warranty Period: Refurbished phones often come with shorter warranty periods than brand new models, meaning you'll have less time to get any issues fixed if something goes wrong.
  • Risk of Hidden Damage or Defects: While refurbished phones should be inspected and tested before being sold, there is always a risk that something could have been missed. It's important to do your research and buy from a reputable seller to minimize this risk.
  • Risk of Buying from a Less Reputable Seller: There are many sellers of refurbished phones out there, and not all of them are equally trustworthy. Make sure to do your research and only buy from a reputable seller to avoid getting scammed or ripped off.

Some indications of a legitimate business with a great product are: 

  • Warranty included
  • Battery health guarantees & other guarantees
  • Reviews, reviews, reviews
  • Transparent information on their website
  • A reputable seller will have a second-hand dealer licence and business number

Where to Buy Refurbished Smartphones

But how do you find a reputable seller? If you decide that a refurbished smartphone is the right choice for you, the next step is to decide where to buy one. There are a few different options to consider:

  •  Manufacturer Refurbished:  Many smartphone manufacturers offer their own refurbished phone programs, where you can buy a refurbished phone directly from the company. These phones are usually inspected and tested by the manufacturer, so you can feel confident that you're getting a high-quality device.
  •  Third-Party Retailers:  There are many third-party retailers that specialize in selling refurbished phones. Some of these retailers are very reputable, while others are less so. Be sure to do your research and choose a reputable seller. For Australia we love places like and
  •  Online Marketplaces:  There are also many online marketplaces where you can buy refurbished phones, such as eBay and Amazon. As with third-party retailers, purchasing on a marketplace can carry more risk so be sure to do your due diligence. 

Buying a second hand iPhone is all about research. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Well, unless you’re looking at Frank Mobile phones. If that’s the case, it’s all true baby. 😉