Refurbished Items, are they worth it?

While we all know Amazon has been known to just send out a returned hub without actually testing it, what is the community consensus of "certified" refurbished items? I'm specifically looking at Ring Alarm Contact Sensor (2nd Gen) primarily because that's a pretty significant cost saving. I'm also curious what the general opinion of these types of items is. In the past, I have received "FRU" (field replacement unit) phones from AT&T and Verizon to replace a phone that wasn't working properly. Generally what I found with those was that even though they CLAIM they were tested and repaired as necessary, more often than not I may have gotten rid of my problems but I inherited the last owners' problem. As a result, I have a tendency to shy away (but not necessarily avoid) refurbished or reconditioned items. So what are your thoughts on these kinds of items?

I avoid refurbished/recertified products like the plague. Amazon, Ebay, and NewEgg all do it now. I think they just check a return for original materials and packaging and there is no way they can test the thousands of different product returns for functionality.


I did buy a few Amazon refurbished items. My experience with them was all good except for one that was missing some parts. They replaced it with a brand new one for free. When they offer me a refurbidhed option, I go for it.


I've had little to no issues on the refurbed items I've gotten from amazon and the couple of things I did they of course took care of. With ebay I pay with paypal incase and only once had an issue and ebay took care of it.

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I'm 70 and never in my life have I had a refurbished/rebuilt item worked like new or lasted half as long. 50 years ago I switched to getting uses car parts from wrecking yards and had much better "luck" than rebuilt parts from auto parts stores.

In the digital age I've tried refurbished parts about every 10 years, usually because new were out of stock everywhere, and they've all been crap. Most recently was a Hue outdoor motion sensor from Amazon Refurbs (or whatever they call it) and the first one was DOA. They replaced it and the 2nd one occasionally did something odd until it went bonkers and trashed my Zigbee mesh a few weeks ago. I tried all the usual, and every unusual, resets I could find/think of to no avail.

I have bought many used computers and home automation devices from sellers on eBay and had only 1 or 2 issues, which the sellers replaced with no grief (other than the down time due to shipping).

Now, I have to add that Murphy has always had it in for me like nobody else so YMMV but I recommend that you buy new or used but NOT refurbished.


The only time I buy used or refurbished items is to feed my inner monster who wants to try everything under the sun. The cost savings are often significant, and sometimes I get lucky and a few of these items graduate from my "playground" into my "production" environment.


I bought a refurbed Homepod mini that shite the bed on ebay. Took me 5 mins to enter the warranty info for it on ebay (1 year warranty). Allstate sent me a check.

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I will buy refurbished or "used-like new" from Amazon if the price is right. So far I have been very happy with my decisions. Almost 95% of the time the item looks or is new and was either returned or had damaged packaging. I have even bought batteries at 50% off still in the original packaging and the same shelf life of new ones. On Amazon if I am not happy, they take it right back. Don't see what there is to lose except saving me money!

I also use Woot. Even though refurbished items have a 90-day warranty, I have yet to have a problem. Even on eBay, if the price is right and the seller has a positive rating I will purchase items there.

My current daily laptop, A Microsoft Laptop 4, was 2 months old, listed as like-new, had several photos in the listing and in the description the seller mentioned it was purchased for a review, I save over 500 dollars from a new one. My cell phone was another like-new purchase from a user who gets the new phone each year and it was only 10 months old. 50% less than a new one and no monthly payments to cell carrier.

Of course, YMMV but just be careful and check seller ratings, use purchase protection with eBay and PayPal, and carefully read the descriptions and check the photos, and if the deal is way too good it is probably a scam.

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I have bought a limited number of things on Woot. One was a 55' LG QLED 2017 model for like $300 bucks. It was reconditioned and all in all, it wasn't a bad purchase. I was never thrilled with the picture. It wasn't what I thought it should have been for a 4K tv and seemed to have some extra light bleed in parts of the screen. For a few years, it was our main Tv until we replaced it last year with a New 75' LG. We still have that refurb, it's now in our bedroom. Once we swapped the Roku it was connected to for an AppleTV (recently) the picture is more like what I was expecting. I never knew there was such a difference between the picture on streaming boxes. I just figured 4K was 4K, but the Apple TV has a much cleaner, clearer picture than the Roku Premier and Ultras they replaced.

I use my judgement to try and decide whether it is likely that the device was fine but the original purchaser just didn’t have much knowledge to fall back on if things didn’t go according to the instructions.

Devices with more complicated setups probably have a higher number of returns due to lack of understanding vs actual hardware failure.

Did ANY light come on when power was applied = QC PASSED.

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I usually shy away from used/returned electronics and never buy refurbished. About 4 years ago when I dumped zwave and went zigbee-only, I bought about 20 zigbee 45856 switches that were 'like new' used for $15 on Amazon. I had one dud when first installed and one that the original purchaser had removed a heat sink fin. The rest are still working.

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I also bought a shite ton of Iris v2 sensors when that guy was selling them on ebay a few years back. Still have them and use them.


Depends on what the item is.

I stay away from devices that are prone to intermittent failure. Motherboards, hard drives (when they were a thing). etc I also stay away from items where the warrantee is important to me. I'm under the belief that refurbed items have a very limited warrantee.

I will purchase a refurbished item for most items, depending on the discount. About 8 years ago I purchased a refurbished Canon laser printer for $40 (it was a base model). It came with a $20 rebate. The printer I received was in absolutely perfect condition and has served me flawlessly since then.


I've lost track of how many times I've bought Amazon warehouse deals that were literally never opened. Refurbished items from Amazon have been an equally good experience. I've had some duds, but I just returned them. There's no risk involved.

In a few cases I've asked for another refurb and it's been fine. In other cases, I've gone ahead and spent the extra on the new item. You cannot succeed if you don't try. Those that have little, to no patience should just avoid it altogether.


Oh yeah, I bought those ebay v2 motion detectors by the bag-full. I forgot about those. I also bought Mike's when he posted them here.

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Buy refurbs off and on, but only for items where I don't mind only having a 30 day warranty (which I think is the standard Amazon practice for Amazon Warehouse refurbs). How much I care about a warranty relates to how much I'm saving on the normal retail price...larger savings = less concerned about short warranty.

Can't remember ever having any problems w/any refurb purchases, behaved as well as new.


It is always buyer beware.

Sometimes you can get a great deal, in other cases a poor deal. I purchased a straight razor on clearance sale (no returns) for 1/2 price. However, the steel had been so poorly heat treated that I never could get more than one shave from it before I needed to rehone the razor. That was $100+ dollars wasted.

I typically purchase new cars and keep them until they are starting to have major purchase problems. One company car I had was part of three major recalls in the first year of leasing. So, being new was not an advantage.

Electronics rarely fail unless there is a significant problem. Sometimes people return items because they do not like something or because of user error, not because the electronics failed. If that is the case, you might get a great deal on a lightly used device. You just never know. As they say, you roll the dice and take your chances. If you are not willing to take the risk, keep the dice in your pocket.

Lemme Guess, Gold Dollar? I have a Gold Dollar practice straight razor (no edge). What would be my daily razor if I get my technique down is a Hart steel razor. I've had it for a few years. Eventually, I need to break down and give it a try again. The first time I used it I knicked myself pretty well several times. I'm never really sure how good a job I do of stropping it.
I also have a few vintage razors I'll never use, but the prices were pretty good for what they are. Both are over 100 years old, I think I paid like $65 for one and about $75 for the other.

I recently bought 4 reconditioned Ridgid cordless power tools, mainly because they were relatively cheap, Im pretty much invested in the Ridgid battery system, but the amount of use they will most likely get isn't sever, so If they work, great! if not, I'm out $25 (each, yes that is the correct price. too good to pass up on) .

I'm on the old Porter-Cable 18v tools and rebuilt batteries now have a quality problem. I saved the dead batteries to cannibalize the cases & chips and bought a battery welder to rebuild my own.

Gold Dollar razors are only a few dollars. While the craftsmanship is lacking, I have yet to find one that won't take and edge. However, because the steel is not super hard, the edge tends to dull quickly.

The bad razor was a Hart Steel. The razor was cryo hardened that made the edge super hard, but super brittle. Every time I got the edge close to being shave ready for my really tough beard, the edge would develop microchips. I made a wonderful boxcutter, but a lousy shaver.