Tips for Buying a Used Smartphone

According to research, 97% of Americans now own cell phones. 85% of them own smartphones. So with the overwhelming majority of the country owning and purchasing new cell phones, you can bet there are countless ways to save a little money on used phones.

The question is, how do you make sure you’re getting a quality used smartphone?

Don’t get taken for a ride. Follow these simple tips for choosing the best used phone for you.

The Different Types of Used Smartphones

There are three kinds of used smartphones, “pre-owned,” “used,” and “refurbished.”

Before you buy, understand what each term means, so you get the best option for you.


A certified pre-owned smartphone is similar to a certified pre-owned car. It goes through testing to ensure it’s in good working condition before being re-sold.

Pre-owned phones are great for buyers interested in obtaining a warranty or having some guarantee of the phone’s functionality.


A used phone usually comes from a private individual. If you purchase a used phone, be sure and erase previous data with Certus mobile or a similar service. 

Services like these ensure your used phone is totally free of the previous owner’s data.


Refurbished phones receive the most attention prior to re-sale. They have hardware and software repairs completed to bring them as close as possible to brand new functionality.

Time Your Purchase

One of the best times to buy a used phone is right after the latest model is released. All the folks interested in the newest model are ready to sell, and you can get a great phone without overspending.

Do Your Research

This entails a lot of things. Don’t just buy the first unlocked smartphone you find. Take a look at pricing from various sellers. See what the model you’re interested in is selling for, and make sure you are getting it in the best condition for the price you want.

You also want to make sure you fully understand the return policy and warranty before purchasing.

Unfortunately, with many private sellers, you may have little luck with warranties or returns at all. Just make sure you read the fine print before you hit “pay.”

Choose a Reliable Used Smartphone Seller

If you do decide to buy from a private seller, read any reviews on them. Make sure they have a legit operation and aren’t going to scam you.

Your best bet is to choose a seller with a name you can trust. Sellers like Best Buy, Amazon, and others all offer used phones in any of the three main conditions.

Making The Choice

Buying a used smartphone doesn’t have to be intimidating. With a little research, the right timing, and some reliable recommendations on sellers, you can find a new model of your favorite smartphone for an excellent price.

For more techy tips and hacks, browse the Tech portion of my blog.

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