Last updated March 2021

Although the shiny new phone models that get released every year are always tempting, one of the best things you can do for the environment (and your bank account) is to look into buying a refurbished phone.  Recent research has shown that by doing this, you’re putting less tech in landfills and reducing your individual impact on the environment by up to 40% (sounds good, right?). Take a read below to find out a bit more about what a refurbished phone actually is, some of our hints and tips when looking for one, and six recommendations for places to shop for a refurbished phone. 

What does refurbished actually mean?

The term ‘refurbished phone’ generally refers to a pre-owned handset that has:

  • been sold to a recycling website when a consumer upgraded their phone
  • been sent back due to a fault and has been repaired for resale

Not all phones described as refurbished were at one stage faulty, instead, some are simply handsets that were returned by customers who changed their mind within 30-days of signing up for a contract.

So, refurbished phones can often mean you’re getting a practically brand new phone, only it’s cheaper and you’re helping reduce the amount of tech ending up in landfill and polluting our planet.

With some brands and retailers you can make significant savings, especially if you don’t mind whether you have the latest handset.

Top tips

When looking for a refurbished phone we’ve got some tips and tips to help you find the perfect one

  1. Check what condition the phone is in and what that means at a particular retailer. For example, “refurbished good” might mean almost brand new at one website, while at another might mean you’re getting a cosmetically damaged phone
  2. Check the warranty available and whether the website will let you add insurance – some insurance policies only cover brand new phones not refurbished ones
  3. Check regularly and do your research – prices and stock levels are always changing!
  4. Look out for the terminology. Often products are referred to as ‘used’ instead of ‘refurbished’. The term ‘used’ is harder to define, so you’ll need to be more cautious as it could mean anything from a few scratches, to battered by frequent drops

Where to get one?

When buying a refurbished iPhone, we always recommend using a reputable retailer and the good news is we’ve done the research for you and have found 6 great places to grab a refurbished phone:

1. Reboxed

Reboxed sell refurbished smartphones – as well as phone accessories like AirPods and phone cases. As a pending B Corp they’re top of our list for buying a refurbished phone. Like us they believe in changing how we buy tech for the better – both for customers’ pockets and for the planet.

They buy their refurbished Apple iPhones from certified sources and directly from customers. They have a full range of iPhone models and specs, so you can choose everything from the colour to the amount of storage space.

Every phone goes through a thorough checking process, is securely wiped of all data, given a thorough clean, and is then reboxed – sent within 1 working day, with free next day delivery across the UK and backed by a 15 month no quibble warranty!

2. Amazon renewed

Amazon also has a dedicated section on their website where they offer a wide variety of refurbished products you can trust under the name of ‘Amazon Renewed’. Just be sure to read the small print to check what condition it’s in before you buy it.

All of their phones are inspected and tested to work and look like new, as well as being insured for 1 year by the Amazon renewed guarantee.

3. Apple certified refurbished 

A lot of people don’t realise but you can even buy a refurbished iPhone directly from Apple. You will receive a “like new” device with genuine Apple replacement parts (as needed) that has been thoroughly cleaned and inspected. 

Refurbished iOS devices come with a new battery and outer shell and every device comes with all accessories, cables and operating systems.

Like regular apple products, their refurbished phones come with a one-year limited warranty.

3. Music magpie

Music Magpie is another trusted retailer when it comes to refurbished phones and has a good reputation for buying and selling phone models. 

All of their products come with a 12 month warranty and they also offer a 14 day money back guarantee, as well as free delivery.

4. Carphone Warehouse 

What’s great about Carphone Warehouse is that every phone in their range has been returned by a customer simply because they changed their mind shortly after purchase. So, other than the fact the box has been opened, it’s in near perfect condition.

All that happens when a phone is returned is that it is reset to factory settings and they lower the price, win win right?

Every refurbished phone they offer comes with a 12 month warranty and are registered as Grade A (which is the highest grade you can get). Every phone also comes with a charger and for hygiene reasons the headphones are not included.

5. Envirofone

Envirofone is a specialist resale and recycle site on a mission to give customers the best value and help the environment at the same time. 

For 10 years the company has been buying goods from customers across Europe and now, through envirofone shop, they are giving customers even more value by offering premium ‘quality guaranteed’ products. 

All of their refurbished phones come with a 12 month warranty. Envirofone are currently having a pause during the Coronvirus Pandemic, but should be back up and running in the coming weeks with any luck 🤞

New Handsets 

If you need a new phone then there are a couple of options

Raylo

You should check out Raylo (use this link and get a £25 Amazon voucher when you order), who provide brand new unlocked phones for a monthly fee, so you can keep your existing SIM and start saving immediately.  At the end of the subscription, you can either keep the phone, or send it back for an upgrade and Raylo will take care of finding it a new home.

They offer a smaller range of phones that have been carefully selected by their team as being the best on offer, (so you’re not overwhelmed with the hundreds of phone models out there). 

And what’s even better is they offer the lowest monthly price in the UK for handsets with no upfront fees at all. 

Fairphone

As a B Corp certified, sustainable handset manufacturer Fairphone put people and the planet at the heart of everything it does.

Unlike most mobile phones Fairphones are built to last, its modular design is made for easy repair and upgrades. The Fairphone team will provide you with support to keep the phone’s software up to date because the longer you can keep your phone, the smaller its environmental impact. Fairphone are committed to responsible sourcing, they want electronics production to benefit people and to minimise the impact to the environment. They are working to build their phones using fairer, recycled, and responsibly mined materials. Fairphone are also working to reduce e-waste and improve working conditions for people all along their supply chain. Read more about Fairphone and our ongoing partnership with them here

 

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