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 five 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 technology 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 hints and tips to help you find the perfect phone. 

  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 5 great places to grab a refurbished phone:


1. 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 you read the small print to check what condition it’s in before you buy it.

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


2. 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. 

Like our other recommendations, every one of their products comes 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 really feel you can’t live without a new phone then there are a couple of options.

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 Ryalo 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. 

One final option for those that can’t resist the latest iPhone but are still looking to save the pennies. 

Apple have just released their new mid-range iPhone SE. It’s Apple’s cheapest handset and is available from £16.99/month or for a one off cost of £419. You can pre-order from tomorrow at 1pm (17th April 2020). It’s got the same processor as an iPhone 11 Pro, so the differences you’ll notice are the smaller screen, the reduction in the number of cameras and the saving of over £600!



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