How to buy a refurbished TV the right way: Everything you need to know

Want to own a flagship TV from your favorite TV brand but hate the idea of spending top-dollar? Consider this: Purchasing a refurbished TV could save you hundreds off the original sticker price of today’s premium sets. While we can understand the apprehension that coincides with even just the term “refurbished,” buying a rebuilt TV is often just as good (if not better) than opting for an all-new model. How so? Read on to learn everything you need to know about the dos and don’ts of purchasing a refurbished TV set.

If you’re on the lookout for inexpensive TV options, Amazon Prime Day is right around the corner.

TV on top of TV stand with people watching.

What does refurbished mean?

More often than not, when a television — or any other product, for that matter — is refurbished, it’s because it had some form of a defect when it started life that was unearthed by its first owner, who sent it back to the manufacturer in exchange for a replacement or a refund.

However, instead of trashing the troubled model, the manufacturer decided to repair it. This process would have involved it being sent to a dedicated engineering team who would have dismantled it, repaired the issue, and tested the television before shipping it to a retailer to sell on the cheap.

Interestingly, because the refurbished device has been under the knife, it’s more often than not subjected to stricter testing procedures than a new model that just rolled off the production line. This is to make sure there aren’t underlying issues elsewhere that could lead to it being returned again.

It’s for this reason that some people believe that refurbished products are actually more reliable than their new counterparts, but we digress.

What to look for when buying a refurbished TV

What to look for in a refurbished TV

There are three main things to keep an eye out for when hunting down a refurbished TV. You’re going to want to make sure it’s factory refurbished, meaning the actual manufacturer repaired it, it’s bundled with at least a 12-month warranty, and it’s being sold by a reliable, reputable retailer.

By doing so, you’re essentially covering all your bases: It was repaired using factory parts by a company employee, so it will function as intended; if the same (or a different) issue crops up, you can have it repaired for free; and it’s being sold by a trusted retailer, so it is definitely legal stock (i.e., not stolen).

If you stumble upon something that hasn’t been reconditioned in the same factory in which it was made, and therefore isn’t described as manufacturer or factory refurbished, all hope is not lost — if it is listed as certified refurbished, it has been as good as factory repaired by a professional.

Lastly, use your common sense. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Where to buy a refurbished TV

So, who are these reliable retailers we speak of? Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart all sell refurbished TVs, stocking everything from HDTVs and 4K TVs to OLED TVs and QLED TVs — and they’re all either factory or certified reconditioned. There are even some refurbished 8K TVs floating around.

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