If you’re the guy in charge of making office hardware purchase decisions, you automatically organize products from highest to lowest quality. Brand new servers and peripherals go at the top of the list, and then used or refurbished stuff goes near the bottom. Then you pick the highest quality option within your budget.
And while we’re sure you rarely make mistakes, there may be a factor or two you’re leaving out that could improve the quality of product you buy.
Refurbished IT hardware always passes the lemon test
For the vast majority of computer hardware, there’s a commonly-known principle: “A new product either breaks pretty quickly or lasts forever.”
See? You probably already knew that and have even watched it come true in real life. This phenomenon is not always a fault of the manufacturer, although better production usually leads to better products. It’s just that things either break or they don’t break based on the exact conditions when they were made. Some brand new things fall apart and some ancient things are still going strong.
But when offered the option to buy refurbished computer hardware, a lot of purchasers have doubts. “If it’s older, it’s more likely to break.” The problem is that idea directly contradicts the concept we just reviewed and what we actually experience.
Electronic hardware just doesn’t age much from use. Aside from batteries and motors, which age conventionally, circuit boards and server mounts don’t get worn out unless they take direct damage like a power surge or a baseball bat swing.
And the cool thing about the batteries and motors we just mentioned? They’re now made better than ever for this exact reason. If they come in on a used product for refurbishment, a good company will replace them entirely.
But a refurbished piece of hardware will have the highest chance of any product for working both when it arrives and long-term, even when compared with brand new stuff. Why? Because the refurbished thing worked when it was manufactured, it worked when it was used, and it worked when it was checked again after being refurbished. A brand new product simply doesn’t have that kind of field testing, and if it’s a lemon, you won’t know it.
Refurbished equipment can come with better perks and support than the manufacturer offers
When you buy new hardware, you hope that you can count on the brand. If a product breaks pretty quickly, you can usually return it. If you’re lucky, there’s a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer for when things go wrong down the road.
So what happens if you like a brand for the hardware, but the company that sells it doesn’t offer a great warranty or support team? What if you don’t like working with their sales guys?
This is another point where refurbished hardware can steal the show. A good hardware seller with refurbished goods can still offer top-of-the-line perks, often better than the original seller did. You’re not stuck with a hardware brand’s team just because you want their product, so considering going refurbished essentially opens way more perk options than buying new does.
Some specific perks that are more likely in refurbishment than from the manufacturer:
Advance replacement: If, for any reason, your equipment goes down, advance replacement is a policy where the company sends you a new piece of equipment immediately without asking for the broken equipment right away. Usually, if a manufacturer even guarantees replacement, they want their stuff back before giving you something in return.
With advance replacement sellers, getting you up and running is first priority. Then, the company will get the damaged product back, if they need it, by sending you a shipping label. Lots of new manufacturers simply don’t offer this.
Lifetime replacement warranty: The company guarantees the product so long as there isn’t user-inflicted damage or a resale. Lifetime replacement is better for covering acts of god like lightning strikes that cause power surges, since that’s not a defect in production covered in normal warranties.
It’s also good to hedge against planned obsolescence. If something is built to fall apart outside of the window in which it’s covered by a normal warranty, then you’re in trouble. It’s better to have lifetime replacement, which goes on forever. Most original manufacturers just don’t offer this.
Unquantified customer service features: Company culture and personal touches just aren’t the same everywhere. Did you enjoy speaking with a certain service representative or salesperson? Do you want to work with a company that takes care of its people?
Even when you have a good experience by chance with a mega-corporation, most manufacturers simply can’t offer a consistent experience because they are operating on quantity, not quality.
Refurbished is still insanely cost effective
So you’re getting a product that’s more likely to stand the test of time, and it can come from a better team with cooler perks. What else? It will still probably cost less than buying new.
Why not buy refurbished? Well, if you’re looking to get a product that just came on the market or had a short production run, there may not be much supply. However, most companies’ needs can be met with industry-standard hardware that is abundant in the refurbished market. What gives? How come everyone isn’t buying refurbished?
It all comes down to who is refurbishing and selling the equipment. To get all of these benefits we’ve talked about, you have to work with someone who does the rigorous product testing and has the stellar team to pull it off.
If you’d like to talk to a refurbished hardware expert about the refurbishing process, prices, warranties, or sellers, reach out to one now.