The idea of buying a pair of refurbished headphones might sound a little icky, but the reality is completely different – and you’ll save a ton of money too!
Tech is expensive. If you’re on a strict budget, or you don’t want to spend a lot of money, one way of getting the product you want at a price you can handle is buying it refurbished.
You can buy refurbished phones, refurbished MacBooks, and refurbished Apple Watch devices.
But what about refurbished headphones? Are they a legit option? Or are you better off saving up for a new pair?
What Does Refurbished Mean?
When you’re talking about refurbished headphones, the term “refurbished”, generally speaking, means the headphones have been returned to the manufacturer, either by a retailer or a consumer, because they had a fault.
Because they were returned, the headphones can no longer be sold as “new” headphones.
The manufacturer will then go about fixing the headphones, repairing whatever issue they had, and it will then sell them onto a refurbished tech reseller – somewhere like Woot, an Amazon company that specializes in refurbished tech.
What you need to remember, however, is that the refurbished headphones, while not NEW, will look and function as good as new: the manufacturer is legally required to restore them back to 100% working condition before selling them on to an authorized reseller.
And this is good news for you. Because the headphones are now classed as refurbished, they can no longer be sold for the normal RRP.
That means big discounts – you can save anywhere from 40% to 50% on headphones when you buy them refurbished.
Refurbished Headphone Deals Examples
You can pick up a pair of Philips Performance Wireless Headphones for $49.99 – they’re normally $79. Or, if you want something fancier, a pair of Bose SoundSport Wireless headphones for $64 – they’re usually $90.
Bose Refurbished Headphones – My Experience
Some companies, like Bose, even run a dedicated refurbished section on their sites. I bought myself a pair of Bose SoundLink headphones (refurbished, and direct from Bose) last year. I saved around $70 on them.
Here’s Bose’s official line on how it manages its refurbished headphones (and other products):
“A Refurbished product is one that’s been returned to Bose for any reason. It’s then thoroughly inspected, tested, and serviced to meet strict Bose sound quality standards—the same as a new product.”
Did my refurb Bose headphones look like used headphones? Nope. They looked and functioned like brand new headphones (as you can see below). The only difference was that they came in a plain white box, not the official box Bose headphones usually come in.
But for a £70 discount, that’s something I can totally live with.
Refurbished Headphones Look & Function As Good As New Ones
The long and short of this is simple: refurbished headphones, providing you get them via reputable retailers, look and function as good as new ones.
You will not find any ear wax on them, or errant hairs lodged in their hinges.
All refurbished headphones, again, ones bought through the proper channels, will look and function as good as brand new headphones. You will also get a warranty with them too.
Warranties, or the availability of them, is a sure-fire way to tell whether you’re dealing with a legit company or not. If there’s no warranty, take your business elsewhere.
Best Place To Buy Refurbished Headphones
These are the places I have used and vetted. There are probably more, but I can only speak for the places that I have actively used over years.
If you want to browse big selections of refurbished headphones from top brands, I would recommend the above-listed places. For choice, price, and warranty cover they cannot be beaten.
Sustainability: Why Buying Refurbished Tech is Good For The Environment
Billions of tech items are shipped and sold every single year. It costs money to make them and ship them. But there’s an ecological cost as well: millions of tons of carbon every single year.
Buying refurbished tech, like a phone or a pair of headphones, reduces the amount of carbon and materials needed to satisfy your needs. Imagine if 10 million people decided to stop buying new tech and order refurbished tech instead?
It’d make a massive difference, right? And you’d save a ton of money in the process. Everybody wins!
In the grand scheme of things, it’d still be a drop in the ocean, but it’d be a start, a step in the right direction.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.