What is a Refurbished Phone: The Essential Guide

What is a Refurbished Phone: The Essential Guide

The latest phones can sometimes come with premium price tags, so if you’re looking to pick up a new handset on a budget, it can be tricky. A refurbished phone provides a lower cost option, regardless of whether you’re looking for an Android or iPhone.

This guide will take you through what a refurbished phone is, and what you need to know before buying one.

If you’ve decided a refurbished phone is right for you, you can find a diverse selection of devices including Samsung Galaxy, Apple iPhone and Google Pixel options.

Are refurbished phones good?

A refurbished phone is a handset which has been returned to the retailer. It has then been restored to factory settings, and reconditioned so that it's in excellent working order and can be re-sold. As this process prevents perfectly good phones going to waste, it's better for the environment, and ideal for anyone shopping for a phone at a lower price point.


There are a number of reasons why a phone could be listed as refurbished. Some of us may buy a new phone, but then decide that it’s not quite right, so send it back after barely using it. Others might not even switch their new smartphone on before deciding to return it untouched. If a phone has minor faults and needs any technical repairs, it can be professionally refurbished and given a second home.

What comes with a refurbished phone?

If you’re looking to get an affordable smartphone, you may wonder why it could be a better choice to buy a refurbished phone from an authorised reseller, as opposed to a second-hand phone from an online marketplace.


When you buy a refurbished phone from a retailer, you know what you’re getting:

• It’ll always be less expensive than a factory-new headset, due to the fact that it has been returned and reconditioned for sale (don’t worry if on arrival it’s not packed in the original box; this is standard practice, and it won’t affect the phone’s performance)

• Will also arrive without accessories such as headphones, for hygiene reasons

• You will always receive a charging cable and a SIM tool.

Do refurbished phones have new batteries?

As part of the maintenance process, refurbished phones will have their battery checked. This can involve restoring it to working condition, or a full replacement if the battery no longer functions efficiently.

What is the difference between used and refurbished?

If a phone is listed as ‘used’, there’s no guarantee that the handset has been thoroughly tested.

A refurbished phone will always be checked extensively for any faults or issues, making it the better route to go down if you want that extra confidence when buying.

Do refurbished phones come with warranty?

In order for a handset to be sold as a refurbished phone by an authorised reseller, it has to be reconditioned by technicians, and will always come with a warranty for additional peace of mind. Regardless of whether the handset had been operated before it was refurbished, all data stored on the phone is completely wiped, so you start with a clean slate.

Refurbished phone grades

Refurbished phones are assigned a ‘grade’ based on their final condition when sold. These include:

Excellent Condition (Grade A) - Potential minor cosmetic imperfections.


Good Condition (Grade B) - Light signs of use.

Good condition Blog.jpg

Fair Condition (Grade C) - Clear signs of use, but no deep scratches.


The variety of grades available means you have multiple options when choosing a refurbished handset. For example, if clear signs of use ( but no deep scratches) aren’t a concern, a ‘Fair Condition’ refurbished phone might be right for you. Alternatively, if you’d prefer a phone with slightly less signs of use, then ‘Good Condition’ handset would be your go to.

Other things to consider when buying a refurbished phone

Selling your old phone

You might be considering a refurbished phone, but what do you do with your old device? Trading-in is an easy way to dispose of it, whilst earning a bit of cash to put towards a refurbished option.


Because refurbished phones don’t go to landfill, they are also considered very environmentally friendly and sustainable.

According to a 2022 report by the Waste, Electronics & Electrical Equipment forum, “of ~16 billion mobile phones processed worldwide, ~5.3 billion will become waste in 2022”. Refurbished phones help to reduce this number by preventing them from ending up in a rubbish heap.


Refurbishing a phone is one of many ways old devices can be disposed of. There are other roads you can also go down before buying your new handset.

If you’re looking for a refurbished phone, you’ll be able to find the latest deals at Mobiles.co.uk.