Differences Between Refurbished and Reconditioned

By Lynda Moultry Belcher

One of the best ways to knock a few bucks off of piece of equipment you want--be it a computer, cell phone or television--is to buy a refurbished or reconditioned item. In many instances, these items are just as good as those straight out of the box, but because they are considered used they are generally less expensive. There is a slight difference between refurbished and reconditioned merchandise.

Basic Difference

The basic difference between the two terms is that a refurbished item has been returned by a client or customer, cleaned up, tested, repackaged and made available for re-sale. A reconditioned product has also been returned and cleaned up, but it has also gone through extensive testing and possible repair before being repackaged and made available for re-sale.


There is a higher degree of risk attached to a refurbished product, as it has only been made to look better cosmetically. This means that if there was an issue that spurred the return of the product, it may not have been addressed. Reconditioned means it was tested, and that all bugs and kinks that were found were worked out before it was made available again.


In some instances, materials reconditioned from the original manufacturer offer a warranty on the product. However, when it comes to simple refurbishments, often done on-site at the retailer, there usually is no guarantee on the product.