If you need a new power tool for a project you’re working on, you can either buy it brand new or you can get one that’s reconditioned or refurbished.
Obviously, reconditioned tools are way cheaper than brand new ones, that’s why most people consider buying them.
The nagging question however is, is it okay to buy a reconditioned or refurbished tool? Are you giving up on anything, any feature or any advantage when you buy a tool that’s already reconditioned?
Are there any risks? What should you look for when buying reconditioned tools? What should you be aware of? How should you choose to or not to buy a reconditioned tool?
By the time you finish reading this piece of content, you’re going to know what it takes to buy reconditioned tools successfully without regretting it afterwards.
But before I go on to answer these questions, let me make sure we’re both on the same page by answering this one simple question…
What is a reconditioned tool?
Simply put, a reconditioned tool is a new tool that has already been sold and used by another person who returned the tool because of a defect he/she may have noticed.
When a tool is returned to the manufacturer, it’s not just discarded. The manufacturer checks the defect and repairs or replaces the part that was damaged (most times, damaged parts are removed and replaced).
The tool is inspected again by factory engineers and technicians to ensure it’s working properly. Once they’re satisfied, the same tool is repackaged again as a reconditioned tool, and sold at a discounted price.
What to look for when buying reconditioned tools
This article by Bright Ochuko of Craftsman Pro Tools contains important tips you should know about buying tools that have already been reconditioned.
As to what you should look for, here are a few tips and questions you should ask and get answers to before making any purchases.
Check the price difference or discount you’re getting
One of the first things to check is the price difference between the reconditioned tool and the brand new tool.
If the new tool is sold for £100 and the reconditioned one is £95 or £90, then you’re getting a very small discount of 5 or 10 percent. You’re probably better off buying the brand new one in this case.
On the other hand, if the brand new tool is £100, and the refurbished one is £55 or £60, then you’re onto a winner!
Who or where was it reconditioned?
This is a very important question to ask. Who or where was the tool you’re trying to buy reconditioned? No matter the size of discount you’re getting, if some “no-name” tool shop or service center refurbished the tool, then you might be in for a shocker later if something else happen to the tool.
With someone else working on the tool, the original tool manufacturer might decide not to honour the tool’s warranty. Is an extended warranty worth it? Good question, which might be answered here.
Hence, if the tool falls apart when you start using it again, you can’t return it, and you’re stuck with a bad tool.
Another reason why you want to make to make sure it was factory refurbished by the parent company is that they’re the tool manufacturer, and they have more qualified technicians to access the tool and repair or replace whatever is wrong or bad in it.
So, when you know a tool is factory refurbished, you’re guaranteed that a factory technician has spent some time inspecting this tool making sure it’s in perfect working conditioned before it was repackaged as a refurbished tool.
With a no-name tool center, it’s Mr. Bob who might have refurbished it in his basement. When you buy Mr. Bob’s refurbished tool, you just might end up with a dud, and no means to claim your warranty if something gets wrong with it later.
Having said all that, some people even suggest there are reasons not to purchase extended warranty.
Do they let you return it?
Related to the previous point. If you buy something and you end up finding some fault in it, then you should be able to return it. Right?
With a factory refurbished tool, it’s very likely that you’ll still have all the warranty benefits. So, when buying a reconditioned tool, you need to make sure you’re not stuck with the tool when you buy it.
Some machines, such as the GTech Hedge Trimmer, are so low cost to start with that you might not be able to justify buying a refurbished one.
If you can return it, then you can go ahead with the purchase, but if you can’t return it, then you should know there’s something fishy, and it will be advisable that you find a suitable alternative to that tool.
Following the 3 tips above, asking the right questions and doing proper research will help ensure you get better value for your money when you buy a reconditioned tool.