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What Is The Best Age To Buy A Refurbished Laptop?


They say that age is just a number. But when it comes to choosing the best-refurbished laptops for your business, it can make a huge difference to the reliability and value for money you get. So what is the best age for a refurbished laptop to buy? 

Well, it really depends on the quality of the model you are seeking. Consumer-grade laptops, which are normally priced at £200-£350 new, are really built to last just 2-3 years. On the other hand, top of the range enterprise laptops from Tier 1 manufacturers like Dell or HP are built to last 8-10 years. However, these are often priced at £800-£1200 new.

For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the prime age to buy a high-quality enterprise grade laptop. The two main criteria here are reliability and price. We’ll start with reliability. Because if a laptop isn’t reliable, it doesn’t really matter how good a price you get.

Refurbished Laptop Reliability By Age

Based on our 10+ years of experience supplying laptops, we find there is a relatively high failure rate within the first 1-6 months of a new product’s life (called Early Failures). This is usually due to lapses in quality control, damages in transit etc.

After that, there is a relatively long period of low failure rates (called Random Failures). This usually depends on the quality of the product and how it is being used.

Over time, failure rates then start to increase again due to fatigue (called Wear-out Failure). Again, this is very dependent on the quality and type of product. Fatigue might start within a couple years for some consumer grade laptops, while it should start at around 6-10 years for enterprise grade laptops.

The enterprise grade laptops we supply are built to last 8-10 years. Purely based on the reliability statistics, the best time to own an enterprise grade laptop is between 1 – 8 years old. We call this the reliability sweet spot because you can avoid the potential for random failures from new products, while still getting many years of reliable performance.

Here’s a diagram showing our analysis:

Reliability By Age


Refurbished Laptops Cost By Age

We find that laptops significantly come down in cost at the 3-4 year old stage.

This is because the most common business lease length is 3 years. As a result, there is a big increase in the supply of any enterprise grade laptop model at this age. And this massive increase in supply naturally means lower prices.

After this age there is a more linear decrease in price over time, meaning the cost benefits to buying older models decrease over time. Here’s a diagram showing how pricing drops over time:

Statistics Cost By Age

Bringing It All Together

Here’s what we’ve established so far:

  • The reliability sweet spot for top quality enterprise grade laptops is year 1 to year 8.
  • The best return on laptop cost vs age is around the 3-4 year mark
  • The cost benefit to buying older models decreases after this age

As a result, we generally advise our customers that the best balance of price and years of remaining reliability comes from buying enterprise grade laptops that are 3-4 years old.

Doing this gives you the best mix between peak reliability and price. As, remember, prices for preowned laptops start to come down quickly around the 3 year mark.

Go much newer than this (especially brand new) and your laptops are likely to cost significantly more. In return, you get no major reliability and performance gains. On the other hand, older machines are likely to give you higher failure rates and not give you a full 5+ years of use.

Got More Questions About Refurbished Laptops?

Our friendly team of refurbished IT experts are here to help.

Since we started in 2007, we’ve helped hundreds of public and private sector organisations make their IT budgets stretch further. 

Drop us a message here about what you’re looking for and we’ll reply with some suitable models and our latest pricing. What’s more, you can test any of our models completely free and with no obligation to buy.

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About Pure IT Refurbished

If you are looking for IT hardware that looks and performs like new but at around 50% of the cost, Pure IT Refurbished can help.

Since 2007, we have been committed to sourcing the highest quality IT equipment. We always refurbish using original parts and rigorously test every product to create an experience that is as good as brand-new.

The result is guaranteed consistency and reliability across your IT hardware, whether you order 1 unit or 1000+. Our industry-leading warranties ensure that a replacement unit is guaranteed within 24 working hours, which we collect at no charge to you.