Buying a new phone is often a lot more difficult than it needs to be.

We have all spent hours waiting in the phone store for the clerk to set up your phone, pick out a plan, figure out what the cheapest option is and so on. 

Why go through all of this hassle just to pay for an overpriced phone, when you could buy a used phone that is good as new? 

Now, for some, buying a used phone sounds scary. 

You’re probably thinking, “Why buy a phone that someone has already used, and probably got rid of because of a problem?”

But, if you understand what to look for in a used phone, and choose a reliable reseller, purchasing a used phone is hassle free, cheaper than purchasing new, and usually gives you a wider selection of phones to choose from.

With that said, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind when looking for a used phone. We wrote this guide in order to help you find affordable, reliable used phones, while avoiding a bad purchase. 

In many cases, if you know what to look for, you can purchase a used phone that is practically brand new, insured, and extremely affordable. 

three types of used phones - are used phones worth it

3 Types of Used Phones – What You Should Know

One of the major problems in the used phone industry or the secondary market is the terminology. At this point, there is no consistent terminology for grading the quality of used phones or discussing the types of used phones. 

Using systems such as Grade A, B, C, etc. is becoming standard terminology, but there is no real definition behind these grades. As a consumer, you have to guess what they mean. Grade A could mean blemish-free, or with minor cosmetics details. It’s tough to know.

Even though quality grades are difficult to discern right now, there are three main types of used phones in the secondary market: 

  • Refurbished
  • Used
  • Premium Pre-Owned

Knowing the difference between all three will help you make the right choice, and avoid quality issues in the purchasing process. 

1. Refurbished Phones 

What is a refurbished phone? 

When a phone has been refurbished it means that the seller had an issue with the hardware and it’s been “fixed”. Like terminology, there are no standards for refurbishing a phone. Literally, anyone with the technical skill can refurbish a phone and resell it.

But, this is no reason to get scared. Each reseller of refurbished phones has its own standards. Buying from a tech company that resells and refurbishes phones will have different standards than the eBay seller that refurbished it himself.

The easiest way to get access to the best refurbished phones is through buying a manufacturer certified phone that has been repaired to factory settings. 

If you decide to purchase a refurbished phone, try to get as much detail as you can from the reseller about the history of the phone and what was repaired. 

The danger with refurbished phones is that they can sometimes be heavily used. You don’t know the extent of the original damage, or what was needed to fix the phone. It may be your cheapest option in the secondary market, but it may also have the shortest lifespan because of the repairs needed.

Not sure if a refurbished phone is right for you? Check out this comprehensive guide that compares Used vs. Refurbished Phones to learn more about which option is best for your needs. 

2. Used Phones

Do you believe minor cosmetic damages are nothing to worry about?

If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t really care about how your phone looks and only want the functionality of it, then buying a used phone may be your best bet.

A couple of small scratches on the screen or some exterior scratches or dents aren’t anything to be worried about. The phone is fully functional.

The major difference between used and refurbished phones is usually cosmetic. 

A used phone was actually in circulation for a period of time but has been returned by the user so that they could upgrade their phone. You rarely find one in pristine condition, but if you buy from a reputable dealer you can expect a high-quality product.

Purchasing from a reputable dealer allows you to have confidence that it has been tested for functionality, and that it is in good condition to be resold and used.  

The most important thing to note when purchasing a used phone is its condition. Most reputable resellers will have a grading system, and also have specific data about what was wrong with the phone, any fixes that have been made, and the present condition of the device. 

Overall though, as long as you are sure to purchase a reputable company, you should not have a problem. More often than not, you may experience a slight scratch or dent in the phone that has no impact on performance and functionality. Reputable dealers are sure to wipe any previous data off of the phone in order to ensure your safety and security. As long as you can deal with a phone that looks a little worn, buying used can save you a ton of money.  

Interested in browsing for a used phone? Check out our large selection of high-quality used phones.

3. Premium Pre-Owned Phones 

This is a fairly new term in the industry. Technically, these are used phones that have been purchased but often returned after being in circulation for a long time.  

Premium pre-owned phones are run through extensive internal and external testing and inspections before ever being put on the market for resale.

This makes them attractive for people looking to buy used, but who are still skeptical about the product they are purchasing. 

More often than not, these pre-owned phones are resold simply because the original owner didn’t like it and returned it. In this case, there is literally nothing wrong with the phone other than that someone else unboxed it and sent it back.

Social media posts often glorify the unboxing process, to the point that it has become something that we love and look forward to. Everybody enjoys pulling the plastic off of a new screen, but would you be willing to sacrifice this feeling for a discount of $100 or more (on an otherwise brand new phone)? 

Realistically, there is nothing different about buying a new phone as compared to buying a premium pre-owned phone except for the price. At the end of the day, this is the best way to purchase a discount phone while still having full confidence that it is as good as new. 

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The #1 Most Important Thing When Purchasing A Used Phone – Finding A Trusted Source 

When you buy a used phone, you want to make sure that it comes from a brand that you can trust. You want to be sure that the phone you receive is functional, affordable, reliable, and going to last you a long time. 

Another thing you might want to look for in a reseller is their selection. When purchasing used, you should have the opportunity to look through a wide range of older and newer models and pick what you like best. 

Also, you want to make sure that whichever solution you choose has some form of warranty system that insures the phone you buy for a period of time, and allows you to return it if you find issues. This is a tiny voucher of trust that goes a long way. 

Lastly, you should look for a used phone seller that has transparency with their processes. Without knowing the details about how they assure quality and make sure your used phone is safe and functional before purchasing it, how can you really be sure you are making a sound purchase? Most reliable companies will gladly tell you their process in order to show how they ensure quality with every purchase. 

Glyde’s Used Phone Inspection Process 

To help understand what we mean by trust, you should understand the testing we perform on a product before it earns the title “premium pre-owned”. 

Each used phone from Glyde goes through a software check that inspects 30+ different internal systems, such as:

  • Battery life
  • WiFi connection 
  • Speakers
  • Bluetooth
  • Camera functionality 
  • And much more

Even the screen display will go through a process where the pixels are examined. If just a few pixels are missing from a phone, most people will not notice. However, even this minute detail can prevent a used phone from meeting our premium pre-owned standards. 

To give you an idea of the quality of these pre-owned phones, less then 15% of the phones we test fall into this category. This is because we put all of our products through rigorous tests to make sure that they are of the highest quality, before ever putting them on the market.

Understanding Terms & Conditions

Knowing how a company grades and tests their phones is important. If they don’t readily share that kind of data, then it should raise some red flags. 

One other thing to look for when purchasing a used or refurbished phone is the terms and conditions. This is often overlooked by customers, who wind up getting themselves into shady deals with companies that do not have their best interests in mind. Understanding the fine print before buying can prevent you from making a bad purchase that may be non-refundable.

This is not only important when buying a new phone, but when trading an old one in as well. While it may not be the most glamorous part of the purchasing process, it is very important to develop an understanding of how the process works, what you are entitled to, and what to expect.

In order to get the most out of your experience, look for answers to these types of questions: 

  • Can you return it? 
  • What is the time frame? 
  • Do they offer a warranty? 
  • Can you return without a fee?

If a reseller cannot or will not answer these questions, it should raise some red flags. 

Buying premium used phones - best selection of used phones online

Buying Premium Used Phones – Final Thoughts

The most important thing you can do when purchasing a used phone is research. It is essential that you find a reputable reseller that you can trust, who provides quality, affordable used phones that last a long time. 

Remember that while purchasing a used phone may seem like foreign territory, as long as you do so from a reputable dealer, you have nothing to worry about. In fact, premium pre-owned phones are brand new, they have just been returned by people who did not want them. 

Not only is it easy to browse the most popular used phones on Glyde, but it‌ ‌is also much cheaper than buying a new phone. Imagine skipping long lines, slow service, and stressful plan picking, and getting the exact model phone you want delivered to your house, with the peace of mind of a return policy and warranty. Talk about convenience! 

For people who are willing to do a little research, purchasing a used phone can save you hundreds of dollars, and also allow you to get the exact device you are looking for. If you are looking for an affordable used phone that is good as new, browse our large selection of premium pre-owned phones today.