Home → Technology→

Best Place to Buy Refurbished Phones in the UK

Written by, Adavelli Muninder

Updated November, 12, 2022

There are two main reasons why you might want to consider buying a refurbished phone: it’s good for the environment and it’s cheap. 

But, buying a secondhand or a refurbished phone can be a bit of a minefield. 

In this blog post, we’ll explain what a refurbished phone is, what to consider when buying one, and where to find the best place to buy refurbished phones in the UK.

Let’s dive in.

What Does Refurbished Actually Mean?

A refurbished phone is a pre-owned phone that was repaired and/or passed tests to prove that it’s in working order. 

Phones are refurbished for two main reasons: either the original owner traded their phone in for an upgrade, or they sent it back due to a minor fault (after which the company repaired it and is now reselling it.)

As such, they don’t typically come in the original packaging and might not include all accessories – much like secondhand phones. However, unlike secondhand phones, refurbished phones undergo various tests and repairs before they’re sold to customers. 

What’s more, there are many advantages to buying refurbished phones – they’re affordable, most of them have a warranty, and the majority of them are in good working order.

SIM-free refurbished phones

Music Magpie

  • Warranty: 1-year retailer warranty
  • Grades: A, B, C
  • Return policy: 14 days money-back guarantee
  • Delivery Fee: Free, 2-3 days tracked

Music Magpie is one of the UK’s top certified sellers of refurbished smartphones (mostly Phones). They sell over 150,000 devices a year. 

The company tests devices for 90 potential faults and allows customers to trade in old tech and gadgets for a bigger discount. 

Envirofone

  • Warranty: 1-year retailer warranty
  • Grades: A, B, C
  • Return policy: 30 days money-back guarantee
  • Delivery fee: Free, next-day delivery

Envirofone is another well-known name that specialises in recycling and reselling goods, where you can buy refurbished phones from brands like Apple, Samsung, and Nokia. 

Not only does the company offer premium ‘quality guaranteed products’, but it also provides customers with a 12-month warranty on all tablets and phones.

Handtec

  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Grades: A and C
  • Return Policy: 14 days
  • Delivery Fee: Free delivery in the UK

Handtec is another trusted UK retailer where you can find some of the best deals on refurbished phones, tablets, and smartwatches.

The company boasts a wide range of reconditioned mobile phones that can be unlocked and can be used with any SIM card.

4Gadgets

  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Grades: A, B, C
  • Return Policy: 14 days
  • Delivery Fee: Free, next-day delivery

4Gadgets is a popular UK retailer that sells both refurbished and secondhand phones and gadgets at highly competitive prices. 

The company regularly updates its stock, and customers can find devices from a variety of brands, including  Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Nokia, Motorola, and Sony.

Reboxed

  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Grades: A, B, C
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Delivery Fee: Free, next-day delivery in the UK

Reboxed is one of the best refurbishing retailers in the UK, with a massive selection of iPhones and Samsung phones at great prices (40% cheaper than new ones). 

Before Reboxed sends the products to the shelves, the phones undergo a 70-point testing protocol, which is arguably the best in the business.

Besides providing affordable tech, Reboxed also aims to reduce e-waste and change the planet for the better.

SmartFone Store

  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Grades: A, B, C
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Delivery Fee: Free, next-day delivery

If you’re looking for cheap refurbished phones, the SmartFone Store is an excellent option.

It has great deals on reconditioned phones from various brands that go through a 25-point check. The company also sells Macs, tablets, and watches, and all of their refurbished devices are shipped in their own packaging made from recycled materials.

Back Market

  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Grades: A, B, C
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Delivery Fee: Free delivery

Back Market is one of the first online marketplace and the best site for refurbished phones. 

It offers a wide range of products, including more than a thousand high-quality reconditioned phones, as well as refurbished laptops, tablets, MacBooks, and gadgets. 

Back Market often runs flash sales where you can find great refurbished phone deals.

The Big Phone Store

  • Warranty: Up to 1 year
  • Grades: A, B, C
  • Return Policy:14 days
  • Delivery Fee: £4.99 for items under £30; free Royal Mail delivery over £30

The Big Phone Store is a popular store in the UK that has refurbished phones for more than 30 years.

It boasts a list of different refurbished phones from various brands at great prices, so you can easily find one that suits your budget.

Giffgaff

  • Warranty: Up to 1 year
  • Grades: A, B, C
  • Return Policy:14 days
  • Delivery Fee: £4.99 for items under £30; free Royal Mail delivery over £30

Giffgaff is a contract-free mobile network that was founded in 2009 that buys old phones and sells refurbished phones. 

They offer goody bag plans, which range between £6-£25, and if you opt to buy a refurbished phone from Giffgaff, you’ll receive it the next day in recycled packaging.

Amazon

Amazon stocks a large number of used, secondhand, and refurbished tech products from thousands of brands, including Google, Huawei, and Apple. 

The company also has a separate online store called ‘Amazon Renewed,’ where customers can find ‘certified refurbished’ devices to buy. They come with a one-year Amazon Renewed Guarantee, and most are eligible for Prime Shipping. 

eBay

You can find a great deal on refurbished TVs, screens, and similar devices from third-party sellers on eBay. eBay has a money-back guarantee for products that are not as described and customers can bid on products and get them for a lower price.

Refurbished phones on contract

Fonehouse

  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Grades: A
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Delivery Fee: Free, next-day delivery

Fonehouse is a well-known online and in-store mobile phone retailer in the UK that boasts a great range of refurbished phones from manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, LG, Alcatel, Nokia, and Doro. 

In addition to offering low price phones, customers can also get affordable contracts with Vodafone and EE.

Mobiles.co.uk

  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Grades: N/A
  • Return Policy:14 days
  • Delivery Fee: Free, next-day delivery

It offers a wide range of high-quality refurbished mobile phones in the UK from the world’s most popular brands, such as Apple, Samsung, and Google. The company has both contracts and pay-as-you-go deals and offers free gifts and cashback deals as well. 

If you choose to buy a refurbished phone on contract, you’ll have to choose between a few mobile networks, including Vodafone and ID mobile.

O2.co.uk

  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Grades: B and A
  • Return Policy: 14 days
  • Delivery Fee: Free

O2 is a site where you can buy refurbished phones on contract in the UK (mostly Apple and Samsung phones) and choose between paying monthly tariffs or a pay-as-you-go SIM. 

The company makes sure that the phones undergo a 5-point quality check and makes sure that the device’s data is wiped in a secure manner

Manufacturer refurbished phones

Apple

  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Return Policy: 14 days
  • Delivery Fee: Free

The best place to buy a refurbished iPhone in the UK is undoubtedly Apple’s Certified Refurbished Store. 

The prices are generally higher than ones you can find on a third-party site (Apple sells the refurbished iPhones with a 15% discount), but you’ll receive a device that was fully tested and repaired by the manufacturer with a new battery and outer shell.

Samsung

  • Warranty: 12 months
  • Return Policy:15 days
  • Delivery Fee: Free two-day delivery

Samsung Certified Renewed offers high-quality refurbished Samsung smartphones that are rebuilt with original parts. All refurbished Samsung devices that customers buy directly from the manufacturer come in a brand new box and an all-new battery installed. 

Tips For Buying Refurbished Phone

When buying a refurbished phone, there are a few things you should keep in mind, including:

  • Stick to reputable phone retailers.
  • Make sure that the phone comes with a warranty.
  • Check the phone grade and what it means.
  • Check whether the phone is locked to a specific provider.
  • Compare the prices from different retailers.
  • Prioritise phones that have received a new battery, or have a minimum of 80% battery capacity.

What do grades mean in refurbished phones?

The grade of a refurbished phone indicates the quality of the device. They might vary from one retailer to another, but they’re mainly divided into: 

  • Grade A or Pristine – the phone looks as good as new, with no signs or marks. At some retailers, this also means that the phone comes in its original box with all its accessories.
  • Grade B or Very Good – the phone features light cosmetic damage, such as minor scratches or dents.
  • Grade C or Good –  the product looks used, and there are visible signs of wear.

Bottom Line

Finding the best place to buy refurbished phones in the UK is not as challenging as it used to be. Nowadays, there are plenty of retailers and manufacturers that sell refurbished phones that are in excellent working condition for a fraction of the cost of a new device. The most important thing to remember is to only buy phones from reputable retailers and make sure you check the grade and warranty that comes with the device.