Are Refurbished Headphones or Earbuds Good?

Buying refurbished headphones or earbuds might not always give you access to the latest model or most updated specs, but it’s a great way to save money and help the environment at the same time.  

I’ve owned many different refurbished and new headphones throughout my life. That experience, combined with additional research on the devices, allowed me to figure out the pros and cons of each one.

This article expands on that by looking at, not just the refurbishing process, but as well as why some users would want refurbished headphones and why some might want to stay away.

Key Takeaways

  • Refurbished items are ones that were bought (or displayed), returned, and then put through a strict quality assurance process to ensure they are as good as new.
  • The biggest pro of buying refurbished is the discount such models often come with, but they are also environmentally friendly and come with quality assurance.
  • Anyone who buys refurbished headphones will likely have to do a bit of extra work or research in order to get the exact model, style, and characteristics they want.

Understanding The Refurbishing Process

When it comes to technology, most users want to get something new. Modern devices aren’t cheap, and it’s important to ensure they work properly. However, for all of their stigma of being previously purchased, refurbished devices are much more reliable than they first appear.

Unlike used items, which are used and then sold, refurbished electronics are bought, returned to the company or store they were brought from, and then carefully cleaned and repaired to their original state. In that way, they are as good as new when bought for the second time.

That quality assurance is paramount to the devices. In fact, many companies will even sell them in packaging that’s identical to the original. The hardware can also be replaced in some cases, making the items even faster or more reliable than they originally were.

Just about any item on the market can be refurbished, and headphones are no exception. The devices allow users to experience high quality sound and premium comfort without sacrificing any features.

Buying Refurbished Headphones: The Pros

While users tend to stray from refurbished items because they have been purchased before, there are many pros that come with buying such items. The biggest, especially for those on a budget, is the price. 

Refurbished items are by and large much cheaper than their new counterparts. In the case of headphones and earbuds, that can lead to significant price cuts. Being able to get the same quality you would get from a new item without paying full price is an amazing perk.

Not only that, but if you get your headphones from a trusted brand or seller they should be indistinguishable from new models. Many users worry that their headphones won’t work as well or might have a defect, but all refurbished models are completely repaired before being sold.

In that way, they are almost exactly the same as a new device. If you get a huge discount on a refurbished item and know what you’re looking for, it will likely be one of the best deals you’ll ever find.

One more big plus when getting any refurbished item (headphones or otherwise) is that it’s good for the environment. Making an eco-friendly decision is always a good feeling, especially when you’re getting a great deal on an item you wanted anyway.

As the refurbishing process relies on recycling rather than trashing, it helps reduce electronic waste and allows you to make an Earth-conscious decision.

Buying Refurbished Headphones: The Cons

There’s no doubt that refurbished items are often a great purchase, but there are a few cons to getting them as well. The most notable downside is the amount of work you have to put in to get the type of headphones or earbuds you want.

When getting a renewed item, you’re at the mercy of the seller. That means, you can only purchase something from the different items they have in stock. If you want a pair of headphones but there are no refurbished models of that type, you can’t get them.

On top of that, you need to do some extra research. Refurbished headphones from bigger brands are often fine in terms of quality, but that guarantee doesn’t hold up when it comes to smaller sellers. Do your due diligence and be on the lookout for any scams.

It may be annoying to go out and take that extra step, but it’s extremely necessary. You never want to get excited about a deal and find out that you don’t have a good warranty or any protection. If something seems too good to be true, approach it with caution.


This section covers some of the biggest questions users ask regarding refurbished headphones.

Does Refurbished Mean Damaged?

No. While some items become refurbished as a result of certain damage or a defect, many of them are simply returned and then resold. Either way, they should be in full working condition upon purchase.

Is Refurbished As Good As Used?

In most cases, refurbished is much better than new. That’s because, where used items don’t have a strong quality assurance process, almost all refurbished items are vetted or backed by a strong warranty.

Can You Trust Refurbished Products?

The answer is, it entirely depends. Most refurbished products are backed by a company or a big box store. In those cases, the items go through a strong vetting process to ensure their quality. However, if you get your item from a third party without such checks there’s always a risk.

Final Words

Though most people will buy new, getting refurbished headphones or earbuds is a great way to save some money on a premium item. There are plenty of great options out there. If you don’t mind doing some searching, it’s not hard to find the right pair for you.

Have you ever used refurbished headphones? What brand do you prefer, and how were the results? Let us know below!

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