The Top 6 Places to Buy Refurbished Mac Laptops

When you buy a Mac, you expect it to last a long time. After many years of study, Apple has concluded that a macOS or tvOS device will last about four years before needing a hardware repair. They say most Macs will “last significantly longer, are kept current through regular software updates, and are passed along or resold by the first owner for others to use.”

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Because Apple’s computers are so reliable (and the MacBook is so lightweight), you might want to consider purchasing a refurbished model. Buying a refurbished Mac is a great way to save money and secure a bargain.

You can see savings of between 10 and 30 percent on refurbished Macs. You could use this saving to purchase one or two peripherals, software, or even afford a slightly more powerful model than if you were buying brand new.


Plus, even if you get stranded on an older version of macOS, you can get quite a few new features bit by tweaking the interface yourself 4 Utilities for Tweaking Your Mac Without the Terminal Want to tweak your Mac safely and without using the Terminal? These apps let you make changes to macOS with a few clicks. Read More .

Here’s the best places to buy a refurbished MacBook and a few things to consider before you purchase.

Research, Research

Before even thinking about the purchase of a refurbished Mac, be sure to do your research. Most importantly, take a look at the current models to see how they differ Is the iMac Pro Right for You? The Most Powerful Macs Compared Wondering if an iMac Pro is worth it? Perhaps a MacBook Pro or an iMac would be better for you. Let's find out. Read More from previous models. In recent years, Apple has only upgraded Macs during the final months of the year Is There a Right Time to Buy a New Mac, iPhone, or iPad? Wondering when you should buy an iPhone, Mac, or iPad? Here are the best times to buy Apple hardware for maximum value. Read More . Keep this time frame in mind before making a purchase.

As part of your research, visit a nearby Apple retail store and see the latest models on display. Ask an Apple employee critical questions about the speed, RAM, and internal storage space. The MacBook Pro comes in different screen sizes. Look at the differences in person. If you can’t visit an Apple store, at least do an online comparison or try another retailer.


Finally, read reviews for the models you’re considering. The more you know about the latest models, the better you can evaluate what’s missing on the refurbished items. You may have to forego Apple’s newer features like a Force Touch trackpad or an OLED TouchBar to save some money, so make sure you’re happy with your decision.

And if you’re doing research to buy a new iPhone as well, take a look at our helpful article on checking to see if an iPhone model is obsolete How to Check If Your iPhone Model Is Obsolete (And What to Do if It Is) Is your iPhone model obsolete? If so, your device could be left behind by Apple. Here's when a device is obsolete and what to do. Read More .

Where to Buy

Not surprisingly, Apple’s own store is a great place to buy refurbished Macs. However, it’s not the only place as you’ll see below.

Apple Certified Refurbished

They don’t advertise it that much, but yes, Apple sells refurbished products. These items are ones that have been recently returned and hardly used. Items available through Apple’s Certified Refurbished program come with a standard one-year warranty. You also have the option of purchasing AppleCare to extend your coverage further, which is something we recommend.


There aren’t a lot of refurbished Macs available through Apple at any given time. However, the company’s inventory does tend to change often. If you can’t find the model you’ve been wanting, wait a little bit longer. Because of quick product turnover, it could show up soon. Typically you’ll have to wait a couple of months (think three, six or even 12) for the very latest Mac models to show up on the refurbished store, and they don’t last long once listed.

Mac Of All Trades

If you’re looking for a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro, Mac of All Trades is a site worth considering. It offers a robust selection of used and refurbished Mac computers.

Each item at Mac Of All Trades comes with a 90-day warranty and ships within two business days. You can also add a one-year or two-year extended warranty on each item. Some items also come with an unexpired AppleCare warranty, which will give you access to Apple’s tech support Need Mac Tech Support? Here Are Your Options "Tech support" — two words that strike fear into the hearts of all but the most competent computer users out there. Where do you begin to look when things start to go wrong? Read More .

You can also sell your Apple devices on Mac of All Trades Apple Trade-In vs. Mac of All Trades: Where to Sell Your Used iPhone, iPad, or Mac? Should you use Apple Trade-in or Mac of All Trades when you want to sell your Apple devices? Let's see which gets the most money. Read More to earn some credit towards a new purchase.


Other World Computing (OWC) also offers used and certified Macs. The items sold here are thoroughly tested and inspected and come with macOS installed. They also ship for free with a 14-day money back guarantee.


Most, but not all, of the Mac computers found at OWC come with Apple’s standard one-year limited warranty and eligibility for the AppleCare Extended Protection Plan. Models without Apple’s warranty are not certified. Keep this in mind before making a purchase.


PowerMax is the only Apple-authorized e-commerce site that specializes in both new and used Macs, iPads, iPhones, and iPads. The site says that it offers the largest selection of used 15-inch MacBook Pro models. A quick visit to the site suggests that this claim is correct.


At PowerMax, each Mac purchase comes with a 120-day warranty. You can return a pre-owned Mac during the first 60 days for any reason and receive credit for the current sale price for the item (less a $50 deductible). Extended warranties are also available for purchase.

Other Locations

There are other places where you can buy used and certified Macs, including Gazelle,, and GainSaver. If you’re having trouble finding the model you want on the sites listed above, keep trawling. GainSaver, in particular, tends to be a great place to find older, pre-owned models.

In addition to where to buy a computer, be sure to check out our tips for when to buy a computer.

Keeping Track of Deals

Finding the perfect deal on refurbished products is sometimes a difficult process due to ever-changing inventories. Because of this, you should consider two other sites that take the guesswork out of finding great deals.

Refurb Tracker provides e-mail alerts and RSS feeds on refurbished products on Apple Store websites. To get started, you simply have to create an alert on the Refurb Tracker website indicating the type of product you’re hoping to find. In addition to Macs, Refurb Tracker offers alerts for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, and Mac accessories.


RefurbMe also offers an alert system on refurbished and certified pre-owned Apple products. Besides Apple Store websites, RefurbMe tracks items from Best Buy, GameStop, Gazelle, Target, and Walmart.


In addition to Macs, RefurbMe offers alerts for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, and Apple Watch.

Final Words

When looking for a refurbished or used Mac, make sure the site provides explicit warranty and return policies. With these in place, you know that the site backs up each purchase with some guarantees. Second, make sure the site mentions product testing. Apple is the only company that offers brand-certified testing to assure quality. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the only place that offers professional testing.

Also, find out whether the original materials are part of the purchase. Having the original box, instructions, and accessories, make for a like-new experience that’s worth a lot to many people. You should also make sure one final time whether you can give up the latest bells and whistles on the current models. If you cannot, you shouldn’t be considering a refurbished model, no matter the savings. If you find that refurbished isn’t the right choice for you, be sure to look into Apple hardware discounts you should take advantage of.

That said, did you consider open box deals 7 Best Buy Open Box Deals for Apple MacBook, iPad, and Apple Watch If you're looking to save on a new MacBook, iPad, or Apple Watch, you definitely need to check out Best Buy's open box deals on Apple gear. Read More ? And in case you want to sell your old Mac to fund a new purchase, here’s how to get the best price How to Safely Sell Your MacBook or iMac for the Best Price Don't risk your privacy and personal data by selling your Mac without erasing it first! Read More .

Finally, remember the saying: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” There are plenty of great deals on refurbished and used Macs, but if the price seems too good, especially compared to other locations, go somewhere else and fast. And if you decided against getting a Mac, there are other great places to find used laptops The 6 Best Websites to Find Used Laptops for Sale Land a bargain by buying a used laptop instead of a new one. Here are the best websites to find a used laptop for sale. Read More .

Image credit: Quentin Meulepas (Flickr)

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    July 7, 2018 at 6:52 am

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  2. Nico
    May 23, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    FYI, PowerMax doesn't seem to be in business any more. Or rather, it's been bought out by someone who just turned it into a series of links to Amazon, but all of the old company philosophy and such is still there, and there's no indication of the change on the site. Very odd. :(

    • mlinn
      June 21, 2018 at 4:09 pm

      I loved sad it is no longer in business...

  3. Silvia Mathis Manning
    May 7, 2018 at 12:50 am

    I noticed that Discount Electronics wasn't on the list. They get great reviews and they offer a standard 1 Year Warranty. I am looking at a Mac Purchase (they rarely get Mac's but when they do they go fast) so I am wondering what your thoughts are regarding this retailer.

  4. Nicole
    June 21, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Anyone purchase a refurbished from Groupon?

  5. newwavegeek
    April 5, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    There's also and

  6. Charles Stuller
    December 6, 2016 at 4:06 am

    You forgot to mention Experimac. Experimac is a chain of individually owned franchise stores specializing in Certified Pre Owned Apple products. They buy and sell, repair and upgrade anything Apple. Best part of Experimac over one of the web sites you mentioned is that you get to touch and see the device you are buying before choosing to buy. And if there are warranty or other repair issues you walk it right in and get it back much quicker and without paying shipping. There are more than 100 locations around the country. Check to find one close to you.

    • Ehtesham
      August 4, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      "Hey Charles! You explained very well, i just wanted to highlight one thing is that whenever you are going to buy refurbished phones or any device always go for certified Refurbished Apple products other wise there is chance of loss.
      Here are the some certified Refurbishers:


  7. Gee Deezy
    November 30, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    I've been buying a lot of refurbed Macs over the last two years... we're a Mac-loving shop but just can't afford Apple's price premium any longer. And, while we have had great luck with Apple's refurbed items, we have had mixed results with the other places.

    My main gripe is Apple's unwillingness to support (or ALLOW) older machines to run newer OS versions. For example, we have some older Mac Pros that are more than powerful enough to run Sierra (or even Yosemite or El Cap), but Apple has decided to not ALLOW us to install it.

    "Hey, Apple, can you let me decide whether or not I want to run newer OS versions on older hardware or not?" After all, if Windows 10 can run on a Celeron processor with 2GB of RAM, surely, you could let me at least try to run Yosemite on a dual Xeon machine with 16 GB of RAM...

  8. JP Hare
    May 6, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    The prospect of paying a premium price for any used laptop is not for the faint of heart. It was only the continued development of unserviceable, non-upgradeable, new MacBook Pros that got me to thinking about replacing my aging 17 with a late model, used unit. After noticing refurbished machines for sale on the Amazon site, I followed up on one offered by a vendor, Experimac, in W. Palm Beach Florida. At least it was in my home state so I decided to make contact.

    A family business, the people at the store were friendly and encouraging and in a short while had informed me of an early 2011 machine - second to the last 17 model produced and top of the line in its day - they had available. After hearing about the condition, specifications, ram and new 1TB hard drive it had, we negotiated a price and I committed to the purchase.

    Of course this was not my first Mac. In fact, it would be my third MacBook Pro 17. I returned the unopened Retina 15 machine I had purchased from the Apple store just days before and sent in payment for the used machine from Experimac. For just a few hundred dollars less than the new MacBook Pro Retina 15, I was purchasing a fully repairable and upgradeable 17 with no AppleCare warranty - I was now in uncharted territory as a used mac buyer after purchasing many new machines over more years than I like to quote. Think original Mac Plus buyer; that was a one piece desktop model with an amazing full Megabyte of storage and a cute, built in handle in the top... Like I said, I'm a LONG time, new Mac buyer.

    Long story short, the happy ending didn't happen right away and nearly turned into a cautionary tale about buying used v. new. I received the machine and was delighted for 6 months. Then, one fateful Sunday morning, my new/used/collector edition MacBook Pro 17 would not start up. Dead. I decided to try Apple Support (I know, it was a used machine with no Apple Care coverage - but it was Sunday, Experimac was closed, and my memory was chanting - "call Apple, Call Apple, Try Apple Support..."). The wonderful customer support helper took me through an over the phone diagnostic and could only come up with "Internal Hardware Failure" at every turn.

    Dejected and beginning to see my expensive gamble being raked in by the Experimac house, I at least found a sympathetic but encouraging response from the seller. "Most likely a graphics card problem. Probably looking at $250 or so to put in a new one. Send it and we'll have it back to you in a few days it that's all it needs." Graphics Card - that seemed reasonable for a 4 year old machine, I thought. At least it's repairable! Ok, so let's get it fixed and back home. Things went as planned and, though not as fast and smooth as previous repairs had under AppleCare support (sigh). Also, the graphics card hypothesis was ruled inadequate leading to replacement of the entire logic board with a clean, low-mileage used one for a negotiated $650 (Ouch!) There was a reasonably quick turn around and I had my machine back... but not fixed. The keyboard no longer lit up ("Alright, so it isn't perfect. It's working!" I thought.) And, sadly, I had to call and send it back because there were new, very unMac-like problems with flickering screen images and other obvious defects in the video performance.

    Finally, after a series of conversations (all of them perfectly civil with concern being voiced by both parties) I got my machine back. Experimac had reached out to Apple and the brand new logic board replacement- at no additional cost - has been an overwhelming success (two months and counting). Today, I am a sold and resold Experimac customer and will do business with them again. More than anything, the used option, it seems to me, has inherent risks of which the new buyer remains blissfully ignorant. Still, many find, especially without AppleCare, they are out in the cold if something expensive goes bad after warranty coverage expires. As for me, until Apple starts selling 17", repairable and upgradable desktop replacement laptops, I'll stick with Experimac - and no one else.

    • kate
      January 20, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      You should know that you can get your money back that you spent to have the first logic board replaced. Apple has an extended warranty recall. Just until the end of Feb. 2006.

      • kate
        January 20, 2016 at 9:23 pm

        2016, that is.

  9. Melly Mel
    January 18, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    This was helpful. Thanks, Bakari!

  10. Amber
    December 19, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Do not get a iMac at Powermax they send out DOA(dead on arrival) . I asked powermax to rectify the situations. I was told to send back on my own dime. To buy another iMac while I was waiting for them to go trough the process of verification. All I did was a hardware test that was on the iMac. But then I found out they get a 10% restocking fee on my transaction .

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  12. Refurbished patio heater
    January 28, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Is Fantastic buy products refurbished to save money. There are many refurbished products in the market that can help you to save money.

  13. Alex Walsh
    December 14, 2010 at 6:09 am

    Yes.I strongly believed that Mac Laptops will lasts for a long period of time if maintained and in properly used. There are bunch of laptop stores that sells refurbished Mac laptops. We can buy it via online.

  14. Mulder
    November 15, 2010 at 5:28 am

    Uh…you overlooked the fact that it's impossible for a MacBook Air to have 40GB of "internal memory", since there's no such thing. The refurbished model you mentioned from Apple may have had 40GB more hard drive space, but that's not memory.

    • Bakari
      November 15, 2010 at 6:00 am

      Thanks for that correction

  15. Mulder
    November 15, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Uh…you overlooked the fact that it's impossible for a MacBook Air to have 40GB of "internal memory", since there's no such thing. The refurbished model you mentioned from Apple may have had 40GB more hard drive space, but that's not memory.

  16. Bakari
    November 13, 2010 at 5:00 am

    Good point, Gouthaman. Building your own PC to install in Mac sounds like a good idea for an article. Thanks for sharing.

    • Aibek
      November 15, 2010 at 9:14 am


      How to Install Mac OS X on a PC (Without Using a Mac)

    • Gee Deezy
      November 30, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      Totally disagree. I have several Hackintoshes, and trust me, setting them up and keeping them up and running is not for the average consumer user. Unless the buyeer understands the concepts of bootloaders, EFI, UEFI, secure boot, and Legacy boot modes I would advise you don't do this.

  17. Gouthaman Karunakaran
    November 13, 2010 at 1:27 am

    That was a comprehensive list. Although, a lot of users Build their own PC to install MAC OS; the hardware-software compatibility won't be as good as the actual Apple made desktops.