Getting a Second Hand Laptop? A Step by Step Guide in Helping You Through it

Its pretty understandable to be hesitant on buying used laptops; all the nightmare reviews on eBay and craigslist, with floods of people complaining who they were scammed into buying total junk is pretty scary. But fear not – here we have a few checklist which will help you find if a used laptop is actually worth something or not.

The idea of getting second-hand laptop sets people to the edge of their seats, and it’s justified as well. New gadgets are advertised in such a manner that it sounds as if the previous model has been rendered completely useless. Some companies even block hardware updates for previous versions and sell fragile models that are expected to break pretty fast.

However, do not let this get into you. Firstly, you should accept that machines are imperfect, and there is always a better model out there. However, with little insight and research, you will be able to get a hold of a decent second-hand laptop. So let’s go through the checklist I created out of my experience, and a few tips from laptop experts on getting a used laptop.

1. The search of the best amongst the used laptops

You probably have an idea of the ideal laptop you want; maybe Samsung Notebook 9? Or Dell XPS 13 (9360)? Get that idea out of your head. Search for the best-rated laptops of last year. Check how robust they are, and how much its users have rated the laptops. Generally, these laptops will have the same functionality of the latest laptops and will work smoothly with little error or complication.

2. The Shop: determining from where you are going to buy the laptop

There are many options available to buy your laptop. You can buy them from online retailers like Amazon, Craiglist, Walmart, and others, or you can get it straight from the manufacturing company. Buying second-hand laptops from manufacturers is generally more expensive, but they come with some warranty and manufacturer’s assurance that they will work.



If you want to buy it from online retailers, make sure that the seller is verified, and has very good reviews from other buyers. Make sure to rate the seller once your product arrives, so that other buyers will have some help is getting to know the seller better.

3. Damage (if any) on the laptop

Damage can be of many types. If its an exterior damage, that does not hinder the functionality of the second hand laptop. A little chip will not affect your laptop; but hey, you can use to get a bargain and save some money. However, any form of internal damage can pose a serious threat to the smooth running of your machine. Be wary while inspecting the laptop.

4. Check for purple tint

If the screen has gone bad, it may have a purple tint when displaying/when on. Check for any fading, hazing or tint on the display, and if you have, send the laptop back. Screen repair is very expensive and is not worth on a second hand laptop.

5. Check all ports

Check all inputs like charging point, USB port, and other inputs like Bluetooth and WiFi. These ports are directly connected to the motherboard, and any damage to them is hard(and expensive) to repair. Since there are multiple USB ports, you can work with no problem if one of them is broken.
But, a faulty charging point, or multiple broken USB ports, or damaged WiFi can pose a huge problem. It would be wise not to buy a second hand laptop with damaged ports. You should be fine with purchasing a laptop with damaged inputs only if it is something that has an alternate it.

6. Inspect the health of the hard drives

You can check the health of hard drive through many supporting software (HDD health checking tools). Keep in track how much of the hard drives are occupied when running day to day programs. If your hard drive overloads while running simple programs, then maybe it is not in a good condition.  Also, replacing hard drives is cheap, so keep that into consideration.

7. Inspect the health of CD drives

Try running all supported file types on the CD drive, and see whether they are supported or not, and the reaction time it takes to run them. However, also take into consideration that many second hamd laptops nowadays do not come with CD drives, and it is entirely up to you whether you want a laptop with CD drive or not.

8. Inspect how long the battery lasts

The second hand laptop should have a decent battery with ample life. If the battery drains very quickly, then replacing it can be expensive. Try to negotiate the laptop price with the seller if the battery dies pretty quick, to cover the cost of a new battery which you have to get, and compare the new price of the laptop plus a new battery to evaluate whether it is worth the cost or not.

9. Ask for an expert opinion

You can always ask you tech-savvy friend, or discuss on related forums about the type of used laptop you are planning to buy. They can give you very useful advice on the type of laptops to get, and whether your choice is really worth it or not. Try to pool in a few key opinions before committing to buy a used laptop. An extra mind never hurts!

10. Conclude

Give reviews AFTER your second hand laptop is delivered. If you find you did not get what you are paid for, do not hesitate to return the laptop.
Also, expect there to be some problem on the beginning; some people face problems on a brand new laptop too. See if any upgrade or simple repair is needed. Do not hesitate to cough up some extra cash to ensure that the laptop runs healthy.

With this checklist, you are all set! So go out there with no hesitation, and get yourself a second hand laptop as per your choice.

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