As technology becomes more important in our lives, studies have revealed that 84% of those aged 35-54 in the UK own a laptop. Whether for personal or professional use, these innovative and dynamic tools have allowed us to work or play on the go.

Unfortunately, as technology advances and these powerhouses of technology become more streamlined, aesthetic and evolved, their prices have rapidly followed - with first-hand, brand new laptops more expensive than ever before. So why are individuals still buying these products when high-quality, refurbished laptops under £500 exist?

Many of the big names in technology - such as Apple, Dell and HP - have introduced ‘entry-level’ products, whether in the form of the MacBook Air or the EliteBook. These products have lower specifications and a cheaper price tag, appealing to buyers due to their 'brand new' status.

However, with both entry level and high-specification products available on a refurbished basis, for significantly less, without losing any features or efficiency, buying second-hand is not only financially smart - it’s also sustainable, reducing e-waste. 

As a result, our team at Tier 1 have put together a handy guide on how you can get the very best deals on your new laptop, all while helping to save the planet!


Understanding Refurbished Laptops 

The process of looking for a laptop can be daunting, with so many different things to consider. For individuals with a low income, this process can be complicated by the fear of purchasing the incorrect product, or a model that does not have the specifications you require, whether for business or pleasure. 

Luckily, Tier 1 prides itself on offering a widespread variety of products that can be filtered by a widespread variety of topics, such as deals, including refurbished laptops under £300, sizes, features and grades. By allowing our consumers to search using these exact terms, we aim to match each of our ethically conscious customers with a high-quality, efficient laptop at a fraction of the price they would have paid for a new one.

While some of these terms, such as features and sizes might be straightforward, there is some lingo associated with technology that some first-time buyers might not understand - so we’ve gone ahead and explained these!

What exactly is a ‘refurbished’ laptop?

A refurbished laptop is a second-hand laptop that has been either repaired, upgraded or cleaned, with the purpose of reselling the product onto another consumer. While many have the misconception that these products go to refurbishment companies due to their inefficiency, this is not the case. Some of the many reasons a laptop may be sent to a refurbisher include:

  • Changing their mind
  • Overstock
  • Open-box returns
  • Cosmetic damage

All laptops are tested for defects and functionality before being resold - meaning a refurbished laptop sold for less than £500 might be in perfect aesthetic and working condition. We rank the status of our laptops using a grading system, as below. 


We sell refurbished laptops based on grades, which classify the overall condition of a refurbished laptop. This ‘grade’ refers to the level of cosmetic wear to the device, and rarely reflects the performance, internal working conditions or the functionality of the device - as all will have been restored to full working order. The grades are as follows:

  • Grade A: This is the highest condition for a refurbished laptop, with items in this ranking considered ‘like new’ with minimal or very little use.
  • Grade B: While in good condition, these laptops might have some minor scratches along the casing, or wear on the keyboard.
  • Grade C: These laptops might show significant signs of cosmetic damage, but the functionality of the device will not be impacted. 

For any more queries, you can view our complete guide to laptop refurbishment grading. 


The processing power of your laptop refers to the central processing unit (CPU), which is one of the most important components in your laptop. This chip is effectively the ‘brain’ of your laptop, with the amount of ‘cores’ impacting how quickly your laptop can carry out tasks. 

Considering the processing power of your refurbished laptop is essential, depending on why you’re buying the product. For those that require laptops for gaming or intensive work purposes, you’ll likely require a high-performance processor. For more casual, personal use, the entry-level processing power will be perfectly suitable.  

More Essential Lingo! 

There are a few more terms we believe are important to know when purchasing a refurbished laptop. We’ve highlighted these below:

  • Random access memory (RAM): Similar to the CPU, RAM is crucial for your computer's functioning, referring to the amount of memory your laptop possesses.
  • Storage type: In a laptop, the storage type will determine how much data your laptop can hold, and how quickly this data can be processed. 
  • Graphics card (GPU): A graphics card will determine the quality of graphics and images on your computer, with a higher GPU likely necessary for those editing things such as photos or videos. 
  • Screen resolution: This refers to the number of pixels on your screen, with a higher number of pixels referring to sharper, more defined images. 
  • Operating system (OS): Your operating system manages how your computer works behind the scenes, controlling all software and hardware - meaning this is the most important software of all. If your laptop requests an upgrade to the newest operating system, you should always upgrade it - this may fix any bugs, errors, or security issues. 
  • How to Cut Costs When Looking for a Laptop

    Now that you know what some of the lingo regarding refurbished laptops means, you can learn how to find high-quality, top-of-the-range refurbished laptops for £500 or less! There are three main ways you can do so, in addition to researching the laptop specifications you’ll need. 

    Set a budget

    Setting a budget is an essential first step to cutting costs on a laptop. Taking this step allows you to discover the upper limit of what you can spend, but also helps you to ‘hone in’ on a specific price range, instead of trawling through hundreds, if not thousands of different options. 

    A little flexibility does not go amiss, but there is a significant difference between buying a refurbished laptop under £500 or a model under £1,000. By keeping to your budget, you’ll be able to find the best available product for your needs. 

    Become Deal Savvy

    Learning how to capitalise on the best deals available is an essential life skill, whether when searching for a refurbished laptop under £500 or the latest technology. There are several ways you can do this.

    The first is tracking the price of any laptops you’re interested in, as these may fluctuate. By regularly checking web pages, you can make sure to stay on top of any changes. In addition, you should make sure to note key events, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas in your calendar, as many retailers will lower their prices around these times to maximise sales. 

    Utilise Discounts

    Taking advantage of discounts, whether seasonal or targeted discounts, can significantly help to reduce the cost of products - especially if you’re a low income individual, such as a student. In addition, you should always check the perks available at your workplace, with some businesses maintaining partnerships with discount bodies. 

    Are you a student or a key worker? Great news -  we offer discounts to both those studying and working in healthcare, the military or any key worker role. 

    Environmental and Cost-Saving Benefits of Refurbished Laptops

    There are several significant ways you benefit both the environment and your wallet when purchasing refurbished goods. We’ve highlighted these below:

    Environmental Perks

    For anyone eco-conscious, purchasing a refurbished laptop is an excellent way to ensure that you’re not contributing to the significant, ongoing problem of e-waste. With so many individuals across the globe improperly disposing of their technology and continuing to buy first-hand, the amount of e-waste is rapidly rising, with 53.6 million tonnes of the stuff produced in 2019.

    With making a brand new laptop requiring a significant number of new components - and lead, which is hazardous to the environment - a common substance in the creation of laptops, buying first-hand and generating e-waste may actually have adverse long-term impacts for human health. This means purchasing a refurbished laptop helps to conserve and re-use these dangerous components.

    Financial Benefits

    There are several financial benefits associated with purchasing a refurbished laptop, the first of which is the lower purchase point. This enables you to purchase laptops that may have originally been outside of your price range first hand, meaning you take advantage of excellent value for money. 

    In addition, some companies, including Tier 1, offer warranties. These help to protect the purchaser in the event that your laptop needs any repairs or replacements (that are not due to misuse or standard wear and tear). 

    Remember - it is important to always use a reputable supplier (such as Tier 1) when hunting for a new refurbished laptop. This is the only way to ensure quality products, that you’ve signed up to a warranty policy that you can trust, and that your laptop contains genuine parts and software. 

    How to Find the Right Refurbished Laptop for You

    The most important thing to do when looking for a laptop that meets your needs? Ask the retailer in question! Employees will always be happy to help you, but you need to know the correct questions to ask. Some of these may include:

    • Will this laptop suit my needs?
    • What repairs or work did this laptop undertake?
    • Can you highlight the areas of cosmetic damage? (if not immediately visible or a Grade B/C laptop)
    • What accessories come with the laptop?

    In addition, reputable staff will be able to help you compare models, while highlighting the limitations of any devices. If in doubt, you should always reach out to a second party for advice, and never underestimate your needs - this could help to future-proof your purchase and prevent any additional expenses. 

    Consider an Upgrade

    Considering a refurbished laptop because the laptop you bought first-hand isn’t working as well as you wanted it to? Instead of purchasing a whole new laptop, you can also invest in second-hand refurbished parts! The same goes for your already purchased refurbished laptop, which can simply and easily be upgraded with new parts to save money, and help the environment. Some popular components to upgrade include:

    • The battery
    • CPU
    • RAM
    • Storage
    • GPU

    By upgrading the performance of your laptop, you can ensure your device works well for years to come, personalise your device, and even increase the resale value!

    To Conclude

    Nowadays, laptops are indispensable in our personal and professional lives! Unfortunately, the ever-rising costs of these handy pieces of kit means that it is increasingly difficult to purchase the technology of your dreams - unless you’re savvy!

    By learning how to find the best deals on refurbished laptops, or even by upgrading your first-hand or second-hand laptop, you can enhance or revolutionise your experience. This is all with the added bonus of a warranty, which will protect you and your device in the long run. 

    Luckily, with a number of incredible, tech-driven refurbished laptops under £500 available from top-tier retailers like Tier 1, it’s never been easier to upgrade your product - while saving the planet. 

    Check out our full range of refurbished laptops here to start your journey to save the planet - and your finances!