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Is it better to buy new or used smartphones?

OnePlus 7T in its retail box
OnePlus 7T in its retail box (Image credit: Android Central)

When buying a smartphone, there are a lot of factors to consider — battery life, screen size, and camera quality, just to name a few. In addition to all of that, you also need to think about what sort of condition you want the phone to be in.

Buying a new phone is typically the more expensive way to go, but you also have the guarantee of the warranty it comes with and peace of mind that you're the only person who's owned it. Used phones can often be the source of great savings, but you need to be careful you're buying through a reliable source and that you can trust the individual seller.

Some of our AC forum members recently got to talking about whether they prefer buying new or used, and this is what they had to say.

I think, with me, buying new is that safe idea. If something isn't right, simply return it. Again, with a private sale, that's out the window. The sellers are offering "brand new, unlocked" phones. I'm curious how they got them. But the price could be worth the shot. I'm a Public Mobile user..... So going to the carrier won't work. The sellers say they have original receipts from...

Mark Squires

I never buy used phones anymore...... it's WAY too easy to find great sale prices on 1 or 2 year old brand new flagship phones. I like having the flagship experience with budget to mid-range pricing. Plus used smartphones have become scam central..... it's not worth the hassle to save a few bucks.

J Dubbs

I bought my first used phone, a Note 9, via Swappa and had a good experience. In order to sell on Swappa, the IMEI number is vetted to make sure the phone is unlocked, pictures are required before they allow the post to go live and they provide a confirmation number that the phone is eligible. That confirmation number is then required to be included with the ad. Some sellers have warranties up...


Me personally, I would go for new. You get the warranty, and no questions as how the device was used before you.


What do you think? Is it better to buy new or used smartphones?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • When it comes to electronics I never buy used especially phones. Actually I purchase through my carrier mostly. WARRENTY is the deciding factor for myself. If anything goes wrong for myself it's the best way to go. But I did purchase the pixal3a xl directly from Google and have had no problems. It was my first unlocked phone? Now I'm considering the Samsung S20 and will go through my carrier. It's awful nice to have piece of mind when I purchase new!
  • I've had a base experience both selling and buying a used phone from Swappa. I do say it's a great service and what I would recommend to use BUT buying a used phone with a bunch of things that can be wrong isn't worth it unless you really can't find anything else at your price. Knowing the camera works, the battery is healthy, there aren't weird performance issues, it hasn't had a screen replaced are all impossible to tell before putting it through use.
  • I personally would never buy a used or refurbished phone or any electronic product but that's just me. I would only use a used phone if it was GIVEN to me for free.
  • I would only ever buy used if I personally knew someone who had a late model low mileage phone they were offering for $100 or less. Otherwise I like getting shiny new phones too much. Anyone out there who would like to sell a mint condition Galaxy A50 US model for $50?
  • I just picked up a Renewed LGG7 just for the quad dac. I will use it just as a music player. Not a bad use of $150.00, sounds better than my 6T.