But before you buy one, there are a few things you should keep in mind. By carefully considering your purchase, you can avoid buying the wrong used computer.
Here are 10 things to think about when buying a used computer.
1. Is the Used Computer in Good Physical Condition?
Before you take a used computer for a test drive and see what it can do, carefully inspect the outside of it. Whether it's a desktop or a laptop, it should be in good physical condition overall.
If it happens to have any dings or scratches on it, try to find out how they got there. Avoid buying a used computer if the previous owner admits to dropping it or damaging it in any way.
Ideally, the used computer should look good from the outside. You want a machine that has been well-maintained by the person who used it last.
2. Do All the Ports on the Used Computer Work?
In addition to checking out the exterior of a used computer carefully, you should also test out the various ports on it. There's nothing worse than taking a used computer home and realizing the USB ports don't work.
If you notice that the ports don't work, reconsider purchasing the used computer. It could limit how often you're able to use certain aspects of the machine.
3. Which Operating System Is Installed on the Used Computer?
This is a big question. You don't want to buy a used computer that has an outdated operating system on it. It could end up costing you money to update it on your own.
Regardless of whether you're purchasing a PC or a Mac, figure out which OS is installed on it. If it's too old, either negotiate the price of the computer down or look for a different computer with a more recent OS on it.
4. Can the Used Computer Connect to the Internet?
In 2018, a computer that can't connect to the internet is pretty much worthless. It's also hard to find one that doesn't have the capability of connecting to the web.
But it never hurts to ask if a used computer has any internet connectivity issues. You wouldn't want to buy it if it does.
5. Has the Used Computer Ever Had Any Viruses or Malware on It?
This is another very important question. Viruses and malware can slow a computer down big time and make it almost impossible to use.
Ask the previous owner of a used computer if it's ever had any viruses or malware on it. If it has, ask what was done to remove them from it. Don't buy a computer that could potentially still have viruses or malware rummaging around on it.
6. Is the Used Computer Fast?
At some point, test out the used computer before buying it to see how it performs. Connect to the internet, open up a few applications, and try watching a few videos on YouTube.
The used computer should respond to your commands and move quickly from one thing to the next. If it lags or doesn't respond accordingly when you tell it what to do, that could be a problem.
7. Does the Used Computer Need a New Battery or Battery Charger?
Batteries and battery chargers for used laptop computers aren't always cheap. You could end up paying $100 or more to replace both if a used computer needs them.
As you're testing out a used computer, see how quickly it burns through battery life. Then, check out how quickly the charger revives the battery. If either of the parts seems problematic, consider the cost to replace one or the other.
8. Is the Used Computer the Right Size?
When you're inspecting a used computer, you might forget to think about the size of it. But size will obviously determine how comfortable a computer it is to carry and how easy it is to see when you're using it.
If you're looking at a laptop, pick it up and carry it for a few seconds. You don't want something that's too heavy.
If you're looking at a desktop, think about where you're going to put it and how it will fit on a tabletop or desk. You don't want something that'll take up too much space or be too heavy.
9. Will the Used Computer Come With a Warranty?
In a perfect world, you want the used computer you buy to come with a warranty. That will cover you in the event that it gives out on you within the first six months to a year.
Private sellers probably won't be quick to provide you with any kind of warranty. But many shops will stand behind their products.
At the very least, inquire about a warranty and see what a seller might be willing to give to you.
10. Is Buying the Used Computer Actually Going to Save Money?
Last but not least, crunch the numbers to make sure you're actually saving money by buying a used computer.
New computers aren't anywhere near as expensive as they used to be. So if you're only saving $100 or so by going with a used computer over a new one, a new one might end up being the better option.
Do your homework and see how much you'll really save when buying a used computer.
Buying a Used Computer Doesn't Have to Be Difficult
Some people turn buying a used computer into a bigger deal than it has to be. As long as you're willing to kick the tires on one and negotiate the right price, you can score a great deal on a preowned computer that'll last you a few years.
Just steer clear of buying a used computer that's too old or doesn't look like it's going to be around much longer. You could end up with an expensive paperweight if you purchase a used computer that has seen better days.