Screenshot of a refurbished Apple iMacYou lead the smart life. That’s why you’re reading this blog and that’s why you would never be caught dead paying full retail for a new gadget or gizmo. While there may be some other ways to save money, buying Apple refurbished products could be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

I know what you’re thinking. You see the word refurbished and you just assume that the product has been used and abused, not living up to the standard of quality that you’ve come to expect from Apple iProducts. The irony is that the refurbished Apple could very well be the better purchase than a brand new Apple. And it has to do with more than just the price too.

The Deal with Apple Refurbished Products

First, let’s get one thing clear. I’m only talking about the Apple refurbished products that you are buying directly from Apple. If you go to the official Apple online store, you can scroll near the bottom of the page and you’ll find a whole section of “special deals” in the left sidebar. Most of these are for the discounted refurbs.

You may find some refurbished Apple products through other third-party retailers and clearance houses, but these are typically not Apple certified. What this means is the quality of the refurbishing could range considerably; you might get a good deal, but you could just as easily get a lemon. By contrast, the refurbished items sold directly by Apple all go through the same process.

This is key. Whenever you have mass production, there are going to be defects. Even if the manufacturing process is 99.5% accurate, it means that one out of every 200 products is going to be defective, buggy, or otherwise have some sort of problem. When you buy an Apple refurbished item, though, each and every one of these items is stringently tested for issues before it is sold. In this way, the refurbs are arguably of higher quality and reliability than their brand new counterparts. And you save some cash along the way too.

Save Money on All iPods

Refurbished iPod touch

Refurbished iPod touch

Let’s take one such example of an Apple certified refurbished product. The refurbished 8GB iPod nano is currently listed at $99. If you were to buy the same iPod nano new, it retails for $129. This nets you a savings of $30. You still get a one-year limited warranty and you still have a 14-day return policy. The only downside is that engraving and gift wrap are not available for refurbished iPods. The refurbs also aren’t available in physical stores, so you will have to order online. Shipping is free.

If you look at some of the other refurbished iPods, you’ll see that some even better deals can be had. If you don’t need the absolute newest model, the 2009 version of the 64GB iPod touch is available for $249, which is 32% off ($120) the regular retail price. You still get Wi-Fi, Safari, iOS apps, and all that good stuff, but at a very substantial savings.

Refurbished Apple iPad and iPad 2

Refurbished iPad and iPad 2

Refurbished iPad

The same idea applies to Apple refurbished iPad tablets. The new third-generation iPad is not yet available as a refurb, but you can get the iPad and iPad 2 at a discounted price. The savings vary depending on the exact model that you would like, but they are mostly in the $80 to $150 range. A refurbished 32GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi is currently selling for $399, which is $100 off the regular retail price.

Peace of Mind with Macs of All Sizes

Apple refurbished products don’t only apply to the mobile devices. The full range of Macs are also sold as refurbs. Apple tests and certifies all of these products to make sure they are as problem-free as possible. As before, they still come with the one-year warranty and free shipping.

Refurbished Macs

Refurbished Macs

You can start with up to $100 savings on a Mac mini, or you can step up to $300 savings on a refurbished MacBook Air, $200 savings on a iMac, or as much as $580 savings on a MacBook Pro. The inventory changes all the time, so it pays to check every once in a while. Most listings will tell you when the product was originally released, giving you a sense of its age and how the specs stack up against brand new Macs.

Even greater savings can be enjoyed on clearance items, but these aren’t necessarily Apple refurbished products and the availability can oftentimes be quite scarce. In any case, the refurbs from Apple shouldn’t be dismissed just because they aren’t new. They’re oftentimes warranty returns or overstock, but they’ve gone through stringent testing and really are better than new. And having that extra money in your pocket doesn’t hurt either.

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