The “refurbished” label can make buying a new gadget seem stressful. That’s especially true with something like headphones. Have those shiny new earbuds already been jammed into someone’s ear canals? Do they come with any kind of warranty? Can you return a refurbished product? These are all valid questions. But, right now, Best Buy is offering some serious deals on refurbished headphones—sometimes more than half-off the retail price. Those kinds of savings are worth a little research to find out what you’re getting.
What does ‘Refurbished’ actually mean?
When you’re on a site selling refurbished products, you can typically dig into the fine print and find out exactly what the seller’s terms are. Since we’re specifically talking about Best Buy in this case, I did some of the digging for you.
Best Buy calls its refurbished program Geek Squad Certified. The qualifying products vary. Almost all of them started their lives as returns. Some didn’t work right out of the box, while others came back with busted pieces. Best Buy has its own in-house refurbishing program as well as relationships with third-party shops that take those damaged gadgets, repair them, check them over for flaws, then repackage them for sale.
While refurbished items have almost certainly been sold before when they were new, they weren’t necessarily used. But, even if they were, the company cleans, calibrates, and repairs everything before turning them around.
You may notice some scratches or marks on the products, but the fact that each item gets an individual check before going out the door means it’s very unlikely to arrive dead on arrival.
Can you return a refurbished items?
In Best Buy’s case, you get the same return policy that you would with a new product. For typical customers, that means you’ll get two weeks from your purchase to return them for a refund. If you’re part of the company’s Rewards program and you’ve achieved Elite status, you have up to 45 days to return them.
Do refurbished items come with a warranty?
Here’s where things differ a little. Best Buy offers a 90-day warranty on most refurbished items. It appears that’s the case with most of the headphones in this sale. That’s roughly a quarter of the year-long manufacturer warranty you get with a new item. This is part of the trade-off that comes with those low prices.
Because the warranty is limited, I recommend giving your refurbished product a thorough once-over as soon as you get it. And pay close attention during early usage to make sure everything is working right. That way, if there is a flaw in the device, you can catch it with sufficient time to return it.
If you’re shopping at another retailer, be sure to check how long the warranty lasts. I’ve bought a ton of refurbished camera gear directly from Canon before and it comes with a limited one-year warranty, just like the new stuff.
It’s also worth noting that refurbished gear and refurbished headphones typically don’t qualify for extended warranty programs. That’s true in Best Buy’s case and many others. So, don’t count on the ability to purchase extra protection.
Best Buy’s deals on refurbished headphones
Now that you have some idea what “refurbished” actually means, here are some of the deals that Best Buy has at the moment.
BeatsX wireless headphones
This is probably the best deal in the bunch at the moment. These BeatsX headphones typically retail for $99, which is already relatively affordable, but the refurbished models are just $32.99 right now. You can choose between black and white colorways. The buds include a reinforced cable connecting them, as well as built-in controls for volume. They can’t compete with the more expensive Beats offerings, but at $33, they’re great as a backup pair or something to wear at the gym so you don’t scum up your fancy headphones. Beats
Apple Airpods Pro
For $175, you get Apple’s flagship wireless earbuds. Unlike the typical AirPods, these boast active noise canceling, burly weather resistance, and adaptive EQ, which changes the qualtiy of your sound based on your surroundings. Setup with an iPhone is dead simple and the included charging case offers up to 24 hours of extra play time in case you can’t get to a charging cable. Plus, the AirPods Pro can take full advantage of Apple’s new spatial audio feature, which makes music and videos sound more three-dimensional. Apple
Depending on which color you pick, these fitness-oriented headphones get as low as $99, which is a big drop compared to the $250 retail price.. Beats overbuilt the Powerbeats pro in terms of moisture resistance to endure even the sweatiest gym sessions. They have Apple’s H1 chip inside so setting them up with an iPhone is a snap. The burly hooks keep them locked in your ears during vigorous exercise as well. Beats
Sony WHRF400 RF Wireless refurbished headphones
Sony’s comfy over-the-ear headphones are designed for your home theater. They’re only $49 down from $119. They come with oversized earcups and a padded headband for maximum comfort during movie marathons. The built-in battery provides up to 20 hours of charge, but they also come with a charging doc that can juice them up when not in use. Sony
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro wireless earbuds
Samsung’s high-end Galaxy Buds Pro typically retail for $199, but they’re just $99 as part of Best Buy’s refurb sale. They offer active noise canceling that you can adjust on the fly. They’re IPX7 rated to survive weather and workouts. Plus, the dual-driver audio tech inside provides impressive sound performance considering their compact size. Samsung
If you’re looking for an even cheaper Samsung option, the Galaxy Buds+ are just $65, down from a retail price of $149. You don’t get active noise cancling, but they can get up to 11 hours of playback on a single charge. They connect via Bluetooth 5.0, so you’ll get a strong connection with any compatible device. Plus, they employ Samsung’s voice calling tech, which has always been a click better than the competition in most cases. Samsung
A final note about refurbished headphones
While these are great deals, here’s one more reminder test out your refurbished gear as soon as you get it. While most of them will likely work great, unpredictable things can happen and you want to have that return or warranty window at your disposal when they do.