Cheap laptops – What to know when buying one

When looking at cheaper laptops there are a few things you need to be aware of before making a purchase. Read this list to avoid making mistakes.

Cheap laptops - What to know when buying one

Sometimes it makes more sense to not overspend on a laptop and one then needs to decide on a balance between price and quality. But, to do this, one has to know exactly what to look for. Things like CPU speed and type, hard drive capacity, screen size and resolution can make a huge difference in user experience.

CPU Speed and Type

The CPU is very important in a laptop, but you might not always get what you want when looking at cheaper laptops. For example, if you’re looking at laptops under 300 dollars, then it might be difficult to find a laptop with a high-end CPU. But, it probably is possible to find something that will work just fine for the low price. One thing to look for is the number of cores the processor has. More is obviously better because the processing load is spilt between the cores. An Intel or AMD dual-core processor will probably be the best thing that one can find at this price range. Another thing to look for is the GHz of the processor. Again, higher is better. Shoot for something above 2Ghz if it is a single-core processor. If it is a dual-core CPU then anything 1.2GHz and above will be just fine.

Hard Drive Capacity

This is your storage size, so aim high. If you don’t plan on storing a lot of multimedia files like movies, music and even pictures, then a laptop with around 80GB might be fine. However, if this is not the case, then shoot for something with at least 250GB.

Screen Size

This might be the most difficult part of your decision to save money on a laptop, because finding ones with larger screens is not easy to do. You might have to sacrifice on other parts of the laptop to find one with a larger screen. You’ll also likely be looking at refurbished or off-lease laptops when searching for one with a screen size of 15.6 inches or greater.

Refurbished and Off-lease Laptops

Cheap laptops

It’s easy to be hesitant when looking at refurbished or off-lease laptops, but deciding to do so can really improve the specifications of the computer compared to buying new, especially at the lower price ranges. A refurbished laptop is one that at one point did not work and has then been fixed into working condition. These are always tested, at least by the big name respectable sellers, before putting it up for sale. An off-lease laptop is one that was leased out and then returned to the original seller. The seller then puts it up for sale after grading it from A to C, with A being the best.

In the end it should be fairly easy to find a sub-$300 laptop, but it might take a little looking and a bit of research.

Buy a Refurbished Laptop Online and Save Money

Buying a refurbished laptop online, with brands like HP, Compaq, Acer and more, can help save money on a notebook computer. Learn where to buy cheap used laptops now.

Although the price of laptops has dropped dramatically over the past few years, refurbished laptops can provide all of the features of a high-end product at a fraction of the cost of new. Finding a reputable seller of cheap used laptops, though, can be tough. There are plenty of companies that offer electronics through Internet stores, but finding the right notebook computer t reseller that offers a solid product such as HP, Acer, or Compaq, a limited warranty, and minor tech support is as important as price.

Used Notebook Computers

Most resellers buy their products from large corporations or the federal and state governments, then clean up the products by erasing hard drives, fixing broken components, adding new hard drives, physically cleaning dust and dirt, and so forth before offering refurbished laptops online for sale to the public.

These used notebook computers are often one to two years old, and with refurbished laptops loaded with Windows or Ubuntu selling for as little as 50% of the cost of new, learning how to buy a refurbished laptop makes financial sense.

Refurbished Laptops Online

The most popular place for buying a used notebook computer is eBay. eBay is populated with hundreds of sellers of refurbished laptops, and cheap computer options abound at the auction site. Stick to power sellers with ratings above 98% to make certain the product and customer service are good.


Another common option for buying cheap used laptops is Craigslist. Some local computer repair and sales stores will advertise on Craigslist, while other laptops will simply be used laptops from individuals. A truly refurbished laptop is one that has been reconditioned and is as good as new.

The chance of fraud is higher with Craigslist, however, as there is no dispute process, and no way to report a fraudulent sale. It’s buyer beware, 100%, when it comes to Craigslist, but tech-savvy buyers may be able to get a smoking deal buying from their local area.

HP, Compaq, Acer and More Reconditioned

Consider buying from large cheap used laptop resellers such as Adelia Computers or Dell’s refurbished computer center. Resellers selling hundreds of laptops each week are just like HP or Apple- the only difference is that the laptops are used. Many larger resale companies also offer a limited warranty of 30 to 90 days, an absolutely critical component when looking for a reconditioned computer.

Another way consumers can protect themselves when buying a refurbished laptop online: credit cards with buyer protection policies. Some credit cards such as American Express offer additional consumer protection, or extended warranties, for products purchased using the card. When looking for a cheap used laptop check credit card policies and use the card that offers the best protection.

If buyers don’t have credit cards that offer such perks, find one! Look online for special offers from credit cards that are more consumer-friendly and help with buying online. These additional warranty policies can come in hand if merchandise is defective.

Whichever path buyers take, from eBay to Craigslist to large used notebook computer resellers, buying a refurbished laptop online makes financial sense. Search out every advertised deal, both online and in print, to find the best price and the best value. From college students to stay-at-home-moms to small businesses, the savings and variety offered by large resellers can meet any computer-purchaser’s needs without breaking the bank.