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Consumer Reports: Are refurbished headphones a good deal?

Posted at 6:20 AM, May 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-15 09:33:43-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Keeping up with technology is expensive. Even when it comes to headphones. But would you ever buy used? It’s not as unusual as you might think.

“An easy way to save money on headphones is to buy refurbished," says Consumer Reports Tech Editor, Thomas Germain. "You can get a great pair in perfectly good working order for a lot less than what you’d pay for new ones.”

CR has recommended refurbished products for years. It’s a great way to save on electronics, like phones and computers. And they say some of CR’s highly-rated headphone models can be as much as 50-percent off regular price.

“Refurbished headphones have usually been returned by another person," says Germain. "It could be because they didn’t like them, or, in some cases, they needed a repair. But no matter what was wrong with them originally, by the time you get them they should be good as new.”

But they may not be in their original packaging. So, where can you find them?

“When you’re shopping for refurbished headphones, the best case scenario is you can get them directly from the manufacturer," says Germain. "But we’ve seen the best selections at places like Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart.”

Some retailers even have programs for refurbished products.

“Amazon has an entire Renewed Department with products that are guaranteed to look and function just like new," says Germain.

Best Buy has its Geek Squad Certified Refurbished program with the company’s standard 15-day return policy. No matter where you shop, make sure to check the details out before buying and make sure you can return them if something is wrong.

CR does caution consumers to do their research before buying anything refurbished from a company they’ve never heard of because it can be hard to know exactly what you’re getting.

For a list of CR's top refurbished headphones, click here.