If you've considered a refurbished smartphone for your next upgrade you're not alone. According to Counterpoint Research, the global refurb market grew by 13% in 2017, whereas the new smartphone market grew by just 3%.
We understand you want to find the best used iPhone, but newer doesn't always mean better. Stay tuned to find out how to find cheap unlocked iPhones using this affordable option, plus how to save even more money on your cell phone plan.
Why More People Are Choosing Refurbished iPhones
Buying a used or refurbished iPhone makes sense for many reasons:
- Even though the major carriers entice you to upgrade every year, changes to new models are usually slight.
- You can have a high-end smartphone like iPhone for half the price by going with a model that's a year or two old.
- Phone repair stores are everywhere now, making it much cheaper to fix your phone than buy new.
- Smartphones can last longer than we think, with a potential lifespan of over four years according to the Consumer Technology Association.
With cell phone plans already costing us over $80 per month on average, device payments of $30 - $40 per month on top of that can really break the budget.
Refurbished vs. Used
One of the questions we hear most often is "What's the difference between used and refurbished?" The terms are often used interchangeably but they mean two separate things in the world of secondhand electronics.
Used: Sold as-is, either directly from the owner or through a third-party site that facilitates phone sales.
Refurbished: Repaired and restored as close to original condition as possible.
Both types of items can be in excellent condition, however, with a used smartphone you should see any damage or flaws listed in the posting.
What You Need to Know About Unlocked Cell Phones
Whether you choose a used or refurbished iPhone, we recommend buying a cell phone that is unlocked.
Perks of an unlocked phone:
- Most unlocked 4G-enabled smartphones can be used on any network. This means you're free to take your phone to the carrier of your choice.
- Buying a used or refurbished unlocked iPhone saves you 50% over the retail price of a new smartphone.
- If you're a frequent traveler you'll save money on international wireless service. Just buy a SIM card at your destination and pop it in to get local rates.
Even though most smartphones these days can get 4G LTE signal on both GSM (AT&T and T-Mobile) and CDMA (Sprint and Verizon) networks, you'll get the best overall experience by sticking with a device made for the carrier's technology.
- Compare unlocked GSM phones if you're using a GSM carrier on the AT&T or T-Mobile networks.
- Compare unlocked CDMA phones if you're using a carrier on the Sprint or Verizon networks.
As with any device, you'll want to verify compatibility with your chosen carrier before making a final decision on which phone to buy.
Best Sites to Buy an Unlocked Phone on a Budget
The one thing more valuable to you than your money is your time. Our aim is to save you a bunch of both, so we've combed through the most reputable places to buy your phone online and reviewed our top picks.
Looking for the best deal? Check out these cheap unlocked iPhones.
Searching for cheap unlocked iPhones for sale? Prefer the Samsung Galaxy series? No problem. Not only do we give you the pros and cons of all the best-used phone sites, we also make it a snap for you to compare refurbished smartphones using our handy cell phone comparison tool.
Do You Want to Save Even More Money?
If you're looking for a budget cell phone we already know you're interested in saving money. There's another great way to cut your wireless costs - switch carriers to an MVNO.
What Is an MVNO?
MVNO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator. It's a smaller wireless carrier that rents the use of one or more of the big four networks (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint).
This benefits you because MVNOs can afford to sell you the same reliable service you love but at a much lower cost. They can do this because they operate online - no brick-and-mortar overhead or extravagant marketing costs.
Benefits of Switching to an MVNO:
- Save up to 50% or more off your wireless service
- The same reliable 4G LTE networks as the big guys
- Custom plans so you only pay for what you actually need
- No contracts, credit checks, or overage fees
- Great customer support
- Keep your phone and number
- Sign up online in minutes
There are alternative carriers for all four of the major networks. See which one offers the best cellular coverage in your area, then choose from among the MVNOs on that network.
With competition among wireless providers heating up, there's no reason to pay exorbitant prices for your service anymore.
Don't forget to sell your old phone while you're at it and put some more cash back in your pocket!
MoneySavingPro makes it easy to save half off both your smartphone and your cell phone plan:
- Save hundreds on your iPhone by buying refurbished!
- Reduce your monthly spending and switch to a cheaper cell phone plan on the same network.
- Sell your old phone for cash and put even more money in your pocket.
It really is that simple!