Everything is expensive at the moment, but there’s a way to get a new phone – or at least one that looks new – without paying full price. In fact, you can save a huge amount by going for a refurbished phone.
These are now widely available from major retailers and network operators. And they’re not only cheaper: buying refurbished is a safe option because you still get a warranty. That gives you peace of mind, something you don’t necessarily get when buying a used phone from Facebook Marketplace, ebay or your friend.
There are different grades based on a phone’s condition. You’ll pay even less if you’re happy to accept the odd scratch or scuff, but because stock comes from people trading in their old phones, availability of specific colours and storage capacities changes all the time.
This means that if you see a deal you like below, don’t hang about: buy it quickly. Below we’ve hand-picked the phones we think represent the best deals right now.
What is a refurbished phone?
Where to find refurbished phone deals in the UK (SIM-free)
Here are the best places to browse for a refurbished phone, along with any promotions you might be able to use:
MusicMagpie – also rents phones from £6.99 per month
Amazon Renewed (Also look out for Amazon Warehouse deals)
Reboxed – use code MACWORLD15 for £15 off (or sign up to the newsletter)
Back Market – This is a marketplace for hundreds of sellers
Aznu – Save £10 by signing up to the newsletter
UR – 12 months’ free insurance for the phone, plus free accessories including a screen protector and case
Handtec – (use code ENDSSOON for £15 off when you spend over £150)
The Big Phone Store
Where to buy refurbished phones on contract
You can also get refurbished handsets on a monthly contract (and sometimes buy them outright) from network operators including:
O2 Like New
Where to find refurbished phone deals in the US (SIM-free)
Here are the best places to buy a refurb phone in the US.
Refurb.me – comparison website for refurbished phones
Best refurbished phone deals in the UK
Apple iPhone 12 (64GB) – Good condition
This refurbished iPhone 12 in Good condition is almost £500 cheaper than when it originally launched – it was £799 back in 2020.
Reasons to buy from UR includes a free case, glass screen protector, a 12-month warranty and 12 months of insurance against theft and accidental damage.
Apple iPhone 11 (64GB) – Good condition
From: Music Magpie
One of the most affordable refurbished iPhone deals on a model still worth buying: this iPhone 11 in ‘Good’ condition is a solid deal if you don’t mind some wear and tear.
You get a 12-month warranty as well, so you’re covered if anything goes wrong.
Samsung Galaxy S22 – 128GB – Good condition
From: Back Market
Launched in 2022, you can already get a refurbished Galaxy S22 for half the original price.
Back Market is offering it in good condition for £339, although you can get it cheaper if you don’t mind noticeable wear and tear with a ‘fair condition’ model. You get free delivery and a 12-month warranty too, but there is a £4.99 ‘service fee’ to pay because Back Market is a market place: it doesn’t sell phones direct to you.
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max – 128GB – Good condition
From: Back Market
It may now be two years old, but the iPhone 12 Pro Max is still an excellent phone. And this chunky discount from Back Market is pretty appealing.
Apple iPhone 12 mini (64GB) – Good condition
This price is for a Good condition model, which means noticeable wear and tear, but you’re saving over £300 compared to the iPhone 12 mini’s original RRP.
Plus, UR provides a case, glass screen protector, a 12-month warranty and 12 months of insurance against theft and accidental damage.
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (128GB) – Excellent condition
The price on last year’s Galaxy S21 has dropped a long way now that the S22 range has arrived – and you can save even more when you buy refurbished.
When we checked, a few colours were in stock in Excellent condition. You can save another £30 if you opt for Good condition instead, or spend £30 more and get one that’s indistinguishable from new.
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max – 64GB – Good condition
From: Smart Cellular
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is no longer available from Apple, but cost £1149 at release, which means this deal saves you over £800 on an unlocked, refurbished phone in ‘Good’ condition.
Smart Cellular offers free delivery and a generous 18-month warranty. You should also be able to get a £15 discount if this is your first order.
Apple iPhone XR (128GB) – Fair condition
Looking for an iPhone under £200? The XR is a good option, as it’s still able to get iOS updates so you don’t miss out on the latest features.
Envirofone has various models in stock in Fair condition. If you don’t mind paying a bit more you can get one in Good or Excellent condition, but none of those were in stock when we checked.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 – Good condition
The Z Flip 3 is one of the most popular clamshell-style folding phones. This one is in ‘Good’ condition, which means there will be some signs of use.
But you get a 12-month warranty and at least 80% of the original battery capacity.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – 256GB – Excellent condition
The previous-generation Samsung Android flagship is still a very desirable phone, and even more so at this price. This Renewed model is in Excellent condition, but comes without a box. You still get a one-year warranty with it, though.
Apple iPhone 13 (128GB) – Good condition
From: Back Market
You can get a refurbished iPhone 13 in Good condition from Back Market. It may have minor scratches and a minimum of 80% battery health, but it’s a big saving compared to buying it new. It comes with one-year warranty
What do refurbished grades mean?
Each retailer has its own grading system, which means a ‘Good’ condition phone from one might be in very different condition to a ‘Good’ phone bought from another.
That’s why it’s crucial to read the description of what each grade means on the retailer’s website.
Some start their grading at ‘Good’ (which means the worst condition they sell) and go up to Excellent or Like New.
Others are more honest, calling phones with obvious signs of wear and tear ‘Fair’ condition. Others still use A, B, C or other systems that aren’t so descriptive
Refurbished vs second-hand or used – what’s the difference?
There’s a difference between buying refurbished and simply buying second-hand. While refurbished devices are technically pre-owned, they are repaired and reconditioned to work like new. Buying a second-hand phone, however, means you get the device as is, which means the lifespan may not last as long.
Refurbished phones often come with a one-year warranty no matter where you buy from – in fact, we’d urge you to take a look at the warranty policy before you buy. Ensure there is one!
Read our guide to Refurbished vs Used, where we look at which is better and why.
If you’d still prefer to buy new, but are on a budget, read our round-up of the best budget phones.