Chances are, this year, many holiday wish lists will contain a whole host of requests for the latest and greatest gadgets. Let’s face it: when it comes to consumer culture, electronics reign supreme! With an often hefty price tag accompanying the desired device, it is fair to say that purchasing these items can put a serious dent in the holiday gifting budget. The good news is that alternatives to laying out top dollar for electronics exist. The trend toward purchasing refurbished tech has been steadily growing, and there are plenty of good reasons why.

While the word “refurbished” may evoke the image of a rusty used car for some, savvy consumers know better. Today, and in the context of describing electronic devices, refurbished means inspected and repaired so it can function as a new unit. While these devices may show some wear from previous use, it is purely a cosmetic concern, not a functional one. With the going price on refurbished models often coming in at a 50% discount compared to new, many consumers are happy to overlook superficial wear that they would likely put on a new device themselves in short order.

There are other reasons, aside from cost savings, to consider buying a refurbished device. Why not breathe new life into something that would otherwise be destined to linger forever in a landfill? As consumers become more aware of the ecological impact of their purchasing decisions, many are eager to make a choice that reduces that impact. Purchasing a preowned anything instead of a new one is always a superior choice in this regard.

Although there are certainly compelling reasons for buying a refurbished phone, tablet, or laptop, it is important to do due diligence in order to ensure that the price is commensurate with the quality of the item purchased. It is best to purchase directly from the manufacturer or a reputable retailer to ensure the item has actually been refurbished. In addition, it is best to only shop for items that come with a reasonable return policy and warranty. It is common for manufacturers to provide a full 1-year warranty on refurbished models — the same as they offer with new items. Finally, it is critical to inspect purchases as soon as they are received thoroughly. If the device is damaged or malfunctioning or otherwise inferior to what was expected, exchanging before the return period expires is key.