The Apple Watch is iconic. Not only is the best-known smartwatch, but it also boasts the latest technology. But do you have to buy it fresh out the box, or can you get away with a used, renewed, or refurbished Apple Watch?
For example, it is the only smartwatch that can detect an irregular heartbeat. Also, it is one of the few watches that can automatically detect physical activity (whether you’re running a marathon or running for the bus).
So how much is an Apple Watch?
All these features come at a cost. A brand new Apple Watch Series 6 costs around $350, so many people feel priced out of the market. A used Apple Watch costs anywhere from $175 for the Series 3 (Amazon Renewed), and up to around $460 for the Series 6, fully featured, 44mm Cellular model.
Apple has recently introduced the Apple Watch SE for this reason and we highly recommend it for those who won’t compromise on brand, but have to be careful of their budget.
Thankfully, pre-owned Apple watches are a lot kinder on the wallet. Furthermore, in many cases, they function just as good as new. However, you must do your research and purchase wisely. Below, we’ll show you how to buy a cheap/second-hand Apple watch.
Why buy a used Apple Watch?
There are many reasons why people opt for used Apple watches instead of brand new ones. For example:
Pre-owned smartwatches are, on average, 40% cheaper than new versions. So, you’ll have extra cash to spend on accessories, App subscriptions, and/or monthly LTE network costs.
When Apple launches a new product, a lot of hype ensues. Consumers are usually given the chance to register their interest and pre-order the product. Whilst this is exciting, it can mean waiting weeks for your watch to arrive. However, if you focus your attention on pre-owned Apple watches instead, you won’t need to wait around for your product to arrive. Sometimes, it’s good not to be drawn into the hype!
No big investment, so no regrets
If, after a couple of months, you decide you don’t like your Apple Watch, it won’t be the end of the world. As mentioned, used or refurbished Apple watches cost significantly less than new versions, so buying one is not such a huge commitment.
Things to be aware of when buying a used Apple Watch
Although there are many benefits to buying a pre-owned smartwatch, the process is not always straightforward. Unfortunately, it’s quite common for stolen Apple watches to be sold online. Also, counterfeit Apple goods are rife both online and offline.
- Ensure the Activation Lock has been turned off by the seller. If the Activation Lock is still intact, you will not be able to pair your smartphone with the watch and it will be essentially useless. Ask the seller, and if they are not sure, ask them to turn the watch on. If the watch allows you to pair it with a new device, it is good to go. But, if it insists you enter iCloud credentials, this means the previous user still has the Activation Lock intact.
- Unless the watch has been ‘refurbished’, it will probably not come with a warranty. If you are risk-averse, choose a refurbished watch (with warranty) rather than a pre-owned watch.
- When buying online, try and choose a seller who will allow returns (in case the watch is faulty).
- Some used watches will not come with a charging cable, so you may need to buy this separately.
- If you are buying an old watch that has been well-used (for example, 3-4 years old and/or used as a swimming watch), it may lose battery very quickly. Check out our tips for keeping your Apple Watch battery life healthy.
Best places to find cheap Apple watches
There are at least 5 different places you can find Apple watches for a reduced price. Even when pre-owned, Apple watches are still going to cost a fair amount. However, if you look around, you can find a bargain. Secondhand Apple watches range from $100-$450 (£80-£350+ UK) depending on the model and quality of the product.
1. Certified refurbished from the Apple Store
If you have a healthy budget but you can’t quite stretch to a brand-new watch, consider a ‘certified refurbished Apple Watch from the Apple store.
Because these watches are refurbished by an Apple-qualified professional, and they look almost as good as new. You certainly don’t get much of a saving. However, you will save a bit. This is a great choice for the risk-averse person because you’ll also receive:
- 14-day returns
- One year limited warranty
- Option to purchase AppleCare
- Charging cable included
Pros – Apple-certified, reliable and trustworthy.
Cons – Expensive – you won’t save much compared to new.
2. Amazon renewed
In addition, Amazon renewed have their own version of the refurbishment programme which is almost as good as Apple’s. Although the person refurbing the watch is not an Apple employee, they are qualified to perform a full diagnostic test on the product, and Amazon regularly reviews their quality of service.
During the refurb process, the seller will replace any defective parts and thoroughly clean the watch. Importantly, they also guarantee that the battery is at least 80% as powerful as the battery you’d find in a brand new Apple Watch. This is certainly a big plus!
If you buy an Apple watch through an Amazon renewed supplier, you will also be eligible for a replacement or refund within the first year if your product is faulty. You can also get troubleshooting support if there are any niggles with your product.
Pros – One-year warranty and follow-up support.
Cons – There aren’t many Apple watches sold through Amazon renewed suppliers, so you may have to wait for one to become available.
3. Refurbished Apple watches from other websites
As well as Apple and Amazon, several other companies offer refurbished Apple watches. For example, in the UK, there are stores like Music Magpie. These tend to be a bit more affordable, but do check what is included in the purchase price. I’d only purchase a refurbished watch if it offered some sort of warranty.
The darker coloured Apple watches tend to be the cheapest. If you’d like a brighter coloured/limited edition watch, but you don’t want to pay the price, buy one of the darker models and invest in an Apple Watch strap, instead.
Pros – Cheap, refurbished Apple watches.
Cons – Warranty may only last for a couple of months (if at all).
4. Apple watches on eBay
On eBay, you can buy second-hand Apple watches for approx. 40% cheaper than the normal price. In most cases, you’ll be buying the watch directly from the person who has previously used it. The condition will vary so make sure you check out the photos closely. The seller should give an honest depiction of the quality.
There are a few benefits to this. Firstly, the seller can give you a detailed description of the watch and its functions. Secondly, the seller can remove the Activation Lock (and you’ll know who to contact in case this lock hasn’t been removed after purchase).
However, you may also come across some stolen/counterfeit/faulty goods on eBay. If your seller cannot answer your questions about the watch (and gives very generic answers), this is definitely a red flag.
Also, if the seller states ‘no returns’, it will be impossible to get a refund, even if the watch is faulty. When shopping on eBay, I always choose sellers who allow refunds (even if I have to cover the cost of the return shipping). A
Sellers who allow refunds are more likely to be genuine because they’re confident in the product they are selling. Otherwise, it appears as though they want to take your money and disappear into the sunset. For this reason, we trust the quality control from Amazon slightly more than eBay, even though eBay is slowly getting there.
Pros – Lots of availability (series 1-6); Apple watches for all budgets.
Cons – It can be hard to get your money back if something goes wrong.
5. Used Apple Watches on Facebook Marketplace
Facebook has a bit of a reputation for selling stolen goods. Whilst it’s not difficult to find dodgy listings on FB, there are also plenty of genuine sellers on there. This means it can be a great place to find an Apple Watch bargain. As long as you keep your wits about you.
According to Which, the most important thing to do when buying on Facebook is to check the seller’s profile. Do they have some photos on there? Are any of their photos tagged? Do they have some local friends (not just fake friends or global friends)? If so, this suggests they are genuine.
Facebook marketplace does not have a payment feature, so you’ll need to arrange payment outside of Facebook. It can be good to arrange a face-to-face sale because then you’ll get a chance to look, feel, and test the watch before purchase. However, always meet in a public place and/or take someone with you.
Pros – In contrast to eBay, you can see personal information about the seller (I.e. their FB profile). This can help you gauge whether they are genuine or not.
Cons – It’s not advisable to exchange money online so you should complete the sale in person. This could be difficult to arrange if you live in a rural area, or if no one local is selling an Apple watch.
6. Buy one from someone you trust who is getting an upgrade
Do you have a friend or family member who is keen to always get their hands on the latest Apple Watch? If so, it could be a win-win situation if you purchase their older model from them. Doing this means you’re getting a watch from someone you trust, so there will be no nasty surprises. Plus, they get a chunk of money toward their new Apple Watch at the same time as getting rid of their old one.
Pros – No one will dupe you into buying fake or stolen goods.
Cons – You should agree a reasonable price, pay on time and equally the seller should be honest about the condition of the watch, just like on any site you might use.
7. Wait for an Apple Watch Sale
Perhaps when the 7 comes out you might be able to get cheaper Apple watch 6/SE versions. But this is not something you should count on. Some local stores might have a sale going on for the iwatch occasionally, depending on their stock levels. You could try some store coupons, wait for black friday deals or other occasional sales but from our experience Apple pricing is very consistent and not really sales oriented.
The best place to buy a used Apple Watch
Personally, our preferred place to buy used smartwatches is Amazon (via the renewed programme). We find Amazon quite reliable and customer service is superb.
Finally, if you don’t feel comfortable buying a used watch, why not consider a cheaper brand instead? There are plenty of reasonably priced smartwatches to choose from.
What if I still can’t afford an Apple Watch?
You’re in luck! The smartwatch market is abundant with choice for all budgets. If you like the Apple Watch, but can’t afford a new or used one, we recommend you check out the Amazfit GTS 2. This is a powerful budget fitness tracker with smart features that looks the part as much as it performs.
Last Updated on July 15, 2021
A highly experienced writer, with expertise in health and technology.
Rachael had a masters degree in psychology (with distinction) and a bachelors degree in English literature (with first-class honours) from reputable UK universities. Rachael has worked for two years as a research associate and reporter for a high-profile UK media company.