Buying a used laptop: You have to pay attention to this

5 min

If you want to buy a used PC or laptop, you can save a lot of money. However, there are a few things you should urgently consider when buying a used vehicle.

The PC has become an indispensable part of everyday life. Not only at work, but also privately, we do many things directly on the computer. That’s why a new computer is needed every now and then. No problem: after all, the range and choice are huge. But does it always have to be a new device?

What are the advantages of a used laptop?

notebook laptop

You have to spend significantly less money on a used laptop than on a new one.

The most important aspect that speaks for a used computer is of course the financial one. You can often save a lot if you buy a device that is used and already has a year or two under its belt. Ordinary computers from brand manufacturers such as Acer, HP or Lenovo are sometimes available for less than 300 euros. For many usage scenarios, such as writing in Office, managing files or surfing the net, older PCs are often still completely sufficient.

In addition, using an old computer instead of buying a new one is better for the environment. In this way you prevent a fully functional PC from ending up in the electronic waste. That saves resources like gold, silver and copper.

What speaks against a used PC?

It should be noted that PCs age faster than, for example, televisions or sound systems. Technical components such as the processor or graphics card are often outdated after a few years and can sometimes no longer satisfy many newer programs. This is mainly due to the software, which is getting better and better, but also more and more resource-hungry. In addition, electrical components that have already been in use for a few years are more susceptible to defects and the housing of used computers is often scratched.

used pcs and laptops

Used computers often have scratches on the casing. In the case of a floor-standing computer, however, this can easily be exchanged.

If you want to use a PC for several years, you should make sure when buying that the hardware still has a bit of room for improvement in order to meet all requirements in two or three years. In this way, you can replace individual components if necessary and thus keep the system up-to-date for a longer period of time.

Whether it is worth buying a used item also depends on what a PC is to be used for. If you want to play new games on your device, for example, you should look out for a new PC. The same applies to users who want to use their computer for video editing or graphic editing, for example.

What should a used laptop or PC offer?

Of course, a PC does not need a high-end processor for standard office tasks. Often an Intel Core i3 or an AMD Ryzen 3 is sufficient. The somewhat weaker, but at the same time also more energy-saving Intel Core M or AMD Athlon chips should be able to cope with most requirements. On the other hand, those who need a little more power look around for computers with an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5. In the upper class there are Intel Core i7 and AMD Ryzen 7.


Gamers should look for excellent hardware with a used PC.

According to the current status, the main memory should be at least 4 GB RAM. Almost all everyday tasks can be done well with it. If you want a little more security for the future, you should look around for a model with 6 or 8 GB RAM or choose a computer with which the RAM can be upgraded without major problems.

Storage is also an important point. Since we handle more and more data in everyday life, buying less than 500 GB is hardly worthwhile today. We recommend investing in an SSD. Since the read and write speed of an SSD is significantly higher than that of a normal hard drive, such PCs are usually much faster than other models in everyday work.

Used laptop: There are these special features

When buying used notebooks, there are some special features to consider. In general, the compact computers have a shorter lifespan than large desktop computers. This is mainly due to the fact that they can hardly be upgraded due to their construction. So it is usually not possible to install a new processor or a new graphics card. With many models from 15 inches upwards, hard drives can at least be replaced or the RAM can be increased. If in doubt, you should ask the seller about the options for upgrading.

Change_ RAM

The main memory of some laptops can be upgraded.

Another point that is particularly important with older laptops is cleaning the fans. Over time, these become clogged with dust, which reduces the cooling of the processor and graphics card. Heat in the parts occurs especially when the chips are working under full load. Fortunately, modern processors and GPUs automatically downclock when the heat is too high to prevent damage. However, this also means that the processor and graphics card can hardly work under full load in practice. Comprehensive cleaning of the fan is only possible if the laptop can be opened.

The older a notebook is, the more the battery was usually used. Its performance decreases with increasing charging cycles. It is therefore important, especially with used laptops, to have a replaceable battery so that it can be replaced in case of doubt.

The maximum age

The older a PC is, the less it is worth buying a used one. This is not only due to outdated components, but also to the general wear and tear of the technical components. The likelihood of defects naturally increases with age. PCs that are five years or older are usually no longer worth buying a second hand. The expiry limit is lower for gaming computers, as components such as the processor or graphics card become outdated more quickly. New parts are then not only cost-intensive, but can often no longer be integrated into older systems at all.

Which operating system should it be?


The used computer should have at least Windows 10 so that you can update it to Windows 11 later.

The operating system of a used PC is also important. It depends on which software is running on the computer. At least Windows 10 should be installed on the computer. Then there is also the chance that you can update the device to Windows 11 for free. Provided, of course, that the PC meets the system requirements of the operating system. If the PC is offered without an operating system, all that remains is to install its own version.

If possible: Buy a “refurbished” computer from the dealer

If possible, buy the used PC or laptop from a dealer. Numerous providers sell refurbished computers or returned goods on the Internet, which often have only minimal signs of use. The big advantage: As a commercial seller, dealers must provide a warranty of at least 12 months even if the warranty has expired. If, for example, hidden defects emerge, you do not sit on the broken device. You do not have this guarantee when selling privately.


  • Used PCs offer advantages in terms of price and sustainability.
  • A used device is not suitable for all purposes.
  • As a buyer, you should deal with the hardware equipment.
  • With notebooks, you also have to consider factors such as maintenance options.
  • Used PCs should ideally be one to three years old.
  • Windows 10 or Windows 11 should be installed as the operating system.
  • If you try to buy the device from a commercial dealer, there is a guarantee of at least 12 months.


Passionate about DIY for over 10 years and all the new tools, I give you through this blog all my advice, tips, tests in all areas: carpentry, electricity, masonry, gardening, home automation ...


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