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How to Shop for a Used Laptop for College?

When one thinks about accessing campus online and working with a plethora of different academic writing tasks, the role of a laptop for college is essential. While most college students can live with the basic requirements for a computer, those who major in engineering or data science disciplines will require a powerful machine that can handle all the complex tasks, design software, and calculations. To save some funds, you can also look for a used laptop. It can become a great idea if you only need a computer for basic writing tasks, especially if you know where to look!

How to Shop for a Used Laptop for College?

There are many online and offline stores that you should visit while searching for a laptop. Compare the conditions of laptops, and their prices, and pick the one that screams your name.

Refurbished & Pre-Owned at Best Buy or Amazon

It’s one of the safest options to consider because you are basically looking for models that you know well. There are guarantees as these are so-called “B-stock” items with no original packaging or minor blemishes. For example, Best Buy Outlet is an excellent solution with clearance sales for used and brand new laptops. It’s also much better than Craigslist as you do not risk your money and can learn with a laptop that works! Since learning will feel confusing at first, consider Lets Grade It to understand what kind of assistance you may get online. Even if you are only after proofreading, it’s worth talking to an expert. We all need a bit of help at times, so do not miss your chance to study in a more comfortable environment!

Facebook MarketPlace

Another good option is using Facebook to find reasonable offers locally. Remember that these won't bring you to the actual retailers, and the quality of these laptops will differ depending on the seller. The risks are inevitable, so it's best to check the laptop with a good friend who knows a lot about computers. Take your time, talk to people, and keep browsing for deals. If you find any scam activity, you can always report it straight to Facebook.

Apple Certified Refurbished

It will be the best option if you’re after a trustworthy Mac! It’s a dedicated store by Apple that lists various refurbished or used laptops that certified specialists have checked. It means that learning how to choose a laptop won’t be filled with risks of shopping locally or ending up with a modified Mac with no hard disk or essential peripherals. The prices at Apple Certified Store will be more affordable, and you receive a one-year warranty, which is hard to beat!


It's one of the newest places where you can buy and sell anything. It works like Facebook Marketplace but also provides you with verified listings. There are good filters and shipping options if you plan to buy a laptop located in another state. Check the specifications twice and ask the seller to start the computer via Zoom or Skype video session to ensure that it works. Compare the listing with official specs and ask for the laptop’s age and whether any modifications have been made. It will affect how your laptop functions, especially the battery life.

What is a Reliable Laptop Model for College? 

It always comes down to your needs and the best deals you can find. The list of suitable laptops can get lengthy. Yet, the best models include HP Envy 13, which is a great all-rounder for college, MacBook Air (best for college learners that prefer Macs), and Dell XPS 13, which is an affordable model with a good keyboard and a cooling system. Regarding other models, you can think about the Acer Swift 3, which is an excellent option in terms of battery life and mobility. It can handle basic tasks and has various expandability options if you need more processing power or storage space. Do not forget that most colleges also list laptop requirements for a particular course, so check these too when shopping!


Michael Carr is a technology consultant, online learning specialist, and educator involved in developing and analyzing academic content. He loves to share his skills and write on technology, education, and college challenges using his vast background. His writing is always accessible as he seeks the most efficient solutions that work.

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