When buying a clearance or refurbished product – one of the most important factors is the cosmetic condition. You want to be confident that the refurbished device you’re buying doesn’t look beat up. Or that the device won’t just completely fall to tatters the minute that you open the box.

You want to buy a clearance or refurbished device that has been treated right by its previous owner. You want to make sure that it has been repaired properly by the retailer or manufacturer and has gone through a rigorous testing process before it has gone on sale.

We have an entire system in place regarding the cosmetic quality of a clearance or refurbished product, including grades and ratings and below you will find definitions and all of the other information that you need to know.

What Are Refurbished Grades?

A refurbished grade is a grade which denotes the quality of a refurbished product or device. Refurbished products are graded depending on how many cosmetic imperfections they have e.g. scratches, scuffs, and other marks as well as how much the product has been used by its previous owner and what packaging it comes in.

Refurbished grades are designed to give you a better idea of what to expect from a refurbished product. It’s unlikely that refurbished retailers will count exactly how many tiny scratches you can see on the lid of that refurbished MacBook but grading systems are designed to give you as much information as possible so that you can be confident in your purchase.

The standard system of refurbished grades runs on a scale from refurbished Grade A all the way to refurbished Grade C, with Grade A offering the best quality and Grade C offering the lowest quality of a clearance device. Below, we explore the definitions of each of these clearance grades.

Grade A Definition

Grade A is the very best quality that you could reasonably expect from a refurbished device. Grade A refurbished devices are in near-mint condition, they will be at an excellent cosmetic level and will show next to no signs of previous use.

With a Grade A device you will see very minimal amounts of scuffing on the case, while a refurbished Grade A laptop will display very minimal amounts of scuffing and marks and the lid, keyboard and other areas of its design. With a Grade A device there will be the typical signs of light usage (e.g. slight marks on the keys) but you shouldn’t expect to see any scratches, chips or significant blemishes.

Grade B Definition

Grade B is the second best quality you can expect from a refurbished device. While refurbished Grade B devices will have been tested thoroughly and are confirmed to be in working order, you may notice some light scuffing on the bevel or light scratches on the body.

Your Grade B device will have been gently used by its previous owner. However, Grade B products are also more affordable than Grade A products and so they may better suit your budget.

Grade C Definition

Grade C is the lowest quality of a refurbished device that is still in working order. Although Grade C devices have been tested and are confirmed to work, they do show the signs of heavy or even excessive usage by their previous owner.

You will see very noticeable cosmetic issues with a Grade C device including more significant scratches and signs of wear and tear on the case or lid. Though, Grade C devices are cheaper still than Grade B and Grade A devices, making them ideal for those who need a new phone or laptop but have very little money to spare.

What About Retailers Who Don’t List Grade A, B, C, and D?

Refurbished grade A, B, and C are the most commonly used ways that refurbished retailers tell you about the quality of their products. But not all retailers use a lettered grading system. Because our refurbished retail partners use so many different terms, we list just three different cosmetic conditions – A, B and C.