The best refurbished MacBooks

If you don’t need a brand-new MacBook, there’s money to be saved with a quality refurbished MacBook alternative.

Best refurbished MacBook overall
Apple Macbook Pro 15-inch 2016
Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch
From
$1,529
Key specs
Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD
Display
15.4-inch 2880x1800 LED
Operating system
MacOS Catalina
Best cheap refurbished MacBook
Apple MacBook Air 13-inch
From
$449
Key specs
Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD
Display
13.3-inch 1440x900 LED
Operating system
MacOS Lion
Best fast refurbished MacBook
Apple Macbook Pro 2019
Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch
From
$3,599
Key specs
Intel Core i9, 64GB RAM, 2TB SSD
Display
16-inch 3072x1920 LED
Operating system
MacOS Catalina
Best refurbished student MacBook
Apple Macbook Pro 13-inch MD314LL/A
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch
From
$499
Key specs
Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD
Display
13.3-inch 1280x800 LED
Operating system
MacOS X
Best recent refurbished MacBook
Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop 16.2-inch
Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023)
From
$3,299
Key specs
M2 Pro Chip, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD
Display
16.2-inch 3456x2234 XDR
Operating system
MacOS Ventura
Nathan Lawrence
Jul 12, 2023
Icon Time To Read6 min read

As if the too-prevalent Australia Tax wasn’t bad enough, there are brands Down Under that already start with a high base price and only seem to get higher. Like Apple. Sure, the Apple Vision Pro is poised to be ridiculously expensive, but flagship iPhones aren’t particularly cheap and nor are Apple MacBooks. Thankfully, there are refurbished options for iPhones and MacBooks.

Refurbished products are those that are used but have been returned to a manufacturer because of faulty hardware or software. Those kinks are ironed out with new parts and/or updates, and then the refurbished product is sold at a reduced price. For Apple MacBooks, it’s possible to save hundreds of dollars by choosing refurbished over brand-new. Here are some of the best refurbished MacBooks we could find.

The only way a refurbished MacBook exists is if a faulty new MacBook is returned. Because of this reality, stock levels may be low and the category winners on this page may be unavailable. Their prices may also change. If a particular refurbished MacBook is out of stock, we recommend searching Kogan, Dick Smith, Amazon, Reebelo or Apple for a comparable alternative with the closest specs.

Refurbished MacBook retailers

There are multiple online stores that stock refurbished MacBooks. Apple offers refurbished products, including MacBooks, all of which come with a one-year warranty. All Apple Certified Refurbished products are cleaned and inspected. Where necessary, Apple may also provide replacement parts. Refurbished Apple products come with all cables, accessories and the relevant operating system.

Alternatively, check in with the corresponding refurbished sections from Amazon, Kogan, Dick Smith and Reebelo. Amazon Renewed products have a 180-day supplier warranty. Kogan Refreshed devices have a 12-month warranty. Reebelo refurbished devices also come with a one-year warranty, plus 14-day returns. Check individual product descriptions for Dick Smith warranties.

Compare the best refurbished MacBooks

Best for
Model
Processor
Graphics
Memory
Storage
View more
Icon Star Full  LightBest refurbished MacBook overall
Intel Core i7 2.7GHz (3.6GHz boost)Radeon Pro 455 2GB16GB LPDDR32TB SSD
Icon Star Full  LightBest cheap refurbished MacBook
Intel Core i5 1.3GHz (2.6GHz boost)Intel HD Graphics 50004GB LPDDR3128GB SSD
Icon Star Full  LightBest high-performance refurbished MacBook
Intel Core i9 2.3GHz (4.8GHz boost)AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 4GB64GB LPDDR42TB SSD
Icon Star Full  LightBest refurbished MacBook for students
Intel Core i5 2.8GHzIntel HD Graphics 30004GB LPDDR3750GB HDD
Icon Star Full  LightBest recent refurbished MacBook
Apple M2 Pro chip (12-core CPU)Apple M2 Pro chip (19-core GPU)16GB LPDDR5512GB SSD

Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch

Best refurbished MacBook overall

Apple Macbook Pro 15-inch 2016
Starts at
$1,529
Key specs
Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD
Display
15.4-inch 2880x1800 LED
Operating system
MacOS Catalina
pro
Pros
pro Powerful processor
pro Great display
pro Excellent refurbished grade
con
Cons
con 2016 model
con Could use more RAM
con 720p webcam

The reality of buying competitively priced refurbished MacBooks is you’ll likely have to be willing to go with an older model to find great value. Case in point, the 2016 version of the Apple MacBook Pro. Despite its age, this refurbished MacBook boasts a great 15.4-inch screen and solid all-round performance built around an Intel Core i7 processor. Speaking of performance, this MacBook will handle everyday tasks with ease, plus it’s got enough grunt for playing indie games or older titles. Connect it to an external graphics card (eGPU) if you want to play more games. While it could do with some more RAM and the 720p webcam feels a step behind, the 2TB of internal storage is quite generous.

Alternatively, look for any newer-model refurbished MacBook Pro that sits between the $1,500 to $2,000 mark for a good mix of price and performance.

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch

Best cheap refurbished MacBook

Starts at
$449
Key specs
Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD
Display
13.3-inch 1440x900 LED
Operating system
MacOS Lion
pro
Pros
pro Great price
pro Lightweight and portable
pro Good refurbished grade
con
Cons
con 2013 model
con Not the best performance
con Minimal 128GB storage

While new-model MacBooks are hardly cheap, there’s a solid range of sub-$500 refurbished models to choose from. Our pick is an older-model Apple MacBook Air. Granted, the best price we could find was for a 2013 model, but $399 is a lot cheaper than the $999 asking price for this value-holding model MacBook. What you get for that low asking price is decent performance with a great emphasis on mobility thanks to a lightweight design. Sure, this particular refurbished MacBook Air model could do with some more memory (4GB is light) and 128GB of internal storage requires management to be practical. But this refurbished MacBook is one that should comfortably keep up with popular everyday tasks and is great for anyone looking for a killer deal on a portable MacBook.

For alternatives, we’d recommend sourcing any refurbished MacBook under $500 with similar or better specs.

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch

Best high-performance refurbished MacBook

Apple Macbook Pro 2019
Starts at
$3,599
Key specs
Intel Core i9, 64GB RAM, 2TB SSD
Display
16-inch 3072x1920 LED
Operating system
MacOS Catalina
pro
Pros
pro Intel i9 CPU
pro Lots of RAM
pro Heaps of storage
con
Cons
con 2019 model
con Comparatively expensive
con 720p webcam

It may be a 2019 model, but the Apple MacBook Pro is renowned for offering power to spare. For around $3,599 you get a gorgeous 16-inch LED screen and a whole lot of performance. The Intel Core i9 CPU will comfortably handle anything you throw at it while the 64GB of RAM is built for PhotoShop-pers, video editors and anyone who likes to endlessly multitask. The 720p webcam is, admittedly, behind where it should be for this price point, but the 2TB of storage and AMD Radeon Pro graphics card offer some great versatility, including gaming. Despite the powerful innards, this refurbished MacBook is still relatively portable at 2kg weight. Those particular innards are also a great way to run Windows on your Mac if you prefer that operating system over MacOS.

At this price point, consider a full-fledged gaming PC, a new laptop (Mac or otherwise) or a more recent refurbished MacBook.

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch

Best refurbished MacBook for students

Apple Macbook Pro 13-inch MD314LL/A
Starts at
$499
Key specs
Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD
Display
13.3-inch 1280x800 LED
Operating system
MacOS X
pro
Pros
pro Great price for a MacBook Pro
pro Decent display
pro Lightweight and portable
con
Cons
con 2011 model
con Not the best performance
con HDD instead of SSD

Student laptops are all about balancing the three Ps: price, performance and portability. Typically, this is the domain of the MacBook Air. But the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch is a good mix of all three Ps, particularly if you go refurbished. Prices start at around $499 if you’re willing to go for an older-model refurbished MacBook Pro. Admittedly, the one we found at the time of writing with the best price was a 2011 model. That said, the Pros of old offer decent performance care of an Intel Core i7. The 4GB of RAM means this refurbished MacBook is meant for basic, focused everyday computing but a 750GB storage is plenty for student work. This refurbished MacBook should also handle lower-spec games (indie and older) as well as streaming on a decent display.

For alternatives around $500, see if you can find a better-spec MacBook Air or Pro. Alternatively, up the budget to $1,000 for a more powerful refurbished MacBook that’s a better fit for older students.

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023)

Best recent refurbished MacBook

Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop 16.2-inch
Starts at
$3,299
Key specs
M2 Pro Chip, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD
Display
16.2-inch 3456x2234 XDR
Operating system
MacOS Ventura
pro
Pros
pro Great performance
pro Decent storage
pro 2023 model
con
Cons
con Expensive for refurbished
con Could have more RAM
con Refurbished battery life may be degraded

The newer you go with refurbished MacBooks, the less bang you’ll get for your buck. That said, what you won’t find in cheaper pricing you will get in newer parts and a more recent operating system. For the 2023 version of the MacBook Pro 16-inch model, that starts with a powerful Apple M2 Pro chip. This latest Apple chip boasts a 12-core processor and 19-core graphics card to handle everything from everyday computing through to all-day gaming. While the model we found could do better on the memory (16GB) and storage (512GB SSD) fronts, almost everything else is a big tick in the pro column.

For alternatives around the same price, either buy a new MacBook Pro 14-inch or see how close that budget gets you to more powerful versions of the 16-inch build.

What to look for in a refurbished MacBook

The first step when sourcing a refurbished MacBook is setting your budget. We advise between $1,000 and $2,000 for a great range of options. Alternatively, go as cheap as under $500 for an older-model Mac or spin your budget the other way to $3,000 and beyond for a high-performance MacBook Pro.

Remember that refurbished products come about based on a return, so it’s okay to wait if you have a particular MacBook model in mind. If it’s not available today, it may be available in the future. Conversely, we don’t advise sitting on a refurbished MacBook deal for too long as they may get snapped up faster.

Once you’ve got your budget set, think about specific use cases. MacBook Air models are built to blend value, performance and mobility into a compact offering, while MacBook Pro variants tend to be more expensive but offer better performance.

How we choose the best refurbished MacBooks

Because we’re dealing with refurbished MacBooks, our first step was to have a look at the available options across a handful of online retailers. We then used price brackets to determine categories for the available models at the time of writing.

The overall refurbished MacBook winner was priced between $1,000 and $2,000 for a good mix of value and performance. Cheap and student MacBooks were anything under $1,000, with preference for MacBooks that sit under $500 (the lower, the better). There was no price restriction on the high-performance category, and the recent MacBook category was determined by newer models.

From there, our shortlists were whittled down based on the price brackets, likelihood of availability and the specs of the MacBooks. Recognising that the specific refurbished MacBook models may not be available for people reading this after publication, we also included straightforward alternative guidance for other relevant picks.

Refurbished MacBooks frequently asked questions

Yes, refurbished MacBooks are still good because they’re closer to new than buying a second-hand MacBook. Buy a refurbished MacBook from a place that offers a warranty for greater peace of mind.
In Australia, there are some great options for a refurbished MacBook, including Amazon, Kogan, Dick Smith, Reebelo and even the official Apple website.
You can expect a few years of life from either a new or refurbished MacBook. Refurbished MacBooks tend to have new replacement parts for whatever may have caused the initial fault to the new-in-box version.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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