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February 28, 2022

Understanding Refurbished Phone Grades

When you’re looking to buy a refurbished phone, figuring out what phone to buy can be a bit daunting. Choosing the best refurbished phone that fits into your budget is the first step. Once you make that decision, you need to decide where to buy your used phone. And finally, when you choose a site to buy your phone from, it’s time to start the endless scrolling of phone options. Phone after refurbished phone with so many different prices, seller ratings, phone gradings, and more.

Phone grades? It may not have even crossed your mind that there are so many different levels of phone quality when you’re purchasing a used phone. Let’s take a look at deciphering the inconsistent world of phone grades.

What is Phone Grading?

Phone grading is a rating system for refurbished phones to give buyers an idea of the quality of phone they’re purchasing. The phone grade rates the cosmetic condition of the phone, not the battery health, whether it’s unlocked, or even if it’s not stolen. To ensure you’re purchasing a refurbished phone you can trust, ask the seller for a certified Device History Report or get the IMEI number so you can run your own Phonecheck Device History Report on it.

Unfortunately for buyers, just about every site and seller has a different grading system. But luckily, they all translate into similar definitions to give the buyer a pretty good idea of what they can expect from the used phone. 

What Are the Most Common Phone Grades?

The most common phone grades are A, B, and C.

Grade A—Just like in school, an A grade is the best. A Grade A rating means the used phone is almost like new. It shows very few signs of use, with minimal scuffs and no scratches or chips.

Grade B—A Grade B means there are some light scuffs and scratches. While this means the refurbished phone isn’t in mint condition, it usually helps lower the price without too much damage showing

Grade C—With a Grade C rating, the used phone still works, but there’s a lot of evidence of wear and tear. If you’re fine with a phone that has seen better days cosmetically but could still work just fine, a C grade will save you even more.

What Are Some Other Refurbished Phone Grading Systems?

While Grades A, B, and C are the most common in refurbished phone rating systems, there are a lot of other ways to distinguish the cosmetic quality of a phone. Some grading systems not only judge the external appearance, but also the packaging and the accessories that are included. 

Excellent, Good, and Fair—Along the same lines as A,B,C, this rating system uses different terminology to let you know the phone’s conditions. Sites such as BackMarket use this simple grading system.

Pristine, Superb, Excellent, Good, Slightly Imperfect—This rating system uses optimistic verbiage to give four different levels of how good the phone looks and what accessories and packaging are included.

Salvage—For those wanting to purchase a phone for parts, some phone resale sites even have a salvage grade. This could mean the device won’t power up, data can’t be cleared, it’s a safety hazard, and more.

Ensuring the Refurbished Phone Grade

Regardless of the grading system, it’s a good idea to purchase a refurbished phone from a site that not only grades the cosmetic quality of the device, but also shows photos. The more photos, the better the opportunity you have to decide for yourself how much love or neglect the phone has experienced. Sites that guarantee the quality are also a safer option to make sure you get what you think you’re paying for.

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