Instead of buying new devices, more and more consumers are turning to used smartphones. Stiftung Warentest has now tested the most important providers. And has clear recommendations.

A better camera, a fancier look and longer battery life: the leaps in innovation in classic smartphones have been smaller and smaller in recent years. No wonder consumers are using their devices longer and longer. And when buying a smartphone, you are increasingly thinking about a used device. Stiftung Warentest now reveals which of the numerous retailers is worth it for.

The idea is basically understandable. Even a few years old premium smartphones are often still superior to inexpensive entry-level models in terms of technology and workmanship. What’s more, if you buy a used device instead of a new one, you’re not only kind to your wallet, you’re also kind to the environment. However, these advantages only count if the quality is right. Stiftung Warentest therefore bought refurbished devices directly from nine retailers and sales platforms and from Apple – and put them through their paces.

The focus was not only on the sales experience and the accuracy of the information about the devices. Warentest also checked the technical condition, such as the battery life, the display and possible faults in the speakers. Another important point: can the smartphones actually be used by the customer? In some cases, sim locks, English menu languages ​​or non-removable company profiles ruined the fun.

Overall, the test was rather mixed. There are some good providers, but none managed to get the best rating. This is mainly due to two points: In terms of information about the device and the battery performance, not a single provider was fully convincing. However, there is also good news: Almost all devices had at least one mediocre battery, with one exception the shop information on the devices was always correct.

It is worth buying used from these dealers

The test winner is the Back Market sales platform. The information about the devices is among the best in the test, but according to the product test there is still room for improvement when it comes to processing and ordering. The delivered goods are the best in the test field, both the battery and the other functions are top, there were no problems with usability. A small drawback: Back Market is only average when it comes to the included accessories. The overall rating of “good” (1.8) is the best in the test. The savings compared to buying new is okay, but not huge.

Ebay Refurbished is similarly good. Processing and ordering are a little better here, but Warentest deducts points for usability. However, without explaining it in detail. The overall grade “good” (2.1) is still the second best in the test. As with Back Market, the savings potential is mediocre.

However, the experience of the two platforms cannot be generalized so easily: Back Market and Ebay Refurbished are not retailers themselves, but only offer them a platform. However, the consistently good experience of the testers suggests that the sites check the dealers properly.

Good dealers with savings potential

If you prefer to buy directly from the dealer, you should take a look at Rebuy. According to the product test, the information is only okay, but the ordering process is good. The quality of the devices is also among the best in the test. Usability and main functions are great, but the battery life of the test devices could be better. The overall rating: “good” (2.2). Here, too, the savings potential is in order.

According to the product test, the greatest savings were at Clevertronic. iPhones and Samsung smartphones were up to 50 percent cheaper there. The low price, however, came with slight compromises in quality. While the general features were rated very well, the testers found the battery life, usability, and accessories to be only mediocre. The overall rating is just “good” (2.5).

Apple out of competition

Apple is not part of the test table. The iPhone manufacturer has been selling refurbished devices directly to its customers for several years, and recently various iPhone models have also been included in Germany. However, the group is out of competition when it comes to product testing. The simple reason: Unlike the third-party providers, Apple’s refurbished models are almost as good as new, according to Apple they always get a new battery and a new housing. According to the product test, the tested devices were in “excellent” condition. On the other hand, the savings are significantly lower: some new devices are already available from other retailers at Apple’s refurbished prices.