Second hand phones, or used phones, are having their moment. Read this guide for the pros and cons. Or click "Get Started" to explore Raylo's range of phones.

The GuardianTechCrunch
Dec 8, 2023

Second hand phones, or used phones, are having their moment. In the era of ‘recommerce’, where consumers are turning away from purchasing brand new in favour of lower prices and a better environmental impact, it’s no surprise that smartphones are following suit.

As with any second hand purchase, finding the best place to buy used phones will help you do it safely and wisely. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you.

Individual seller

A quick and easy way to buy a second hand phone is from an individual seller. These are people operating independently, often to sell a device they have been using themselves.

While individual sellers are probably one of the easiest ways to buy used phones online, there are pros and cons you should be aware of. You can also read our guide to a safe used phone purchase for more helpful tips.

- It’s worth doing your research on this, but it’s possible to get a lower cost for a used phone from an individual seller if you are willing to haggle on the total cost of the phone.

- With the need for a quick sale comes a quick purchase, meaning you could get the smartphone quickly.
- Buying from an individual seller is a ‘no strings attached’ sale, meaning you won’t need to pay for extras like a warranty or insurance – those are up to you to sort.

- Is no warranty a good thing? We don’t think so. Buying used phones from individual sellers has become notorious for rip-offs, hidden problems and deals that aren’t as good as they sound.
- The phone you buy might be locked, which doesn't make things easy if your SIM is with another network.
- Once you’ve bought the used phone, you might never be able to contact the seller again. Not ideal if the phone has hidden faults which might cost some serious cash to fix. And with no guarantee from the seller, you’re on your own to fix the phone.

Reputable reseller or marketplace

When it comes to the best place to buy used phones online, going with a reputable reseller or marketplace means the device may come with some sort of guarantee like and a period within which you can return it in case of any faults.

- Any second hand phone is usually checked before being resold, so you should have transparency on the condition of the phone and any faults or defects.

- Some reputable resellers may refurbish the phone before selling it on, which means you’re not just getting a second hand phone that comes ‘as is (get clued up on the difference between second hand and refurbished).

- As you have proof of purchase, you can contact the reseller in case of any issues

- Be wary of tricky marketing. Has the phone been cleaned or has it been refurbished? There is a difference and you should be aware of it. See our safe purchase guide for more details
- The cost for the used phone might not be as good as you think it is. Sometimes headline prices or monthly prices don’t cover the actual total or monthly cost of the phone.
- While you might be able to get a good monthly deal on a used phone, you may still be charged an upfront fee as you would with a brand new phone.

- The environment. While buying a pre-owned phone is great for the environment, you'll likely be saddled with it once you’re done with it, with no easy way of getting rid of it in an eco-friendly way.


We may be biased, but we think Raylo is the best place to get a great refurbished phone. We only offer used phones as refurbished, restoring each and every one to an ‘as good as new’ condition with our Raylo Refurbished range. Our 70 point check ensures all of the key features like the camera, charging port and buttons are all in perfect working condition.

While you can’t buy a Raylo Refurbished phone outright, we can offer you the handset on lease which helps you save – starting at £14.99 for the iPhone XR or £17.99 for the iPhone XS Max. This is better for your pocket and the planet, too, as we’ll collect your used phone at the end of the lease and prevent it from landing in the junk drawer or waste heap by refurbishing it again or sustainably recycling it.

Check out our pros and cons below or discover why phone leasing is a great way to get a refurbished phone.

- Low monthly costs on all of our refurbished phones with a 12 or 24 month term.
- You’ll pay zero upfront costs for the phone and get a case and screen protector free of charge.
- Each Raylo Refurbished phone comes with a 24 month warranty for peace of mind.
- You can use Trim Your Sim, our free service that will help you find the best deal on data so you can keep costs low.
- Our circular model means we can extend the life cycle of used phones by at least 2 or 3 more times. This is just one way we’re smashing smartphone sustainability.

- You can’t buy Raylo phones outright as all of our contracts are for leasing. However, if you want to keep your phone at the end of your 12 or 24 month contract, you can do so by paying a non return fee.

What else is there?

If you’re not convinced on a used phone, no worries. We also sell the latest smartphones like the new iPhone 12 on lease for just £24.99 per month (yep, you heard that right).