13 Used Home Items You Shouldn’t Buy

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In a time when saving money is more important than ever, it might be tempting to buy everything used. After all, most pre-owned items are cheaper than new ones.

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But just because something has a smaller price tag doesn’t mean it’s necessarily worth the cost. Many everyday items you’d need for your home — like appliances and beds — should only be purchased new. Otherwise, you could end up dealing with some quality, function, or even safety issues.

According to HomeGuide.com, a new refrigerator costs between $600 and $2,300, depending on the size, brand and other features. If your current refrigerator stops working, you might be thinking about buying a used one to save money.

But you’ll want to consider the technology and life expectancy of the used appliance before you purchase. Older units might not have comparable features to what you’re used to.

Along with this, refrigerators only last around 10 to 15 years. If you get one that’s already near the end of its life expectancy, it could break down before you get what you paid for.

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Upholstered Sofas

“Furniture like sofas, chairs, and mattresses that are upholstered may seem like a bargain when purchased used, but they can also pose health risks,” said Ryan Nelson, a real estate investor and home renovator with RentalRealEstate.

Upholstered furniture often carries bedbugs, bacteria and mold. Not only can these be hard to get rid of, but they can also cause health problems. Plus, older pieces often have more wear and tear — and less durability — than newer ones.

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Dehumidifiers

A dehumidifier can boost your indoor air quality and help you sleep better at night, but used ones often have worn-out components that make them less effective. They might be less energy-efficient as a result.

Depending on how well the original owner took care of them, they could also have mold or bacteria buildup. This could lead to health issues such as watery eyes, difficulty breathing, itching or fatigue.

Mattresses

When it comes to getting a good night’s rest, having a high-quality mattress is key. A new mattress can easily run you thousands of dollars, but it might be worth the splurge. That’s because secondhand mattresses are a bit of a gamble.

They can carry allergens, dead skin cells, hair and even bedbugs from the previous owner. Depending on the wear and tear, they might not provide as much support as you need either.

Vacuum Cleaners

“Brand new vacuum cleaners are powerful and clean up everything nicely. Old ones might not clean well as they have weaker suction due to worn out motor and clogged filters,” said Dr. Sumeet Kumar, financial expert and founder of DollarsRise.

“Getting a new one keeps your home cleaner and saves you from buying another vacuum soon.”

Coffee machines, blenders, toasters and other small household appliances experience frequent use, which also makes them deteriorate more quickly. So, if your appliances aren’t working right, don’t replace them with used ones.

“Purchasing these items used means you don’t know how they were cared for and if they have any underlying issues,” said Nelson. Plus, he added that older models usually don’t come with any warranties and may lack modern safety features.

Light Bulbs

Safety, efficiency and effectiveness are key when it comes to lighting, which is why you might want to avoid buying used light bulbs.

“Used bulbs may have reduced lifespan, compromised performance, or hidden defects that could lead to electrical hazards or inconsistent Illumination,” said Jessica Wilson, interior designer and co-founder of Inyouths, a lighting solutions company. “Additionally, older bulbs may be less energy-efficient, resulting in higher electricity costs over time.”

Electronics

Electronics are expensive, especially when purchased new. A typical gaming laptop, for example, goes for anywhere from $500 to $5,000. But while buying used electronics might save you money right now, it can be costly in the long run.

“Used electronics may come with hidden defects or damage that are not immediately apparent, leading to costly repairs or replacements,” said Nelson. Older models also lack the advanced features and capabilities required to keep up with modern requirements.

If you’re into styling your hair, you’re already aware of how expensive certain devices — like curling irons or straighteners — can be. However, it’s still usually worth the higher cost to get something that works well and comes with minimal health and safety issues.

“As someone deeply entrenched in the hair care industry, I strongly discourage purchasing used hair styling devices. These include items such as hair straighteners, curling irons, and hairdryers,” said Adam Garfield, marketing director at HairBro.

“Used styling tools may have worn-out heating elements, damaged cords, or accumulated residue from previous use, posing safety hazards and diminishing performance,” Garfield continued. “Moreover, these devices come into direct contact with hair and skin, increasing the risk of exposure to bacteria or allergens left behind by previous owners.”

Food Storage Containers

Every household needs quality food storage containers, but you might not get that with used ones.

“New containers keep your food fresh for a long time. Old ones can get cracked or not seal properly, making your food spoil faster,” said Kumar. “Buying new containers helps you save money by keeping your food fresh and tasty.”

Smoke Detectors

If your smoke detectors go out, it’s important to get new ones as quickly as possible — emphasis on new.

These devices usually only last about 10 years before becoming unreliable. So, if you buy a used one, you risk getting something that’s already expired or doesn’t work the way it should.

Used microwave ovens can come with health and safety issues. This is especially true with older models or ones with structural issues.

“A used microwave oven may have leaks, rust, or cracks that affect its safety,” said Steve Brown, home expert and founder of Battery Chargers Info. “You don’t want to eat food that is unevenly heated, so always buy a new microwave oven and check the seal and the door.”

Water Filters

Water filters aren’t designed to last long. So, if you buy used ones, you’re likely to be disappointed with something that doesn’t work.

“Old ones might not do the job well as filters get clogged over time, so you end up drinking water that’s not as good,” said Kumar. “Buying a new filter ensures you get the best, cleanest water.”

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