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Buying a Laptop from a Pawn Shop (The Complete Guide)

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We all prefer a brand new laptop over a used one, but our financial capabilities are different, and because items in pawnshops are relatively inexpensive, you can still get a highly functional laptop that will serve its purpose efficiently and save money as well. 

Before you walk into any pawn shop to buy a laptop, carry out proper research to know the cost of a brand new and used laptop with the specifications and features you want. Although pawn shops are the ideal option for saving money on electronics and devices; nevertheless, the amount you pay for a laptop varies with the brand, version, storage, the physical condition of the laptop, among other things.

Before you buy a laptop from a pawned shop, let’s talk about some of the questions you have on your mind. Here we go!

Is it safe to buy a laptop from a pawn shop?

We can say that it is safe to buy a laptop from a reputable pawn shop. When we think about buying a laptop from a pawn shop, one of the thoughts that flash through our minds is whether it is safe enough or even worth the risk. 

Yes, buying a device from pawn shops is a risk, but the modern pawn shops have upgraded from what we once knew them to be (an overly unorganized store with stolen and weird goods, run by grumpy old men or anyone who doesn’t mind patronizing a criminal). The modern pawnbroker ensures not to buy a broken or outdated computer so that when it’s time to sell it off, the quality or working conditions will not be a hindrance. 

Factors to consider when buying a laptop from a pawnshop

Before you walk into any pawn shop to buy a computer, you need to understand your computing needs. Do you need a laptop for study, gaming, web and app development, entertainment purposes, etc.? Knowing this will influence most of the factors we are about to discuss below.


When it comes to laptops, brands aren’t just names. Why settle for an online or a retail brand of lesser quality when you can buy a reputable brand with high functionality and more features from a pawn shop at an affordable rate? Brands like Apple, HP, Dell, Samsung, Asus, Acer, Microsoft, etc., can be trusted; however, it still balls down to whether or not the pawnbroker thoroughly tests the functionality of the laptop before displaying it for sale.


In the case of a pawned laptop, you may not get the original drivers, software CDs, backup media, and recovery CD that comes with the laptop. Notwithstanding, check that it comes with a genuine preloaded operating system and ask for the product keys if possible.

Battery life

If you intend to use the laptop in your workspace where you can easily connect to a power outlet, it should at least have average battery life. On the other hand, you cannot compromise on the battery if you need to work on the laptop while on the go. Check the battery health to see how long it takes to charge and how fast it drains.


A student who intends to carry their laptop to school every day has no business buying a large laptop as it would mean carrying extra pounds. The size of a laptop may or may not necessarily influence its weight; however, ensure that you are comfortable with the weight, especially if you will be carrying it around a lot.

Other important features you should test out include;

Optical drive and USB ports 

Don’t just assume that everything is working fine because the pawnbroker says so. Instead, test the USB ports with a USB drive and the optical drive with a CD or DVD.

Wireless connectivity 

Some second-hand laptops have difficulty connecting to the internet, so check if the WiFi is working by connecting it to your mobile phone hotspot.


The screen must be in good working condition without any discoloration, lines, flickering, etc. Try watching a video to see if the colors are okay and the width of the.

Speakers and webcam 

Laptop speakers with muffled or distorted sound are a no-no unless you don’t intend to use them. Depending on why you want to buy the laptop, you may not necessarily need a webcam; even so, test it out to see if it works fine or buy a replacement webcam if you can. Whatever the case may be, ensure that you get a good deal for your money.

Trackpad and keyboard

For the keyboard, try typing out sentences to see if it is hard and use all keys to ensure they correspond and are working well. If it feels like your fingers have done a tedious job after typing for a few minutes, you might want to check other laptops.

For the trackpad, check for its responsiveness and try out different gestures to know which one it supports and if it has, ensure that they are in good condition.

Body casing

Inspect the body of the laptop to ensure it is free from cracks, loose hinges, missing screws, and signs of impact with a hard surface. These might seem unnecessary, but in some cases, the physical condition of the laptop can tell the condition of other internal components as well. For instance, if a laptop cracks on the body, you cannot tell what it has gone through and what type of internal damage it has, even if it seems to be working fine at the moment.

Do pawnbrokers verify the legality of laptops before selling them?

Yes, they do. Most pawnbrokers have good legal representation and ensure to verify that the pawned item is not stolen. In some cases, pawnbrokers are expected to submit a list of all items pawned or bought, on a daily or weekly basis, to the local enforcement agency to verify if they are stolen goods or not. 

What happens if the laptop I buy from a pawn shop still contains some files of the previous owner?

Most pawned or second-hand laptops still have either the name or other files of the previous owner, and this is because several pawn shops only check whether the laptop works and other basic stuff. They barely verify the shape of the laptop and its content even though they ensure to wipe the devices clean before selling them off. So, if you find files belonging to the previous owner, you can restore the laptop to factory settings because you are now its new owner.

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Pigtou Editorial Team

A group of tech enthusiasts who find pleasure in troubleshooting and resolving various issues. When we're not engaged in writing, we typically enjoy playing table football or spending time with our office dog.
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