Cheap Laptops For Online ESL Teachers

Buying a refurbished computer for online teaching

You’ve been looking into teaching English online, excited by the prospect of finally being able to work from home full-time or make extra money to pay off debts or save for that awesome family vacation you have planned. There is just one giant hurdle standing in your way. Your computer is too old or doesn’t have enough power to meet the minimum tech requirements of the companies you are looking at, and a new computer is something you just can’t afford.

Every listing you look at for a new computer slowly dashes your hopes and you are beginning to think that online teaching is just another in a long line of work from home jobs that won’t work for you. It’s okay though. There is another option that is more affordable which many people simply don’t know about. Buying a refurbished computer.

Why should you consider a refurbished computer if you're on a tight budget?

What is a refurbished computer?

Put simply, it’s a computer that has been returned by the customer due to a defect, or was damaged at the warehouse or factory. Refurbished computers are repaired by the manufacturer, and then sold at a discounted price.

Let’s take a look at a real-world example. Mike is an Amazon warehouse worker and loads trucks with electronic equipment. One day, he is moving a pallet of new Dell Inspiron Laptops to load on a truck. A minor collision with another pallet, however, knocks off one of the laptops from the top of his pallet. Instead of putting it back on and potentially shipping a damaged product, the computer is returned to Dell and Amazon receives a credit. Dell then takes a look at the computer and determines that the screen was cracked but everything else is working perfectly. So, after replacing the screen, the laptop is put on the market as refurbished and sold at deeply discounted price.

Pretty sweet right? By purchasing a refurbished computer you are getting what is oftentimes a brand new computer for much less than you could buy it in the store. Sometimes the prices of a refurbished computer can be as much as half as what they would retail for.

The best part is that a refurbished computer will typically last just as long as the same computer bought brand new from a retail outlet or online. As an added level of reassurance, most sellers of refurbished computers, including refurbished computers bought directly from the company, will offer a money back guarantee of varying lengths of time. So, you can rest assured that you aren’t going to be stuck if something does go wrong.

Can you use a refurbished computer for teaching online?


Online companies don’t care whether your computer is brand new or old or refurbished. The most important thing is whether or not it meets the minimum specifications needed to run that companies teaching platform. The actual specifications are going to vary depending on the company but typically include:

How much can you save buying a refurbished computer?

The amount you save can range from little to significant. This depends on the extent of damage. Refurbished computers are graded according to the level of defect or damage. If the damage is superficial, such as a scratch or dent in the computer’s exterior, and that’s something you can live with, you can have a perfectly functional refurbished computer for as much as half the original price, and sometimes more.

Where can you buy a refurbished computer?

You can buy refurbished computers in online stores such as Amazon, or directly from the manufacturer. Amazon will undoubtedly have the widest range of refurbished laptops across different brands and models.

Adil Vellani
Adil Vellani
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Adil Vellani is the co-founder of ESL Job Exchange. With more than 20 years of international experience in both the education and corporate sectors, Adil is devoted to sharing his knowledge and experience to help individuals and organizations connect and make a massive impact in the lives of ESL learners across the globe. Adil also lectures at the Sino-European Institute of Aviation Engineering, where he teaches aviation engineering students in an international degree program.
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