What To Consider When Buying Refurbished Lab Equipment

Three beakers next to each other with the middle holding a thriving flower

Posted on

Are you interested in buying refurbished lab equipment? While buying refurbished is an excellent option for laboratories working on a budget, its possible to lease the equipment as well, making instrument acquisition even more cost-effective. So before you think about buying refurbished, consider leasing refurbished laboratory equipment instead!

When we talk about refurbished lab equipment, we’re talking about any type of used lab instrument or system that has been reconditioned to meet the manufacturer’s specifications. This can include centrifuges, HPLC systems, incubators, mass spectrometers, microscopes, chromatography systems, and much more. Since many types of equipment tend to have long useful lives—even with high-use—procuring a refurbished unit can be a great cost-saving option.

New laboratory equipment is always more expensive than refurbished equipment, and there are chances that the usefulness of a new unit might not be much higher than the refurbished instrument, as long as it has the right specifications (throughput, software, etc) for your needs. 

By opting for something that has been refurbished, you may pay a little more than a used instrument, but you’ll lower your risk of getting a faulty product while saving money when compared to purchasing new.

Who Refurbishes Equipment & What Makes It Different Than Used Equipment?

Used laboratory equipment can be refurbished either by a third party (i.e., distributor, seller, or dealer) or by the manufacturer themselves.

Third-party vendors typically sell both used and refurbished lab equipment, terms that you might see used interchangeably. However, they have slightly different meanings.

Used, or pre-owned, simply means that someone else owned the equipment before you. It doesn’t specify whether or not the equipment is in good condition.

On the other hand, refurbished, or reconditioned, refers to used lab equipment that has been serviced and tested to meet the seller’s or manufacturer’s standards. There may also be a warranty or service contract included with the equipment.

Now, this doesn’t mean that refurbished is good and used is bad. It simply means that understanding these differences will help you discern between what’s been refurbished and what hasn’t, maximizing the chances you’ll end up with a piece of equipment in good condition.

Buying vs. Leasing Refurbished Equipment

When considering how to acquire refurbished scientific instrumentation, be sure to assess all of your options, including leasing. 

If you’re limited on cash, leasing a refurbished instrument from the manufacturer through Excedr is a great way to save money and preserve your operating budget in the long term. Compared to purchasing a refurbished instrument, you’ll save a lot of money up front. 

Plus, spreading your payments out over time gives you considerable cash flow for ongoing operational needs like staffing, consumables, and other business expenses. Furthermore, Excedr’s leases cover repairs and maintenance, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with annual service contracts. 

Third-Party Vendors vs. Manufactures vs. Excedr Leasing

Although we believe leasing your refurbished equipment is the best route to take, let’s review buying refurbished from a third-party vendor or manufacturer. This way, you know more about your available financing options.

Buying from a Third-Party Vendor

Whether you’re interested in biotech and medical equipment like microplate readers, analyzers, PCR systems, and spectrophotometers, or are in need of general used laboratory equipment, like freezers, chillers, and hoods, going with a third-party vendor can be an excellent option.

That’s because buying refurbished scientific instruments from a third party can sometimes be cheaper than buying from a manufacturer, due their service standards often not being as high. 

However, when buying equipment from a third party, it’s important to conduct due diligence on the seller. Not all third-party sellers are qualified to refurbish sophisticated laboratory equipment back to OEM specifications. 

For example, you’ll want to gauge their legitimacy by finding out how long they’ve been in business and whether or not they specialize in the type of equipment you’re purchasing. You will want to understand what range of services they offer, as well as the equipment may be more reliable if the company offers services like testing, reconditioning, and application development. 

You will also want to familiarize yourself with the company’s warranty, service, and return policies in case anything goes awry with your product after purchasing. 

That said, it may be more difficult to find long-term financing for a purchase from a third-party vendor, since there is a greater risk associated with this form of used equipment. This is an important distinction to make, as leasing eliminates this issue entirely, through the use of warranties, repair services, and more. 

Buying from the Manufacturer

Procuring instrumentation directly from the manufacturer can often be the ideal route to take, because not as many third-party vendors invest in testing, diagnosing, and repairing sophisticated scientific instrumentation.

Check whether or not the manufacturer you’re interested in sells refurbished. If they do, weigh your options. Chances are you’ll save some money and receive an instrument that’s in better condition than simply buying used. This is beacuse, when you purchase a scientific instrument that has been refurbished by the manufacturer and their technicians, you can be sure that the equipment will be up to par with a new product from the same manufacturer. 

The refurbished unit will usually come with six months to a year of manufacturer-issued warranty as well, which will lower the risk that you would otherwise take on when buying from a third party. 

However, because the manufacturer services the equipment to the highest standard, their pricing will reflect this and may be higher than that of the third-party vendor. 

Fortunately, Excedr’s lease program offers financing for equipment refurbished by the manufacturer, so you can acquire used instrumentation at the lowest risk while saving yourself even more money!

Lease Refurbished Laboratory Instruments with Excedr

Interested in analytical instruments and systems? We lease LC/MS or GC/MS systems, spectroscopy equipment, and a wide variety of analyzers from numerous manufacturers, including Shimadzu, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Agilent, Tecan, Bio-Rad Laboratories, and many more.

Need something else? No problem. Our leasing program covers a wide range of needs, from cell analysis to gene sequencing to electrophoresis. Just let us know what you’re interested in.

Additionally, if you have a quote from a manufacturer and want to understand the costs of leasing with us, request a lease estimate. We can go over the leasing process in detail.