If your budget is tight and you want the most money or you just want to keep something out of the landfill, the used or refurbished laptop market is worth considering. I’ve had great luck buying used laptops on eBay from all sorts of sellers (both professionals and casuals).
To get the best deal, make sure you know the market. Do some research to find out which machine is right for your needs. The easiest to make, and therefore (usually) the best deals, tend to be more boring business models. I happen to like ThinkPads, which are used by — and then instantly dumped by — major corporations, which means there’s a lot to choose from and they’re cheap.
Aim for the following specifications: Try to buy a laptop with at least a 10th Gen Intel Core i3 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB of internal storage (solid-state drive is best) and at least a 13-inch display close to HD.
Find used laptops on eBay: When you know what you want, search for it on eBay. Scroll down and select the option to show only “sold listings”. Now take the 10 most recent sales, add up the prices and divide by 10. That’s the average price; Don’t pay more than that.
Keep in mind the lowest price — that’s the deal. Now, uncheck the Sold List option. See what is between the lowest and the average price. Those are the deals you can consider. I suggest watching a few. No bidding or participating. Just watch them till the end and see how the auctions end.
Once you have a feel for the market and what you should pay, you’ll know when you’ve found a deal. When you find it, wait. Don’t bid until the last few minutes of the auction. You don’t want other contractors to have a chance to react. Remember that if you miss something, it’s not the end of the world. There’s always something new listed on eBay.