CDI employees test, clean, and upgrade each piece of equipment.

CDI employees test, clean, and upgrade each piece of equipment.

At less than half the cost of purchasing new computers, buying high-quality refurbished machines is cheaper and more efficient, some education technology directors say—and that’s a big deal with school budgets stretched so thin.

It’s also more environmentally friendly, which can be a big factor, too.

McNairy County Schools in Tennessee bought 300 used Dell laptops for its one-to-one computing initiative from CDI, Computer Dealers Inc., one of the largest computer resellers in North America. The district plans to buy 300 more from CDI when more funding comes.

“We don’t have very much money here, and I’m trying to get as many laptops in the classroom as I can,” said Terry Burns, McNairy County’s technology coordinator. “To me, it’s a no-brainer. If you get Dell refurbs with a three-year warranty, or a four-year warranty, … that’s the same thing as a new Dell to me.”

And they come at a fraction of the cost: CDI’s used computers cost one-half to one-third of the price of new computers bought directly from companies such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo.

“Whatever you would pay for one computer from Dell, you can get two, maybe three, from us,” said Saar Pikar, senior vice president and general manager of CDI, which is based in Markham, Canada, and operates as a subsidiary of U.S.-based Relational Technology Solutions.

CDI resells name-brand computer equipment—including laptops, desktops, LCDs, servers, and printers—that was leased to Fortune 500 companies and returned, or is brand-new “end-of-the-line” product inventory that computer companies never sold.

Getting over the stigma associated with buying used equipment is one of the biggest challenges—but CDI’s no-questions-asked warranty and its exceptional service have helped.