Decoding the Difference: Reconditioned vs. Refurbished Typewriters

Decoding the Difference: Reconditioned vs. Refurbished Typewriters

Posted by Julie Greenbaum on Jun 04, 2019


Reconditioned vs. Refurbished: Navigating the Electric Typewriter Marketplace

When shopping for an electric typewriter you may find yourself confused between what a reconditioned and refurbished model are. Whether you are buying a typewriter online or in person, we have some tips to help you make the best decision possible.

When you receive an electric typewriter it should work and feel “just like new.” That’s what you can expect when you receive a reconditioned IBM or Brother electric typewriter from When Jim Riegert and our team recondition an IBM or Brother typewriter, it means that we follow the same factory specifications as the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). While many original factory parts have been discontinued for the IBM and Brother models, Jim and our team use as many original parts as they can.

“In almost any manufactured product there will be slight variations that must be accounted for. This is especially true in a remanufactured product,” Jim points out. “It is therefore important to go through every adjustment in the service manual and even make some additional adjustments to make sure that the machine will perform as new. And for a 25- to 30-year-old typewriter (the average age is 25 years), it will be as close to new as we can practically get.”

In addition to using the original factory specs and available parts, all reconditioned typewriters from go through an extensive 21-step reconditioning process prior to shipping to ensure that customers receive the highest quality of reconditioned units available on the market. By following this extensive process, Jim points out that users should be able to get many more years out of their typewriters without needing to send them to a service technician.

“If you want to have consistent quality you have to have the same system in place for every machine,” Jim notes. “You can’t just air clean it and test it. You have to dissemble it and test everything. There are certain things that you have to replace, every single time.”

The Reconditioning Process and What You Need to Know

A refurbished typewriter may be less expensive in some cases and have a long list of bells and whistles, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has been put through an extensive process like a reconditioned typewriter has.

Depending on the seller, a refurbished unit can go through minimal inspection and testing, which means the unit is given a quick look over, is cleaned, “patched” up for aesthetic purposes, and then repackaged to be resold — whereas a reconditioned typewriter is completely dissembled, cleaned, carefully inspected for signs of wear, corrosion or cracks and is finally reassembled and tested before earning our seal of approval as a certified reconditioned model.

Therefore, when shopping for a reconditioned typewriter from, you can expect the unit to have gone through the strict testing and inspection process outlined above, as well as to have followed the same factory specifications as the OEM.

After all, what good is a “mediocre” typewriter that does not get the job done … not to mention, how will you explain to your boss that you could not turn in the forms he asked you to because your typewriter was a dud?

That’s why you should have the following checklist of questions handy when making your decision.

6 Questions to Ask When Shopping for a Reconditioned/Refurbished Typewriter

  1. Is the source you are buying from reputable?
  2. Were the same factory specifications of the OEM used?
  3. How extensively does the seller test each typewriter?
  4. Does the typewriter you are getting work just like a new typewriter?
  5. Is there support available to answer your questions?
  6. What is the warranty?

What’s the Bottom Line?

Choosing an electric typewriter shouldn’t feel like a daunting process. Give yourself the peace of mind to know you’re getting the most reliable typewriter around. Read beyond the glossy product description to see if the seller has followed strict inspection and testing guidelines and has followed the same factory specifications as the OEM. After all, it will save you the time and money in costly repairs or trying to find a new typewriter. So, take the time to do your research or speak with one of our representatives from at (404) 377-1884. You’ll be glad that you did.