Pros & Cons Of Buying Used CISCO Products vs. New Ones

Posted by The Team at CXtec on Mar 21, 2022 1:53:06 AM

While buying new is certainly an option, purchasing pre-owned apparel can save you some serious money. This doesn’t just apply to...

While buying new is certainly an option, purchasing pre-owned apparel can save you some serious money. This doesn’t just apply to designer clothing—it can apply to that expensive networking equipment you have your eye on too.

You’re on the hunt for some new Cisco products… but have a tight budget to keep in mind. What are your options? Let’s take a step back to 2012 when the hit song “Thrift Shop” had taken over the radio. Don’t recall? Feel free to look it up—we’ll wait.

In this song, Benjamin Hammond Haggerty, known by his stage name, Macklemore (the name of his made-up superhero), makes thrift shopping sound pretty awesome… and he’s got the right idea.

While buying new is certainly an option, purchasing pre-owned products can save you some serious money. This doesn’t just apply to designer clothing—it can apply to that expensive networking equipment you have your eye on too.

You’ll need more than $20 in your pocket like in the song, but when you’re working with a limited IT budget, buying pre-owned Cisco products may be the best option for you.

Before you start popping tags, below are a few pros and cons to consider as you jump into the buying process. We want to make sure that you not only save money but also walk away with functional and reliable Cisco products.

Pro: Used Cisco products help you save your cash

While it’s a trusted brand, new Cisco products are not exactly known for their low price. Whether you have a particularly limited IT budget to work with, or you just want to save as much money as possible, getting pre-owned Cisco products is a great solution.

You can save your organization up to 90% off list prices—and still get high-quality technology you can rely on.

“The used-hardware market — commonly referred to as the 'secondary market' — can provide significant savings on hardware expenditures.”

- Gartner, Used-Hardware Resellers Offer Hardware and Support Cost Savings, February 2015, Foundational October 2016 [ID G00270507]

Pro: Avoid a complete network upgrade

What if your organization is at that in-between stage where you’re ready for some new equipment, but not ready for a full-on upgrade? Buying used Cisco products can help you hold off on an upgrade until you’ve gotten the most out of your existing network.

If you were to upgrade every three years as OEMs suggest, you’ll undoubtedly be left with Cisco products that haven’t truly reached the end of their useful life. This means you’ll be upgrading when you still have valuable networking gear, and you’ll lower your ROI by turning over that equipment too soon. Buying used technology at your pace saves you money in the long run as you can replace failing machines without doing a full upgrade and maximize the returns on your initial IT investment. That's managing the full life cycle of your Cisco products wisely!

“Replacement of network equipment does not need to follow a timed schedule. Upgrades should follow a consistent policy set by IT and not by the vendor.”

- Gartner, Know When It’s Time to Replace Enterprise Network Equipment, March 2015, Foundational June 2016 [ID G00273656]

Pro: Help the environment

Buying pre-owned Cisco products not only allows you to have quality equipment at a fraction of the cost, it also keeps perfectly functional products out of landfills longer. This reduces landfill waste and the direct impact your organization has on the environment.

In an age where the focus on “going green” is stronger than ever, promoting environmentally friendly practices will also help maintain or improve your organization’s reputation with customers.

Pro: Keep your Cisco products on a flexible support plan

You might be thinking, if you buy used Cisco products you won’t have that Smart Net Total Care maintenance support. However, if you’ve done your research prior to buying and purchasing your Cisco products, you know you can find trusted third-party maintenance programs to back the certified pre-owned equipment you buy. It matches the coverage of OEM support and costs you up to 50-60% less than OEM offerings.

A reputable seller should also offer a warranty with their refurbished equipment, so your organization will be covered no matter what. For example, CXtec offers equal2new® refurbished equipment which is performance guaranteed and comes with a true lifetime warranty as a standard business practice.

“TPM contracts will offer customers an average of 60% savings off of OEM support list prices. However, depending on equipment type, location and product density, Gartner has seen that the range of savings with TPM contracts is 50% off OEM list up to 95% off OEM list.”

- Gartner, Competitive Landscape: Partnering With Third-Party Maintenance Providers for Data Center and Network Maintenance Cost Optimization, July 2017 [ID G00327262]

Con: Lack of maintenance support and warranty

The only way you wouldn’t have the opportunity to support your Cisco products with a third-party maintenance plan is if you purchased from companies selling used Cisco products that don’t come with any maintenance support or warranty.

If you’re buying a Cisco router from an unknown vendor, there’s a high probability that your gear won’t be covered, and you certainly won’t be receiving additional support. It's safest to buy your Cisco products from a reliable vendor that stands behind the equipment they're selling to you.

Con: Making the switch from the OEM

If your organization worked directly with an OEM partner when you first built your IT network, be prepared for some hassles as you switch over to buying used Cisco products. Think about it—the OEM is about to lose some major business, so of course they’re going to try their best to convince you to abandon your plans of buying used networking equipment.

You’ll get every argument under the sun, from “used equipment won’t match the performance offered by new equipment” to “used Cisco products don’t qualify for maintenance or support.” These claims may be valid if you’re not thorough in your research on the secondary market provider you’re buying from.

You'll probably ever heard some FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) coming your way from the OEM and its partners. Don't be fooled. With a quality vendor, used Cisco products can be even more reliable than new.

Most of the arguments you hear can be debunked by doing some simple research to prove you’re getting your Cisco products from a reputable vendor. Make sure you know your source and ask the right questions about your technology partner to ensure you’re getting the highest quality equipment, at the best value, for your business.

“Network original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their channel partners often use aggressive sales tactics, as well as fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) to scare enterprises away from using third-party transceiver OEMs that offer lower prices.”

- Gartner, How to Avoid the Biggest Rip-Off in Networking, August 2017 [ID G00336695]

Con: Confusing Terminology

Many of the arguments you’ll hear from the OEM apply specifically to “used” products. Here’s where buying used can get a little tricky. You need to pay specific attention to the terminology used. There’s a big difference between equipment that is simply “used” and equipment that is refurbished and deemed “certified pre-owned.”

To clarify, when we talk about the pros of buying “used Cisco products” we’re referring to equipment that has gone through a stringent refurbishing and certification process, meaning it has been cleaned, tested and reset to meet the original manufacturer standards.

How will pre-owned Cisco products make your job easier?

Let’s go back to the thrift shop analogy for a second. If you’re eyeing a pair of used shoes there’s a very good chance that they haven’t been cleaned, and it’s anybody’s guess as to whose feet have been in them. Gross.

Now imagine if these shoes could be refurbished? It would restore them to a like-new condition so you’d never have to worry about any of those things. The same goes for Cisco products. This is a con that can be made into a pro as long as you do your research.


While you may be stuck with that ninety-nine cent leopard mink from the thrift shop, you can have quality Cisco products that can be purchased and supported for a fraction of the price. We’d say that’s a pretty good bargain.