I am an advocate for buying used items whenever possible to save money and help save the environment; I even wrote a blog post about some of my favorite items to buy used here. However, as much as I like used items, I also do my best to first decide whether something is a smarter buy when it’s used or new. Items that could cause health problems and/or safety concerns and items that break after a few uses just aren’t good buys, no matter how much money you may have saved buying used.
So, here is my list of items that always need to be purchased new:
- Vacuum Cleaners: Used vacuums have probably been fixed and re-fixed time and time again. They’ve most likely lost suction and some attachments, and they’ve been dragged around and beaten up. New vacuum cleaners are getting cheaper, so it’s worth it if you want the maximum mileage out of your purchase.
- Mattresses: Think about all of the things you do on your mattress—would you really want to lay on someone else’s mattress? Enough said, really. Unless it’s from a close relative or a rarely-used spare bedroom, it’s good to avoid used mattresses whenever possible.
- Helmets: Once bike helmets have been beaten up and used, they’re not as safe as they should be. Even one crash can ruin the safety effects of the helmet. Think of it this way: new helmets are still cheaper than surgery to repair your head in the case of a bad accident!
- Car Seats: Children’s car seats are sort of the same as helmets—all it takes is one crash to render them unsafe to protect children. Exception: if it’s purchased from someone you trust (and you know it has not been in an accident), then by all means take the hand-me-down.
- Laptop Computers: Unless you’re a pro at fixing and updating computers (or know someone who is), you will find your best computer deal new from a store. It will be more up to date and reliable. Plus, used ones have been dragged all over town, carried back and forth to school, beaten up, spilled on, and possibly dropped. Plus, nowadays, computers are relatively cheap. A store-refurbished option with a warranty would also be a good alternative to purchasing new, though.
- Digital Cameras & Video Cameras: These get dropped and dinged often, which causes many issues. Buying new is the way to go unless you trust the person you’re getting it from. But still, you can get a great deal on a new one with a warranty these days.
- Plasma & HD TVs: These are too expensive to take the risk with. You really should get the warranty with this big purchase, and an extended warranty if offered. The screens are still not as reliable as older TVs, so you will want to cover your big purchase, just in case.
- Makeup: This means foundation, mascara, powder, makeup brushes, etc. None of it should be purchased used, ever. Even if you’re getting it from a friend, it’s just not a good idea. Cold sores, rashes, eye infections, and more can be caused by using someone else’s makeup. Germs can live and breed in makeup containers for a long time. It’s not worth the risk!
- DVD Players: Generally, the reason a DVD player is sold used is because it’s not working properly, and fixing a damaged one is going to cost the same or more than a brand new unit. Plus, again, you get a warranty with a new one.
- Shoes: Used shoes just don’t fit how they should. In most cases, the shoes have already been molded around someone else’s foot, and therefore does not give you the support your feet need. This is even more important for kids—whose feet are still growing! Instead, shop previous years’ fashions or sales to save money.
- Undergarments and Bathing Suits: This should be a no brainer…but hey, since it’s so important to buy them new, I thought it should be mentioned in this post. These items are worn too close to the body to be purchased used. And despite your best recycling and washing efforts, do not buy these items used. Gross!
And don’t forget the other benefits of buying new items:
- Some new items are available at used prices, if you have a great coupon!
- If you are looking to support a company in particular, you’ll want to buy new, since buying used doesn’t give new profits to that business.
- If you need a warranty, your best bet is new!
- If you need delivery, it is almost always available with a new purchase (sometimes for free)!
So there you have it, the best 11 items that need to be purchased brand new. Believe me, I am all about saving money, but only when it’s worthwhile. Buying these items new will save you in the long run.
What items do you refuse to buy used? Is there something you purchased used, that you wish you had gotten brand new? Is there an item I forgot to include in this list?