However, costs can pile up shockingly fast if you purchase or replace CPAP equipment without insurance coverage.
Refurbished CPAP machines offer a compelling alternative to the questionable quality or sketchy sourcing of used CPAP machines while providing substantial savings over purchasing your CPAP machine new.
But what is a refurbished CPAP machine?
Should you buy one?
And are the tradeoffs worth it compared to buying your machine new?
In this guide, we’ll cover all these details to help you make an informed choice about whether a refurbished CPAP machine suits your needs.
What is a Refurbished CPAP Machine?
A refurbished CPAP machine is a previously owned machine inspected, tested, and cleaned to meet an established standard.
The exact details of these standards vary from one company to the next.
So it’s essential to understand that not all refurbished machines offer the same quality and reliability as others.
Some refurbished CPAP units might have minor cosmetic blemishes, such as wear around buttons or minor surface scratches and dings.
Because of these differences from new machines, they are typically priced lower—sometimes substantially so—than their new-in-box counterparts.
So How Do I Know What Refurbished Means Exactly?
In most cases, refurbishment (sometimes known as reconditioning) is restoring a used product to its original operating condition by inspecting, testing, cleaning, and replacing any worn parts as necessary.
This doesn’t always mean that it will look new.
Still, a quality refurbishment should mean that the refurbished CPAP machine functions like new and meets all safety requirements for dependable operation.
Refurbishment might sometimes involve factory resetting a machine a person bought but didn’t like.
Other times, repairs might be more extensive, such as power supplies, chassis components, or even blower motors.
There is typically no way of knowing the history of your machine, though, making it critical that you purchase any refurbished CPAP equipment from a provider you trust.
This is complicated because no single point of authority or definition for refurbishment exists.
So if you have questions, it’s best to ask the company selling the refurbished machine.
If they can’t tell you about their checks and processes with some level of detail (and confidence), you might want to look at another provider.
Should Someone Buy a Refurbished CPAP Machine?
If you can afford a new machine, there’s probably an argument to be made for buying brand new whenever possible.
But refurbished machines have unique benefits and drawbacks that you can consider to determine what is ultimately best for your needs.
Let’s look at some of the most significant points to remember when choosing between refurbished and new CPAP machines.
Benefits of Purchasing Refurbished CPAP Machines
For most buyers, cost savings are the primary benefit of buying a refurbished CPAP machine.
A refurbished machine from a reputable seller will have passed an extensive cleaning, testing, and repair process, rendering them good as new.
Yet, refurbished machine vendors will sell them for a fraction of new prices.
In most cases, sellers will also offer some form of warranty.
If the manufacturer refurbishes the machine, you might even get full support from them.
But this will vary depending on where you buy your equipment, so be sure to ask questions and understand exactly what you can—or can’t—do if you suddenly encounter issues with your equipment a few months after your purchase.
Another benefit to buying refurbished is increased equipment selection.
In most cases, manufacturers will only keep a model or two on the market at one time.
But refurbished equipment providers might keep models in stock for a generation or two of equipment.
This means you can find a machine with just enough features or choose additional ways to save money by taking an older model.
In many cases, CPAP masks, tubing, and other accessories are shared across multiple generations or manufacturers, so choosing an older model doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have trouble sourcing supplies.
More to the point, improvements from generation to generation tend to be more iterative than revolutionary—with minor improvements here and there—while offering similar core features.
So there’s a strong chance you won’t give up most of your favourite features by buying last year’s model.
Downsides to Purchasing Refurbished CPAP Machines
But many of these benefits depend on a perfect situation.
While most providers are reputable, there’s little protection if you’re purchasing from online markets like Amazon or eBay or—worse still—online classifieds like Kijiji.
For example, if parts aren’t replaced during refurbishment because they still function, you might spend more to fix that machine if the parts fail sooner due to ordinary wear and tear.
While you spend less upfront, you might pay more long-term expenses to keep your machine running optimally.
If you need specific reporting or data logging features—such as Wi-Fi or mobile data connections—you’ll want to check exact model numbers and features as often there won’t be clear visual indicators of which machines offer which forms of connectivity.
Worse still, some older models may not offer modern connectivity, leaving you to transfer files from memory cards to computers to report your treatment to your doctor.
So due diligence is essential.
Research the models you’d like to purchase, ask the seller questions, gauge their behaviours and responses, proceed with caution, and clearly understand your options during and shortly after the buying process.
In doing so, you can keep a clear picture of risk, benefits, and concerns front of mind and make a more informed buying decision.
What Warranty and Return Options Should I Look For?
With an understanding of what to look for out of the way, we can look at the specifics to consider before you make a purchase.
In most cases, warranties and return options are available through one of two parties:
- The manufacturer
- The third-party vendor or CPAP supply store
Most manufacturer-refurbished units will feature warranties spanning from 90 days to two years from the date of purchase.
These warranties typically cover parts and labour for any defects which might arise.
However, they won’t cover everyday wear and tear on components, such as mask replacements or new filters.
While there is likely plenty of fine print, you should read the warranty from the manufacturer carefully to ensure you know how to proceed should you need service for your machine.
The vendor who sells you the machine also likely offers some form of warranty—and if they don’t, you might question purchasing from them.
Still, these warranties are typically shorter than manufacturer warranties and might require that you seek service through the manufacturer before providing benefits.
The more important consideration in most cases for third-party vendors is their return policy.
Whether you’re dealing with a device malfunction or find that the machine you’ve chosen isn’t a good fit for your needs, understanding your return options can help you resolve things quickly and without surprises or additional costs.
In most cases, you’ll want at least 30 days to put the machine through its paces and determine its fit for you.
However, if you can find a vendor offering a longer return period, longer is always better.
Anything Else to Keep in Mind?
With features, return policies, and guarantees out of the way, it’s largely down to finding a vendor you trust.
That said, there are a few higher-level things to keep in mind that will apply to virtually every machine and have little to no bearing on the vendor’s reliability or the quality of the refurbishing service.
So before you head off to find a deal on a refurbished CPAP machine, here are a few more things to consider throughout the process.
CPAP Machines are Not Invincible
While the exact service life of a CPAP machine will depend on a range of factors—including the model in question, upkeep habits, use environment, presence of tobacco smoke or pets, frequency of usage, and even the pressure rating of the prescription—all CPAP machines will eventually wear out and break down.
Usually, the typical life span is around three to five years.
So if the model you’re considering is older than that, be sure to factor in an increased likelihood of repairs or part failure when determining the price you’re willing to pay and any protections you might want included with your purchase.
If well cared for, machines can last longer.
However, unless you have proof of regular maintenance and upkeep or know the original owner personally, this can be hard to count on.
CPAP Machine Recalls are Real
Like cars, toys, and virtually any other consumer products, CPAP machines are subject to recalls.
So before you agree to purchase any refurbished CPAP machine, check for any recalls pending on the model in question.
Just because recalls exist doesn’t mean that it’s instantly a lousy deal.
Unless the recalls are severe, there’s a good chance the refurbishing team can take care of (or has already taken care of) any critical concerns.
However, for something as critical as a CPAP machine, you want to ensure that all recalls are handled before money changes hands.
You also shouldn’t use a machine with pending recalls to avoid potential safety and health risks to you and your property.
Insurance Coverage for Refurbished CPAP Machines
While you’ll save money off the new retail price when buying refurbished, you’ll likely need to pay the entire cost out of your pocket.
If you have any form of insurance or if there are local programs in your area designed to help offset the cost of PAP therapy and CPAP equipment, you might still find that purchasing your equipment new is cheaper.
If you’re unsure of your options, speak with your doctor or sleep specialist, as they’ll often have tips or additional resources you can consult before making a purchase decision.
Prescriptions and Refurbished CPAP Machines
It’s important to remember that a refurbished CPAP machine will come with the same purchase requirements as a new machine.
The most critical part of those requirements is a valid prescription.
Even if the shop provides access to the settings of the machines to allow you to change them, you’ll still need a prescription for them to sell the device legally.
Not sure how to get a prescription?
The first step is to talk to your general practitioner or a sleep specialist.
You can learn more in our guide on what to expect when getting a CPAP prescription.
- Refurbished CPAP machines are an interesting alternative to new or used CPAP machines.
- Some refurbished machines are refurbished by manufacturers, while third-party technicians refurbish others.
- Due to the potential variations, it’s essential to research any company selling refurbished units to clearly understand their definition of refurbished and any steps in their process.
- Buying a refurbished CPAP machine can offer substantial savings over new prices while avoiding the questionable deals of online marketplaces or classifieds.
- Buying refurbished CPAP machines also offers a greater range of model options in many cases since you can pick from machines across multiple product generations.
- Since most updates from one generation to the next are iterative, you might find that an older machine still offers the features you need with a much lower price tag.
- Always ensure that any refurbished unit you’re considering comes with a warranty.
- Manufacturer-refurbished machines often feature warranties that are as good as those with new machines—though possibly shorter.
- Third-party warranties vary drastically and may not cover shipping, parts, or labour.
- Always read the warranty to avoid surprises should you need assistance.
- Even a gently-used, well-maintained CPAP machine will eventually fail. If you’re shopping for a refurbished machine, remember that machines older than 3 or 4 years are likely aging and might require additional part replacements.
- Before buying a refurbished CPAP machine, check for any recalls on the model you’re considering. Ask the CPAP seller if they have performed all recall-related repairs before parting with your money.
- You’ll likely have to pay out of pocket for your refurbished CPAP machine. Most insurance or assistance programs will not offer coverage.
- You’ll still need a prescription to purchase a refurbished machine. If a seller offers purchases without a prescription, be extremely wary.
If you or someone you love suffers from sleep apnea, then CPAP Supply has the solution. We offer new and refurbished CPAP machines that provide an effective and affordable way to treat this common disorder. With our top-of-the-line products and expert customer service, we can help improve your quality of life with a reliable therapy system explicitly tailored to your needs. Don’t wait any longer—take control of your health today by getting the relief you deserve!