Typically, T and M equipment falls into three categories; new, used and refurbished. We outline the pros and cons of each option, below.
New equipment requires minimal functional consideration other than “is it suitable for the intended application?” New equipment is obviously the highest priced choice and in some cases may have long delivery or “lead” times.
Used equipment is typically sold “as is” i.e. untested with little or no warranty or right of return. Although the low price can be very appealing the actual product condition can vary enormously.
Refurbished equipment has usually been cleaned and tested, with non-functioning parts replaced. Refurbished equipment usually comes with a warranty, right of return, operator manual and basic (standard) accessories. By researching the market, you will often find that the price of refurbished equipment is often just slightly higher than the same “used” piece of equipment.
Savings of 30 to 80 percent from new list price is not unusual on refurbished test and measurement equipment. Oftentimes, this comes with a delivery time that is quicker than if you buy new.
Ask yourself: How long has the vendor been in business?; Is the vendor a “brick and mortar” business or a small internet entity?; Is the vendor easily accessible by phone or email?; and, What is a vendor’s response time?
Check out: How the right of return and warranties compare?; If you are you comparing similar pieces of equipment?; and, Did all of the quotes come back in a timely manner?
Consider the following: Straight purchase?; Rental for short-term use?; Lease to extend your budget?; and, Trade-in under-utilized equipment to defray costs?
Be sure to ask; What options are on the unit being offered?; What options do you really need for your application?; and, What make and model do you require?; and, If calibration is not a requirement, is there a certificate of compliance?
Think through: If you require calibration, what type of calibration is required?; Can they provide it?; What, if any, are the costs associated with calibration?; How is the equipment packed for shipment?; Who insures the shipment?; and, Is there a considerable savings between standard and overnight shipping?
Make a checklist that covers: What accessories come with the unit?; Operator manual included?; What is the length the warranty?; What is the warranty process?; Is an extended warranty available? Where is the equipment serviced?; Is there a right of return?; How long is the return period?; When does it start?; and, What is the return process?