Refurbished Vs New DJI Drones

DJI’s refurbished and new drones are known to be indistinguishable from each other. After some research on my part, here’s how to verify if your drone is either refurbished or new

All Refurbished DJI drones have a unique serial number that differentiates them from new DJI drones. The tenth character on the serial number or the fifth letter from the last will have an “S” or “R” for refurbished DJI drones. The serial number can be found on the box and battery compartment of any DJI drone. In addition, DJI uses a black sticker with “Refurbished” on it for its refurbished products.

Refurbished drones are preferred to new ones for their discounts. But, does the price decrease come with a lesser quality? Most people confuse refurbished drones for used or fake drones, however, that’s not the case. Refurbished DJI drones are neither brand-new nor used. While Refurbished products are considered to be “as good as new products” they still have their differences.

What is a Refurbished Drone?

All DJI drones have a 14-days limit for return and replacement if the customer comes across any technical issues. The faulty drone undergoes DJI’s full refurbishment process that brings the drone to a standard of a brand new DJI drone. The drone is then recertified and packaged to be sold at a lesser price than a new drone. Such a drone is called a Refurbished drone.

According to DJI, every refurbished drone is tested thoroughly and its quality is the same as the new products. Before reaching a new drone’s standard, it undergoes several refurbishment processes:

Fake, Used, and Refurbished DJI Drones

Refurbished drones are in no way the same as used drones. A refurbished drone is, in most cases, returned to DJI after the previous owner used it once and noticed a minor/major issue with it. The drone has been in use for at most two weeks. After it’s returned to DJI, it goes through DJI’s rigorous testing and repair process before being presented for sale. When the refurbished drone is packed and sent to its new owner, it is as good as a new DJI drone. Amazon’s used and renewed drones, on the other hand, are used for a longer time and are repaired by a third – party; No warranty or any other backing from DJI.

Fake DJI drones are replicas of DJI drones made by various manufacturers. They’re cheap clones starting from the price of $50 which are mostly no more than Toy drones. Fake drones are clunky products that are designed to look exactly like the original DJI drone, but in most cases, they’re identified for what they are immediately after the box is opened.

The above pictures are from a fake and original DJI Mavic Mini drone comparison video. The difference between the two drones is obvious, but some fake drones are cloned to the minimum exact detail. This can be verified by checking the serial number on the outside of the box matches the number on the aircraft. In addition, If the product is a new DJI drone, it will activate when it’s set up via DJI Fly.

Refurbished Vs New DJI Drones

Quality-wise, refurbished and new DJI drones are considered to be the same. But, this doesn’t mean they’re the exact same things with different prices.

  • After-sales service – The after-sales service policy for DJI refurbished products is identical to that of new products. However, if any technical issue occurs with the refurbished drone, it can only be exchanged with another refurbished drone, and not a new one.
  • Availability – Refurbished drones are found in a very limited amount compared to new drones. That should be your answer if you were wondering why everyone doesn’t buy refurbished products.
  • Appearance –  In most cases, if you had a refurbished and new drone side to side, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them. However, some refurbished drones may have slight signs of wear, such as minor scratch marks here and there on the body.
  • Battery – the refurbished drone won’t be equipped with brand new batteries after the refurbishment process. They will be the same batteries the previous owner of the drone had. But this shouldn’t be worrisome because the last owner couldn’t have used it for more than 14-days. Most returned drones are only used once before the owner found an issue and sends the product back.
  • Risk – A refurbished drone has at one point been a product with technical issues. And there’s a very slight chance of the issue not being completely fixed. Nonetheless, the company’s 14 days policy gives you the guarantee of a replacement. In addition, the chances of a refurbished drone breaking down are almost as equal to that of a new drone.
  • Verification – Refurbished DJI drones have an “S” or “R” as the fifth letter from the last on their serial number.

Warranty and DJI care refresh on Refurbished drones

DJI offers a 1-year warranty (including the battery) for its refurbished drones. You can purchase DJI care refresh for refurbished products for the same coverage amount as new drones.

If you are unhappy with the drone and haven’t yet activated it, the refurbished drone can be returned and replaced within a 14-day limit. You are basically covered as if you’ve purchased a brand new product.

Refurbished Vs New Drones Price

The main and only reason for you to buy a refurbished drone is to save money. The question is “how much are you really saving?”. Refurbished drones are sold at a 10-20% discount off the price of a new drone. This makes the products value for money. The following table shows the price discount on some of DJI’s popular refurbished products:

DJI Drone ModelRefurbished productNew ProductSavings
DJI Air 2S$849$999$150
Mavic Mini$319$399$80
DJI Mini 2$359$449$90
DJI Mavic Air 2$679$799$120
DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0$1,439$1,599$160
DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo$479$599$120
DJI Mavic Air Fly More Combo$988$849$139
DJI Mini Fly More Combo$499$399$100

I have to say you’ll be saving a lot of cash by purchasing DJI Refurbished drones. The table clearly shows there is a significant price difference. Despite the lesser price, the quality of a refurbished drone is equal to a brand new one – and this is not DJI’s empty promise, but also testimonies of consumers on the DJI Forum site. You can find all of DJI’s refurbished products price list here.

Where to buy DJI refurbished drones

Refurbished products are available at the DJI Online Store. Refurbished products can also be purchased from authorized DJI dealers. Although other online platforms are available for purchasing DJI refurbished drones, DJI’s online store is the best and safest reason for various reasons:

  • DJI’s online store offers the cheapest prices
  • Other online stores might sell you drones repaired by a third-party and not DJI, which means the drones hasn’t gone through DJI’s refurbishment process and is not recertified
  • DJI’s online store offers an after-sale service 
  • Users have found refurbished products from non-DJI channels have led to used batteries, accessories, and most importantly, are activated, leaving no warranty or limited remaining amount of warranty.

If the price of the drone in other online stores seems too good to be true, it’s probably because it is. It’s most likely a non-refurbished drone disguised as a DJI refurbished product. If you’re having doubts about the product on sale, you should stop the transaction and go to DJI’s online store.

Should you get a refurbished DJI drone?

Summarizing everything said so far about refurbished drones:

  • DJI refurbished drones offer substantial savings
  • A fully functional product with complete documentation is provided after undergoing a complete quality test
  • The refurbished product comes with a full warranty and after-sale guarantee similar to a new drone. 
  • You have the option to purchase DJI Care to extend your coverage even further

Buying a refurbished drone is the best way to get DJI drones as cheaply as possible. It’s as good as a new drone quality-wise and it comes with all the standard manufacturer’s warranty. If you’re purchasing your drone for leisure purposes, a refurbished drone is the best choice. It should be able to work perfectly and even if it breaks down, at least the purchase cost you less money than it would’ve for a new drone.

If you’re buying your drone for commercial purposes and you rely on it for a living, it’s best to consider the risks of refurbished drones before spending your money. Refurbished still have the slightest possibility of still being defective, and you might not afford the time it takes to return the drone and await repair or replacement.

All in all, DJI’s refurbished drones are a very unique and recommendable product. And, in my opinion, they’re definitely worth the money you spend on them.

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