How to Buy Used Monitors

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How to Buy Used Monitors

The market for used monitors is huge, fed by a large demand from consumers for monitors that are both reliable and affordable. Buying in this way is excellent for finding high quality, technologically advanced monitors at very reasonable prices. In order to pick up such bargains, however, it is first necessary to know what to look for in a used monitor.

Types of Used Monitors

The first consideration when buying a used monitor is the type of technology required. The choice is essentially between cathode ray tube monitors (CRT) and liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors. The former is older technology, and requires a much larger hardware casing than the more modern, thinner, lighter LCD monitors. Used CRT monitors usually cost much less than LCD monitors, but the fact that they are considerably heavier means that postage costs can be excessive. CRT monitors have always been known for their reliability and longevity, meaning that in most cases they can be bought with confidence. However, after very extended use they are prone to losing some focus and brightness in the display due to cathode and phosphor ageing within the CRT structure. It is important, therefore, to check before buying a used CRT monitor if any degradation has occurred. The brightness levels of used LCD monitors must also be checked before a purchase is made. Once again, colour degradation can occur over time, particularly if a monitor has been consistently used at high brightness settings. LCD monitors also face the additional problem of individual pixels becoming damaged and appearing as black dots on the screen. This is often irreparable and significantly reduces the value of any affected monitor.

Checking the Screen Condition of Used Monitors

In addition to checking for pixel damage, there are other faults that can occur with the screens of used monitors. Scratches are common, and while they are not detrimental to the operation of a monitor, they can be an annoying distraction. Since scratches cannot be easily repaired, it is important to always check for such damage before buying a used monitor. Another vital check involves LCD monitors and the way in which they are lit. When the backlight on an LCD monitor fails, the screen remains black, with no visible image present. This type of fault can usually only be repaired by expert technicians, which is often expensive. Aside from being aware of potential faults, it is always best to buy the most technologically advanced used monitors possible. Modern models typically have very high maximum native resolution rates , meaning that they are capable of displaying high definition images with rich colours and deep black tones. In addition, some monitor screens have a glossy coating to allow displays to be fully vibrant, whereas others have a matte coating to reduce the effects of glare on the screen. Listings for used monitors will usually describe the type of screen coating used.

Used Monitor Screen Sizes

Any listing for used monitors should also clearly state the size of the screen, as this is always an important factor for buyers. The numerical value of a screen size represents the diagonal measurement between corners in inches. Smaller monitors, which start at around fifteen inches, are ideal for basic computing tasks, such as word processing, reading emails, and browsing the internet. However, there is a complete range of monitor sizes, with the largest being around thirty inches. This is a comparable size to some LCD televisions, and these monitors offer a similar level of performance in terms of watching films or playing games. When buying a used monitor, it is always essential to be aware of the size of the screen being offered. In addition, once a monitor has been purchased, it should be checked to ensure that the seller's description is accurate. Mistakes can be made with measurements, and since larger screens are usually more expensive, it is important for buyers to know that they are getting what they paid for.

Checking the Speakers Found in Used Monitors

Some used monitors have built-in speakers, while others simply offer connectivity options for external speakers. The latter option offers a greater level of versatility, as different makes and models of speakers can be used and can be upgraded as required. The former option is more convenient, however, particularly when a monitor is being used to display a film or video game. When purchasing a used monitor with internal speakers, it is essential to check that there is no damage to the wiring. The sound should be crisp and clear from every speaker, without any crackling or loss in quality. In general, internal monitor speakers should operate at a minimum of two watts in order for them to be able to generate the volume required for playing games and watching videos.

Used Monitor Built-in Features

In addition to having built-in speakers, some used monitors also have other desirable features, such as a webcam or a TV tuner. The former allows a computer to be used for video calling or recording, and the latter essentially turns a monitor into a small television. When a used monitor's technical specifications include a high screen resolution, a fast refresh rate, and a good contrast ratio, it can offer a very impressive viewing experience. Features such as webcams and integrated TV tuners should always be checked for reliability when buying a used monitor. It is generally uncommon for equipment such as this to fail, but nevertheless a quick test will help to allay any reservations about malfunctioning components. It should also be noted that additional drivers or software may have to be installed after buying a used monitor in order to get these features to work properly.

Checking the Connections in Used Monitors

Used monitors vary in terms of the connectivity options that they provide. Many, especially older models, will have a VGA port, but most modern monitors offer digital connectivity in the form of DVI and HDMI ports. Whichever ports are present on a newly bought second-hand monitor, it is essential to check them for damage. For example, the pins can become bent on a VGA port, making it very difficult to make a good connection. Similarly, it is important to check that there is no corrosion to the metal components within VGA, DVI, and HDMI ports. Once it has been established that there is no visible damage, each connection can be tested to ensure that it works correctly. The HDMI port is probably the most important, as this has become the standard digital connectivity option amongst a range of technology devices. In fact, the availability of HDMI ports, preferably more than one, is a good indicator of the quality of a used monitor and can act as a guide to determine if a particular device represents good value for money. One of the most important components to check when buying a used monitor is the power cable; firstly that one is included in the sale, and secondly that it works correctly. A faulty power cable is an inconvenience, but not overly so, as replacements are usually easy and cheap to buy.

Used Monitor Controls

Ideally, any used monitor that is bought will offer a range of configuration settings with regards to factors such as brightness and contrast levels. Many will feature a control panel on the unit, which is an easy way to adjust settings as required. Each button should be tested to ensure correct functionality. Some monitors can be adjusted using a remote control. Each listing for the sale of a used monitor should state if this is an option, and if a remote control is included. This is often an attractive feature for many buyers, due to the increased level of convenience a remote control provides. Even when a remote control is not included in the sale, universal devices can be purchased as a replacement. This is provided, of course, that the monitor accepts this feature.

How to Buy Used Monitors on eBay

The online retailer eBay has a large selection of monitors of various conditions for sale. Monitors can be bought which are brand new, refurbished, used, or suitable only for parts. In order to display the used monitors only, from the homepage the Electronics & Technology category should first be selected, followed by Computers, Tablets, & Networking. The next sub-category to be chosen should be Monitors, Projectors, & Accessories, from which the selection of Monitors can be made. This will display all of the monitors for sale, along with menus down the left side of the page. From the Condition menu the option for used monitors can then be selected.


The second-hand monitors for sale on eBay often represent genuine bargains; however, the fact that they have been previously used means that there is a risk that they might have developed some faults. An informed buyer will always know how to check that the monitor that they are buying not only represents good value for money, but will also be reliable.

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